Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dimanche Francais

Is there a more unpleasant thing than being rousted out of a peaceful sleep by a blaring alarm clock?  Okay, that's both a rhetorical question and hyperbole, because yes, of course there are worse things... but still, it's pretty bad.  It's at least the worst thing that happens to me on most days, today included.

Once I got the alarm to stop shrilling at me, and puzzled out why it was going off at all, I was glad to be awake.  I have a good friend that I have a standing date with to walk on Sundays.  We hadn't been able to walk for several weeks now, mostly due to lousy weather.  Winter in Ohio, for ya!  We couldn't walk today either, because of the injury to my Achilles tendon.  Happily, though, she wanted to get together for coffee/tea and catch up, since it had been some time since we had seen one another.  So we met at a coffee shop to visit and chat.  We had great conversation, as we always do.  We even ventured into the weeds of a political discussion, and found we have similar beliefs.  I had always suspected we would, but had been hesitant to broach the subject.  Not only is she a great conversationalist, she is also an absolute sweetheart.  She brought a book she recommended for me to borrow, and also came with a little gift in tow...

I had mentioned on a website we are members of that I was trying to locate Fines Herbes.  She came across this in her spice collection, and thought I might want it, so she brought it to me.  I admit, I had never heard of it before, and knew only what the bottle told me... that it was "Garnished Bouquet", and the ingredient list, which was:  savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage and tarragon.  I took it happily, since I'm on a French cooking kick, and could hardly wait to get home and Google it to learn more about it.  Googling "Bouquet Garni" gave me this:
The bouquet garni [bukɛ ɡaʁni] (French for "garnished bouquet") is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soupstock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.
If anyone wants to read any further on the topic, the above quote came from here: Wikipedia Article For Bouquet Garni.  I was delighted with the discovery, since I make a lot of soups for myself, and stews for Hubby and I.  Obviously, though, this is a spice blend and not a bundle, so I searched for information about the spice blend, and found that you just crumble some between your fingers and put it in the foods you wish to flavor, instead of using a bouquet, cheesecloth or a tea ball.

After my Googling expedition, I realized it was still hours before I could wake Hubby, and though there is no shortage of things I could organize or clean to pass the time, I decided to go out for a late lunch, and took my book.  {I am currently reading "Alias Grace" by Margaret Atwood.  I'm at about the halfway point, and thus far am entirely enamored with it.}  When I finished with my lunch, I decided to go to the Half Price Books next door and look around.  I wasn't necessarily looking for anything in particular, but came out with these nonetheless...

I wasn't planning to buy any French cookbooks unless I had already checked them out at the library and knew they were good, but... well, I'm not very good at not buying books.  Cookbooks or otherwise.  So I am now the owner of two French cookbooks that will hopefully have some delicious recipes in them, and maybe some useful information as well.  Thus far I've only made two French recipes, Chicken Francese and Skillet Herbed Chicken with Mustard, but they were both amazing, and have left me curious about other French recipes.

This evening, though, I am taking the easy way out.  Hubby had to work several hours late this morning, so I'm letting him sleep several hours late this afternoon/evening.  Rather than cooking a big meal at an odd time, I decided to just boil up some refrigerated pasta {spinach and cheese tortellini} and make up some kind of tomato based sauce to go on it.  Doing this, I can have dinner ready in just a few minutes, whenever Hubby wants to eat.  He will either wake up starving because he hasn't eaten, or he ate when he got home from work and won't be hungry for a while.  {I was out for coffee when he got home from work.}

For now, I'm going to close this entry and curl up with my book.  Adieu!

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