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Chris Hennes

Cooking with Dorie Greenspan's "Around my French Table"

196 posts in this topic

Storzapretis (Corsican spinach and mint gnocci), pp. 376-377

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a snowbound afternoon cooking and put some leftover ricotta cheese to good use by making these gnocci and freezing them. Today, snowbound again, these were my reward for a morning of heavy shoveling.

The spinach and fresh mint make them especially savory and unusual, and the ricotta makes them rich and delicate. You really need fresh, firm ricotta or they will likely fall apart. I can only imagine how tasty these would be with the fresh sheep’s milk cheese that Dorie says is used in the original Corsican version.

Here they are ready for saucing and baking:

DSCF0592.JPG

Here they are fresh from the oven, ready for my lunch:

DSCF0602.JPG

Though the recipe is easy, I found it awkward to shape the gnocci as instructed with the “two spoon” method. After a few tries, I gave up and used well-floured hands to lightly roll/pat a lump of the mixture into shape. They froze perfectly, though. Next time I make these, I'll make plenty so I have a stash in the freezer.



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Storzapretis (Corsican spinach and mint gnocci), pp. 376-377

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a snowbound afternoon cooking and put some leftover ricotta cheese to good use by making these gnocci and freezing them. Today, snowbound again, these were my reward for a morning of heavy shoveling.

The spinach and mint make them especially savory and unusual, and the ricotta makes them rich and delicate. You really need fresh, firm ricotta or they will likely fall apart. I can only imagine how tasty these would be with the fresh sheep’s milk cheese that Dorie says is used in the original Corsican version.

Here they are ready for saucing and baking:

DSCF0592.JPG

Here they are fresh from the oven, ready for my lunch:

DSCF0602.JPG

Though the recipe is easy, I found it awkward to shape the gnocci as instructed with the “two spoon” method. After a few tries, I gave up and used well-floured hands to lightly roll/pat a lump of the mixture into shape. They froze perfectly, though. Next time I make these, I'll make plenty so I have a stash in the freezer.

That looks sooooo good!


Donna

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Ever thing I've tried so far has been delicious. For Christmas Eve dinner I made The pork loin stuffed with chard, last night my daughter made Curried Chicken, Peppers, and Peas en Papillote. We both agree that this is a keeper and will make it often, tasty and easy.

Today, I'm making the French Onion Soup. Can hardly wait for dinner.

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I made the potato chip tortilla for part of my New Year's morning brunch, I think I snagged the last bottle of pimente d'espelette in the whole city of Portland. It was a big hit, and my kids appreciated the extra potato chips left in the bag, since they're something I don't usually keep around the house.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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I just made the Cote-d'Azure Cure-All soup this past Sunday. Amazing, I love how the clear soup turns almost creamy with te addition of the eggs. It's beautifully simple, I'm making it again this weekend because it got eaten so fast I hardly had a chance to enjoy any.



I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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Received the Dori Greenspan "Around my French Table" cookbook last week and wanted to make the cover recipe but did not have any preserved lemons....came late yesterday from Amazon....so I made the roast chicken for les paresseux on page 200. Added the vegetables that are optional. The chicken was amazing. Best of all, she suggests placing a piece of bread under the chicken before you roast it and also placing the liver (if you have it) in the cavity of the bird along with the herbs and garlic. Then, when you take the chicken out of the oven and remove it to carve, take the piece of bread...now crispy and full of the cooking juice....and smear it with the liver and eat while carving. That in itself was phenomenal! And I have half a chicken left in the oven for today!

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I'm sorry to continue torturing those of you who don't have your copies yet (did I mention I love getting new cookbooks?)...

Chicken Basquaise (pp. 210–211)

This is another braise that I don't think would be out of place on any American table: think "chicken and peppers" (there is a bit more refinement here, of course). I was unclear on how spicy the piment d'Espelette is supposed to be: I have a couple homemade chile powders, so I just used one of them, since I couldn't source the piment here in town. Naturally, I chose a spicy (capsaicin-wise) powder made from thai bird chiles—it was delicious, and very fiery. I loved how it worked in the dish, but then again, I love spicy foods. I served this with white rice, and did not make the egg version in the "Bonne Idée" sidebar. Here it is:

Chicken Basquaise.jpg

Made this last week. Was heading in the direction of that fabulous chicken with cream and apples but decided perhaps it might be time to take my New Year's resolution a little more seriously, and seek out a less calorie-laden choice.

Settled on this.

I must say that perhaps I'm just something of a ninny, but I didn't really realize how long it would take to get it together and to the table, and I began around 4pm on a Wednesday, hoping it would be our dinner that night.

After all the chopping and slicing and simmering, it was clear by 6pm that we'd better order takeout Chinese.

And finish it up on Thursday.

Which we did.

For the chile powder, we used 100% New Mexico red chile powder, something we always have on hand.

