Published June 9th, 2010
Time for Tea
By Susie Iventosch
A festive May birthday celebration. From left, Phil Epps of Lafayette, Kim Larscheid of San Diego, birthday girl Shirley Pagano, and Ginny Leavitt, both of Lafayette. Photo Susie Iventosch

It seems France is on my mind of late! Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a friend for lunch at The French Bakery in Lafayette and it was a treat. We both opted for the light and fluffy chili pepper quiche, made with cream cheese, and it was wonderful. With no room for dessert after filling up on quiche and the Art Nouveau Salad, I decided to take the decadent Chocolate Diablo home for a midnight snack and the "devilishly rich flourless cake" did not disappoint.
Chef and proprietor, Lynn Appleton, truly does have a bit of French in her background. Her great-great grandfather hailed from the Alsace-Lorraine region in the northwestern corner of France, but Appleton is the first chef in the family.
"I always liked to cook, and began collecting recipes at a very young age," she mentioned.
During a trip to England while on vacation from her "real" job as a trial attorney in 1996, Appleton enrolled in a one-week "Introduction to Patisserie" course at Le Cordon Bleu in London.
"I loved it," she said. "The following year I took a condensed version of the 10-week patisserie course and still loved it, despite a heat wave that coincided with the session. This got me to thinking about what I really wanted to do for a career!"
That was when her plan fell into place. The law firm conveniently disbanded, which paved the way for her new career. After much research, a six-month apprenticeship, and the completion of a wedding cake course at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, she opened Patisserie Lafayette in 1998. In 2006, The French Bakery was born, a restaurant offering lunch and full tea service, and later Appleton brought the bakery under the same roof.
The French Bakery offers the premium Mariage Freres Teas, imported from France, for enjoying on the premises or to purchase by the ounce for home brewing. According to Appleton, Mariage Frères' long tradition in the tea trade dates back to the 1600s when the Mariage family traveled in search of tea on behalf of King Louis XIV. Ever since, Mariage has been the pre-eminent wholesale merchant to exclusive retailers, tearooms and hotels.
The French Bakery also creates magnificent cakes for all sorts of special occasions including weddings, with flavors from zesty lemon with lemon curd to toasted hazelnut with praline buttercream, chocolate chiffon with mocha buttercream, almond cake with tangy apricot conserve, and of course, vanilla bean with raspberries and French buttercream.
While we did not secure the quiche recipe, Appleton did part with an old family recipe handed down from her grandmother. The French Bakery offered samples of this fun dish to visitors at the Taste of Lafayette event a few weeks ago.
"It resurfaced in the mid-seventies when we were overwhelmed with zucchini from our garden," she said. "I think it is from an age when people tended to have bacon drippings, but you can use oil in it, too. It is good either way!"
This recipe makes a wonderful luncheon or brunch entrée, but I actually made it for dinner and my son loved it. We ventured off-recipe just a bit, and added a few slices of chopped, cooked bacon to the mix!

The French Bakery
The Place for Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dessert
71 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette

For reservations, menus or information on upcoming tea house events, please call 925.283.2226 or 925.283.0224 or visit: www.TheFrenchBakery.biz.
Email: info@TheFrenchBakery.biz
Spinach & Zucchini Frittata

Spinach & Zucchini Frittata


3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
11/2 cups diced button mushrooms
11/2 cups diced zucchini
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
8 eggs
15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 oz cooked spinach, chopped (I used frozen)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese


Sauté green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and zucchini over medium high heat in oil or bacon dripping until crisp tender. Add crushed garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Cool. Drain spinach thoroughly, squeezing out as much water as possible. Beat eggs with ricotta cheese, salt and pepper. Add all vegetables and feta cheese to egg mixture and blend well. Pour into a greased 10" spring form pan and spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour at 350 F until set in the center. Serves 8. Serve hot or at room temperature. This can be baked in a 13x9 pan, cooled and cut into squares for appetizers.


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