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When we were gainfully employed, back in the beginning of time, we did a bit of business in London. We always flew into Gatwick and had a favorite spot we liked to stay in not too far from the airport.
It was a lovely, country house hotel, with grounds that we could walk to get rid of jet lag when we arrived, and a wonderful restaurant that we could enjoy for our final dinner when we were on our way home. They smoked their own salmon and had their own fresh spring water in pitchers on the tables. There was a bottle of sherry in the room.
It was wonderful.
We stayed there at least a dozen times.
We could never find it.
Admittedly it was out in the middle of nowhere, and the sign pointing to it was small and hand-painted, but, one would think that after, say, the first 6 or 7 times we drove there, we would know how to get there.
One would be wrong.
We never found it with less than an hour of searching, often 2 or 3. And I'm counting from when we were within a couple of miles.
The problem was that we were so very lost, so very often, that absolutely everything looked familiar.
We'd come to the intersection with the 'Rose and Crown' on the corner. We would know that the hotel was only 5 minutes away… But, did we turn left if the 'Rose and Crown' was on our right? Or did we turn right when it was on our left? Or did we do that last time and then realize we needed to go straight?
Of course these discussions were always held in calm, quiet, considerate tones of voices…..
Why didn't we finally write down minute instructions once we got to the hotel?
Oh, come on….we couldn't possibly not remember next time, could we?????
I mean, really!!!!!
This all came back to me this morning.
I was Googling the difference between Fromage Frais and Fromage Blanc.
I know they are two different things. I buy both, but not often enough to remember which is which. I recognize the packages when I'm in the store so I don't (often) by the wrong one. I just can't remember unless I'm standing in front of them.
I'm adding a page to my site on definitions and substitutions. I want to include the dairy products that I use: Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Crème Fraiche, Fromage Frais and Fromage Blanc. I don't have them all in the fridge at the moment, and I want to get the definitions right.
I spent 2 hours trying to find what I know is correct.
First off, most sites said they are the same thing. They're not.
Fromage Frais (I think) comes in little containers, with a tiny basket inside to drain the liquid and is similar to cream cheese, but significantly lower in fat and calories. It is considered to be a fresh cheese – just like the name says.
Fromage Blanc comes in containers much like plain yogurt, It's taste is slightly less tart and texture a bit creamier than plain yogurt. Fromage Blanc can be whipped, like cream (but not as much). It is considered to be more of a cream.
Some sites said that Fromage Frais was a generic term (I suppose it could be) that didn't actually describe a product (not true – I've bought it).
Most sites went on to describe Fromage Blanc in exactly the terms I would use to describe Fromage Frais.
By now I am ready to put my fist into my screen, grab Google and ring it's f*ing neck.
I took the girls for a walk.
When I resumed my search, somewhat calmer, I found that most of the sites describing Fromage Blanc as 'cheese' rather than 'yogurt' were American – actually American makers of Fromage Blanc. British sites described it as I find it here in France. Only one American site did.
The only solution to insure that I'm accurate is to buy samples when I'm in the U.S. and do my own taste tests. As I said, I already use both here….
But, now that I think about, I'd better buy them both again here, too…
I'm so confused…
I did discover that Greek yogurt is becoming more available in the U.S.
Here it is often made with ewe's milk and has a lovely tart flavor and is much creamier than plain yogurt.
A friend in Andorra introduced me to it… She actually handed it to me and said something like: 'You Yanks are always pissing and moaning because you can't get sour cream; here, this is better!'
She was right.
And, while it is a bit higher in fat than regular yogurt it is quite a bit lower than sour cream… At least, mine is 😉
Just remember to add it at the end of cooking time as it may curdle if boiled (hmm, much like sour cream), as will plain yogurt.
I've just realized that my submission for this week's Presto Pasta Nights, once again contains Greek Yogurt! Oh well, dairy is good for us; all that lovely calcium….
Be sure to visit our esteemed creator, Ruth of Once Upon A Feast, on Friday for a recap of all the wonderful pasta dishes.
Pasta with Sausage and Red Beans in Mustard Sauce
10oz (300gr) lean Italian sausage
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper (I had both)
2 cloves garlic
1 15oz can red beans, kidney beans (450gr)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup Greek or plain yogurt, 4 oz (125ml)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 – 2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs chicken stock
1 – 1 1/4 cups pasta, such as fusilli, penne, rigatoni
Cook pasta according to package directions. Chop onion and pepper. Mince garlic. Slice raw sausages into bite-size lengths. Open, drain and rinse beans. Heat oil over medium heat in nonstick skillet. Add onions and peppers and sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 3 minutes longer. Add sausages and sauté until almost cooked through, 5 – 8 minutes, depending on size. Add herbs, mustards, wine and stock. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 – 10 minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture into sauce to thicken. You may not need all of it but sauce should be quite thick. Stir in yogurt, add drained pasta. Toss to combine and serve.
Now I'm going to go make nice with Google…. maybe if I say 'pretty please' I'll get the results I want…
'F*ing idiot' didn't seem to work.
Come to think if it , it doesn't work well with mon mari either… hmmmmm……