Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chocolate Ice Cream

Nobody needs it and everybody wants it. Ice cream, of course. And, chocolate ice cream has got to be my all time least running side by side with pistachio.

I gifted myself with "The Perfect Scoop," a wonderful cookbook written by David Lebovitz whom I follow on his blog and on Facebook. David lives in Paris and is one fantastic foodie. Can you imagine, a whole book on sorbet and ice cream? Well, I am on my fourth recipe now and this one is just about my favorite, though I really did like that Nectarine Sorbet also.


  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 5 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, the reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour into a large bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture coats the spoon. Pour through a strained that sits on top of the chocolate mixture bowl and then stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in vanilla and chill.

Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator and then freeze in your ice cream maker according to directions.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Salade Lyonnaise

The Trout found a great recipe in the New York Times and tonight was the night to try it. Unfortunately, to find frisee lettuce in central Florida is kind of a challenge. We did see some at Whole Foods in Tampa, but it was $2.99 for a very small bunch and we would have needed at least three for this salad. So, we kept searching. I am very frugal.

Thought Arugula would work fine, but settled for an endive. It turned out alright, but Arugula would probably have been the better choice. So, let me tell you what we did.

Salade Lyonnaise

4 cups of torn frisee or other strong tasting greens, washed and dried

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

about 1/2 pound good slab bacon or pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 shallot, chopped or 1 tablespoon chopped red onion

2 to 4 tablespoons top-quality sherry vinegar

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard


4 eggs

Freshly ground pepper

1. Put frisee or other greens in a large salad bowl. Put olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When hot, add bacon and cook slowly until crisp all over, about 10 minutes. Add shallot or onion and cook until softened, a minute or two. Add vinegar and mustard to the skillet and bring just to a boil, stirring, then turn off the heat.

2. Meanwhile, bring an inch of salted water to a boil in a small, deep skillet, then lower heat to barely bubbling. One at a time, break eggs into a shallow bowl and slip them into the bubbling water. Cook eggs for 3 to 5 minutes, just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towel.

3. If necessary, gently reheat dressing, then pour over greens. They should wilt just a bit. Toss and season to taste. Top each portion with an egg and serve immediately. Each person gets to break the egg.

This was a lovely light summer dinner. We did serve it along side a crab cake. I did not make the crab cake. It was purchased at Costco, Phillips brand, and we really like them a lot.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I found a special website

The year was 2005 and the Trout and I were traveling in Provence. The gite we were renting for the week was not the best. In fact, in all the years of renting vacations homes in Europe, this was the only time things were not as they should be. What saved our week was the lovely view of Mont Ventoux and these dear people in the picture, Rolf and Ana Maria. They lived across the street and treated us like family. They showed us how to find the best markets in Provence, befriended us and on our last evening in the area, they invited us to a typical Provencal cold evening spread. What you see on this table is only a part of our feast.
Ana Maria had prepared meatballs and cornichons, eggplant sauteed in garlic, zucchini in garlic, chicken wings cooked in 3 garlics (raw, baked and roasted), omelet with lots of vegetables, cheese course of goat cheese and for dessert, creme brulee topped with strawberries. Needless to say, everything tasted marvelous. We had such a wonderful time together. They both speak several languages and this wonderful evening we were speaking English and a little bit of German.
Through the years we have kept in touch at Christmastime, and just this week the Trout emailed them telling them we are hoping to be in Provence next spring. We are hoping they will be in France at that time and that we will be able to reconnect. What I find so exciting, is that dear Ana Maria now has her own Mediterranean cooking website. I have just posted it on my blog list on the right. Chez Basilic is filled with wonderful recipes from the Mediterranean countries. I do hope you check it out. Having eaten at Ana Maria's table, I know every recipe is wonderful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Special French Liqueur

Not often do we drink a liqueur, but when we do, we want it to be the best. We have a favorite apricot liqueur, Marie Brizard Apry, a French cognac with apricot. It is delightful and we enjoy it on occasion as a snifter after a very special dinner. A bartender in the middle of Wisconsin, of all places, treated us to this brandy one year on our anniversary. It has been special to us ever since.

