Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let's Have A Pique-nique!

Bastille Day is this Thursday, but I'll manage to restrain myself until Saturday to throw a French picnic. It won't be easy ...

One thing that will be different will be: No Firecrackers! I was in Aix-en-Provence for a Bastille Day and spent the afternoon and well into the night quivering in terror. Reason? French people laughingly lob cherry bombs at each other! Far from my gentle childhood when we had Roman candle duels.

So, what're we going to eat? Ah, let me tick off the delicacies... radishes with butter, "green peppers," assorted olives, a baguette, a stick of dried sausage -- just whack off a chunk with that knife on the bread board -- French potato salad, a pile of sliced French ham (supermarket delis usually carry it) a couple of Maille mustards, a Brie for a ham and cheese sandwich, maybe a Camembert, too -- fresh fruits and peach champagne to wash it all down! (Amour de Paris, Trader Joe's, $4.79/bottle)

"Green Peppers" is straight out of Provence and it's simplicity itself.
1 clove garlic, minced, crushed into 1/2 teas. sea salt. Douse this paste with a T of olive oil
1 green pepper, washed, cored and cut into thin strips. Put the strips in the "sauce," mix well and eat. I use a bowl with a tight-fitting lid to make this; it's the easiest way to coat all of the peppers. And because the salt makes the green peppers limp after awhile, make it and eat it; don't make it ahead of time and hold it back.

Jacques Pepin's Potato Salad
2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, boiled and drained. For fun, peel a strip lengthwise around each potato and then cut each potato in half horizontally. You want to have bite-sized pieces of potato at the end.
1/2 cup olive oil to saute:
2 green onions, cut in rings; white and green; 2 slices red onion, chopped and 1 clove of garlic, minched. When this is done, add it to the potatoes.
Put 1 1/2 T Dijon mustard into 1/3 cup white wine and mix. Add a grind or two of black pepper and slam it onto the potatoes.

Pepin's recipe also calls for addingt 2 or 3 T chopped chives and 2 T chopped fresh basil OR 2 T chopped fresh fennel, but I think that would make it "too herby" so I'm calling these ingredients "optional." Pardon, M. Pepin...mes apologies.

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