As long as I an in the US, visiting family and having a wee holiday, I thought I would entertain you by reprinting:
The Saga of the Titre de Sejour, French Paperwork in 4-parts
Part VII, The End…. sort of… August 30, 2006
I think we're done! Our 4-part Saga in getting all of the paperwork, permissions, etc. done to legally reside in France, is finally coming to an end…sort of.
Two weeks ago we got the dreaded letter from the 'Powers That Be' regarding our 'Cart Vitale' or French medical insurance card.
I prepared myself mentally for the list of new things that would be required and opened the letter.
I read it.
Then I read it again.
Then I called our translator and read it to him. He assured me that I had understood it and there were no hidden meanings: we had been granted the coveted 'Cart Vitale'.
No further paperwork, test, or anything would be required. We had it! Well, actually not the card, we had a piece of paper saying that we would GET the card. One thing at a time, here.
The other item we were missing was the 'Permis de Conduire' French driving license.
We had been denied permission to exchange our Andorran licenses and had submitted an appeal.
I wrote it, explaining the details in typical American businesswoman fashion: a succinct accounting of the events, and, implying, while not actually stating, that they (person who denied) was an effing idiot!
I gave it to a friend who translated it, (in more ways than one) putting in all of the flowery phrases, kowtowing, ass-kissing, etc. necessary to get anything done in France.
Last week I got an e-mail from the 'Prefecture de la Vendee'. Well not actually THE Prefecture (I assume) but from someone in the office. The e-mail said, briefly, that our filed had been reviewed and that we could bring our documents back to the offices of 'Permis de Conduire' and it would be re-opened.
Happy Day! We wouldn't have to go to Driving School and take all of the exams! Yippee!
We dutifully gathered up all of the documents, pictures, copies of documents etc. and off we went.
While we were waiting our turn I was debating whether or not to just pretend this was our first time (easiest, but I'd have to fill in all the paperwork again) or to try to explain all of the details (in my less than perfect French).
I finally remembered that this was France and they probably had a file a mile high on us that everyone had access to so best to confess our transgressions and throw ourselves on their mercy, once again.
When it was our turn I stumbled through our story, gave her lots of papers, (the denial, our letter of appeal, copy of the e-mail, etc.).
She took it all, smiled gravely and left. I heard her on the phone for a bit, then she came out of her office, nodded, and went into someone else's office.
Ten minutes later she came back, nodded again, said it would be a few more minutes, and went back to her office.
Then she came out and told us to go sit; she waited on the next people. We had no clue as to what the problem was: fake e-mail? someone playing a bad joke? PTB changed their collective minds? we were not worthy?
Finally she called us back and handed us our Andorran licenses with a smile.
I numbly took them…but wait…that's a different picture! How could that be?
I turned them over and….it didn't say 'Andorra' it said 'FRANCE' (I didn't know they were the same style…duh!).
They weren't making us redo all of the paperwork and wait 6 months…..they had actually issued the licenses….right there…on the spot….now….today!
I was speechless (which is a very bad thing to be in France) I finally remembered my manners, gave her many 'merci beaucoup's, kissed her ring and we left, still unbelieving but pink paper in hand.
The End sort of
One more easy recipe…
Fancy, impressive, but dead easy!
Cooking a whole salmon in puff pastry is a classic party dish. This is a scaled down version for individual servings. For a dinner party they can be assembled ahead and baked at the last minute.
The salmon stays moist and perfectly flaky.
I've given the dimensions used in the photos. If your salmon is a different shape, you need enough pastry to cover it. Trim any excess.
Salmon en Croute with Tarragon Cream Sauce
2 pieces of salmon, skinned – about 3" wide by 4" long by 1" thick (5cm X 10cm x 2.5 cm) 7oz (200gr) each
they can be trimmed a bit or cut to fit if needed
1 large or 2 small sheets of puff pastry You will find it in either the refrigerator or freezer section. You will want 2 sheets about 9 inches square. If they are not big enough you can roll them out a bit (using a rolling pin).
2 tsp dried or fresh dill weed
4 tsp whole grain mustard
Lightly roll puff pastry dough if needed. It needs to be just large enough to cover the salmon with an overlap of 1/2 – 1 inch (1.25 – 2.5cm). Lightly cover an area roughly the size of the salmon with dill. Skin salmon if needed, and cut/trim. Place salmon on top of dill. Spread 2 tsp mustard on the salmon.
Depending on the shape of your fish you can bring opposite corners together (if it's square-ish) or fold over (if it's long-ish). Press the meeting edges of the puff pastry together to seal. It's okay if there are gaps in the 'package' as long as the pastry is sealed together enough to hold it's shape as it bakes. Repeat with the other piece of salmon. Bake at 400F (200C) for 15 – 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove and serve with Tarragon Cream Sauce on the side.
Tarragon Cream Sauce
1/3 cup (5oz, 150ml) chicken stock less 2 tbs
1/3 cup (5oz, 150ml) white wine
1 tbs butter
1 1/2 tsp dried tarragon substitute 1 tbs fresh
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs stock
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) Greek yogurt, crème fraiche or sour cream
Finely chop shallots. In small saucepan over medium heat sauté shallots in butter until tender. Add tarragon, wine and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch in 2 tbs stock and stir into simmering stock. Cook until thickened – should be quite thick. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Cover and keep warm until serving.
There you have it!