Kitchen Talk - The French Lunch Blog — fresh ingredients
French Gourmet at the Cottage
Coq au vin in your cottage with a glass of red wine for you and your SO... sounds rather romantic, doesn't it? Your elegant getaway won't be the same without classic French meals to make the entire experience unforgettable.
Food can make or break a vacation. Instead of stockpiling junk food for your trip, here are the French Lunch dishes we recommend for maximum affordability and health, the haute cuisine way.
Pilaf may be a simple dish that takes very little time to prepare, but it can be difficult to master. Our pilaf is fragrant, fluffy and firm, thanks to basmati rice. We use French herbs and spices for seasoning, blending rich Mediterranean flavours together. When you're at your cottage, you'll want something easy to prepare — surely, you've got many activities planned. Some nights may lead you back to the cottage at midnight. And what better way to quell your rumbling stomach than with a healthy dish ready in less than 10 minutes? Don't let cooking anxieties eat up your vacation time!
Crêpes with julienne (chicken or mushroom)
These crêpes are stuffed with julienne. If you want to enjoy them the authentic French way, dip them into a tapenade or other French sauce. Savoury crêpes taste great with sauces! Another easily-microwaveable dish, you'll spend next to no time preparing it. Crêpes are a go-to classic for most, and make for a healthy breakfast. They'll give you a lot of energy for those long road trips to national parks, houses of family members and friends, and so on.
Cordon bleu with French mashed potatoes
Cordon bleu is a French croquette-come-schnitzel with a fried meat (chicken) exterior and a cheesy interior. A heavenly dish fit to challenge the beloved crêpe, cordon bleu is a great all-season breakfast food. If your cottage is somewhere up north, piping hot cordon bleu will remind you of warmer times. On a sunny, hot morning, cordon bleu and a side of grape tomatoes with aioli dip present a refreshing contrast — a mouthful of hot cordon bleu offset by the cool taste of a tomato dipped into an olive sauce.
Our signature dish, coq au vin is a chicken stew simmered in red wine and vegetables, along with French herbs and spices. It tastes great with wines. You’d think a wine-based dish would be fine by itself (and you’d be right if you’re not wine fan), but we assure you that coq au vin tastes better when paired with wine than without. Pop it into your cottage’s oven and it’ll be ready within half an hour, giving you enough time to prepare for dinner. A hearty and romantic classic dish, your cottage escapades won’t be the same without it!
Like coq au vin, beef provençale is a stew cooked in red wine. Provençale generally refers to any stew containing tomatoes, garlic and olive oil — the rest of the ingredients are up to you. Provençale is similar to ratatouille in its vegetable ingredients, but it’s arguably much heartier due to its thick and tasty gravy. Provençale is perfect for a cold, rainy day’s dinner at the cottage, or a romantic evening with your S.O. The kids will appreciate this stew too. After a long and exhausting trip to the cottage, an oven-ready beef provençale will fill your stomach and help you sleep better, so you can start your vacation stress-free and nutritiously!
Salmon with Sauce au Beurre Blanc, Rice and Broccoli
This Canadian steelhead salmon is marinated in maple syrup for a delightfully sweet and savoury taste. Dip it into golden beurre blanc (white butter, onion, white wine) sauce and prepare to be blown away! A light and well-balanced meal of lean white meat, carbs, and a green vegetable that will energize you for yachting, hikes, and tours to come
These are our top six meal choices for vacations to the cottage. Of course, we have plenty more to show at https://frenchlunch.ca.
Your vacation should be fun, simple, and easy. And most importantly, stress-free (as in, no cooking worries!). That’s why we’re here to provide you with stress-free, affordable, healthy and gourmet meals. Trade the junk food for whole foods. Cooked and packaged by us. Preservative- and sodium-free. Visit 187 Cross Avenue today!
We look forward to feeding you,
- Nina Zaitseva
- Tags: cottage dinners fresh ingredients freshly cooked lunches vacation whole ingredients
A Brand New and Affordable Crêpe Buffet!
Guess what? Starting Tuesday, May 16, French Lunch’s amazing crêpe buffet will begin! At just $4.99 to $5.99 per crêpe with no additional cost for fillings, we offer a lot of value for less than $10. At restaurants, you’re usually charged for each additional topping you add to your crêpe, in addition to a base price for the crêpe itself. But here at French Lunch, we’re only charging you for the crêpe.
We’ll be offering the following hot savoury crêpe at a fixed price of $5.99:
- Egg and ham
- Egg and mushroom
- Mushroom and brie
- Salmon and cream cheese
All savoury crêpes will come with a free helping of tapenade, aioli, béarnaise, mayonnaise, or other sauces, as well as herbs and vegetables like spinach. We recommend tapenade, a sauce not commonly found outside haute cuisine. Best of all, you don’t have to pay to try it!
Our sweet crêpes are completely DIY. Fillings include:
- Maple Syrup
Make it a crêpe day brunch date at French Lunch, the only meal shop in Oakville that does gourmet crêpes starting at just $4.99. Have your crêpe to go, or sit down and enjoy it in-store. We’ll have a couple of tables set up for customers who want to eat their crêpe(s) straight away.
Speaking of crêpes, what are they anyway? For anyone not in the know, crêpes are… pancakes. Yup, crêpes are French pancakes that are rolled up and stuffed with sweet and savoury ingredients. These days, you can put practically anything in a crêpe — from candy to coconuts. Crêpes are incredibly versatile. They’re thinner than pancakes, and are basically hollow, thin shells meant to emphasize stuffing. A crêpe isn’t supposed to be enjoyed by itself like pancakes are, but surely, there exist people out there who dig crêpes without fillings with, say, café au lait (hey, that’s cool too!).
