Friday, May 11, 2012

Watermelon Salad

I saw a picture of a watermelon salad in a travel magazine about a year ago. I ripped out the page, hung it on the fridge and waited for watermelon season. 
Yesterday I pulled the pic off the fridge and realized it was only a pic, no recipe. Now it became a challenge. 
I went into the garden cut a few chive flowers, and pull some radish sprouts. I cut the goat cheese and watermelon into circles, stacked them and sprinkled with flowers and sprouts. I then drizzled a wee bit of thick and sweet balsamic vinegar on the plate. 
The perfect first course for dinner.
Easy peasey and tasty too. 
And best of all, every bite was eaten!
All text and Photos are property of The Gypsy Chef

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

St. Martin, une belle île.

I am the luckiest woman in the world. I know that and I give thanks everyday. After studying french I declared I would only vacation where french is spoken. When B came home from flying a turn to SXM (St Martin) he insisted we visit. He said it was the perfect spot for R&R and une petite vacannces. It doesn't take much to convince me so off we went.
We arrived in late afternoon, rented a car and with a map in hand began our journey to Baie Orientale and the Palm Court Hotel. Unbeknownst to us the Mardi Gras celebration in Grandcase had made traffic bumper to bumper from the airport to our destination. Three hours after climbing into our rental car we pulled into the gated community that was know as Baie Orientale. 
 In the darkness it looked tropical and somewhat Disneyesque. We tracked down our hotel, and were fortuitous enough to arrive as guests were leaving. They kindly shared the code and gave us access through the gate. Exotic lanterns led us around to the main entrance. 
 There we found our names on a envelope taped to the front door. Inside there was a warm french welcome, a key to our room, and information about breakfast. We’d arrived!
Our room was enchanting, the balcony had a lounge chair and dinette set over looking the pool and gardens. The kitchenette was hidden behind a colorful striped curtain and was stocked with glasses, cutlery and plates. They’d looked as though they had never been touched.
The bathroom was large, beautifully tiled and contained a multitude of lotions, scents, and other amenities. I found a bowl of sweets and a basket of jasmine incense. It was a lovely, relaxing suit perfect that provided a heaven from a cold stressful New York lifestyle. Heaven, thy name is the Palm Court!
Across the road we found a cluster of restaurants around a gazebo and grassed area. At night while adults dined al fresco children romped around the gazebo dancing and playing until called for their dinner. 
This being a French island ensured the food was delicious, the baguettes were crisp and the croissants were flaky with butter. Everyone spoke french and were more than willing to converse with me kindly correcting my mistakes and encouraging me to speak that most beloved of languages.
Every night we dined in a different restaurant and every night we declared it was our favorite.
The beach was sunny, breezy and lulled us into a trance. It seemed the morning would never end then we would feel our stomach’s growl and would head back to our room for a ploughman’s lunch and a nap. 
 Late afternoon would find us enjoying a coffee and heading back to the beach to sit in our favorite chairs under an palm umbrella and we would read and doze until dinner.
It seemed like our 5 days went by quickly. As we climbed aboard the plane to head back to New York we felt relaxed and sad to leave such a jewel of an island.
I am ready to head back, but B wants to try another island in the French Caribbean. Any suggestions?
All text and photos are property of The Gypsy Chef