A French Affair

On August 29, 2010 I embarked on the most epic adventure of my life thus far: a semester abroad in Paris, France. More important than the things I saw and delicious food I ate were the friends I made during those three months.

Our token Eiffel Tower picture during our first week in Paris

Since we’re all back at Elon (well some of us) a year later, we decided to have a Paris reunion to celebrate the day we arrived in the City of Lights. Food was a huge part of our bonding while in Paris. Countless meals were shared together exploring French cuisine. From tasting some of Paris’ acclaimed restaurants and food stands to having potluck dinners when our host families went out of town, eating became the cornerstone of our time together.

Recreating a French feast is surprisingly easy to do back in North Carolina. It’s maybe not quite as fresh or gourmet but Harris Teeter offers some of the essential ingredients for some of our favorite treats. Walking down the aisles of the grocery store has also inspired some unique creations, some of which we made last week for the reunion.

Each of us contributed something to the table. The menu included:

  • Chèvre chaud (hot goat cheese on toasted baguette)
  • Brie & honey-stuffed crescent rolls
  • French wine
  • Boursin-stuffed mushroom caps
  • Meat plate
  • Baguette slices
  • Cheese plate
  • Bean dip (not so French, but hey, Ashley wanted to bring something!)
I made the chèvre chaud and crescent rolls — two things that are incredibly tasty and easy to make. I’m pretty sure I ate chèvre chaud at least three times a week while in Paris. These toasted slices of baguettes topped with warm goat cheese was a common topping for salads.

My first chèvre chaud salad in Paris

 Recipe for chèvre chaud:
  • 1 baguette 
  • Goat cheese (I used herb seasoned goat cheese)
Allow the goat cheese to sit out for approx. an hour to get room temperature. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the baguette into 1 1/2 inch rounds. Cut slivers (of your own liking) of the goat cheese and place on top of each baguette slice. Place slices on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until bread looks toasted and cheese is somewhat melted. 

Chèvre chaud

 Recipe for Brie & Honey-stuffed Crescent Rolls:

  • Pillsbury crescent roll dough
  • 1 wedge of Brie
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, melt butter and honey together. Drizzle mixture on each triangle of dough. Cut rind off of Brie wedge. Slice Brie into 2 in. pieces and place at large end of triangle. Wrap dough around piece of cheese. (To avoid a mess on your cookie sheet, make pockets by bringing dough around Brie on all sides and pinching at top to secure). Place each roll/pocket on a cookie sheet and drizzle with honey mixture. Bake for 12-15 min. (according to directions on packaging). Serve warm and fresh. 

Crescent rolls before baking

Brie & honey-stuffed crescent rolls

I don’t have Todd’s exact recipe for the stuffed mushrooms, but they were by far my favorite thing at the dinner. These are the ingredients you’ll need:

Alouette (or Boursin) cheese and mushrooms

If you’ve never tried Alouette or Boursin brand spreadable cheese then you must go straight to the grocery store and buy it. It’s not the healthiest thing in the world but can go on (or in) virtually anything. A guilty pleasure, it’s definitely a yummy one to have. After washing and discarding the inside bulb of the mushrooms, dollop a spoonful of cheese in the middle and bake for 10-20 minutes. Todd opted to douse them with melted butter but it isn’t necessary.

Stuffed mushrooms

A French potluck dinner isn’t complete a standard array of more cheese, baguettes, meat and wine. We definitely didn’t skimp on either one. We pulled out one baguette after the other — some toasted, some soft — with more cheeses, a plate of ham and a bottle of wine (per person). Fun fact: the Harris Teeter in Burlington has a beautiful wall dedicated to French wine!

Standard French baguette slices

Variety of ham

French wine

Saying we left fat and happy is an understatement. But hey, sometimes you just have to get in and enjoy the deliciousness that France has offered to the world!


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