In Memory of Daphne, Ruby, Madelaine, and Mimi.

Hello friends and fellow campers!

Denise here from the Loire Valley, France. It has been a while since I have posted a blog, what with the holidays, working on my old farmhouse, and fielding a few of life’s foul balls.

It is hunting season in France and about three weeks ago I returned home to find two of my beloved hens dead, killed by hunters dogs. Then a week later, two dogs got out of their yard near town and ate two more of my hens. Only Daisy, my Italian Leghorn survived. Needless to say, I was, and still am quite upset. Not only were they my adorable pets, but they were also very good egg layers. I miss them something terrible.

Not to be thwarted, I purchased four more hens and they are settling in fine. I have had a door built in the rear of the chicken coop and fenced in an outdoor run for them so that they will be safe when they go outside. I loved seeing my hens wandering the property free range foraging, but I just can’t take the chance of losing the new hens.

You folks may not know this but a hens natural egg-laying cycle slows and stops in the winter months as daylight hours are fewer. In commercial hen houses, lights are kept on during these months and even through the night to keep the hens laying. I think that is a bit selfish! And certainly not natural. The girls need a rest! So what if I have to buy a couple of dozen eggs in the winter. Big deal. I would rather go with nature’s flow and have happy chickens.

Do you know how to make a French omelet? It is so simple to do and they are so delicious! I usually make mine with minced ham, cheese, fresh snipped chives, and minced parsley. Sometimes I sauté mushrooms and omit the ham for a vegetarian option, or use fresh basil, parmesan, and tomato in the summer when my tomato plants are thriving. It takes a little practice to get the perfect roll, but you will be turning them out like a pro in no time. Use the freshest eggs you can get and prepare your ingredients in advance

Here is the step-by-step on how to make a ham or mushroom French, rolled omelet:

First, use a non-stick small skillet. Nothing else really works as well. If you are using mushrooms, slice them thinly then melt about a tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Sauté them until they release their liquid and it evaporates. Remove them from the skillet and place them in a bowl for later use.

Clean the skillet and melt another tablespoon of butter in it over medium-low heat. Whip two eggs in a small bowl with a fork. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the eggs to the pan. Tilt and swirl the pan around to spread the eggs evenly around the bottom of the pan. As the eggs begin to set, lift the edges of the set eggs tilting the pan to let the uncooked parts flow under the cooked parts until most of the egg is set. Make sure you don’t break the egg apart. It will look a bit like an egg pancake.

Add cheese of your choice, fresh herbs, ham if you are using it or mushrooms in the middle of the eggs. Don’t overfill! With a spatula, fold the right side of the cooked egg over the filling, then tilt the pan so that the right side of the pan is higher than the left and slip the spatula under the right side of the omelet and turn it over onto egg on the left side (empty side). The omelet will now be a cylinder with the seam side down. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat to low or take it off the heat entirely, depending on whether you like your omelet a bit browned or not, and let the cheese melt. Slide the omelet onto a heated plate,  top with salt and pepper and serve with a couple of rounds of toasted baguette. Enjoy!

If this step by step recipe is too confusing, or you are more inclined to visual learning, here is a YouTube of the master Jacques Pepin making both a country style omelet and a classic French omelet. His technique is a bit different than mine but the results are the same.

And don’t forget to thank your local hens! They work very hard to bring you eggs.

Bon appetite!

Denise, Gail, and Lindsey


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