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French Markets
French Crêpes
Le Relais du Corsaire (The Pirate’s Lair)

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Entries

French Markets
By Sara Mykietyn

Sara Mykietyn, a 2007 graduate of The George Washington University, is currently residing in Neufchateau, France and working as an English teaching assistant. When she is not in the classroom, Sara can be found behind her camera, enjoying cups of tea, and getting to know the locals.

agricultureMarkets in France are, above all else, an experience. Being quintessentially French, markets provide tourists with a perfect avenue to temporarily step into the regional culture. For locals, they are an irreplaceable aspect of daily life. Markets are as ubiquitous in France as grocery stores in the United States. They exist everywhere, from the Parisian metropolis to the middle-of-nowhere country village of Neufchâteau. The emphasis is always on local products sold directly by local artisans. Charles De Gaulle once said, "Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cents quarante-six variétés de fromage?" (trans. "How can anyone govern a nation that has more than 246 types of cheese?") You will indeed find this vast variety of cheese at French markets, each region proudly boasting its own type. The cheese will be labeled as "Fabriqué en Normandie (Made in Normandy), for example. Adding France to the tag is entirely unnecessary; its French origin is simply understood. In France, markets are often outside. They engulf narrow streets, right along shop entrances. If you stroll down the same street on a day when the market is not open, you will feel an eerie sense of emptiness. Markets animate the city. The sweet aromas of fresh fruit and the bustling sounds of shoppers and vendors fill even the quietest corner of town, drawing you in. The arrangement of produce is also enticing. Even your basic orange looks more attractive at a French market. The carefully piled fruit appears more appetizing and juicy. The array of vibrant colors grabs your attention, making you want to buy everything in sight.

grenoble_1 no_desc

Since markets sell local products, they allow tourists to experience the regional flavor. In Lorraine, for instance, markets flourish with products made from the mirabelle, a plum grown only in this corner of eastern France. Down south in Marseille, markets are an ethnic bouillabaisse. They represent the culture of the northern African immigrant community living in this city. You will find a colorful and fragrant assortment of exotic spices and herbs. These ingredients are unlikely to be found in a grocery store. Thus, the immigrants depend on these markets to remind them of home.

marseille_1 marseille_2

pumpkinsOne characteristic of French markets, perhaps foreign to tourists, is the way you purchase goods. First, do not forget your wicker basket to carry your groceries. Neither brown paper bags nor plastic bags will be provided and you will want to buy plenty. Also, always remember to say "Bonjour Monsieur or Madame" (Hello Sir or Ma’am) to the vendor with a wide smile. Friendliness counts. For the inquisitive tourist, markets are a perfect place to directly interact with the locals. You can buy as much or as little as you would like. Take, for example, the cinnamon sticks in Aix-en-Provence.The buyer can ask for 50 grams or five sticks. When purchasing fruits or vegetables, the same rule holds true. You can buy just the right sized clump of grapes or the exact width of a pumpkin wedge that you need. Regardless of what you are purchasing, wait your turn. French queues are informal by American standards. Thus, pay attention to who arrived before you. Unless clearly invited to do so, selecting the products yourself is not usually welcomed. Instead, tell the vendor what you would like and in what quantity. He will choose the best produce for you. You can even tell him what you are planning to cook and when with those tomatoes. He will select the proper ripeness. If you are lucky, he may also reveal his preparation techniques. When paying, it’s best to carry small bills and coins with you. Prices are not high and the vendors appreciate not having to break large bills for one apple. The proper closing to this interaction is a "Merci, Monsieur or Madame. Au revoir" or "Merci, bon week-end." Of course, do not forget a warm smile.

aix_1 aix_2

parisWhile markets may be a stop on a tourist’s itinerary, they are most certainly not touristic. It is at these markets where many local French families do their basic grocery shopping for the week. In addition to exotic goods not found in grocery stores, markets also sell basic ingredients. It is not uncommon for the French to visit a variety of markets several times a week. The freshness of ingredients is essential in their cuisine. Being repeat customers, they establish connections with the vendors. If you listen carefully, you will hear vendors greet people by their first names. Handshakes and bisous are commonplace. Markets are a place to greet friends and catch up on local town happenings.

