Monday, October 19, 2009

A Sunday Lunch

Leesa (News from France) and Alex came down from Paris to have lunch with us on Sunday. They got here early because they planned to make the food! Before lunch, however, we drove over to one of our wine-making neighbors for some tasting and wine purchasing. Jean-Noël, the viticulteur (grape grower and wine maker), had us taste some fresh grape juice and some bernache (juice that is beginning to ferment) before a full range of the wines he makes.

Tagine of salmon with fresh vegetables and spices.

We filled the trunk up with wine: forty liters plus six bottles for us and at least a dozen bottles for Alex and Leesa, and headed back home to finish making lunch. Our guests brought all the fixin's for a tagine of salmon that included courgettes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, their own home made citron confit (preserved lemon), and little violet potatoes. All that got chopped up and stewed with spices in a special North African pot called a tagine, hence the name of the dish.

Quiches in progress, with layers of smoked bacon, sautéed onion, cheese, and cooked swiss chard.

It was, needless to say, absolutely delicious! We served it with couscous, that little North African pasta that goes so well with these kinds of stews. Earlier in the morning I made four individual quiches with swiss chard from our garden to serve as the entrée.

The finished quiches. I made one without meat for Leesa.

And before that we snacked on a pumpkin-filled pastry that Ken found at a nearby bakery and some sliced saucisson. We started out drinking some of the moelleux (sweet apéritif) wine that Jean-Noël made and moved on to some of his red cabernet and côt with the meal. Yum.

Leesa, Alex, and Ken at the start of our vineyard walk.

Then the cheeses came out! After cheese we took a much needed walk in the vineyard and returned home for dessert. Again, Leesa brought an apple-cherry charlotte she had made on Saturday, and a few slices of her home made key lime pie. Wow. We had a great time and really appreciated Leesa's and Alex's generosity and culinary talents!


  1. Wow, sounds great! A good time had by all :)

    Hey, Walt, what were the wood-fire burning tips you got from Nick, if I may ask? My curiosity has been piqued :)


  2. Hey Walt!

    We had a great time, as usual!! It was our pleasure to prepare the tagine... and you know how much I love baking soooo... : )
    Glad you enjoyed it all... We appreciate you setting up the visit with your neigbour, that was pretty fun and he was a hoot! That wine (the moileux) was DLISH!
    Hope to see you next we can have another great day together...

    Take care,
    Leesa et Alex

  3. Sounds wonderful! Tagine is one of my favorite dishes. You must go to Maroc sometime to really experience it.

    I'll be leaving NYS for la vallee de la Loire in a few weeks. Can't wait to get back to Angers!

  4. Oh, goodness that tagine looks so delicious! All the food does.

    I wish I lived within range of a day trip like you all had! Maybe you can tell us how you made the tagine. I would never be able to come up with purple potatoes though.

  5. The tagine looks wonderful and the whole menu sounds superb. Your little quiches look cute.
    Makes me feel hungry !

  6. Hello Walt, how great that you and Ken got to spend the day with Leesa and Alex again. Looks like you all had a super time.

    Love the photos, but my favourite must be the last one, with Leesa with her camera out :-)

  7. At the rate you guys buy wine, you're going to need a warehouse to store it.

  8. 40 litres?!
    As I have never really had French wine, I want to come over!

  9. judy, it has to do with closing down the air vents to slow the fire down. It's not very good for the air because the wood and smoke don't burn hot enough, but it extends the life of the fire, especially overnight.

    leesa, great fun, as always!

    rachael, Maroc would be fun, I'm sure. Bon voyage!

    evelyn, it was very good, and we have leftovers!

    jean, the quiches turned out really nice. They could actually serve as an entire meal, with a little salad or maybe some frites!

    anne, Leesa takes a lot of photos, that's for sure!

    starman, nah, it doesn't last long enough...

    michael, we're waiting...

  10. Walt, after that quiche, I was actually "full." That could have easily been the meal, with a salad.. I agree! I hope we can all get together again in the spring... sorry it will be so long in the making but nothing is great in the cold of winter... Of course, if we make a trip down to the Loire to visit castles, we'll let you know before hand and we can meet for coffee....

    Take care,

  11. Salut Walt,

    Tu as oublié l'ingrédient qui donne ce petit goût sympa le citron confit miam miam :o)
    Et encore merci pour votre acceuil



  12. alex, ah, tu as raison! Je vais le corriger maintenant. Merci. ;)

  13. You probably know I met up with Leesa and Alex that very week. And she made a delicious tajine for me too, but it wasn't salmon...I think maybe it was vegetarian? So she must be a specialist!

    Have a great time in the U.S. of A.


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