Bonjour Mes Amis,

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. I went foraging for nettles on the Cedar River Trail & made nettle gnocchi with my husband. And of course, drank rose!

I’m headed to Whidbey Island with visiting family so Kelsey will be helping me out with the newsletter this week… Since we’re a little short-staffed, our next tasting will be on Thursday , April 16th from 4:30 to 6 pm.

THANK YOU for making last week’s trial run so successful!

À bientôtj’espère,
Catherine

Kids Cook French by Claudine Pepin & Illustrations by Jacques Pepin$21.99
Brand new! Written by Jacques Pepin’s

daughter… According to Jacques Pepin, “the moment for a child to be in the kitchen is from the moment they are born.” I couldn’t agree more! Every recipe is in both English & French.
Kids Cook French is a magical introduction to some of the most delicious French classics. With Claudine’s recipes, her father’s and her daughter’s illustrations, this is a book by a family for your family.” – Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief, FOOD & WINE

Marcel Lapierre Beaujolais 2013, Morgon $21.99 375 ml92 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar  Bright violet color. Intense, mineral-tinged red and dark berry aromas show excellent clarity and hints of licorice and potpourri. Juicy and expansive on the palate, offering vibrant black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that turn sweeter with air. Clean and minerally on the finish, which lingers with excellent tenacity and silky, slow-building tannins. 

Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rose Costieres de Nimes, 2014 $9.99
The talented Diane de Puymorin farms 50 hectares in the Costieres de Nimes. This Salmon colored rosé is very flavorful. Displaying hints of spice and fruit notes of cranberry, strawberry and cherry. Delicious accompaniment for light, summery fare or as an aperitif. 

Domaine de la Janasse ‘Cuvee Reserve’ Cotes-du-Rhone, 2011 $15.99
“A custom cuvee for Eric Solomon made by Christophe Sabon, the 2012 Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Reserve comes from older vines on the estate and is a blend of 55% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Carignan and the balance Mourverdre and Cinsault. […] Drinking past its humble price point, this 2012 exhibits notions of kirsch, blackberry, smoked meat, graphite and copious licorice nuances to go with a meduim bodied, pure and layered feel on the palate.”
-Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

Bacon, Eggs & Asparagus Salad

from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

| YIELD: 4

Ingredients
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut or walnut oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

FOR THE SALAD

  • 4 large eggs, cold, extremely fresh
  • 20 asparagus spears, preferably thick, trimmed and peeled
  • 6 slices Zoe’s Applewood Smoked bacon
  • 3 handfuls mesclun or other mixed salad greens, rinsed and dried
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts or walnuts, chopped

Preparation

  1. To make the vinaigrette: Put all the ingredients in a small jar, cover, and shake to blend; or use a small bowl and a whisk. If you’ve used the mustard, the dressing will be fairly well blended; if not, it will blend, then separate — either way, it’s fine. Set aside, and shake (or whisk) again before using. (You can make the vinaigrette up to a week in advance and keep it in the fridge.)
  2. To make the salad: Bring a medium saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil. One by one, put the cold eggs on a spoon and slowly and gently lower them into the water (saying a little don’t-let-my-egg-break prayer on the way down). Allow the eggs to boil for exactly 6 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat, lift the eggs into a strainer, and run them under cold water to cool them quickly. Fill the pan with cold water and leave the eggs in the water until needed.
  3. Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil. Slip the asparagus into the pan and cook for 4 minutes, or until you can pierce the spears with the tip of a paring knife. The asparagus should be cooked through but not at all mushy. Carefully transfer the spears to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels and pat them dry.
  4. Pour out the salted water, rinse the skillet to cool it, dry it, and lay the strips of bacon in the pan. Cook over medium-low heat, turning as needed, until the bacon is golden and crisp on both sides. Remove the strips and put them between a double thickness of paper towels; when the bacon is cool, cut it into narrow strips or chop it into bits. Leave 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet — you’ll use it for the eggs.
  5. When you’re ready to serve, very, very carefully shell the eggs. It’s a fussy job, because the eggs are so soft, and you might not get the shells off cleanly, but unless you break into the yolks, it will be fine. Rinse the eggs to remove any bits of shell and pat them dry. Warm the bacon fat over medium heat.
  6. While the bacon fat is heating, assemble the salad. You can put it together on a platter or arrange it on individual plates. Either way, season the mesclun with salt and pepper, then toss it with about three quarters of the vinaigrette, and arrange in the center of the platter or your plates. Toss the asparagus with the remaining vinaigrette (I do this with my fingers) and lay the spears over the greens.
  7. Now return to the skillet. When the fat is warm, gingerly slip the eggs into the skillet and roll them around in the fat for a minute or two, just to coat them with fat, heat them slightly, and color them a little.
  8. Lift the eggs out of the skillet and place them on top of the asparagus. Scatter the bacon bits and toasted nuts over the salad and serve immediately.

 
 
Road Diary From France

Now that Spring has arrived, I can look forward to one of my favorite Springtime activities, picnicking. Although, I am an advocate for picnicking any time of year. 

This February, a clear, crisp afternoon in the Rhone-Alpes was just begging for a hike and a picnic. So, geared in boots and beanies, two friends and I hiked on snow covered trails in search of a clearing to lay our tarp, er, picnic blanket. With the rolling hills of Lyon as our backdrop, and a baguette still warm from the boulangerie, it was difficult to worry too much about the chill. There’s just nothing quite like a simple meal of gooey Camembert, fresh fruit, and a crusty baguette, preferably, enjoyed while sitting in the French countryside..

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