June 28, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Moveable Feast

Foodbuzz sponsors a monthly event that features 24 bloggers from 24 cities around the world who prepare unique meals during the same 24 hours. Earlier this month, I submitted a proposal for a meal inspired by Ernest Hemingway's memoir of 1920's Paris, A Moveable Feast...and my proposal was chosen!

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."
-Ernest Hemingway, to a friend, 1950

A Moveable Feast is Hemingway's story of living as an expatriate writer--part of what fellow writer Gertrude Stein termed "Une Generation Perdue," The Lost Generation.

"That's what you are. That's what you all are," Miss Stein said. "All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation."

"Really," I said.

"You are," she insisted. "You have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death. . . ."

Though not a cookbook or food memoir, Hemingway's narrative includes many descriptions of the things he drank and ate in friends' homes and in various French cafes.

Though I originally planned to have dinner outside to emulate a Paris cafe, the heat index in St. Louis was over 100 that day, so I moved the meal inside. I tried to create a cafe feel with red plates, mismatched wine glasses, & an Eiffel Tower lamp on the buffet!


I invited fellow food & literature enthusiasts (from left): Jerad, Andy, Ellie, Bill, me, Stephanie, & Maggie (who took this pic).



(recipes follow)


(strawberry-infused vodka)


My wife and I had called on Miss Stein, and she and the friend who lived with her had been very cordial and friendly and we had loved the big studio with the great paintings. It was like one of the best rooms in the finest museum except there was a big fireplace and it was warm and comfortable and they gave you good things to eat and tea and natural distilled liqueurs made from purple plums, yellow plums or wild raspberries. These were fragrant, colorless alcohols served from cut-glass carafes in small glasses and whether they were quetsche, mirabelle or framboise they all tasted like the fruts they came from, converted into a controlled fire on your tongue that warmed and loosened it.
--> -->
Hor d'oeuvre:
Les Huîtres Crues avec Mignonette

(raw oysters with Mignonette sauce)


-->I closed up the story in the notebook and put it in my inside pocket and I asked the waiter for a dozen portugaises and a half-carafe of the dry white wine they had there. After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love, and I was sure this was a very good story although I would not know truly how good until I read it over the next day.

As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

Maggie reading the oysters passage.

Maggie eating her first raw oyster!
(Bill is in the background, twittering about how we made him drink Barefoot Bubbly.)

Premier Cours:
Cervelas Remoulade, Pommes a l'huile

(sausages with mustard sauce, marinated potato salad)


It was a quick talk to Lipp’s and every place I passed that my stomach noticed as quickly as my eyes or my nose made the walk an added pleasure. There were few people in the brasserie and when I sat down on the bench against the wall with the mirror in back and a table in front and the waiter asked if I wanted a beer I asked for a distingué, the big glass mug that held a liter, and for potato salad. The beer was very cold and wonderful to drink. The pommes a l’huile were firm and marinated and the olive oil delicious. I ground black pepper over the potatoes and moistened the bread in the olive oil. After the first heavy draft of beer I drank and ate very slowly. When the pommes a l’huile were gone I ordered another serving and a cervelas. This was a sausage like a heavy, wide frankfurter split in two and covered with a special mustard sauce. I mopped up all the oil and all of the sauce with bread and drank the beer slowly until it began to lose its coldness and then I finished it and ordered a demi and watched it drawn. It seemed colder than the distingué and I drank half of it.

Stephanie & Ellie reading the sausages & potatoes passage (my typos & all).

Deuxième Cours:
Truffé de Poulet Rôti, Radis et de Salade d'endives

(truffled roast chicken, radish & endive salad)

[Disclaimer: The chicken, our third course, was served at nearly 10:00 pm. By that time I had consumed much vodka, champagne & wine and therefore forgot to photographically document the dishes. My apologies.]

-->We were halted by rain about an hour north of Lyon. In that day we were halted by rain possibly ten times. They were passing showers and some of them were longer than others. If we had waterproof coats it would have been pleasant enough to drive in that spring rain. As it was we sought the shelter of trees or halted at cafés alongside the road. We had a marvelous lunch from the hotel at Lyon, an excellent truffled roast chicken, delicious bread and white Macon wine and Scott was very happy when we drank the white Maconnais at each of our stops.
* * *

“We’ll come home and eat here and we’ll have a lovely meal and drink Beaune from the co-operative you can see right out of the window there with the price of the Beaune on the window. And afterwards we’ll read and then go to bed and make love.”

