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Cooking from "My Paris Kitchen"


SobaAddict70
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Caillettes—Pork and Chard Sausages

 

This recipe called out to me. First, because caillettes seem like easy, individual pates. Second, because David says he learned the dish from a little Paris wine bar-restaurant, Le Verre Volé, that I remember fondly.

 

The ingredient list sounded good—ground pork, chicken livers, swiss chard, onions, garlic, egg, bacon, herbs and spices.   But the recipe itself had me concerned—it calls for cooking the pork and livers first, mixing the ingredients, forming patties, and then baking them.  Why cook the meat first?  The recipe says to bake the formed caillettes until the meat is cooked through.  But it’s already cooked through…I was skeptical.

 

Against my better judgment, I followed the recipe but I would advise you to do otherwise.  The mixture held together when I formed them into the quenelle shape but barely.  The results were well seasoned but despite the bacon slices on top, the caillettes were as dry as I feared. 

 

Only afterwards did I do some homework on caillettes. There are lots of recipes online and on my bookshelf I found one in Julia Child’s MTAFC Vol. 2.  They all share similar ingredient lists, but I didn’t find one that called for cooking the meat first.   

 

I like the concept of this recipe so will try it again, this time grinding the pork and liver together and mixing other ingredients with the raw meat.  If anyone has a better idea, I’d be interested.

 

I took a photo but my camera’s not cooperating, if I can post it later I will.

 


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Caillettes—Pork and Chard Sausages

 

This recipe called out to me. First, because caillettes seem like easy, individual pates. Second, because David says he learned the dish from a little Paris wine bar-restaurant, Le Verre Volé, that I remember fondly.

 

The ingredient list sounded good—ground pork, chicken livers, swiss chard, onions, garlic, egg, bacon, herbs and spices.   But the recipe itself had me concerned—it calls for cooking the pork and livers first, mixing the ingredients, forming patties, and then baking them.  Why cook the meat first?  The recipe says to bake the formed caillettes until the meat is cooked through.  But it’s already cooked through…I was skeptical.

 

Against my better judgment, I followed the recipe but I would advise you to do otherwise.  The mixture held together when I formed them into the quenelle shape but barely.  The results were well seasoned but despite the bacon slices on top, the caillettes were as dry as I feared. 

 

Only afterwards did I do some homework on caillettes. There are lots of recipes online and on my bookshelf I found one in Julia Child’s MTAFC Vol. 2.  They all share similar ingredient lists, but I didn’t find one that called for cooking the meat first.   

 

I like the concept of this recipe so will try it again, this time grinding the pork and liver together and mixing other ingredients with the raw meat.  If anyone has a better idea, I’d be interested.

 

I took a photo but my camera’s not cooperating, if I can post it later I will.

I would love to hear from David. Somehow it seems as if he did not proofread or if he did his suggested changes were not incorporated into the final manuscript. For his pound cake he instructs you to use room temperature butter cut it into cubes. You then melt it. Uh?

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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He's on Twitter and Facebook, if that helps. I find that he tends to respond more directly via the former.

Thanks. Unfortunately I am hugely not. I have a lot of respect for David and it bothers me that this book does not seem to be up to his usual standards.

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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  • 2 weeks later...

I got my copy last week, and have been thoroughly enjoying myself reading through it without cooking anything from the book until yesterday. I did buy some eggplant this weekend for another dish which, for reasons I don't actually remember, did not materialize. When I noticed the recipe for baba banoush, a quick dash to the fridge confirmed we had some tahini left, which was made a couple of weeks ago.

I followed Lebovitz recipe for baba banoush, leaving out the garlic which was served in ultra thin slices with the dish, so that the kids could leave it out if they desired to do so. We were generally enthusiast, but did think it turned out a tad salty. It is definitely a dish that will return to our table as it is fairly straightforward to make and enjoyed by all, but I'll tune down on the salt next time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have at least 3  8" high bookcases full of cookbooks, so before I add one, I'd like to be sure it will deserve its space. 

 

Now that you've been cooking from this one for awhile, will it do it? 

 

I'm particularly interested in the response of those who consider themselves experienced cooks.

 

 

 

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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One never likes to pan a book especially by someone like David Lebovitz but this one had too many issues for me to endorse it. YMMV.

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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I have at least 3  8" high bookcases full of cookbooks, so before I add one, I'd like to be sure it will deserve its space. 

 

Now that you've been cooking from this one for awhile, will it do it? 

