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I hope everyone is enjoying their springtime weather! It hasn’t becoming unbearably hot in New Orleans yet, but I’m sure that’s coming any minute now. When ever Spring comes along I like to take my dietary cues from France.  Those french guys sure do Spring justice.

Just sit back and imagine farm fresh goat cheese, bottles of rosé, and olive tapenade, and an amazing use of butter, how could you not love France in the Springtime.  I promise myself I’ll get over there one day, but until then I’ll just have to survive on some basic french inspired recipes.

One thing I love about the french is that the ingredient list is small, but the quality of those ingredients is high. The butter I use in the 3 sandwiches below is presidente, a french butter, and it’s worth every penny.

I love to make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, with a french twist. Just take some high quality ham (I use black forest or honey), gruyere cheese, 2 slices of bread, and 1-2 tbsp of butter, and throw it on the skillet and toast both sides and then you have yourself a tasty treaty.

Also Gruyere, butter, prosciutto (yes I know this ingredient is Italian), and a crusty french baguette make a great pairing, but I don’t grill this sandwich, I just eat it at room temperature and it’s quite filling and delicious.

One of my all time quick lunch-time favorites is a ham and butter sandwich, which just involves ham, butter, 1-2 tsp of dijon mustard, and a crusty baguette. I put the butter on one slice and the dijon mustard on the other slice, and obviously the ham in the middle. I like this sandwich best chilled, but eat it however you like. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, with high quality ingredients this sandwich is perfection!

As you can tell the common thread here is butter.  The french really embrace butter as a condiment, like Americans love mayo and ketchup.  With my boyfriend being allergic to eggs he can’t have mayo, so I find myself turning to just putting butter on our sandwiches and really liking it.  My mom made me sandwiches this way when I was younger and very picky, so there’s some nostalgia for me when I find myself putting these together.

While you’re eating your french inspired sandwiches keep an eye on the upcoming presidential run-off election in France.  It seems that incumbent, right-wing Sarkozy is a little behind in the polls, and his debate tomorrow night against his Socialist challenger, Francoise Hollande will probably be his last opportunity to pull in any votes in his direction. Voter turnout and participation is pretty dismal in the United States, but it’s reported that 1/3 of the population in France will be watching this debate (1).  That’s a pretty high number in my opinion, so it’ll be interesting to see how many will actually go out and vote on May 6th, and if there will be a new President and party in power.

What are some your favorite Springtime foods? Are there any cuisines you like to take inspiration from for Spring?