25 November 2006

Rain, rain, go away...

It's been raining now for at least a week. Most of it is not heavy rain, but it is persistent. And there are moments when it comes down pretty good.

The view out the back gate at 10:45 a.m. on November 25, 2006

Last night I went to bed believing it was going to be windy and rainy all night, but I'm up early today and there's no sign of rain. The wind is not blowing.

Here's the 6:30 a.m. radar map for France. It looks like the heavy rains are still west and north of us. But there's a big blob to the south that might be moving this way. I hope to go to the farmers' market in Saint-Aignan this morning, but not if it starts raining. In that case, the Intermarché supermarket will have to do.

The good news in all this is that the temperatures are very mild. But all the rain means the garden and yard are not yet cleaned up the way I would like for them to be.

Here's a little video that I shot with my Canon S70 digital camera Thursday afternoon, Thanksgiving Day. I used Quicktime Pro to stitch the three clips together and then saved the movie in a compressed AVI format for uploading to Google Video.

The temperature at 7:00 this morning was 17ºC — that's nearly 63ºF. It's too warm, everybody here is saying. It's not good for the trees or the grape vines. We need to have colder weather for a while now. I bet we'll have a cold December.

* * * * *

Un gigot raccourci — a shortened leg of lamb from the butcher's

The spice rub is chopped garlic and rosemary
with salt, hot paprika, and black pepper.

It's three hours later. The wind came up but it's still not really raining. I went to the market and talked to Mme Doudouille for a few minutes, and then I went to the supermarket to pick up some things. Tomorrow I'm going to make a hachis parmentier — shepherd's pie — with the rest of our Thanksgiving leg of lamb.

The gigot d'agneau as it came out of the oven...

...and then sliced. It wasn't quite as rare as it might have been.

Among other things I needed from the supermarket was the right kind of potatoes for mashing (variété : agata) and making shepherd's pie. The potatoes I already had (variété : franceline) are great for boiling whole, but they are too waxy for purée. Are they ever good just boiled, though, either in a pot on the stove or in the microwave. I put some coarse salt, some black peppercorns, a couple of garlic cloves, and a fresh bay leaf in the water when I cook them. You wouldn't believe potatoes could taste so good.

Waxy franceline potatoes cooked in the microwave with aromatics

I also wanted a cooked beet, and Intermarché has the best ones. They're steamed and then packed in a crate in paper. At the supermarket, there's a big fork in the crate along with the beets so that you can pick out the ones you want and drop them into a plastic bag without getting your hands stained all red.

Beets are a classic accompaniment with escarole lettuce, which I bought a few days ago. Escarole is also good as a green salad with garlicky croutons or with lardons, those little chunks of smoked or salted bacon they sell and cook with in France. Okay, now I'm really hungry...


  1. I' reading your post at 8AM and drooling over the gigot d'agneau ... but hold the beets!
    The only way I could eat is cold, shredded and with horseraddish (the Polish way). Ok, time for my muesli...

  2. I made a beet appetizer on Thanksgiving, Ken, from a recipe from an Armenian friend. It's very simple and delicious and keeps for a long time in the fridge.

    Take ~1 lb (600 g) beets, cook them and peel them. Grind/process them with 1 cup shelled walnuts.

    In a small bowl, mince 1-2 cloves garlic. Add some salt (~1/2 tsp). Add 1 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar. Mix and add to beet/walnut mixture. Add a little paprika and serve as a spread for bread, crackers, vegetables.

    We had a very nice Thanksgiving. Apple gave us the week off, so I had a leisurely time planning and preparing the meal, baking, cleaning, and decorating. Your lamb looked delicious!

  3. Hi Ginny, the whole week off sounds very nice. And I'll try that beet appetizer recipe. It sounds good. I'm glad you all had a good Thanksgiving.

  4. Isabella, I have a hard time understanding how people couldn't like beets. One friend of mine said she never liked them because the only ones she ever had came out of a can/tin. After she tried fresh ones, she changed her mind. Cubed beets as a salad with oil, vinegar, some chopped shallot, salt and pepper -- that's a treat, and a classic recipe in France. Have those with some bitter lettuce -- endives, frisée, escarole, etc. -- for the best salad.

  5. Bonjour,

    Et bah, mon Gars, pour pleuvoir, il pleut dans ta vidéo, lol ! Moi, je ne suis sortie de mon bahut qu'à 7 heures du soir, avec la bosse que tu sais à l'arrière du crâne !!!

    Les betteraves/beets, oublie-les le jour que tu nous reçois, en tout cas, en ce qui concerne Francis (moi, j'en mange, mais je ne cours pas après/I'm not wild a about them), il les a en horreur... Mon mari aime tout sauf la rhubarbe, les betteraves, les asperges (mais, chez les copains, il dit qu'elles sont délicieuses s'il y en a au menu... Quel hypocrite, lol !). Moi, j'me fais ma botte d'asperges avec mon Papa quand mon Homme n'est pas là... Bises. Marie

  6. Marie, quand tu viendras avec ton compagnon, je vous ferai de l'andouille ou des andouillettes, si tu permets que je me mette une pince à linge sur le nez ! Et je garderai les betteraves pour moi. Je te taquine...

  7. J'adore être taquinée, alors carry on, Mec :-) ! Nous, on les mangera de bon coeur, tes andouilles et andouillettes, et, une fois encore, je me demande où tu es allé chercher l'idée selon laquelle les andouillettes sentent mauvais... J'ai pourtant un excellent odorat et jamais, je n'ai discerné une odeur quelconque lorsque je cuisine ou mange des andouillettes... Tu dois te faire des idées :-) Bises. Marie

  8. Un Anglais de notre région nous a servi des sortes de rondelles d'andouille au déjeuner un jour de septembre. J'ai fait un très gros effort et j'en ai mangé un peu par pure politesse. Mais je te jure qu'à mon avis ça sent tu-sais-quoi.

    C'est en écoutant l'emission radiophonique de Philippe Bouvard que j'ai dû entendre parler de l'odeur, on va dire ... euh... particulière, qui émane des andouillettes. C'était une confirmation pour moi. Notre ami Lewis est d'accord, je crois.

  9. "Notre ami Lewis est d'accord, je crois"

    Attends un peu, SI TU n'avais pas vendu la mèche en lui disant ce qu'il y a dans une andouillette, il l'aurait mangée jusqu'au bout, na ! Il s'est arrêté net de manger QUAND TU lui as demandé s'il savait ce qu'il mangeait... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alors qu'il mangeait de bon appétit et sans problème le contenu de son assiette... Espèce de traître, lolol !!! Bises. Marie qui rigole :-)

  10. Lovely, lovely gigot. I just got a half, boneless and tied, but I'll divide in two, for a couple of great meals. Will do your rub. Looked great. Well, you'll have competition for the beets from me!

    A qui les vignes out back? E


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