January 05, 2008

Ten French Recipes from Gascony you should know how to cook

Cupcakes running amuck; Mister Greenjeans back on the tube; next, we'll be eating small hamburger without buns and calling them meatballs!

As most of my friends know, I am generally unplugged here at Camont. It’s deliberate. Except for the high-speed wireless connection and my 10 million Skype-mates, I can spend all day seeing nobody at all: maybe a cyclist on the towpath; a hunter trespassing the neighbors field; the postman delivering the latest supermarket ads.

I’m not hiding out completely in a black hole and while I do read blogs and websites on a rather haphazard basis, I’d rather prune the fruit trees, re-arrange the herb garden, walk the dog. But I do read the news online, listen to NPR while making coffee and without having eaten one, I do know that cupcakes were big this year, very big. So I was delighted to see on Epicurious’ new trends for 2008 post that cupcakes will now take a back seat to frozen yogurt and that greens, mostly plants, will join the standard romaine lettuce on chain food restaurant menus. Maybe that will make Michael Pollan happy. I am all about making Michael Pollan happy because even though I don’t know the guy, I like him. I like it when he tells us to eat good, whole food that your grandmother would recognize. You see, I have been saying that to my cooking students for years...17 years exactly. And yes, that’s why I have a cooking school here, in Gascony. That’s what this food is all about here—recognizable and whole. And yes, the farmers are the new star; just ask any celebrity chef who rocks. Or see how often I write about the Butchers, Bakers, & Armagnac-makers-- or my neighbor, Denis Sabadini.

photo by tim clinch

So as I welcome you to a new year of cooking, living and writing my French Kitchen Adventures in Gascony, I wondered what I might share with you- from my kitchen to yours? What can I tell you from here that sheds a little more light on this good food, eat local, slow food movement? It amazed me how successful 'Camp Cassoulet' was (in reality as well as virtual) so I decided to come up with a New Year's list of “Ten Good Recipes from Southwest France that You Should Know How to Cook.”

Over the next few weeks, I’ll introduce you to my ‘rock star’ neighbors and explain how I came to learn these so very 'French Kitchen Basix' … and how you can cook them, too, even if you are snowed in – in Vermont at Sugar Mountain Farms. So, here's to all you new celebrity farmers and don't forget the pigs gotta still eat even if you are now going to be famous as say... Mario, or Emeril or... Yvette and Brigtte.

photo by tim clinch

My Top Ten

'French Kitchen Basix' recipes

that you should learn to cook in 2008.

  1. Cassoulet
  2. Charcuterie- learn to make something from scratch like Saucisse de Toulouse
  3. Confit de Canard
  4. Poule au Pot
  5. Garlic soup
  6. Lapin aux pruneaux
  7. a very good wine and shallot sauce
  8. perfect roast chicken in a pan- a la poĂȘle !
  9. Navarin d’Agneau- lamb please.
  10. Pintade/ guinea hen or other game and fowl with armagnac

Since #1- le Cassoulet is here, and here and here… why don’t we start with #2- Charcuterie and clear up a few ill conceived notions about sausage. Next stop: Saucisse de Toulouse- from field to table. Here's one of your teachers- Mme. Yvette Sabadini of the Ferme Bellevue...just up the road from Camont.


katiez said...

Your Gascon winter sounds suspiciously like ours here in the Vendee. Water dripping from everything and only the cows and dogs for company. I think I'll go see if I can find any signs of snow drops or crocus...

Travelberg said...

I just finished Michael Pollan's Omnivores Dilema, and can't wait to read the new one. Very "fair and balanced" and yes...eating can be a dilema when you know what it went through to get to your table. Hoorah for Michael and Slow Food and our local growers.

Mariann "Travelberg"

Kate Hill said...

To answer those who say they don't have time to cook (and this is like preaching to the choir here!), I made myself a simple Sunday supper with a pork rind sausage and fresh cauliflower and carrot drizzled with vinegar and black pepper. The rest of the cauliflower and carrot left in the pan with some parsley and curry will be whizzed into a soup for tomorrow. Oh, I did all this and cleaned out a cupboard while listen to the NPR interview with Mr. Pollan- 35 minutes. Good food, just enough, and mostly plants.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to your future posts about cooking these 10 items, Kate :)

THSK said...

I really like this idea Kate.

winedeb said...

I enjoyed cassoulet with all of you, now looking forward to the sausage party!