March 28, 2011
Dorie Greenspan is a francophile icon. She’s perhaps one of the most interesting women cooking French-inspired cuisine today and, having released her latest cookbook (Around My French Table) late last year, she’s also an inspiration in her own right. A part-time Paris resident, she focuses on sharing what real French people eat at home. We’re delighted to be able to share this post, which Shelby Larsson originally wrote for Eat Boutique. – Maggie
You may have noticed that we have all gone a bit nuts over citrus recently here on Eat Boutique. First it was Maggie’s Meyer Lemon liquor. Then Meagan shows up with these incredible looking Pomander Cupcakes. Can you imagine a better afternoon than hanging out with these two ladies around a kitchen table, sipping a homemade Meyer lemon cocktail and slowly unwrapping an orange, buttermilk and clove cupcake? With all these tart treats jumping off my screen, I just couldn’t resist the urge to add my own citrus creation.
Luckily, the perfect situation presented itself a few cold weekends ago. I was visiting my family up in Maine, doing what I typically do up there: cook, read, sleep, eat, repeat. My mom, intrigued by Maggie’s Meyer Lemon Liquor, had purchased a half dozen Meyer lemons at the local grocery store so that she could see what all the fuss was about. I knew immediately that I wanted to try making a batch of lemon curd with the Meyer lemons, and set off to find the perfect recipe.
After searching various websites and food blogs, I grew weary of my computer, cast it aside, and went outside to play on the frozen lake. When I came back inside, cold and sleepy, I snuggled into the couch and heaved my new Dorie Greenspan cookbook onto my stomach, balanced it up against my knees and flipped through those beautiful pages. As I read, I realized that Dorie had a great lemon curd recipe in there the whole time.
Around My French Table might be my new favorite cookbook. The photographs are beautiful and compelling: I want to jump right into each picture and dig deep into the chard-stuffed pork roast, moules marinières, and salted butter break-ups. The recipes are simple and geared towards unfussy meals at home or with a crowd of friends. The dishes come not just from Paris, but also feature traditional food from the different regions of France: Normandy, Provence, the Alps, and more. Like American food, French food is often influenced by other countries, particularly North African nations (tagine, couscous, b’stilla), Spain (chicken basquaise), and Italy (osso buco). Dorie gives great ideas about how to present, serve and store the food, as well as often offering up a bonne idèe about possible variations. Most of all, I appreciated how straight-forward and unpretentious these recipes are – French food often gets a bad rap for being over-the-top and complicated, but this is the food that the French cook at home. My kind of food.