From the basics to the exotic, markets will not disappoint. The emphasis on local goods is at their heart, representing the country’s overall resistance to commercialization. Markets retain an old-world feel. Maneuvering through the narrow space of friendly merchants transports you back in time. So, come. Come to a French market. Come see the vibrant colors. Come smell the appetizing aromas. Come hear the bustling sounds all around you.

 

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abbe_market

French Crêpes
By Abbe Spokane

See recipe in English BELOW

Depuis que j’ai fait des études à Paris et que j’ai goûté des crêpes à chaque crêperie que je trouvais, j’essaie en vain d’en faire chez moi. Malgré maintes recettes et essais, je finis toujours par commander du chinois ou de la pizza au téléphone parce que mes crêpes sont soit toujours brûlées, soit pas assez cuites, soit collées au fond de la poêle, ou déchirées. Il se peut bien que ce ne soit pas la faute de la recette, mais plutôt de la technique du chef. Après avoir assisté a une démonstration de crêpes par le pâtissier de l’ Embassade de France cet été, j’ai essayé encore une fois chez moi et avec grand succès. Sa recette s’adapte bien à toutes sortes de crêpes—les instructions ci-après sont pour des crêpes à dessert, mais si vous remplacez le sucre et la vanille par du sel et des herbes, vous aurez une crêpe savoureuse. Un petit peu « d’almond extract » ou d’une liqueur produira une autre crêpe bien délicieuse.

Crêpes Françaises—Cette recette donne à peu près douze crêpes

Ingrédients:
4 oeufs non-réfrigérés
1 tasse de farine
demi petite cuillerée de sel
4 petites cuillerées de sucre
1 petites cuillerées de vanille
1 tasse de lait (à peu près)
beurre fondue (à peu près 1 cuillère à soupe)

Matériel:
une petite poêle antiadhésive
un saladier
un fouet
une louche
un pinceau à pâtisserie
une spatule

outils

Les (outils) qu’il faut pour faire les crêpes :
un saladier, une petite louche, une spatule, un pinceau à pâtisserie, du beurre fondu.

Recette:
Dans le saladier, fouettez les œufs jusqu'à ce qu’ils changent de couleur. Ajoutez la farine, le sel, le sucre, et la vanille, et délayez jusqu'à ce que la pâte n’ait plus de grumeaux. Ajoutez le lait peu à peu, jusqu'à ce que la pâte fasse une couche légère sur une cuillère. Laissez reposer pendant 10 minutes.
nappage
Examiner la consistence de la pâte

Sur un feu moyen, faites chauffer la poêle pendant une minute. Brossez la poêle légèrement avec du beurre, et versez une mince couche de pâte pour couvrir le fond de la poêle. Répartez uniformément sur toute la surface de la poêle. Faites cuire pendant une minute. Utilisez la spatule pour libérez la crêpe, et si elle est bien dorée, faites cuire l’autre côté pendant une minute. Quand les bords se recouvrent, elle est prête.

deuxieme
Le deuxième côté de la crêpe, avec des bords courbés

La première est toujours ratée—donnez-là au chien, et ne vous inquiétez pas, la prochaine sera meilleure. Continuez à faire des crêpes jusqu'à ce qu’il n’y ait plus de pâte.

Pour servir:
confiture
La confiture sur la moitié de la crêpe

J’aime bien ajouter du nutella et des morceaux de banane, mais le pâtissier ajoute de la ganache, des fruits et de la crème chantilly, ou du sucre en poudre. Vous pouvez aussi utiliser du miel, du sirop, des morceaux de chocolat, de la glace, etc. Si vous voulez garder les crêpes au chaud, mettez-les entre deux serviettes en tissu ou sur une planche dans le four à 200 degrés. Vous pouvez aussi les congeler. Mettez les crêpes entre des feuilles de papier parcheminé ou paraffiné, et couvrez-les avec du plastique ou bien du papier aluminium.

presenter

Pour servir, pliez la crêpe deux fois, comme un triangle.

Consultez notre Banquet Hall pour y trouver des recettes de cuisine de France et d'autres pays.

