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Cooking with 'The Cooking of Southwest France'

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#31 snowangel

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 06:26 AM

Last week, during my blog, I made the Evening Garlic Soup in the Manner of the Correze.

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My notes from my blog:


Evening Garlic Soup in the Manner of the Correze from Paula Wolfert's brand new The Cooking of Southweat France: Recipes from France's Magnificent Rustic Cuisine , baguette with Hope Butter, and a wedged Brandywine. Note that I got the heel. My kids know better than to take the crustiest parts of the bread!

The soup was spectacular. For something so simple (onions, garlic, chicken broth, a bit of butter or duck fat, two eggs and a bit of red wine vinegar), is was very rich. I wondered if that amount of soup would feed all of us, and it did. Especially good was baguette crusts dipped in the soup! Best of all, once we got home from Diana's parent/teacher conferences, it was only 15 minutes to finish the soup while I got everything else ready.

I noted later that night in my blog that my house was perfumed with the lovely aroma, and I was disappointed the next morening when that aroma had dissipated.

Definitely a must make again. Not only is it simple and fast to make, I always have all of the ingredients on hand.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#32 rancho_gordo

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:43 AM

:sad: No, it is still showing a ship date of November 8.  I suspect that Amazon.ca won't ship until the order is complete.  But thanks anyway.

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Mine only arrived yesterday, despite being ordered on 9/24 and "usually ships within 24 hours" listed. I think Amazon is on a downward spiral and they can forget my holiday dollars. Once it finally came in, they shipped it via DHL, who then delivered it to the post office! Took forever but after glancing at it last night, I'd say it was worth the wait. I haven't been this excited about a book in a long while. As I read the recipes, I can imagine having to think a bit more than usual but nothing looks impossible- my favorite kind of book!
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#33 Abra

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:59 AM

My copy won't arrive for a couple of days, and then I'll be out of town for a week, but I can't wait to get started! I have some gorgeous shallots and some duck fat, so I'd like to do that confit. Is it just unpeeled shallots, covered in duck fat, at a very low temp for several hours?

#34 fiftydollars

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:36 AM

The Rabbit Compote with Prunes is ridiculously delicious and completely surprising. It is basically a rabbit rillette served with thin slices of buttered bread, but it is just so damned good. The rabbit is just plain delicious and the prunes add a nice contrast. I rarely stoop to licking my plate in public, but this rabbit was just too much temptation.

Edited by fiftydollars, 14 October 2005 - 10:37 AM.


#35 Steven Blaski

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:51 AM

Now that I'm living in Virginia, i.e. ham heaven, I'm wondering if I can substitute the fabulous local salt-cured country hams for the Bayonne? Paula doesn't recommend it, but it seems like it would work. I thought it would be great in the autumn squash soup mentioned upthread. Any opinions?

Steven

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Steven,
The recipe I tested included Jambon de Bayonne that was marinated in milk to even out the flavors. I am sure that the same method would help to take the edge off the saltiness of the country ham. In the substitution, I would probably be more worried about aligning the texture of the country ham with the rest of the dish than the flavor. But in the soup, I don't think that this is a big concern.

I'd be happy to taste test for you if you're uncertain about results. :biggrin:

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Thanks, Joe, I'll proceed then. I wish everyone had access to these hams! Imagine going into any of your local supermarkets, even Walmart!, and being able to pick up a whole country ham any time, or, what I usually do, packaged thin slices, for just a few bucks. What I like to do best with the slices is throw them on the grill for a couple minutes per side then make a delicious HLT -- with the ham doing a tasty cameo for the bacon. Amazing!

#36 FoodMan

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 11:33 AM

The Rabbit Compote with Prunes is ridiculously delicious and completely surprising. It is basically a rabbit rillette served with thin slices of buttered bread, but it is just so damned good. The rabbit is just plain delicious and the prunes add a nice contrast. I rarely stoop to licking my plate in public, but this rabbit was just too much temptation.

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This is on my to-do list very very soon....Too bad sorrel is no where to be found now. I was thinking about replacing it with spinach and some extra lemon juice. Any other suggestions?

