Saturday, August 23, 2008

La Cuisine Française

I was making dinner tonight when I realized that I'd never blogged about the cooking class I took last spring. The three teachers were French, self taught cooks who did their best to expose a group of expatriates (Russian, Japanese, Colombian, Vietnamese and me, the lone American) to what the French cook for themselves or their close friends. They did so with gusto, talking rapid fire in French (although occasionally checking to see that we were following along) and laughing when a couple of the dishes fell flat. There was one particular oops! moment when they found out that one of the Japanese ladies was a graduate of the Cordon Bleu, and here they had been carrying on like experts when in truth, they were just a friendly bunch of home cooks. The Japanese gal did her best to set them at ease, modestly explaining that you can't cook Cordon Bleu style for every day.

The upshot is that I came away with a fistful of recipes that have quickly fallen into the rotation of family favorites. The kids' favorite is what one of the teachers called "le TGV de quiche," a quick quiche that can be made in a moment's notice, that is as long as your refrigerator is stocked with French staples including crème fraîche, frozen pâte brisée, little sticks of bacon called allumettes de lardon, plus eggs and any old cheese that happens to be lying around. There's a delightful informality to the recipe since it calls for two soup spoons of crème fraîche (the only other measure is a coffee spoon) and a "bon morceau" (literally a good piece, but perhaps better translated as a healthy portion) of cheese. Of course, this recipe is going to do me no good when we get back to the states since frozen pastry there leaves a lot to be desired. (Trust me, the frozen stuff here ain't Pet Ritz.) But for the moment, we'll enjoy it, as directed, with "une bonne salade verte et du pain."


Anonymous said...

Hi, Do these ladies have a website? Sounds like fun!

Anne said...

It was through an organization called Bienvenue en France which you can find on-line at Thanks for reading.

bijou said...

Anne: you can certainly make a very decent quiche lorraine here in the State - pate brisee and even pate feuilletee can be found here. Trader Joe's sells cubed proscuitto - closest thing to lardons - all you need are cheese/eggs. Several brands of creme fraiche are sold in supermarkets here. Or you can make your own.

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