Monday, July 15, 2013

Beating the Bastille Day heat

I wanted to celebrate Bastille Day with a nice French meal, but my goal was also to avoid turning my oven on. Which is a shame because I got a nice Creuset French oven for a wedding present, and I'd love to crack that bad boy open, but we have all of fall for that. After looking through a few recipes, I found a slow cooker coq au vin that looked delicious and decided on a chocolate mousse for dessert. Minimal stove time required, but ultimately very little heated added to the already unnecessarily high heat index of my kitchen. Another advantage of the slow cooker is that once I'd put my chicken in there to braise in delicious wine for hours on end, it freed me up to leave my apartment and experience the wonders of Bastille Day in 90 degree heat elsewhere.
The ingredients for a proper coq au vin, including our trusty slow cooker. 
Chicken thighs in their wine bath ready to braise away the summer afternoon. 
Our first stop was the Bastille Day bash put on by the Alliance Francaise on 60th St. It was free, well unless you wanted to do the tastings, then it was $20. Since the bulk of the tasting lunch was coq au vin, and we had that cooking at home, we opted to just purchase pastries. Which is not to say the Alliance Francaise didn't get some money out of us, as I was easily talked into a couple of raffle tickets. Alas, we didn't not win the Grand Prize trip for two bicycling around Provence, but there's always next year. We probably would have hung out longer and listened to accordion music if it wasn't so hot. We also had plans at one of the least French things possible: a baseball game. Actually, I guess American football would be less French.

Bastille Day in all it's bleu, blanc, rouge finery!

Dominique Ansel, the creator of the cronut. Don't intend on trying a cronut, but we did try the other pastries in this tower and they were awfully tasty.
Sam had gotten tickets from his company for the All Stars Game, but apparently before you get to the celebrity game you have to sit through the "future all stars" game. Although it's not like it really made much difference to us, as really any baseball game pretty much looks the same. We mostly wanted to go to see CitiField and get some hot dogs (crazy expensive) and beer (even more expensive!). Once those things were checked off the list, it was pretty much just sweating in the sun and watching people get out. We left in the 5th inning when we finished our $5 bottle of water and realized we couldn't afford the cost of avoiding dehydration any longer.
On the way to the game we caught an exhibition 7 train. Not only did it run express, but all the cars were from a different era of NYC subway history. This one was from the last 1960s and had fans instead of A/C. It was pretty fun to walk back through history in all the cars, but it did make us appreciate that modern subway cars are climate controlled.

CitiField! Home to the $12 Bud Lite. 
Luckily, we came home to some delicious coq au vin and a reasonably cool apartment, so we finished our Bastille Day in relative (but not aristocratic) comfort. Looking back, I realize this post has mostly been about food at various locations.
The finished product. Ignore the bread. I didn't want to make my own because of the not wanting to turn on my oven thing and no bakeries are open in my neighborhood on Sunday night apparently. Grocery store loaf it is then!

Dessert. Vive la France!
Hope you all had lovely and cool Bastille Day as well!


  1. From the person formerly known as French Teacher: I totally forgot about Bastille Day! That is a really fancy looking slow cooker. I think you could do a number of posts about using your new kitchn equipment.

  2. The slow cooker was actually a birthday present from Sam several years ago, not a new gift, but I was going to try to write a Vitamix post soon. I just need to make something really ambitious in it to make it worth it. Stay tuned.