Burgers On The Grill

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I know I don’t need to tell you that it’s Burger time.  I’m very pleased that, at last, I dusted off my grill and got back to what this blog was about. We sold beef burgers to our customers and I thought I should try out our burgers on the BBQ.  I’ve only ever tasted them in a hot pan.   So we got the grill going to see how our burgers held up.DSC_0891 Someone gave us a classic Weber Grill without legs.  The grill is in great condition.  I’m not sure what happened to the legs.  Sometimes what happened in ‘Nam, stays in ‘Nam.  Brent found some bricks with rounded tops that held it steady.  I think I shall call our new BBQ “Timmy.”

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I’m used to lighting the charcoal with a chimney deal.  A bit of paper in the bottom and charcoal on the top.  Things get hot and then action pours onto the scene.  Instead, we lit it with a fire starter and made a little pile.DSC_0873

That seemed to do the trick.DSC_0882

After the burgers were about ready, we popped the cheese on.  Yes, yes, “American Cheese.”  We like the irony of living in the land of cheese and using milk product spread in plastic.  We also enjoy Comte, so don’t you worry.DSC_0892

Buns toasted.DSC_0899

Potatoes baked.DSC_0905

And an experimental pepper with Cantal Jeune and duck fat melted inside.DSC_0901

Peppers were okay.  Still need a bit of work.

The burgers were great.  I loved the charcoal touch to the flavor.  Below is Kevin’s burger.  Plenty of sun and bun.  Not a fan of the bun, he did the best he could with the French “Maxi Bun ”  by filling in with lettuce and condiments.DSC_0904

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Not Fond Of Fondant? Make Your Own

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For me, using fondant for a fancy cake is a cheat.  I am WAY more impressed if you can make a beautiful cake with skill and fluff.  Lucy, my daughter, wanted to do a certain cupcake recipe that involved fondant.  She looked up the ingredients in fondant and was not impressed with all the extra crap included in this culinary play-dough.

So she watched a youtube video on how to make fondant and off she went.

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Making fondant is a very sticky process.  There was a moment there where she thought, ” well, I blew it.”  There was no way this sticky marshmallow mess would arrive at something you could roll out and carve.

But, she kept going.  eventually, a dough ball came around.

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After her cupcakes were cooled, she managed to complete her recipe.

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Homemade fondant requires

  • marshmallow
  • water
  • powdered sugar

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She used this recipe on Youtube … uh … which is in French, but you might be able to follow along or find an equivalent.

For me, I am excited to share that you can make this stuff!! And as I don’t like fondant, her fondant was wonderful.

Lazy Man’s Foie Gras

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I’ve had my fair share of fancy sauces.  I’ve made foie gras in jars to be served cold.  But by far, my fav is seared foie gras served with chutney.

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Secure foie

De-vein

Pre-heat oven to hot

Salt, pepper and nutmeg the foie

Take raw garlic and smear on cast iron pan.

In a cast iron pan, sear that baby.

Remove foie

Empty fat …. save for foie gras fat potatoes for breaky tomorrow

Put foie back in and stick the chunky bits in the oven. ( if there are smaller bits, like in the photo, set those aside cuz they is done )

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Slice in slices. serve with chutney.  Mango would be great or French man said fried fig, but we had a bunch of green tomatoes last year, so Green Tomato Chutney paired with our foie gras.  … easy peasy.  yummy yummy.

Saves you making sauces.  Sear a liver and chuck a chutney at it.

Our Evening Of Brown

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As we are in France and the kids didn’t get last Thursday off, we gave our thanks on Saturday. I like to do Thanksgiving dinner because it is very American. It’s also an easy dinner to do that isn’t a huge cost ( I’m glad the lord didn’t bless the pilgrims with a mother load of rare abalone ).

In America, a whole turkey is easy to find. Often, they give them away free if you start loading up your cart with oodles of pre-Christmas bargains ( cha-ching ). In France, this is not so. I can buy whole birds of many varieties. You got your pheasants, your pigeons, your ducks, your chickens, your medium birds, your teeny birds, your big birds all of which come complete with heads and feet. But do they sell a whole turkey? No.

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To fill my Thanksgiving table, I run around town in search of turkey parts. This year, we had a two legged, three roast turkey. Now if I may draw your attention to exhibit A, you’ll notice that that is a rather large leg for a turkey. I’ve cooked ( okay my husband has cooked ) a lot of whole birds and we’ve never seen a leg quite that big.

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Should you grab a minute while your potatoes are boiling and the yams are roasting to take that leg and mentally build a turkey to scale, I believe you will arrive at a VERY large bird. So you wonder, do they not sell whole turkey carcasses in France because they don’t fit in the refrigerated display case? Are they not able to carry the entire bird, a glass of red wine and a cigarette at the same time? Or is it something more mysterious like it’s not actually a turkey, but a prehistoric genetic strain of pterodactyl that tastes an awful lot like turkey.

We’ll never know. Each year, I will keep at our little slice of America. Maybe someday, I’ll grow a little pterodactyl of my very own. Until then, I use my favorite Thanksgiving photo as inspiration which hangs in my kitchen.

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