I was delighted to get the chance to eat with the family again. Amazing leftovers on the last Sunday night supper with them a few months ago. But this Sunday night was very different. They still called it a simple dinner....Here are the courses, in the order in which they were served.
Cream of Pumpkin Soup. With an extra dose of awesomeness: slices of foie gras, which we were told to place at the bottom of the bowls into which our pumpkin soup was then ladled. This was, um, very tasty.
Salade. With the "house" sauce - the balsamic vinaigrette they make up regularly and always have at the ready in a glass jar for serving.
Homemade Quiche. Imagine an enormous ceramic quiche dish, the size of a small wagon wheel, or so it seemed. And two of such vessels for the quiche(s): This was dinner for 12+ after all. One type of quiche was not enough for Matriarch (and superb cook) Anne apparently. She made two, each with a superb buttery homemade crust, one a cheese quiche; the other a leek and goat cheese quiche. One slice of each was served to each of us. (Whew, because I was going to be hard-pressed to pick which one I wanted.)
Cheese. Anne announced that because there was cheese in the quiche, she was not planning to serve cheese...(so reasonable and moderate these French), but would anyone want a little taste of cheese? She looks over at me. I look at her. I really want some cheese. The cheese here is no doubt, again tonight, from master cheese vendor Laurent Dubois. Liz, would you like some? Well, okay, maybe just a taste. They were raving about this particular goat cheese after all. And the wine that night, a nice Bordeaux, yes, that sounded so right for a nice Laurent Dubois cheese.
An array of cheese arrives.
The guys go nuts over one of them. Me, my eye is on this chevre (pictured here in the middle). I will need to ask Anne, again, for the name of it. The one they are loving is, I learn, a Mont-d'Or, and comes with a spoon to scoop it out. That's all I need. Another cheese to add to my favorites list.
Benoit and, I think it was Gregoire, are digging into the Mont d'Or remains. They love it. And I understand why after I try it. This, with a garlic bruschetta as in this recipe, it's almost too much decadence to think of consuming, but I am absolutely going to make this. Soon.
Anne exclaims how happy she is when the family finishes up the little pieces of cheese hanging around. I, in the meantime, am sneaking sliver after sliver of this goast cheese. Benoit: can you please pass the wine?
Dessert. Yes, there is more. Anne says she has a very very simple dessert.
It is lovely and classic: A tureen of pears poached in red wine. Anne says it is the first recipe she ever made. I agree with her: the sauce this dish creates is divine. Some little butter cookies go around to go with it. I do not get many pears - all that cheese you know - but nevertheless try the little biscuit to get in the sprit of things.
And then we are done. The kids (adults all of them) do the dishes. A new batch of sauce is made to replenish the glass carafe that is almost empty of the week's supply of truly a "house" vinaigrette. The guys start to gather around the TV. A big (soccer) match is on TV.
I say my good-byes. I would catch an early train the next morning for Angers. I go out one last time into the Paris night in this unbelievable snow and near the Seine and the vistas of the two islands, to get some cash. I meant to be gone for a few minutes. I was gone for an hour. Paris, on a Sunday night covered in snow, was very quiet. Hardly any cars. Hardly any people. Could not help but walk. And walk.