E. Nassar
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#37 Smithy

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 12:44 PM

The Rabbit Compote with Prunes is ridiculously delicious and completely surprising. It is basically a rabbit rillette served with thin slices of buttered bread, but it is just so damned good. The rabbit is just plain delicious and the prunes add a nice contrast. I rarely stoop to licking my plate in public, but this rabbit was just too much temptation.

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This is on my to-do list very very soon....Too bad sorrel is no where to be found now. I was thinking about replacing it with spinach and some extra lemon juice. Any other suggestions?

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Good grief, look at the seasonal differences between Minnesota and Texas. My sorrel plant is huge and I'm trying to work out what to do with it before it freezes (any day now). Think it would keep in a care package? :biggrin:

Barring that - spinach with lemon might be a good substitute. You won't get the inimitable army drab of cooked sorrel, but I doubt you'd miss that part anyway. I'd better look at that recipe.

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#38 FoodMan

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 12:46 PM

The Rabbit Compote with Prunes is ridiculously delicious and completely surprising. It is basically a rabbit rillette served with thin slices of buttered bread, but it is just so damned good. The rabbit is just plain delicious and the prunes add a nice contrast. I rarely stoop to licking my plate in public, but this rabbit was just too much temptation.

View Post



This is on my to-do list very very soon....Too bad sorrel is no where to be found now. I was thinking about replacing it with spinach and some extra lemon juice. Any other suggestions?

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Good grief, look at the seasonal differences between Minnesota and Texas. My sorrel plant is huge and I'm trying to work out what to do with it before it freezes (any day now). Think it would keep in a care package? :biggrin:

Barring that - spinach with lemon might be a good substitute. You won't get the inimitable army drab of cooked sorrel, but I doubt you'd miss that part anyway. I'd better look at that recipe.

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Sorrel is not really cooked, just finely shredded and added at the end.

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#39 ludja

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 03:03 PM

We were lucky to attend a special dinner party at Zuni Café last Thursday in honor of the release of Paula Wolfert’s new edition of The Cooking of Southwest France. It was indeed a wonderful evening that I will remember for a long time. But then, the combination of Zuni Café, Judy Rodgers and Paula's dishes is an unbeatable combination.

So, although Judy Rodgers rather than I cooked these recipes, I think they may still serve as inspiration to try some of them oneself. The dinner certainly had that effect on me!

The menu was a combination of Zuni and Wolfert recipes. Listed below were the dishes from “The Cooking of Southwest France” that were offered on the menu:

La Tapina's sardine and potato cake
Duck liver flan with caramel vinegar sauce

Salade aux géssiers de canard: confit of duck gizzards with a salad of mixed chicories

Moules paysannes: steamed mussels with ham, shallots and garlic

Poulet a la Basquaise: sauté of chicken with peppers, ham and tomatoes with "armottes" Compôte de lapin aux pruneaux: Lucien Vanel's compôte of rabbit with prunes

Chocolate Cake with Fleur de Sel
Gauteau Basque


I posted a full review of our dinner and lovely visit with Paula on The Zuni Cafe Thread , but below are my excised comments on the dishes we tried:

“I brought three friends to dinner and between us we tasted all of the cookbook dishes offered except for the mussels and the Poulet a la Basquaise.

The Compote de Lapin aux Pruneaux was excellent. The rabbit ‘compote’ is actually a rillettes-type of preparation in which the cooked rabbit is shredded and then enrobed in mixture of the reduced cooking liquid, cream and shredded sorrel. The prunes were an almost voluptuous accompaniment to the tender rabbit. Buttered, brioche toasts added a nicely contrasting crunch in texture and the frisee provided a bitter counterpoint in flavor. Two of us ordered the rabbit; another had the grilled sea bass with romesco sauce, leeks and sea beans and another, the grilled pork chop with quince apple compote and watercress.


