World Cuisine Tour 2011: France

Dessert, edu-dining, Main Dishes, Recipe For Disaster

Be honest. How many of you caught the Coneheads reference from last week’s Edu-dinner post? France. We come from France. No?

Well, I thought it was funny.

So, yes. We are edu-dining with a French flair today. French cuisine is notoriously difficult to master so, I was not going to be too hard on myself if I didn’t go all Iron Chef on dinner.

First, I printed off some French-themed coloring pages for the kids to make in to placemats. Every fancy French bistro needs fine art placemats, right? (The French boy with the baguette is pretty much how I imagine all French people to look in everyday life.)

For the dinner itself we made Coq au Vin. I cannot say that with a straight face. My husband says that’s because I intentionally mispronounce it. I modified a few recipes to come up with a whole-bird crock pot recipe. I also (probably committed one of the 7 deadly sins of French cooking) omitted the red wine in favor of a white for the sauce. I don’t generally believe in catering to the tastes of small children because it gives them inordinate amounts of control when food is involved, but I had a feeling the red wine sauce would be too strong of a taste for them and I would rather make a less authentic dish and have it get eaten as opposed to going whole hog with the vino and having everyone turn their noses up at it.

Please enjoy!

Crock Coq (hehe)

2 tablespoons butter

1 whole fryer chicken

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/4 lbs baby portabella mushrooms, sliced  (I omitted this because the squirts are a bunch of haters when it comes to fungi.)

12 ounces frozen white pearl onions (or 1 regular white onion chopped up, if you are not inclined to go to the store just for a sack of frozen onions)

1/2 cup dry white wine (Make it a good wine, too. It will encourage you to put the kids to bed early so you can finish up the leftovers!)

2 tsp Herbs de Provence  

1 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup flour

Add the wine and dry spices to your crock pot. Combine the flour and chicken broth in a cup and whisk until smooth. Add the broth mixture to the crock. Place you chicken in to the crock and toss in the mushrooms and onions so they can make friends. Place the pat of butter on top of the chicken.

Turn crock on low for 6-7 hours. If the liquid doesn’t completely cover the chicken, roll it over every hour or so. Carve the chicken and serve over rice with the mushrooms, onions, and some of that lovely gravy it has made for itself in the crock.

For dessert I cheated. I could have made crepes, the national dish of France. But, after a horrifying experience with a blini explosion, I decided that setting my kitchen on fire just for thin pancakes was probably not in my best interest. So, I devised a plan to have the children do the work for me! By using store-bought dough I saved time and had an easy baking project that the twins could handle. Do I run the risk of presenting a steaming pile ala Sandra Dee? Heck yes. But, calling something “semi-homemade” is completely valid if you have children under 5. So long as you didn’t set the house on fire and everyone got fed eventually, you deserve a pat on the back and a Clorox Wipe-sponsered show on the Food Network.

Chocolate Croissants

1 tube of crescent rolls

2 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread (that’s generic code for a honking spoon full of Nutella)

1 tbsp butter, melted

sugar (for dusting)

Unfurl your crescent rolls, separate them in to triangles and place them on a plate or cutting board in an orderly fashion. Spread a small amount of the chocolate hazelnut spread on each triangle. Don’t be too generous with the spread. I know you want to. I do, too. But during baking it will leak all over your cookie sheet and turn in Glue-tella.

Roll up the crescents in to their signature shape and place on a cookie sheet. Brush each roll with butter and sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake as directed.

It’s nothing that will make me the next Julia Child but, it’s really hard to go wrong with a sweet, flaky pastry filled with chocolate – store-bought or not!

Next week, we will be dining South African style. (Lord help me…)

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