but Heather makes a mean ginger salad dressing

July 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

As a segue to my post “Americans can’t make vinaigrette”, which nearly irreparably damaged diplomatic ties between France and the USA — insulting a whole nation just like that, I need to make amends and retract my statement somewhat to: SOME Americans CAN make vinaigrette.

And one dear American friend I know makes a delicious ginger salad dressing.

HEATHER’S GINGER SALAD DRESSING

Ingredients:

  • Grated ginger (fresh ginger)
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar
  • A little Lemon juice
  • Braggs Liquid Amino Acids

Instructions:

Eye the amounts for the right balance depending on the amount of salad. Mix in a jar and enjoy!

Also, please forgive me for my previous impertinent post and don’t extradite me.

 

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Got to wear my K-Way in L.A.

April 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Yeah, a few days ago, when it rained, I got to wear my K-Way in L.A. But what is a K-Way exactly? Any French kid who grew up in the 80s would know but Americans not so much. This is when we get to engage in amazingly enriching cultural sharings!

The K-Way, like the ski mask, was iconic of the European 80s. The ski mask, you ask. Well, yes, that too, our parents wanted us to keep our ears and noses warm in winter, I suppose. They were a very big fad for some reason… Not the scary kind that covers most of your face and that bank robbers use in movies though, this kind:

cagoule

And another big fashion fad in the Euro 80s was the K-Way….

So, a K-Way is a convenient, sturdy, effective and indubitably stylish raincoat that folds into a little pouch you wear around your waist. The company still exists and they are actually pretty pricey nowadays.

Have a look as I demonstrate!

It might rain today so I will wear my discreet rain pouch.

20160408_163917

Guess what, it is starting to drizzle. Et voilà, I am ready and protected!

And here is another site to testify of the trendiness of K-Ways and ski masks in the 80s:

http://www.eighties.fr/mode/642-k-way

Americans can’t make vinaigrette

January 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Even though we call it vinaigrette, vinegar is not the main ingredient in vinaigrette. I remember this advice from a Provencal cook book: pour faire la sauce de salade, utilisez l’huile comme un prodigue, le vinaigre comme un avare et le sel comme un sage, which would roughly translate to “to make a salad dressing, use oil generously, vinegar like a miser and salt wisely”. To tell, you the truth, I can’t remember what the advice was for salt, but I remember well the other two.

Vinaigrettes in restaurants here in the USA are horribly sour. Way too much vinegar! This is not a true vinaigrette.

Two kinds of vinaigrette: with or without mustard.

Basic mustard vinaigrette recipe:

Mix a spoonful of mustard with a little spoon of vinegar, some salt and pepper (to taste). Little by little, add about four tablespoons or more of oil (olive, sunflower, grapeseed, etc, your preference). Add it slowly as you whip the vinaigrette so that the consistency remains homogenous throughout. The oil should not be separate from the vinegar but you should end up with a thick homogenous dressing.

Basic mustard-less vinaigrette recipe:

Mix about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar/apple cider vinegar/lemon juice with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Done.

 

Of course, you can add fresh herbs such as tarragon, oregano, or things like tangerine juice or honey to make it sweet, whatever you fancy. You can also cut shallots really fine and briefly infuse them in vinegar and seasonings, then add the oil of your choice. You can add crushed garlic in any of these too.

 

We also have a popular salad dressing made with soy sauce, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and an optional dash of vinegar.

 

At any rate, just remember, in your salad dressings, use your vinegar like a miser.

Sounds from last summer in France

June 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Here are four tracks from last summer in France.

I had already uploaded here the two Bastille day pieces.

First two pieces: 

Bal du 14 juillet. Bastille Day Celebration. After the fireworks, everyone on the lot flocked down Apt’s main street to get to the ball across town – we took side streets to avoid the crowd. There, in front of town hall, a stage had been set up. A band played some traditional tunes, of course there was accordion. Couples danced, Lily twirled.