We loved all the “Wolfert” appetizers which we shared between us. First though, we perused Zuni’s extensive oyster list and settled on a plate of exquisite Miyagi and Hama Hama oysters from Washington. I’ve enjoyed Miyagis for a long time but the Hama Hamas are now definitely added into my oyster list rotation. They are smallish, plump oysters with a wonderful hint of cucumber. I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite between the sardine potato cakes, duck liver flan with caramel vinegar sauce or the chicory salad with confit of duck gizzards… The sardines were so fresh and were excellent with the simply spiced, buttery potatoes. The duck liver flan had a smooth quivering texture and a delicate flavor reminiscent of fois gras; the sauce was a perfect complement. I’ll also be trying to rustle up some duck fat soon in order to make the duck gizzard confit at home to recreate the salad. I brought a bottle of 2003 Storrs Monterey Riverview Vineyard White Riesling. Our waiter thoughtfully chilled the wine in an ice bucket for us. It is a dry Riesling with the famous hint of petrol in the nose and also has a slight sweetness which worked very well with the full flavored duck and sardine appetizers.

Here were the two desserts from the cookbook that were offered on the menu:

Marie-Claude’s Chocolate Cake with Fleur de Sel
Gauteau Basque with Pastry Cream Filling


Rodgers served the Gateau Basque with a warm compote of black cherries on the side which was a happy combination. In her book, Paula calls this variation (with the preserves served in the cake) Bayonne Cake. In addition, this was the nicest Gateau Basque I have had with a tender crumb, delicately flavored pastry cream and a top crust with the perfect amount of crunch. I'm also eager to try this recipe. Somehow I missed tasting the chocolate cake but I can report on appreciative murmurs heard from the other side of the table.


It was wonderful evening!
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#40 Steven Blaski

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 07:59 PM

Tonight I made "Autumn Squash Soup with Country Ham & Garlic Croutes" (p. 67) I used local Virginia country ham in lieu of Bayonne. For the squash I baked a hefty butternut. The dish is extremely easy to prepare and very satisfying for a simple fall supper. Along with it I served cheddar biscuits from a recipe out of James Villas's "Biscuit Bliss" book. I highly recommend the soup (and the biscuits).


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#41 Safran

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 06:21 PM

My copy is on order but will not arrive until mid November.  I combined it with a DVD for hubby to take advantage of the free shipping and the DVD has a November release date.  :sad: So I am hoping that this thread will be rolling for a long time so I can join in when my copy finally arrives.

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Perhaps you could borrow the book from your local library until your copy arrives?

#42 snowangel

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 07:56 PM

Over on the Adventures in Food forum, there is a current discussion of Civet of Hare, inspired by Paula's new book.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#43 Anna N

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 01:45 AM

My copy is on order but will not arrive until mid November.  I combined it with a DVD for hubby to take advantage of the free shipping and the DVD has a November release date.  :sad: So I am hoping that this thread will be rolling for a long time so I can join in when my copy finally arrives.

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Perhaps you could borrow the book from your local library until your copy arrives?

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Reasonable suggestion but my local branch is closed for renovations until next June! and our library acquires few new cook books and those that they do get usually have holds on them for months and months! :sad: But November fast approaches and it looks like this thread will not die an early death. :biggrin: By the time my book arrives I will have loads of input from eG on which recipes are musts to try.
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#44 Shalmanese

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 03:08 AM

I just got my copy today! I think I might have the dubious distinction of being the first Australian to get a copy of this book.

Paging through it has brought back exactly why I fell in love with classical french food in the first place. Definately on the menu are the Autumn Squash soup and the Garlic soup based on feedback in this thread. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for when ducks go on special!
PS: I am a guy.

#45 FoodMan

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 08:17 AM

What a lovely soup! a butternut squash soup was requested from me for this years Thanksgiving dinner. So Paula's will probably be it!

This weekend, starting on Thursday, I made the “Rabbit Compote with Prunes”. Like it was mentioned before, this is sort of a rabbit rillete. The bunny is braised in white wine and stock and lots of onions after an overnight soak in the wine and aromatics. It is then shredded and mixed with the reduced braising liquid, cream and sorrel (I used shredded spinach with extra lemon juice since I could not find sorrel). The last step is to pack the meat tight in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The end product is a dome shaped molded rabbit “rillete”. I served it on Sunday night with a light salad with walnut vinaigrette and a few condiments (Dijon, homemade onion jam, cornichons) and slices of freshly baked Piolane bread. It was very delectable, moist with lots of flavor. The tea soaked prunes are definitely a perfect match, they turn kind of jammy and not too sweet, just right with the slightly tangy, savory rabbit meat.

