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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours » User review

Homey and Personal as well as Easy and Delicious

  • Mar 1, 2011
My beautiful copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table arrived and after looking it over and marking out the recipes I just had to try, I began reading from cover to cover. This is an exquisite book in many ways. First, it’s a lovely hardcover volume, oversized with good quality heavy paper and enough photographs to get the creative juices flowing.

The volume contains more than 300 recipes gleaned from Ms. Greenspan’s own library, from French friends and chefs who have generously shared. These aren’t haute cuisine recipes, but more the type you’d be treated to if you dropped in for a meal at her own table. They’re French and homey, sometimes rustic, with old and new techniques–some rich with butter, cream and spices, others lighter with broth. There’s a hint of the Mediterranean in many dishes such as the Lamb and Apricot Tagine.

An introduction explains Ms. Greenspan’s love of Paris and how she came to shed her doctoral thesis for a stint as a pastry chef, later as a food writer, and finally as a relocated Parisienne (with homes in Paris and New York).

All of the recipes in Greenspan’s wonderful book are made from ingredients readily available in the US; she states each recipe uses large eggs, unsalted butter and whole milk, but the results can vary since there are individual differences in oven temperatures and such. She explains each cook needs to make her own judgment call on whether a dish is “done” based on many factors.

The sections are divided into Nibbles and Hors d’oeuvres (my personal favorite is Gougères, a delightful puffy pastry made with pâte à choux and grated cheese and served with white wine or Champagne: think cheese puffs). These are surprisingly easy to make and the result is spectacular; Soups (of course the Cheese-topped Onion is wonderful, but there are over a dozen other fantastic soups); Salads Starters and Small Plates (you have to try Hélène’s All-white Salad with Yogurt Vinaigrette); Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb (again, the Lamb/Apricot Tagine);
Fish and Shellfish; Vegetables and Grains, which include a few main dishes; and Desserts (my personal favorite and easy to make is the Apple Cake). Fundamentals and Flourishes rounds out the sections with delectable such as Bubble-topped Brioches, Everyday Vinaigrette, Lemon Curd, Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce, Crème Fraîche, Crème Anglais, Tart and Sweet Tart Dough–in other words, the basic recipes you need to add a French flair to your dishes.

The beauty of this book–in addition to all the superlatives I’ve already mentioned–is that it works for most kitchens. The ingredients are readily available (if not, there’s a Source Guide in the back), the methods are simple enough that most cooks with a working knowledge of the kitchen can master, and they are delicious.

Brava to Ms. Greenspan for this essential guide to cooking the French way.

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March 13, 2011
I love that the food is homey and that the ingredients are readily available here in the States. Thanks!
March 10, 2011
I've always loved French cuisine. I remember making French artichoke soup back when I was still in high school. I need to find this book :)
March 07, 2011
This sounds amazing! I love French food and I love cooking, so this sounds like a book I would enjoy using. I also like that it has both savory and sweet dishes. Thanks for sharing!
More Around My French Table: More T... reviews
review by . December 06, 2010
Enthusiastic Francophile and James Beard Award Winner Greenspan shares some of her favorite recipes for French home cooking for the American cook, in this oversized, lavishly illustrated book.    That means some French recipes are tweaked with American ideas or recast with American ingredients, such as the Lyonnaise Garlic and Herb Cheese made with Ricotta instead of fromage blanc. But mostly these are recipes "with a French soul" that can easily be prepared anywhere.    Prov …
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Suzanne Barrett ()
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A former facility engineer and Kensington author, Suzanne believes in sharing stories of romance and adventure spiced with a bit of mystery and intrigue. Suzanne and her husband live in the Santa Cruz … more
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Fall into Cooking Featured Recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

I've got a slideshow of random snapshots that runs as a screensaver on my computer, and every time the picture of pumpkins for sale at Scott’s Farm Stand in Essex, Connecticut, comes up, I smile. In the picture, it’s a sunny day and the pumpkins, scattered higgledy-piggledy across a big field, look like so many roly-poly playthings. Some people might squint and imagine the jack-o-lanterns that many of these pumpkins are destined to become. Me? I see them sitting in the middle of my dining table, their skins burnished from the heat of the oven and their tops mounded with bubbly cheese and cream. Ever since Catherine, a friend of mine in Lyon, France, told me about how she and her family stuff pumpkins with bread and cheese and bacon and garlic and herbs and cream, I can’t look at a pumpkin on either side of the Atlantic without thinking, "Dinner!"

Of course, pumpkins are a New World vegetable, but I’m seeing them more and more in the Paris markets, which means I’m making this dish more and more wherever I am. It’s less a recipe than an arts and crafts project; less a formula than a template to play with and make your own.

Basically—and it’s really very basic— you hollow out a small pumpkin, just as you would for a jack-o-lantern, salt and pepper the inside, and then start filling it up. My standard ...

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ISBN-10: 0618875530
ISBN-13: 978-0618875535
Author: Dorie Greenspan
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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