Although popular, crêpes can be quite expensive. Crêperies often charge $10 to $20 or more per crêpe, and the total cost only increases when you add in extra fillings. French Lunch guarantees that there are no additional costs involved when you choose our crêpes — again, we set a fixed price per crêpe, and everything else is included.
Enjoy a gourmet French lunch and brunch for under $10. The most affordable price for a freshly made crêpe in Oakville and the GTA.
French Lunch is right opposite Oakville GO, at 187 Cross Avenue. Feel free to drop in and browse. We’re open until 8 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and until 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
We look forward to feeding you,
- Nina Zaitseva
- Tags: buffet crepes fresh ingredients freshly cooked savoury sweet
Enriching the Western Diet, French Style
If you’ve been to French Lunch’s “About” page, you’ll see that we’re very interested in helping people emulate French eating habits — our goal is to leave our customers with better food knowledge, and we aim to do this by providing everyone with fresh lunches and dinners that can be prepared any time of the week. Hence, our food is frozen, because freezing meals is the best way to retain their nutritional value.
We could have chosen any type of cuisine for our project. But we stuck with French and European foods because we want to promote a healthy Western diet. These days, people tend to scorn Western foods. They’re all seen as high in fat, sodium, sugar, carbs, and cholesterol, and sometimes, rightfully so. But nowadays, even traditional European foods get lumped in with modern day junk foods, and you’re often warned by the media to avoid them or face obesity, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other horrors. But if Western dishes are so dangerous for the body, how do those who eat them for every meal manage their health?
As with all things, moderation is key.
In the U.S. and Canada, obesity rates are steadily increasing. We human beings (especially us North Americans) have access to more food than ever before, and just don’t know how, or just don’t have the time to wade through the plethora of choices we’re presented with. This is no surprise, considering that, on average, Americans work 316 more hours than their French counterparts.
Sadly, we can’t offer a solution for the disparity in work hours, but we can explore ways to be healthy when leading a busy lifestyle. As well, the fact that nearly 7 in 10 Americans are overmedicated and overdiagnosed means that nutrition is something that needs to be taken a lot more seriously than it currently is. We feel that good nutrition may help offset the trend of overmedication in North America, and relieve some ailments permanently. A well-moderated diet can minimize vitamin deficiencies, blood pressure issues, type II diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and other common health problems that our ancestors rarely faced.
So what are the keys to good health? As mentioned above, moderation and portion size. We need to start paying attention to what we eat, and how much we eat. Like any fitness magazine will tell you, cut down your intake of processed foods. Eat them occasionally, and if you are going to eat them on a regular basis, choose something with as little salt and sugar and with as many fresh ingredients as possible.
For example, instead of eating chocolate chip cookies, eat almond and nut cookies. Or have coconut macaroons sweetened with maple syrup. Even though macaroons are typically considered unhealthy, they’re still healthier than chocolate chip cookies with nothing but bleached flour, chocolate chips, and high fructose corn syrup — and virtually no fibre. However, having a couple of cookies after dinner or for a light snack (if you’re not planning to eat anything for a while) is fine. What we advise is for you to choose products made with whole ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, saps, syrups, eggs, and meats, rather than ones with preservatives and overly refined ingredients. The more whole ingredients, the more nutritional value.
Tied to whole ingredients is the consumption of more produce. The majority of North Americans simply don’t eat enough vegetables. We love our meat and dairy, but not our vegetables! If you look at French Lunch’s lunch and dinner menu, you’ll see that almost all of our dishes involve a common group of produce: onions, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. We cook produce with olive oil and wines for more flavour, and both have various health benefits. Altogether, these ingredients, when paired with herbs and spices, create a smorgasbord of flavour and nutrition.
It seems rather strange that the French have no qualms about the fattiness of their foods. They also don’t eat as many vegetables as you’d expect, and love their wine and chocolate. To foreigners, the French seem downright sloppy with their food habits. Yet the French have some of the strictest food traditions in the world, and can be inflexible when it comes to food. This inflexibility often works out in their favour.
When it comes to breakfast, the French eat very little. Black coffee and a croissant. That’s it. Compare this to the traditional English breakfast of sausages, eggs, toast, orange juice, and coffee. Animal products aren’t healthy by themselves in large quantities, and Americans tend to overeat them. Plus the strict French diet is enforced across society, from schools to workplaces.
When it’s time to eat, it’s time to eat, no buts and no distractions. You’re not allowed to snack from childhood onwards, and the three meals you do eat cover a range of different food groups. Pizza isn’t a vegetable in France, but it can be a healthy way to cover a few food groups at once: add on broccoli, asparagus, black olives, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps, a bit of pepper to a pan pizza and pair it with roasted zucchini, and it turns into a nutritious lunch. Sides. Sides are what make French meals healthy.
At French Lunch, we do sides, and we encourage customers to consider pairing our dishes with vegetable sides. We understand that French food isn’t perfect. Some main courses certainly aren’t nutrient-rich on their own. So whatever you pick, eat it with stir-fried or grilled vegetables. You can enrich your diet, one veggie at a time. Don’t worry about ruining the dish’s taste, either — French meals are meant to be complemented by other foods, which are often side dishes that highlight sauces, broths, stock, and gravy.
You can have your cake and eat it too — as long as you eat it in moderate portions within a diverse diet. After all, why limit yourself? Traditional western diets are healthy when fresh, whole ingredients are thrown into the mix.