Saturday, December 1, 2012

November 2012

            NOVEMBER 2012

This month has not been remarkable, but nonetheless, it seems to have passed quickly. Suddenly it is the end. I know 30 days has Sept, April , June and November. Guess I was hoping for one more day…but there just isn’t one (OK so it is actually Dec 1).

The annual sale of wine was mi-November (152nd Hospices de Beaune wine auction). The red wine sales were up by 73%...a huge increase. Does that mean that the wine for 2012 is that much better.  Well, probably no, this year the sale had a few more Asians, and they were bidding high. They will realize in a few years that they do not need to push the price that high. Hey, but in the meantime, it is great for our economy here in the Cote D’Or. We will see what it does for us to buy a bottle. Yes the harvest of 2012 will cost more because the harvest was cut by 50% due to bad grapes. But the price per bottle will not be 73% higher than last year.
Beaune creates a festival weekend around this sale (Hospice de Beuane). I took the train to Beaune and met Marie Therese. The train was packed! People were standing and squashed in like a subway at rush hour. Thankfully it was only a 20 minute ride!
Once in Beaune, we found it equally crowded, but amused ourselves in spite of the crowds. There are always bands strolling through the streets, and lots of venders selling sausage, cheese, wine, champagne, truffles, cookies, oysters….and the list goes on.

There was also a cork pulling contest. 20 bottles (filled with water) were placed in front of the contestants. Who could pull the 20 corks first....and the winner is MT 

One of the bands in crazy costumes

Another band walking the streets 

Cork pulling contest

Been out in the woods a few times walking, enjoying the calm, and taking photos of mushrooms. I am trying to learn more, but it is not an easy subject. So many mushrooms to learn about. What shape is the cap, then to check on the gills[color,shape,type of connection to cap].....the list is endless in the points needed to make a good identification.
 I still go by Keith's little poem:
There are old mycologists,
 there are bold mycologists,
but there are not any OLD, BOLD mycologists

Don't eat what you do not know!

I think the little chocolate brown mushrooms are Cortinarius

This little one has a brown cap and bluish stem and gills
Ramaria aurea -I think. Very pretty mushroom

Calm of the woods -late November

Finished with the mushroom talk, before I loose everyone. THis is another story with a happy ending. Way back in the year 2000, my family sold our father's place in Lake of the Woods, Minnesota. The place was called Blackbird Island. That last year I went down to the beach and dug up some clay. I put this clay in a bag and moved it all the way here to France. Keith was digging in the garage last summer and found the box that had my bag. He said it was time to do something. So he hammered away to break it down into dust. I consulted with Christine (where I take pottery), and she told me after I had a fine powder, then put it through a sieve. After that, add water to make a water slip. Put this in a tray and wait for the water to evaporate. I followed these directions carefully and ended up with a course clay (sandy). We tried a little ball in the kiln, and VOILA, it worked. So I made a flower pot and a plate. Family take note, these are from Blackbird. I think I left a big enough clue for identification.

Blackbird Island plate

Blackbird Island flower or herb pot
I think I will close now with my recipe.

Red Wine Sauce

I was curious about rich red wine sauce. I had been thinking about Beef Wellington and how to make the sauce that went with it. I did not drive head first into Beef wellington, just the sauce this month. Not sure I can even duplicate it, but it was wonderful. Keith said it was the best sauce he ever tasted!!

1 bottle of Pinot Noir
1 garlic crushed
1 bouquet garnie
1 small onion chopped in chunks
1 or 1 1/2 cubes beef broth ( yes I cheated using a cube)
1 TBS vegetable oil
2-3 tsp of butter
Possible need for a cube or two of sugar
1 heap of patience

1. Saute the onion for a couple minutes and then add the garlic
2. Add the wine -whole bottle
3. Add the herbs
4. turn the heat way down and reduce by half
5. Strain the wine and return the wine to the pan
6. Taste...add one cube of beef broth ( at this point my sauce had a hard edge...not sure how good the wine was- so I added one cube of brown natural sugar
7. Reduce slowly
8 Taste every so often for the flavor.
9 You should end up with about 1/3 cup of thick rich wine (syrup consistancy). Add the butter 1 tsp at a time.

Is it worth it...yes!   Drizzled on a plate and a nice tenderloin on it is great. Please let me know if you try it and like it (or not).

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