Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Cassoulet is one of the ultimate French comfort foods and has always been one of my favorite meals. However to prepare it the traditional French way, the recipe can take several days and many hours of preparation and cooking. We found a recipe on NY Times Cooking from Mark Bittman called “Slow Cooker Cassoulet” which got us thinking why we could not adopt our cassoulet recipe to a less labor intensive and time consuming method.

Although I am sure Cordon Bleu would not approve of this recipe, I can tell you that it was one of the most flavorful and tasty meals we have prepared. The total involved cooking time was only around 1 ¼ hours although it did cook in the slow cooker for five hours.

We paired this dinner with a new (to us) wine appellation from Crozes-Hermitage, which provided an excellent pairing to the cassoulet, even though Crozes-Hermitage is not really that close to Gascony, where cassoulet was first made.

This is a strong recommendation on our yum scale so you should give it a try, especially with how easy it is to make. You can find our recipe at searching4zen.com.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Arranging all of the vegetables before commencing with the slicing and dicing

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Carrots, onions and garlic all diced and in the slow cooker ready to cook

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Sautéing the duck confit until it is golden brown

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Browning the sausages in the duck fat until golden brown

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

The cassoulet in a deep casserole pan, all that is needed is the bread crumbs and the parsley.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

All of the meats ready to be put into the slow cooker

Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage

The wine which we paired with the slow cooker caussolet. Excellent melding of favors between the wine and the food.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Slow Cooker Caussoulet plated and ready to serve

l’Escargot d’Or

We were heading back home from a week in Italy and stayed in Saint-Etienne. We found this restaurant on Trip Advisor and decided to spend our Saturday evening here. Well that was one of the best decisions we made on this trip.

The food was wonderful, very tasty and presented beautifully. The service was outstanding especially with the owner seeming to take care of everyone in the full restaurant. The entire staff was outstanding.

Next time we are passing through Saint-Etienne we will definitely stop in again.

l' Escargot d'Or

A beautiful amuse-bouche to start our dinner at l’Escargot d’Or.

l' Escargot d'Or

Tarte St. Moret dou de sumon et magret fumé

l' Escargot d'Or

Flan de coquille St-Jacques chair de homard au piment d’Espelette

l' Escargot d'Or

Filet de veau terre et mer sauce safram – Wonderful!

l' Escargot d'Or

Dos de lieu noir sauce Provençale poutargue râpée

l' Escargot d'Or

Les fromages affinés

l' Escargot d'Or

Les fromages affinés

l' Escargot d'Or

I can’t recall what they called this, but to me it was death by chocolate! It was heavenly.

l' Escargot d'Or

A wonderful Mercurey from Bouchard Père & Fils. The owner recommended this wine and it was great with our meals.

l' Escargot d'Or

One of the two menu du jour at l’Escargot d’Or

l' Escargot d'Or

The second of the two menu du jour at l’Escargot d’Or

Ristorante Consorzio

After a day of driving we were looking forward to a creative and unique dinner and that is what we received at Ristorante Consorzio. The food was very good and the service nice.

Ristorante Consorzio

The amuse bouche which came with some excellent bread.

Ristorante Consorzio

Soma d’aj, a very attractive antipasti.

Ristorante Consorzio

La Cruda, a local rendition of steak tartar. It was excellent.

Ristorante Consorzio

Risotto Bergese, an outstanding risotto.

Ristorante Consorzio

Faraona tonchese croccante, a excellent cooked chicken recipe.

Ristorante Consorzio

Caramelized bricoche bread, zabaione and raisins ice cream. Very yummy.

Ristorante Consorzio

Menù Desgustazione

Ristorante Consorzio

Ala cart menu

Ristorante Consorzio

The dessert menu for the day.

Ristorante Consorzio

La msòíra e’l rastel “Green Palma” 2014 a very nice Barbera d’Alba.

la quercia di rosa ristorante

For the evening we stayed in Modena we ate at an absolutely wonderful ristorante. It is a small restaurant outside of Centro called La Quercia di Rosa. We happened to be dining on a day that they were specializing in the local white truffle and many of the typical meals were on the truffle menu of the day. It was great that we selected two main plates from this menu.

The owner of the restaurant, Rose, we extremely helpful and suggested a local wine for dinner but also a local producer of parmesan cheese as we were planning to visit some cheese producers the next day. I highly recommend La Quercia di Rosa for dinner.