The dish was wonderful. And because there's very little fat, felt perfectly comfortable having second helpings.

And perhaps just the tiniest third.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I made the Braised Cardamom Curry Lamb (p.283). The seasonings and flavours were wonderful but the apples I used were way too sweet and that carried into the finish of this dish. As it turned out, I didn't add the golden raisins, which I'd run out of - I think it's just as well given the impact of overly sweet. There are some lovely elements to this dish and reminded me of Patricia Wells' Spicy Lamb Curry with Yogurt & Apples (At Home in Provence p.260).

The following day, my neighbours made a point of telling me what a fantastic fragrance this dish had whilst cooking.

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Well, I broke down & bought the book. Nice recipes. I'm particularly enjoying the asides & vignettes about French life & culture. They ring very true and many make me chuckle.

I tried the Daube de Boeuf to start my exploration of the recipes. Dorrie's version is very good. For my personal version I start with a miripoix to add depth of vegetable flavor. With French beef I'd always add an extra hour of cooking and whenever possible let it age over night.

Tonight I did an all Dorie meal.

Chicken Diablo - very very nice. Easy & she recommends just the right amount of curry.

Go with anything celery root - Another winner. We loved it & our dog thought he's gone to heaven when he got ti lock out the serving dish.

Broccoli with bread crumbs & garlic. Yes, a classic. Next time I'll revert & leave out the bread crumbs.

Peperade- Another winner. I like it even better than my own similar recipe for roasted peppers. My wife thinks you should add the onion & garlic to the pan just before taking the peppers off heat. Maybe? We'll try it that way next time.

We throughly enjoyed our Dorrie Dinner. I'll certainly try more of her recipes and play around with some of them.

More details about the whole episode over on my blog.

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I was pleased to check in here after getting my copy of AMFT on Valentine's day last week. I had ordered the book when I discovered the ffwD club from Dorie's website. Last fall I read about her new book and was intrigued by the chicken in a pot on the cover. With my organic chicken in my first winter CSA box I decided this was the best way to handle the bird...right in the pot! I was hoping to post my 2 pix here but the pix are too big for posting here.

I used a bag of prepared pizza dough from the store as the 'glue' for the pot and it was very cool to see how it came from the oven. The dough was nicely browned and we all broke off pieces and dipped them in the voluptuously garlicky tasteful gravey in the pot. Chicken was moist and juicy, surrounded by many herb and vegetable aromatics.

My last year was spent cooking my way through Suvir Saran's two cookbooks including a full weekend class with him up in Connecticut. So 2010 was Indian cuisine immersion 101~ This year we will diversify and head to France. This brings back memories of my flying years with Pan Am back in the 80's when I had nearly weekly layovers in Paris. I have never wanted to cook french cuisine thinking it was too complicated but Dorie has inspired me to venture forth and I can't wait to carry on..

[i am working on uploading some photos but so far no success...will keep working on it.


Bonnie

'Variety is the spice of life'

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Scallop and Onion Tartes Fines, (pp. 168-169)

I made these tarts last night as part of a light dinner. They were delicious and very rich—thanks to the caramelized onion, pancetta and puff pastry.

DSCF0705.JPG

Quick and easy to put together at the last minute. I cooked the onion and pancetta in advance, so all it took was browning the pastry rounds, topping them with ingredients, and giving them a few minutes in the oven for everything to warm. I plated them with a small side salad and followed with the cauliflower soup sans cream mentioned above, topped with some tapenade croutons. Very elegant with little effort. Don’t you love French cooking?



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I have been using this book rather a lot since I got it a few months ago. In particular, the "My Go To Beef Daube", "French Onion Soup" and "Beef Diable" (the last is a "bonne idée" based on the "Chicken Breasts Diable" have been hugely popular around here. The thing that I like about this book in particular is that all the steps are laid out very clearly, and in a sensible manner, so that there is not much left to chance. So far only one recipe from this book has failed to live up to expectations, and that was the Osso Buco. I suppose that I am too accustomed to the Italian preparation of this dish to be able to appreciate the French interpretation. Still, I imagine I'll be using a lot more of these recipes in the not-too-distant future.

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I have this on loan from the local library, so I could look it over and decide if I want to buy it.

I want to buy it !!!!

Now that I've regained my will to cook after "Blog Week", :rolleyes: I made a couple of recipes from it over the last couple of days.

One was the "Swiss Chard Pancakes" on page 350. I had Swiss chard from the CSA last week, and this was a good way to use some of it. I made them as a side dish, with some pork sausage patties. They were a bais pancake batter (eggs, milk, flour) with onion, garlic, shallot, and some herbs tossed in. Dorie recommends fresh parsley and chives, but I had no fresh herbs in the house, so I used the green part of a couple of scallions and dried thyme, basil and rosemary. You mix up the batter with the aromatics in the blender, then toss in the chard in batchs to shred it. Then fry them up.