Since the rabbit is tossed with the reduced gelatinous stock/cream mixture, the final dish has the texture of a coarse pate, and holds its shape very well. So next time around I will probably place it in a terrine mold instead of a bowl. It will make for a much nicer presentation, unless there is another reason as to why it needs to be done in a bowl. Paula says the rabbit can sit in the fridge for up to 7 days, I can see why. I also had it for dinner last night and the flavor actually keeps getting better.
Here are some pics of the prep and service of the rabbit.
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#46 carswell

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 08:33 AM

I was looking at the recipe for the Compote of Rabbit With Prunes last night and one thing had me scratching my head: the prunes are to be soaked in "1 cup brewed black tea, preferably linden." The only linden "tea" I know is made from the flowers of the linden tree (Tilia europea, I believe), but it's a pale yellow-green tisane, not a black tea. Can anyone provide clarification?

#47 FoodMan

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 08:50 AM

I was looking at the recipe for the Compote of Rabbit With Prunes last night and one thing had me scratching my head: the prunes are to be soaked in "1 cup brewed black tea, preferably linden." The only linden "tea" I know is made from the flowers of the linden tree (Tilia europea, I believe), but it's a pale yellow-green tisane, not a black tea. Can anyone provide clarification?

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Sorry, I cannot help. I used regular loose black tea leaves. Maybe a Linden/black leaves mixture is what she meant?

Elie

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#48 carswell

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 09:38 AM

I was looking at the recipe for the Compote of Rabbit With Prunes last night and one thing had me scratching my head: the prunes are to be soaked in "1 cup brewed black tea, preferably linden." The only linden "tea" I know is made from the flowers of the linden tree (Tilia europea, I believe), but it's a pale yellow-green tisane, not a black tea. Can anyone provide clarification?

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Sorry, I cannot help. I used regular loose black tea leaves. Maybe a Linden/black leaves mixture is what she meant?

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A lapin agile informs me that linden tisane (herb tea) is the preferred choice but that orange pekoe or other dark tea will do in a pinch.

#49 mikeycook

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 10:18 AM

Tonight I made "Autumn Squash Soup with Country Ham & Garlic Croutes" (p. 67) I used local Virginia country ham in lieu of Bayonne. For the squash I baked a hefty butternut. The dish is extremely easy to prepare and very satisfying for a simple fall supper.

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Completely agree on the soup. Made it last night with 2 small acorn squash and the Bayonne. It was delicious (sorry, no pics).
"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
~ Fernand Point

#50 Abra

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 01:03 PM

Elie - how much does that rabbit rillette make? Would you say it's enough to fill 6 pyramid molds (the kind used for little cakes)? And what would you like to drink with it? It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice. Yours looks so good, even though you complained about the presentation, I want some!

#51 FoodMan

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 01:19 PM

Elie - how much does that rabbit rillette make?  Would you say it's enough to fill 6 pyramid molds (the kind used for little cakes)?  And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.  Yours looks so good, even though you complained about the presentation, I want some!

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I say it will definitly make a first course for 6 people using pyramid molds, unless the molds are too big. You are right about the drink, both will work. I chose to drink the same wine I cooked and marinated with, a favorite white Bourdoux (sp?) of ours.

I was not really unhappy about the presentation, I just thought it would look much better in a terrine mold.

Let us (and show us :biggrin: ) know if you try it.

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#52 carswell

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 01:43 PM

And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.

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While I can see a white Bordeaux working, I'd incline toward a light-bodied, supple red, like a Beaujolais or a Bourgueil. Southwest wines that would fill the bill include various Gaillac, Côtes-du-Frontonnais, Pécharmant, Graves and Fronsac, especially those done in a fruity style, second labels and wines from "weak" vintages.

#53 ludja

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 02:23 PM

And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.

