The Slow Life

Hello, campers, food enthusiasts, and cooks everywhere! Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire Valley, France.

Well, what a strange time we are living in right now, n’est ce pas? Here in France, we have just completed a two-week lockdown only to be told we will have to stay on lockdown another month, until April 30. I know it’s for the best, but I am craving human contact right about now. My cat Milo is wonderful but he just isn’t a substitute for another person to talk to. No offense Milo!

Thankfully, last night several of the Gourmet Girls got together via Zoom for a video conference. It was so nice to be able to talk to these gals who I haven’t seen since I left the U.S. to live in France almost three years ago. I have been keeping in touch with my kids this way as well. I am very grateful for this technology!

One of the things we all discovered is that we are all cooking up a storm lately, given that we are all stuck at home. I am sure the same is true for many of you out there. Here is what I have been cooking:

I had a lot of home-canned tomatoes from my excellent harvest last summer so I cut up and sauteed a red and a yellow bell pepper, two onions, and four cloves of garlic in olive oil then added fresh thyme from my herb garden, two jars of tomatoes, a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, and some red wine. I simmered that for about 20 minutes while I grilled some Toulouse sausages, just enough to caramelize them a bit, then I added them to the simmering mixture. I let it simmer another 10 minutes and then served it over linguini. Delicious! You can serve the sausages with the pepper and onion mixture on a subway sized piece of baguette as a sandwich if you like too.

The next night I defrosted a whole chicken and broke out my clay pot to make this wonderful dish! The first pic is the chicken before putting on the clay pot lid and cooking it.

The lid is so pretty! And yes, you could cook more than chicken in the clay pot.

I soaked the clay pot and lid for 15 minutes then filled it with two sliced onions, some carrots, a sliced lemon, two sliced cloves of garlic, fresh thyme, and the juice of two blood oranges, and of course the chicken. After adding salt and pepper I popped it into my old Godin oven set at 425 and let it cook for one hour. You must adjust the timing depending on how large your chicken is. Mine was small, so if you have a large one add another 15 to 30 minutes. Don’t take the lid off while it’s cooking and when you do, be careful as a lot of steam will escape. The chicken comes out moist and makes a delicious sauce as well. And it is pretty much a complete meal. Serve it with some crusty french bread or boil some new potatoes and voila! You can get creative here and change the ingredients around to quell boredom.

The really good thing about these two dishes is that they make enough to feed a family of four or for one person two or three more times. So less time in the kitchen and more time eating yummy food. What could be better than that?

What have you been cooking lately? If you need some inspiration get yourself a copy of The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook! All of the recipes can be made at home so get your copy now!

We Gourmet Girls wish you all good health and lots of fun dreaming up new and delicious meals to keep you occupied during the lockdown.

Stay well!

Denise, Gail, and Lindsey


2 Comment

  1. Annie Clare says: Reply

    Lovely. Hello hugs to you!
    Yes, so much cooking. Used to go out so others could cook for me twice a week or so, but now not an option.
    Unfortunately, we don’t grow our own vegetables yet, but am so grateful for an amazing organic produce CSA that just started from a farm up in Santa Ynez and delivers to my door. Fortunately my freezer contains lots of organic, grass fed or wild protein. Sourcing good boxes of foodstuff that can come straight to my door is such a blessing. I’m committed to staying home. As it turns out, my introvert phases have prepared me for this. I’m figuring out where we can plant some veggies that are protected from the critters. Self sufficiency is in order at this time.
    I spatchcocked and roasted a whole chicken the other night. The skin was sooo good that way and the meat very moist. Only took 1/2 hour to cook. Since it’s lunchtime, I think I’ll make some chicken salad from the breasts. We always eat the dark meat legs and thighs first. Wish I’d taken a picture. It was beautiful. Maybe I’ll start a photo dinner diary.
    Much Love and Well-Being to you Gourmet Girls!

    1. Hi Annie Clare,
      Good to hear from you! I have on my to-do list to spatchcock a Cornish game hen and a few quail. I’ve never tried it before. Any tips? I looked at couple of videos and wondered if it’s worth the trouble. Sounds like it! In the meantime, the Gourmet Girls Zoomed with Neecie in the Loire yesterday. It was so great to see her and catch up. If you do start a photo diary of your dinners let us know where we can view the creations.
      Be well,

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