“And we’ll never love anyone else but each other.”

“No. Never.”

“What a lovely afternoon and evening. Now we’d better have lunch.”

“I’m very hungry,” I said. “I worked at the café on a café crème.”

“How did it go, Tatie?”

“I think all right. I hope so. What do we have for lunch?”

“Little radishes, and a good
foie de veau with mashed potatoes and an endive salad. Apple tart.”

Tarte aux Pommes, Café au Lait

(apple tart, coffee with milk)


-->It was a pleasant café, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old waterproof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a café au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.

My favorite pic of the night!


Strawberry-Infused Vodka:

An eau-de-vie, which Gertrude Stein served to Hemingway on numerous occasions, is actually a clear, colorless fruit brandy. However, I decided to make my own fruited liquor by infusing vodka with fresh strawberries.

This is so delicious yet so easy! Simply cut up a large container of strawberries (de-stemmed) into quarters. Pile into a pitcher and top with an entire bottle of vodka. Let sit at room temperature for a few hours (or in the fridge overnight), then strain back into the vodka bottle (or another decorative vessel). The result is sweet enough to sip straight from danty stemmed glasses.

NOTE: Do NOT store the finished vodka in the freezer. It will freeze solid (I learned that lesson this morning)!

Mignonette Sauce:

This is my favorite accompaniment to serve with raw or lightly steamed oysters.

Mix 1/2 cup champagne vinegar with 2 tablespoons finely shopped shallots, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, & the zest of one lemon. Spoon over raw oysters before eating.

Sausages with Mustard Sauce & Marinated Potato Salad:

I sauteed Italian sausages in a bit of olive oil until they were brown and cooked through. I turned off the heat and let them sit in the pan while I made the mustard sauce & potatoes. When I was ready to serve, I quartered the sausages.

For the mustard sauce: mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) Dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove, juice of half a lemon, a pinch of salt & freshly ground black pepper. Serve on the side.

For the potato salad: boil whole red new potatoes until just tender on the inside. You wante them to be retain a little firmness. Drain. While still warm, but cool enough to handle, thinly slice the potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Add a finely chopped shallot (or green onions) & a handful of chopped parsley. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Truffled Roast Chicken with Radish & Endive Salad:

For the chicken: Wash & dry a roasting chicken. Rub olive oil all over the skin & sprinkle liberally with truffle salt. Roast at 425 degrees for about an hour (for a 4.5 pound bird), or until the skin is browned & crispy and the juices run clear (meat should register 160 at the thickest part of the leg). Remove from oven and let rest while you prepare the salad. Serve with a small carafe of black truffle oil that your guests can drizzle over their chicken.

For the salad: Slice endive heads & radishes thinly. Season with salt & pepper and dress with a simple vinaigrette. I used the leftover Mignonette sauce whisked with some olive oil.

Apple Tart:
(recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

This was my favorite dish of the night, partly because it was so easy to make & partly because if was pretty tasty!

Thaw a puff pastry sheet, unfold it, cut it in half, then roll each half to form two larger rectangles.

Cut 2-3 apples in quarters & cut the core out. Thinly slice the apples & transfer to a bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt & 1 cup of brown sugar. Mix well to coat. Layer the apples, in one over-lapping line down the center of each pastry. Bake at 415 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed & browned. Remove from oven & transfer the tarts to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkle with powdered sugar just before cutting.



Anonymous said...

What a good looking man at the other end of the table! Great food, wonderful night.

s. stockwell said...

How wonderful and creative this is!! Very authentic too. Looks like you designed a big winner! Thanks, we love it. Best, s

The Duo Dishes said...

So French, so yummy. The tarte aux pommes, c'est fantastique! Great 24 post.

I love tastes said...

this is so interesting.... love the French styles!

Denzil said...

Congrats on being chosen! Everything looked delicious.