Warm Salad of Haricots Verts and Tomatoes

4 servings

At the luxurious, family-run Auberge Bretonne in La Roche-Bernard in Brittany, the dining room is designed around a small courtyard planted with haricots verts, zucchini, leeks, tomatoes and celery. Are the vegetables decorative or ingredients in the Auberge's refined country cooking? "I assure you," says Madame Thorel, who runs the front of the house, "the beans you ate at noon came from our kitchen garden."
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar with the salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until smooth.

2. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water. cook the haricots verts until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; drain. Rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly. Add the haricots verts to the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add the tomatoes and toss gently. Serve still slightly warm.

Pork Chops with Mustard and Canadian Bacon

4 servings

In his charcuterie on Beaune's pedestrian shopping street, Roger Batteault sells sausages, hams, terrines, salads, savory pastries and cuts of best-quality fresh pork. "I'd eat rosette every day if my figure allowed it," says Josette Batteault, referring to her husband's award-winning salami. Instead she creates sensible recipes like this juicy, pungent pork chop in the kitchen behind the shop. Madame Batteault smears pork chops with mustard—from Beaune's one remaining moutarderie (mustard factory)—adds thyme sprigs and a slice of lean Canadian bacon, then bakes it in foil, so it makes its own fragrant jus.
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Set each pork chop on a piece of foil large enough to wrap it in. Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. Spread with the mustard, press a thyme sprig on the chop and top with a slice of Canadian bacon.

2. Wrap the pork chops in the foil, transfer them to a baking sheet, bacon side down, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the pork chops stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Transfer the pork chops to plates. pour the juices on top. Discard the foil.

Madame Choné's Chocolate Cake

8 servings

In Venoy, between Auxerre and Chablis in Burgundy, Françoise Choné runs a guest house at her large and comfortable home, the Domaine de Montpierreux. In the breakfast room, which still has the estate's original bread oven, she set out slices of her slim chocolate cake. "I've been making this cake for over 20 years," she says. "It comes from the grandmother of a friend." This dependable recipe is made by beating the dry ingredients with the melted chocolate, butter and egg yolks, then folding the batter into whipped egg whites. It's more tea cake than decadent dessert.
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. In a large saucepan, combine the chocolate with the water and butter. Stir constantly over low heat until the mixture melts creamily.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, then the flour. Do not overbeat.

3. In a bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar until they hold stiff peaks. Stir a quarter of the egg whites intot he chocolate mixture until smooth. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold this lightened mixture into the remaining egg whites.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Transfer the pan to the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let stand for 15 minutes, then the cake out on the rack to cool completely. Sift confectioners' sugar over the cake before serving.