Les Plats

MM_lesplatsIf your French isn’t that good, beware the French menu!  We are so used to calling the main course the Entrée in English, that we are certain its the same the world over. Think again.  In France, L’entrée is the first course (what we call the appetizer).

The main course, typically served second, is called ‘Le plat’, ‘Le plat principal’, or even ‘Le plat de résistance’.  Often followed by Le fromage (so disappointingly rare in the English speaking world) and Le Dessert.

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Pourriture Noble

MM_PourritureNoblePourriture Noble: noble rot, mold responsible for the honey-like quality of dessert wines such as Sauternes, Botrytis cinerea You may find a higher percentage of wine related terms in this space as Michael works his way through the Sommelier Program.

Known in North American as Botrytis, this ‘controlled rot’ could be considered a fault in wine but because, when properly controlled, this rot actually changes the taste dimension of sweeter, white wines in a beautiful way, it is very sought after.

The grapes are left on the vine for an extended period to allow the Botrytis to invade the grapes.  Its important to harvest at exactly the right time to avoid having the grapes fully dehydrate as the skins are pierced by the rot.

If you’ve never had a chance to try one, and don’t where to find one, send us an email and we’ll send you in the right direction.

Au Jus

MM_AuJusWe’ve all heard of Roast Beef ‘au jus’.  As former resto servers and food worshipers, we (Lisa & Michael) have been asked for ‘some more au jus’.  It’s a minor pet peeve that this is the improper use of the phrase.  ‘Au jus’ literally means ‘with the (natural, unthickened) juice (of the meat in question)’.  So in asking for more ‘au jus’, one is asking for more ‘with juice’, not ‘more juice’.  So impress your friends and say “may I have more jus please”.

Sous Vide

MM_SousVideSous Vide is the French culinary term for “under vacuum,”  a cooking method in which fresh ingredients are cooked in air tight (vacuum-sealed) plastic bags in hot water. Slow cooked for an extensive period of time (over 24 hours) at a relatively low temperature, with the water well below boiling point, commonly 60°C (140°F), the food maintains maximum flavor.This cooking technique was first developed by French chef Georges Pralus, who discovered that cooking foie gras in this way kept the expensive ingredient from shrinking and losing fat content.  Some health experts though, believe that cooking using the method “Sous Vide” is dangerous since the food remains below the “danger zone” of 140˚F wherein bacteria can multiply.

We find food cooked “Sous Vide” is typically tender, flavorful and moist – and we’ve had no ill effects. Santé!