“Cerise, chérie?” my grandmother used to say to me, offering a big bowl cherries, freshly picked from the trees in her garden, still warm from the sun.
Cerise Chérie is inspired by the beauty, simplicity and authenticity of French food – and the joie de vivre it evokes. Here I share the recipes that my grandmothers passed to me, as well as kitchen tips I’ve picked up along the way for living la belle vie.
I grew up between two worlds – in one, foraging for mushrooms and wild asparagus with my paternal French grandparents in the early morning fog of the Colorado mountains; in the other, running wild along ancient, sun-drenched footpaths lacing across the mesas of New Mexico, where my mother’s family lived. My childhood was flavoured with an eclectic mix of the spices of Mexico, traditional Native American dishes, pozole and green chile, along with Burgundy soaked meats, garden tomatoes and French classics like poulet a l’estragon or my grandmother’s famous croque-madame.
When I was 18, on the day after I graduated from High School, I packed up my bags and boarded a plane to Europe. Traveling between France and Italy, I finally settled in a tiny apartment in Livorno, on the Tuscan coast. I spent my early twenties immersed in the market scene and in the kitchens of my Italian neighbours, learning to cook traditional recipes from anyone and everyone who had the patience to put up with my never-ending questions in broken Italian. At 24 I decided I should go to college and “do something” with my life. So I moved back to the United States, where I met my husband and attended University, majoring in English. After graduation, we moved to the Gulf coast of Florida where we lived for several years. But the mountains were always calling me home. Now we’re back in Colorado, but I missed those authentic French dishes that my grandmother used to make, and the rustic Italian ones that I came to love so dearly in Europe.
Here on Cerise Chérie I seek to demystify French cooking using simple techniques and local ingredients that are widely available in the United States and elsewhere. These are my French-inspired recipes for the American kitchen… along with a few of my beloved New Mexican and Italian dishes thrown in there to spice things up.
Looking for one of my older recipes? Visit my first blog, Pure & Peanut Free.