Cassoulet (Ann’s North American version)

IMG_2244Cassoulet is the original pork and beans.  Each region in France seems to have their version, goose or duck and whichever sausage the region is known for.  My first taste of cassoulet was from Oyama Sausage.  It had confit of duck, their own sausage, and such a light tomato sauce.  We had it for Christmas lunch, and for many years since it’s been our family’s tradition to have Cassoulet at Christmas.

It is a great dish for large groups of people, as it is easily doubled and tripled.  It rebounds, from being frozen, beautifully, and can be made up to 3 days ahead, just hold off with the crumb topping until you’re ready to bake it.  All that’s needed is a crunchy green winter salad, some rustic bread, and big, bold red wine.  I served it for a 65th birthday last year, and saw many folks going back for thirds!  Not that I haven’t done it myself. Continue reading

Winter Soup with Potatoes, White Beans & Cumin

044A number  of years ago, I catered a family event where all the siblings were in their sixties, and they hadn’t all seen each other for years.  They had planned a wonderful weekend together using Thetis as their base.  One evening they gathered for a simple, progressive meal before they watched a DVD of their lives growing up.  There were many tears that evening, as well as hilarity.  The gift of sharing, when we all come from the same place, regardless of our position in that place, acknowledges the long fiber that connects us.  Partners can join in on this commonality as they’ve heard the stories, lived the tears.

As I quietly worked away in the kitchen, I could relate to so many of their stories and emotions.  I served a supper that was familiar to their farming background, but had enough twists to keep it current.  The lighting was low, and the evening passed along unhurried and full.  This was the soup I created to start the evening. Continue reading