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Cooking with 'The Cooking of Southwest France'


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Though probelmatic, I am glad her review reached the conclusion it did. I do agree that Paula's books in general are NOT for the uninitiated, like the subtitle for the "Slow Mediterannean Kitchen" reads they are for the "Passionate Cook". The recipes - most of them- are precise and very detailed and if not read carefully the end result might not be pleasant like Ms. Scattergood found out for herself. I have nothing to add in the defense of my testing beyond what Swisskaese said. We are serious about this and the notes I took on each recipe was a page long. Most of the problems Scattergood found were probably due to "user error". Maybe I can stop by sometime and show her how to make these awsome Bras Onions:

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E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Though probelmatic, I am glad her review reached the conclusion it did.

Why? Perhaps we are not speaking about the same conclusion?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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John, I think that Elie explained the conclusion after the sentence you quoted, and it is one with which I would certainly agree:

Though probelmatic, I am glad her review reached the conclusion it did. I do agree that Paula's books in general are NOT for the uninitiated, like the subtitle for the "Slow Mediterannean Kitchen" reads they are for the "Passionate Cook". The recipes - most of them- are precise and very detailed and if not read carefully the end result might not be pleasant like Ms. Scattergood found out for herself.

I just wrote out longhand (well, on the computer, but you get my drift) the Gascony daube recipe for my MIL who enjoyed the dish at Christmas, and in writing that up with my revisions and notes, I realized I was doing a few things for her that Paula did not do for me: listing equipment and material needed (the parchment paper for the braise, e.g.); estimating hourly and daily commitments; explaining certain steps in far greater detail; spending a lot of time discussing possible and impossible substitutions.

This observation is not meant to be critical. Rather, it supports Elie's point that this book is not a starter book on continental cuisine. Huzzah, I say: I value this book for precisely what it is.

I will say that I thought that the review was a bit too glibly clever for its own good, as did Lucy. And if I can get cassoulet down to seven hours, I'll be thrilled! :wink:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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John, I think that Elie explained the conclusion after the sentence you quoted, and it is one with which I would certainly agree:
Though probelmatic, I am glad her review reached the conclusion it did. I do agree that Paula's books in general are NOT for the uninitiated, like the subtitle for the "Slow Mediterannean Kitchen" reads they are for the "Passionate Cook". The recipes - most of them- are precise and very detailed and if not read carefully the end result might not be pleasant like Ms. Scattergood found out for herself.

I just wrote out longhand (well, on the computer, but you get my drift) the Gascony daube recipe for my MIL who enjoyed the dish at Christmas, and in writing that up with my revisions and notes, I realized I was doing a few things for her that Paula did not do for me: listing equipment and material needed (the parchment paper for the braise, e.g.); estimating hourly and daily commitments; explaining certain steps in far greater detail; spending a lot of time discussing possible and impossible substitutions.

This observation is not meant to be critical. Rather, it supports Elie's point that this book is not a starter book on continental cuisine. Huzzah, I say: I value this book for precisely what it is.

I will say that I thought that the review was a bit too glibly clever for its own good, as did Lucy. And if I can get cassoulet down to seven hours, I'll be thrilled! :wink:

Chris, that is why I am a little confused. I thought the review made it clear that the book while excellent isn't for the casual cook. Perhaps that is the conclusion Elie was referring to. The conclusion that I am referring to was the one referencing Paula using eGullet as a testing ground. It isn't clear to me which conclusion Elie is referring to, which is why I am seeking clarification. I am probably just dense. :blink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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John, I think that Elie explained the conclusion after the sentence you quoted, and it is one with which I would certainly agree:
Though probelmatic, I am glad her review reached the conclusion it did. I do agree that Paula's books in general are NOT for the uninitiated, like the subtitle for the "Slow Mediterannean Kitchen" reads they are for the "Passionate Cook". The recipes - most of them- are precise and very detailed and if not read carefully the end result might not be pleasant like Ms. Scattergood found out for herself.

I just wrote out longhand (well, on the computer, but you get my drift) the Gascony daube recipe for my MIL who enjoyed the dish at Christmas, and in writing that up with my revisions and notes, I realized I was doing a few things for her that Paula did not do for me: listing equipment and material needed (the parchment paper for the braise, e.g.); estimating hourly and daily commitments; explaining certain steps in far greater detail; spending a lot of time discussing possible and impossible substitutions.

This observation is not meant to be critical. Rather, it supports Elie's point that this book is not a starter book on continental cuisine. Huzzah, I say: I value this book for precisely what it is.

