Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I probably should take this month in chronological order. Maybe I can remember what we have done since I last wrote my journal.

Starting back with the end of December, we had a nice Christmas day with our friends. Marie Therese had her father and niece to dinner also. It was a noon time meal, and we had wonderful food (boar or in French sanglier), great wine and wonderful friends. It was a special day and we ate and drank and talked the afternoon away. I think Keith and I finally left around 7:30 or 8 pm.

The next morning the world was covered with a sheet of ice, thick ice. No one could move. No cars, no buses, everything was quiet. Keith crashed (but did not burn) going out to get the newspaper (which of course was not there). The sand truck did not come around until about 10:30am and slowly the neighborhood started to come alive as the sand/salt did its job, and the day warmed up a little at the same time. The paper was finally delivered after lunch.

On Thursday (Dec 27th) the day was warmer and the ice had melted, so my northern climate survival skills kicked-in (just in case there was another day or two with ice). I headed out to the grocer and bought food for several days (along with some canned goods just in case) and many bottles of wine (about 10). I ran into a friend in the parking lot, and she looked at my basket (chariot) and all the wine and asked if we were having a party! I had to say, “Well no, it is just in case it is icy again and I can’t get out”!! [we did in fact have another bad day on Jan 3rd and I was prepared].

New Years Day was quiet, as was New Years Eve. Because the weather had been cold (hey it was below freezing), and we had had rain and ice, we just stayed home(much safer that way).

Does anyone remember Epiphany, January 6th ? Here in France, it is the Fete de Roi (festival of the king). It is celebrated with a Galette de Roi. This is a layered puff pastry filled with frangipane. Inside there is a small feve (small figurine in porcelain) hidden in the frangipane and who ever finds the feve, wears the paper crown! I had Galatte with the genealogy club, with the photo club, and we had it at home (we had a guest for dinner). At the clubs it is served with Cremant (sparkling wine), at our house it was our dessert.

Then there was a barn “raising” this month. Not in the old fashion American sense, but a barn raising none the less. In a small village not far from Gevrey, Marie Therese has a friend who boards horses. Christophe has decided to expand his business, and was having a company from England, construct a new horse stable for him. It is pre-built, delivered and then built on site. We went over for the afternoon, I took photos of the barn, of Christophe working with the horse of Justine, and then he had a work out with Ohtar (Marie Therese’s horse- Marie Therese moved Ohtar to board at Christophe's last spring). By the time Christophe was jumping with Ohtar, it was almost dark and it had started to rain. I did get a photo of Ohtar and Christophe just before the rain started (having a cigarette break).

BARN OHTAR

St. Vincent is the patron saint of the vineyards. Each year there is a large celebration that consists first of a parade (defile), mass and blessing, aperitifs and a large dinner. There is also street entertainment and wine tasting at the wine makers establishments. The big celebration will be Jan 26th-27th.

A village is picked to host this big celebration. This year it is in the very small village of St Romain (and where will they park since this small village is nestled in the cliffs). This village is a little south west of Gevrey. There is great wine from St. Romain, both red and white.

The main dinner this year is 130 euros per person!! We are not going.

However we did go to the celebration in the Hautes Cotes. This year St Vincent was celebrated in Arcenant on Jan 19. We had a wonderful dinner starting with the entre, then a fish course, followed by a main course, a trou de Bourgogne (palate cleanser made of sorbet and liqueur-marc de Bourgogne), cheese course and dessert. Before your belt breaks, it starts at about 1pm and dessert was at about 5:30pm and the servings are NOT super sized. Nice wines accompanied each course. There is always a band that plays too, and it was as terrible as it was last year! Imagine a cha-cha-cha on an accordion!! In spite of that, a good time was had by all. We left at about 11:30pm…. yawn, a long day.

Keith Keith and Wine

I did some yard work today (Jan 22,2008). I found the bulbs in the garden already poking out, one of my roses has leaf buds, the forsythia has buds and lo and behold, a primrose. Have to say that after all those years in Minnesota, I really like the climate here. It is a little early, so I do expect we still have some winter days ahead. But profit from the moment (that is an expression used a lot here in France…” Profiter du soleil ” – translates as “take advantage of the sun”- ).

I made a birdbath with mosaic, and now have to start another.

Keith has been working on the kitchen cupboards, a door here - a door there. They really look so much nicer. After all the doors and drawers are completed, he will think about making the actual cabinets too. I will take a photo after a few more doors are completed so one can get a better impression.

He continues to work on repairing trains at Bligny. They (well they actually had some professionals do this part) added the track all the way to Pont d’Ouche, and the plan is that he will be build a waiting shelter this spring at the Pont d’Ouche site. The track now extends from Bligny to Pont d’Ouche, and is near 8km long.

That is about all of the real excitement here in Gervey (hey it is winter).

For a recipe this month I have turned to the winter vegetable, chicory or as it is called here, endive. This is a wonderful salad with greens that one can enjoy in the winter.

Before I add my recipe here I have to add a comment about Roquefort. When I came to France, I said I did not like blue cheese. Ah, then I tasted Roquefort (in this very salad served at dinner at friends house). It is different than any blue cheese I had tasted in the states. So now I am hooked and eat it willing. Every tried it with pears! um

Endive Salad

  • 2 meduim endives
  • ½ cup or about 2-3 oz. Roquefort Cheese
  • Vinegarette [see below]
  • 1/4 cupWalnuts broken in pieces
  • Cut the endives in half and I usually take out the core. Then slice in half circles, about ¼ inch wide.

    Prepare a vinegarette

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice (sometimes I use a white wine vinegar)
  • Blend oil and mustard together. Keep whipping it with a fork until the mustard blends in completely. Add other ingredients and mix well.

    Pour the Vinegarette over the sliced endive and mix well. Add the Roquefort and walnuts on top and serve.

    Bon App├ętit

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