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

Le Restaurant Victor Hugo

This past week we had lunch at a restaurant in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande which we had found on TripAdvisor.com. The lunch was great as the food was very tasty and fresh, the service outstanding and prices very reasonable.

I had the menu du jour which consisted of three items, a starter of cream of cauliflower soup, a main plate of Veal with pasta and vegetables and a nice apple cake in a yogurt sauce. Priced at €13.90 it was a very nice deal. I also asked the owner his choice for a glass of local wine which was also outstanding.

Jo Ann had a large Salad de Chevre Chaud and a wonderful (I only got a small taste) of a Chocolat Foundaut avec glace de menthe. Not only was it presented beautifully but it was very tasty. Jo Ann also had a glass of the local white wine selected by the owner.

If you are in the area of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande I strongly recommend visiting Le Restaurant Victor Hugo. They are located at 101 rue Victor Hugo, 33220, Sainte Foy-la-Grande. You can find out more about them at TripAdvisor.com.

Restaurant Victor Hugo

Le Menu du Jour.

Restaurant Victor Hugo

Veloute de chou-fleur.

Restaurant Victor Hugo

Blanquette de veau Tagliatelles, légumes. The veal was extremely flavorful as were the vegetables and the pasta.

Restaurant Victor Hugo

Salad de Chevre Chaud

Restaurant Victor Hugo

Chocolat Foundaut avec glace de menthe.

Restaurant Victor Hugo

Gâteau au yaourt pommes-caramel. Simple but very good.

Penne Boscaiola (Woodsman-Style Pasta With Mushrooms and Bacon)

Dinner last night was a scrumptious penne boscaiola, a recipe we found on Serious Eats. It was a chilly evening and this meal just warmed your insides and was a earthy and smoky pasta that had loads of favors packed inside.

Being in the Southwest part of France you would think that we would have little if any problems in getting some dried mushrooms, but Jo Ann and I ended up having to shop at three supermarchés before we were able to get all the ingredients (and the proper mixture of wild mushrooms).

This recipe is definitely a strong YUM recommendation for you to try. To get the recipe you can find it in our recipe database at Searching4Zen.com.

Penne Boscaiola (Woodsman-Style Pasta With Mushrooms and Bacon)

Finishing up the Penne Boscaiola, it looks so good I can’t wait for dinner!

Penne Boscaiola (Woodsman-Style Pasta With Mushrooms and Bacon)

The plated andd ready to eat Penne Boscaiola (Woodsman-Style Pasta With Mushrooms and Bacon)

 

Restaurante La Poudette

It was a chilly day so we decided to have a traditional French family Sunday meal. Although the restaurant was about 20 minutes drive from where we were staying we thought it looked like it would be a fun and enjoyable meal.

All I can say is that you will not be disappointed if you have a lunch or dinner at la Poudette.

The meal started with a wonderful amuse bouche, followed by an entrée, then a main course and we finished with a dessert. We also had a glass of crémant and a glass of local wine with our meals.

I thought that the service was outstanding and very friendly and the food was heavenly.

Don’t think twice it’s alright, you just need to visit La Poudette.

If you would like more information on La Poudette, check them out on TripAdvisor.

La Poudette

The amuse bouche was an excellent small taste of a great mushroom cream soup. So tasty but now anxious for the meal to come.

La Poudette

Noix de coquilles Saint Jacques dorées, risotto au champagne.

La Poudette

Foie gras de canard des Landes, pruneau cuit dans un sirop de vin à l’armagnac, pain de mie Maison.

La Poudette

Lotte à la vapeur en lasagne, fondue de poireaux bisque de langoustines à l’estragon.

La Poudette

This was a special not on the menu du jour. It was a filet of duck, with chanterelles, a ball of mashed potato and a wonderful foie gras chaud. This was so yummy.

La Poudette

Joli Baba à l’Armagnac, glace à l’Armagnac

La Poudette

Gâteau Forêt Noire

La Poudette

The menu at La Poudette is based on what is in season and fresh.

La Poudette

The menu at La Poudette is based on what is in season and fresh.

La Poudette

The menu at La Poudette is based on what is in season and fresh.

Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara

Last night we were in a craving for Italian cuisine and we had a new recipe that we had never made before “Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara” from America’s Test Kitchen. I don’t know where I came to think this way, but I always use to equate carbonara with a cream based pasta. When you read this recipe you can see that is made from just a couple of ingredients and is fairly easy to make. I sure don’t know where I ever came to think this way, but boy am I glad I have unlearned that “alternative fact”.

The recipe is very straight forward and easy to prepare. The results were superb with a pasta coated with a sauce of Pecorino Romano, bacon, bacon fat and garlic. It is so yummy.

Make this for dinner and you will not be disappointed. If you would like a copy of the recipe you can get it from our recipe database at Searching4Zen.com.

Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara

The first step is to cook the bacon in water until the water is completely cooked off.

Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara

Then you continue to cook the bacon in it’s fat until it is golden brown.

Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara

it is critical to properly mix the sauce so that all of the pasta is coated evenly but throughly.

Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara

Plated and ready to serve, the Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara is an awesome recipe.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Samedi Merché

Our first day in the Sainte Foy Bordeaux appellation and we decided to head off to the Saturday market. The marché in Sainte-Foy-de-Grande is extensive, full of people and had many vendors that we do not get in the marchés in the Dordogne.

Not only was there extensive produce and fruits available, but there was excellent fish, meats, sausages, and my favorite dried fruits stuffed with foie gras. These little delicacies were so tasty and sweet, it was like candy from heaven.

Bottom line if you are visiting the Sainte Foy Bordeaux appellation, you must make time to go to the Saturday market in Sainte-Foy-de-Grande.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

The highlight of the day, these dried figs were filled with foie gras. Such unbelievable flavor!

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

Here is a mixture of the dried figs stuffed with foie gras as well as some prunes stuffed with foie gras. We have both for tonight.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

Yummy looking mussels.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

Fresh Mussels

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

A French speciality, Radis Noir. I just can’t get my head around eating a black radish.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

Very interesting way to present and sell Endive. The plant was still attached to the roots in a holder with some dirt. The vendor just broke off the vegitable when you bought it.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

Yummy garlic, shallots and onions.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

The oranges were looking so fresh and tasty today.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

We just could not make up our minds on what we wanted to prepare and eat tonight.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

The marché at Sainte-Foy-de-Grande is extensive and almost every street has at least a couple of vendors. However we found one that was still empty.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

Oh the prunes were so good at the marché

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

The dried fig stuffed with foie gras and the prune stuffed with foie gras.

Sainte-Foy-de-Grande Marché

The dried fig stuffed with foie gras and the prune stuffed with foie gras.

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