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My husband left to visit friends who were also in the area for the holiday week, and on the way back to our Condo, drove through the forest, getting stuck in what he described as an unusually large puddle.

We had planned a French themed menu for our family, and along with the Pomegranate Rosemary Sparkling Cocktail (https://recipedoodle.com//?s=pomegranate+rosemary+sparkling+cocktail&search=Go), I had a cheese and olive tray assembled, Brie Tartlets made, the Green Salad with Celery, Walnuts and Cranberries ready to go and a large pot of Coq au Vin simmering on the stove. I was about to take a shower and freshen up, just as my husband walked in the door, 15 minutes before our dinner guests were due to arrive, ready to check on the Cassoulet he had put in the oven that morning.

He reminded me how lucky he had been to make it out of the puddle as I arranged dessert – an idea stolen totally from a dear friend who had provided the sweet end to a recent meal with store bought cream puffs drizzled with store bought chocolate sauce – brilliant, delicious and so quick and easy.


brie tartlet with grape relish

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

refrigerated pie crusts

brie, rind removed

3/4 cup seedless red grapes, chopped

1 green onion, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Increase oven temperature to 425F.

Spray a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. Cut out circles from the pie crusts and press them into the tin. Cut the brie into squares and place one on top of each crust. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and cheese is beginning to melt.

Mix together the grapes, green onion, balsamic vinegar and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into each tart and top with walnuts.


Recipe adapted from Southern Living



green salad with crranberries and celery


1/4 cup apple cider

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


mixed greens

1 1/2 cups sliced celery

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

MAKE DRESSING: whisk together cider, cider vinegar, honey and mustard. Slowly whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper.

MAKE SALAD: place greens, celery and cranberries in a bowl. Serve with walnuts and dressing on the side.


Recipe adapted from All You, September 2011



coq au vin nouveau

2 tablespoons olive oil

10 ounces serrano ham, chopped

10 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into pieces

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced

8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

2 cups white wine

32 ounces chicken broth

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

2 springs fresh thyme

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add ham and saute for 5 minutes. Remove.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Cook chicken in same pan until brown. Remove.

Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, saute for 3 minutes. Add wine, chicken broth, carrots, celery, thyme and reserved chicken and ham. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes until chicken is tender. Remove cover and cook about 10 minutes longer, until sauce thickens slightly.


Recipe adapted from Relish, January 2007