Le Futiloscope has a certain admiration for people who are better than we are in sniffing out new trends. Take, for example, Blandine Boyer. While the lockdown sent millions of city-dwellers scurrying for the countryside, and newspapers now predict a massive “reversed rural exodus” (they like it there in their secondary homes, and they're making plans to stay there), Blandine was in advance of them all! It’s now been two years since she left the capital for the Cévennes (the wild , wild south-east of the Massif Central), where she’s been redoing her isolated family home. Blandine? She’s our best friend cook/culinary stylist/author of a dozen super recipe books. Born in Morocco, she grew up in Lozère and Ardèche, wherever her forest ranger father was stationed. She was a costumer and caterer in Montreal for 10 years, and then worked for 30 years in Paris. Her latest décor? “Two and a half hectares of scrublands, prairies and orchards, with a river and thousands of bamboo trees…I’m in the right place, it was obvious to go back to the soil, even if, like Sisyphus, I have to continually battle alone against torrential rains, wild boars, leaf curl and brambles…” Her plan? “Consume less, plant, clear the brush, repair, recycle!” And cook, of course: “Thanks to my double DNA of poor peasant, living in almost complete solitude and that of my mother who taught me as an infant to glean and pick, I was super prepared for the lockdown. I cook falafels made with herbs from the scrublands, tajine of wild boar with bamboo shoots and chestnut polenta…I am very privileged, my life has hardly changed. Seen from here, the idea of jigsaw puzzles and virtual happy hour is completely surrealistic.
And as you may have guessed, if Blandine is today’s guest of our major series “Le Futilo on Lockdown” (or just de-confined), it isn’t to bore you with a treatise on ecological degrowth and the joys of frugality. It’s because the author of “SOS Restes ” - "SOS Leftovers" , a book published in 2006, that has become so 2020 - but also because she’s a champion of “no waste”, another trend dear to the heart of Le Futiloscope! Throw nothing out, waste nothing: obvious to someone with peasant roots, who lives in the wild, far from supermarkets. Lately this motto has become a real challenge to confined city-dwellers less trained in this attitude. Who hasn’t done a little panic shopping, stocking tons of fresh products? And who hasn’t found themselves with a hoard of stale bread and wilted vegetables? We asked Blandine to give us three of her favorite anti-waste ideas. No convoluted recipes for a pâté of peels, tempura from fish bones that create disaster in the kitchen…just 3 mini recipes that become reflexes and can be used—forever! Here they are:
With stale bread : the perfect croutons
- Put stale bread (white, rye, whole wheat, nut…) cubed in a bowl, sprinkle with dried herbs (thyme, sage, oregano...) and/or spices, add salt and generously coat with olive oil.
Mix with your hands and then spread on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Brown in the oven for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice during the cooking.
They keep two weeks in a zip bag. Use as needed (for salads, soups, spinach…). Or whiz in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.
Of course, you don’t turn on the oven only for that, you make them while cooking something else and the oven is already hot…
With scraps of cheese : a pasta sauce
Grate all hard and dry cheese (swiss, gouda, old goat cheese…) by hand or in a food processor (with a food processor you can even grate old parmesan).
In a small pot, color chopped garlic in a little butter. Add the grated cheese, soft cheese cut up (vache qui rit, bleu cheese…). Barely cover with milk and bring to a simmer while stirring with a whisk. Use a hand blender, add pepper and serve over penne.
With mushrooms forgotten in the fridge bin : fancy little sandwiches
Sauté the heads and stems of the mushrooms in butter or olive oil, add salt. Once cool, put in blender with a bit of mayonnaise or garlic and herb cheese, a touch of lemon juice and pepper. Spread it on the bread of your choosing. You can add 3 dried porcini mushrooms that have been soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water before blending and you have tramezzini!
Sincere thanks Blandine! For more recipes take a look through her vast bibliography. Be sure to follow her on Instagram @blandineboyer, and you’ll never be bored with her botanical riddles, wildflower bouquets, peasant cuisine revisited…and even beavers in the river captured at night by her infra-red camera!