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Monday, March 28, 2016

Teen-Chef Alumni Series: Provence! and a New Teen Culinary Immersion Program

As we gear up for this summers' Teen Culinary Immersion Program: Taste the Adventure, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to the Teens who joined C'est si Bon! for previous trips to Provence, Paris, Tuscany, the Loire, and Carolina on My Plate, and see where they are now. 

First up is Provence 2005. I want to extend so much gratitude to my colleagues Madeleine and Erick Vedel whose bed and breakfast in Arles, Ecole de la Cuisine Provencale, was our home and cooking school for the duration of the tours from 2005-2008.

Also it is imperative to thank Aileen Randall, my faithful assistant for many years who never faltered, never said she was tired, and who made traveling a breeze, ever flexible, even more fun, and possible to understand all the French around me, and not just guess, as hilarious as that could be. It is a real gift to see her lovely daughter, Stephanie, all "growed up" now, as they say. But more on that soon.

Here is the first group at Le Baux just after a hike, and before our chocolate class with Joel Durand in St. Remy de Provence. Joel now has shops in Paris and Tokyo. His chocolates are legendary, and steeped with the flavors of Provence; olive, lavender, and rose. He was always super, friendly, easygoing, and talented to work with. 



At the rocky outcropping, Les Baux de Provence, looking out over the ruined castle and the village. Front row left to right. - Nora, Claire, Cary, Dorette, and behind us is Sam, Stephanie, Sarah, Becca, Peter, my assistant Aileen, Alexander, and Claudine. 

I am excited to share what they've been up to since 2005!  

Our Provence itineraries varied with visits to Chateau d'If off the coast of Marseille where the Count of Monte Cristo escaped; as well as getting up very early to visit the Fassy Boulangerie about a 20 minute drive from Arles.

If the weather cooperated we always rode the beautiful white horses of the Camargue.

Besides the white horses, the Camargue produces salt, and since 1988, red rice. Surprisingly enough you don't hear too much about the Riz Rouge of the Camargue outside of this region. I looked for a place to order it (go to igourmet and order 12 ounces for 5.99) and learned that it has earned PDI certification, which means Protected Geographic Indication. I also read that they export 90 percent of it, but I have my doubts. And why wouldn't they want to keep it for themselves. I have included a recipe below for stuffed Pintade or Guinea Hen which uses this unusual rice.

We hope to work in a little pony riding through King Henri's forest which is just above the petite village of Poudenas in the "other South" of France this summer. 

If you don't have the chance to ride them yourself, the next best thing is to read
"White Horses Over France." 

Author, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, and hsi wife, Luella. 
This book is an excellent adventure of food and two lovely horses Tiki and Thibert by noted author, Robin-Hanbury-Tenison - president of Survival International and described as an explorer with a conscience. His first wife was a noted cookery writer, Marika Hanbury-Tenison, who also wrote about her adventures with Robin. Here is a brief excerpt that exemplifies how life unfolds in Provence -- and also in Gascony!

"As the main course was being served hopelessly rich and irresistible confit d'oie stuffed with foie gras and truffles. Raymond came and coughed apologetically behind my chair. When I stopped eating, he said "Vos chevaux vous attendant, Monsieur Tenison."

At first I thought I was wanted on the telephone by someone.

Then, as we all looked up, we saw that Thibert and Tiki were standing outside the French windows in the rain under the horse chestnut tree among the tables and chairs, looking in at us. I still cannot fully understand how they did it, but they had escaped from their field, and made their way along the dangerous main road and over the busy bridge, down the lane leading to the hotel in order to be near us.

Their pleasure when we ran out to catch them was evident and they wickered appreciatively as we petted them and give them lumps of coffee sugar. They must've been lonely."




Provencale Guinea Hen, Pintade, with Camarguese Rice and Tomato Caper Sauce

This recipe was first developed by Teen-Chef, Anne, for the last night competition in Arles in 2008.
I admit it's hard to find pintade, but you can order on-line from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem North Carolina.

one guinea hen: about 2.5-3 pounds

for the farcie, the stuffing:
50 grams black olives, pitted
50 grams green olives, pitted
50 grams dried tomatoes, follow directions if they need to be desalted
1 1/2 cups of cooked red rice of the camargue
1 bunch of parsley
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp of ground green anise, you can also use fennel pollen

Desalt the dried tomatoes in cold water for 6 hours, changing the water 4 times, rinse them and dry then in a clean towel. chop them finely. Finely also chop the olives. chop the parsley. mix these ingredients with the cooked rice; add the green anise and mix it all well. Add the beaten egg to the stuffing. Mix well.

Heat the oven to 375.


White horses walking out to the Camargue. Claire, Penelope, Cary, Sam, Becca, Sarah, Peter, and Dorette



Becca leading the way. Sarah, followed by Peter.

Dorette with the reins. Peter on horseback. Nora talking to him. Could one of these horses be Tiki or Thibert? 



Sam, Claire, Sarah, and Norah


Riding the white horses out towards the rice paddies. 

Stuff the guinea hen with the farcie, and sew the opening closed with a large needle and string.

Roast in a hot oven for 65 minutes or until the internal temp is 165. let the pintade rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing, and arranging on a platter.

Aha, the perfect amount of time to make the sauce!

for the sauce
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup green garlic, thinly sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup white wine

Heat a sauce pan on over medium heat, melt butter and when sizzling, add the scallions and green garlic. Sauté till they start to stick to the pan, deglaze with the wine. add the tomatoes, capers, thyme, parsley, zest and juice. cook to desired consistency. taste and correct seasoning, if necessary. Add last tablespoon butter to the sauce and swirl. Serve in a sauceboat and pass with the stuffed guinea hen.

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