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


Chris Hennes
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Chicken,apples, and cream a la normande (p.218)

Lemon-steamed spinach (p. 331)

Perfection. Absolute perfection.

Both of these recipes have been previously reviewed in this thread, but I liked them so much I thought they warranted another post. I served them together - as Dorie recommended - and, oh my, what a wonderful meal! Neither my husband nor I are big cooked spinach fans but, served together with the chicken and apples, we loved it. Somehow, all the flavors came together to make perfection.

Sorry that I didn't take pictures but Chris posted a beautiful one on page 2 of this thread. These are recipes I intend to make over and over again. Along with the gourgeres. I can't get enough of those either.

On a side note, I hope, hope, hope that I get to meet Dorie Saturday in San Francisco!!!

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I had a chance to catch Dorie's reading in VA last night and found her as charming in person as she comes across in her books and here. She was also as generous with her time -- taking more than a few moments to chat with each of us as she signed books. I highly recommend catching one of her signings (check out her blog for locations).

I asked her what I should cook for dinner tonight and after asking if I wanted meat or fish (I picked meat) she immediately said My Go-to Daube...and then reconsidered because it has been a bit warm here. cafe salle pleyel hamburgers p.240 it was. A suggestion quickly endorsed by her husband, Michael, who seemed pleased that I’d be cooking them in a cast-iron pan to get all over char and not just stripes of char from a grill.

I had slow roasted some tomatoes this weekend so I used those instead of sundried tomatoes packed in oil and skipped the cheese. These were some fantastic burgers. The roasted tomatoes and briny cornichons and capers add to the meatiness of burger while also lightening the texture a bit. As Chris mentioned upthread, don't expect typically seasoned burgers, these pack a good veggie punch. I really enjoyed the onion marmalade that went with it and will be making a larger batch of that to use as a sandwich spread to add a little oomph to my lunch.

baby bok choy, sugar snaps, and garlic en paillote p. 348

I made this to go with my burger. I really enjoyed the play on flavors -- veggies often used in Asian dishes with French seasonings. The mint really made this dish pop. I think I'll add a bit more zest next time to bring out the citrus a bit more. I also want to try it with lemon as I love pairing lemon with mint.

The best part -- 3 more burgers waiting for me in the freezer.

Edited by laniloa (log)
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Lentil, Lemon, and Tuna Salad, p. 140

Lentil salad and tuna are two of my favorite things, so I’ve been anxious to try this recipe. Last weekend I finally replenished my stash of french lentils and got around to making the tuna confit. Though this recipe calls for canned tuna, I had leftover confit so I used it here.

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This is a delicious and unexpected twist on the traditional french lentil salad. The tapenade and preserved lemon are strong flavors but are used judiciously and the lentils stand up to them very well. The tuna is an inspired addition, though I think the lentil salad is good enough to stand on its own as a side dish without the tuna. I added some diced cooked carrots, mostly out of habit.

It made a great lunch and I won’t hesitate to make it with good canned tuna.


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A couple of things from lunch today.

Bubble Top Brioche p. 496

ready to go into the oven

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Out of the oven - a little darker than I would have liked. My oven is a piece of junk and sometimes decides to up the temp several hundred degrees.

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And the Cauliflower Bacon Gratin several others have made. This is very different from anything I've made before - custard-y and really very nice.

GEDC0298.JPG

Stop Family Violence

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My copy of "the" book arrived last week and my first perusal resulted in a long list of things I want to try. We're fortunate enough to be spending a week at a cottage up north next week and I'm planning to do a lot of cooking, reading, cooking, photography, cooking. You get the idea.

I couldn't wait until next week to start working on the list though. First up were the grated carrot salad, the curried chicken etc in papillote, and marie-helene's apple cake.

The carrot salad couldn't have been quicker. Using the food processor to grate the carrots and then mixing up the vinaigrette in the same bowl was extremely efficient. The only change I made was to substitute pecans (toasted) for the walnuts. Using multi-coloured heritage carrots, as suggested above, made the salad a visual treat. It tasted great the first day and almost as good the second day.( I, like Dorie, like a little crunch to my carrots.) My husband's comment was "please don't lose this recipe". It will go into regular rotation. It's good enough for company but not "too fancy" for just us.

