01 July 2012

Food ... France ... Fantastic

One of the things Americans associate with France is food, to be more specific fine food and wine....cheese and bread. The stereotype of French food is by no means wrong. The food here has been nothing short of amazing.
The food I've eaten is rich, flavorful and probably calorie ridden....li am just trying to figure out how the French women stay so thin!

Let's start with meals at home. Maud's family has cooked amazing food for me. The first night they cooked a pizza. They made my half with fresh vegetables. My pizza had bell peppers, onions, cheese and tomatoes. Accompanying it was a wonderful tomato and onion salad that Maud's Dad, Pascal made. In fact, once they learned how much I love tomatoes (they ARE my favorite food), he's made the same salad with every dinner and it's amazing. Accompanying ou pizza we had some French sparkling white wine mixed with cassis berry liquor.

Yesterday morning we went to the open air farmers market (more about that to come) and then using the fresh ingredients we bought we cooked stuffed zucchini. These were so unique as I'd never seen round coutgettes (zucchini) before. We stuffed them with onions - 2 varieties, garlic, zucchini,tomato and parsley cooked in olive oil. The meat eaters (everyone except me) added a sausage, bread and egg mixture to theirs. They were accompanied by rice and ratatouille. I will have to make these at home ... They were delicious. Of course there was also wonderful crusty whole wheat bread to accompany this.

For breakfast we have been eating amazing baked goods from a local bakery. Trust me when I say it's amazing ..... I've just never managed a photo of it!

Today We are cooking with more fresh vegetables from the market and homegrown herbs. Once again my job was cutting onions. The onions are amazingly fresh and they clear out my sinuses in moments. Yes, my eyes and nose ran like crazy. (next time I have a cold and am stopped up I am just going to come to France and cut onions!) Today's recipe, Tian de Légumes et tomates à la ricotta, comes from a cookbook dedicated to tomatoes. Oh yes seriously - EVERY recipe has tomatoes, my absolute most favorite food. I'm a happy camper with tomatoes :) Another amazing meal.

After that amazing lunch we made desert at the table - crepes! It was fun to make them right at the table on a special cooker just for that purpose. I had some with Nutella and others with pineapple jelly.

We have also eaten two lunches out. The first I did not photo, but I had a nice salad with lettuce, tomato, asparagus, artichoke and onion. It was accompanied by lovely crusty bread.

The second lunch out was three courses! I felt like I ate so much I would never eat again! The food was amazing.
The first course was a smoked salmon with stewed tomato, asparagus, snow pea and a stewed carrot. On the side was a bit of avocado paste, and on top was what might best be called avocado ice cream. (I'm sure that's NOT the technical name of it). This was accompanied by crusty bread. This in and of itself was a good sized meal, but it was only the first course....

Then the second course was a piece of white fish (I'm not sure what kind of fish) atop a potato purée. It was also accompanied by the same vegetables and bread as the first course. Underneath was a sauce that was reminiscent of pesto and vinegar. Again, an amazing plate that was itself a meal.

Somehow after all that I found a way to manage desert. The desert was a simple fruit salad with strawberries, nectarines (both white and orange varieties), a sugar sauce and a scoop of strawberry sorbet. Heavenly!

Eating in France is nothing short of an explosion for the senses, but the real treat was seeing where the food goes from farm to family. The town of Muret (like many other towns) has a weekly farmers market. As Christine explained it to me, it is there and the people come every week no matter the weather. This market does not just sell produce. Here one can buy meat (live and slaughtered), bread, cheese, fruits, vegetables, honey, clothes, toys, household appliances, flowers, plants, mattresses, gifts and more. We saw the entire market and Christine had her specific vendors that she always bought from. The sights, sounds and smells of the market were enchanting. I saw people from all backgrounds, of all ages and socio-economic groups. Although it means not sleeping in on a Saturday morning, if I was here again on a Saturday I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Has this post made you hungry? Writing it has certainly made me hungry! The food of France .... Fantastic!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Toulouse, Albi and Muret, France

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