Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Decembre

2016 December

It is almost Christmas! I decided to try to write my Blog and send it our before the two big holidays.
Wishing you all Bonne Fête, Bonne Année and Bonne Santé

For Christmas we will go to Messanges, as we have on previous years.

It was warm here up to Thanksgiving. After that the weather turned cold. It has gone below freezing! at night.

We have had a lot of fog and followed by a day of beautiful frost.

Went out for a couple of frosty photos. Could not resist, but froze my toes since I wore regular shoes. Wanted to stay longer for more photos, but feet cold were cold, fingers were cold and it started to rain/sleet! It is only over the tracks, maybe 1km by car, but it was time to return home and sit in front of the fire.

Played with this photo in photoshop!! More details
 Original below.

Same as above- softer version

Frosty trees
Finally turned the heat on (dec 18th)!! Been heating the house with the wood stove, and it really does warm the house. But morning showers were a little chilly since the house had not warmed up yet. So turned on a few of the electric heaters. It has been about 17 Celsius in the house at 6am.

Went for a couple of walks with MT, one this first part of the month and one mid month. As I said lots of fog here, however in the Haute-Côte, they had sun on several of the days while here in the valley of the Saone, we were socked in!
So went up to the Haute-Côte and saw blue sky!
Took a photo to look at when it is foggy here!
There was still haze, and as the sun set, fog started to move in again in the low areas.

Some haze on the far hill

Arcenant in the late afternoon, fog returning

Same photo, HDR. Background more prominent, but lost the
rich color that the setting sun gave the vines.
 I think I prefer the top one
I have been playing with my camera lately, as you can tell by my comments and exploring options in Photoshop. Also bought an old macro lens. The lens creates amazing backgrounds or bokehs. These old macros need a lot of light and therefore have not played with it a lot since we have had cloudy days. But you will see more in the future. I bought the lens via Ebay for a cheap price. It is a helios M42 macro. I had to get an adapter for my camera. The first photo above of the berries was my first try. The same day I took a couple of other photos. Just some branches with frost.

My history association had a visit scheduled for the first Saturday of the month to the Archeology museum in Dijon. It is in an old building of the church, former dormitory and scriptorium for the monks. I found it to be an very interesting museum, and some wonderful old artifacts, many from around here.
A pan from the Gauls. There is writing (gaul) on the handle.
 Found locally

Old scriptorium -windows are now blocked, so dark . It is the

This was the dormitory. This end is empty, behind me
are some interesting old statues and ruins
At the beginning of the month, the village Fixin had "portes ouvert" (doors open) at certain vignerons and also included art expositions around the village. I went to see the photos of a friend in photo club.
The salle de fêtes in Fixin is at the top of the village next to a park. So after looking at the photos, I climbed a little further up to look at the statue of Napoléon. M. Noisot from Fixin was a general under Napoléon, and had this statue commissioned for his park. The sculptor is François Rude.

Napoléon in repose...note below

explanation of the sculpture
He also had a small museum built at the top, in hommage de Napoléon.

And then to round off the visit, I took a photo of the church, and then entered the Le Manoir de La Perrière. This was built in the 12th century, owned by the monks of Citeaux and was a manoir and vineyard. Today it is still a a manor used for making wine. And it is good wine, Clos de Perriere.
The doors were open in the cave, so down I went with my camera at my side.
Old manor house
Barrels in this part of the cave

Tasting area on this section with old bottles
And in the next room a very old wine press. This is the type
that it took many men to turn the press,see below

Illustration from LaRousse 1992
Then before I left the place on top of the village, I quickly took a photo of Fixin, and the church. Note the church tower with the colored tiles, very burgundian.
Church of Fixin (for your info, the burgundian pronounciation
of the village is FEE-SAN
As plans start to mount for the coming year, I have lots to do. With the Assoc I need to continue to take photos of the villages. We want to make more books for our archives.
Then we have thought about having children in the club, ages 10-16 years. Give them a start on taking interest in what is around them. I will work with the group from the Reserve Natural for a program of nature and photos. Fanny has planned a program around pollination, introducing insects and plants. Hope it works.
Also with the Tour de France coming right through our city, there will be some work to get Gevrey ready for the grand day.

Right now I am working on photos for the exposition in May. Photos are due by Feb 16th. This year the theme is LINES, CURVES. We can only present two photos. I am looking at what I have and still looking around me for lines and/or curves. Here are three that I have already.
Saint Malo


Keith, a little less riding his bike with all the fog. He has been very busy in the garage on a couple of woodworking projects, I think a mirror frame and some shelves.

Wander off the subjects of nature, wine and museums and into politics. The elections for president here in France will be end of April and May of this next year, 2017.
This year it was decided to have primaries similar to the USA. The first was in November. It was for parties to the right (here there are several parties in the run, not just two). Parties were not obligated to participate. So the conservatives held their election on the 27th of November. Fillon was the winner and Sarkozy was out. That changed some of what people expected. Some thought Sarkozy would be in. But there was not a huge turnout either. Again, this is the first time it has been tried.

