Notes from RABBIT HILL {2014 September No. 2}
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Ah....Septembre!


Are you ready to say 'au revoir' to summer?  I am -- only because I adore 'l'automne'.  It's funny how the air changed almost immediately after the first of the month and the light seems to be bolder and lower in the sky. I am so happy that after a pretty grueling first week, we finally have 'les enfants' settled in school.  The teen began 'high school' or 10th grade and the middle guy returned to his current school in 5th grade and 'petite fille' started her first year of 'preschool'.... the grade levels are different in France and it stretches my brain to try to sort out what would be the equivalent level in the US--but that is close enough.

I am excited to share a couple of favorite recipes in this letter.  You will notice that both are gluten-free... which is common in our home having two kiddos that are 'intolerant' and I have to say that I myself feel much better when not having gluten in my diet.  It is more difficult here in France to adhere to a regimen of 'sans gluten' but it also challenges me to find ingredients to substitute and create dishes that will work for everyone.

The shop opening last week was fantastic!  So fun to see new people discovering the shop.  I may or may not be able to have a regular opening on October 1st as we have a group of lovely ladies here with us in Normandy during the last week of the month.  So stay tuned and I will let everyone know for sure if the shop opening is postponed.

This month is going quickly already.  For the recipes and other news ...read on!

Orange Almond Cakes


Because we have gluten and milk protein sensitive family members I often bake wheat and dairy free, and for this recipe it is just as easy to sub back in the real butter and the wheat flour for the margarine and the rice four blend.  I love blood orange juice but standard orange juice works just as well.

2 cups raw sugar
1 cup very soft vegan organic margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups almond flour (or fine ground almond meal)
1 cup gluten-free flour blend or rice flour
2tsp. baking powder
1 cup fresh squeezed blood orange or orange juice (approx. 5 oranges)
1 tbs. fine zest

Beat the softened margarine with the sugar and vanilla.  Slowly add the 4 eggs and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes.  In a separate bowl blend the almond flour, gluten free flour and baking powder.  Add the blended flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until well blended before adding the orange juice.  As a final step, mix in the grated zest.

You can use any form that you have.  I used large (cup-cake size) cardboard hexagon shaped forms, but I am also a huge fan of silicon bake ware. So depending on what you use, the cakes will bake at 350F degrees for 15 minutes for small forms or 35-50 minutes for standard cake forms.

Just watch and when they are golden and 'cracked' they are done.  The outside will be lightly crisp and the inside will be dense and moist.

If you are a fan of the French 'cookie' called a Financier, then you will be crazy for this sweet orange infused almond cake.  Traditionally the Financier (which got it's name from the patisseries located near the Paris Stock Exchange in the late 19th century and were made in rectangular forms to resemble bars of gold ...) is made from blanched almond meal, egg, sugar and a very large portion of butter.

On Sunday Brocantes.com


If you haven't been by the site lately ...
There is a new entry under 'Manger' about a fabulous gluten-free boulangerie that we discoverd on a recent day in Paris.  You can read about it here by clicking {HERE}.

On the farm...


Of course it wouldn't be the start of a new season without a long list of projects for the pending fall...  The barn room is shaping up (see images on Instagram and Facebook) and we will soon be hosting our first celebration there.  On the 'to-do' list is to up-grade the electrical and wire a chandelier above the table and we are also considering installing a few spot lights in the beams to add better lighting for photography and work.  That space is one of my favorite places to be!

Inside Maison Rabbit Hill we have a entry hallway project to dive into.  We have spent most of the summer planning a wall surface technique that would suit our 374 year old home.  The walls are currently fabric covered (yes--I said fabric) and we have an idea that the walls behind are quite.... unique---and not in a good way.  So check back for the 'un-veiling'.  We hope to sort out a lime-plaster finish.

Summer Veggie Risotto


Risotto is one of those fancy sounding dishes that some people only order at restaurants.  But anyone can make it and the only 'skill' involved is patience... and the only rule is to serve it right away otherwise you may have a sticky gummy dish.

1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
2 chopped, seeded tomatoes
1/2 diced red onion
1 chopped red pepper
2 cups chopped chard / separated stalks from leaves
1 garlic clove -- smashed to be removed later
2 cups risotto rice
6 cups hot broth
Dry white wine (optional)

Saute the veggies in 3 tbs. good olive oil with the crushed clove of garlic in a heavy sauce pan. Once the veggies start to soften, remove to 2/3rds of the veggies and set aside.  Add the rice to the remaining vegetables in the pan and stir for a few minutes to allow the rice to be coated with oil and start to 'toast' a bit. 

If you have wine handy-- a splash of dry white begins the process... pour about a half of a cup on the hot rice mixture.  With a large ladle, cover the risotto mixture with hot broth and reduce the heat to low.  For the next 40 minutes to an hour (or more) keep adding the heated broth each time it is completely absorbed by the rice. 

You will need to stand over it (preferably with a glass of wine in hand) while it cooks, never allowing the rice to cook dry.  Once the rice puffs up and absorbs the liquid--test often--the final dish should have a bit of liquid left to pool in the bowl--but the rice should be moist (and not crunchy!)  If you run short on hot broth---hot water can be added to get to the final consistency.

The last step is after plating, add the cooked veggies that you set aside on top.  As I said before-- serve right away.  This dish is lovely with crumbled goat cheese or nice hard aged grated  'Asiago' cheese.

What's coming up?


September is going to run away -- and what is on my mind is that we are just TWO weeks away from hosting our Fall Vintage Shopping Tour in Normandie and Paris with Kimberly Hites.  'The Ladies' as we affectionately call them... arrive soon to explore Normandie and shop at fabulous brocantes, shops, vintage goods warehouses and of course-- the renown Paris Flea Market! 

Keep an eye out for posts on Facebook and Instagram and you can see what the tour is all about {HERE}.

MERCI!


Thanks for taking time to read 'Notes from Rabbit Hill'!

The next newsletter will come out at the end of the month. I am always interested in what you are up to, if you have a recipe you would like to see here, or have questions or comments about life at Rabbit Hill.  I have set up a 'Guest Book' on the site -- so pop over and say 'bonjour!'

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