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Archive for the ‘Food & Wines’ Category

FOIE GRAS! S&M MOST FOWL? OR IS IT SIMPLY ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU HAVE EVER TASTED? From a culinary perspective there are many who love it, while others consider Foie Gras the byproduct of a demonic relationship between a sadistic farmer and a masochistic duck or goose. Here is how one of the greatest delicacies of France is created:

Gentle loving ‘French Way’ (and the alternate perception)

Foie gras is one of the most popular and well-known delicacies in French cuisine and its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, quite unlike that of a regular duck or goose liver. Foie gras is sold: whole (Entier), trimmings (Bloc) or as a pâté.

Typically, it is served as an appetizer on toast with a nice glass of champagne! But it also is an excellent accompaniment to a main course of filet or fowl.

The liver of a duck or a goose is specially fattened by 'gavage', a technique used by ancient Egyptians and dating as far back as 2500BC, when they began keeping birds for food and deliberately fattened the birds through force-feeding.

In America, the Foie Gras debate is raging! Here are two opposing perspectives from Chicago where its sale is now prohibited:

“Our culture does not condone the torture of innocent and defenseless creatures.”

Joe Moore – Chicago Alderman






“Foie gras has been around since the age of cuisine. Some animals are raised for food. They’re raised to die.”

Rick Tramanto – Chef at “Tru” in Chicago

Well, who do you agree with the Alderman or the Chef?

Check out: The Truth about Foie Gras before you decide.

Today, our little corner of southwest France is considered ‘ground-zero’ for Foie Gras in Europe. Trust me when I tell you that this whole ongoing debate against it is not all it is quacked up to be.

Bon Appétit et à bientôt!  Jack
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August 25, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin

LE CHABROL is a twisted tradition in the Haut-Quercy that dates back to the Middle Ages!

The story is really all about the soup. In southwestern France no meal is complete unless it starts with either broad bean soup (soupe de fèves) or a tourain. Tourain is an onion and garlic soup… the same soup traditionally served here at dawn to newlyweds, whether they like it or not, on the first morning of their married life.

So, when you've almost completed that delicious bowl of soup, this is where things get a little twisted…

Just take in hand that bottle of ’82 Château Latour Pauillac you've been decanting and pour a generous splash into the remainder of your soup; give it a hearty swirl to mix and then… it's bowls up!  Chabrol!!!

When visiting you will quickly grasp the importance of perpetuating this tradition...

Go for it!  Slurp it up and you will be a VERY happy traveler.

Just ask Bobbi!

Chabrol et à bientôt! Jack

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July 21, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin

Today the Easter Bunny is hard at work around Rancho Escargot!


Of course, after ‘his’ work is done … Ours begins again with renewed pleasure!!!


Rancho Escargot’s ‘Lapin à la moutarde aux fèves

(Rabbit with mustard and fava beans)

Here at Rancho Escargot we think this is the perfect meal after that hard day of Easter egg hunting! It’s the addition of fresh fava beans that sets this particular recipe apart. Be sure to select beans that are young and tender or use pasta or peas in their place. Note: this recipe serves 4


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 rabbit, about 2 lbs (1 kg), cut into 8 serving pieces

1 small white onion, diced      4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

1 cup dry white wine              1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper – Bouquet garni

3 cups (750 ml) veal or chicken stock – Ice cubes

3 lbs (1.5 kg) fava (broad) beans

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil

Ice Cubes


In a large sauté pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the rabbit pieces and brown well, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side. Using tongs, transfer the rabbit to a plate and set aside.

To the same sauté pan over medium heat, and the onion & garlic and sauté until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Return the rabbit to the pan and add the wine, salt & pepper. Cook over a medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Add the bouquet garni and stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the meat falls easily from the bone, 45-50 minutes.

While the rabbit is simmering, fill a bowl with ice cubes and water and set aside. Remove the fava beans from their pods and discard the pods. Fill a sauce pan three-fourths full with water and bring to a boil. Add the beans to the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain the beans, and then plunge them immediately into the ice water. Remove from the water. Using a sharp knife slit the skin on the edge of each bean and “pop” the bean free of its skin. Discard skins and set beans aside.

Using tongs remove the rabbit meat from the sauté pan and place it in the center of your serving platter.

Strain the sauce remaining in the sauté pan through a fine mesh sieve into a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the fava beans & mustard and heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Now, just pour the sauce over the rabbit, sprinkle the basil over the top and serve… Or you can always come here and we’ll be happy to prepare it for you!

Joyeuses Paques! Bon appétit! et à bientôt, Jack

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(Oh, and Happy April Fools day too!)

(Oh, and Happy April Fools Day!)

March 30, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin