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Meal for Bastille Day, help me brainstorm!

polyhymnia Jul 10, 2007 10:56 PM

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
cassoulet (probably a little too labor intensive)
tarte tatin
I know there's loads more stuff, I'm just drawing a complete blank! What's your fave French meal?

  1. k
    Kelli2006 Jul 11, 2007 03:30 PM

    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

    1. p
      polyhymnia Jul 11, 2007 01:48 PM

      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
        singleguychef Jul 11, 2007 02:03 PM

        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
          Hue Jul 11, 2007 02:22 PM

          For Bastille Day ya gotta have some head cheese

        2. i
          itryalot Jul 11, 2007 10:46 AM

          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
            cackalackie Jul 11, 2007 12:42 PM

            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. singleguychef Jul 11, 2007 09:52 AM

            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.


            1 Reply
            1. re: singleguychef
              polyhymnia Jul 11, 2007 10:00 AM

              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. mnosyne Jul 11, 2007 09:18 AM

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

              1. k
                katnat Jul 10, 2007 11:13 PM

                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
                  Procrastibaker Jul 11, 2007 11:23 AM

                  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. p
                  polyhymnia Jul 10, 2007 10:59 PM

                  adding these to my own list:
                  moules frites
                  steak frites

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