• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Chris Hennes

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

196 posts in this topic

Its interesting - I made that pumpkin recipe this past weekend, didn't like it at all. It felt like much less than the sum of its parts -- and my dinner guests agreed. It smelled amazing, but the pumpkin (a pie pumpkin) was stringy and less flavorful than if I'd used a butternut squash... The bread and cheese somehow just felt soggy, rather than like in a good gruyere bread pudding... I wanted to love it, but instead -- left it on my plate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Emily, that's too bad. Maybe it was the pumpkin? Mine wasn't stringy at all. As for the stuffing, I resisted the urge to add a lot of cream or other liquid. Mine seemed somewhat dry when I stuffed the pumpkin, I assumed it would give off some liquid. That worked, it was moist but not soggy.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the pumpkin is critical...if your pumpkin isn't ideal (ie, watery, stringy, etc...and some times it's hard to tell until you eat it) you'll end up with a decidedly subpar product. I think the filling could easily be stuffed into acorn squash to great effect. I stuffed mine (made it last week) with french bread, prosciutto, lots of garlic, cream, thyme, green onions, and a mixed milk cheese cheese with a texture similar to parm, whose name escapes me at the moment. It was really good, very autumnal. This week I'm making the 20 minute honey glazed duck breasts...I've never cooked duck before so hopefully I don't end up messing up $14 worth of meat!


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm slowly digging into this book. I love Greenspan's anecdotes and recipe introductions. A cookbook is much better if it has some sort of narrative or notes with the recipes that tell the author's story.

I've tried 3 recipes so far with many more to come. As should be readily apparent from my comments, I am a somewhat experienced beginning home cook.

I made the gougeres about a month ago and they turned out fantastic. It was my first effort at making puff pastry and it couldn't have been easier. I'm not sure if that means Greenspan's instructions were very good or I just had beginner's luck.

I made the slow-cooked apples on Sunday. While I appreciated the excuse to finally buy a mandoline, I was less impressed with this recipe. The dish was definitely good, but when I think of how much effort it took to make 4 servings of a dessert of this quality that could be wolfed down in seconds, it really wasn't worth it. If I make it again, I'll probably use thicker apple slices (I used 1/16 inch slices this time) which should cut down on the assembly time significantly.

I made chicken diable on Monday night. Someone above mentioned she calls for just the right amount of curry in the recipe, but I don't recall curry being an ingredient. I'm going to have to check the book when I get home from work to see if I missed something critical. The best part of making this dish was when I finished reading the recipe and thought, "Oh, this is just sauteed chicken with a pan sauce!" I was introduced to pan sauces with Pam Anderson's "How to Cook Without a Book" and the experience I got from Anderson's book was very helpful in making Greenspan's dish. I liked the diable sauce as did my fiancee (although she said the sauce looked like barf -- an unfortunately fair observation). Greenspan's recipe didn't say how much to reduce the sauce (basically, move to the next step whenever the sauce starts bubbling again). I went ahead and reduced the sauce a bit since that's how I've made pan sauces in the past. When it was time to check seasoning at the end, it didn't seem quite right, so I whisked in a tablespoon of butter and that did the trick. Overall, I preferred this sauce to the red wine-mustard sauce from "How to Cook Without a Book." The shallots and garlic added nice flavor and texture. I'll definitely be making this again.


Edited by Derek J (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made this recipe a few weeks ago, and it immediately went into my "keeper" file. This beautiful book is also now on my "wish" list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just found a brand new copy at my library's annual book sale for $10.00...I already have one, but it's on item checked off my "must buy for christmas gift" list.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gougeres are not puff pastry.

True, but they are often called "puffs" which is how I interpreted the mention above.

Dorie's recipe is a good one, though calling for a standing mixer to beat in the eggs seems like a lot of unnecessary clean-up work. I've always beaten them in by hand, directly in the pan in which I cooked the dough, using my favorite wooden spoon (and lots of elbow grease) and gotten perfect results.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gougeres are not puff pastry.

Then I must be confused. I thought puff pastry is synonymous with pate a choux and that the gougeres are made with pate a choux.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gougeres are not puff pastry.

Then I must be confused. I thought puff pastry is synonymous with pate a choux and that the gougeres are made with pate a choux.

Good heavens, yes, you are confused. No relation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Derek,

Pâte à choux is used for gougere, cream puffs, etc. and is a batter/paste spooned or piped into shapes before baking.

Pâte Feuilletée (puff pastry) is a multilayered pastry that is rolled into sheets before use. No eggs. A different thing altogether from pâte à choux.

Dorie's book uses puff pastry in a few recipes, but calls for frozen store bought. If you want to understand how it's made, read Julia or other classic texts on French cooking.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for the correction and information!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since there are just two for Christmas dinner I'm making Dorie's Curried Chicken, Peppers and Peas. So simple but so delicious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been making the Salmon in a Jar for months now, serving it regularly to guests as a starter (often with a small mixture of greens from the garden underneath) to rave reviews. I wonder, though, if it's possible to reuse the olive oil from either the salmon or the potato jar, whether for another batch of the same or for something else? Any ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a recipe I haven't tried, but it sounds like I ought to.

