Saturday, November 14, 2015

Viva La France Toujours

Our hearts go out to the Parisians and the French who  experienced those atrocious attacks of vile barbarism. It is a shame that the city and country of good food, where haute cuisine originated will have this scar for a long long time. Let's celebrate the dishes and treats of the City of Light. They are magnifique and what the city should be known for.

One favorite is the croque monsieur , that heavenly cheese sandwich.This is one if my all time favorite dishes to make..It's taking ham and Gruyere and drying it in butter. There should be a dash of mustard added for color and bite and it can be served with a béchamel sauce. A croque madam is one served with an egg on top and tomato can also be added for a croque provencale. Another Parisian favorite is steak Diane with pomme frites..These are a snap to make, with pan cooked steak with a cognac,tomato and shallot sauce.The sauce was originally meant for venison and wild game and named after the goddess of hunting , Diana.Pomme frites are French fries which can easily be made with Idaho potatoes. Cut  the potatoes into two to three inch sticks with a 1/2 inch width. Be warned, once you start frying these , you'll be snitching them  as they drain on a paper towel.The omelet is quintessentially French, having being created in the capital city in the 1600s. Originally called an aumelette, it has been a staple of French cookbooks for four centuries.The perfect one is made with three eggs and lots of butter (NO margarine, please). The eggs should be whisked into a smooth glossy liquid and then slowly poured into a hot buttered pan. As soon as the egg mix starts solidifying,, tilt the pan and coax it into a roll. Brush with melted butter for a nice glossy finish and decorate with fleur de sel and chives.

French pastries are another great gift to the culinary world. Croissants are true Parisian specialty, originally coming from Vienna with baker August Zang in 1839 . They were first called kipferl and later croissant by the  city that embraced them. In twenty years times, they were a breakfast staple. Even the famed English writer, Charles Dickens,  wrote about it in his periodical, All The Year Round. A variation of the croissant is pain au chocolat, a yummy, layered squared filled with bitter chocolate.There is also the almond croissant , stuffed with a buttery, crunchy almond paste, and again the taste is sheer heaven. Cream puffs, or profiteroles are another lovely treat,made with the slightly complicated choux pastry and filled with cream. These are topped off with melted dark chocolate and made into a tower called croquenbuche, translated as crunch in mouth. Eclairs are another must when in Paris. These are not those soggy ones American bakeries sell, but light , crisp choux pastry fingers filled with whipped cream or vanilla pastry crème and topped with a generous coating of melted semisweet chocolate. Patisseries also sell mille feulle,a thousand leaves, a crunchy  creamy layered pastry , perfect with the French coffee, café au lait

Vive le France! Vive Paris! Its ' people and food will shine through these dark days ! They have in the past, they will again! Salut!

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