Reflections of France

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Fabulous French Bread

Making your own bread will bring you many compliments, however, I find bread making quite a challenge! After a day in the kitchen with flour scattered all over the place, I am ready for lots of compliments! (Not to mention how wonderful the entire house smells while baking fresh bread! )Undertaking the task of making bread is not complicated, but it does require many hours of your day.
Most of the recipes I use for making my French breads are from The French Farm House Cookbook , written by a familiar person to many of us, Susan Herrmann Loomis. Her bread chapter begins on page 314, however, my favorite bread recipe can be found on page 319, The Long Loaf.........
French bread is best when eaten the day you bake it-just a little food for thought!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Paris Flea Markets

Attracted by people from all parts of the world, the Paris Flea Markets continue to be a conglomeration of antiques and shops all squeezed into a vibrant area in Paris..........
Here are a few photos to share with you in hoping that you will visit this unique and festive market the next time you are in Paris. Hopefully you will enjoy the same experiences as I discovering Paris off the beaten track.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Agneau au Sauce-Lamb with Sauce

A perfect menu for a cold winters night and very little preparation~how could I ask for a better meal for an intimate dinner party? This simple recipe resonates with earthy flavors and is so satisfying to the soul!
Begin with the freshest ingredients. Hopefully, you might have a little herb garden in your window box area or a garden patch in your back yard that is still producing a hint of taste and color. Look for a sprig of rosemary and thyme~bring it in the kitchen and let's get busy............

4 lamb shanks, heavily dredged in flour
Fresh herbs-rosemary and thyme,
one tablespoon of each.
2 cups of water.
Olive oil for frying.
Salt and pepper.
1 quartered onion.
1/2 cup of red wine

Brown shanks in a large iron skillet on all sides until a rich brown color forms. This may take 15 minutes as you have four shanks to do. Keep adding oil as needed to prevent from burning in skillet. When shanks are completely browned, add salt and pepper to your liking. Add two cups of water to the skillet or enough just to cover the shanks and add the onion. Place lid on skillet and simmer for two hours at the lowest temperature. One half hour before simmering time ends, add the herbs along with 1/2 cup of red wine and continue to cook and reduce the sauce. Remove the onions before serving. Your stock will have reduced and thickened into a rich creamy sauce ready to serve over mashed potatoes and your lamb.

Friday, January 05, 2007

La Fraise

Strawberry just doesn't have the same ring to it as the French translation..... However you may pronounce strawberry, it has a universal appeal that is pleasing to most.
Tonight I made a syrup from the large and juicy, red all the way through, fresh strawberries. Our berries are in season now . That's about the only wonderful thing about January!
I cleaned two baskets of the berries and placed them in a medium saucepan along with two tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of sugar. I reduced the syrup until it reached the consistency I was looking for and then added 2 teaspoons of Cointreau. One minute with the immersion blender and the berries became a velvety-smooth sauce for my crepes! A very quick and easy dessert .........