I can't tell you how many times I scratched my head when I read a recipe out of "Around my French Table" some of the instructions just seemed, well foreign to me.
I tried to keep an open mind. I do realize that this is a French cookbook and I know the French do many things differently than us Americans. I mean lets face it, all you have to do in the States is cover something in bacon or cheddar cheese and it's a hit in any American household. I'm not sure that would work as well in a French home, well maybe if the cheese was Gruyere?
The Piperade Stir-fry is the first recipe that came to my mind when I thought of a new technique I learned from being part of French Fridays with Dorie. The recipe called for coating the peppers with red wine vinegar and sauteing them until they caramelized. The onions and garlic are not cooked. I was shocked at how intensely flavorful the peppers tasted. I have cooked other vegetables such as eggplant and zucchini with red wine vinegar on them too. The results were delicious. I would have never covered vegetables with vinegar... a surprisingly terrific techinque.
I have grilled corn, boiled it and microwaved it. It all tastes pretty good. So when Dorie suggested roasting it in the oven for 40 minutes I rolled my eyes. Sure, I thought, I'll give it a try, but it's just going to be corn on the cob. Well, it wasn't. The corn kernels explode in your mouth with each bite. Roasting corn makes it incredibly succulent. To think this technique came from a French cookbook, a country that is fairly indifferent to corn... too funny. Needless to say, this is now how I make corn on the cob.
|Leeks Vinaigrette with Mimosa|
I was originally disappointed with the Leeks Vinaigrette with Mimosa because I expected champagne to be involved in this dish. I had never made a salad with a root vegetable other than beets. Grating hard boiled eggs on to the leeks was also a revelation... really a beautifully simple and elegant dish.
|Carrot Leek Celery Quiche: Maraichere|
Everything about this Maraichere Quiche was odd to me. I had never made a quiche using all root vegetables, and I had never made a quiche that had little egg, with cheese melted on top instead of spread through out the pie! Well, my husband and I loved it. It was lighter than a regular cream heavy quiche and the cheese browned... which made it more flavorful and fun to eat... crisp cheese is heavenly in my book. This dish also opened my mind to not limiting my quiche ingredients... broccoli and peppers are not the only vegetables to put in a quiche.
|Tuna Rillettes: Curry & Cream|
The concept of rillettes was really new to me. I never made spreads by blending fish or meat in a food processor with cream and seasoning. But wow... by processing the canned tuna and changing it's texture, it really became a different more interesting food. I love that you can whip this up out of your pantry. It makes a quick fancy appetizer for unexpected guests, and a really unusual tuna sandwich... much more exciting than the plain old mayo and celery version that we eat so often.
I know lately I have been changing a lot of recipes because I really don't have the time or patience for fussy cooking, but I have been open to some of the cooking suggestions in this book, and I have learned some really enlightened cooking techniques from Around my French Table. Thank you Dorie!
Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review.