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Bastille Day

So, next month I have to prepare a French themed menu for Bastille Day. Expecting 20 to 30 people. Most of the food will be consumed outside so of course I'll need something summery so I'll certainly start off with vichysoisses and probably celery root remoulade. Along with that pissaldiere or socca---I don't think the militant faction of the vegetarians will go for the anchovies, but who cares? I'd love to inflict frogs legs on them just to see them squirm, same with escargots.

So any suggestions are most welcome.The main could be poulet basquaise? I just don't want to sacrifice standards to satisfy the weenie contingent, as I'll probably have to charge more for this meal than they are used to paying.

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

asked over 2 years ago
16 answers 1354 views
Cakes
added over 2 years ago

Maybe gougeres to pass around?

5.15.11_coconut_macaroons_best_sm
added over 2 years ago

There are 2 dishes that I will always remember from when I spent July in France:
1) Homemade fresh duck confit, eaten in a stone summer cabin next to a cornfield in Dordogne.
2) The tarte aux mirabelles I helped make from the fresh mirabelle plums we harvested off my host family's tree.
When we attended the Bastille Day fireworks in Paris, we brought a picnic of bread, cheese, cured meat, wine, and the tarte.

Are you going to post your final menu? Because I'd love to see it... You know, for drooling purposes.

5.15.11_coconut_macaroons_best_sm
added over 2 years ago

There are 2 dishes that I will always remember from when I spent July in France:
1) Homemade fresh duck confit, eaten in a stone summer cabin next to a cornfield in Dordogne.
2) The tarte aux mirabelles I helped make from the fresh mirabelle plums we harvested off my host family's tree.
When we attended the Bastille Day fireworks in Paris, we brought a picnic of bread, cheese, cured meat, wine, and the tarte.

Are you going to post your final menu? Because I'd love to see it... You know, for drooling purposes.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 2 years ago

Yes, I will post. The problem I must always confront is that the people who attend these meals think they should pay almost nothing for them and if the cooks go over budget they are expected to make up the difference in cost out of pocket. I've had the most strident of the vegetarians tell me that they should pay less because the ingredients cost less. In fact the opposite is true and I've done the cost analysis on it. I would love to serve duck confit but this is what I'm up against.

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

That's the story of the catering life, mon ami. I continue to be surprised that people are surprised that food, its preparation, and its serving cost money.

Chris_in_oslo
Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added over 2 years ago

I'm not usually a fan of mixing regions in French food, and I pretty much believe the legend that Vichyssoise was invented in New York City. But you've got me thinking that a mix of myth and regions might be just what this party needs. Would they go for oysters? Flammekueche/ tarte flambée from Alsace. Ratatouille or some nice stuffed vegetables from Provence. Your poulet basquaise idea is probably a good option for keeping your costs down and not offending anyone, though slow-cooked duck legs or rabbit in pastis might be my choices. And are you thinking of an over-the-top cliche of a dessert like crêpes Suzette? You've just gotta flame something if you can't flame the paying customers.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 2 years ago

Greenstuff, normally I would agre with you on mixing regions but as this is a French national holiday I think I can get away with it. Regarding vichyssoise, it was invented by Louis Diat possibly on an ocean liner bound for New York. But Diat, at a very young age, became the most important French chef in New York cooking at the Ritz Carlton and eventually his own place Pavillion.
I like the ratatouille idea. It's good because it can be made ahead and held at room temperature. Also I have a real butcher here who would probably make up garlic sausages to my specs. So that might work. Thanks.

5.15.11_coconut_macaroons_best_sm
added over 2 years ago

@pierino: How about a leek tart with caramelized onions? Vegetarians can't say no to leeks. Of course, I was in the middle of a decade of vegetarianism when I went to France and ate duck confit... When you travel, you gotta try everything, right?

Img_3538
added over 2 years ago

Fun! We celebrate Bastille day every year. It's always a dare between the kids who will pop the first snail in their mouth! Love it. We usually do escargot, vichyssoise, a nicoise salad, a giant quiche, lamb and a cherry clafoutis spiked with Lillet. Keep in mind its about as hot as hell x3 around here in July. We also certainly eat our share of pissaladiere with cold tomato soup in the summer too. And if they don't eat anchovies make a separate vegetarian one or not.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 2 years ago

Yes, it will be hot as hell here too---probably near 100---so I'm keeping it summery. Clafoutis might work as stone fruit should be in season.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

My favorite Bastille Day dish is a Marinated Calamari Salad. So pretty, light and delicious!

If I were doing an outdoor feast for a large group though, I would do a Grand Aioli. It's the traditional Summer feast they do for Saints' Days all over Provence. If you'd like a description of the feast, I'd be glad to send it to you. Lots of veggies, fish and grilled lamb, and of course goo-gobs of aioli (just garlic, please!) and Rose wine.

Chris_in_oslo
Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added over 2 years ago

If you're offering it to a wider audience, I would love to have a description of your Grand Aioli. We typically cook French food all July and drink Provencal roses all summer. Your feast sounds like a new family tradition.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 2 years ago

I love aioli myself but I'd have to inform the weenies here that it's a real mayonnaise made with raw eggs. Given that I live in an olive oil region that ingredient must be featured in some way.

Img_3788
added over 2 years ago

How about some marinated and roasted peppers, a classic pâte, and if it doesn't go against your principles, a mushroom pâte as well, served with some good baguette along with a selection of cheeses. This is what I would eat along with a salad and some fruit in Paris for a summer picnic.

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

Sounds like a great gathering of food and friends. I'd drop in an lend a hand if I could.

The_cook
added over 2 years ago

Sad but true, in response to PIERINO, most Americans are spoiled and really do believe that food should be cheap. My cost analysis show the same results as the one PIERINO did -- fresh vegetables and fruits usually increase cost. I like to think of it this way. Every encounter with the I-want-it-cheap folks is an opportunity to do a little education. Being too heavy handed turns people off, but I try the approach every chance I get and in my experience, most will at least listen. We gotta start somewhere.