19 March 2010

Bon appetit!

So Mrs. Church, city girl to the core, spent this past weekend in the true boonies of West Virginia. My beloved aunt and uncle up and moved there (boo hiss!), so I better work on becoming a country girl, asap. For my first time, I think I did ok. Helped that it's not yet spring and the threat of poisonous snakes was less (or so they told me!). I eventually didn't get carsick driving on Aunt Sandy's road, trounced through the woods (with a giant walking stick!), rode a four-wheeler, and chased a baby deer around a cemetery. Next time we'll tackle all of the above without the constant "are you SURE there aren't any snakes" commentary.

Don't mess with West Virginia.

Proof it happened. Those are my feet!

Sandy and Danny's neighbors.

Oh, deer.

I miss them so much already.

So anyway, I was gone from Friday through Monday afternoon. When I came home, it was a mini-whirlwind (for me, who never has much going on), pounding out a last-minute editing project, knocking 'em dead on a phone interview, and getting ready for this month's Supper Club. Did I say "getting ready for this month's Supper Club"? What I meant was running out of time and finding myself unprepared for Supper Club. Alas, everyone was very understanding and didn't boot me from the club based on my contribution. Thanks, guys.

This month, Lisa and Brad were the Supper Club hosts, and they selected a French theme (hoooray!! [another reason why I am so sad I didn't get to really "make" anything]). I'd planned on making nicoise salad, but what can you do, right? At Lisa's suggestion, I opted for a mini-snack spread of French cheeses, olives, and sardines (yes, sardines!). I thought the sardines added an element of surprise and intrigue, right?!

See, you are intrigued!

As much as I do like to cook, I must confess I tend to be more of a putter-togetherer. I love when ingredients come together, and I love to organize and arrange them. Here we have the sardines, half in oil, half in lemon and garlic. Also two varieties of olives -- black olives cured in herbs de Provence and green olives with Provencal herbs.

And here we have the piece de resitance, the French cheeses. On the left is gabeitou, a half sheep, half goat cheese with a hint of hazelnut (said to pair well with young fruit wines). On the right is Pave du Nord, named for its shape, which is meant to resemble the cobblestones of a French street. According to Whole Foods, this is a quickly disappearing cheese, so "eat it while you can!"

I just need to give a quick shout out here to the crazy amazing natural light in Lisa and Brad's kitchen. The olive and cheese pictures make me SO excited. I am SO jealous. I WANT this light. (The light in my kitchen sucks and, as you now know from looking at all my pics, everything looks orange!)

I don't think anyone will be rushing out to stock up on sardines, but I think people found them less offensive then expected. Basically, they taste like big chunks of tuna. I would definitely buy these again to mix in with pasta or salads. And what can you say about olives and cheese other than YUM. Duh! Now, onto the dinner portion of Supper Club!

Our gracious hosts.

Our beautiful setting.

The work never ends with boeuf bourguignon!

Lisa DEFINITELY earned that glass of wine.

Justin and Jen's potato tartiflette.

Sadly, I could not eat the boeuf or the tartiflette, but they looked amazing, and everyone loved them. But I COULD eat Lisa's soup, which she so very sweetly made with veggie broth. Seriously, I definitely don't expect anyone to cater to me, this is my choice and no one signed up to be in a food club with an annoying sort-of vegetarian. But it still makes me feel smooshy. :)

Amazing carrot soup a la pumpkin soup in Paris!
(SOO delicious, and I hate cooked carrots!)
(PS the pic is of Brad's soup, so yes, that is bacon on top!)

Dig in!

That's right.... Lisa MADE French bread, too.
I ate five pieces.

Braving the sardines...
(She didn't die.)

Then it was time for dessert. Yum! Sarah and Mike pulled dessert this go-round, and Sarah decided to make Julia Child's favorite, a chocolate-almond cake (Reine de Saba).

Maybe I had two pieces. What's it to ya?

Again, another huge success for our little Supper Club. Vive la Francais! So glad Sarah finally pulled this whole thing together -- it's been a great three months. Next up, me and Brad host a Big Fat Greek Supper Club. Man, I do really miss gyros.... ha!

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