I will say that I thought that the review was a bit too glibly clever for its own good, as did Lucy. And if I can get cassoulet down to seven hours, I'll be thrilled! :wink:

Chris, that is why I am a little confused. I thought the review made it clear that the book while excellent isn't for the casual cook. Perhaps that is the conclusion Elie was referring to. The conclusion that I am referring to was the one referencing Paula using eGullet as a testing ground. It isn't clear to me which conclusion Elie is referring to, which is why I am seeking clarification. I am probably just dense. :blink:

I was certainly not refering to the eGullet as testing ground conclusion but rather what Chris mentioned and more specifically her very last sentence in the article:

In the end, it was worth it.

Basically you need to love cooking and the whole process, from sourcing to carefully reading the instructions to eating to get the full benefit of Paula's work. In the end it is "worth it".

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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John, I think that Elie explained the conclusion after the sentence you quoted, and it is one with which I would certainly agree:
Though probelmatic, I am glad her review reached the conclusion it did. I do agree that Paula's books in general are NOT for the uninitiated, like the subtitle for the "Slow Mediterannean Kitchen" reads they are for the "Passionate Cook". The recipes - most of them- are precise and very detailed and if not read carefully the end result might not be pleasant like Ms. Scattergood found out for herself.

I just wrote out longhand (well, on the computer, but you get my drift) the Gascony daube recipe for my MIL who enjoyed the dish at Christmas, and in writing that up with my revisions and notes, I realized I was doing a few things for her that Paula did not do for me: listing equipment and material needed (the parchment paper for the braise, e.g.); estimating hourly and daily commitments; explaining certain steps in far greater detail; spending a lot of time discussing possible and impossible substitutions.

This observation is not meant to be critical. Rather, it supports Elie's point that this book is not a starter book on continental cuisine. Huzzah, I say: I value this book for precisely what it is.

I will say that I thought that the review was a bit too glibly clever for its own good, as did Lucy. And if I can get cassoulet down to seven hours, I'll be thrilled! :wink:

Chris, that is why I am a little confused. I thought the review made it clear that the book while excellent isn't for the casual cook. Perhaps that is the conclusion Elie was referring to. The conclusion that I am referring to was the one referencing Paula using eGullet as a testing ground. It isn't clear to me which conclusion Elie is referring to, which is why I am seeking clarification. I am probably just dense. :blink:

I was certainly not refering to the eGullet as testing ground conclusion but rather what Chris mentioned and more specifically her very last sentence in the article:

In the end, it was worth it.

Basically you need to love cooking and the whole process, from sourcing to carefully reading the instructions to eating to get the full benefit of Paula's work. In the end it is "worth it".

Thanks. As I said, I was just dense. :smile:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I thought the story was funny, but it was so unnecessary for her to put down the egullet testing team.

Her testing methods were a bit sloppy. I question why anyone would make a fava bean cassoulet in the middle of winter? Why mix up "Nine pounds of fresh fava beans, husked and peeled." with nine pounds of husked beans. The recipe calls for

peeling one cup.

Why would a cookbook reviewer test a recipe in an uncalibrated oven and then complain that the food burned? And why did she substitute a crucial ingredient and then complain about the results?

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I thought the story was funny, but it  was so unnecessary for her to put down the egullet testing team.

Her testing methods were a bit sloppy.  I question why anyone would make a  fava bean cassoulet in the middle of winter?  Why mix up  "Nine pounds of fresh fava beans, husked and peeled." with nine pounds of husked beans. The recipe calls for

peeling one cup.

Why would a cookbook reviewer  test a recipe in an uncalibrated oven and then complain that the food burned?  And why did she substitute a crucial ingredient  and then complain about the results?

I agree with all points. And why would anyone make a rushed cooking marathon out of this? Kind of misses part of the point of all this, no?

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I am wondering if anyone can tell me where I went wrong - I made the Potato, Leek and White Bean Soup as posted in Recipe Gullet (I figured I would try it before buying the book). I could not find the right beans so I used flageolet beans. Anyhow, the soup is very starchy - to the extent that it has an unpleasant, almost gelatinous mouthfeel. The only thing I changed about the recipe was the type of bean. Is this the expected texture for the soup, and I just don't like it, or did something go wrong, perhaps because of the beans?

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Chef Gerald Hirigoyen of the Restaurant Piperade provided this terrific recipe for my book. His restaurant is a Basque food paradise in San Francisco.

The bean of choice for this soup is the Basque Tarbais bean now available in the States. Www.chefshop.com or frenchselections.com.

