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Hors D’oeuvre de Provence

Hors D’oeuvre de Provence

Well, if my last letter didn’t get you inspired to use your creative juices in the kitchen then this month you are in the kitchen because you have no choice.  Family and friends are coming for the holidays and looking forward to your mouthwatering inventions – and you haven’t let them down yet!

So here’s my gift for you!  A specialty hors d’oeuvre I learned from a dear lady in Gordes who graciously opens her home to give my fellow travelers cooking lessons from time to time.  If you were on my last Energize! Provence Tour than you know what I am talking about;

hors d'oeuvres

Chevres à la Provencale Sur Fonds D’Artichauts

Provencal Goat Cheese Rounds on Artichoke Bottoms

I did a little research to make sure the products could be found in the US and, indeed, you should not have a problem.  It’s such a simple recipe yet the flavors stand out to impress and the design is, well, a bit more sophisticated than most hors d’oeuvres.  The funnest part is finding that thyme sprig that you can press down in the melted cheese to stand tall and announce your masterpiece.  Thyme grows wild in Provence so come on over if you need some! Enjoy this “entrée” (remember, “entrée” in French means “starter” – not to confuse with the term used in the US as the main course) with a white wine from the Cotes-du-Rhone or Ventoux region.

Ingredients

  • Artichoke bottoms (saw them on Amazon, otherwise check the canned food isle as well as the frozen foods)
    hors d'oeuvre

    Found on Amazon

  • Slices of round goat cheese (here in Provence I use Cabécou or Picodon)
  • Black tapenade
  • Thyme
  • Honey (optional)

Heat oven to 350° – Spread tapenade on the artichokes then cover with a cheese round – Sprinkle with salt (not too much as the tapenade itself is rather salty), pepper and some fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary or sage – Place the artichokes in a dish and sprinkle with olive oil and/or honey – Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes – Serve the artichokes with a green salad accompanied with a vinaigrette sauce and toasted French bread slices.

Bon Appétit 

Provencal Cooking Lesson

Provencal Cooking Lesson – Domaine Des Peyre in the Luberon  provencal cooking lesson

The evening of September 13th was the 4th cooking lesson in 9 days!  However, in Provence, it didn’t feel like work and it was inspiring us all to get back in the kitchen to create.  It isn’t until you venture into one of the best culinary worlds on the planet, France, that you realize cooking isn’t that hard.  The real problem is that we get into a rut and then get burned out.  Wouldn’t you say?  Well, travel, women’s travel in Provence to be precise, is a remedy for those routine blues.  And yes, men can participate too.

We were hosted in a recently renovated 18th century Provencal farmstead turned into winery, wine cellar and cottage apartments for rent.  Our menu was titled “Apéro sous

A Good Year

Grape Harvest – A Good Year!

a good year

Coming back to France at the end of August with my kids is always a hectic time for me. I have three kids to get ready for school in somewhat disfavoring conditions . Physically, we are unable to sleep from 2 to 5 am due to the extended length of time in Pacific Costal Time (9 hours difference). Mentally, we are coming back with English at the tip of our tongues and struggling to make the switch. Adding to the fun is adjusting to our mostly dysfunctional house. Surrendering the house to my husband for two months always proves to give a few surprises upon return.