Dorie's introductory notes in the recipe suggest reusing the oils, either for cooking or for a vinaigrette, mayonnaise, etc. I might hesitate to use the oil from the cured salmon unless I planned on cooking with it. Here's a topic that I would read through first: Botulism concerns re infused oils and confit



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shortly after I wrote my post I re-read the intro notes in the book and saw the answer right there, so sorry for not editing the post in time! And it's because of the botulism fear that I was reluctant to use the oil again.

And you should definitely try the recipe--it's a real winner!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cracked this book open again over the weekend and I'm gearing up to start making some more recipes. I tried the pumpkin-gorgonzola flan last night. I'm sad to say it was pretty awful. I think that's due to two factors: (1) the dish just wasn't suited to my tastes/preferences; and (2) I probably used too much salt. The recipe just calls for S&P without any quantification. I've got a good feel for how much seasoning to use with meats, but I was at a loss as to proper seasoning for a blender full of pumpkin, eggs, and cream. The final product was just disappointing until I tried it with the sour cream as recommended. That unleashed something simply awful on my taste buds. I have much higher hopes for the next recipe I'll try on Saturday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made the Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. I used a relatively small carnival squash from my CSA (2 pounds I think?), and about 1/2 of the stuffing recipe (reducing the relative amount of bread somewhat). The squash did not render any liquid, so the end result was not "bubbly" as she described. For some reason, I expected a softer consistency, almost like a puree. It was soft enough to cut into slices but still maintained some integrity. I thought that it was pretty tasty.

Before

8399954855_d0338d5520_z.jpg

After

8401296014_22e09e6fc5_z.jpg

Note: even with a small squash, there was way too much for 2 people.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... I probably used too much salt. The recipe just calls for S&P without any quantification. I've got a good feel for how much seasoning to use with meats, but I was at a loss as to proper seasoning for a blender full of pumpkin, eggs, and cream.

Derek J, when I am faced with this situation I put a little of the mixture in a ramekin, and nuke it in the microwave to cook it. Then I taste it. The microwaved version will not taste exactly like the final dish, but it gets me in the ballpark for seasoning and other adjustments. Also, when seasoning eggs, my rule of thumb is one pinch of salt per raw egg.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... I probably used too much salt. The recipe just calls for S&P without any quantification. I've got a good feel for how much seasoning to use with meats, but I was at a loss as to proper seasoning for a blender full of pumpkin, eggs, and cream.

Derek J, when I am faced with this situation I put a little of the mixture in a ramekin, and nuke it in the microwave to cook it. Then I taste it. The microwaved version will not taste exactly like the final dish, but it gets me in the ballpark for seasoning and other adjustments. Also, when seasoning eggs, my rule of thumb is one pinch of salt per raw egg.

That is some damn useful advice. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By weinoo
      Le Coucou is the new restaurant (opened for reals last week) collaboration between restaurateur Stephen Starr and Chef Daniel Rose of Spring, a fairly acclaimed restaurant located in Paris. That backstory need not be explained here; suffice to say that Significant Eater and I have had the pleasure of dining at both the tiny Spring 1 (once), and the more ambitious Spring 2 (a number of times), and it was always a fun and delicious time.
       
      Plenty of restaurants open in New York City; often they come with lots and lots of hype. Le Coucou is certainly one of them, as the PR bandwagon got rolling a while ago. And normally we like to give restaurants at least a little while to get their footing, but with this one we just couldn't wait, so off we were to Lafayette Street - on night two of service. I didn't even know if we'd get a table, since we were sans ressies, but we figured we could just grab a cocktail, even if we couldn't have dinner. But arriving early, we were offered a table by the charming Maître D' and lovely hostesses and hosts, though we did have a drink first, in their rather intimate lounge area.
       
      Now, I'd introduced myself and Sig Eater to Daniel at Spring years ago, as a friend of a friend. And again, when we were lucky enough to dine at the new Spring. But here, even before I was seated, Daniel (who had zero idea we were coming to have dinner) was by our side, greeting me by name and with hugs and cheek kisses - you know, that lovely French way. And even though he looked like he wanted nothing more than to pass out on the extremely comfortable banquette, he returned to our table any number of time during our meal, to make sure we were enjoying our dinner, to see if there was anything we'd like him to "whip up." Basically the consummate host.
       
      French has been seeing a serious revival in NYC over the past couple of years, and that makes us happy, as we love French cooking.  I mean, one need look no further than Rebelle, or Racines, or MIMI, or Chevalier, or...well, you get the picture. And here, with classic French technique executed fairly flawlessly, we were in heaven. One of our favorite dishes is a simple Poireaux, poached leeks served in a bracing vinaigrette. Here, chef adds a little something extra, topping the leeks with sweet, roasted hazelnuts. What about fried Delaware eel? Normally, my eel exposure is limited to sushi bars, where the earthy eel get a sweetish topping. At Le Coucou, the Anguilles frites au sarassin are as light as a feather, the eel's buckwheat batter playing well with curried vinaigrette and a subtle brunoise of citrus.
       
