Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday - Cyber Monday Sale at Simply French Designs

Today, known as Black Friday in the retail world, is the official beginning of the Holiday shopping season. I will be having a sale in my Etsy Shop ~ Simply French Designs all weekend, from Friday, 11/27 through Monday, 11/30 (also known as Cyber-Monday in the on-line retail world). I will be offering free worldwide shipping and an additional 10% off with code "SDBlog" in the notes to seller. You must mention this code to obtain the 10% discount during this weekend event. The free shipping, however, is available to everyone and will be offered for the whole holiday shopping season until Christmas. Click on the banner at the top to be taken to my shop and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


To precede a meal with a gentle Apéritif is very European. The word Apéritif comes from the Latin verb "Aperire" which means “to open”. The apéro is therefore designed to whet the appetite before a meal.

The most widely favored Apéritifs are aromatic wines, which are wines flavored with herbs and other products and fortified with alcohol. Many of the these wines have the bitter tang of quinine. I read somewhere (sorry don't remember where) that historically, Europeans living in the tropics helped to popularize flavored wines when they discovered that quinine (which was the antidote for tropical disease malaria) was more palatable when swallowed with some wine. Eventually, quinine flavored wines became appreciated in their own right for their refreshing bitterness.

Apéritif wines include vermouth (sweet or dry, or a blend of the two), Pineau de Charentes, Byrrh, Lillet, St Raphael, Campari, Dubonnet and Positano just to name a few. Serve straight or over ice-or my personal favorite is chilled Lillet with splash of club soda and a slice of orange. Accompany Apéritifs with snacks such as olives, roasted almonds or nuts, pate, crackers and bread sticks. Enjoy!

History of Spirits

Sunday, November 22, 2009

French Proverb

photo by Robert Doisneau
“Where there's music there can be love”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cheese-Crusted Potatoes (Gratin de Pommes de Terre) Recipe

Gratin de Pommes de Terre
(Cheese-Crusted Potatoes)

4-5 cups peeled, thin skinned potatoes (about 2 lbs)
salt and pepper
About 1/2 pint (1 cup) whipping cream(or half cream and half regular strength chicken broth)
3/4 cup of shredded Swiss or
Gruyère cheese

Spread potato slices evenly in a shallow, 1 1/2-quart casserole and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Pour in enough cream to barely cover potatoes.

Bake, uncovered, in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Sprinkle with cheese and continue baking for 20 more minutes or until tender when pierced. Makes 4 or 5 servings.

Image from google images

Sunday, November 15, 2009

French Proverb

“There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Baked Brie with Almonds

Baked Brie with almonds

A favorite appetizer of mine.


1 small wheel of Brie cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1 package almonds, slivered

  1. spread butter on Brie and top with almonds
  2. place on an oven-proof plate and bake in a 350 degree oven for a few 10 minutes until browned
  3. Serve with warm chunks of French bread, crackers and grapes. Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice Day in Paris 1946

French Armistice Day, like Veteran's Day in America, falls on November 11th each year. The day originally marked the end of World War I. In 1954 in American, Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day as a holiday to remember all soldiers killed during a time of war. Click on photo to be taken to an interesting site to view a short film from 1946.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

French Proverb

“That day is lost on which one has not laughed”

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mousse au Chocolat (Chocolate Mousse)

8 oz dark bittersweet chocolate
3 eggs, separated
8 oz chilled whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar


  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Let it cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate
  • Whisk the egg whites until very stiff and peaky, then slowly add the sugar, whisking after each addition.
  • Gently and slowly fold the egg whites, a spoonful at a time, into the chocolate. Don't fold too quickly as you want to keep the volume of the eggs as much as possible.
  • Pour gently into the small bowls or ramekins and put in the fridge for a few hours.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Etsy French Inspired Treasures

Here are a few items I found on the Artisan Site Etsy with that ooh la la, French flair! Click on the photo to be taken to the item in the shop.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

French Proverb

“To believe a thing impossible is to make it so”
photo by Denise Dion-Sullivan