Now it will be the left side of politics. Again several have declined to run, including two names, Meléchon and Macron  It will be interesting to see if Valls wins? Maybe, maybe not? Holland, current president has declined to run for a second term as president.

Here for elections, there are two consecutive votes. The first week eliminates many runners, usually two are left to run in the final vote. But anyone above a certain percentage runs in the final, so it could be three. The next week is the second vote.
 We have an interesting couple of months ahead. Note that here there are no TV ads ( each canidate gets equal time on the news), and no telephone solicitation for votes! There will be information on each candidate, and flyers of course.

Recipe of the Month

Broccoli and Cranberries

I found a recipe for broccoli and cranberries on the internet. I can never leave anything alone though, so I added the ginger (certainly optional), and the shallots. The recipe also fried the broccoli, I thought to steam slightly and then add to warm it up (I steamed it ahead of time). Also lighter steamed than fried. So this is my version, and it disappeared. One could toss on a few almond slivers too.

This makes a pretty holiday side dish with the red and green.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups broccoli florets ( cut into small florets)-lightly steamed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (or more)
  • 2 shallots (I caramelized one-not necessary, but added crunch) -photo below
  • 2 tsp ginger minced
  • Shallots
  • Salt and ground black pepper

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Saute shallots
  3. Add garlic, and ginger  and saute 1 -2 minute.
  4. Add broccoli and cranberries and saute 3 minutes, until it is warmed and mixed well. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Suggestion: Warm the serving bowl so the mixture stays warmer longer

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Novembre 2016

November 2016

Oh boy, it is the end of November and the last minute for my November blog. I looked through all my photos for November 2016, all 12 of them! Yikes where has this month gone.

Well first there were the elections in the US. I was disappointed, but I will not make this a political forum.

Then November weather moved in here, foggy, or misty, and /or rainy days. Not the ideal weather to march out and take photos. When the fog is heavy you can not see 100 feet. This week it is sunny, but the temperature has gone down. High of 5 degrees (Celsius that is) the other day. Since it is dry, I have to finish getting the yard ready for winter. Did mow the lawn last week one afternoon when the sun poked out, it really needed to be mowed.

Now I have to move all the planters to a dry place for the winter.

November 11, armistice day is celebrated each year here in France with a ceremony  in most cities or villages, and usually followed by a glass of wine. This year, like other years there was a small parade lead by the city officials, the band, the fire department (in dress uniforms) and then the rest of us (citizens). The parade arrived at the monument ( monument with the names of those that died in the wars- Monument aux Morts) for the ceremony. Our monument has now been listed as historic. I still get a little emotional when the La Marseillaise is played and I realize this is my country too.
Ceremony at the Monument

After the ceremony, the band started up again and led us to the salle (room) in the new building called "Climats de Bourgogne" for a glass of wine and gougères. There were at least 100 people in there, even on this rainy day. 

I had to do some work for the upcoming Gazette that should be published in December. First is to ready the two pages for Flora and Fauna. Those interested submit photos, we meet and pick the final 12 photos (out of 65 this time), and I prepare them for the Gazette (crop and size and lay out for publication with names in french and latin). Flora and Fauna done,   I look up and transcribe about 12 words with definitions of the patois from the Cote D'Or.

We had Thanksgiving on Sunday the 27th of November this year. We had 9 people in all this year.
It was a true fete with all the traditional trimmings. Our round table only holds 6 maximum, so had to add a table. Worked just fine. Conversations were in french and english! Our one guest did not speak french, but the french guests all spoke english, so everything flowed. It was a good time with friends that lasted all afternoon. 
Our table all ready for  the guests
Keith went to Paris for a couple of days to work with a colleague who was a guest researcher/lecturer for a month at the Poly Technique. Other than that he is trying to get in as much bike time as possible. With rain and fog it has been a challenge this month.

Last night (the 29th) I fixed turkey tetrazzini (recipe below). Keith had gone up to our borrowed cave in the Haute Côte on Saturday to get some wine and found some we needed to drink. So we had this bottle with dinner last night.
2009 -so good. See what happens in a good
cave. You do not want a dry place to store wine.
It turned out to be a white chardonnay from Monthelie. It was so very good. Enjoyed every sip. It went well with dinner too.

This leads into the recipe. And the month is almost over! So onto December and Christmas.

Recipe of the Month 

I looked at a few recipes, some too short. Then I happened on the recipe by Emeril Lagasse . I did not get too upset about ingredients I did not have. I did have plenty of leftover turkey! I am sure his recipe is excellent as written, but the dinner I made last night was very good too.
So follow his recipe, or go a little creative.
Here is his recipe with my comments in purple. Also I did not overly fret about quantity, I needed to use up the creme fraiche, so I used what I had.

Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (not this much, just enough to make a rue)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, ends trimmed, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (1TBS)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (Had none open)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream (I had about 1 cup crème fraiche)
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 1 pound cubed or bite-size shredded roast turkey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 (5 1/2-ounce) bag potato chips, crushed (left this out entirely)

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (I just added some of these, did not make up the mixture):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika (added about 1 tsp)
  • 2 tablespoons salt (no additional here other than what I used above)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder (did not have any)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper (added about 1 tsp)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder (did not have any)
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (added  a dash)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (added about 1 tsp)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme (added about 1 tsp)

  1. Saute the onions and bell peppers in 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat until soft, about 4 minutes.(just used oil)
  2.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  3. Add the mushrooms, Essence, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid, about 6 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. (made a rue with some butter and flour and mixed it in)
  5.  Add the wine and chicken stock and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes.
  6.  Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and very flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes. ( this is where I stopped, I added the noodles, stirred and served).
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
  10. Butter a 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.
  11. When the sauce has thickened, add the noodles, turkey, parsley, salt, black pepper, and Parmesan to the skillet and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared casserole and top with the potato chips. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 31, 2016

October 2016

      October 2016
Happy Halloween
Fall in the Côte-D'Or  - Clos de Vougeot on the right
Thought I would start with a panoramic photo of fall here in the Côte-D'Or. We may not have the beautiful maple trees, but some years the vines are spectacular.  With the weird weather this year and the drought in July / August, there was little hope that the vines would be golden. 
Last 3 days have been beautiful and fall colors amazing. This photo was taken not far from Gevrey near the Clos de Vougeot. I had to find a place to pull off the highway to take the photo.
Here are a few more photos from the last couple of days. I want to show off the beauty of fall here.
Overlooking  Chambolle-Musigny. Some haze, but wanted to show
the golden Côte. All the gold color is from grape vines.

This is Chambolle-Musigny _ and yes some haze

Thursday in Gevrey_ the Château

Gevrey_ Clos Saint-Jacques in the background

Sunday, Gevrey



Gevrey- tried to capture some sun rays on the left. Not so much!

In the haze, Friday in the Haute-Côte going to MT's
Red gold on the right are vines

Grand final..vines between Gevrey-Chambertin and Brochon

It seems to have been a busy month, but not sure what I have accomplished! I had a cold for 2 weeks, so I can say without hesitation that I read more than a few mystery books. Love that Kindle, do not have to leave the comfort of my chair when I need a new book! Scary how easy it is to buy another book, then another, then ...!!
I did go out for a few hikes this month. Here are a few photos from walks with MT.
 Bonnet d'évêque (Fusain d'Europe)
It will soon open and have orange seed inside

Coprin noir et blanc (coprinus picaceus)

Combe d'Orvaux - Chambolle (haze!)

Walk in the woods

Horse in the pasture

Combe d'Orvaux, Chambolle

For photoclub we had a theme of Still Life this month. I looked to the old masters' paintings and tried to create a " painting photo". I had some fun with this project. There were some other great photos by the club members.
Vegetable still life (nature morte)

Prunes -en français (plums) 
And then here at home as fall sets in. We had to start using the wood stove. Waiting to turn on the heat though, wood stove is sufficient for now. 
Cat has decided to sleep indoors at night, so comes around 9pm. 
Fall in our yard, we planted a
Japanese maple (morning sun set it on fire)

View from the house

Hitchcock anyone! Phote from our backyard. After the harvest there
are lots of good grapes on the ground and the birds gather

As for the wine, since fall had the right amount of wet and dry, there are predictions of good wine ( and when do they ever say anything other than that). But also, because of the May frost and drought, the volume is way down. So of course prices will go up this year again. If the Chinese bid on the wine at the Hospice de Beaune like they did the last 2 years, prices will leap once again. The Beaune auction is in November. The price hike on wine fhe last couple of years has been good for the vignerons, a little sad for us and our pocketbook.

Keith has worked on getting 200 km each week on his bike. So far the weather has cooperated.

Will not go into any politics here in my Blog, just asking everyone to VOTE.
 I hope all goes well.

Next Blog will be the end of November and Thanksgiving will have passed. So have a happy family day, or a day with friends. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

SPECIAL BULLETIN : Le Tour de France is listed as passing through GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN  the 7 of July 2017. 

Recipe of the Month

Cream of Mushroom SOUP 

It is fall and I love soup. Had chicken soup last week But here is a fall treat, cream of mushroom soup. Mushrooms are in season, especially is you want to add a few bolets to the soup recipe. 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds sliced fresh mushrooms ( I prefer  Crimini) , but you can mix in some wild mushrooms too)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 yellow onion- diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen twine
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup crème fraiche
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper “to taste

  1. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat;
  2. Add and cook mushrooms in butter with 1 pinch salt until the mushrooms give off their juices;
  3. Reduce heat to low, simmer
  4. Continue to cook, stirring often, until juices evaporate and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  5. Set aside a few mushroom slices for garnish
  6. Add chopped onions into mushrooms and cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 more minutes.
  7. Stir flour into mushroom mixture and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes to remove raw flour taste.
  8. Add thyme sprigs to mushroom mixture
  9. Add garlic
  10. Pour chicken stock and water into mushroom mixture.
  11. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
  12. Remove thyme bundle.
  13. Transfer soup to a blender in small batches and puree on high speed until smooth and thick.
  14. Return soup to pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and black pepper and serve in bowls, garnished with reserved mushroom slices.