The apple cake was a real winner too. I've been looking for a recipe that makes the apples the star, not just part of the supporting cast; and this is it. Using the "divers' apples was really the brilliant touch. I used Empire, Mutsu, Ida Red and Smoothee (really) - it was akin to a Golden Delicious. Because the apples are in such significant chunks the variation in texture and flavour was very apparent. Like the carrot salad, this is homely enough for weeknights but more than presentable for guests.

I had a few reservations about the curried chicken - mainly due to operator error, I think. The parcels were charming but I overcooked them somewhat and, like Chris, my chicken stuck together in clumps. The chicken breasts I got were really huge, over 2 lbs for the two, and even though I didn't use all the chicken I think the meat to vegetable ratio was off. Maybe that was the source of the problem. I'd also boost up the seasoning. My curry powder was lacking in punch. I'll try this again but perhaps I'll try the salmon-tomato papillotes first.

I think that this book is going to become as much of a favourite go-to recipe source for me as "Baking".

Thanks Dorie. You've done it again.

Kathy

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leek and potato soup p.66-67

I have a few different leek and potato soup versions that I make, but I hadn't seen one that included milk from the start of the simmer. I used about half called for in the recipe and it still had a very rich and creamy texture and taste. I sliced the leeks very thin and pureed about half of the soup. I prefer it a bit chunky. This was a very nice version of a classic.

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Sorry to have gone silent -- blame it on book tour, a wonderful whirlwind that leaves me with no free time and not an ounce of clear-headedness when I finish the day.

I haven't had the oomph to respond, but I have been lurking and your food is looking very,very good. I'll comment more when my brain and I return to New York late next week.

In the meantime, keep cooking!

And a shout-out to Laniloa and Dana for coming to see me. I *loved* meeting you!

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Finally I assembled (almost) all the ingredients to make Hachis Permentier which had been on my list of recipes to make from the very moment I opened Dorie's book. I discovered I had no beef bouillon cubes so half way through the simmering of the beef I threw in a handful of dried porcini to up the umami a bit. I had some cheese bits that needed using up so the topping was a mixture of Emmenthal, Old Cheddar and Parmesan. Three of us made short work of this and the little that we simply could not stuff into ourselves went home with my son to share with his room mate.

Hachis Parmentier.jpg

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Is that a French take on cottage pie?

It is indeed!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Is that a French take on cottage pie?

It is indeed!

The name is an homage to Antoine Augustin Parmentier, who introduced potatoes into French cuisine in the 18th century--in France, potatoes were previously grown only as an ornamental plant. So when you see a dish on a French menu with Parmentier in the name, you know it includes potatoes.


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This was the first dish I tried from the book, and we had very little leftover as the aroma coming from the kitchen made us extra famished!

It got me hooked on the book. I like the idea of blending the different cheeses on it Anna. My DH can never turn down a dish with 3 cheeses in it.

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The name is an homage to Antoine Augustin Parmentier, who introduced potatoes into French cuisine in the 18th century--in France, potatoes were previously grown only as an ornamental plant. So when you see a dish on a French menu with Parmentier in the name, you know it includes potatoes.

Interesting! In Canada, packaged foods, along with most (all?) other consumer products, have to be labeled in both English and French. Frozen versions of Cottage Pie, (billing themselves as Shepherd's Pie?) are labeled Pate Chinois. Wikipedia maintains it's a separate Quebecois dish.

Can you comment on how the French version "Hachis Parmentier" differs from a typical English preparation?

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The name is an homage to Antoine Augustin Parmentier, who introduced potatoes into French cuisine in the 18th century--in France, potatoes were previously grown only as an ornamental plant. So when you see a dish on a French menu with Parmentier in the name, you know it includes potatoes.

Interesting! In Canada, packaged foods, along with most (all?) other consumer products, have to be labeled in both English and French. Frozen versions of Cottage Pie, (billing themselves as Shepherd's Pie?) are labeled Pate Chinois. Wikipedia maintains it's a separate Quebecois dish.

Can you comment on how the French version "Hachis Parmentier" differs from a typical English preparation?

