Today is my last day before my summer vacation, one vacation with no work involved at all. It's somewhat of a remake of my June trip butun petit peu (OK, beaucoup)longer.
LES GRANDES VACANCES!
A little history
From 2 weeks of paid vacation time(les congés payés)in 1936, yearly paid leave has progressively gone up to 5 weeks in France...
In 1926 the unions went on strike for, among other complaints, the lack of paid leave for the workforce.
They obtained the right to paid time off, 10 years later in 1936.
For this I thank them énormément!
Editor's note: I know I am not in France but I am French so I like my vacations; It's in our blood, non? also, there is the advantage of being an interior designer -most of my clients have much better things to do than worry about their " interiors" during the summer- and since I am my own boss, I can, with much cunning, a ton of planning, and the logistical maestria of a multinational shipping company, go on a long vacation in the summer.
However, most workers did not have the means to go anywhere very far in the years following 1936. Most of the newly freed workers took advantage of this free time to go to rivers, fields and beaches nearby.
Some walked, some rode their bikes (just the thought that this could be us... hilarious!)
Some rode the trains
and, much later, some took their automobiles;
remember, in the 60's la 2CV was the "it" car...
I won't be doing any of that; well... the car, yes, but not in a "deuch", non merci!
A little peak into my plan
As promised in an earlier post, I will bring back some images and stories from France- there is a big antique fair mid August in Barjac in the Gard, and we will probably go to Uzès, Nimes and Avignon, etc.
All our favorite places.
There might even be something new from Tangier worth reporting.
In the meantime, do visit me here during the next few weeks and find out what I have scheduled for you: DESTINATIONS ETE...
It is so hot in New York right now that all you can think about is something tall and cold.
Why not a nice chilled soup?
Easy to make, little or no cooking, and so refreshing on a hot summer day.
You'll love them.
1tb Chives, fresh
1 tb Basil, fresh
4 Tomatoes; peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons Olive
Juice of one Orange
1 Onion, mild
1 Cucumber + 1/2 diced small reserved for garnish
Salt and Pepper
1/2" slice whole grain Bread
Mix everything in food processor until smooth . Serve chilled with a few cucumber cubes for garnish.
4 leeks, white part, sliced 1 medium onion, sliced 1/4 cup sweet butter 5 medium potatoes, thinly sliced 1 quart chicken broth 1 tablespoon or less salt 3 cups milk 2 cups heavy cream Chopped chives and parsley In a deep kettle, brown the leeks and onion very lightly in the butter. Add the potatoes, broth and salt and boil thirty-five minutes, or until very tender. Puree in an electric blender. Return the mixture to the kettle, add the milk and one cup of the cream and bring to a boil. Cool and rub through a fine sieve. Chill. Add the remaining cream. Chill thoroughly and serve garnished with chives and parsley.
2 1/2 pounds cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch pieces
2tablespoons fresh lemon 1/4teaspoon fresh lemon zest 2 sprigs mint leaves, chopped 1/8teaspoon salt 1cup heavy cream 2tablespoons superfine sugar 1/2cup basil leaves, packed 3/4cups champagne Place the cantaloupe, lemon juice, and zest in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the mint leaves and salt and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes. Basil cream: Place the cream and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until slightly thickened. Add the basil and process until thick -- about 20 seconds -- and set aside. Add the champagne to the soup right before serving. Divide evenly among four bowls and top with the cream.
Cucumber pineapple soup
2 medium seedless cucumbers, peeled and chopped 1 cup chunks fresh pineapple 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons julienned basil for garnish Place cucumbers, pineapple, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and puree. Chill until verycold about 1 hour. Serve topped with julienned basil. Serves 4.
Yogurt avocado soup
1 pound cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into big chunks
1 medium-size ripe avocado 1-1/2 cups plain yogurt (preferably whole-milk) 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Freshly ground black pepper Put the cucumber chunks in the food processor; pulse to chop finely. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the pulp and drop it into the food processor. Add the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and salt. Puree until fairly smooth. Using a sharp knife, slice the basil and mint leaves into shreds and then stir them into the soup along with the lemon juice and 1 cup cold water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for several hours. Before serving, check for consistency, gradually adding another 1/2 to 1 cup cold water to thin the soup if necessary. Add more lemon juice and salt if needed and serve.
Cold fruit soup
1 1/2cups sugar 3cups water 2pieces ginger, 1-inch-thick (about the diameter of nickels) 2whole star anise 1tablespoon lemon zest 1 1/2pints fresh raspberries 2tablespoons lemon 3/4pound (1 1/2-inch) apricots, halved and pitted Combine the sugar, water, ginger, star anise, zest, and 1 pint raspberries over high heat in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Mash the berries with a potato masher until they release most of their liquid and strain into a large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and apricot halves and chill the broth in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Finish the soup by stirring the remaining raspberries into the broth. Divide the soup among the bowls and serve immediately.