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I miss old fashioned French cuisine.

And that’s the reason why, the other day when I was in my car and listening to an NPR radio call-in show and the subject was “what do you miss?” I thought of several things, but the one that surprised me was “Old fashioned French cuisine.”

Crepes Suzettes and Onion Soup and Duck a L’Orange and Potato Galette and Filet of Beef with Mushrooms, Foie Gras and Madeira sauce. 

And I not only miss the food, which current day aficionados regard as heavy and too rich, I also miss the portion sizes. In the old days you could actually get a hunk of something in a great restaurant. Like a whole duck breast or two or three thick slices of meat. The trend today is toward tasting menus, with many courses but just a few tastes of each.

I like today’s style eating. In fact, I prefer the tasting menus and the new, more creative dishes and use of international ingredients and cooking styles. I am not knocking this more modern, and even healthier approach.

I’m just sayin’ … I miss the other stuff too. 

Does anyone remember going into a French restaurant and sitting down in a lovely room with tables that had crisp linens and bouquets of flowers but mostly the perfume in the air was caramelizing sugar because somewhere, in another part of the room, someone was having dessert and the waiter was preparing the crepes at tableside?

I miss that smell.

I could go for some Crepes Suzettes right now too.

When I get a chance I think I’ll make some crepes and freeze them, for the next time I get a Crepes Suzette attack. 

Of course, these days you can buy ready-made crepes. And if you do, or if you’re the kind of person who already has some frozen ones, you can make this wonderful recipe for Crepes with Orange Butter. It isn’t precisely Crepes Suzette, but is rich, buttery and citrusy and is a whole lot easier to make on short notice.

Crepes with Orange Butter

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons sugar

finely grated peel and juice of one orange

6 tablespoons ground almonds

12-18 crepes (depending on size)

1/3 cup unflavored brandy

1/4 cup orange flavored liqueur

Preheat the oven broiler with the rack about 6-inches from the heat. In a bowl, beat the butter with 4 tablespoons of the sugar until creamy and well blended. Beat in the orange peel, orange juice and almonds. Place equal amounts of the mixture in the center of each of the crepes. Fold the crepes in half, then fold them again so they become triangle shape. Place the filled crepes in a heatproof serving dish. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the crepes. Place the crepes in the broiler to cook for 2 minutes or so or until the sugar starts to caramelize. While the crepes are under the broiler, heat the brandy and orange flavored liqueur in a pan. When the liquid is hot, ignite it with a match, whirling the pan around until the flames die out. Remove the crepes from the broiler and spoon the hot liquid over them. Makes 6-8 servings

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