The Trout read on the Internet about a pear liqueur and we had to try it. Oh yes, this is the BEST. Belle de Brillet is a liqueur of a blend of Brillet Cognac and the essence of Pears William (Poire Williams). It comes in a beautiful pear-shaped bottle and it takes twenty pounds of pear to make each bottle. It is a little pricey, but since we only drink this on special occasions, the price is spread out for quite a while.

The taste is very pleasant and absolutely the freshest pear taste you can imagine. If you enjoy a nice brandy or liqueur, I hope you will look into this beautiful pear liqueur or the apricot brandy. I really think you'll like it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pad Thai

We have been practicing making Pad Thai and weren't real happy with it. Then my blogger friend, Cathy at Wives with Knives posted the recipe I needed. My problem was that the Oriental grocer I frequent only had blocks of tamarind with the seeds. Then, through Cathy, I clicked onto Chez Loulou who had a couple of paragraphs explaining how to treat these blocks of tamarind, and after that, all clicked.

It's a good and typical Thai dish that probably suits the majority of Americanized palates. We thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably make it at home on occasion, but if I have the chance to eat in a Thai restaurant, I will go a little more adventurous into that great Thai food culture.

Pad Thai

8 ounces Thai rice noodles

8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 ounces thinly sliced chicken breast

4 ounces firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 eggs lightly beaten

4 ounces bean sprouts

1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

For the Sauce:

1/3 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup tamarind concentrate

1/4 cup brown sugar

2-4 teaspoons chili powder (I used Sriracha)

Cover the noodles with hot water and let sit until softened and then drain

Make the sauce by bringing the sauce ingredients to a gentle simmer. Add the chili powder and adjust to your palate.

Heat oil in a large wok until almost smoking. Add onions and saute' until translucent. Add the chicken and saute' 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and a couple of tablespoons of the sauce, the shrimp, if using.

Add the eggs and let them set for 10-15 seconds and then stir quickly. Add the noodles and most of the sauce and stir together.

Add bean sprouts and green onions and the peanuts and stir everything together.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our black bean salad

I can't believe I have never posted anything about our most favorite salad, but after searching today, it seems that this one slipped by. It is a Black Bean Salad that we have been making for years and we really love it.

The recipe is so simple, it is not a recipe. I simple add corn, either fresh, cooked, corn on the cob or out of a can, black beans that are rinsed, sliced green onions, red peppers, a jalapeno, lots of cilantro , a sprinkling of salt and olive oil. Let this marinated for a short time and serve along side a steak or chops or chicken, etc.

We love this so much. I hope you will try it.

Oh no...I forgot to mention a very important ingredient. Lime!! Squeeze lots of lime juice onto the salad. It is the topper!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nectarine Sorbet

I had a lot of nectarines on hand, and just by chance, I came upon Anne's Food blog and found this recipe for nectarine sorbet. Anne found it in David Lebovitz's cookbook and had translated it into metric for herself. Anne lives in Sweden.

So, I attempted to translate back to our measurements and I am glad I did. This was so good and refreshing and so simple. I would suggest you try this.


6-7 very ripe nectarines

2/3 cup water

2/3 cups sugar

1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Cut the nectarines into dice-sized pieces. Don't peel them. This is where this beautiful pink color comes from. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for ten minutes. Be sure to check and stir now and then. Add the sugar, stir until dissolved, and then leave to cool completely.

Mix in a blender until smooth and add the lemon juice. Chill very well and then freeze in an ice cream freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A few final travel thoughts

The sign above belongs to a beautiful hotel in the town of Equisheim, France, which is also recognized as the best Alsacian village. We stayed there 20 years ago and had a photograph of the outside of the building. We wanted to go back. We found it, but it was slightly different. It had a different color and a more beautiful sign. It had been sold 12 years ago to the new owners, and the lady of the house was so tickled to see my old photo, she immediately asked if she could make a photocopy of it for herself. It was too early for lunch, but it was such fun to go back after all these years.

