Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Homage to Mamie

Mother's Toll House cookies were famous. She didn't like chewy cookies. They had to be crunchy, buttery, and chock full of pecans and chocolate chips.
Pecans cost a fortune here, and the ones that we have are saved for when Pierre makes toffee. Fortunately, Pierre's brother brought us a 50 lb. bag of walnuts from his farm. We have oodles of walnuts. Being from Florida, Mother was adamant about using pecans. So, please forgive me Mother. I had to substitute with walnuts. Also, the chocolate chips here are little, but they are darker and taste really good, not to mention how good the butter is. So, I'm good to go.

Mother always used the original Toll House recipe that is on the bag of Nestle's chocolate chips.
Here is the link.É-TOLL-HOUSE-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies/detail.aspx
(You will probably have to cut & paste the link, as I don't seem to be able to make it a working link.)
Here are her three secrets, that are not in the recipe.
1. Cream the daylights out of the butter and sugars before adding the eggs and flour.
2. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.
3. Do not over cook the cookies.

We leave tomorrow morning to join Dominique and Christophe and his family for Christmas.
We hope everyone has a good weekend with safe travels and lots of good food and company!
♥ Rainey & Pierre

Monday, December 19, 2011

I was hoping that I could leave the extra pounds that I added while in Alsace in Alsace, but no, everything was attached. The food there is so good. We ate Baeckeoffe. This is an overnight mixture of meats, vegetables and wine, that is baked in a special clay pot. Pierre's nephew and his girlfriend (who is Alsacienne) prepared this for us! So tasty. We had Flammeküchen, a bit like a quiche with cream, bacon, onions, mushrooms and cheese. Choucroute, which is the best sauerkraut with pork and potatoes I ever tasted, and all washed down with the wonderful riesling and sylvaner wines and then followed by just a bit of Munster cheese. I rest my case.

Our drive took 5 hours. Not a long drive by US standards, but long enough. The nice thing about the interstate highways here, is that there are some really good restaurants that are a part of the interstate system. We stopped near Bresse at a cafeteria. The only time I have had better cafeteria food was at Morrison's in downtown Sarasota, in the 1950's.

Pierre's sister was with us. She had been to Alsace many times with her late husband, so we let her guide us. This was a good thing. All of the little villages (one as pretty as the other), make for lots of little turns and ways to get lost. We found our way, and then were able to spend a weekend en famille that we all enjoyed.

Since one of the reasons for going at this time of year, was to see the Christmas markets, we went to Colmar one day and then Kaysersberg the next. Colmar is a city, whereas Kaysersberg is a village, but both were over-run with tourists. There were giant buses from all over Europe. Fortunately, we were early enough in Colmar to avoid the real crush. We found a cute little café for lunch and got away before the afternoon crowds.

Kaysersberg was just plain crowded. But, we were able to find Francis Loewert. Francis had come to Tallahassee to visit us and to share his recipes with Pierre at Chez Pierre. His pastry shop is called... Au Péché Mignon! Ethan Kromhout, our pasty chef at CP in the 1980's, had gone to Kaysersberg to work with Francis and learn more about the Alsatian pastries. When we sold CP, Ethan opened his own pastry shop and called it Au Péché Mignon. The Brie au Kirsch, Tutti Frutti, and the Apple Quiche, were all recipes from Francis. Tallahassee folks know Au Péché Mignon well, as it is still a very popular place.

I was hoping to get a Kugelhopf at the pastry shop, but they were sold out and wouldn't have more until 5pm. It was 4pm and well, we had more wine tasting to do in the next village. So, next time Francis!

Here is a link to all of the photos