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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Cooking Life: St. Jean's Feast Day, June 24th and Green Walnuts!

La Belle Gasconne


Hello and bonjour! 

It’s still early in the (day..) summer, June 23, but tomorrow is June 24 and St Jean’s Feast Day; and the day for bonfires, collecting green walnuts, and crushing them to make a sweet wine that is a tradition in Gascony. 

We have a grand old tree near us in Carrboro, that we've been watching grow and picking from since 1997. Listen while collecting the nuts, and you may feel a slight shift, as days are getting shorter, but not as short and cool as they will be come September! And there's a few spaces left for C'est si Bon!'s Trip to Gascony, we'd love to have you join us! 


Happy Anniversary! June 24th also just happens to be my 36th anniversary with Rich, my dear husband. 

I will try to photograph the process of making the green walnut wine, on instagram. Please feel free to follow me at MadameLevain. 

In the meantime, here is a true favorite ~ Salt and Honey Walnuts with Floc’d Figs

I have not seen any figs in the market yet. I know our trees will be lucky to bear any this year, because there was a cold snap right at the critical moment. This recipe works really well with dried figs. Serve as a sweet and savory appetizer for a special dinner. And in November, serve with your Vin de Noix. 


The Esplette pepper, is from the Basque region of France and has been used since introduced with corn there around 1523. adjust to suit your taste, then uummm!

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon esplette pepper

1 cup sliced dried figs
1 cup floc de Gascogne, available at Southern Season 

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons honey

mix together the salt, sugar, and pepper. set aside in a small bowl.

soak the figs in Floc for a couple of hours. when ready to cook, drain the Floc (should any remain, its yours, drink up)

heat a wok or heavy skillet over medium heat till hot.  add the oil, give it a swirl, then add the nuts. 

stir well, but gently till the nuts are warmed, but not burned.

add in the figs. sprinkle on the salt, sugar and pepper combination. stir well. 

add the honey and continue stirring till it’s melted and glazes the nuts. remove to a buttered baking sheet and allow to cool and harden.


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