La Quercia di Rosa

White Truffle Special Menu of the Day

La Quercia di Rosa

Smoked Salmon starter

La Quercia di Rosa

Fried Bread, Which I was told I need to use to eat my antipasto.

La Quercia di Rosa

My starter of an antipasto

La Quercia di Rosa

My starter of an antipasto

La Quercia di Rosa

Tortellini alla Panna with White Truffles

La Quercia di Rosa

Tagliolini al tartufo, awesome.

La Quercia di Rosa

Pio Cesare, a Great Local Wine Selected by Rosa

Il Molo

We had lunch on a Saturday afternoon at Il Molo and it is one of my favorite restaurants not just in Vicenza but in Italy. The service was outstanding (everyone spoke some English although no French) and the food was outstanding.

You start out learning that there is no fixed menu, everything changes day to day depending on what is fresh and looks good. Also this restaurant only service fish so do not go here looking for a three course meat meal.

I started with this absolutely wonderful grilled Savoy cabbage starter stuffed with Burrata, truffle powder, a poached egg, shrimp and shallots. It just blew me away. Jo Ann had as her starter the local grilled sardines which were also excellent.

We were told that the pasta dishes were on the large size so we split a dish of mussels and shrimp on fresh pasta. Absolutely outstanding and every time I smelled this dish come out of the kitchen (the garlic was so aromatic) I wanted more.

We finished up with this wonderful flour-less chocolate cake which was light and delicate but so tasteful.

As we were leaving we talked with the manager and found out that the restaurant has been around in different locations since 2002, I can clearly understand why. We will come back whenever we are in Vicenza.

Il Molo

The modern set table awaited us at Il Molo.

Il Molo

My starter which was warmed savoy cabbage layered in a raminkin. It was further layered with burrata, truffle powder, a poached egg, shrimp and shallots. Outstanding.

Il Molo

Grilled sardines. A traditional local dish.

Il Molo

This is a view of my starter with the savoy cabbage pulled back so you can see the burrata, truffle and egg.

Il Molo

Mussels with shrimp with some great fresh pasta.

Il Molo

Where have all the mussels gone?

Il Molo

A very light and fluffy flour-less chocolate cake.

Il Molo

Garda Merlot 2015 from Lombardia Italy

Il Molo

Petti Rosso Nero d’Avola 2014

If you are interested in more information on Il Molo, check out TripAdvisor.com.

This restaurant is only open for lunches on the weekends and for dinners every night except Mondays.

Dinner Like an Italian Family

We have been eating out at so many good restaurants the past two weeks, we finally decided to take a break from the restaurants and have a nice quiet dinner at home. We went to a local farmer’s market to buy what few fresh seasonal products they had (not many considering the time of the year) and then went to one of the local grocery stores.

We came up with a light dinner of fresh pasta with fresh buffalo mozzarella (tastes nothing like what you buy in North America), basil and tomatoes. Jo Ann grilled the tomatoes under the broiler and we threw the following together.

We paired it with some of our home made bread and a nice bottle of prosecco (what else considering our recent travels). As a starter we did have a small taste of a wonderful mixed goat and cow cheese with truffles and some olives. Outstanding.

Pain

Home made bread fresh from the oven.

Dinner Last Night

Fresh mozzarella with basel and tomoatoes. Very yummy.

Val D'Oca Prosecco

This prosecco is a 2015 vintage prosecco which is stored in these beautiful blue bottles. Very tasty and sells at a reasonable price.

 

Touring the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Region

This past week we drove up to the Valdobbiadene wine region which produces some of the best prosecco in the world. The vineyards are planted on the sides of very steep and tall hills which reduce the yields compared to France’s champagne and other sparkling wine regions.

The scenery was beautiful and wines were superb!

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Region

Views of the Valdobbiadene Valley from the Col Vetoraz

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Region

Another views of the Valdobbiadene Valley from the Col Vetoraz

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Region

A church up on the top of another ridge

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Region

Another nearby winery

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Region

The Val D’Oca Winery, one of my favorites in the region. I like how the texture reminds me of bubbles.

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Region

Valdobbiadene prosecco extra dry

Valdobbiadene Prosecco

Bellussi Prosecco Superiore

Val D'Oca Prosecco

This prosecco is a 2015 vintage prosecco which is stored in these beautiful blue bottles. Very tasty and sells at a reasonable price.

If you would like more information on the Valdobbiadene region, you can check out the Overview page on TripAdvisor.com.