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ENGLISH

abbe_marketEver since I studied abroad in Paris and ate a crêpe from nearly every street vendor I passed, I’ve been trying to re-create them at home. I’ve tried many, many recipes, all of which ended in take-out Chinese food or pizza delivery. They end up scorched or too pale, stuck or torn, too chewy or not chewy enough. Turns out it might not be the recipe, but the technique that was the problem. After watching the Embassy of France’s pastry chef demonstrate "proper" batter construction and flipping, I tried one more time—and they were great. This recipe is infinitely adaptable—the instructions here are for dessert crêpes, but take out the sugar and vanilla, add a little more salt and some herbs, and you’ve got a savory crêpe. A splash of almond extract, or any liqueur is delicious as well. Send me your winning combinations!

Very Versatile French Crêpes —Makes about 12 crêpes

Software:
4 large eggs at room temperature (yes it matters—the French don’t refrigerate eggs!)
1 cup all-purpose flour (I’ve also used white wheat, which works fine)
½ tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
about 1 cup milk (purists would say whole, but all I keep at home is skim, and it works)
melted butter for brushing pan, about 1 tbsp

Hardware:
1 small non-stick skillet
medium mixing bowl
wire whisk
ladle
pastry brush (I like the silicone ones—no melting and no bristles falling out!)
rubber or silicone spatula

outils

Tools needed to cook the crêpes: batter, small ladle, spatula, brush, and melted butter.

Recipe:
In the bowl, beat the eggs with the whisk until they lighten in color. Add the flour, oil, salt, sugar, and vanilla, and mix well, until no lumps remain. Add milk until the batter thinly coats the back of a spoon. It usually takes about a cup of milk. The correct consistency is actually much thinner than I expected. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. You do not have oil listed as an ingredient above. It will also have to be included in the French version.
nappage
Testing the consistency of the batter

Heat the skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Continue to monitor and adjust the heat level. A gas range really helps. Brush the bottom of the skillet with melted butter, and ladle in enough batter to just cover the bottom. Swirl the pan around to coat the entire bottom surface, and keep swirling until the batter stops moving when you swirl. Cook for about 1 minute longer. Using spatula, free the edges of the crêpe all the way around, and peek under to see if the first side is golden brown. If it is, use your fingers to lift the crêpe and flip it. Cook second side for about another minute, until it curls at the sides and bubbles up.

deuxieme
Side 2 of crêpe, showing curled edges

The first crêpe is always a dud—pale, or rubbery or torn. Just feed it to the dog and keep going, the second one will be better. Repeat Part II until batter is used up.

Serving suggestions:
confiture
Jam spread on half of crêpe

My all-time favorite is "nutella-banane," but the pastry chef topped his with ganache, (equal parts heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate melted together), fresh berries and whipped cream, or a simple sprinkling of powdered sugar. You can add honey, jam, maple syrup, mini chocolate chips, ice cream, the possibilities are endless. If you want to cook all the crêpes at once before you sit down to eat, heat your oven to 200 degrees, line a baking sheet with a tea towel, and stack a single layer of crêpes with a towel in between each layer. Crêpes also freeze well—alternate layers of crêpes with layers of parchment paper or wax paper, then wrap the layers in aluminum foil.

presenter
To serve, fold crêpe over onto side with filling, then fold again into triangle.
See the Banquet Hall Collection for menus and recipes from France and other cultures.

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Le Relais du Corsaire (The Pirate’s Lair)

ladies cooking

This meal has been especially prepared for you by Jocelyne Brant. Jocelyne is a native of Brittany, France, and she invites you to join her there. The sun is setting in a glory of colors and the evening wind brings ashore briny whiffs from the high sea. The fishing boats are coming in, folding their nets and unloading baskets overflowing with the catch of the day. After an afternoon at sea with your Briton friends, you are ready for a hearty meal on the harbor in Cancale, Brittany.

