July 17, 2007

Fabulous Foray into French Food

Last weekend I cohosted a Parisian party - cheesy French decor, French music and wines, and French food. I made a delicious chilled zucchini soup and a lentil salad with lardons (or pancetta). We also had tarragon chicken, salmon mousse, haricots verts, and a salade verte. Plus, for the aperitif, we had crudites, French olives and French-style salami (unfortunately the real French stuff is not available), and pate, which I suprisingly enjoyed.

This was my first foray into French cooking, except for many mornings of crepes over the last 15 years, and I'm proud to say it was a success! The trick of melting Boursin cheese into the soup created the perfect creamy texture without adding too much fat or heaviness. And my first try at making lentils produced the perfect consistency - not too hard or crunchy and not too soggy either. I added the vinaigrette to the lentils about 8 hours before the party, and they still had a bite to them at the table.

This was also my first time using thyme - and I love it! I actually had a shampoo scented with thyme (I didn't know it at the time) many years ago, made by Stardust, and I loved it too. So I used thyme in the lentil salad, and I also used it today when I sauteed one zucchini in olive oil with shallots, salt and pepper. It has such an amazing flavor, and almost a sweet smell.

I love thyme and lentils and chilled soups!

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