Things have turned downright hot in the South and I've become quite curious about what people eat in Provence during the summer. So I did a bit of my own field research this past week: peeking in shopping carts, scoping out local resto menus, & going straight to the source by asking a few French people themselves. "Salads, we eat a lot of really big salads" & "We do barbecues & of course there are the picnics". Well, short of getting my hands on a big bowl of Ratatouille, I'm still searching for a quintessential French summer dish. I received some inspiration online from one of my new favorite sites Au Feminin.
I used to go out with a group of friends for a once-a-month "fine dining experience" (although we did hit-up the Cheesecake Factory more than a few times; I blame their world-class martinis), but I don't ever remember being served anything at Los Angeles French bistros in verrines (little glasses). Far from being a grand nouvelle, using tiny glass cups, dishes, & mini-goblets to hold all sorts of creative dishes is quite popular in France & is also surprisingly visually appealing. I've seen several contestants on Un Dine Presque Parfait (reality cook-off show) use verrines for their dishes & a wealth of recipes exist to help you make your perfect sweet-or-savory glass marvel. I'm planning to try some of these cool summer dishes just as soon as I can make it to Chez Ikea to get some trendy verrines of my own.
More Recipes for Verrines:
Odélices (in French)
Cuisine et Saveur (in French)
My Diverse Kitchen