      Mimolette is a French cheese that as recently as a few years ago had its import halted by the food police, aka the FDA. It's back, and here it graces Asperges au vinaigre de bois. It's a simple lightly-roasted asparagus salad, made special by a smoked wood vinegar sourced somewhere in the wilds of Canada.

      Asparagus salad
      One of the dishes chef sent to our table was a knockout - a whole sea bream stuffed with lobster - and my guess is the menu is changing daily, because as I look while writing this, it's not on the online menu now. But here's a picture anyway.

      Lobster stuffed sea bream
       A classic of the French culinary canon is Quenelle de brochet. As Julia says in Mastering the Art I, "A quenelle, for those who are not familiar with this delicate triumph of French cooking, is pâte à choux with a purée of raw fish...formed into ovals or cylinders and poached in a seasoned liquid. Served hot in good sauce, quenelles make a distinguished first course. A good quenelle is light as a soufflé..."

      Quenelle de brochet, sauce américaine
      Yes it is. And indeed it was. Our main course, which we shared because we wanted to save room for cheeses, was Bourride, a Provencal fish stew that might be known in places like Nice as bouillabaisse. Here, the fabulous fish fumet is stocked with halibut, mussels, clams, and Santa Barbara spot prawns. Served alongside, toasted baguette slathered with aïoli. Suck the head of those prawns, dip the bread, and pretend you're somewhere other than Chinatown - it's easy enough, once inside, because this is a lovely space.
       
      Our 3-cheese selection (all American) was swoon-worthy to Significant Eater, and served alongside was an accompaniment of 3 different beverages, which I don't really know if everyone gets - or if Daniel was just being extra nice to us.
       
      Speaking of nice, the service staff is super. There was a horde of people working on both the floor and in the kitchen. The front of house people were professional, yet casual. There have a been a few notable restaurant openings this year, where service has been a bit "clumsy." Not here, where everyone is on the same page, and that enhances the experience greatly.
       
      What else can I write? Well, I am sad we didn't get to enjoy dessert - we just ate too damn much, but next time! And while we were unexpectedly treated like old friends, with 3 comped dishes from the kitchen and a couple of glasses of champagne when we sat down at our table, I looked around the restaurant any number of times, and everyone sure looked happy. The wine list is extensive - maybe that's part of the reason? There are tablecloths on the tables. There are comfortable chairs. Reservations are taken. All grown-up stuff. But most of all, once you taste this cooking, I think you're going to be happy as well.
       
      Le Coucou
       
    • By borgr
      I want to leave my sourdough (itself, not baked loaves of sourdough bread) for a while (going abroad) but I do not want it to die, can I leave it in the freezer? do you have other ideas?
    • By Lisa Shock
      The team over at Modernist Cuisine announced today that their next project will be an in-depth exploration of bread. I personally am very excited about this, I had been hoping their next project would be in the baking and pastry realm. Additionally, Francisco Migoya will be head chef and Peter Reinhart will assignments editor for this project which is expected to be a multi-volume affair.
    • By Chris Hennes
      While not a new cookbook by any means, I haven't really had time to dig into this one until now. We've previously discussed the recipes in Jerusalem: A Cookbook, but not much has been said about Plenty. So, here goes...
       
      Chickpea saute with Greek yogurt (p. 211)
       

       
      This was a great way to kick off my time with this book. The flavors were outstanding, particularly the use of the caraway seeds and lemon juice. I used freshly-cooked Rancho Gordo chickpeas, which of course helps! The recipe was not totally trivial, but considering the flavors developed, if you don't count the time to cook the chickpeas it came together very quickly. I highly recommend this dish.
    • By Bickery
      Hey Everyone! I'm kinda new to all this, so excuse any violation of mores.
      Searching google for anything on Mr. Steingarten on the web led me to
      this forum. It appears te me that most of you are food professionals or
      nearly that, while i'm just a 21-yr old student who likes to cook.

      I own both Jeffries books, and i've started putting together a list of
      all the books he sort of recommends in his writing. Thus came an idea
      for this forum, wouldn't it be fun to concoct a list of say 50
      cookbooks from the world over? I everybody, and hopefully mr
      Steingarten along with them, would contribute his or hers favourote
      books, this could be very interesting.

      Due to my limited library on the subject (most cookbooks i've read are
      mom's) i shall begin by contributing my current favourite.

      I shall put it in last place, because i'm sure a lot of you will have
      thing to say on the subject.

      so:

      50. La cucina essentiale - Stefano Cavallini


      I hope a lot of suggestions will follow!

      Yours Truly,

      Rik

      (Host's Note: Thanks to eG member marmish, who has compiled a list of everything mentioned as of the end of July 2009: it can be found here. -CH)
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.