|Bonjour Les Amis,November is here! I’ve been cheering myself up on these gray days dreaming about our Thanksgiving feast… And starting to put together some holiday gift ideas, like a Tagine trainer , some Parisian pampering, your Escargot essentials, & a Cassoulet kit.
My first customer of the day was a construction worker, dressed in hard hat & coveralls, who wanted help finding a book on making sauces & roux’s. He walked out with a copy of Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ with a big smile on his face, and certainly put one on mine.
I’ve even been heating up some Kusmi tea for our visitors on these blustery days. Come say hello!
Squid Ink Pasta from Toro Bravo
The Toro Bravo Cookbook is available next door at Spanish Table, but the ingredients you need to make this are at Paris Grocery.
3 Tbs + 2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, julienned
salt & pepper
9 oz Rustichella squid ink pasta
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 heaping Tbs Mama Lils Mildly Spicy Peppers in Oil
1 cup roasted hazelnuts, lightly crushed in a mortar & pestle
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 to 2 tsp Red Boat fish sauce
Put a large saute pan over high heat with 1 Tbs olive oil. Once hot, add the julienned onion & cook it to caramelize. After about 5 minutes add the salt (it will leach out the water) along with the pepper. Lower the heat to medium for 5 minutes, then to low to finish cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Set a large pot of sea-salty water (1/4 cup salt, 1 gallon water) to boil for the squid ink pasta. Cook the pasta for 10 to 12 minutes.
In a large saute pan heat 2 Tbs olive oil over high heat. Cook the garlic, about 30 seconds. Add the Mama Lil’s peppers & cook for another 15 seconds. If the peppers get too hot they like to pop, so be careful.
Add the caramelized onions to this pan & then add the lightly crushed hazelnuts & remove from heat.
Divide the 4 egg yolks between 2 ramekins (2 yolks in each ramekin) Stir 1 tsp of oil into each ramekin.
Strain the cooked pasta & put the colander over the hot pot to allow it to continue steaming for about 1 minute. Meanwhile, return the hazelnut/chili mix back to high heat.
Combine the pasta with the hazelnut saute, & add the fish sauce a little bit at a time. Using tongs, toss until all of the ingredients are well distributed. Taste & adjust fish sauce. Remove from heat.
Serve the pasta divided into 2 medium serving bowls. Make a divot in the center of each bowl, slide the 2 yolks with oil into each bowl. Serve immediately and toss once at the table to incorporate the yolks.
Delices du Luberon Creme d’Anchoiade $6.99
Provence’s famous anchovy paste is mixed with spices, capers, olive oil and lemon. While this can be served as a dip with crudite or spread on toast, you can use it as a pasta sauce, heat like bagna cauda, or serve with grilled lamb. But this is the idea I liked best: pump up the volume in your Caesar salad!
D’Artagnan Jambon de Bayonne 4 oz $10.99
Jambon de Bayonne is named for the port city in the Southwest of France. No preservatives, cured in the traditional style for 12 months, Jambon is sweeter than it’s Italian cousin, prosciutto.
Nyons Olive Olive Oil $17.99
The Tanche olive is known as perle noir,the Black Pearl of Provence. Nyons produced the first oil in France to be awarded AOC status, in fact it is taste-tested by a committee. France harvests a minuscule amount of olives in comparison to its neighbor Spain, & these trees yield a tiny amount–one tree produces only a couple of liters due to cold winters. (Nyons is the northernmost olive producing region in the world, said one article.) Olives here are hand-harvested with ladders & baskets.This is the first cold-pressing & tastes of green apples, grass & nuts. Ultra-smooth.
Smoked Steelhead Trout Roe $26.99 jar
These delicious trout eggs from the Columbia River are smoked over applewood–sweet with a mild salmon-like flavor. Use these to make Westward’s delicious potato chips with creme fraiche, chives & trout caviar. And pick up some of our incredible Spanish potato chips next door…
Bastide Miraflors Rouge 2012, Cotes Catalanes $13.99
This is made by one of my favorite wine-makers, Jean Marc Lafage (the same guy who makes Evodia), who crosses the border working in both Spain & France. Lafage crafts this as a custom cuvee for importer Eric Solomon and is a genius with old-vine Grenache. Delicious, ripe, smoky & a downright bargain. Seriously, buy it by the case for your vin de la maison.
” The 2012 Bastide Miraflors is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache aged in a combination of concrete tanks (for the Grenache) and demi-muids (for the Syrah). It went through a six week maceration, which no doubt explains the wine’s seriously intense fruit. Notes of violets, forest floor, black cherry jam and blackberries make an appearance in this medium-bodied, high-toned, dense, rich, complex, well-delineated red wine. ”
-91 points, Wine Advocate
La Baronne Coste Liste 2011, Corbieres $14.99
This is brought in by Indie Wineries from a 16th century family estate. The Baronne family’s mission:
“To translate this passion and respect for the land, reflected in our organic farming methods, showcasing the terroir of this priviledged corner of Languedoc – Roussillon”.
Carignan, Syrah & Mourvedre expressing wild berry, herbs & earth with smoky cedar & pink peppercorns. Try with Puy lentil & sausage soup.
Domaine la Garrigue ‘Cuvee Romaine 2012, Cotes du Rhone $16.99
“Made from declassified Vacqueyras grapes and a special cuvee made for Importer Eric Solomon (with the help of superstar oenologist Philippe Cambie), the 2012 Domaine La Garrigue Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah aged 10-12 months in concrete tank. Exuding southern Rhone flair and charm, with a street market in the south of France like perfume, it delivers notions of dried garrigue, spice, kirsch liqueur, and saddle leather to go with a medium to full-bodied, supple, rounded mouth feel that has nothing out of place, beautiful freshness, and a clean, elegant finish. My note ends with “Back up the truck”. -92 points, Rhone Report
-91 points, Wine Advocate