Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Last Supper

Martine let me choose the menu for my last meal at 7 Place de la Resistance last Saturday. She had told me about a dish the other night of potatoes stuffed with fresh foie gras, so I requested that with boudin blanc and a galette cake for dessert. Unfortunately, there was no fresh foie gras at the Monoprix since it’s really something you eat in autumn/winter. Instead, Martine found pied du porc pané, which is pig’s feet rolled in bread crumbs! She had told us about the dish before, but was not able to find it until today. She requested four pig’s feet from the butcher who, upon learning she was going to serve it to two foreigners looking to experience French food, gave her a lecture saying it was not something eaten very often by the French. We’d be better off eating something like boudin blanc or boudin noir. He went on for 5 or 10 minutes, but Martine took the pig’s feet anyway.

Back at the apartment we got started on the galette. The cake consists of pâte feuilletée filled with a layer of vanilla almond custard. It’s a cake traditionally found during the month of January to celebrate the Epiphany and called Galette des Rois. A small trinket is stashed in the custard, and whoever finds it in their cake gets to be king for a day. Martine used store bought pâte feuilletée (similar to puff pastry), and we whipped up the custard. We had to make two batches of custard to get the desired amount of filling for the cake. The custard didn’t quite turn out as hoped. The flavor was okay, but a little weak. The cake overall wasn’t great, but it was fun to make. I’ll have to try it again when I get back to the states.

The galette and...Ayumi?

The pig’s feet just needed to be thrown in the oven, so they were done in a jiffy. The potatoes were served with crème fraîche and we each had one giant pig foot on our plate. It was without a doubt the most bizarre thing I’ve ever eaten. There is only a tiny sliver of meat on the back side of the foot which is delicious. The rest is just super gelatinous fat. The flavor is interesting and very different, but it was pretty difficult to eat the whole thing. It was sort of like eating 2 cups of animal fat. Ayumi didn’t like it right off the bat. I thought it was okay and ate about half. Pierre, who also came for dinner, has never been much of a fan of pig’s feet and really wasn’t all that interested. Martine had luckily anticipated this and bought some boudin blanc, so we cooked that up and were all satisfied. Martine loves pig’s feet, so she kept what we didn’t eat for leftovers.

When it came time for the cake, Martine said that it’s traditional for the kids in the family to hide under the table and call out who gets each piece of cake (so there’s no fighting over the trinket in the cake). She said we were going to follow tradition even though we didn’t have a trinket and that I had to stand in the corner and call out who got each piece of cake! I followed orders. After returning to the table and digging into my cake I found a rather large piece of aluminum foil. I thought it rather strange and quite careless of Martine to let a huge piece of foil fall into the custard. I realized it might be something else though, and unwrapped it to find a charm bracelet! Ayumi and Martine had stuffed it into the custard before cooking the cake when I wasn’t looking.

Martine and I with the orchid I gave her

It was a fun night, and I was sorry it was my last. My stay with Martine and Ayumi could not have been better. I will really miss them. Ayumi has already made plans for us to all meet again in France in 5 years.

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