Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Artichokes a la Barigoule

This is one of the recipes I learned during French cooking classes given by Anne de Ravel.

Artichokes a la Barigoule
Serves 6

3 bunches purple artichokes (about 15)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 package slab of smoked bacon
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 large onion, finely diced
sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To trim and cut the artichokes: fill a bowl with water and stir in 1/4 cup of vinegar or the juice of one lemon. Cut off the stem of one artichoke and bend back the lower, outer leaves until they snap off easily near base. Continue until you reach the tender leaves near the center.

Cut off the top third of artichoke or just below the green tips of the leaves. Pare all remaining dark green areas from bases. Halve the artichoke heart and remove the fuzzy center. Add the artichoke heart to the bowl of water. Continue until all the artichokes are trimmed.

Cut the smoked bacon into small cubes. Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan. Add the diced bacon and saute until lightly brown. Add the onions, carrots and garlic. Lower the heat and saute until the vegetables are soft but not brown.

Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add enough water to just cover the artichokes along with the bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cooking Classes in Southern France

I just returned from a fantastic European trip where I had the opportunity to participate in cooking classes given by Anne de Ravel http://www.saveurlanguedoc.com/anne.php.

There is nothing like heading to the farmers market early in the morning to get fresh produce, bread, spices, olives and meat for an evening meal. From the second we stepped inside the farmers market I was in heaven and could barely put my camera down. Everything was beautifully arranged and so fresh. I walked around just taking it all in. I must have looked like a crazy lady being the only one with large camera around my neck taking pictures of fish, spices, bread and more. At one point in the day a guy at the market told Anne that I was a photographer for a fashion magazine. She got a good laugh out of it and told then that I was with her and not a magazine, but the guy refused to believe her. In a sense I felt like a fashion photographer surrounded by a runway of beautiful food on display making you want to do a double take at every stand you passed by.

The next few recipes to follow are some that I learned from Anne. Enjoy!