In Pétéram We Trust!

In the county of Luchon (where I was born and raised) we are really serious about Pétéram. Pétéram is an ancient local dish made from a combination of tripe (intestine & pluck), lamb  & veal feet, ham, carrots & onions. During my last visit  home I had to have my fix of Pétéram; so one Sunday, part of the family took off to the village of Oô, where the restaurant “Les Spigeoles” serves one of the best Pétéram. Jean-Pierre Oustalet, a friend & the chef-0wner of the establishment, is a very creative man always up to something fun. Recently he printed a series of t-shirts  with  the motto he coined himself: “In Peteram We Trust!”.

peteram t-shirt

This summer a Flemish  TV from Belgium came to film Jean-Pierre’s Pétéram for one of their shows. Though the video is in Flemish & French I urge you to watch it: Touristique: de pétéram.
Tripe dishes are cooked around the world (list here), and as we know
these less desired cuts were left for the poor. It was the same for Pétéram, I don’t think it appeared on restaurant menus in Luchon until the 20th century and my family restaurant was certainly one of the first to offer it. Though I don’t know the exact etymology of the word, one can read its the humble origins through the Gascon language  : petar— French translation: “crever” or in English:”to die” or “to be famished” and hame— in French “faim” or in English “hungry” Thus Pétéram can be interpreted as “a dish for the famished” or as a dish that will kill hunger! Then again this may be an invented etymology (much work remains to be done on the Gascon language, and especially certain of its regional versions, such as that spoken in the Luchonais.) On the other hand, to quote my husband, the poet Pierre Joris, “are any etymologies really ‘false’?”
I used to make Pétéram when I was working at the family restaurant (other posts related to the family hotel here) and though we received “clean” tripe from the butcher, the smell was still strong and the tripe would require extensive blanching in order to get rid of the offensive smell. I got used to it and it didn’t bother me, except this one time. In the late fall of 1981, I had to cut a big pile of intestines and honeycomb for my Pétéram and  that time, for some reason I was to discover a few days later, I couldn’t bear the smell. T
wo days later I found out I was pregnant with my son Joseph. Throughout my pregnancy I had to stay away from tripes.

Jean Pierre Oustalet’s Pétéram is as good as it gets. He achieves the difficult task of making a tripe dish light. The texture of the tripe still firm but tender. The sauce, in which the tripe have cooked for over twelve hours, release the rich and comforting aromas of all the ingredients. The creamy potatoes that have been added late in the cooking provide the perfect starching effect. Some places serve it as a first course, though we had it as a main course. We had soup to start with, then a plate of artisan salamis & cured ham, followed by the Pétéram as the main course. Then we had a slice of delicious mountain cheese, a slice of apple pie and voilà! we sure were full and happy! Below are a few pictures of the fun outing where you can see my parents : Jean & Renée Peyrafitte ( 88 and 81 years old!) in the gorgeous village of Oô. This village is also very dear to me because I premiered my performance The Bi-Continental Chowder /La Garbure Transcontinentale there in 2005. One of the reason is that one of the main Romanesque female figures featured in the show is from the village;  you can hear the song related to it here.

The recipe is a translation of the family recipe transmitted by my grandfather Joseph Peyrafitte & typed by my mother Renée Peyrafitte:

for 5/6 people:
1 lamb stomach & 6  feet 1 kg veal honeycomb & 2 feet
3 carrots whole
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 ham bone
1 bouquet garnis of thym, laurel & parsley
1 cup of ham prosciutto like— diced
2 onions
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 kg potatoes
Hachis (50 gr garlic & 50 gr fatback grounded together)
1/3 cup Armagnac

Blanch and scrape the tripes thoroughly. Cut the stomach & honeycomb in trips of about 1 x 0.5 inches. Place is all in a stew-pot with a ham bone.
Add 3 whole carrots, the bouquet garnis, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 cup of ham, 2 onions whole, salt, pepper & a touch of nutmeg. Add wine wine & chicken stock so tripes are immersed and “swimming”.
Bring it to a boil, cover the pot and let cook for 10 hours, one hour before serving add potatoes peeled and quartered.
When ready to serve add hachis and the Armagnac.



