Thursday, November 3, 2016

Food and Faience, Yum!

I was lucky to be raised by a very good cook: my mother, who just instinctively prepared delicious, appetizing meals, and always well presented. Over the years, in addition to her repertoire, I've added lots more from books, magazines, friends, dining-out experiences, trading tips with my three children.

But times have changed and everyone's eating habits have changed. When I think back to my catering career, when every menu started with three hot hors d'oeuvres, and three cold ones, before the dinner, be it seated or buffet, I wonder now: "How did we do it? How did we all manage to eat and drink so much?"

So my kitchen research nowadays is much more into: Easy, Nourishing, Healthful. These are just three of the recipes I am currently using, one I developed some years ago, one quite new, and one from a friend.

On to the kitchen!

A Good Green Soup:

 Basic Ingredients: Bag of Broccoli Florets, Carton of Baby Spinach and one of Baby Kale,
             One or two large Onions, Chicken  Bouillon and or Vegetable Bouillon, Milk

Method:In a large soup pot, steam the broccoli in the bouillons until quite soft, put spinach and kale in on top,put lid back on and turn off heat. Those greens will be wilted-cooked in no time. In a separate pan, saute sliced onion until lightly caramelized. Add to main pot, coarsely puree with an immersion blender, and add milk to thin as desired. Season to taste: little or no salt needed depending on your bouillon stock,; I like lots of black pepper, and nutmeg on top.

A Winter-Summer Salad:

Basic Ingredients: Romaine Lettuce, Feta Cheese, Watermelon, Croutons, Oil and Vinegar

Method: I find this is best created directly on each plate as it composes better that way than if all tossed together. Make croutons first: I use any crusty French bread, Mexican rolls, or whatever, just dice, slide onto a flat baking pan and into a 375o oven. While they are toasting, chop the lettuce, dice watermelon cubes, and crumble cheese ...assemble in layers, dress very lightly ( olive oil and white balsamic vinegar are my choices), salt and pepper to taste, and at the last minute, a handful of toasty-hot bread cubes on top.

The Delicious Protein Snack:

Basic Ingredients: Large carton Cottage Cheese, 6 Eggs, Lemon Juice, Sugar, Cinnamon

Method:   Blend all to a soupy consistency in a regular blender , pour into individual ramekins, set them on a rimmed pan, and pour hot water around them. Bake at 350o until they puff and crack slightly at the edges...usually about 45 60 minutes.  The variables here are the lemon juice...I like lemon flavor,(think good cheesecake!)but one could omit or use vanilla instead and I use as little sugar as possible; could be varied with honey or possibly a sugar substitute. Cinnamon is also a variable; can be baked in, as here, sprinkled after, or omitted.

These keep very well, refrigerated, for as much as a week, and I have even frozen them on occasion.
Garnish with orange sections, or grapes, or, as I am about to do right now, eat one still warm from the oven!


Where does the faience come into it?  I do use interesting old pieces in my kitchen, I do eat on it, and, of course, I am still buying and selling it. All the pieces shown in this blog are from stock and are for sale.

The soup was to be served on one of my 19th century plates (of which I have a good shelf-ful) that are not Quimper, but what I think of as O.F.F.., meaning Other French Faience.

The duck plate, and the floral to its left are from the Bourgogne_Auxerre region. The bird plate to the left of that is old Nevers.


Salad plate is from St. Clement, late 19th century

As is its mate on the right. The little tureen is from Tours.

The delicious snack fixings are piled in a wonderful old Quimper server.

It  awaits a new home with other pieces from that factory, that era.

You are welcome to contact me about the food, and/or the faience.
   Joan Datesman