Friday, December 1, 2017

Novembre 2017

Surprise! Our backyard
November 2017

As briefly explained, I am a little late...today is Dec 1st. I could not access my Blog yesterday, I just saw the spinning circle, and after 30 minutes, I decided it was not going to happen yesterday. Checked later too, and the same thing. So I am writing this on Dec 1st.
A white surprise this morning. If and when we get snow, it usually is a light covering like this. It will melt by this afternoon. As you can see, I covered my garden this year with plastic (and then piled everything on top of it to hold it in place), so the weeds could not start growing in February.

Obviously we have moved into winter . It has been cold, nights at about freezing, and foggy rainy days.

 Last week we had ads for "Black Friday". It is really strange here, since there is no reference for it. There is no Thanksgiving, and no 4 day weekend (with a Friday holiday from work so you can shop). But the stores picked up on this and I had many emails, the paper was full of ads, and flyers in the mailbox. Friends asked what Black Friday meant! The french have no reference for this  event. And so it goes in the world now with TV, internet, and instant access to everything.

On this same note, a big issue here, or rather a huge issue is opening stores on Sunday. The bakery is allowed to be open, as are flower shops that have been granted the right ( one needs to pick up flowers for the hostess for Sunday lunch- main meal on Sunday), and some grocers who applied and have been granted permission. Now however, stores are pushing for opening any store that wants to be open. I think Galleries Lafayette in Dijon is now open on Sunday. The stores want it, some people want it, but a large majority of people are against it. Sunday is the day to relax and be with family or friends. After living here these many years, I am against it also. At first it was strange, I was so used to running out for anything I wanted, now I plan and make sure I do not need anything. Our little grocer that has very little in the store has milk, and bread (baguettes) if I have needed them. I think the stores are going to win this battle though.

Onto Thanksgiving. I had 2 couples over on Sunday the 26th for Thanksgiving dinner (again main meal at noon). I had pre-ordered a turkey, but the new butcher in charge of orders did not pre-order! Here turkeys are for Christmas, so the order for a whole turkey has to be in 3 weeks in advance to reserve a turkey (they cut up turkeys and sell them by the legs, breast...). He did not pre-order and called just before Sunday to say he could not get a whole turkey! I was disappointed, but had to serve something, so I bought the big breast (always boneless and skinless here) and did a roulade. Actually I did 2 roulades, one with mushrooms and one with apple/cranberries. You know, other than my fretting and swearing etc, these were very good and a lot easier. Maybe this is the way of the future for me. Here is my table photo (again, without Thanksgiving here there are no pilgrims, or turkeys or...to decorate the table).
Thanksgiving in France
Went on only one hike this month, weather just was not cooperating. But we had a beautiful day and got out for a walk. Fall was over, but I still love the glow of the late afternoon sun. Of course here are a few photos. And somehow, in spite of the cold weather, there were a couple flowers! I took photos to show we still have flowers mid November.
Centaurée- a little scraggy,
but a flower non-the-less

Campanule

Scabieuse

yellow flower!
Obviously  the flower is gone, no idea what this was!

I believe this is a wild Clematis, in seed form. I love the texture,
so took a photo.
And some late fall photos on Mont Myon above Messanges. A walk with the MT and the dogs.
Happy dogs, Flipper and Dolce

All the yellow with the green,
and happy dog

little road through the vines

View from the top -village of Meuilley 

Tall vines in the Hautes Côte

Last of the grapes (they were pretty good too,
had to have a little taste)
As for photo club, we had a evening session on still life photos, and different ways to set up a small studio. I took this photo.
Green peppers, one red and one green chili
 and scotch bonnets in the rear. Here, chilles are called
piments. They are not scotch bonnets, or jalapenos, or
habeneros...all just piments
Keith has not been on this bike as much as he would like. He tries to get some riding in on very good days, on marginal days, maybe a ride to the coffee shop.


Recipe of the Month
How about that Turkey Roulade.

INGREDIENTS

  • one turkey breast (skinless and boneless) - butterflied
  • About 5 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 6 ounces herb sausage- cut open to use without the skin
  • butter
  • Salt and pepper
PREPARATION
  1. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, pound turkey breast so it is thinner
  2. Sauté the onions and sliced mushrooms in butter, until most of the water has evaporated, add salt and pepper
  3. Spread the sausage over the inside of the turkey breast (this is add a little fat so the turkey does not dry out when cooking)
  4. then spread the mushroom onion mixture, leaving a good inch clean at the one long edge (right side)
  5. Start on the left side and roll, one roll or  I actually got two rolls (really banged that breast out!)
  6. Rolling;I did this on plastic wrap and then rolled tightly in the plastic wrap to get a firm roll - (one would roll maki). Then left the tight roll in the refrigerator about one hour.
  7. Take from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap.
  8. Tie about 5 strings around, and one lengthwise also.
  9. Put in oven and cook about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours -depends on breast actual size.
  10. I used a thermometer to 165°F
  11. Remove and let rest about 15 minutes before cutting.
ADVICE: If not sure how to roll the turkey breast, there are many recipes on the internet and some have short films.