Scream for Mint Ice Cream!

Yes! Scream for my Mint Ice Cream, and there’s not even cream in it.! Not because I am concerned about cutting the calories down, no, but simply because for years I thought this was the way ice cream was always made. When I grew up at the family Hotel Poste & Golf in Luchon, I really enjoyed hanging out in the kitchen but especially when Crème Glacée was au menu. Yummy! I would always get the first taste and get to leak the giant paddle. I loved vanilla flavor the best, though coffee, chocolate, caramel where not bad either.
In French the generic term for ice cream is glace, so for a long time, and because of the recipe I am about to share with you, I didn’t know there was cream in ice cream and to me the cream
referred to was the one I watched the cook make on the stove. Well, I have found out about all the other ice creams, gelati, sorbets… but this is still my favorite recipe, so here it is:

The process starts by making a crème anglaise or custard which is what gives the rich, velvety texture with a clean refreshing finish. The recipe I used is based on an Escoffier recipe I have adapted.

Ingredients:

1 quart of whole milk (organic pasture is best)
7 egg yolks
1 cup of sugar
a dash of vanilla
1 fresh bunch of mint

Recipe:

Boil the milk.
In a bowl stir energetically the egg yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes almost white and  the texture can form  a “ribbon” when lifted.

Poor the milk in the mixture slowly and mix thoroughly.
Poor the mixture back into a clean pan over low/medium heat.
Stir constantly making an “8 shape” in the pan with a wooden spoon.  Never bring it to a boil, your cream will curdle and will be ruined* . Your cream is ready when thick enough to coat the spoon.


Once the cream is cooked, add the clean fresh mint and let infuse until the mixture cools down completely. Strain and reserve in the fridge overnight.  The next day your cream will have thickened more and you are now ready to churn it. I use a Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker, a great present from my son Joseph & his wife. It takes less than 25 minutes to churn it. Once your cream is frozen reserve in a container — or a mold— and save it in freezer until you are ready to serve it.

And by the way, this cream can be used for other desserts like Ile flottante, or served with fresh fruits & pound cake. It can also be flavored with saffron, coffee, caramel….be creative.

I didn’t get a chance to take a picture but I served this one with strawberries  topped with melted chocolate and garnished with roasted almonds. C’est bon!

*though if that happens, try pouring the cream in a bottle, close tightly and shake vigorously.


Barked Memories

cia
August 21st 2009 / Lunch Time
Culinary Institute of America
The American Bounty Room

I am back in the Mid-Hudson Valley to accompany Miles for the last three days of the Muttnik shoot. I cannot resist returning to the C.I.A. This time I’ll have lunch at one of the “big” restaurants, preferably at the “Escoffier” or the “Villa de Medici.” No, I didn’t make a reservation and therefore I will not be “accommodated” in either of these rooms. Now my choices are: the “American Bounty Room” or return to the “Apple Pie Bakery Café.” No hesitation, I am on my way to the “American Bounty room.” I am ushered to a table for two facing the open kitchen. The setting before me is removed; I sit on the banquette across the “Julia Child Rotisserie Kitchen.” Two rows of antique rolling pins frame the sign. Below it, two impeccable pastry students are busy setting up dessert plates. The reverent & courteous student/waiter brings me the menu and offers cocktails. A quick look confirms that I will have the Dr. Frank Rkatsitelli, Vinifera 2006 from the Finger Lakes. I have read the online wine and lunch menu; it is easy for me to scan through and to decide on:

Sautéed Halibut ($16)
Sweet Manila Clams, Soffrito Rice, white Wine Broth
(sorry no pix, remember? not allowed inside the school)

And then starts an annoying conversation with two of my selves (I’m a Gemini):
Moi 1: “I am really overindulging by coming twice for lunch at the CIA in the same week.”
Moi 2: “But, I am here for a reason.”
Moi 1:“Oh! Yeah and what is the reason?”
Moi 2:“ Well, I’m gonna write about it on my blog!”
Moi 1: “Again?”

