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Thinking about gardens

It is mid March in central Virginia and I already have some seeds and a five year old daughter who is ready to plant them with me.  We were discussing what we would plant at home, and the garden behind l’etoile.  Green beans, some lettuce and peas to get us started.  She asked about the […]

The smoking process

I just pulled beef shortribs, a cured beef brisket, bacon and a couple of chickens off the smoker. To me it reminds me of the coming Spring to Charlottesville and central Virginia.  The beef is local, and the chickens came from Timbercreek Organics.  In a day these wonderful products will be on our menu. Smoking […]

Our Culinary History

Looking at my bookshelf this past weekend – I was trying to find my muse in the old cookbooks that I own.  I pulled out The Virginia Housewife and started looking through its pages and it got me thinking about the local food movement, Charlottesville and our regions place in the culinary history. The Virginia […]

Soup and its history

Food historians tell us the history of soup is probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make/serve food was inevitable. This made it the perfect choice for both sedentary and travelling cultures, rich and poor, […]

New Years Good Luck Food

As I sit and look out on this beautiful winter day, my son asked about how food can bring good luck. He asked if l’etoile served “Good luck food.” He had noticed on a recent visit to Monticello if Thomas Jefferson had served good luck food. Then, as we spoke, we wondered if Charlottesville and […]

Christmas Cookies

Looking out onto the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains this morning, and it being close to Christmas – I thought I would write a little about the history of Christmas cookies. We at l’etoile all have our favorites – my kids love the basic sugar cookie with sprinkles. Im sure there must be thousands […]

Butternut and Bacon Soup

Butternut Bacon and Turnip Bisque The turnip can be overlooked and underrated. If you’re not already a fan of this humble root vegetable, this classic purée of turnip soup may surprise you. ¼ Cup cubed bacon                                                            4 C cubed butternut squash 1 T sweet butter                                                       ½ t salt 1 cup onion peeled and chopped                           ½ […]

Thoughts on the orgin of table service

  The evolution of modern table service The evolution of classic European table service was slow and complicated, especially in England. There, you have not only service a la Francaise but service l’Anglaise competing with Service a la Russe. Food historians generally place the beginning of the evolution in dawning decades of the 19th century. […]

More Breakfast History

Waking up hungry and driving to l’etoile this morning – out of nowhere came the idea to talk about breakfast.  Glancing at the beauty around Charlottesville and central Virginia I thought I would share this history with you. Breakfast, like most meals, is a moveable feast that depends upon cuisine, culture, and class. Food historians […]

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

l’étoile Pumpkin Bisque Velvety and golden.  If the bisque seems too thick, thin it with a light touch of extra stock or cream. 1 T olive oil                                                               3 C roasted pumpkin 1 T sweet butter                                                       ½ t salt 1 cup onion peeled and chopped                           ½ t nutmeg 8 C vegetable stock                                                ½ t cinnamon […]