Monday, October 30, 2017

OCTOBER 2017



  Octobre 2017

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Halloween is not a big holiday here. There are Halloween parties for the children, and some will try to go Trick and Treating, but overall, the holiday has not caught on.

It is fall and the fall colors have been pretty this year. I was not sure what would happen with the dry summer, but the vines had enough water and it rained some in September. Our backyard faces west, so here is a sunrise photo and a sunset from the back door.
Sunrise...colors were vivid
All the gold in the background -right, are grape vines
Beautiful sunset! Surprising results since I took it with the
Macro lens (accidentally)!
One Sunday afternoon, we both were sitting reading in the living room. It was sunny beautiful day outside and here we were mid afternoon, sitting inside. So I went to the kitchen, cut the bread into slices, pulled out the cheese (Comté), and put the bread, cheese, a knife, small bottle of Chablis wine and two galssses in a sack and said we were going out. We went above Gevrey near the vineyard called Ruchottes, and sat on a bench and enjoyed the view, the day and our little snack. Perfect way to finish the afternoon.
Keith on the bench

Ruchottes -Chambertin (all that is gold is vines)

Our view of people walking in the vines (they are walking on a
small tractor road)

Renovation next to where we were sitting
Above is an old building that was going to ruins. It is being restored to its former glory. Regard those beautiful tiles on the roof, so Burgundian. Not everything can be saved, but sometimes it is worth it.
As I understand a vigneron bought it and is restoring it.

And I will toss in a few more photos since I am already telling you the vines were pretty this year. Why the hills (and department) are called Côte-D'or (side of gold) has been lost, but when fall arrives, I have no doubt why it is called the Côte-D'Or.
Clos Saint Jacques Gevrey
The little shelter (left) was designed by Thomas Jefferson

Cellier de Dimes and the Church- Gevrey

Vines around Clos de Vougeot
Burning barrel 

Road to the Château du Clos de Vougeot

More Vines- Gevrey looking west towards the Combe Lavaux

Château du Clos de Vougoet
with hot air balloons in the background
We do not have the beautiful maples and the vivid fall colors that trees like that produce. But we have the vines. Our trees turn subtle fall colors, muted yellows, oranges and browns.

We have had very little rain again this month, but we had a little, so set out to find mushrooms. I am probably boring you with mushroom photos, but the colors and difference are amazing. MT had hoped to find some edible mushrooms, but so far they have eluded us.
A collection a friend left for me to see
(can you name any of them?)

Amanita ocreata, or Death Angle
Very poisonous!

Probably tricholome soufré

Stink horn - oh the small trying to take a photo!!

Ramaria

Puff balls or in french "Vesse de Loup"

Clavaire

Mycena

Chlorociboria aeruginascens
Like the name! It is very small and growing on the log


l'Amanite panthère
Life here has been back on track. Keith is going to Bligny to work on trains, and sunny days he tries to get in some riding of his bike. Right now he is working on putting in a cat door into the outside garage door. Not as easy as it would seem, because our garage door has a Z brace on the inside with a metal hinge bar on the outside, exactly where the door has to go. Hopefully we can get the cat to use it!!

I have been interviewed by the local news letter for the December of next July issue! Always the question "why do we live here". It is a new experience, for sure. In our backyard (almost literately) there is so much history to explore; 1000 years, even 2000 years ago! So little time to explore it all. And then all of Europe is so close. We can visit so many different countries so easily (well, before we had the cat to take care of, he has crimped our vacation style a little). I can get to the mountains or the sea in less time then it took us to get to the Black Hills from Minneapolis.  I am amazed at least once a week, if not more often. But before taking the big step, one has to realize that this is not Disneyland, that you have moved out of the USA and there are differences. And let me tell you, learning a language at an "older" age is not easy. It was a long way from high school french.

This week and last, the schools are on vacation for Toussaint (all Saints Day). When we first moved here it was a one week vacation break, now it is two weeks. Poterie closes for the two weeks also, but Photo Club continues.

Other than that all is well.


RECIPE of the Month
Sauce forestière
I know this is a rich sauce and not something you use every day, but once in a while a treat is fun. And it is the season for mushrooms. Forest mushroom such as chaterelles, bolets (Boletus),and trompette de la mort, are delicious....you do need a mushroom with some taste. If all else fails, use cremini mushrooms (more flavor than Paris mushrooms).



