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After finishing up some projects, I decided to treat myself to a movie. You know how there are just some movies that you want for your collection? Well, Le Pacte des Loups or Brotherhood of the Wolf is one of those movies in my book. The film is loosely based on a real-life series of killings that took place in France in the 18th century and on the famous legend around the Beast of Gévaudan. The plot goes something like this. The Chevalier de Fronsac, a knight and the royal taxidermist (yes, you read that right) of King Louis XV of France, and his Native American companion Mani (who is played by Mark Dacascos “The Chairman”, of Iron Chef fame…oh yeeeeaaaaah!) an Iroquois, are sent by the King to the Gevaudan province to investigate the killings of hundreds by a mysterious beast.

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If you have never seen it, it is an amazing example of cinematography. I have a real weakness for historical movies – where the costumes and scenery are as brilliant as the imagination can make them. I also love a good supernatural mystery and this movie covers all the bases. It is a bit of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, mixed with Last of the Mohicans and a little bit of Sleepy Hollow thrown in for good measure. It is a gorgeous movie, full of mystery, action, intrigue, a little darkness and beautiful French people. If you get this movie, please so not chose the dub option.
It is just way better in French. Take it from one who knows, ma cherie.

I am not really big into French Cuisine. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like it. Quite the contrary, I just haven’t had many opportunities to eat it and I doubt much of what I cook can be classified as anything close to French cuisine. But in my attempts to somehow create a theme to this movie dinner, I decided to use the one French ingredient I always have in my fridge – Chevre, or Goat’s Cheese. This is my absolute favorite cheese in existence. It is so creamy and pungent and delicious. So I decided that it would taste really good coated in breadcrumbs and pan-fried. My mistake was not giving it an egg wash first. It would have kept these cheesy disks together better. When I was rummaging through the fridge to see what would go with this, my eyes fell on some lovely baby swiss chard leaves I had. So I decided to sautee these up with some bacon, and wine and create a pomegranate-balsamic reduction to go overtop of everything. Not sure how French it was, but it sure tasted fabulous – coupled with some fresh baked bread and a nice glass of red wine, it was certainly a feast for our mouths as we watched the movie, a visual feast for the eyes. Both sensory experiences were intense, deep and exciting!

Fried Chevre

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INGREDIENTS:

4 thick slices of Chevre
homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs
pinch of tarragon
pinch of thyme
olive oil

*note*: next time I would first dip the cheese in an egg wash to help the breadcrumbs adhere better to the cheese.

METHOD:

Heat about 3 TBS olive oil in a skillet.
On a small plate mix breadcrumbs and herbs. Coat each slice of chevre in the mixture, and place each slice in the skillet. Pan fry until golden, flip and keep frying until the other side is golden.

Porky Chard

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INGREDIENTS:

olive oil
2 slices thick center cut bacon, chopped
medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup white wine – chardonnay works great
4 cups fresh baby chard leaves (regular chard leaves work fine too)
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

Heat up a large skillet and pour in the olive oil. Add the chopped bacon and sautee until starting to cook. Add onions and garlic and sautee until vegetables are beginning to brown, then pour in the wine and cook until wine has reduced. At this point make the pomegranate-balsamic glaze. After the wine has reduced, add the swiss chard leaves to the pan and cook until wilted.

Pomegranate-Balsamic Reduction

Pomegranate Syrup (juice would probably work too)
Balsamic vinegar

Mix equal parts in a small sauce pan. Heat on high and stir regularly until it reduces by half and is nice and syrupy.

Serve this dish by placing the chevre next to a pile of sauteed chard and drizzle the whole dish with the pomegranate-balsamic reduction. Serve with nice crusty bread.