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Posts Tagged ‘Rancho Escargot’

HERE IS A SCOOP… next Saturday don’t confuse ‘Cinco de Mayo’ with Mexico’s Independence Day! Mexico actually declared its independence from mother Spain on 15 September, 1810.

So what happened on the morning of 5 May, 1862 in Mexico that is such cause for celebration? Well, that was the day 4,000 Mexican soldiers were victorious over Napoleon III’s army at Puebla which is a village about 100 miles east of Mexico City. Oui! I said, Napoleon’s army.

You see, the French had landed in Mexico five months earlier under pretense of collecting Mexican debts from the newly elected government of democratic President Benito Juaréz. But that was really a ploy of Emperor Napoleon III, who hated the United States, to gain a permanent foothold in Mexico. Napoleon had already sent a Hapsburg prince, Maximillian I, to rule over this new Franco/ Mexican Empire, an idea that both President Juaréz and his Mexican liberal party refused to recognize.

There is no question Mexicans had won a great victory on that May 5th and in doing so also kept Napoleon from supplying the Confederate rebels for another year which allowed the Union army to grow in strength. The Confederates loss at Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla essentially ended the Civil War – Gracias Mexico!

Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Well, we love Mexico, margaritas, and our imported Corona’s! Remember, although we love France…  we don’t want everything in our lives to be French.

I hope today when you are having that tasty margarita or ice cold Corona… you will share a bit of this ‘French History’ with your amigos.

Plan to visit in 2013? Please have a look at the delightful accommodations at both Le Sud and the affordable ‘all-inclusive’ 1 week home-stays at the rural & eclectic French casa: Rancho Escargot.

Both represent excellent value and are located in the very heart of the Dordogne River Valley.

Viva Cinco de Mayo! et à bientôt, Jack
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May 5, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin

In the North of France’s Lot department, history and geography combine to mark the transition from the Massif Central to Causse. Here were the landholdings of the Duchy of Aquitaine and the possessions of the Counts of Toulouse.

The diversity in topography provides visible proof: the Correze’s shale foothills of the Massif Central, offers undulating, broken features both wooded and green; the Lot’s wide limestone plateau is accented by dry-stone walls that are centuries old and valleys where sometimes water disappears into a secret subterranean networks.

The evidence of man’s pre-history and evolution through medieval times is everywhere. Neanderthal’s and Cro-Magnon’s co-existed for a time here. These are the lands of Eleanor of Aquitaine, King Henry, Richard the Lionhearted and birthplace to the crusading Knights Templar’s.

Three great families fought for centuries over this territory. The Turenne’s from their Chateau near Brive, controlled Saint Céré, Martel, Collonges and Curemonte. The Cardaillac’s controlled an area from Saint-Cirq-Lapopie to Lacapelle-Marival. The Castelnaus formed the armed guard of their sovereign, the Count of Toulouse, before becoming vassals of the Viscount of Turenne in 1183.

This region rich in castles has its religious roots founded in the middle ages. One of Europe’s principal pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela runs though the very heart of Rocamadour and many of our other beautiful villages:

So why not come for a visit with us? We’ll be happy happy to help you navigate the Dordogne River Valley and surrounds!

Plan to visit in 2013? Please check out the delightful accommodations at: Le Sud. Or email us about affordable homestays at our rural and eclectic French home: Rancho Escargot.

Both are located in the very heart of the Dordogne River Valley!

Bonne Route et à bientôt! Jack
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April 28, 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