I hope that your Thanksgiving Day was a good one, and that your Thanksgiving dinner was delicious if you had a special one.
Ours was very nice. S. the Englishwoman, now a good friend, and U. the German woman, a new friend, arrived about 12:30. We had some sparkling dry Vouvray wine, to which we added some home-made black currant (cassis from our garden) liqueur, as our pre-dinner drinks. I made prunes wrapped in bacon, cooked in a hot oven for a few minutes, and Walt made smoked salmon roll-ups filled with céleri rémoulade, for our apéritifs. Life is good.
The lamb might have been considered a catastrophe by some French chefs. It didn't come out as rare as I thought it would. That said, it was delicious — pink on the inside, crusty on the outside, with a good pan sauce made from the leg of lamb's cooking juices, some bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and shallot, with white wine.
The quality of the cooking was what it was, but the quality of the lamb was beyond reproach. S. said it was the best lamb she had eaten in many years, and I'm sure she was being sincere and not trying to flatter anybody but the butcher. The young butcher in Saint-Aignan really seems to know what he is doing.
U. brought us a gift, since it was her first time at our house. She went out into the forest south of Saint-Aignan, which she says is owned by the people who live in the château, and she picked mushrooms. They are beautiful, as you can see from the photos. U. also brought a nice bottle of Bordeaux red wine.
For the first time in my life, I'll take mushrooms to the pharmacy to have them more precisely identified. U. eats them, she says, so I feel 99% sure they are safe — not toxic. The one thing that surprises me is that they have yellow spongy materiel under the caps, not gills. But I see pictures in books and on the web of good edible mushroom that have the same.
I believe, from reading my Larousse guide to champignons, and looking at this Wikepedia article in French, that these are champignons of the variety called bolet bai. That's the Bay Bolete in English. Wiki says they are good eaten young, but these don't look so young to me. I'd better find out more before doing anything with them, and they say the pharmacist can tell you.
Here's why it's so hard to know: these mushrooms look exactly like the one in this photo I also found on Wikipedia, and it's supposedly a Boletus edulis var. grandedulis, which would make it a Cèpe de Bordeaux, one of the best mushrooms you can eat.
Tomorrow: roast goose cooked by some French people we've met over the past month. They live over in Montrichard, and we are going for lunch. I bet it's going to be good.