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February Gathering Guide for Savor Time & Tradition Subscribers
Bonjour! I Hope you are excited about our February in France theme! I chose to curate a French inspired box in part to celebrate how the French culture prioritizes the social aspect of daily meals. I also thought it would be fun to learn more about these meal-time customs, and then lean into this concept as we think of gathering around the table with our loved ones over the coming weeks.
Here is What I've Learned:
In France, the mid-day meal is viewed as the most important of the day. For this reason, stores close for lunch and most employers allow for longer lunches. without the burden of an open laptop or a hurried pace. It's my understanding that schools even offer 30-60 minute lunch periods for a hot meal and socializing among students. The French tend to prioritize this extended break in their day to enjoy a two or three course meal and almost always in the company of others.
In an article published on The Local, a French news publication, French Sociologist, Thibaut de Saint Pol, emphasizes how important lunch time is to the French as compared to other cultures. “Meals are the most enjoyable moments of the day. We only miss them on rare occasions.” He goes on to say that mealtimes are “an important social time” and “family identity, work teams or friends are built around these moments.”
In an interview with Le Parisien newspaper, food specialist, Jean-Pierre Corbeau, describes meal-time as “a very important ritual in France.” He adds. “Eating is not only to give us energy, but even more than this, a moment where our identity is formed by what we eat, how we eat, and who we eat with.”It is an opportunity to savor not only the food but the people we share the meal with."
Each month, it is my hope that our subscribers will take moments and make memories with the people they love.
In this gathering guide you will find a suggested three (or four) course menu and recipes for a French Bistro style meal of your own, plus a link to a French music playlist I compiled just for you! You will find a few ways to use the herb blend and Fleur de sel included in your box.
I hope you will try some or all of the recipes I chose to include here. By name, these seem like fancy, complex dishes, but are really very simple recipes that don't take much time at all. So, gather your friends or family, turn on the music, put a few flowers in a simple vase, serve good food, and enjoy both the meal and the company.
As always, I am so very grateful for you as a customer!
French Bistro Playlist (Spotify)
Three Course French Bistro Menu
Le Plat Principal (main course)
Plateau de Fromage (cheese plate)
Simply gather your favorite salad greens into bowl and toss with Riviera Vinaigrette dressing.
Adapted from Helen Park, for La Boite
Saint-Jacques aux tomates sautées
Adapted from Lior Lev Sercarz
- Season 1 pound of firm sea scallops on both sides with Fleur de Sel and Riviera Herbs Spice Blend.
- Drizzle olive oil in a metal or cast iron skillet and heat until lightly smoking.
- Add the scallops. Sear on both sides for about 1 to 2 minutes
- Then, Add 2 Tbsp butter to the pan and baste the scallops with the butter for approximately one more minute.
- Finish with a drizzle some lemon juice on top and remove the scallops from the pan.
- Add halved grape or cherry tomatoes to pan and cook on high for another 1-2 minutes, scraping any brown bits off the surface as they cook. If you wish, toss a peeled clove or two of garlic in the pan and discard the garlic before serving. Off heat, combine tomatoes and sauce with the scallops. Serve immediately, as is or over rice or pasta. Bon Appétit!
Camembert au four
Jam (fig is a nice choice), Cooked Mushrooms, Pinenuts, Pistachios, Herbs, Honey, Chili Flakes
Just in case you want to add a fourth course to your meal, I have added a dessert suggestion here. This dish is an uncomplicated, comforting finish to any French inspired meal!
Clafoutis aux cerises
This rustic and beloved French dessert is a cross between a flan and a Dutch baby pancake. The clafoutis (cla-foo-tee) first became popular in Limousin, in southern central France in the 19th century. The classic version calls for un-pitted, black cherries because the pit adds an almond flavor as it bakes. (Side note: Did you know that stone fruits are all related to the almond?) This version will help you avoid an unpleasant trip to the dentist and calls for almond extract instead. It really is an easy dessert or brunch dish. Simply put sugar-coated cherries in the baking dish, blend up the batter, pour over the fruit, and bake. Plan to serve your clafoutis warm. You can even bake it ahead of time and warm it in the oven just before serving.
Adapted from The Daring Gourmet
- 3 cups pitted cherries*
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a 1.5 quart shallow baking dish. You could use any glass or ceramic coated dish, or a cast iron skillet. A metal pan is not recommended.
Make the filing: In a blender or food processor, blend together the milk, cream, the 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, flour, melted butter, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt until VERY smooth.
Toss cherries in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar (more or less depending on how tart or sweet the cherries are). Then place them in the buttered baking dish in a single layer.
Pour the batter over the cherries. It’s ok if your baking dish is quite full. If filled to the top, place your dish on a baking sheet to protect your oven. The custard will puff up and then fall again after baking.
Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the clafoutis is set with a slight jiggle in the middle.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 8-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or creme fraîche.
*If you are not a fan of cherries or they just aren’t in season, you can substitute raspberries, blackberries, plums, or apples. If using berries, I suggest omitting the almond extract and adding a little lemon zest. You can also use frozen fruit. Just thaw and thoroughly drain.