The Québequois are lovely, warm, and, because they are Canadian, very polite. When I spoke to them in French, they answered me in slow French so I could understand. They encouraged my efforts and I was a totally happy camper, even more so when it came time for dinner (and lunch, and breakfast), which we ordered in French.
Because every place is not California, where they totally get Paleo, I modify my diet a bit when I travel, avoiding the stuff that would totally send me over the edge (grains, corn, soy, alcohol, beans), but indulging in a little dairy (butter, a taste or two of cheese, accompanied by Lactaid) and sugar. Although there is actually a French Paleo blog, Paléo Régime, most French restaurants would find it difficult to accommodate my restrictive dietary needs and have no concept of Paleo. But I was happy to find gluten-free options in all the restaurants we chose, and we had absolutely fabulous meals.
My favorite dining experience was in a crêperie called Le Billig...we ate there twice, because their crêpes bretons are the best and are made with buckwheat, which is not a grain, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb. It's not technically Paleo, but o.k. once in awhile according to some Paleo nutritionists (I dunno, does 4 1/2 crêpes in 4 days count as "once in awhile"?). The French word for buckwheat is sarrasin. Usually, savory crépes are made with sarrasin and dessert crépes with wheat flour. But the restaurant was happy to make my salted caramel dessert crêpe with buckwheat.
You will notice that the recipe makes about 10 crêpes. What to do with the rest? Well, you could freeze them, but they keep in the fridge for a few days. I reheated them in the toaster oven, then poured a little melted ghee on top and sprinkled with maple sugar. Voilà, dessert!
Crêpes with Wild Mushrooms, Spinach and Eggs
4 Perfect Paleo Crêpes from the recipe below
1 cup steamed spinach (use fresh or frozen)
1 pint fresh oyster or other mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in 1 TBS ghee
4 slices cooked bacon, optional
2 sunny side up eggs, fried in ghee
Perfect Paleo Crêpes (reprinted with permission from Jane's Healthy Kitchen, www.janeshealthykitchen.com)
Makes about 10 crêpes
4 large cage-free eggs
4 TBS thin, unsweetened canned coconut milk (use the thick coconut cream on top of the can in another recipe)
2 TBS arrowroot flour
1 TBS olive oil
Coconut oil for frying
1. Add all ingredients except coconut oil to a blender or food processor. Blend well.
2. Preheat 8-inch non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with a little coconut oil before making each crêpe.
3. Use 3 TBS batter for each crêpe , but put in a quarter cup measuring cup (3/4 full) so you add the batter to the pan all at once. The batter should be quite thin. If it isn't, thin with a little water.
4. Pour the batter into the pan and twirl it around gently to coat the surface. The crêpe will start to dry out on the sides, slightly pulling away from the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. When the entire crêpe can slide and pull away from the pan, flip gently with a spatula (you may have to use your fingers, as well). When second side is lightly browned, about 1 minute, slip it onto a serving plate.
5. Repeat with each crêpe.
To assemble the dish:
For each serving, put two crêpes on a plate, add half of the spinach and half of the mushrooms, and top with a fried egg. Serve with bacon on the side, if you wish.
Parmentier d'oie et canard confit en panais dauphinois Chez Boulay, sort of
Leftover turkey (dark meat is best), chicken or duck, shredded
Leftover mashed sweet potatoes or butternut squash
Leftover roasted vegetables (I used parsnips, carrots and Brussels sprouts, but you
can use any fall veggie. If you don't have leftovers, just slice and roast veggies tossed
in a little olive oil and salt in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until soft).
1 pint oyster or other mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in 1 TBS ghee
Fresh herbs for garnish
Serve with leftover cranberry sauce or chutney or apple sauce
1. Heat the cooked poultry, squash or sweet potatoes and vegetables separately.
2. When ready to serve, place a ring mold (see photo above) in center of plate. Put sweet potatoes or squash in the mold, about 3/4 of an inch high, and spread out to fill bottom of mold.
3. Pile cooked poultry on top of sweet potatoes and smooth top.
4. Arrange cooked parsnips or carrots on top of poultry.
5. CAREFULLY remove ring mold, and voilà, you will have a nicely composed little dish.
6. Moisten top with a little leftover gravy and scatter mushrooms and other vegetables artfully around the plate. Garnish with fresh herbs (sage is especially autumnal).
7. Wash out ring mold and repeat for each serving.
8. Serve with cranberry sauce, chutney, or even a little homemade apple sauce.
Elana Amsterdam's Double Chocolate Orange Torte
1/2 cup Paleo-friendly semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Foods Alive Chocolate Medallions sweetened with coconut sugar)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 cage-free eggs
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup grapeseed oil or palm shortening
1 TBS grated orange zest
1/2 cup additional semi-sweet chocolate chips
Coconut oil for greasing 8-inch pan
Orange slice for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease bottom and insides of an 8-inch cake pan. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of pan and place in pan.
2. Place 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.
3. Pulse in almond flour, cacao powder and salt, and process until combined.
4. Add eggs, then pulse again, then add honey, grapeseed oil and orange zest and process until smooth.
5. With spoon, stir in second 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
6. Pour batter into pan.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Garnish with orange slice.
This torte is lusciously rich and fudgy, so cut in small pieces (you can always go back for seconds).