21. Barilla Whole Wheat Pasta. It took me a while get up the nerve to buy this but I'm glad I did. I wouldn't pair this pasta with just any sauce, but I thought it was excellent with a hearty, rustic, mushroom, ham and tomato sauce I made last week.
22. Wine Sediments Blog. A great collection of writing that keeps me informed with what's going on in the wine world.
23. La Vache à Carreaux wine bar in Avignon, France. Tucked back on a little street in the center of town, they serve an array of dishes made with cheese. The menu is written on a big chalkboard and the friendly wine guy suggests which wine to drink depending upon your order, there is no written wine list. The food was excellent and we really enjoyed the ambiance of this little place.
La Vache à Carreaux
14 rue Peyrollerie
+(33) 4 90 80 09 05
24. Tarte au Citron. This is a recipe I found years ago in a cookbook by Sheila Lukins, of the Silver Palate fame. I've had All Around the World Cookbook since 1994 and this tart was the first thing I cooked from it. It is a very tart tarte, the way a proper tarte au citron should be!
Tarte au Citron
For our tarte au citron, freeze or chill the pastry before baking it. This gives the gluten a chance to relax after you roll it out. And watch the lemon custard carefully as it cooks so that it doesn't curdle. Don't let it boil! To serve, carefully cut with a sharp knife, then remove slices to dessert plates with a pie server.Dough
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1. Place the butter in a food processor and process a few seconds, until creamy. Add 1/4 cup sugar and process until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 20 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the vanilla. Combine the flour and salt, then add to the food processor. Process until the dough comes together around the sides of the bowl; scrape the sides of the bowl and process for a few seconds more.2. With lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press around the bottom edge of the tart and make sure that the dough is not too thick.3. Trim any excess dough at the top of the tart pan with a knife. Lightly press the dough around the inside of the rim with your thumb so that it extends about 1/8 inch above the pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Chill the dough in the freezer at least 30 minutes or overnight.4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.5. Bake the partially or fully frozen tart shell until fully baked and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.6. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon juice together in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the heavy cream, then the eggs and the egg yolks. Combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the filling thickens and the whisk leaves a trail, about 4 minutes.7. Strain the filling into a bowl, then pour it into the baked tart shell. Bake for 4 minutes.8. Cool thoroughly on a rack and serve at room temperature. Before serving, carefully remove the sides and bottom of the pan and gently slide the tart onto a decorative plate.
25. Piment d'Espelette. A long, red pepper grown in the Basque region of France. After harvesting they are threaded in bunches onto heavy string and hung out on the sides of buildings to dry in the sun. They were granted Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) in 1999, giving them protection from imposters, the same way Champagne is protected. Ground up, they are delicious sprinkled on grilled meat or vegetables, eggs, etc.
26. Mirliton Festival in New Orleans. The mirliton, or chayote, a funny looking pear shaped vegetable belonging to the gourd family, is celebrated every year in the Bywater neighborhood at a festival featuring art, music and dishes made with the mirliton by local chefs. Takes place in November.
27. Maison Roullet-Fransac, makers of Cognac, Pineau des Charentes and liqueurs. We discovered them two years ago on a spring trip to explore the Poitou-Charentes region. Their charming tasting room is easily overlooked, as it is next door to the better known and much bigger Hennessy house. The staff was very friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their products. (I wrote about them in November)
28. Duralex Picardie Bistro Glass. Definitely a classic, the Picardie is suitable for cold drinks and hot beverages, stackable for convenient storage, chip resistant, and microwave and dishwasher-safe. Of course we don't have a dishwasher, so the chip resistant quality helps when they are accidentally dropped in our ceramic sink
29. Teuscher Champagne Truffles. Each little piece of heaven consists of a dark chocolate ganache center that is enriched by Dom Perignon Champagne and an outer layer of milk chocolate that is sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Did I mention they are heavenly?
30. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. A beautiful story that includes recipes and was also made into a fabulous film.