The signage is what always takes my breath away. It is so beautiful. You can just see the pride that the owners have in their establishments.

Another sign of a vintner in the Alsace region. And now, just a few more thoughts as I bring this trip to a close.
Luckily, it is not such a great challenge anymore, switching from an automatic to a manual transmission in Europe. The Trout does very well, and I simply do not drive in Europe. Another challenge is filling the car with gasoline or diesel, which we use. It is not so simple, at least for us.
As Americans, our credit car are accepted almost all over without a problem, but filling the car can be a real problem.
First rule, start looking for a gas station when the tanks hits 1/2 full. Our credit cards lack a chip which allows them to be used in gas stations without an attendant. You need to find someone working at a station who will swipe the card for you. Just another challenge we have gotten used to.
Now, how about those toll booths! Once in Italy, not finding a slot to put the money in, we simply threw it in an unmanned open window. Luckily, there was not a barrier in front of us.
In Norway, we could not translate fast enough in heavy traffic to know which gate to enter and, of course, we entered a "paid pass" gate and just kept on flying through. I hope we were smiling, which I doubt, because our pictures were taken, sent to the rental agency and we were billed an extra $80 for that mistake.
A couple of years back, in France, we again could not find the slot to put the money in. This time, the arm would not rise before paying, so cars were building up behind us.
An elderly lady behind us got out of her car, but wasn't much help either. She did find a HELP button which we pushed. With our fractured French and the HELP man's fractured English, we finally figured it out.
Parking lots also need coins deposited and then the receipt placed in the front windshield. There have been times when we failed to find the box to put the money in, but we have never had a problem with the police.
This year we also bought our train tickets over the Internet while still at home, printed them out and this way we avoided long lines at the train station. There are many ways to make traveling easier on yourself, and I think we have them all figured out by now.
And what lies in the future, well....the Trout has been searching homes to rent in Provence for next spring. We'll see what comes out of this plan. Nothing is definite yet, but we are working on it, and that is just as much fun, if not more, than the actual traveling.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

We visited churches in France

In the town of Rosheim, France, we came upon the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. This church had its beginnings in the years 1145-1167. It is built in the Romanesque art. Way up on top of the roof, sat this man. We managed to pull it in quite nicely with the zoom lens. Although legend says that this man and the one of the North side represent the count and the hermit, it seems they portray the material and spiritual side of life. The one on the southern side with the short tunic and something in his hand personified the life of labor. The monk reminds us that man cannot suffice unto himself but must lift his soul to God.

In the town of St. Nectaire, stands the Eglise St. Nectaire constructed around 1160. The name St. Nectaire is also given to a well-known cheese and has been produced for centuries in this area.

In the town of Vic-Le-Comte, we found the most ornate church in the region. The Sainte-Chapelle has richly colored stained glass dating back to the 15th century.

In the town of Brioude, same town where the lace school was, we found the Basilique St. Julien. It is the largest Romanesque church in the area. Building began in 1060 and was completed in 1180. Much was rebuilt including the square bell tower in the 19th century. Unfortunately, we do not have pictures of the inside. You see, for the second time in our travels, the church we really wanted to see was in the process of a funeral service.

We slipped into the back pews and listened to the most beautiful signing by a priest. In fact, we were able to make a video of some of the singing, and it is beautiful. We quickly slipped out before the services were over.

The last time we entered a funeral, we were in Munich, Germany. I believe it was St. Michael's church. This church was full of mourners and the singing was so beautiful. We also got a video of part of that.

There was only one other church at the top of our list and though The Trout had done much research on this church, we missed one small detail, thus, no pictures of this church.

We traveled west of Clermont-Ferrand, into the mountains, searching for the town of Orcival and the Basilique Notre-Dame. It was erected during the first half of the 12th century and was founded by the monks from La Chaise-Dieu.

