I'm in love!
Assuming one can be in love with a store.
During my search for cranberries before Christmas, my neighbor mentioned a 'vegetable market' across from a DIY store in Bergerac that had an amazing variety of produce.
In my mind I saw a warehouse-type building filled with crates of vegetables.
I was wrong (and so early in the year!)
Le Grand Frais – The Big Fresh (?)
It was huge; it was modern; it was cold.
Around the outer walls were a butcher, a small dairy case and a very extensive foreign and exotic foods section – with hard to find Asian and Mexican and South American and Italian and Spanish stuff…. Stuff I've only read about but never seen.
The rest of the (did I say huge) store was filled with the most amazing selection of fruits and vegetables I have ever seen anywhere.
That's why it's cold
There were several kinds of orange carrots, but also yellow and red and purple carrots. I've heard about them / never seen them.
There were orange and yellow and white sweet potatoes.
There were lots and lots of kinds and colors of regular potatoes and onions and garlic.
We sometimes get grapefruit in winter…. We had a choice of three different kinds.
I saw lemon grass for the first time…. As well as a dozen or so things I didn't even recognize.
To say I'm excited is an understatement.
I didn't buy much, just a few basics. I was both unprepared and overwhelmed. I didn't even get all the way to the back of the store. (We were on are way to somewhere else.)
But next time….. I think I'll spend the day.
It makes me excited about cooking for the rest of the winter!
In the meantime, here is a simple flan for a first course or light lunch.
Tomato Custard! Light, and easy to make.
2/3 cup, (6oz, 175ml) tomato sauce
6 pimiento-stuffed olives
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp basil
Prepare ramekins: Butter ramekins and line the bottom with buttered wax or parchment paper. Thinly slice olives and lay on the bottom of the ramekins.
The flan: Whisk eggs, tomato sauce, paprika and oregano together well and pour into the ramekins, dividing evenly. Put into a roasting pan with deep sides (I use a metal bread pan) and add hot water (hot tap water is fine) so that it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30 minutes at 450F (220C) They should be set, firm on top.
Remove from oven and from hot water. Run a table knife around the sides to loosen (if necessary). Put a small plate over top of ramekin and flip over. Remove ramekin, and paper from top (formerly bottom) of flan. Put on plate and spoon Couscous Salad around.
1/4 cup medium couscous
3/8 cup chicken stock
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 tbs Greek yogurt
1 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
Heat chicken broth to a boil. Put couscous in a medium bowl. When broth is boiling pour over couscous, cover and let stand for 10 minutes…Do not stir it.
Mix yogurt, mayo and mustard. When couscous is ready, add celery and fluff with a fork. Add salad dressing and stir gently.