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Frenchie and a BBQ à la Campagne

17 Jun

When you start experiencing the Relish Carolina shindigs and their roaming dinner parties, you just can’t stop.

Sensory overload in the best way possible, they say. And it’s true!

Do you remember this partie de campagne at the farm? I do!

Every year, new themes, new food, new locations and new concepts.

The excitement always builds up as their new seasonal dinner calendar is announced.

This time – a South Carolina BBQ retreat to escape and joyfully spend a Sunday night among old and new friends.

The usual 100-120-seat long table, the same outdoor fairy lights.

The familiar vibe, the regular smiles and warmth of the crowd.

Countless ducks, chickens, fish, hogs, pork.

Fire pits, smoke, ash and enticing smells surrounding guests already busy cocktailing and grazing on the local charcuterie.

And going away from the traditional BYOP (Bring Your Own Plate), this time Le Creuset displayed an elegant and grandiose array of colorful plates, pitchers and cookware.

A perfect summer night.

If you’ve never participated in a Relish event, here is what you need to know:

– buy your tickets ahead of time, they disappear fast

– fast all day and come hungry

– be prepared to socialize, meet new people, and share family style food platters

– as Relish points out – it’s ok to talk to strangers – and you never know who might be seating next to you… your next best friend, a new client, or future husband/wife.

– try everything once, food or drinks, and go back for seconds

– bring bug spray if it’s an outside summer event

– enjoy local ingredients, food, chefs, mixologists and anything crafty Relish might have up its sleeve – and they have a lot of ideas!

– play the game, if there’s a theme, go with it!

– and of course, relax and have fun

Frenchie and a Long Winter

21 Apr

 

It has been a quiet winter on the blog.

Time flies quickly when life purposely and unwittingly puts many obstacles on your way.

I hope this long silence is over because I have many photos and experiences to share.

I will be back.

 

Frenchie and a Winter Soup

19 Jan

Winter isn’t winter without the distinct flavor and smell of celeriac.

And winter isn’t really winter in the southeast.

So as temperatures started to drop in the area these past couple of weeks, it became clear that winter needed to be celebrated with a thick pureed soup to welcome the mild January cold notes that remind me of much colder weather in Wisconsin and Boston.

This simple soup gets its wonderful texture from the silky-smooth addition of pears while the crispy bacon helps create the overall seasoning.

And starting the new year with a comfort dish makes the heart grow fonder for new adventures in the coming year.

Bonne année !!

Celeriac Soup with Pear and Bacon

Serves 8-10

2-3 oz (55-85 g) of bacon, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp of olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1 Tbsp of fennel seeds

1 Tbsp of tarragon, chopped,

2 leeks, white and green, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup (80 ml) of oaked white wine

2 lb (905 g) of celeriac, peeled and cut in chunks

1 medium Russet potato, peeled and cut in chunks

2 organic pears, 1 pear peeled, cored and cut in chunks, 1 pear washed, cored and thinly sliced

3 cups (70 cl) of water

3 cups (70 cl) of vegetable stock/broth

1 teaspoon of sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1 cup (25 cl) of coconut milk

other herbs as needed for serving (chopped thyme, rosemary, or parsley)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C) and line a baking sheet with foil. Cook the bacon in the oven until crispy – depending on taste. Set aside.

In a heavy pot, heat up the olive oil.

Add the onion and shallot, and cook for 4 minutes on medium low until soft.

Add the fennel seeds, the tarragon and the leeks, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed and evaporated.

Add the celeriac, the potato and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the pear and continue to cook for 1 minute.

Add the water and stock, season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high. When starting to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

When the vegetables are ready and tender, use a hand-held mixer to puree the soup or use a food processor. Taste the seasoning and adjust the salt, pepper and tarragon if necessary.

Serve the soup in individual bowls. Mix 1 Tbsp of coconut milk in each bowl before serving. Arrange thin slices of the second pear, bacon chunks, pepper, and chopped herbs on top of the soup. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of coconut milk on top and serve.

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