They were fabulous. Very good flavor, and a nice, pillowy texture. A great use of chard in an unusal way.

Tonight was the Next-Day Beef Salad on page 260. I used a leftover piece of a tri-tip steak I'd cooked on the grill pan a few days ago. Mixed with red pepper, apple, cornichons, a hot chile, green olives, tomato and scallion, then dressed with a mayo/mustard dressing and served on baby greens, it was a great blend of texture and flavor, and the play of the sweet, tart and savory. And very filling.

No pictures, I'm trying to quit food photography "cold turkey" for the time being !

The book would be well worth the price for these two recipes alone, but there's about 100 others I want to try.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Pierogi-

Glad you're recovering from the photo-bonanza! I'd say the Mary-Helene's Apple cake is another must try. My husband calls it devil cake, because he can't stop eating it! We had the chard pancakes for dinner the other night, topped with whole milk greek yogurt and rotisserie chicken. Starch and veg in one dish!


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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I tried making the gougeres today, but I think something went wrong. The batter was very soft--too soft to hold its shape. That means I have some very flat gougeres. Still edible, but not nice and poofy as they should be. I followed the recipe as written, although at one point two eggs dropped in instead of one (I broke all the eggs into a bowl before adding them one-by-one to the batter). I mixed a little longer after that happened to account for the extra egg, but I can't think of anything else that might have affected the outcome.

Any advice?

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I don't think the recipe for the gougeres is THAT sensitive to the way you add the eggs, so that's probably not it. Obviously beyond that it's tough to debug: the possibilities are a problem with the ingredients, or a mistake with a measurement, right? I don't know what grading system your eggs use, do you know how large they are? Is it possible that they correspond to the US extra-large egg size? Though even then I'd be surprised if that was the problem. Could be the flour, maybe?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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AMFT has been chosen as the Cookbook of the Month on the Chowhound Home Cooking board for the month of April, so you might want to check it out. Lots of us will be cooking from Dorie's book.

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I used room temperature large eggs (I think Canadian large and US large are about the same), 114g butter (1/2 cup), 122g water, 122g milk, half tsp salt, 136g flour (4.8oz). I didn't measure the cheese, but I used parmesan plus some grated cheddar.

The only other thing I can think I might have done wrong is not mixing enough both before beginning to add the eggs, and after adding each egg. Maybe I didn't let it dry enough? It was nice and shiny, though, so I figured it was OK.

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That's possible, though naturally nearly impossible to diagnose over the internet :smile:. Have you made gougeres or pate a choux before?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Yes, but not in years. The last time I made pate a choux was maybe 5 years ago, and gougeres even farther back than that. It seemed normal after doing the initial flour dump and after the addition of the first two eggs, but then I dumped in 3+4 at the same time, and it seemed wet, so I mixed a little longer. It was still kind of wet, but I went ahead and added the 5th egg. Then it was very wet. It was sort of like a more glutinous poundcake batter, I thought.

When I baked a test batch (I froze most of it prior to baking, but baked 6 to see what would happen), they baked up very flat. There was a little bit of poofing, but then they fell flat like a souffle. I had wanted to fill them, but if I decide to go ahead and bake and serve my frozen dough, I'll just serve them as is since I won't be able to get any filling in them at all! And I'll call them something else, like mini-cheese souffles, so people won't mind if they're flat, and what they don't know won't hurt them!

But ya, they taste pretty good as is!

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Huh. I guess maybe I'm wrong about the importance of adding the egg slowly, it sounds like you've got everything else under control. I can only report that when I made them they worked fine (except I made them too big). Lots of variables here, I guess.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I know that the number of eggs needed varies based on moisture content of your flour and size of the eggs, but you could have also underbaked them. They need to be baked until they are golden brown, uniformly all over, you shouldn't see any paler yellow in the creases...otherwise they will retain too much moisture and collapse. I've done that on several occasions. Only way to solve it is to fill them with something yummy from the fridge and eat the evidence!


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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We had guests over the weekend so my daughter made Chicken, Peppers, and Peas en Papillote. Finding there were only a small amount of peas in the freezer, she cut a zucchini into small slices. The green color of the skin was beautiful and they were cooked to a perfect al dente. A very nice substitution.

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A friend gifted me w/ a few sugar pumpkins, and the first thing that came to mind was: finally, I'll make Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good, p. 364. Count me among the many fans here who have already made this recipe.

Here's last night's dinner, a 4 lb pumpkin fresh from the oven.

DSCF0983.JPG

The stuffing is simple--a savory bread pudding, really--and allows for lots of variation. I followed it more or less, adding some spinach to the basic recipe. For a small amount of work, this recipe delivers big. Seriously delicious, and the presentation of a whole pumpkin makes it special. This is a great holiday recipe, especially if you are looking for a vegetarian centerpiece. I will make this one often over the next few months, and my friends and family will think I'm brilliant.



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