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Meal for Bastille Day, help me brainstorm!

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Hi guys! I'm looking to cook a French feast for Bastille Day and am brainstorming about dishes. Unfortunately, since I'm away from my home kitchen and sans cookbooks, my list is coming up pretty short. I'll be making french onion soup as an appetizer and probably serving pear clafoutis for dessert. I'm going for pretty traditional, i.e. fairly recognizable as French to most people. Here's what I've come up with so far as possible meals:
boeuf bourguignon
quiche (lorraine or otherwise)
coq au vin
bouillabaisse
cassoulet (probably a little too labor intensive)
crepes
tarte tatin
I know there's loads more stuff, I'm just drawing a complete blank! What's your fave French meal?

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  1. adding these to my own list:
    moules frites
    steak frites
    ratatouille

    1. Sounds great, but I wonder whether these are kind of heavy wintery dishes. What about something like and summery, ex. salade nicoise, la grande aioli, fish stew, gigot d'agneau (roast lamb), stuffed provencale vegetables. Many of these dishes can be prepped ahead of time so more manageable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: katnat

        I agree with Katnat. Can't go wrong with the big aioli. I actually think this may be traditional? Maybe not... anyway... you just make a big batch of aioli and serve it with blanched veggies, boiled new potatoes, maybe some cold sliced tenderloin. It is fabulous, summery, and filling, plus you can arrange the items for dipping very festively. Salade nicoise would be great too. For dessert I might consider some wine-poached fruit with creme fraiche.

      2. How about:
        Country pate
        Fresh tomato tarte
        Grilled leg of lamb
        Lettuce salad
        Cheese assortment
        Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream

        1. Polyhymnia, I was doing some research about Bastille Day food for my blog, and everything I read says eating during Bastille Day festivities is pretty simple in France. That's because this is a summer time celebration, so it's hot in France. People generally celebrate with a picnic, so all they do is get some cheese, grapes, and wine and just have a nice picnic.

          Since you're planning a dinner, maybe you might want to think of summer in France and do things simple with a cheese plate featuring French cheese. Then maybe make your French onion soup with tiny baguette sandwiches on the side. Follow it with a provencal style salad. Again, my suggestions would be to keep it light for the summer, and just feature French ingredients.

          http://singleguychef.blogspot.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: singleguychef

            Thanks for all the ideas guys. I agree about most of my ideas being very hearty and wintery, and since I'm all about seasonal cooking, i may revise my plans. Ratatouille can be rather summery though, so I may go with some variation on that. I actually was planning on just making the soup, because it's super heavy, but my bf requested more food! I'm also thinking some kind of a summery quiche might be nice, packed with lots of vegetables. Maybe a sort of ratatouille quiche? perhaps served cold... and of course there will be lots of cheese!

          2. If you go with a cheese and fruit sampling, plus some good pates and ratatouille, you could add some mini croque monsieurs. How about a deconstructed salade nicoise platter? For sure, some good nicoise olives and olive fourgasse or baguette or other french breads. Are you wanting a sit down meal or finger foods, because that will certainly effect what you will make?
            Somehwere, maybe on Barefoot Contessa, I saw a brioche trifle with stewed seasonal fruits. Basically layer brioche, some simple syrup and liquor, and layer with stewed blueberries, raspberries and their juices. Press down on layers so the juices flow and it becomes more solid. Refrigerate overnight. Spoon with some creme fresh and mint leaves. If you are a failry good improvisor, I don't think you'd even need a recipe for this.

            1 Reply
            1. re: itryalot

              Speaking of Barefoot Contessa, remember she loves to do those tartines, or open-faced sandwiches. One had smoked salmon atop herb butter and one was some sort of goat cheese spread, topped with tomatoes and arugula.........

            2. Thanks guys! I think I've come up with some good stuff, simple but tasty for just a few people. I'm wondering if you have any recommendations for my cheese plate. I just want to do 3 or 4 cheeses and though I'd happily go to the store and pick them out myself, I"m curious what you guys would put on a french cheese plate. Chowhound hasn't steered me wrong yet!

              2 Replies
              1. re: polyhymnia

                I follow the rule that the Barefoot Contessa recommends, which is a trio of different textures. Of course you have a soft cheese like brie, and then a blue cheese just for punch. Then finally a hard cheese that can be sliced and eaten by itself. I've seen a French cheese that's a nice mix of goat and cow milk that's really interesting.

                1. re: polyhymnia

                  For Bastille Day ya gotta have some head cheese

                2. I just hosted a French themed party for the start of the Tour De France.

                  We had Mergeuz on toasted baguettes.
                  roast chicken
                  steak frites
                  daube (its a bit hot for this dish, but its very traditional in my family)
                  choucroute garnie

                  Paris-roubaix cake, fresh fruit and madelines,plus cheese for dessert.

                  onion tart