Thursday, November 15, 2007

Errr...Did I Mention...?

...that it snows here in the south of France sometimes?!

After a bitterly cold morning - the kind that makes me say "oumphhh" aloud as I walk around town checking things off of my list of errands - snow began to fall early this afternoon.

Actually, I'm quite proud of myself to have recognized it this time! In my early days here in 2004, after a lovely autumn that had me thinking that I had made a very good decision, winter night!

I was new at this idea of "seasons" and had only spent time in snow for playing on ski slopes and suchlike so I simply did not recognize the little white flakes that fell on my black coat as I stepped out the door to go to the post. That is to say, I apparently had no clue that people actually lived regular lives in the stuff! It's so "California Girl" of me (and I do not necessarily mean that in the best of ways) to go into a state of confusion as white stuff is falling out of the sky...and yet I'm not piling on layers of silk and fashionable waterproof clothing and clipping a ski onto each foot!

It doesn't happen often in these parts, but I'm pleased to say that I'm much better at it now. This time, instead of spinning into confusion, I grabbed my camera...and threw a tart in the oven. Yup, I think I'm getting the hang of this "seasons" thing.

Bon Appétit!

Oh! And what timing: the heat/hot water began last night as a result of the heating technician agreeing to come to the building 2 or 3 times a day to flip the switch manually until that pesky little part arrives to make the necessary repairs. Whew!

Spinach Smoked Salmon Tart
(Adapted from Bon Appétit)

1 puff pastry pie shell

1 tablespoon, 1/2 butter and 1/2 olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
4 big handfuls of fresh spinach, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup of shredded emanthal cheese
1 large slice of smoked salmon

4 eggs
1/2 cup lowfat crème fraiche
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon dried dillweed

Melt butter and olive oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and stir until spinach is dry, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pre-bake pie shell for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. Sprinkle cheese over bottom of crust. Place salmon (torn into portion-sized pieces) in a layer over the cheese. Top with spinach mixture.

Beat eggs, crème fraiche, salt, pepper, nutmeg and dillweed in large bowl to blend. Pour over spinach. Bake until filling is set, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve.

Serves 6.

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