The day was cold and rainy, and we drove through fog, snow showers and a deer running across the road. As we reached the town, we started seeing cars all over the place. They were parked on both side of the road. We were surprised as this town only has a population of 244. As we drove and could see the town down in a valley to the right of us, hundreds and hundreds of people were walking into the town. They were coming from above the town, the other side of the valley. Then we saw policemen directing traffic. My thought was "can this be the biggest garage sale in France?" The Trout, being more realistic wondered if it was the Second Coming. There must have been at least 500 cars.

We knew there was no way we could park and see the church because we would have to walk miles to get to the church. We passed by and kept driving, and more and more cars were parked on the road and people walking. So, what was going on?

We knew there were several holidays in France during May. Since this is usually our month of travel, we have become accustomed to this. However, Ascension day, 40 days after Easter is not celebrated in America as it is in France. And yes, we arrived on Ascension day, in the town of Orcival which must have the largest pilgrimage in honor of the Virgin Mary, next to the Pope visiting Fatima in Portugal. It was an experience we will not forget, even though we did not get to see the church.

Friday, June 11, 2010

We break from France and cook in our own kitchen

We love watching the cooking shows on PBS. A very favorite is "Secrets of a Chef: Hubert Keller." He is a delightful, talented man who was born in the Alsace region of France. He also owns 6 restaurants including three "Burger Bars" in Las Vegas, St. Louis and San Francisco.

Not planning a visit to any of those 3 cities in the near future, we decided to prepare his "Double Salmon Tartare Burgers" at home. We enjoyed them very much along with a fresh green salad and several shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic. We also had the tartar sauce, but did not make the green apple relish or place the burgers on rolls. Nevertheless,
the salmon burgers were amazing and worth a try.

Double Salmon Tartare Burgers
Tartare Dressing
4 large egg yolks, pasteurized
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons hot sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Mix all in a food processor except for the olive oil, Add it slowly, drop by drop, pulsing until thickened. (I will admit, we simply added some mayonnaise to the other ingredients and eliminated the need to make the homemade mayo. For the small amount we needed, it still tasted wonderful.)
14 ounces skinless salmon fillet, chilled
6 ounces smoked salmon, chilled
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon capers, drained and roughly chopped
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped cornichons
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons of the above tartare dressing
salt and freshly ground pepper
In a food processor, put the shallot, capers, cornichons, tarragon and parsley in the work bowl and process until finely chopped. Cut the fish in 1 inch cubes, add them to the work bowl and chop with quick pulses, scraping down the sides as necessary. Stop when you still have texture. Pulse in 2 tablespoons tartare dressing and pepper to taste.
Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into patties 1 inch thick. Refrigerate to let the flavors develop.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet until very hot. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total.

And the perfect wine for this meal was a Konrad 2008 . It was a very typical New Zealand sauvignon blanc wine with lovely grapefruit flavors, very well-balanced, not too dry, not too sweet.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some dessert and Eau de Vie

Dessert always seems to be a necessity when in Europe. No matter what country you are in, all restaurants go "all the way" when it comes to desserts. In fact, we have sort of come to a conclusion from our travels. The restaurants all have chefs who take great pride in their menus and the food brought to the table. It might just be us, but we have found that the chefs go totally artistic with their appetizers, a little more low key with the main course and then over the top with the desserts. So, therefore, we always try to eat dessert. We almost always order the fixed prise menu also. You have a choice of several appetizers, a choice of several main plates and then a course of either a cheese course or dessert. Well, come on, unless you are a true Frenchman, you choose dessert!! Right?

Above you see a very delightful tarte tartin with apples and raspberries. Yes, it tasted just as great as it looks. Wonderful with a cup of that dark coffee.

We bought the above dessert in a bakery and brought it home to eat. How beautiful is this? It is absolutely artistic. Cake, a cream filling, black currents and red raspberries. Oh my!! Would you believe we limited ourselves to one and shared this one? Honestly, we did, but it was difficult.

Even though these macarons were not bought in Paris, they were excellent. The Trout and I have a little joke between us. Several years ago, macarons were served with our after dinner coffee. After eating a heavy meal, I was not quite ready to dive into these tasty morsels. He asked me if I wanted them and I said no. He thought I really meant it. I meant, "not right now." In a moment they were gone, but not eaten by me. I sat there in disbelief. Yes, he felt bad, but he said they tasted good. So now, when in France, a few macarons are always purchased as a gift for me.

While staying in the Alsace region of France, we found that Eau de Vie was a very typical drink after dinner. We enjoyed it a lot. We drove to the village of Steige and came across the Nusbaumer distillery making the Eau de Vie. We had a small sample of several and decided to buy an assortment of 8 small bottles. The Quetsch is a very popular one and one of my favorites. Quetsch is the German/French word for plum, specifically the prune plum, the plum prunes are made out of. It was difficult not taking more home, but we were flying, so there are limits.
We have been home now several weeks, but writing this posting today, my heart is still in France, remembering these wonderful meals and especially the desserts.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Lace Museum and School

One of the places on our list of sights to see, was the lace museum. We traveled that day to the town of Brioude, with our destination, the Hotel de la Dentelle. First a tour of the school and then the museum. I did not think the school tour was included, so this was an additional treat for me.

The women there taking classes were of varying ages. I was told that to become an expert, it would be perfect to attend school for two years. Because of the expense, I do not know what the tuition is, they try to squeeze all there is to learn into a one year course.

Just look at all those bobbins. The pattern is pinned onto a firm foam board covered with cloth. The placement of the bobbins then makes the pattern. Small pins are inserted into the foam board to "hold" the threads in place. Threads can be cotton or silk. I noticed that some of the very new beginners were using very thick thread. Probably a very good idea.

I purchased my first two bobbins. I liked the look of them. I can knit lace with two knitting needles, but I really can't imagine soooo many bobbins and keeping track of all of them and knowing when to move them. The teacher told me that once a week, children come to the classroom to be taught to keep the tradition going through the years. I think that is a wonderful idea.
No photos were allowed in the museum, but the highlight was a totally lace wedding dress that was many years old. The bride must have started as a toddler to get the dress done in time for her wedding. It was exquisite.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A regional dish from the Auvergne

Before entering the oven

One of the most unusual dishes we ate in France was called Pounti, pronounced, I believe, (poon-tee) and it is another regional dish of the Auvergne region. The Trout ordered it once in a restaurant even though it was very expensive. I got a bite, but we have been talking about it since.

Ken at Living the Life in Saint Aignan has gone to the trouble to translate the recipe from French to English and we followed his recipe. As with all these recipes, the cook rules and Pounti is made many different ways. It is usually served in bite sized pieces with a glass of wine as an aperitif. It can also be lightly fried until brown on each side and served as a main course for dinner.

Some cooks make it meatless, some add pork, and we added bacon and ham and used fontina cheese since it was in the refrigerator. The greens we added were chopped spinach leaves and, of course, the ingredient that is not omitted, prunes. A savory bread or cake with a hint of sweetness from the prunes.

We sampled while still warm, and it was calling for a glass of wine. It will have to wait for the cocktail hour tonight.

Auvergne Pounti Cake

3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 lb. grated cheese
1/2 lb. cured ham
1/4 lb. smoked bacon
15 pitted prunes
1/2 lb. chard or spinach
1 medium onion
salt and pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, flour and baking powder. Gradually stir in the vegetable oil. Warm the milk briefly and gradually incorporate into the batter. Mix in the grated cheese, a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

Chop the onion and saute lightly in a pan with the bacon. Meanwhile, cute the ham into strips. Chop the greens roughly and cut each prune into two or four pieces.

When the onions and bacon have cooled slightly, mix all the ingredients into the batter.

Bake the batter in a buttered loaf pan for 45-50 minutes. Let it cool 15 or 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Pour the wine and enjoy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The beauty of the Auvergne

Doesn't this look like a little village dropped between the hills and loved for ever after? We found this view near Besse, which is a beautiful ski resort area.

