Vegetable heaven

June 26, 2011 at 5:39 AM | Posted in Paris 2011 | 2 Comments

Last night I was lucky enough to attend a 10-course vegetarian tasting dinner with wine pairings hosted by Clotilde Dusoulier and Braden Perkins of Hidden Kitchen. It was a truly memorable meal.  A few highlights of the evening…

Amuse-bouche of melon and lightly seared ricotta

Caper and mint cappelletti with fennel and tomato water, paired with 2010 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet, Sevre-et-Maine "Les Gras Moutons"

Tied for my favorite--roasted asparagus with tofu, pine nut butter, and chipotle powder, paired with 2007 Domaine Gilbert, Menetou-Salon

Grilled zucchini with miso labne, fried spelt and rice, and chanterelles, paired with 2009 Domaine Soufrandise, Macon-Fuisse, "Le Ronte"

Palate cleanser of watermelon and shaved fennel with--surprise!--balsamic vinegar mixed with agar-agar, dropped into frozen olive oil to turn it into caviar-like pearls

Sadly blurry--poached eg with fava bean hummus, purslane, herbs, and shaved pecorino, paired with Domaine Champalou, Vouray, "Cuvee des Fondraux"

 

Smoked polenta with grilled cherry tomato, radish and celery, mustard greens, black olive powder, paired with the only red wine of the evening--2009 Domaine Granges aux Belles, Anjou "53"

 

The other dish tied for my favorite--burrata (amazing milky mozzarella with a creamy center) with eggplant, pepper relish, and pickled watermelon, on a cornmeal cracker

 

Wild berries in a corn shell with sweet corn pudding, hibiscus powder, and edible pansies, paired with a really nice dessert wine--2009 Pierre Bise, coteux du Layon Beaulieu

 

Chocolate ganache, toasted and ground cacao nibs, fresh almond, toasted almond sorbet

The mignardises (little sweets) at the end did not photograph well, but they were delicious and all handmade–dark chocolate peanut butter cup,  Earl Grey tea-infused marshmallow, and  salted butter caramel. And Clotilde sent everyone home with a bag of homemade granola for breakfast today. What a fun night!

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That’ll show them!

June 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Posted in Paris 2011 | Leave a comment

In the wake of an e. coli outbreak in Germany (which was eventually traced to sprouts, but for which cucumbers and tomatoes were initially suspected), the price of tomatoes and cucumbers in France dropped up to 80% in the past weeks. Farmers and producteurs found this so outrageous that they decided they would rather give away the produce than sell it at such a reduced price. I saw an ad in a newspaper saying that farmers would be giving away tomatoes by the bushel outside of the Ecole Militaire opposite the Tour Eiffel on the Champs des Mars, and visions of tomato sauce and panzanella and pan bagnat started swimming in my head. A whole bushel of tomatoes! So, along with two friends and armed with two reusable shopping bags each, we got to the appointed site at the appointed time and saw big white tents and crowds. As we got closer, we saw that everyone was walking away two cucumbers and a small box (about a pint) of cherry tomatoes–not the bushel each we’d been envisioning (and that everyone else had been envisioning, based on the other attendees with multiple shopping bags). I had eaten all the tomatoes after 3 hours.

This tower of vegetables was the most exciting part of the outing. That and the overwhelming French-ness of building a tower of lettuce and giving away vegetables as a protest.


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