Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Dinner in Douglas, MA

It was a gorgeous day here in this slice of New England, hovering on the edge of the ocean, and spring weather roared in with determination. While Susie relaxed after a smashing weekend of sales I went out to Swan Point for a stroll around the cemetery. Nothing in bloom yet but that's not long in coming now.

Anyway, Susie stayed at the shop finishing up a few items -- notably several folks were scheduled to drop by and pick up their Easter orders.

 After I picked her up we headed home, relaxed and enjoyed a lazy afternoon before heading north to Douglas, MA, and dinner with Dick and Dorothy. Uncle Frank was there but Cathy was feeling under the weather and her wit and warmth were sorely missed.

as always on Linden Street, the food was wonderful and the conversation warm.

My tarte. . 



asparagus leek soup (at least I believe it was leek)

dick pours the wine

scalloped potatoes, baed ham and broccoli

Frank being wistful this Easter Sunday

the French Tarte

Dorothy eyeing me carefully as Uncle Frank stares off into the past, future and present, all at the same time

the Tarte preps dessert

scalloped potatoes with mushrooms

cocoanut cream pie with homemade graham cracker crust and a tiny chocolate tart for a chaser

one can never have enough scalloped potatoes

Easter at the French Tarte

This past Saturday we were without Lee Forbes so we decided to pass on the shortbread bar altogether and focus just on gift boxes of shortbread which Lee had helped put together.

No croissants or pain au chocolat either, but plenty of croissant aux mandes and this week, berry brioche aux mandes. And lots of tarts, of course. Everything sold. Everything. And people were still asking for more. . .

It was a great day not only for the Tarte but for everyone who stopped, bought and (eventually) ate.

So, each box contained 2 dozen, 2 each of the 12 flavors Susie makes.

croissant aux mandes

berry brioche aux mandes
raspberry pistachio tart
Susie was prepping some profiteroles for a special order, they would be topped off with fruit and the "cap" put back on

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bin 312 and Chez Pascal

Last Thursday it was back once again to Bin 312 and their Thursday evening tasting. Lots of folks, tasty food and we walked out with a case -- fairly hazardous things, these tastings.

Anyway, we headed back to Susie's shop and worked for an hour or so, getting ready for the big Easter rush -- and it would be just that, too. Unfortunately (for the Tarte), Lee was going to be with her family. for the weekend and wouldn't be available to help so it was going to be just Susie and me, which meant mainly Susie.

After slaving over putting boxes together (that would be me) and prepping food items for the weekend, we popped back into the Mini and drove the 3 minutes over to Hope Street and Chez Pascal. As always great food and good service.

pork three ways on a bed of potato gratin

hake with fennel and lentils

France trip 2013 -- "Le Berceau," Blanquette de Limoux

Some months back when I was researching southern France looking for a place that might suit our ideas about what it was we wanted to see in that corner of the planet, I stumbled across the village of Limoux.

Located between Carcassonne to the north and the Pyrenees to the south, and smack in the heart of Cathar country it seemed ideal. The Cathar castless were at the top of my list of things to see, to feel, to experience in the Languedoc so I found a nice place outside of the village with two rooms (Richard and Pauline will be joining us for three days). And, according to the Rough Guide to France, Limoux was noted for production of blanquette, a particularly delicious sparkling wine.

Back to Providence.

For some months until it closed much against our wishes, Ama's on the west side poured a tasty little sparkling wine called Le Berceau. We would always buy it by the glass -- and if more than two of us by the bottle and it became a standard, a favorite of ours at Ama's. Well, I never paid close attention to the label until recently when I purchased a bottle at Campus Liquors, a short 10-minute walk from where I work.

While I was pouring it I looked closely and voila! the light bulb went off -- and here I thought it was pretty much extinguished:

Stay tuned sports fans -- I hope to be pouring lots more on location in May!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Agrippina the Younger

Portrait of Agrippina the Younger, circa 40 AD (not CE, BE, or MOUSE). Great-granddaughter to Augusts, she was also Caligula's sister (fun times there!) and Nero's mother. She must have had some stories to tell. . .

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The French Tarte - 23 March 2013

Susie sold out of pretty much everything again this last Saturday.

It was a beautiful day in Providence (and Pawtucket for that matter) and the crowds at the Farmers Market were looking for pastries. The usual items were on display of course, croissants, croissant aux mandes, pain au chocolat, pear-ginger financier, bouchon, and a variety of tarts in varying sizes. And a couple of new items:

caramel nut bun

pain aux raisin

gateau basque

hazelnut truffle tart

And two of the favorites:

caramel nut tart

pear-ginger financier

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Imagining Providence

Taken with an iPhoneS and processed through Snapseed in the phone.
Providence today seen through the past

Long ships invade the Providence River

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pastries by the French Tarte

sugar buns

apple cherry tart going in the oven . . . 

. . . and coming out

the large version

chausson aux pommes

bouchon - buttermilk cakes rolled in coriander-ginger sugar

raspberry pistachio tart

does this really need a caption?