For any American flying to Europe, as you come in for a landing to your airport, especially in the spring, you are bound to see a patchwork quilt of colors. Making the focal point of this "quilt" would be the yellow such as you see above. This is a rapeseed field. We came upon this view as we were driving. It is near the village of Clemensat. Rapeseed has many uses including biodiesel fuel, it is cultivated for animal feed, and it made into canola oil.

The mountain range in the Auvergne is called the Monts Dore. This picture was taken near St. Nectaire.
Notice the road. This past year, we bought a GPS and decided on a model which also had European maps. We used it a lot. Often we were directed onto one lane roads which we, as Iowans, would call "cow paths." It was amazing to see that these lanes actually had long, complicated French names. As is typical, no street signs were in sight. Our dear GPS lady was right-on! It is still so amazing to me, how this is possible.

The church in this picture was in the perfect location for a beautiful picture.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Foods typical of the Auvergne area of France

One of the reasons we so enjoy traveling in France, is because this small country, slightly smaller than the state of Texas, offers a variety of foods typical to each region. No other country is quite so diversified, in my opinion. The Massif Central part of France, or the Auvergne as it is known, had foods we have not tried before and were very anxious to get our knife and fork into.

Above you see a typical dish known as Truffade. One might surmise that it contains truffles, from the name, but it does not. Along side a salad and the typical ham of the region, Truffade is a potato dish, and by the looks of it, they are not shy about serving a large portion. I would compare it to a glorified scalloped potato dish. The one ingredient that puts it over the top is the cheese. They use a local cheese, Tomme Fraiche de Cantal. I saw it at the grocer's and it was sealed in a plastic wrap. It was very squeezable and soft, more so than a fresh mozzarella. I have not seen it at Whole Foods in the states and I am sure, if it would be available, it would be in large, metropolitan cities.

The Truffade was wonderful, but too much. The amount on my plate could have fed a family of three. I could not eat it all, but I could eat some right now if it was at all possible.

Here is another potato dish regional to the Auvergne. This is called Aligot. We had to search quite a few restaurants to find this, but once again, the journey was worth it. From what I have read, it is tricky to make this dish. It takes years of watching grandma and mama before the young women tackle this. It is mashed potatoes and then this same Tomme cheese is beaten into the potatoes until the right consistency is achieved. It also has lots of garlic, but then, some villages omit the garlic. Like any other recipe, the cook rules.

It tasted wonderful, thick, very cheesy and once again, the portion was overwhelming. Lots of double cream and butter are added to the mashed potatoes and yes, I could eat it right now. We truly ate more potatoes in our week in the Auvergne than we have in the last year. It is a good memory and we are working to get the residual off our bodies!!

" Petit sale' aux lentilles," or salt pork with lentils is a classic Auvergne dish. These are la lentille verte du Puy, or lentils from the town of Le Puy-de-Velay. They are small and so very tasty. A small bag accompanied me home!! I love lentils and this dish brought them to a whole new height. I will be on the search for these small lentils in the future.

This dessert takes me back many years. In all the years we have traveled to France, this dessert in some shape or form is available on any restaurant menu. It is called "Ile Flottante" or Floating Isle. When I was in Home Economics class back in high school many years ago, we learned to make this dessert. That was the one and only time I ever made it or ate it. Until...we started traveling to France. I was curious why this was so popular. Well, there are so many variations, but they all start with the basic concept; a creme anglaise topped with islands or meringue.

In the photo above, you see this one was glorified. It contained orange slices, orange sorbet and it was topped with a chocolate cup filled with Grand Marnier. Yoo Hoo!! It was also decorated with these little orange fruits in the paper thin shells and for the life of me, I can't think of what they are called. Sort of tasted like a kumquat. Also note the added color of the violet.

Once again, we have great memories of our meals and wine. Not only do we love the sights but the experiences in the restaurants stay in our memories forever.