INGREDIENTS
  • 30 g of wild mushrooms (best to use fresh, but if no alternative use dehydrated)
  • 2 TBS of Madera ( I used a cognac)
  • 20 g of butter
  • 10 g of flour
  • 1 onion
  • 15 cl of chicken broth
  • 10 cl of cream liquid or crème fraiche
  • Pepper and Salt
  • 1 tsp of corn starch 
PREPARATION

25 min
Cooking time: 20 min
  1. Cut up the mushrooms in pretty slices ( if using dried mushrooms, you must re-hydrate the mushrooms in 20 cl of warm water, then drain and rinse thoroughly and drain again).
  2. Finely chop the onion, then brown in half of the butter.
  3. Add mushrooms to the onions, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. In another saucepan melt the remaining butter. Add the flour all at once and mix well. Leave to brown- slightly-watch carefully!
  5. Take off the heat, slowly add some chicken broth ( a little at a time) and mix vigorously until you have more of a sauce than paste. Return to heat and add the remaining broth little by little while stirring. 
  6. Let reduce and again watch carefully. Add the Madeira
  7. Add the cream.
  8. Put this sauce on the mushrooms, and rectify the creaminess if necessary with the corn starch
Here the french recipe said to add the corn starch to "si besoin l'onctuosité" -if you need to make it creamier. 
 I love the sound of the word in french "onctueuse". There is a word in english "unctuous", but it is not used frequently. I also think the "unc" has a harder sound than "onc". This is one of my favorite words. It feels as good as it sounds when you say it!

OK back to the sauce....
Serve on pasta, or with a steak or pork or...
Did you know you can look for recipes by using the little search section, it does work, or just ask. Also let me know what you think? Anyone try the pear tarte?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 2017

Fall is here and so is the fog
       Septembre 2017


Oh yes, fall has arrived. Right now we have had a few foggy mornings. But soon, the whole day can be like this.










The grape harvest (vendage) was early this year. It started around 4th of September. The average time is the 20th of September.
Tractors going to and from the vineyards

The vineyards in the back of  our house, Hand picking is not easy.
Although there was frost the end of April, and a drought this summer, the vines did well. Vingerons are happy this year. For some, it is the first good harvest after 3 years of problems.


The 10th of September is the day Gevrey-Chambertin was liberated. There is always a ceremony at the monument, however it was the time for the grape harvest, and many of the habitants were working and could not participate. Instead of a band, there was one snare drummer and only one flag bearer.
Ceremony for the Jour de Liberation

Mid-month of September each year, France reserves a weekend to celebrate patrimoine (our heritage).
My Association (history and heritage), put together a exposition for Gevrey-Chambertin. We made posters of the different types of Heritage; Architecture, Literature, Industrial, Nature, and the underground passages for the water (old passages and cisterns) as Heritage hidden. At the same time there was an exhibit on the "Climats de Bourgogne" (vineyards). Excellent exhibit. Remember the vineyards here in Gevrey  on the Cöte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune are now UNESCO.

Along with MT, we arranged a hike to the cave (I had a few photos when we found the cave in August). We had a nice group and the day was beautiful.
MT is starting to explore (circle of light is from my flashlight)

Used the  camera flash here,
some of the group checking out stalactites and stalagmites

Interesting formations
A few walks in the woods. Photos are mostly mushrooms, not many flowers this time of year.
Always find the woods beautiful 
Shaggy main

La pézize orangée

I think Mycene Rose

Tree grows in  Brooklyn   Détain

Ramaria aurea

Mycena

Still checking- Looks like salmon eggs




Puff ball

Coprin pie



Drop of pine sap

Keith is in the US visiting his father and sister (and brother-in-law). He will be home next week.



Recipe of the Month
Pear Tarte

With fall, the fresh pears are in the store. So here is a recipe for great tart.


INGREDIENTS


Almond Creme
  • 125 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (4.4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs,. room temperature,
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Other INGREDIENTS

  • 3-7 ripe Pears, peeled, cored and cut into slices (depends on the size f pear and the ratio of pear  to almond creme that you prefer). The photo is 7 pears. But I have made this with 3 pears too. If you use fewer pears, the almond creme puffs up between the pears and turns a dark brown when cooking...ummm.
PREPARATION (preheat oven 375°)

  1. Either buy or prepare a pie crust. I had a sweet crust, "pâte sablée".
  2. Put the crust in your tarte form.
  3. Add the Almond creme into the crust, level it.
  4. Arrange the slices of pear evenly on top of the Almond Creme.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes