Tuesday, December 29, 2015

DECEMBRE 2015 - December

December 2015
 and a Happy New Year

Fog, this is a good day

The month of December is coming to an end, as is the year 2015. As I think over this past year, there have been good times and sad times.

Now it is time to move on to 2016, but not before I finish this months blog.

This month we actually had a couple of sunny days, but mostly wet days. We have had very little rain, but everything is wet like we have had heavy rainfalls. The temperatures have been extremely mild. It is then end of December, and we still have had many days in the 50's (well not today).  The "weather gurus" say it is El Nino and next year all will be normal. I guess if that is true, we should profit from the present.
This is 29th of December!
One almost sunny day we went out for a walk (that is MT, me and the dogs).
We had a nice walk in the woods, and I was working at a photo of water (for the "book").
Flipper stop to see if we were following
The dogs love the water, especially the lab
I have been on a few walks too, mostly around Gevrey. I am now playing with trying to do some photos in black and white. Here are a few of my efforts.
Curious horses or looking for an apple

foggy day on the pond behind Gevrey

another foggy pond photo

Swans on the foggy pond

At the Gare (train station) Gevrey

One day MT and I went to look at an old tomb stone, Gallo-Roman period. A member of our association had written an article for our Gazette (this Gazette is published twice a year-and this was Dec 2015). He wrote about some of the archaeology of the area. This included reference to this tomb stone (stelle). The stelle happened to be in a private garden in one of the villages of the area. Imagine an artifact of that age adorning your backyard garden. Here is my photo.
Gallo-Roman stelle -see the two heads
at the top..rest has been worn away by age
Other things in my life, as always, besides photos there is pottery. Last summer I made a plaque for a friend (Tom, or Thomas Kevill-Davies) for his Bed and Breakfast, which is just south of Beaune in Auxey-Duress.  It now adorns the wall of his place.
Then for us, I made three panels in raku for our wall. The color is not correct (too yellow), the white is actually grey white, but the concept is there!

Tom's Bed and Breakfast
Our new wall hanging

We made our annual trip to the Alsace for a Christmas fix and wine. The Alsace region went between Germany and France a few times. Since WWII, it has been part of France. Even though in France, some of the best German food is found in the Alsace, in our opinion.
Also, Christmas has more of the German influence. They have Christmas trees (which France did not have much in the past, but has become more popular in recent years), they decorate with lights and have huge Christmas markets ( marché de Noël).
So we did our annual visit to Colmar (forgot my camera in the car), then up to Eguisheim. Always an enjoyable visit, some wine tasting and some good food. We always stay the one night, then drive home the next day.
I did not have have tripod for the night photos, but I powered through it! Not perfect photos, but temp pis (too bad).

Marché de Noël in Eguisheim

The "Plce de Eglise (church plaza)...
Pope Leo IX was born here

A market stand

Mushroom Store

Day photo of a small street

Christmas market of Eguisheim by day

The bakery

Some houses and wine shop

A house and wine maker (vigneron)
This is a cigogne (stork). The Alsace is known
for having them, and now they stay all winter.
This is on top of the church

We had a wonderful Christmas day with MT and family. MT made a wonderful paté en croute (wrapped in pastry), her great grandmother's recipe. She said it takes 3 days to make. It was sooo good. Then is was followed by some succulent venison with wine sauce..mmmm. As always with wine.
Musigny Grand Cru- 1988
Keith with a big smile-must be good food 
I had made some gourgeres for the day. Puff pastry with cheese, a Burgundy tradition.
Gougeres fresh from the oven
Are we spoiled or what!!!

Now I have to tell you the cat story. I have mentioned the part-time cat in the past. We found out this last summer that he is homeless, or sort of, since he has adopted about 3 or 4 homes in the area. I think because we are home, he has spent more time here lately. We have also taken him to the vet when he has been injured ( so why does he like us?).
The others seem to want the cat, but not be totally responsible for him!!
Now he has been coming here most nights to sleep. So we do not think we have a cat, but he seems to think we do. He is also bossy. He meows to be brushed all the time, going over to the brush and rubbing his cheek on it. 
He moved to not a great photo, but Til begging for a
brushing..meow meow
Not only for a brushing, but for the fire to be lit ! He goes to the wood stove and meows. Of course we are suckers and give into him! No wonder he likes it here, we are his servants and do whatever he asks.
Got what I wanted
Enough cat talk! One last photo from Christmas day, through the double pane window.

I feel we are truly blessed and are living the good life. We still enjoy the countryside and everything it has to offer.
So onto 2016. May it bring you health and happiness. 

Bonne année Bonne santé

And your resolutions this year?