 

I'm particularly interested in the response of those who consider themselves experienced cooks.

 

 

You might also want to look at Chowhound where the book is currently cookbook of the months and many experienced cooks cooking recipes and write about it (overall seems to be good feedback on the book)

 

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977518

Edited by Honkman (log)
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I have at least 3  8" high bookcases full of cookbooks, so before I add one, I'd like to be sure it will deserve its space. 

 

Now that you've been cooking from this one for awhile, will it do it? 

 

I'm particularly interested in the response of those who consider themselves experienced cooks.

 

You might also want to look at Chowhound where the book is currently cookbook of the months and many experienced cooks cooking recipes and write about it (overall seems to be good feedback on the book)

 

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977518

 

After having read through this book and making a few more recipes, I’d give it a qualified recommendation.  The primary attraction, for me, is the writing.  David’s a terrific writer and his tales and descriptions of shopping, cooking, and eating in Paris are a joy to read.  It brings back a lot of memories for me.

 

Recipes are another matter.  Most of the recipes here are standards that you’ll find in other general French cookbooks, others are more original. Nothing wrong with that.  But the editing is poor, which has been noted here before.  And it happened again last night. I followed David’s recipe for celery root purée, which calls for cooking a potato that never gets used.  If you’re comfortable “fixing” recipes on your own, you can get past things like this, no big deal. But if I was making something unfamiliar, I'd probably check the recipe against another version. Easy for me to say, I have a couple of dozen French cookbooks on my shelves.

 

I took a look through the Chowhound discussions in the link above and there are mentions of grammatical errors in the use of French words and terms, but that’s a different editing problem.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I have at least 3  8" high bookcases full of cookbooks, so before I add one, I'd like to be sure it will deserve its space. 

 

Now that you've been cooking from this one for awhile, will it do it? 

 

I'm particularly interested in the response of those who consider themselves experienced cooks.

I haven't experienced any of the problems that some folks have, but that could be because I hadn't cooked the recipes they attempted. That being said, some of the proportions of the ingredients seem off (e.g.: the bacon in the mustard chicken, and also in the leeks.)

I love the book: the photography, the writing and from what dishes I've attempted, I would say it's worth a look or two, keeping in mind what has been mentioned previously.

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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So I finally made the caillettes again, this time not cooking the pork/liver mixture before baking them.  To properly test David's recipe, I otherwise followed the recipe (except for leaving out the lemon juice, I didn't have a lemon handy). Results: delicious.

 

I baked them for the 30 minutes as instructed, which yielded an internal temp of 165F, which I figured was sufficient to cook the liver (I would like to know if that's true), Then I let them sit for ~10 minutes before serving them with a salad.  They really were like mini pates, rustic in style, very well seasoned and moist, not at all overcooked.  Good leftover the next day when brought to room temperature.  The only suggested I would add to David's would be to serve them with a good baguette, mustard, and cornichons. Like any country-style pate, it calls out for them.

 

I made the caillettes smaller than David did, but they are rich so smaller was plenty for me.  These would be nice for a buffet or dinner party.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last night’s dinner: Counterfeit duck confit.

 

DSCF1565.JPG

 

It’s very good and almost effortless.  You do need to plan in advance, though. The duck legs need to marinate overnight in their spice rub, and the cooking time is long so that it can be done at low temperature—which lets the fat render without burning and keeps the meat from becoming stringy. 

 

I omitted the gin from the marinade because I loathe the flavor, and the spice rub is pretty flexible so you could tweak it to suit your own tastes.  The important thing is to follow David’s directions for packing the duck legs close together in the pan, it keeps them partially submerged in the flavorful fat as they cook.

 

The meat doesn’t have the velvety texture of long-preserved confit but it wouldn’t be fair to expect it. It does deliver the flavor and crispy skin of a good confit, which is pretty awesome for all of 10 minutes of active prep work.

 

 

 


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Duck fat cookies

 

DSCF1573-001.JPG

 

A bonus of buying duck for the counterfeit confit and the duck terrine with figs (now ripening in the refrigerator) was a cup of rendered duck fat as well as a carcass for stock. I figured I’d try these cookies.

 

Wow. These are so delicious, but so very rich.  They’re sablés, French sugar cookies, with duck fat subbing for most of the butter.  They fall squarely in the savory cookie category that was made popular by Pierre Hermé, so they’re more for drink nibbles than dessert.  There are lots of variations on the theme—see Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table for seaweed (for which she credits David) and olive.  But the duck fat adds a whole new dimension.  It’s subtle but unmistakable.  I made mine with chopped dried cherries, plumped in brandy.  The flavors all come together beautifully. I can see playing around with this, maybe even adding some finely chopped duck cracklings.

