Summer Cooking Classes during a heatwave? ? Of course, if you are within the cooler stone walls of Camont’s natural air conditioned interior world. Even during la canicule of 2015, we must cook; I just change my attention to how I cook. Last winter I planned a three day cooking course in mid-July. So as we bounced up and over the 100’F mark several times already this month, it was time to shift gears from the famous long slow cooking of Gascony to some easy and fast dishes from our gardens and summer markets.
Summer hit early this year and has brushed its scorched earth policy across most of Southwest France. Toasted. Burnt. Gratinéed. When students Todd Perry and Ms. Paris by Mouth, Meg Zimbeck- along with my ‘Kitchen Coheart’ Vétou Pompèle- arrived we took a cooler approach to Gascon cooking. This is what we cooked over three easy going summer days. Think cool, chilled, and super fresh from the Wednesday market at Lavardac.
Some of my favorite meals start with this shopping list:
- Fresh Borlotti beans from the garden for a summer cassoulet
- Magret for quick grilled ‘Duck Burgers’ .
- Prunes for above, too.
- New potatoes for frites cooked in duck fat, of course!
- Perfectly ripe melons for Soupe des Melons
- Peaches for a fruit tarte
- Duck eggs from our ducks for a summer clafoutis
- 2 kilos of cherries, peaches, apricots or ? for a micro batch of confiture
- Duck farce or minced meat for a quick summer terrine
- Chapolard’s Saucisse de Toulouse
- Greens for a Salade Gasconne
- Kate’s Ham for tapas…
- Perfectly ripe tomatoes for a tarte des tomates
- and a tourin des tomates
See, it wasn’t hard to be inspired. We made pastry twice- once savory and once sweet; one in a tart pan, one as a fresh fruit galette. Of course, you want the recipes… But this is about cooking, from scratch, with friends, with some coaxing and hand-to-hand guidance. As Meg said on her instagram feed- “Recipe? Kate Hill is all about letting the produce shine, so it’s tart dough (pâte brisée) slicked with coarse mustard, topped with the most beautiful local cœur de bœuf tomatoes, rounds of Sainte-Maure de Touraine goat cheese, some crumbled fresh thyme and a drizzle of honey (plus salt and pepper).” Here’s a little peek of how I teach how to make my All-French All-Butter Pastry Crust- http://www.kitchen-at-camont.com/bake-it-eat-it-share-it-repeat-french-butter-pastry-love/
Then we made two soups- one cold not-cooked Melon soup and one warm, light, and fresh tomato tourin (recipe in my book A A Culinary Journey in Gascony)
We cooked one rabbit for a pot of lemony olive oil rillettes (to serve cold the next day with garlic toasts) and a perfect duck and foie gras terrine, as well as a small pot of rabbit liver paté. This creamy duck egg clafoutis was deep yellow and rich and barely sweet with white and yellow peaches. We made a fresh bean Summer Cassoulet that served us at lunch one day with a great garlicky frisée salad made with tomato vinegar.
The minced magret made a great duck burger stuffed with an armagnac-soaked prune and served with Prune Ketchup on a brioche bun. With duck fat fried frites, of course. Friends came by for lunch on our last day, and the pressure was on. Brenda and David Dadakian of Eat Drink RI popped in, and local friends Linni and Rob with Todd’s family joined us.
That’s what we do here at this Kitchen at Camont-make a lot of food, then sit down and eat, together. I love these Summer Souvenirs of good times in the kitchen and out, new friends and old. There is one more chance to book some Summer Cooking Classes at Camont in August. Come on over…