You may recall the gorgeous blackberries I got from TiRoc Farms at the farmers market this past week. I was so excited about the fruit at the market and when I saw them there was no question in my mind that they would be mine. I picked them up for $3.00 and started plotting what they would become. Ultimately, I decided that they needed to become clafoutis….then, I remembered that I had some lavender in the pantry, purchased at the Spice and Tea Exchange on our little mini-trip to Gatlinburg last week. I don’t know why, but for some reason lavender and blackberry seemed perfectly paired to me.
Let me tell you a funny story about clafoutis (I’m getting to the pronunciation…that’s part of the story!). For one of our anniversaries (maybe our 4th? 5th? Somewhere around that point in time) Philip’s sister and one of her friends gave us a gift certificate to a very swanky fine dining restaurant here in Chattanooga. His parents gave us some cash. All in all, we had $100 to spend so we made reservations at this restaurant. When we got there, it was clear we were out of our element (remember, we were super-young and not really what I would call “foodies” at this point in time).
This was the kind of place where the servers don’t smile. They’re all business (it should be noted that this is the only fine dining establishment I have visited in town like this). Philip ordered the Kobe beef, pronouncing it “Ko-Bee”. Our server looked at him and said, “It’s Ko-BAY.” Wow. Nevermind that I have heard some chefs say Ko-Bee and others say Ko-BAY. It was clearly very important to this guy that we say it his way. Anyway, when it was time to order dessert, we decided to get the clafoutis. We had never heard of it, but it sounded nice. So, Philip says, “We’ll have the….cla-FOO-tee.” And the server says, “It’s klah-foo-TEE.” Geez, dude. Sorry we’re not down with your French pronunciations. So there you go. It’s klah-foo-TEE. (The topper of the night was that our car battery was dead when we tried to leave so we were stuck sitting in the truck in the July heat for 30 minutes waiting for my brother-in-law to drive from Soddy-Daisy to rescue us. Good times.) Oh, and even with the $100 in cash and gift cards we still spend $30 out of our own pocket. And we shared a salad and dessert. The food was good, but wow. We have not been back. I don’t know that I will review said restaurant unless we receive another gift certificate!
The pretentiousness of this story is made even more ridiculous when you consider that clafoutis (which can also be spelled clafouti) originated as a peasant dessert in France. It’s amazing to me how so many dishes with fancy French names are so simple (and inexpensive!) but because the names are difficult to pronounce we allow fine-dining restaurants to elevate them to a degree that we find them inaccessible unless someone with a culinary degree is making them for us. French words may be difficult to pronounce, but French food is rarely difficult to prepare. Overwhelmingly, the perfection of many French foods is in their simplicity. Just buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking and you will see.
The original recipe actually calls for milk, but I had just used some Cruze Farm buttermilk (from Knoxville! You can buy it at Greenlife or Earth Fare) in my cornbread that we had for dinner, and as I was reading the ingredients for my recipe I thought, “Why not?” Buttermilk always adds a delicious tang and depth of flavor to baked goods and if I have it available I will frequently substitute it for milk. Crème anglaise is essentially “English cream” and is a pourable custard sauce. Again, the name sounds fancy, but this was by far the least labor-intensive custard I’ve ever made. Thirty minutes start to finish and that included reading the recipe, actually making the crème, taking photos, and cleaning up after. The clafoutis? Besides baking, it took five minutes. Seriously. Five. And I made the batter in my blender. Food with fancy French names is well within your reach!
jeanie westerman says