3rd piece:

Liv raconte une histoire

Charlotte’s 5 year old is skilled in improvising songs and stories. This was only one of them.

4th piece:

Strange puppet show in Font’Arts

Font’Arts is a street theatre festival meandering through the streets and little places du village* in Pernes Les Fontaines, Provence, a village full of fountains. Sadly, I’ve noticed many of the village fountains that used to always flow with sweet drinking water no longer flow. Hmm, might it have to do with the privatization of water?

Also, I have sweet memories in Pernes, with my flock of high school friends. The French let their teenage kids roam the streets in bands, get drunk on poetry and wine, and high on first love, freedom and hashish…

but I need a whole blog on French teenagehood… à suivre

*you see, a town square is not exactly a place because our town squares are not square but round — perhaps I am discovering the fundamental difference between the French and the English that was the true cause of the Hundred Years War, who knows?

Small Town Bastille Day

October 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

We spent Bastille Day in Apt — yes, I was supposed to publish this post 3 months ago, must be my Mediterranean sense of time. Anyway, we spent Bastille Day in Apt, small town in the South of France with my mom and our friends visiting from California with their two daughters. We arrived just before sunset, while the five or so floats for the parade were still being prepped – tractors trailing colorful paper mache floats with different themes, not necessarily related to the French revolution, like the float for the local volleyball team for example. Well, that may be a bad example because the other floats did not seem to be promoting anything; the only other one I can remember had an Alsace theme with children dressed in traditional Alsatian wear, and with a Germanic house, storks and such. A very darling procession.

The parking lot had been cleared for a local orchestra, a food truck selling merguez sandwiches, fries, cotton candy and kebabs and for people to watch the fireworks.

The fireworks were shot from the high school parking lot. They were so close that they were very loud and exciting. The little one, atop her dad’s shoulders, watched and giggled at each burst. Her big sister, Lily, said it was the best 4th of July ever and Elise (my little big one) had to correct her.

After the fireworks, everyone on the lot flocked down Apt’s main street to get to the ball across town – we took side streets to avoid the crowd. There, in front of town hall, a stage had been set up. A band played some traditional tunes, of course there was accordion. Couples danced, Lily twirled. Have a listen: 

Celebrations in small towns

June 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Is there a small town in the USA that doesn’t celebrate 4th of July? I know there are no fireworks in Big Sur –fire hazard– but still, if I do so remember, the Henry Miller library hosted some type of a patriotic gathering of sorts.

The point is even small towns celebrate national holidays and festivities in one way or another, in the US or in France. I don’t know what Halloween looks like in, say, Pescadero or say, Randsburg (I only know small towns in California) but I’m sure it looks like something. It could be worth a photographic/videographic study. Anyway, just the same, la fête de la musique or Bastille Day are celebrated in small places like Apt or Bonnieux or the humblest of towns might have an annual carnival even if all it is is a small carousel, one bumper cars, one booth of games where you fish for a toy, the town square turned into a ballroom floor and a buvette with fries, merguez sandwiches, beer and soda and the whole thing fits in one lot (description of an actual carnival in Picardy). Everyone likes to celebrate in unison with their country.

Lazy blogger

June 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am such a lazy blogger. Mais bon, je viens du pays des cigales et suis passée à la Californie, où on est tout aussi cigale. (Then again, I am from the land of cicadas and moved to California, where people are just as cicada. Wait, what’s a cicada? An insect that sings all summer unlike its fellow insect, the hard-working ant. Yes, the story should no be translated The Cricket and the Ant but The Cicada and the Ant)

Really though, the French, in spite of their reputation as slackers, are very hard workers. Our reputation comes from the fact, I suppose, that we have long meals and go on many strikes. It’s a matter of preserving a certain quality of life.

Now, why was I calling myself a lazy blogger? Because I haven’t blogged in one week, because I have a draft so old it’s called “Freedom Fries”, because i haven’t developped my ideas of discussion into full-blown sociological studies…