Without meaning at all to be facetious, I am guessing there are as many ways to describe a typical English preparation as there are with almost any dish. That said, to me the primary difference is in the choice of cut of meat. I was brought up with Shepherd's/Cottage Pies made from the leftover Sunday joint but here in Canada I usually use ground beef. Dorie's version calls for minute steak or chuck. I used chuck. The meat is cut into very small pieces, slowly simmered with aromatics and then one separates the broth and the meat and further hand chops the meat. It is a bit more of a production than my usual way of simply browning ground beef but I believe the finished product justified the more finicky preparation. :smile:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Meeting Dorie was one of the highlights of my cooking life. She is just delightful, open, genuine and funny. This was one of the best classes I've attended, and I've been to quite a few. She answered my millions of questions, as well as those of other attendees, gave tips and told stories. The food was just delicious. The lamb and apricot tagine is burbling away in my oven right now. (except I'm using chicken thighs, a suggestions Dorie made.) It smells wonderful. Pictures to follow.

If you ever get a chance to meet her, jump on it!!

Stop Family Violence

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The name is an homage to Antoine Augustin Parmentier, who introduced potatoes into French cuisine in the 18th century--in France, potatoes were previously grown only as an ornamental plant. So when you see a dish on a French menu with Parmentier in the name, you know it includes potatoes.

Interesting! In Canada, packaged foods, along with most (all?) other consumer products, have to be labeled in both English and French. Frozen versions of Cottage Pie, (billing themselves as Shepherd's Pie?) are labeled Pate Chinois. Wikipedia maintains it's a separate Quebecois dish.

Can you comment on how the French version "Hachis Parmentier" differs from a typical English preparation?

Without meaning at all to be facetious, I am guessing there are as many ways to describe a typical English preparation as there are with almost any dish. That said, to me the primary difference is in the choice of cut of meat. I was brought up with Shepherd's/Cottage Pies made from the leftover Sunday joint but here in Canada I usually use ground beef. Dorie's version calls for minute steak or chuck. I used chuck. The meat is cut into very small pieces, slowly simmered with aromatics and then one separates the broth and the meat and further hand chops the meat. It is a bit more of a production than my usual way of simply browning ground beef but I believe the finished product justified the more finicky preparation. :smile:

I used Stewing beef from Max Burt my local butcher extraordinaire, and cooked it in my slow cooker all day on low setting with the aromatics so it was pretty quick to chop up the bits of beef when I got home from work and threw the rest of the ingredients together and sat down to a fantastic dinner in short order. The stewing beef was still on the frozen side when I put on the slow cooker and it cooked up nicely.

Made for a quick meal at the end of a busy day. :wub: Bonus: Leftovers for lunches the next day!

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I guess I wasn't the only one eating hachis parmentier last night! Since I didn't get home from work until 6 it was a laaaate dinner (like 10pm) but totally worth the wait. I was looking forward to eating leftovers tonight, but my dad raided the fridge at lunch and ate the rest! I also made the salted butter break ups but I think I overworked them, as I tend to do with anything remotely resembling tart dough...but they tasted good anyways, just a funky texture.

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

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Damn, wish it had occurred to me to throw the meat in the slow cooker...must've used up all my brain power at work! Next time for sure!

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

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My version of the Hachis Parmentier

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I kept the veg in with the meat mix and served it with creamed peas.

This is really delicious. I did the crock pot routine - it worked perfectly.

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I made the Swiss Chard pancakes last night to accompany some lentil soup with tasso (it was a soup kind of night) and topped them with whole milk greek yogurt with some garlic salt and flatleaf parsley mixed in. Even my three year old, who is notoriously picky about eating anything green, said they were good. They heated up well for a morning snack too.

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

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Greetings from Dallas.

It's been hard to comment from the road, but I have been reading and loving what you've been cooking. In fact, when I get back to my own kitchen, I'm going to pull out my crock pot -- I like the idea of doing the beef for the hachis parmentier in it. Merci.

Oklahoma City tomorrow and Tuesday, then back to NYC. It's been an incredible trip, even if I did overpack.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Skate with capers, cornichons, and brown butter sauce, p. 291

Skate is a fish I love to order in restaurants but for some reason have avoided cooking at home. Why? I don’t know. But earlier tonight I stopped by the market, thinking I’d buy swordfish for dinner. There, among the offerings, was skate, glisteningly fresh and one-third the price of the swordfish. What would you have done?

I wasn’t worried about recipes but since the French classic of skate with brown butter sauce was my first thought, I checked Dorie’s cookbook and sure enough there was this twist on the traditional recipe. Easy as could be, and really, really tasty if you—like me—enjoy the strong flavors of cornichons, capers, and mustard. A great contrast with the skate, which is such a sweet fish. I love this combination. Served here with potato-parsnip puree and sautéed carrots.

DSCF0441.JPG


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