 

I found the cookie dough to be a bit dry, so would add a little more fat next time.  If you have some extra duck fat on hand, give these a try.

 

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Soba, go for it.

 

Another duck installment:  Duck Terrine with Figs

 

DSCF1581.JPG

 

Rustic patés like this are very simple to make, so kudos to David for encouraging home cooks to give one a try. This one is a mixture of duck, pork, and chicken livers.  It’s a nice blend, well flavored, and the addition of figs (or another dried fruit) add a sweet note.

 

I made this for an important family gathering, so was more concerned with excellent results than with perfect recipe testing.  For the most part I followed the recipe as written, with only a couple of tweaks—part personal taste, part recipe correction.

 

Personal taste: the recipe calls for adding chopped cornichons and their liquid to the mixture.  I prefer to offer the cornichons on the side, so didn’t include them.  Plus I added ½ tsp of curing salt to the final mixture, since I prefer my patés to retain some of their pink color.

 

Recipe concern: there’s an awful lot of liquid in this recipe:  ½ cup of brandy, ¼ cup of cornichon pickling juice, 2 eggs.  There isn’t any panade or binder to soak it up.  It looked like a lot to me.  Plus you puree the chicken livers, so they’re more fluid than solid.  So I proceeded with caution, first omitting the cornichon juice, then holding off adding the second egg.

 

Even so, the finished mixture was extremely loose. It certainly didn’t hold together.  Had I added the juice and another egg, it would have been almost pourable. Though the terrine is baked in a loaf/terrine pan and weighed down afterwards (and so extra liquid and fat would be pressed out), I was still worried.  I ended up adding extra ground pork to increase the solids and omitted the second egg entirely. 

 

Since my experience making patés is limited, it would be helpful to hear from someone more knowledgeable on this point.  After consulting similar recipes in other French cookbooks, I concluded that in the future I’d reduce the brandy before adding it (or just use less). You want the flavor, not the liquid. And I would continue to leave out the cornichon juice.

 

The finished terrine was excellent, though the extra pork made the duck less dominant than it would have been otherwise.  All in all, a good basic recipe.  Everyone loved it, even folks who swore they hated liver.  A crowd of 30 finished half of the terrine, which is good sized. 

 

Luckily I got to take the leftovers home.  The slice above, accompanied by another of sliced garden tomatoes with basil and vinaigrette, made a very welcome supper for yesterday's hot, humid evening.  Since the terrine benefits from sitting in the fridge for a few days, this is a great option for entertaining without last minute preparations.

 

 

 


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  • 4 weeks later...

Tonight I did the Indian Cheese Bread.  As I said in the dinner thread, after much agita I got four good ones out of six, so not too bad.  I used ghee rather than go to the trouble of clarifying butter.  It is so inexpensive and available, so I figured why not? 

med_gallery_3331_114_1381.jpg

My first two were the burned ones upper right and upper middle.  The rest looked like the other two – nicely toasted and puffed with just a couple of charred areas.  As you can see, we nibbled at the non-charred edges of one of the ‘bad’ ones.  My problem with the recipe is an old one with me.  Whenever a recipe calls for heating up an iron skillet on high heat until it is screaming hot and then cooking something in it, I should know better.  It just doesn’t work for me.  I have wonderful, properly seasoned, old skillets (one of them belonged to my greatgrandmother – it is probably 100 years old).  But I put anything in a screaming hot skillet and it pours smoke and instantly carbonizes.  It triggers my asthma and I start coughing and then I have smoke, burned food and a skillet with half a hamburger welded to it to deal with.  Then I start all over again at a lower heat in a new pan!  So that’s what happened tonight :angry: .  I figured, “here I am in the 21st century in the United States of America – I’m using a fricken non-stick pan on medium high heat.”  They were perfect.  :rolleyes:

 

I took David’s idea and brushed them with garlic infused warm ghee as they came out of the pan.  I ended up mistiming dinner a bit and had to heat them up in my toaster oven for dinner.  I just set them on a rack and used the ‘toaster’ function.  It worked great and tasted every bit as good as the one right out of the pan.  I have two refrigerated and will toast them tomorrow and report back on how well they ‘held’.  I’d love to make these for company, but I know I wouldn’t want to do it at the last minute.  So I hope they hold up.  I actually liked the smooth, bland cheese in them.  With the dough so soft you’d have to use something pretty creamy – Brie or Camembert, I guess.  Any other ideas?  Mr. Kim wants me to try bleu with a black pepper infused honey drizzle.  