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy writing the blog, but sometimes it feels like self-inflicted homework. English is not my first language and I am not a born writer. Why do I do it then? In different ways, whether I draw, sing or write, I find myself doing the same thing: I dwell on a particular situation and seek its “essence.” Using the blog gives a very convenient format, as it allows for all my interest to converge. But today feels like having a “still day.” I put my pen down, close my notebook and sip my wine.

Yum! the wine is crisp, clean & light. It reminds me some of the wines from Luxembourg. Rkatsitelli is an ancient grape from Georgia (Old world not USA!). I had it once before and liked it.  Dr. Konstantin Frank wines are always interesting.

What is that human barking coming out of the kitchen? Every time one of the kitchen doors opens — there is one on each side of the kitchen window, one to get in & one to get out — we can hear the “aboyeur” (literal translation: the barker) dispatching orders. In this case an “aboyeuse” as it is a female announcing the orders to the appropriate station of the kitchen.  This is a strategic position in a brigade system kitchen. Wow! I am having a flashback, and next thing I know I pick up pen and notebook:

I am a little girl in the corridor of the “office” of the family hotel. The “office” was the upstairs kitchen where some dessert and cold foods were prepared and most of all where the manual dumb waiter delivered the food from the downstairs kitchen. The orders were shouted into a speaker-phone. Then one copy of the order slip was sent down, the first carbon copy pinned on to the board next to “le passe” —that’s how we called the dumb waiter— , the third carbon copy was kept by the waiter to add any supplements and then sent out to the cashier to make the bill.

Hotel Poste & GolfI was born in this hotel, in my parents’ bedroom just above the action and almost in the midst of it. It was June 18, 1960 at noon; the restaurant was running at full capacity. There was a banquet for a 100 top, the annual banquet luncheon for the Master Accountant Guild of the Southwest France region. The interesting fact is that my maternal grandfather, Maurice Gallot, was the president of the guild! My father didn’t get to see me until after the banquet was under control. My mother and I were in good hands between the midwife and her uncle who was a surgeon. My mother still remembers that my maternal grandfather bought champagne for the entire party! As far as the memory of the birth itself is concerned, she would always say: “C’est le mal joli,  quand c’est fini on rit!” “It’s the pretty pain — once it’s over one laughs!.” She is always very positive! In case you are curious to know what was served the day of my birth, here it is taken from my grandfather  agenda/menu book. The left side of the page  is the regular Menu du Jour and the right side is the menu for the banquet.

Menu June 18th 1960

Page left:
Lunch:
Hors d’Oeuvres (I have a post on this here) & Cantaloup
Trout Meunière
Entrecôte & Pommes Frites
(always served with Beurre Maître d’Hôtel)
Wild Stawberries & Fresh Cream

Dinner:
Soup du Jour
Braised duck with Garniture Printanière (diced spring veggies)
Asparagus (most likely served with hollandaise sauce)
Peaches

Page right:
The Banquet Menu
Consommé en tasse — cold consommé served in porcelain cup.
Langouste à la Parisienne — rock lobster in a sort of aspic glazed or a.k.a chaudfroid
Grilled chicken à l’Américaine — chicken crapaudine that is first grilled, then covered in a mustard sauce, then breaded and finished in the oven.
Salade Rachel — according the Escoffier cookbook: Equal parts of truffle shavings, rooster kidneys, celery ribs cut into thick julienne, asparagus tips. Light liaison with a thin mayonnaise.
Coupe Poste & Golf It could be anything my grandfather felt like making! probably some sort of home made ice cream with liquor a fruits topped Chantilly and served with a cookie)

Café/Armagnac/ Liquors
Vin Nature de Champagne Abelé Sourire de Reims

I would like to make that menu for one of my birthdays! maybe for the big 50!
By the way I thank you very much for your comments about the blog on Facebook, but I would really appreciate if you would comment directly on the blog. Merci!