We're in the shortest days of the year -- not much sunshine here. Therefore we craved a meal to remind us of Provence and sunnier days, and invited a few friends to dinner. We used our French tablecloth with birds of the world, and cooked a few recipes with a Provençal theme.
|A Provençal salad: arugula, red and yellow bell peppers, artichoke hearts,|
tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and tarragon vinaigrette was the first course.
|Main course: Daube d'Avignon: lamb, carrots, and white beans.|
|In keeping with the French style of this meal: a cheese course.|
One of our friends' iPhones is on the table -- can't live without them!
|Len's home-made French-style bread accompanied every course.|
|Dessert for the season: a Buche de Noel from Zingerman's Bakehouse.|
|We served a few strawberries with the cake.|
|The recipes for the daube and the salad were from these very French cookbooks.|
Daube d'Avignon (Lamb, vegetable, and herb stew): The Cuisine of the Sun p. 146.
Salade de Broc (Provençale salad of cold vegetables), Simca's Cuisine p. 285.
|First step in preparing the Daube: flavor the meat!|
Many Provençal daube recipes use beef; for example, the Daube Arlesienne (from Arles) uses beef from the special cattle of the Camargues region at the mouth of the Rhone river. The first daube we knew was Daube de Cotignac, also made with beef. Our friend Michelle, who had a family home in the small Provençal town of Cotignac, introduced us to her recipe.
|In the oven: I cooked the daube in two casseroles because it was a big recipe.|