What comes to mind when you imagine cooking French cuisine? If you feel intimidated by the idea of tackling French food, then you must start out with Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.
Her recipes are written with simplicity and are consistently delicious. She has a flair for creating foolproof recipes for the everyday cook, using ingredients that are easily accessible. In looking through the book, I quickly located recipes with ingredients that I already had on hand.
I experienced a wonderful ease in her approach to these simply prepared recipes and I thoroughly enjoyed the fun twists she puts on old classics. From a salad lightly scented with vanilla, to a tortilla made with potato chips, to a cheesy crème brulee, you’ll find a fine stock of intriguing and refreshing recipes to explore. This book is filled with over 300 perfectly balanced creations with a focus on using good, fresh foods. This is home cooking at it’s best.
Looking through the book immediately put me in a cooking mood. I found a lot of inspiration in these pages. With my first perusal, I tagged almost half of the recipes as favorites! I had a very easy time envisioning and then creating a lovely meal with complementary dishes for just about any occasion.
Around My French Table isn’t simply a recipe book. It contains many interesting tidbits about French cooking, culture, and cuisine, which I appreciated. I also thoroughly enjoyed the pleasant and personal stories that Dorie shares with each recipe. There are many mouth-watering food photos, which influenced my decision-making on my first cooking session.
When it was time to get down to business, I decided that a full French meal was in order for experimenting with Around My French Table. I was in the mood for fish or seafood, and decided on the Almond Flounder Meuniere. For sides, I made the Vanilla Scented Salad and the Broth-Braised Potatoes. And, to top off the meal, I baked Dorie’s ever-popular Apple Cake.
These dishes all came together rapidly. I found myself practically scratching my head, wondering, “Is this really all I need to do?” The cake did not involve any complicated steps, the fish was simple with little prep involved. For the potatoes, all I had to do was gather the ingredients and drop them in a pot. What a breeze! The only dish that took a bit of time preparing was the salad, as it required creating ribbons of carrot and summer squash for the dish.
My family is treated to my Mediterranean style cooking with whole foods quite often, so their expectations are high, and this meal was a real hit! It was gratifying to wow everyone with this French Sunday dinner that came together with such little effort. I will definitely make all of these dishes again; I am already craving Dorie’s Broth-Braised Potatoes. It just so happens that the recipe has been published online: You’ll definitely want to add this dish to your cooking repertoire. Here is a link to the recipe at Food.com.
By now you can tell that I have boundless enthusiasm for Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Dorie easily won me over as a fan! This book is chock full of French comfort food and peasant dishes as well as some unique innovations. Most cookbook aficionados consider it a must-have, and I strongly recommend adding it to your collection if you don’t already have it.
About the cookbook author: Dorie Greenspan is a James Beard Award winning author and has been highly praised for her skills in baking. Two of her most popular baking books are Baking: From My Home to Yours and Baking With Julia. She also has a new baking book coming out soon, Baking Chez Moi. She has collaborated with other authors on award winning cookbooks and has contributed recipes and food writings to magazines such as Bon Appetit and Parade.