Summer’s End

Hello friends, fellow campers, and gourmets!

Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire Valley, France. The days are getting noticeably shorter as fall sets in and the swallows and swifts have fledged their young and moved away. Evenings are cool and the veggie garden is pumping out the last of the season’s tomatoes and my tiny apple tree is so full of fruit that on of her branches broke from the weight of the harvest.  Here is a pic of the poor little tree. It is an ancient French variety called Reine de Reinette.

I recently made a Breton Apple tart for a dinner party at the Moulin Bregeon. Here it is ready to go into the oven.

My tomatoes have been slow to ripen here as the evening temperatures have been low all summer. Those that have ripened were quickly made in to a delicious salad!

That’s green and purple basil around the edges of the plate, mozzarella de buffala, and greek olives in the center. I like to use balsamic syrup instead of vinegar along with a fruity, green olive oil and salt and pepper as a dressing. If it lacks acidity, I sqeeze a bit of lemon juice over all. Yum! Last year I assembled my tomato salad differently;

I always grow many different colored veggies so that the food becomes a work of art. Why not make your food beautiful as well as delicious? I grow yellow as well as red beets, yellow zuccini, and haricot vert (green) as well as jaune (yellow).

This August my friends at the Moulin Bregeon boutique hotel hosted many folks from Europe and needed my help in their kitchen. Here is a picture of that beautiful kitchen;

The hotel offers a suptuous breakfast with the price of a room, and I became the official omelet maker. Some of their clientelle also sign up to have all meals prepared for them at the hotel as the hotel is quite remote and there are hardly any restaurants nearby. Here Pascal and I put the final touches on his delicious cold, curry zucchini soup.

He is decorating the soup with fresh basil and calendula flowers. Very pretty, n’est ce pas?

So it has been a full summer, finishing projects around Le Petit Saint Barnabé, keeping the veggie garden weed free, and helping out at Le Moulin. As the days grow shorter and the leaves begin to color the menus will change to heartier fare and the evenings will be spent by a crackling fire. Speaking of fires, I intend to fire up my giant bread oven this winter and follow Gourmet Girl Lindsey’s step by step recipe for sourdough bread. It’s call pain de levant here in France, and has been a tradition since folks figured out how to bake bread. So a long time ago. I will be sure to report about my venture into the unknown (to me) world of cooking in a wood fired oven in a future blog.

Keep on camping, cooking,  and enjoying what is left of the summer. Stay well!

Denise, Gail, and Lindsey

1 Comment

  1. Lolita Valianos says: Reply

    Makes me feel the season. Very evocative! Thanks, Neecie!

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