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While I can see a white Bordeaux working, I'd incline toward a light-bodied, supple red, like a Beaujolais or a Bourgueil. Southwest wines that would fill the bill include various Gaillac, Côtes-du-Frontonnais, Pécharmant, Graves and Fronsac, especially those done in a fruity style, second labels and wines from "weak" vintages.

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I agree with this as well. We had a light to medium-bodied, red Burgundy with the dish and that was very nice. I could also picture a good fit with a non- or lightly oaked Chardonnay. There is a richness to the dish but the flavors are not so strong that either would work well, in my opinon.

Thank you for sharing the nice photos and other documentation in making the Rabbit Compote, Foodman! The salad with walnut vinagrette seems like a very nice accompaniment.

For an alternate take, the presentation at Zuni was actually in an 'unmolded' state. The rillettes looked like they were loosely broken up with a fork and served in a nice, single-serving round on each plate. The prunes were on the side, as were the buttered, toasted bread rounds. The 'side' was a frisee salad with vinagrette. I think there is a photo of this in Carolyn Tillie's article which is linked to within The Zuni Restaurant thread linked above.

Edited by ludja, 18 October 2005 - 02:40 PM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#54 touaregsand

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 04:58 PM

Photos from the Zuni event and Photos of dishes from the book.

Farid received his copy from Paula the other day and has not had time to look through it. I have though! :biggrin:

#55 Abra

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 07:45 AM

Thanks for the wine recommendations, folks. I didn't see a red, just from reading the recipe, so that's very helpful. I'm not doing this dish until Nov. 20, but I'll be sure to show how it looks then.

#56 chefzadi

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 08:35 AM

I received the book earlier this week (thank you dear Paula). I'll have more time to absorb it this weekend.

The photographs are beautiful, very honest home cooking, not stylized art department"food porn" (how I hate that phrase).

Ther recipes have detailed context.

The history of meat dishes with fruits in Europe are something I'm interested in. I'm pretty sure it was a Moorish contribution, I'll have to look at my notes before I say for certain though.
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#57 Charlie O

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 05:10 AM

I got my copy last week and first impressions were that its a fantastic book. I tested the stuffed onions - don't have my notes with me but will dig them out - and remember it being a great dish.

Last weekend I had a chance to cook one of the recipes - confit of duck with red cabbage salad. I used some confit that I had made earlier in the year and assembled the salad according to instructions.

It was a great meal - easy to prepare but the tastes, textures and colours really worked.

Here's a (very fuzzy) picture (obviously my presentation is not as pretty as the one in the book):

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I expect that I'll be using this book heavily over the next few months as I explore all of the recipes in detail. :smile:

#58 FoodMan

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 07:40 AM

I guess this question is mainly for Lucy, about the kidneys. Remember my complain about not being able to find them here. Well, when I bought the rabbit for the compote last week at a local foodie-gourmet-superstore (Central Market), I actually saw that they had veal kidneys, tongue and sweatbreads. However, these are not always available and they were frozen. Should I even try the kidneys or like you said, it HAS to be fresh?

Elie

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#59 bleudauvergne

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 08:04 AM

Elie, I just called my butcher to ask him about this. I reminded him that in this particular recipe they are simply pan seared - he thought about it for a minute and then gave me the deal: The thing about the veal kidneys are that they are going to release a certain amount of liquid during the thawing process, more liquid than they would normally release. In order to get a good effect when cooking them you have to make sure they're really well drained and dry. He said that you should take the time to let them defrost fully in a colander and then wrap them in a clean dish towel and gently squeeze them and pat them completely dry before you put them in the pan to cook. He concluded rather cheerfully that using the frozen kidneys for a recipe like this is "not insurmountable" and that you can still get a quite good result by using frozen. Hope that answers your question. :smile:

#60 bleudauvergne

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 08:08 AM

Elie - how much does that rabbit rillette make?  Would you say it's enough to fill 6 pyramid molds (the kind used for little cakes)?  And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.  Yours looks so good, even though you complained about the presentation, I want some!

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The great thing about pyramid molds is that you can fill them to whatever level you like! Just make sure you get the same amount in each one!





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