Simply Irresistible Coq Au Vin and Fennel Salad for Food ‘n Flix

Welcome to this month’s round for Food ‘n Flix.  Wendy from A Day in the Life on a Farm is hosting Simply Irresistible.    I had never heard of this movie but it was a FnF feature back in November 2011.  That was before I had found this great virtual movie club.  (You can read Wendy’s announcement post here.)

This movie is definitely a foodie one.  Most of the marvelous foods that we see are from  The Southern Cross, a NYC restaurant that Amanda (the main character) is desperately trying to keep open in her mother’s memory.  She’s about the lose it.

Amanda gets her magical baking and cooking mojo back after a visit from a mysterious stranger and a mystical crab.  (I actually found the crab to be quite creepy.)   This all happens at a farmers market where she also bumps into a hunky Tom, a potential love interest.

Things start looking up from that fateful market day.  The Southern Cross bounces back and a romance buds.  Amanda has a way of making food magical, shaking people to their cores, including that hunky guy, Tom.

It’s a cute movie but not my favorite.  The musical interlude was a bit weird but I did love Patricia Clarkson’s character.

Let’s get back to the food.

“Have you ever noticed how many words there are for delicious?  Savory. Tasty. Scrumptious. Delectable. Succulent.  Mouth-watering.” —Amanda

There’s all these adjectives and more as Amanda resuscitates The Southern Cross and saves Bendel’s new posh restaurant with her newly acquired super-chef skills.

Here’s the food I spotted in the film.

At the Farmers Market we see apples, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, garlic, mushrooms and, of course, crabs.    There’s lots of other foods mentioned as the story unfolds:

  • Coffee
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Baked potato (and other indistinct food going out to diners)
  • Blue cheese and dirt
  • Rum raisin
  • Beer
  • Cheesy Chicken
  • Crab Napoleon with pomme de “something” and soufflé
  • Iced tea
  • Chicken Paillard
  • Martini (and a great martini mousetrap machine)
  • Dill
  • Pear
  • Sugar cookies
  • Eclairs
  • Truffles

I was most intrigued and amazed from The Southern Cross’ menu boards:

  • Slow roasted spare ribs
  • Fennel salad
  • Carrot-Orange Soup
  • Heirloom tomato salad w/feta
  • Crab bisque
  • Duck confit pizza w/mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, and roasted garlic
  • Shrimp pizza w/leeks and Chèvre
  • Rack of lamb
  • Roast lobster with sweet corn
  • Grilled mackerel w/couscous
  • Grilled chicken w/smashed potatoes and kale
  • Selection of desserts
  • Miniature gravlax taco—cilantro sauce
  • Roasted vegetable ‘sundae’ w/crisp wontons
  • Steamed cockles—grapefruit sauce
  • Inside out sashimi salad
  • Sautéed foie gras
  • Herbed poached salmon w/white peach raita
  • Roasted loin of lamb w/herbed flageolets-cherry sauce
  • Pizza of braised leeks and smoked mussels
  • Grilled saddle of rabbit w/candied fennel

There’s also these mentions as Amanda revitalize her restaurant as well as helping open Bendel’s high-end restaurant.

  • Potatoes, onions and tomatoes in the restaurant kitchen
  • Fat, perfectly pink shrimp
  • Vanilla orchards
  • Vanilla and flower custard or Creme Patissiere
  • Blueberry cheesecake (on counter)
  • Choux dough
  • Caramel drizzle
  • Caramel eclair thingies
  • Shrimp and  mussels
  • Red wine
  • Crab salad
  • Peach
  • Champagne
  • Tasty little cherry tartlet
  • Dom Perignon
  • Truffle Slipper (w/o truffles)
  • Figs and foie gras
  • Duck, asparagus, spinach
  • Bread basket
  • “Hazelnutty”
  • Fresh whole peach stuffed with custard

I really was going to whip up some choux pastry along with a caramel pastry creme.  As Valentine’s Day is nearing, instead I focused on the romance of the film.  Coq au Vin is a dish that The Hubs made for me when we were first dating (getting the recipe and lots of directions from his mother).   I have made it a couple of times since then on special occasions.   His birthday is this month so I decided to revisit this romantic dish and serve it with a fennel salad inspired by Amanda’s menu board.

I used a recipe from Ina Garten (who is, coincidentally, the chef responsible for my favorite Boeuf Bourginon recipe).  I’m not reprinting the recipe in today’s post because I followed it verbatim.  You can find Garten’s recipe here.

Use a big Dutch oven for this recipe.

I used a five pound chicken (the recipe calls for a 3-4 lb. chicken) and when I make this again, I would also add more carrots and mushrooms.

This was delicious and we will get at least three meals or more out of it.  For the first go-round, I just served the stew with toasted bread rubbed with some garlic cloves.  (Split the clove in half and rub on just toasted bread—delicious and it makes all the difference.)

I froze away the rest but will serve this again on top of creamy mashed potatoes.


If you’re interested, I have made another version with white wine (back in 2015 when I first got my Staub La Cocotte).

Coq au Vin Blanc with Carrots

I also made a fennel salad (inspired from Amanda’s menu board) to accompany the meal.

Fennel Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Debra (based on one found here)

The toasted walnuts add more crunch to this fennel salad and the blue cheese just adds the right amount of creaminess (and tang).


  • 1 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 T. olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds  (Use two smaller bulbs if you can’t find a large bulb.)
  • 1/4 c. toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Combine vinegar, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to let garlic mellow and flavor the vinegar.
  2. Whisk the olive oil into vinegar mixture. Set aside.
  3. Remove stalks and fronds from fennel bulbs. Remove fronds from stalks and coarsely chop; thinly slice stalks. Place in a large bowl. Cut fennel bulbs in half and thinly slice.
  4. Add all the fennel to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and toss to combine.
  5. Crumble blue cheese over the top and sprinkle on walnuts. Serve.

Yield: 2 large servings or 4 smaller ones

Regarding the salad—loved it.  I would definitely slice my fennel thinner next time and use a mandoline.  This salad was just as good or better the next day for lunch.


I’ll leave you today with a quotable quote from Lois (Patricia Clarkson’s character):

“Eat, drink, take in everything and give back the same.”  –Lois

Join Food ‘n Flix for February when Amy’s Cooking Adventures is hosting P.S. I Love You.  I can’t wait to view that one!


I’m linking up today with Kahakai Kitchen‘s Souper Sunday.


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