If you don't want to obtain them by mail, then I suggest you use any thin-skinned white bean that is sweet-tasting and buttery textured. Look for the Greek gigantes or the French lingots as substitutes.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Made the Pouissin with Garlic Cream Sauce last night for the first time, my first recipe not in the original edition. The sauce was great, although I didn't get the port and stock reduced quite enough before adding the garlic cream.

Although I liked the final sauce, I was actually thinking that the garlic cream by itself (w/o the port and stock) after I removed the solids was a great sauce (certainly more intense). Has anyone tried this? I am thinking about it with some pan-roasted chicken.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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Made chicken stock this weekend so that I could make the Garlic Soup tonight. YUM! I have another Garlic Soup recipe from another french cookbook that only uses the yolks, no white or vinegar, and has you strain it smooth. This got voted the favorite by TallDrinkOfWater. Served with a salad, pate and baguette. A nice Cab/Syrah in the glass

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Wendy, this is a divine soup, isn't it? It has become a regular here -- it's one of those soups I can on the table fairly quickly (I always have stock on hand) and it has ingredients which I always have on hand. One of the best "quick on the table" meals I can do.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Yay! Lucky lucky us! Paula will be the guest chef/author at a dinner at the London Grill in Philadelphia on March 21, 2006 as part of the annual Book and the Cook celebration featuring recipes from The Cooking of Southwest France.

I am very much looking forward to seeing Paula again and having the opportunity to taste some of these fabulous recipes. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Couldn't agree more Susan, it was easy and the flavors were just perfect. This weekend I will be doing one of the chicken dishes!

Edited to add that my only gripe is that the soup recipe says it makes 4 to 6 servings, well Paula you've never eaten with my husband! There was one small serving leftover so of course I gave it to him for lunch, I only got one bowl of the delish soup! I've changed my book to read 3 servings :hmmm:

Edited by little ms foodie (log)
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I'm making Garbure this week and I had a question on the fricasee of leeks. the recipe states to split the leeks in half but not to chop them. All of the other vegetables get chopped.

Any feedback on the split but not chopped leeks from those who have made this recipe? I left them split and unchopped but they seem huge compared to the onions (and eventually, the chopped cabbage).

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Excellent question!

There are hundreds of recipes for garbure and a handful for the fricassee.

A fricassee needn't have all the vegetables chopped, though most often they are. My thought is the leek gradually releases its tangy flavor and thus sets off the blended taste of the rest of the fricassee.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I want to make "Artichokes and Potatoes au Gratin" - p. 326 - for an after work dinner party.

Due to time constraints I would need to make this a couple of days ahead. Can I do this - up to the point of running the dish under the broiler with the cream - or will the integrity of the dish be compromised?

Life is short, eat dessert first

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Thanks for the response Paula. Given the tradition of this dish (back of the stove, add stuff when the pot gets low) I wasn't too worried. I do try to follow a new recipe faithfully (at least the first time :-)).

The beans I bought weren't tender after an hour, so we're letting it go at that stage until they are, then blending everything back in before putting it to rest for a couple of days.

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I do try to follow a new recipe faithfully (at least the first time :-)).

Unlike a recipe for a cake which if followed exactly is always a success, a garbure is hard to make the same way twice. A huge problem for a food writer who only gets to publish the recipe one way!

There is no precise recipe to execute a a delicious garbure. It's a soup without pretension made with a lot of ingredients, and these ingredients change in quality from month to month so there is room for improvisation. Still, the deep, full flavor of garbure derives from a balanced mixture of aromatics, the use of some good duck fat, and a few days of gradual cooking and cooling. Put this altogether, and you will have something truly wonderful.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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My wife called me this morning at work after I left her to finish the assembly and the final integrating simmer. She was ecstatic about the flavor (I didn't tell her how much duck fat was used to make the dish...).

Looking forward to eating it on Sunday!

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I'm making Garbure this week and I had a question on the fricasee of leeks.  the recipe states to split the leeks in half but not to chop them.  All of the other vegetables get chopped.

Any feedback on the split but not chopped leeks from those who have made this recipe?  I left them split and unchopped but they seem huge compared to the onions (and eventually, the chopped cabbage).

Marc-

I made the Garbure recently, see here for more details.

I did leave the leeks simply sliced in half and my thought was they will more or less "melt down" after the long simmering. I was correct, the size of the leeks in the final dish was not a problem at all, and the flavor was awsome. Please report back what you think of it.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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The Garbure came out great! The leek halves were a non-issue in the end, everything melted into goodness. I did double the amount of confit based on Elie's recommendation, might add even more the next time (they were muscovy legs, a little on the small side).

I also made a double batch, thinking it would be worth having some in the freezer. Wow, lots of garbure!

Edited by Marc Olson (log)
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