The French - I always wanted to be a gastronomer Blog at - 231302

I always wanted to be a gastronomer

The French 
Apr. 10, 2011 6:38 pm 
Updated: Aug. 21, 2011 9:22 am
It was my wifes birthday yesterday and I did it up right. She's a fish eater so I decided right out of the gate that salmon was on the menu. At first, after perusing my cookbooks, I had decided to make Poached Salmon with Truffles and Shrimp in Cream Sauce. You can type that into the search bar over at Epicurious if you wanna see it. That decided, I set out to find a cake. Last night, she'd indicated that strawberries were a definite but my yummy thick and sweet buttercream frosting was a bust. So I was thinking some sort of Strawberry cake with perhaps a cream cheese icing. I started thinking about marrying the cream cheese with a stabilized whipped cream and the search was on.

I found a cake with a cardamom sauce, oh man. I found another that was made up of Swedish meringues, appropriately titled Swedish Meringue Cake. Another was an egg heavy cake called a Strawberry Basket Cake that was oh so beautiful due to the basket weaved frosting on the sides. This guy made it into the finals. When I went shopping in the next town over, I stopped in at the kitchen place and bought a basket tip for my muslin bag, I still hadn't decided at that point between the Basket Cake and another called a Strawberry Rhubarb Courting Cake. Ultimately The Courting Cake won the place because I was hoping and aiming towards something a little lighter in the belly and the 8 eggs in the Basket cake just made me think about when I've eaten too big of a piece of tiramasu.

Now the Courting Cake called for a compote and whipped cream between the layers. That's all fine and dandy but dammit, we are 3 and a huge bloody cake filled with whipped cream just didn't sit right so I decided to use an old recipe I have for a faux Devonshire cream instead. It's gelatin stablized so it will keep in the fridge, at least long enough for we 3 to finish eating it. ( Had a piece in my lunch today!) I finshed off this beast just after dinner with some standard stabilized whipped cream decorated with strawberry swans and whipped cream piping and rosettes. It was loverly.

Ok back to dinner. By the time I'd semi settled on the Courting Cake for dessert, it was after noon and I only had 7 hours left to decide on dinner, go shopping, wrap the presents and prepare all the dishes. When I finally looked carefully through the Poached Salmon recipe  the wind kinda went out of my sails. It was just so damned involved and I didn't want to put too much more on my plate. Thusly I took a quick gander for something a tad easier but just as savoury and wouldn't ya know it; just like that I find a recipe called Saumon aux Lentilles. In English, Salmon with Lentils and Mustard Herb Butter. Lentils mixed with leeks in a mixture of Tarragon and herbed butter providing a bed for a seared sockeye steak drowned in more of the herbed butter. Along side of that I did some roasted baby potatoes and some organic asparagus. It was stellar and very well recieved. Add in the balloons, the cake and a new I-pad and my wife had a fab birthday despite working 12 hours (She works at an assisted living facility).
Now all of this leads me to the subject title of this blog. I've been seriously cooking for quite awhile , that is, expaniding my horizons. 25 years or so now. I've cooked at various times, a dedicated mutli week menu of Indian food, Greek, Chinese, Eastern, Japanese, Thai, German, Slavic and of course French and Italian. In all that time, it is my opinion that when it comes down to the wire to say without any equivocation, which culture has produced the best food on the planet. It's the French. Whenever I need something spectacular, more often than not I will end up preparing a french dish. You want an astounding seafood stew? You make bouillabaisse. You want a fantastic beef stew? You make beef bourgignon. How about just a cool ham and cheese sandwich? Croques monseur. A great tuna sandwich? Pan bagnat. Chicken to die for? Coq au vin or Poulet aux provence. The list just goes on and on and on. Only the Italians give the french a run for the pennant but ultimately, the french win, every time and with yesterdays meal, that opinion gets more firmly cemented in my mind.
Of course I reserve the right to waffle on that opinon the next time I make Veal piccata or Ossu Got a fave?
Apr. 11, 2011 4:45 pm
It's been a rough weekend so if anyone made me something and cleaned up after, that would be my favorite meal. Your menu sounded good though.
Apr. 12, 2011 7:19 am
Thanks Cat, I hope your week goes a little better!
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Living In
Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada

Member Since
Jul. 2007

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Southern, Nouvelle, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Low Carb, Healthy, Dessert, Gourmet

Biking, Reading Books, Music, Wine Tasting

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About Me
Let's see, in keeping it to a subject, at age 22 I had a filet doused in Bernaise sauce aboard a train. That was it, I was hooked on fine food. Living in a small town necessitates learning to cook well to maintain that stellar menu.
My favorite things to cook
Oh man, only a thousand characters? My favorite things to cook are items that make YOU happy. I'll try anything and thus far it would be far easier to list those things I don't like than those I do. So far, I hate Cilantro and I'm allergic to green chiles. It's a short list.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My Christmas dinner. Usually in December, sometimes early January. I've a waiting list of people who wish to be invited. Alas, I've only a service for 10. We're talking silver, Noritake, crystal stemware, crisp linens, fine wines paired appropriately and a menu that's usually derived from a theme.
My cooking triumphs
Every smile, every gasp of delight, every accolade, such sweet victory!
My cooking tragedies
A Cioppino recipe I found here. I served it as part of one of those Christmas dinners and the cod was a poor choice. It was terrible, ghastly fishy taste. I've since learned a thing or two about freshness in fish. Prior to that, hmm perhaps when I was 10, I made a spice cake that called for whole cloves....hey, that's what it said on the outside of the bottle, whole cloves....
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