Recipe of the Month

This is an Alsacian dish, hardy for the winter. Along with a green salad, dinner is ready. Nice bottle of Alsacian wine completes the meal.
The recipe has lardons. If you do not have lardons in the store, buy the thick bacon and cut into ¼ inch pieces. It is the same thing. You could use part lardons and part ham too.

  • 2 lbs (1 kg ) potatoes
  • 7 oz. (200 g) of lardons [note above on lardons]
  • 7 oz. (200 g)  chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 16 oz. (450 grams) Reblochon
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper

  1.     Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes, rinse well, and dry in a clean cloth.
  2.      Heat oil in a pan, and sauté the onions 
  3.      Then add the potatoes
  4.      Brown all sides of potato cubes, add the bacon (lardons) and finish cooking.
  5.      Meanwhile, scrape the crust from the Reblochon and cut it in two , then    into slices.
  6.      Prepare a baking dish by rubbing the bottom and sides with garlic.
  7.      Preheat oven to 350 ° F (thermostat 6-7).
  8.      In the baking dish, put a layer of potatoes with bacon(lardons), and half of the Reblochon -layering like a lasagna.
  9.      Add the rest of the potatoes, and finish with the rest of the Reblochon (for the top crust) and bake for about 20 min ( monitor to prevent the cheese turning to grease). 
Since everything is warm, it just needs some time in the oven to melt the cheese.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Novembre 2015

On the 14th of November, I woke up and read some emails that said how horrible the news of Paris was. WHAT,??  I turned on the TV only to see the horror of what had happened. Paris attached for the second time this year.
Our liberty once again challenged. And it was not tourists sites, this was an attack on the french.
The world mourned with us. But also came the realization that this is a world problem. Other countries had been attacked too, not long before the 13th of Nov.
And the question is who will be next?
How sad that our world today is so fraught with hate. And it is within our countries, as well as from outside our borders.

So this month I will be brief,

I returned from Chadron Nebraska on the 2nd of November. Last month I said I would have a couple of photos.
In Chadron near the hospital

On a country road

Little raod with some trees

I have continued to work on "the book". Took some photos of the inside of the church here in Gevrey (for the book).
The church (église) was built in the 13th century. It was built on the site of the 9th century church that had been destroyed.

Went on a couple of walks this month, butnot many photos. I am onlytwo photos. The season for flowers and even fall colors is over. I went to the top of the cote (the cote is the hill west of  or behind Gevrey), for a walk in the woods. Have to admit this was also to take a couple photos for the book!
On another walk I thought the horses in the field were pretty,but this was near Arcenant.
photo in the Combe Lavaux-at the top

not for the book, this was over by Arcenant

Keith and I also participated in the ceremony for Armistice day. It starts at the cemetery and ends at the monument to the soldiers. After the ceremony there is always a glass of Crémant and snacks (orange juice and water too). It was a cold foggy day, so the stop inside for a glass of Crémant helped warm us up. Since it was 12:30, time to head home and have lunch.

At the Monumont aux Morts

We had a nice Thanksgiving here. Ended up with 6 at the table. Not a lot of Thanksgiving  decoratations for the table here in France ( go figure).
 The leaves are  all dead, so no fall leaves to decorate the table. So the table decor was sparse. Found cotton balls. Keith thought it was kind of funny, cotton balls to decorate for Thanksgiving!

We started at 12:30 and talked until 5:30. No football here to interupt a good dinner. Had a large turkey (have to order way in advance) and it was perfect. All the trimmings, even found cranberries and made cranberry sauce. Always enjoy a nice dinner with friends. We added a touch of France, this year a little foie gras for an amuse bouche and we also had a cheese course with some very good s cheese that I had not tried before. So many cheeses to try and so little time!

I am not going to publish a recipe this month. With Thanksgiving, you have all had enough food for the month of November. I will have a recipe for next month, promise.


Quick add to this: many years ago my mother made a lettuce christmas tree with cherry tomatoes and other appetizer goodies. I found this on "Dishin with Didi" site, closest I could come to the same idea. Not that hard and very pretty holiday presentation.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Octobre 2015

October 2015

Early morning out the back door, pinkish sun rise and fog
in the distance

This month started slow. It rained, and rained those first few days and fall crept in slowly.

I did go out on a sunny Sunday ( yes the sun came out) to take some photos of the vines that were changing in color. So here are a few photos of fall in Gevrey.

Maybe we do not have many maple trees, but we still have color.

