Oui, Monsieur, a Croque Tartlette

This petit quelque-chose takes its cues from the classic Croque Monsieur, with layered slices of jambon (French ham) and Gruyere cheese tucked into buttery puff pastry. Once it's baked and golden, it's cut in squares, served with French rough mustard and Chablis or a nice Alsatian beer. Perfect for munching on while you watch the Sunday afternoon game, or do the crossword. It works beautifully as breakfast when you have a houseful of out-of-town guests. For breakfast, serve with freshly cut mango/orange fruit salad and steaming hot French press coffee.

A little lamb.

Mmmm. Springtime is lamb time, and the perfect entrée for a Saturday night dinner with friends. This recipe is four generations old, dating back to southern France in the early part of the 19th century. Redolent with a rich gravy formed by onions sautéed in the pan with creamy flageolets (white beans), this "gigot," as they call it in France, is a meal in itself, although I serve it with broiled half tomatoes, each topped with butter, shaved Parmagiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper, homemade breadcrumbs and a drop of extra virgin olive oil. This, and a bottle of Beaujolais, will satisfy and impress your guests, from the next door neighbors, to the new boss. Don't forget the French bread.

Early Sunday supper

“What’s for dinner?” Words I love to hear. Give me a reason to cook. It’s always about food. It’s always about making something tasty and good. Tonight we’re having a hearty and healthy soup (almost a stew) -- beef barley, filled with fresh vegetables, tender chunks of organic beef and organic barley. I let this big pot simmer for hours, until the broth becomes rich, thick and brown, filling the entire house with the aroma of spices. Perfect served with a hunk of crusty French bread, a tossed salad and a glass of Beaujolais.

A late afternoon cake break

This ultra-moist cake is the perfect decadent treat to spike up your afternoon. Filled with raisins, carrots, walnuts, cinnamon and other fresh (and mostly organic) ingredients, and topped with a smooth butter/cream cheese frosting, it's delicious by itself, or with a cup of tea or coffee, or a frosty glass of milk. Relax on the patio, or in the sun room, turn on the classical music, and feast on carrot cake and your daily crossword puzzle. What more could an afternoon want?