French Delights

26 07 2011

I am freshly fluffed and feeling fine.

We made an excursion to the open market in Nice today.  The smells were exquisite: artisan cheeses, provencal sausages, crisp white wines, multitudinous flowers conjuring the famous perfumes of Grasse just up the hill….and Socca.

Socca is a simple staple of Southern French fare.  It is ubiquitous in all the open markets in this area.  And, I always get a wedge.  I assume this is because nothing about it is bad for the figure of a small dog.

I watched carefully today as an old man concocted the batter.  Pezzo di torta, as we like to say: piece of cake.

Following is my translation.  I estimate it would serve 4 humans…or 1 dog:

The man put 1 1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo) flour in a medium-sized blue bowl.  He added 1/3 cup of a lovely pale green olive oil and 2 cups of water and then stirred the whole slurry with a whisk.  He bent down to let me see the mix: a soft, smooth, lump-free batter that smelled like a rich bean cake.

He then poured a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, round pan, about 13-14 inches wide, like something one would use for Paella (ah, that trip to Spain last summer!). The Socca was only about 1/2 thick, or so.

He popped the whole thing into a very hot oven (I estimate, by the tinges on my whiskers when he opened the door, that the temp was 500 degrees).  He let this bake for what seemed to be 20 or 25 minutes.  Anyway, when it was set in the middle and browned at the edges, he took it out, drizzled it with more olive oil (about a tablespoon, I think, and sprinkled coarse salt and fresh pepper on top.

It was then cut into wedges and each was served on a piece of parchment paper: warm, salty heaven. I guess you could add herbs, or spices to the batter.  There are probably endless possibilities.

Personally, I think it would be a great light summer meal, with a tossed green salad and a glass or two of Provencal Rose wine.  

Alas, no one asked me.

I eat it alone, treasure on the street… a la cobblestones.  Still, heaven.

Chow.

Advertisements




Going to Grasse

27 07 2009

Side trip from the beaches of the Cote D’Azur to Grasse today.  Why leave the poolside, I ask…until we arrived at the perfumerie.The inside was nearly scentless.  Odd for the site of such haute odor, as it were.

First we had a tour of the facility: flower gathering, petal crushing, essence distillation.  A veritable vegetal delight.  Too bad I’m a carnivore.  It seems they are leaving out a broad contingent of possible sales here.  Goat #5; Rooster Persuasion; Joy de Cat.  I’m sure there’s a market, no?

My Contessa sidled up to a tall counter, a woman in a white coat stood by with a small bottle in hand.  Tiny straws were dipped. one by one into a few dozen vessels, the Contessa taking a shallow whiff of each.

Roses, lavander, hyacinth and many too foreign for me to name.  I was still waiting for the Evening au Demi-Glace.  A little behind each floppy ear.  Eau de Veau would certainly be my favorite.Selection complete, the Contessa pulled several 100 euro notes from her purse and we returned to the car.  A brisk wind blew and tall pink flowers tipped their heads to the roadside.  Unable to resist, I sampled a blossom: nothing like the rare essence confined to the tiny bottles.  Vegetal and bitter.

Like wine, I suppose, anything of featured flora is better under the press.  It gives one pause when considering a new venture, though.

How does one press a cat?

Chow.





Delices de France

23 07 2009

I am freshly fluffed and feeling fine.

We made an excursion to the open market in Nice today.  The smells were exquisite: artisan cheeses, provencal sausages, crisp white wines, multitudinous flowers conjuring the famous perfumes of Grasse just up the hill….and Socca.

Socca is a simple staple of Southern French fare.  It is ubiquitous in all the open markets in this area.  And, I always get a wedge.  I assume this is because nothing about it is bad for the figure of a small dog.

I watched carefully today as an old man concocted the batter.  Pezzo di torta, as we like to say: piece of cake.

Following is my translation.  I estimate it would serve 4 humans…or 1 dog:

The man put 1 1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo) flour in a medium-sized blue bowl.  He added 1/3 cup of a lovely pale green olive oil and 2 cups of water and then stirred the whole slurry with a whisk.  He bent down to let me see the mix: a soft, smooth, lump-free batter that smelled like a rich bean cake.

He then poured a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, round pan, about 13-14 inches wide, like something one would use for Paella (ah, that trip to Spain last summer!). The Socca was only about 1/2 thick, or so.

He popped the whole thing into a very hot oven (I estimate, by the tinges on my whiskers when he opened the door, that the temp was 500 degrees).  He let this bake for what seemed to be 20 or 25 minutes.  Anyway, when it was set in the middle and browned at the edges, he took it out, drizzled it with more olive oil (about a tablespoon, I think, and sprinkled coarse salt and fresh pepper on top.

It was then cut into wedges and each was served on a piece of parchment paper: warm, salty heaven. I guess you could add herbs, or spices to the batter.  There are probably endless possibilities.

Personally, I think it would be a great light summer meal, with a tossed green salad and a glass or two of Provencal Rose wine.  

Alas, no one asked me.

I eat it alone, treasure on the street… a la cobblestones.  Still, heaven.

Chow.





La Reserv—ation

20 07 2009

Boat travel in any breeze greater that 5 knots should be prohibited—worldwide.  If the vessel lists, I insist: NO PASSAGE.

While I enjoy licking up most things that end up on the floor, keeping time with seasick people is not a highlight.  At least not after the first two or three victims.

It took me a full day to get my sea-legs, and that was AFTER I left the ship. Remember, I have four of them.  You know how one year to a human is like seven years to a dog? Well, one day of motion sickness to a dog is like seven days to a human.

“Feel” that.

The only upside to the trip was the ending: A private car to La Reserve, jewel on the Cote D’Azur.

A warm, salt-water pool, long lunches on the palatial veranda, speed boats (too fast to sway) along the Mediterranean shore.

Doggy spa treatments at La Petite Chien: sugar scrub on the belly, acu-pressure to points north of the tail, ear massage.AHHHHH.  The buffing of toe nails; the fluffing of chin hairs.  Pellegrino or Evian?  I ask you.

The ferry floor is but a dim memory.  On to the beach a la Francaise.

Chow.








%d bloggers like this: