Adventures in the Kitchen, Part II

For Christmas, I bought Eric a Savoie cookbook (the Savoie region is the part of France we like in, close to the Alps, like a state in the US).  The best we can tell, their food seems to be exactly what you'd expect to see from cold mountain winters: recipes composed mainly of cheese, potatos, and bacon.  We've made a variety of things with a fair bit of success.  It has been fun to try them out!

Last week, we invited some friends over to try raclette.  This seems very similar to the idea behind fondue, except that you have a grill and melt the cheese under a broiler instead of in a pot, and then you pour it over other stuff.  But it's still all about the cheese. :)  Pictured below is Eric preparing the meal (le repas).  You can see the raclette grill (which we borrowed from the singles' kitchen) and little handles sticking out.  There are little trays that you set the cheese in and it broils in there, while you can grill meat (etc) on the top.
 (space for broiling the cheese seen below)
 Traditionally, you serve the cheese with bits of sausage or ham, bread, and boiled potatos.  We added the classic pickles and olives to the mix (not that we ate them WITH cheese, just next to the cheese).
 The cheese, meat, and mushrooms cooking up.

 A beautiful spread on the table...
 Ben, despite the fact that he was sick all day, pronounced it a success! (as did the rest of us)

The next recipe was a bit stranger...farcemain.  You combine potatos with dried fruit and put them into a cake mold lined with bacon, then cook it up for 3-4 hrs in a water bath.  An interesting combo of sweet and salty that took Eric quite a bit of time to prepare.
The finished product in below.  Interesting.  Tasty.  But we may not try it again! :)  More French cooking to come in the months ahead, I'm sure.


Urban Lions

Great article about lions in Nairobi.  I can picture the district of town this is in.  We have been there many times.  And I love all the safari pop-top vans that come out of nowhere to watch the wildlife.  Click here to read the article:


Chasing Andrew Peterson in Concert

It was 1998, and I was a freshman at Belmont.  My friend Stephen played me a couple songs from a compilation CD.  It was a friend of his from Florida.  I liked it, but declined his invitation to go see his live show.  Why?  Because when you live in Nashville, there is always another concert to see.

This was the first time I heard Andrew Peterson, and since then, I have grown to appreciate his music and songwriting more and more.

I moved to Ann Arbor in 2002, and when I would come back to Tennessee to visit, I was more eager to see good shows when they were offered.  Jeff Bourque asked if I wanted to go and see Andrew at the Franklin Mercantile with Andrew Osenga, Jeremy Casella, and Matthew Perryman Jones.  Since I had never seen him, I definitely was excited.  They were taking turns sharing songs.  AP would go last, and during the third song, he left the stage suddenly.  He returned to say that his kid had suddenly gotten sick, and he had to go.  Alas.

Andrew never came to Ann Arbor during my seven years there.  Around 2004, I told my parents that he was doing a Christmas show in Nashville, and they have since enjoyed multiple rounds of his Christmas home show.  Meanwhile, Rachel and I look every year at the schedule and try to finagle how we can make a show.  This past year, wandering through 29 states of our fair country, we would periodically check his schedule to see if we could intersect.  We made a couple plans, but they always fell apart.

Rachel (who by now has the same desire to catch him live sometime) had an idea last December.  Through a website called StageIt, she discovered that Andrew sometimes gives live web concerts, that a certain number of people can buy "tickets" to.  There was one on his Christmas tour.  Did we want to try it?  It's not the same thing, but considering that we live in France, and are moving to Burundi, perhaps we shouldn't be too picky.

Let's do it.  We bought the ticket.  Andrew got to his next concert venue only to discover that the internet there wasn't fast enough to webcast the concert.  So it was cancelled.  Such is our destiny.

But with the new year came another StageIt show, this time from his home.  We had nothing to lose, since StageIt had given us credit in their account when the last one was cancelled, so we signed on again.

The time came, we logged on, et voila!  

The internet was too slow in our apartment to stream the show.  So we hoofed it to the hallway outside our apartment to get closer to the wireless router.  Still no good.  So we went down a flight of stairs, and sat directly beneath the router.  It worked just well enough.  Here's the photo.  Sitting in the dark (the lights are on a timer) on the floor of our ancient French apartment building, we finally enjoyed almost an hour of Andrew playing songs, with help from Andy Gullahorn and Randall Goodgame.  We heard some new cover tunes, and a couple stories behind songs that we hadn't known before.  

A long-evaded goal finally achieved?  Not totally, but we're happy enough for now.