Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of Cooking in Provence

While I certainly enjoyed yesterday's day of touring the area, since I came here to cook, today was what I was looking forward to.

With less than an hour before we eat our dinner, this post will just concentrate on the cooking.

We did get a tour of Mollans with Hallie and Mary to start our day, with stops at the olive oil maker, the bakeries, the butcher, and the local winemaker, as well as enjoying views and learning more about this historic village. More on that in another post.

Our first task was to shell the cocos ( white beans) of Mollans for a dish that I think is going to accompany our main dish.

Then Mary demonstrated making the crust for the red wine tart we will be having for dessert.

By now it was time for our picnic lunch on the upstairs terrace.

It included cheese and spinach tarts, green olive tapenade, cheeses, figs we picked off a tree this morning, and mirabelles, tiny fresh plums.

Then, it was time to get back to work.

Nancy and I got sent to the kitchen to brown duck and chicken pieces.

The others pitted prunes, cut shallots, and prepared pates sable hors d'oeuvres.

Jane, who owns a cooking school but claims to not cook, did a great job of pitting olives.

I took a last look at our main course before it baked, making sure the duck and chicken was still properly browned.

Hallie gave us more pastry demos, filled the tart shell, and demoed making an authentic Proven├žal contains anchovies as well as olives.

Our last project before going to taste wine at Tyrand was to prepare our evening's first course, peppers stuffed with tomatoes.

Stay tuned for pictures of the final results.

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