Ahhh, picture it poodles. The Madeleine Peyroux Pandora station playing through the house over the Sonos. A bottle of French wine. Flickering candles. Sunset over Zilker park on a lazy, gentle Sunday evening. Coq Au Vin. Potatoes Gratin. Could you ask for a better set-up for a FANTASTIQUE French meal? Non!
My bestie, Apron Adventures, mentioned making the Coq Au Vin from Bon Appetit, but I thought she said she made the one from Cooking Light. She raved and raved and I decided to give the Cooking Light version a try…trust me, I’ll try the Bon App one next for sure. If Apron loves it, I know I will. Zut alors lambs this was absolutely amazing and has definitely made my list as one of my favorites. I don’t think I’ve “mmmmmed” and “ahhhhhhed” over a meal in quite sometime.
This was so earthy, delicious and had that je ne sais quoi-ness to it. Plus the chicken just fell off the bone and there’s bacon. We all know how I feel about glorious bacon – see my food categories to the right of this post if you need further confirmation. I couldn’t find pearl onions but we did just fine without them. I served this with these awesome Muffin-Pan Potato Gratinsfrom Everyday Food. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter except decided to add freshly chopped rosemary every time I seasoned with salt and pepper and since there are only two of us, I served in greased ramekins for easier clean-up. This is such a simple and delicious side, you have no excuse not to give them a try.
There you have it mes amis, a beautiful, easy dinner that I’m for sure going to make for a dinner party when the time is right. C’est si bon!
I earmarked these subs a while ago in the September issue of Food & Wine because I adore Ratatouille (sans eggplant) and I love the idea of this timeless dish combined with tangy goat cheese all on toasty bread. More on the recipe’s creator Chef Matt Neal in Food & Wine:
Matt Neal had never made ratatouille before he opened Neal’s Deli. He took the recipe from his father, the legendary Southern chef Bill Neal, and used it as the basis for his own version. Neal cooks the key ingredients—eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and onion—separately. “That way, I can make sure each vegetable cooks exactly how I want it; plus they won’t steam in a big group all together,” he says. “Customers request this sandwich all summer long, but we wait until the ingredients are available at the farmers’ market before we serve it.”
I omitted the eggplant because we both think it’s disgusting – yes disgusting and it’s quite nice to have someone share that same disgust with you since so many people love eggplant. Otherwise, I followed the recipe’s instructions to the letter and it went by much, much quicker than I thought given you have to cook all of the vegetables individually.
I really can’t say much more about these except that they were absolutely delicious, full of flavor and as a bonus perfect for a meatless Monday meal. After ACL Festival weekend, this was a great transition dish to move back into a healthy diet.
As a sidenote, ACL? Wow. I had an absolute BLAST. While Muse was mind-blowingly good my choice for best show was definitely Deadmau5. Lambs, he was a super poodle, put on a fantastic show and the crowd was waaaaay into it. I highly recommend checking him out if you haven’t yet. Oh, and The National, one of my all-time favorites, was exactly how I thought they would be…absolutely incredible. Thank goodness I finally got to see them live!
My friend and fellow blogger Ivette from Here’s to Looking at Life has been dying for me to watch the movie Amélie for quite some time, not just because it’s my name en français, she knew I would love it! Being that we are total food dorks, the idea came about to have a French-themed food night to go along with our little movie…best laid plans is all I have to say.
Joining the intimate party was my niece Alex, Ivette of course and Lindsay from Apron Adventures. We started cooking pretty late, well because there was good French wine – we loved Le Coq Rouge for $11 at Whole Foods Market – and cheese, crackers, grapes and apples to munch on while we gossiped about everything under the sun. For our main course, we chose this delicious Dijon Croque Monsieur recipe with Haricots Verts Salad from Cooking Light and for dessert Alex made these awesome Café Au Laits from Gourmet.
The Dijon Croque Monsieurs were very easy to assemble and I liked the fat-free milk/egg substitute wash for the sandwiches that gave them a nice crisp texture. This was a simple, cheesy, ham-a-licious sandwich that we all enjoyed and the haricots verts salad (we used bagged green beans and they worked just fine!) had a delicious and easy vinaigrette and we added in some toasted almonds for crunch; recipe below. Click here to see our finished dish from last night at Here’s To Looking at Life.
I didn’t make the Café Au Laits but watched Alex make them and it came together really, really, really easily and by the end of the night we inhaled them although we said we were just going to have a bite. 😉
Why best laid plans? We didn’t even watch the movie! Leave it to a group of besties to get around each other with great food, good wine, the best company and not need anything else to entertain us – I wouldn’t have it any other way. C’est si bon!
Haricots Verts Salad
Cook ¾ pound trimmed haricot verts in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge beans into ice water, drain. Place beans in a medium bowl; add ½ cup of slivered red bell pepper. Combine 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over bean mixture; toss to coat (add almonds if you desire).