See the recipe in ENGLISH or FRENCH

 

 

MENU (en français)
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Soupe des Pirates
Langoustines Grillées aux Huiles Parfumées
Gigot d’Agneau de la Baie du Mont St. Michel
Sorbet aux Pommes Vertes et au Lambig (eau-de-vie de cidre)

RECETTES (pour 6 personnes)

Soupe des Pirates

500g de congre 1 litre de vin rouge
4 grosses sardines 75 g. de beurre
1 kg de brème ou de St. Pierre Epices variées et noix de muscade
1 oignon 1 jus de citron
2 poireaux 2 cuillerées de farine
1 carotte 4 gousses d’ail
1 bouquet garni avec fines herbes 4 échalotes
sel et poivre de Cayenne 6-8 tranches de baguette

Couper tous les poissons en tranches épaisses ainsi que les poireaux, oignon et carotte. Mettre le tout dans une grande marmite avec les herbes et le beurre et faire revenir à feu moyen pendant quelques minutes. Ajouter le vin, le jus de citron et 1 litre d’eau. Assaisonnez copieusement, portez à ébullition et laisser mijoter une heure. Passez le tout à la passoire. Hacher les échalotes,et l’ail et faire revenir au beurre dans une large poêle à feu doux. Ajouter la farine pour faire un roux et y incorporer le bouillon de poisson. Assaisonner et faire mijoter 15 minutes. Griller les tranches de pain en les frottant à l’ail et servir dans des bols en versant la soupe sur le pain grillé.

Langoustines grillées

30 grosses langoustines 1 bouquet de persil, de fines herbes
4 cuillerées d’huile d’olive 1 bouquet de basilic et de coriandre
4 cuillerées d’huile de noix 1 pincée de gingembre
1 cuillerée d’estragon frais haché menu sel et poivre

Sur le grill à feu vif, mélanger les huiles, les herbes et les condiments. Ajouter les langoustines coupées dans le sens de la longueur et les arroser pendant 10 minutes jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient bien dorées. Servir immédiatement.

Gigot d’agneau Pré-Salé

1kg 300g de gigot d’agneau Pré-Salé 3 carottes coupées en rondelles
500g de haricots blancs 1 oignon piqué de 2 clous de girofle
2 oignons hachés 100g de beurre
1 bouquet garni (persil, thym et laurier) 2 tomates pelées et hachées
sel et poivre en grain concassé 2 gousses d’ail

Faire tremper les haricots dans l’eau froide la veille, les passer au tamis puis les mettre dans un faitout avec les oignons, carottes, bouquet garni, sel et poivre. Recouvrir d’eau et porter à ébullition. Laisser mijoter à feu doux une heure 15 minutes. Allumer le four (200 degrés C), barder le gigot d’ail, assaisonner et rôtir pendant 30 minutes, réduire la température à 180 degrés C et faire cuire 45 minutes en arrosant le gigot avec le jus de haricots de temps en temps. Faire fonder les oignons et les tomates dans du beurre, mélanger avec les haricots. Servir avec le gigot.

Sorbet aux pommes et au Lambig

1 kg de pommes à cuire (Granny Smith) 250 g. de sucre en poudre
13 cuillerées de Lambic ou Calvados 1 ½ jus de citron
6 pommes vertes (pour servir) 6 feuilles de menthe

Couper en morceaux toutes les pommes sauf une sans les peler ni les évider et en laissant les pépins pour le goût. Mettre le tout dans une casserole avec le sucre, le citron et 100ml d’eau. Couvrir et cuire à feu doux jusqu’à obtenir une purée.Laisser évaporer et passer au mixer, tamiser et laisser refroidir. Placer dans une sorbetière pendant 10 minutes. Evider et couper en des la dernière pomme, l’incorporer au sorbet et mélanger pendant 5 minutes pour obtenir une consistance crémeuse. Mettre dans des coupes givrées ou dans des pommes évidées, y verser le Lambig et décorer d’une feuille de menthe.