Clos Saint Jacques, from the top

Chateau - vines not very colored yet

Looking down on Gevrey -vines of gold
All the gold in the photo are vines

cClos Saint Jacques from the bottom

Vines on D31 west of Gevrey

Golden vines with chateau in the bacground

With the small photo the gold and reds are not as
stunning as in person

From the church yard looking towards the Combe Lavaux

On the third of the month, the history association took a tour of the old mill near Messanges.The first mill was  started in 1256. The building we toured was built at a  later period. This current mill closed in 1983.If you read french ,there is more informations on the web at www.moulinchevalier.fr
And a few photos.
Croix de Chevalier at the Moulin

 I liked the window, so I took this photo

the gears for the mill stone in the basement

This is the second mill from around 1500

Mill stone

Then on the 9th we took a long weekend in Florence Italy. There  was a slight problem as we started our trip. We went to the train station in Gevrey and planned to take the train to Beaune. Then arriving in Beaune, standing on the same platform, 8 minutes later the train going to Lyon stops and we would hop on and be on our way to Lyon. From the Lyon train station, there is a tram that goes to the airport.
So what happened?
First the train board listed the train  on time, then  it changed to 5 minutes late. A train signal just north of Gevrey was not working. So 30 minutes later, the trains were sent in reverse order, and the train for Lyon flew by, and we were still in Gevrey. Yikes what now! My husband was muttering those 4 letter words!! We returned home, got into our car and headed to the Lyon airport. Keith drove and continued to mutter away for the first 50km.
We arrived in plenty of time for the plane, life was good.
Now to move onto our visit in Florence.
Some of the buildings are interesting, and the detail is stunning. I do not think that a photo captures it all, but of course I added a couple below anyway. Although going early to the Academy, the line to see Michelangelo's David was long and it took 2 hours to get in. Seeing the real David, I can now cross that off my list.
In the afternoon we went to the Uffizi museum  (only 30 minutes in line). That was superb. To see the Annunciation by DeVinci so close up, I noticed details that I had not seen before. Then onto the Botticelli works, especially Spring (or Primavera), this was the cherry on the cake,so to say.
One afternoon we decided to split up and I went my way with my cameras and Keith found a bike rental.
I have to say I was very surprised that the Pont Vecchio, all the shops were selling expensive jewelry, and lots of diamonds on display.
Overall the city did not make my list of top ten cities I love. Even in October, it was very very crowded. But to have seen what we did was amazing, so absolutely no regrets.
Of course here are a few photos.
Duomo...beautiful buildings or buildings
It rained the first day 


Pont Vecchio

Santa Maria Novella piazza 

looking down the Arno river

Arno river
Gelato shops everywhere and the displays!
Mountains of gelato.

I took a quick trip to Nebraska to help with some packing. My father in law is moving from Nebraska to the Detroit area. Took a couple of photos, but do not have a way to take them off the memory card.Oh well!

can't you just smell it!!!
Recipe of the Month

I think I posted this recipe a long time ago. But it is fall and apple season and this is a great recipe. Made this about a week ago. Dinner was squash soup and pie for dessert. A fall dinner.
Below is a recipe for pastry and for the apple filling.

Apple Filling

  • 9 Canadian gris apples
  • 4+ Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4+ Tbsp. Sugar
  • 3 Packets Sucre Vanille des Iles (vaille sucre)
  1. Peel, and slice apples into 1/8" slices
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in small saucepan over low heat.
  3. Add half of the sliced apples to the saucepan, and sprinkle 1 packet of Sucre Vanille over apples.
  4. Cook, covered, until you have a smooth compote (apple sauce).
  5. Spread the compote evenly over the base of the pastry.
  6. Arrange the slices to completely cover the pastry (see photo…… first we taste with our eyes!)
  7. Sprinkle 2 packets of Sucre Vanille, and 2+ Tbsp of Sucre over the apples
  8. Divide beurre into small morsels and arrange over the tarte
In a preheated 200 degree oven for 1 hour. Watch until the top is golden brown.

 Brisee Pastry Crust: (buy or go for it  and make the crust too )

  • 250 g. Flour
  • 125 g. Beurre non-salee (unsalted butter)
  • 1/8 tsp. Sel (salt)
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar 
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Huile Tournesol (sunflower oil)
  • 1 7.5g Packet Sucre Vanille des Iles(vanilla flavored sugar)

NOTE: Best, is to refrigerate dough 12 hours before rolling, but OK without 12 hours, try at least 30 minutes 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl except water
  2. Mix with hands, until uniform "crumbly" consistency
  3. Slowly add small amount of water (4-5 Tbsp), and mix well until it forms into ball
  4. Roll out dough using flour if becomes sticky.When dough is desired thickness,loosely roll it around the rolling pin, and lay over tarte pan.
  5. Press dough into pan, and trim pan edges.
  6. Sprinkle 1 7.5 gr packet of Sucre Vanille des Iles over the pastry