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  • 11 months later...

Last night’s dinner: Counterfeit duck confit.

 

attachicon.gifDSCF1565.JPG

 

It’s very good and almost effortless.  You do need to plan in advance, though. The duck legs need to marinate overnight in their spice rub, and the cooking time is long so that it can be done at low temperature—which lets the fat render without burning and keeps the meat from becoming stringy. 

 

I omitted the gin from the marinade because I loathe the flavor, and the spice rub is pretty flexible so you could tweak it to suit your own tastes.  The important thing is to follow David’s directions for packing the duck legs close together in the pan, it keeps them partially submerged in the flavorful fat as they cook.

 

The meat doesn’t have the velvety texture of long-preserved confit but it wouldn’t be fair to expect it. It does deliver the flavor and crispy skin of a good confit, which is pretty awesome for all of 10 minutes of active prep work.

 

I am planning on trying out this recipe soon. I don't have the book but the recipe was shared on NPR.

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  • 10 months later...

Probably the most important rule in cooking is "read the recipe first".  The second most important rule is "pay attention".  

 

13268320_1166181190099296_5160832206248647077_o.jpg

 

3/4 cup warm water with 1 tsp. yeast and 1/2 cup AP flour.

Don't be like me who started this recipe with 3/4 cup warm water, 1 tsp. yeast and 1/3 cup AP flour. I mistakenly used the 1/3 cup instead of the 1/2 cup measure.

 

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1 1/2 cups AP flour, 1 tsp. sea salt, 3 tbsp. olive oil.

 

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Let the yeast mixture stand for 15 minutes, then add in the remaining flour, the salt and the oil. Mix well. Eventually the mixture will cohere into dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth and pliable dough.

Transfer dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and leave in a warm place for an hour or until dough has doubled in volume.

 

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4 medium onions, thinly sliced; 1/2 tsp. each sea salt and cane sugar; 4 garlic cloves, sliced; 1 tbsp. thyme leaves.

 

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Fry the onions, garlic, salt and sugar in olive oil over medium heat for one hour.

 

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Eventually, you'll end up with a dish full of caramelized onions.

 

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Dough after one hour.

 

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Roll out the dough into an approx. 12" wide oval or rectangle, then transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Top with caramelized onions, oil-packed anchovies and oil-cured or Kalamata olives. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Bake in a pre-heated 400 F oven for 20 minutes or until crust has browned. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Brush with olive oil, then serve.

 

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Pissaladière, from "My Paris Kitchen" by David Lebovitz, pages 69-70.

 

It turns out that the crust was overbaked.  Still tasty, but next time I'll reduce the oven temp to 375 or even 350 F.

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12513522_1074700245914058_6569592872972366261_o.jpg

 

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The chicken with mustard and the leeks with bacon vinaigrette are recurring guest stars at our dinner table.

 

Next up are his recipe for madeleines, perhaps this weekend.  There's an upcoming dinner party we're having next month, so that will be good practice.

 

Edited by ProfessionalHobbit (log)
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I'm sure these will be a hit at work tomorrow.

 

IMG_6513.JPG

 

Clockwise from bottom right: 1 1/4 cups AP flour, 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries, 1 tbsp. Cognac, 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, 4 tbsp. duck fat, 3/4 cup sugar.

 

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In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries and Cognac. Warm this mixture over low heat or until the dried fruit has absorbed the Cognac. Remove from heat and cool.

 

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Cream the duck fat, the butter and sugar until smooth.

 

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I added 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract at the last minute.

 

I was going to omit the vanilla originally but changed my mind in the end.

 

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In a separate bowl, whisk together the AP flour and sugar.

 

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Combine the flour mixture with the creamed butter mixture. Add the cranberries. Stir until the dough comes together. Form into a ball, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

 

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Gradually form the dough into a rectangle, then slice lengthwise.

 

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Form into two logs, approx. 6" in length. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in your fridge for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight.

 

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When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C). Slice the logs into cookies approx. 1/4" thick. Place cookies on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet or tray. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

When cookies are done, remove from the oven and cool. Keeps in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

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Duck fat cookies ("sablés à la graisse de canard"), pages 297-298.

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