Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Foodblogger's Guide To The Globe

I've been tagged for a meme, or "joint project" as it's being called, by two of my favorite food bloggers: Sher of What Did You Eat? who keeps me in stitches with her adventures of Upsie and in food heaven with her delicious recipes--all that and she lives in my old home town! And Catherine of Albion Cooks , a Brit expat living in Marin County where she cooks the most inviting vegetarian dishes I've ever had the opportunity to see through her stunning photography.

About this meme:
Melissa at the Traveler's Lunchbox read a BBC poll of "50 things to eat before you die" and devised a slightly different version for food bloggers everywhere. And that is to "create a list of food bloggers' top picks for things they've eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once before they die." Click on her link to see how this project works.

Ok. Deep breath. Here I go:

Cassoulet: Preferrably in Toulouse in southwest France, its purported birthplace, a claim that's been in question for over 100 years, as nearby Castelnaudary also claims that fame. Cassoulet is a dish made with beans, Toulouse sausage, and duck or goose confit. In Toulouse anyway. Castelnaudary and Carcassonne both have their versions which contain different meats. In Paula Wolfort's The Cooking of Southwest France, she devotes an entire chapter to cassoulet, its history and often fought-over origins, as well as several recipes. Cassoulet is rich and hearty. One must take care not to eat too much, especially if one is not used to such richness. I speak from experience--and it's an experience one should try at least once.

Seared Foie Gras appetizer at the Corner Table Restaurant in Minneapolis. Placed on a bed of locally grown, organic spinach, sprinkled with toasted walnuts and dusted with bee pollen, I know it's not PC in some circles, but I eat meat and I LOVE foie gras. This was done to buttery, divine perfection.

Dungeness Crab Cakes: Preferrably mine. My cakes are held together with a jalapeno infused cream reduction. Topped with a spicy red pepper sauce, I've never had better. If I do say so...

Roast Leg of Locally Raised Lamb: I've run into many people who won't eat lamb; claim to hate it. I would venture to guess that some of those many lamb-haters would be converts once they took a bite of this recipe. Our lambs are raised just across the fence from our property by our neighbors, D & M. On organic grassland. We watch them grazing in the fields, knowing that the only thing going into their bodies is good, wholesome grass, fresh air and clear, clean water. This lamb is rich, succulent, meaty and delicious. I wish all lamb-haters could have just one bite.

Salade aux Gesiers de Canard: Or, Salad with confit of duck gizzards. Again, you have to travel to France to get the real thing. And not just to France, but to the Perigord Noir region where the violet mustard is made and the walnut oil is local and the confit of duck gizzards, well, I just do not have words. There, in Sarlat, is where I had the most delicious salad I've ever, ever tasted. I continued to order it throughout our travels in the region, finding it in Domme, Rocamadour, Albi, Carcassonne, Cahors and St. Cirq Lapopie. And no matter that I brought back the local mustard, have found a source for French walnut oil, and have tried many times to replicate the recipe, it's not the real thing. You'll just have to go there. Trust me.

This has turned out to be somewhat of a travel essay to boot. I admit that I adore French food, especially from the countryside where we spent so much time. And I love sharing it with any who will listen (or read).

Okay then, here are my picks. I visit these bloggers often to see what they're up to and I'm always glad I do.

Julie, of A Mingling of Tastes, is a writer and newlywed living in Fort Lauderdale, known to cross state lines for an authentic tapas bar.

Cyndi, of Cookin' With Cyndi, lives up in the San Bernadino mountains and does some lower carb, downhome cooking.

Michelle, of Je Mange La Ville, lives, cooks and creates wonderful arty things in Portland.

Mimi, of French Kitchen in America, is the daughter of a chef and grand-daughter of avid French cooks and tells us that a love for food and food preparation can make any kitchen French.

And finally, a new blogger who I enjoy reading is Shane from Shane With Thyme On Her Hands, who doesn't really have much time now that the school year has started, but I do hope she will join us and have some fun!


Cyndi said...

Thanks for the tag, Christine. I'll have fun with this!

sher said...

Ahh, now I'm VERY hungry. I adore cassoulet and keep meaning to make it. Maybe I'll do it this winter. And the crab cakes....ahhhhh. Lamb is wonderful, when it's raised the way your neighbor does it. I had the most incredible lamb at the French Laundry raised that way, and it WAS different. Great list!!!

paz said...

Very interesting list. I'd love to taste everything on your list!


christine said...

After reading all those great comments I want to cook for all of you! Thanks guys!

christine said...

Dear readers,
Forgive me if this shows up in your RSS readers again. My sis pointed out the incorrect usage of "it's" when I should have used "its". Shane and had just such a conversation recently, so I should know better. Blame it on my brain moving along much faster than my fingers!
My errors have now been corrected. Thank you Alwyn.

ejm said...

Excuse me for commenting so late...

Really? Is it possible to have too much cassoulet? :^D When we were bicycle touring in France one year, we had cassoulet in Castelnaudary (at Le Petit Gazoulis - fabulous!!) but not in Toulouse, so it's possibly wrong of me to say that I have had the best cassoulet ever. I have to say I can't imagine anything better than what we had!

And under duress, we had Salade aux Gesiers at the same restaurant and were completely converted. I agree with you; it really was the most delicious salad. Was it made with violet mustard though??

Crabcakes with jalapeno infused cream reduction and spicy red pepper sauce? Oooooooh... yes, please! (I just looked at your pepper sauce recipe and really like the sound of it!)


P.S. Ah, Domme... where we had one of the best dinners of our lives... it was worth the climb!

ejm said...

Last night, I mentioned to my husband that you had chosen cassoulet and gesiers for your "5 things" list and he thought you might be interested in seeing this:

The Cassoulet Affair