11 May 2012

Cooking In A Castle

My friend, Anne, recently sent me home with French cookbook entitled Cooking In A Castle by William Kaufman.  It's a tough job, traveling around France, visiting castles and eating their food, but someone has to do it.  (Why isn't it me?)

The book is chocked full of pictures of castles, but nary a morsel of food.  Still, it offers up some interesting recipes.  It seems that in France, as in much or the world, owning a castle is not cracked up to what it used to be.  One must keep up the building and grounds without loyal subjects who face the guillotine if they do not obey.  So many of these later day chateau owners have become defacto hoteliers to keep the lights on.

The book, published in 1965, offers up a Red Devil Cake.  This version of a Red Velvet Cake is usually found in books about the American South, not the South of France, but there it is in all its glory, illustrating that the history of our popular red cake is not as unique or as Southern as we think. 

Today's recipe is from the Cahteau de Cheronnac.  Its major claim to fame is that at one time (when this book was written) it was owned by Lily Fayol, chanteuse extraordinaire.

As summer is creeping up on us, I am always on the lookout for tomato recipes.  This recipe for a Tomato Pie has my mind spinning with all the different ways I can make (improve) it.

Tomato Pie

Pastry for one pie crust
6 large, firm tomatoes, sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup butter
Salt, pepper, curry powder

Cut a 14 inch circle of aluminium foil; place on baking sheet and flour lightly.  Roll out pastry into a 14-inch circle; flute edges if desired.  Bake in a 425 F. oven for 10 minutes; remove.  Sprinkle tomato slices lightly with salt, pepper and curry powder.  Dredge in flour.  Melt butter in a large skillet.  Fry quickly on both sides until brown and crisp.  Place tomato slices on top of the pastry side by side. Bake in 350 F. oven 12 to 15 minutes.

This looks like a definite summer staple.

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