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MENU (in English)
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Pirate Soup (mixed fish soup with red wine)
Grilled Langoustines with Herb-Scented Oils
Leg of Salt-Marsh Lamb with Haricots Beans
Green Apple Sorbet with Cider Eau-de Vie

RECIPES (for 6)

Pirate Soup

18 oz conger eel 1 bottle of full-bodied red wine
4 large sardines or 2 mackerel Juice of 1 lemon
2 lb mixed sea fish such as red gurnard Good pinch of mixed spices + nutmeg
Bream or Saint Peter’s fish 4 shallots
1 onion 4 garlic cloves
2 leeks 2 tbsp plain flour
1 carrot 6-8 slices of baguette
A bunch of mixed fresh herbs Salt and pepper
2 oz of butter Cayenne pepper

Cut all the fish into thick slices along with the onion, leeks and carrot. Put everything in a large flameproof casserole with the mixed herbs and half of the butter. Stir for a few minutes over medium heat until lightly browned. Add wine, some lemon juice, 2 pints of water. Season quite aggressively with salt, cayenne pepper and the spices, bring to a boil and cook gently for 1 hour, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface. Strain through conical sieve. Finely chop the shallots and three of the garlic cloves, put them in a large shallow saucepan with the remaining butter and sauté over a gentle heat until soft. Gradually stir in the flour to make a roux,stir in fish stock, a small amount at a time. Season again and simmer for another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium, grill the baguette slices on both sides and rub with garlic. Put a slice of bread in each soup bowl and ladle the soup over the top.

Grilled langoustines with Herb-scented Oils

4tbsp olive oil pinch of ground ginger
1tbsp each of finely chopped 4 tbsp hazelnut oil
Fresh tarragon Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parsley, chives, 30 large langoustines
Basil and coriander

Heat the grill as high as possible. Mix oils, herbs, ginger and salt and pepper to taste, and whisk to emulsify. Halve the langoustines lengthways, arrange them in the grill pan and spoon over the herb-flavored oil. Grill for about 10 minutes, until the langoustines are cooked through and browned. Arrange on a serving dish, moisten with juices from the grill pan and serve immediately.

Leg of Salt-Marsh* Lamb with Haricot Beans

*Because the Pré-Salé (pre-salted)lambs are left to graze on the salty marsh pastures for up to 6 months, their meat takes on the most extraordinary flavor of the sea.

18 oz small dried white haricot beans 2 garlic cloves
1 onion stuck with 2 cloves and a bay leaf 1 leg of pre-salted lamb about 3 lb
3 carrots cut into thick rounds 3 oz of butter
6 black peppercorns, lightly crushed 2 onions, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tomatoes peeled and chopped
1 bouquet garni (parsley, bay leaf and a large sprig of thyme)

Soak the beans overnight in cold water. The following day, drain them and place in a saucepan with the studded onion, carrots, bouquet garni and peppercorns. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, then simmer very gently for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the garlic into thin slivers and insert it into incisions in the leg of lamb. Grease the roasting pan with a little of the butter. Place the lamb in the roasting pan, season, and roast for 30 minutes. Then reduce the temperature of oven to 350 F and roast for an additional 45 minutes. Baste lamb with a little stock from the beans from time to time. Just before you finish cooking the beans, sauté chopped onions in the remaining butter until soft, then add tomatoes. Mix onion and tomatoes with the beans. Arrange the beans on a serving platter, carve the lamb into thick slices,moisten with cooking juices and serve.

Green Apple Sorbet with Cider Eau-de-Vie*

*Eau-de-vie is a cider brandy from Brittany.

2 lbs of tart apples, such as Granny Smiths
8 oz of sugar
1 juice of a lemon
3 tbsp of Lambig (cider Eau-de-Vie)
6 sprigs of mint to decorate
6 small green apples, to serve (optional)

Cut all but one of the apples into segments, complete with core, and place in a sauce pan with sugar, lemon juice, and 3 oz of water. Cover pan and cook over low heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the apples have almost disintegrated. Towards the end of cooking time, remove lid to allow some liquid to evaporate. Pureé in a blender until smooth, then rub through a sieve into a bowl and leave until cold. Put the pureé into an ice cream machine and churn for about 10 minutes. Core remaining apple and cut into tiny dice. Add it to the sorbet and churn for another five minutes. The sorbet should have a soft velvety texture. Scoop the sorbet intoindividual chilled coupes or hollowed-out small green apples, and pour half a tablespoon full of Lambig over each serving. Decorate with a sprig of mint.

Beverages: To accompany this Briton meal, I recommend a Muscadet-sur-lie or a Grosplant (both white wines from Pays-de-Loire) and for the lamb a Margaux (an excellent Bordeaux wine)

Bon Appétit!

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