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Simply French


SobaAddict70
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While spending the weekend with my friends in upstate NY, I came across a book in their cookbook collection by Chef Robuchon, of the restaurant Jamin, located in France. Now, "Simply French" was written in 1991, along with Patricia Wells, so perhaps the book is a bit dated....but I was astounded by the amount of truffles that Chef Robuchon uses in his food. One of his salads is simply radicchio and thinly sliced black truffles, tossed together. A recipe for a viniagrette calls for something like 2 T. of finely chopped (or a brunoise of) black truffles.

There was a potato cake that was just thinly sliced potatoes, bacon and Gruyere cheese, layered together and baked. Confit of chestnuts, onions and turnips (I think). Mint and strawberry sorbet. Whipped potatoes with LOTS of butter. This was food porn at its finest. :blink:

Anyone have experience with this book?

Soba

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I own it, have read it, marvelled at it, but can't remember cooking a damn thing from it. But you can learn a lot from just reading it. I also have his "Cuisine Des Quatre Saisons" a collection of his columns from Le Journal du Dimanche which is a fantastic read, with lovely pictures by Herve Amirad.

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Anyone have experience with this book?

I've prepared a number of recipes from this book, but they have to be prepared knowing that these are Patricia Wells’ Americanized versions of M. Robuchon's original recipes. If you look at many of the illustrated recipes carefully, the recipe as printed doesn't match the picture, which was probably because the pictures were taken of the restaurant versions, not the book versions. In fact, it’s hard to tell if the recipes were actually tested as printed.

Bouland

a.k.a. Peter Hertzmann

à la carte

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A very worthwhile book, also published as "cuisine actuelle". One of the best books for interpreting the spirit of three star cooking for the home chef. As russ said, the little tips and the introduction section are well worth reading.

I've cooking a lot of recipes from it and they're generally reliable. A Bouland says, some of the pictures are miscaptioned (I think one of the lobster dishes clearly wrong)

Highly recommended

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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I've done a number of things from the book, but it may be best for the tidbits of wisdom one picks up at random points - his approach to using salt, for example.

For example, I use his technique to cook salmon fillet ("whole grilled salmon fillet with red shallot sauce" in the book) but instead of making his sauce which contains 16 tablespoons of butter (I did try it ONCE) I make a simple chive oil. Perfect salmon (or arctic char if you reduce the cooking times) every time, with a minimum of effort.

There are other recipes, like the Provencal Roast tomatoes, which are great but you'll find serviceable versions of them in Patricia Wells' other books.

Certainly his techniques for leg of lamb and salt crusts are handy. But if you ever had the lamb he served at Jamin you know it is one of those experiences you will NEVER duplicate at home.

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I have owned & enjoyed this book for years.Just last month I gave a

dinner party where once again the scallop pillows [ sandwiched w

w. caviar and in a lemon cream sauce] were the 1st course. These

always receive positive reviews. Also good are the recipes for

the caramel ice cream, the scallops w spring veggies, the lobster w

ginger..I'm doing this from memory so I hope I'm not confusing the

books. In my book, the 2 lobster recipe photos are reversed. I

do agree with above observation that the tips are very helpful.

I don't know if the recipes were Americanized but as in most

cookbooks, I do suspect that they were modified for the home

cook.

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I have a translation of a book he did for the French market (something like 'Cooking through the Seasons') and it is barely useable.

That may be due more to the translator than the original. There are a number of very poorly translated French cookbooks on the American market. Often, on the title page, the translator will be listed as “translated and adapted by.” Many translations are laughable when compared to the originals. The translation of Robuchon’s book based on his Dimache columns has been translated and published in the U.S. as La Cuisine De Joël Robuchon: A Seasonal Cookbook. There are a number of notable blunders by the translator in instructions for recipes that would make it very difficult for the home cook to duplicate the original recipe.

Bouland

a.k.a. Peter Hertzmann

à la carte

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I've done a number of things from the book, but it may be best for the tidbits of wisdom one picks up at random points - his approach to using salt, for example.

For example, I use his technique to cook salmon fillet ("whole grilled salmon fillet with red shallot sauce" in the book) but instead of making his sauce which contains 16 tablespoons of butter (I did try it ONCE) I make a simple chive oil. Perfect salmon (or arctic char if you reduce the cooking times) every time, with a minimum of effort.

There are other recipes, like the Provencal Roast tomatoes, which are great but you'll find serviceable versions of them in Patricia Wells' other books.

Certainly his techniques for leg of lamb and salt crusts are handy. But if you ever had the lamb he served at Jamin you know it is one of those experiences you will NEVER duplicate at home.

Not to pick on you, but your posts makes me laugh. I have this book as well, but not for too long and so haven't actually tried anything in it yet. However, I do enjoy the introduction and some of the tips throughtout.

My favorite part of the intro is on p. 24 under the heading Why Recipes Fail. In this section Robochun basically says if you don't want to follow my recipe exactly then don't bother with it at all. He even says "if you don't want to eat butter, select another recipe that doesn't require butter".

Of course your recipe is a success and I don't necessarily agree with him, but find it amusing.

Edited by mjc (log)

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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One thing I would say, having fliced through the book again last night, is PW sometimes goes a bit over the top on the hyperbole eg "I've had millions of X and this is the best ever" "this is on most fantastic ever Y" "Every time I do Z as only Joel can I have a multiple orgasm" (or words to that effect). Sometimes the book slips into hagiography, which can be a little irritating.

cheerio

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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My favorite part of the intro is on p. 24 under the heading Why Recipes Fail.  In this section Robochun basically says if you don't want to follow my recipe exactly then don't bother with it at all.  He even says "if you don't want to eat butter, select another recipe that doesn't require butter". 

Yes, I thought that was a bit Trotter-esque. But he does have a three-star Michelin restaurant, so I suppose we can forgive this bit of "chefly mania".

heheh

Soba

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  • 2 weeks later...

buy this book; it is a touchstone for culinary values.

while the recipes may not match the picture or the recipe in one instance (the potato and bacon tart does not work see article by jefferey steingarten in the man who ate everything) its overall feeling or pressence is what the book is about.

buy into the philosophy and the bigger picture opens up

cheers

h. alexander talbot

chef and author

Levittown, PA

ideasinfood

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My favorite part of the intro is on p. 24 under the heading Why Recipes Fail.  In this section Robochun basically says if you don't want to follow my recipe exactly then don't bother with it at all.  He even says "if you don't want to eat butter, select another recipe that doesn't require butter". 

Of course your recipe is a success and I don't necessarily agree with him, but find it amusing.

Actually, that quote is from a section written in Patricia Wells' voice (pages 23-24). Though I think it is uncharacteristically uptight of her. (This thread is beginning to remind me of theological arguments!)

While one might expect more rigidity from the perfectionist chef, his attitude seems more flexible. On page 18 he notes:

"When you cook, of course you have the right to modify recipes. But only if you understand the sense of the recipe. ...."

So, I think he's got it right, even if I mess with his recipes at home.

A couple more things I've enjoyed making from this book are the Beef in a salt crust (tricky) and the Provencal roast tomatoes (easy).

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I made the potato cake with bacon and gruyere, and it was a disaster. There was an inch of rendered bacon fat at the bottom of the dish by the end of baking.

Inedible. When he says you have to understand the nature of the recipe before you can make changes, what he means is: you need to be a good enough cook not to need these recipes to begin with. :wacko:

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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