Posted 30 August 2010 - 06:20 AM
Hello and apologies for not jumping into this conversation earlier. Here's a little background on the new book.
There are more than 300 recipes (about 60 are desserts) and they cover the range from little nibbles, Pierre Herme's olive sables, terrific salmon rillettes and gougeres (the duo are my favorites with drinks, to ‘real’ main courses, like beef daube, chicken-in-a-pot (on the book’s cover), lamb tagine with apricots and almonds, vegetable pot-au-feu, linguine with nuts and dried fruit, shrimp with cellophane noodles and Parisian gnocchi. In between, there are soups and salads (there’s a fabulous all-white salad made with mushrooms, celery, apples and a yogurt dressing) and vegetables and first courses of all kinds -- the Tuna-Mozzarella Pizza from Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir is great. In short, it’s a soup-to-nuts, as well as a meat and fish and pasta to cake cookbook with lots of stories and about 100 pictures.
The recipes come from my ‘other’ life, the one in France, so it’s the food that I cook at home in Paris and the food my friends cook -- most of it is what I think of as 'elbow-on-the-table food'. There are recipes from all over France, some from chefs at simple bistros, some from people at the markets I love, many from friends and lots and lots from my own kitchen.
The mix of recipes can only be called 'eclectic' -- the word is so overused, but it fits here. There are traditional recipes, for sure (I think the Cheese-Topped Onion Soup is fabulous), but there are lots and lots of modern and very surprising recipes, for example, a Basque tortilla (think frittata or omelet) made with potato chips (this from a Michelin-starred chef); my friend Gerard's Mustard Tart, made with tomatoes in summer and steamed carrots and leeks in winter; a burger with capers, cornichons and sun-dried tomatoes mixed with the beef (it's become my house burger in the States); pork braised with lemongrass and coconut milk; chicken roasted in a Dutch oven (with a piece of bread to serve as the 'plate' for the liver -- the cook's treat); and “cookies” that are rolled out like pie dough, baked in one raggedy-edged piece and then brought to the table that way, so that everyone can break off a hunk. (They're called Salted Butter Break-Ups, although when they were made at a preview lunch at Book Expo somebody called them Salt-Butter Crack!)
And there are the stories ... Stories about the market, about how people eat in France, about how to shop, how to serve cheese and even how to complain and get what you want.
Here's what the book isn't: It's not Escoffier. It's not Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's not a by-the-rules book. It's not a textbook. It's too personal to be any of those things.
The book as my look at what people are cooking in France today. It's a very personal book, my editor thinks it's my most personal to date.
Thanks so much for being interested in my newest baby. Scream if there's more I can tell you.