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Around My French Table

I know from EYC that several Hounds have this book. Just got mine today and want to make many of the recipes. It's going to be hard diving my time between Arabesque and Dorie's new book, but I'll give it my best. Please post when you've made something from AMFT. (I've got my eye on the potato chip tortilla to begin with.)

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  1. Warm Scallop Salad with Corn, Nectarines, and Basil (page 320)

    Got home after being away for a while to find this book and the last of the summer bounty waiting for me. This recipe sounded just perfect—and it was. You make a lime dressing with zest, juice, piment d’Espelette (I used Aleppo pepper because I had it on hand), and olive oil. I blanched the basil for the coulis as she suggested and pureed it in olive oil in the container of my stick blender.

    Don’t have a grill so I used my 12” cast-iron skillet to warm the nectarine halves and sear the scallops.

    To serve, surround the seared scallops with corn kenels barely moistened with the lime dressing, top the corn with halved, seasoned cherry or grape tomatoes, and add the warmed nectarine half to the side of the plate. Spoon some lime dressing over the scallops then top with some of the basil coulis. Sprinkle with shredded fresh basil if you wish (I didn’t bother).

    I was a bit hesitant about the raw corn. I shouldn’t have been. This is a simply delightful dish to highlight my favorite foods of summer and a wonderful introduction to a book I think may be full of surprises (very pleasant ones).

     
    1 Reply
    1. re: JoanN

      Oh boy does that look gorgeous. This is one book I'm very interested in so I'll be more than interested in reports here. Thanks for starting the thread, Pika!

      ETA: Here's a link to a site that has a group cooking through the book. "French Fridays with Dorie":

      http://www.frenchfridayswithdorie.com/

    2. Oh, I missed this thread! I am still awaiting my copy, but I'm already loving JoanN's report (of course, that particular recipe is "off the table" for me so to speak, until next summer!)

      ~TDQ

      1. I have just received my copy as well, but haven't had time to get into a snuggly chair and read. Can't wait though. I am hopeful that it is filled with foods like my cousin makes in the Winter.

        1. Spice-Crusted Tuna (page 304)

          Simple. Super quick. Very enjoyable. Break up seeds from 6 cardamom pods, white peppercorns, coriander seeds, fresh ginger, and fleur de sel in a mortar and pestle, press into lightly oiled tuna steaks, and sear 2 minutes on each side.

          I was glad I’d read her note saying that the tuna was good at room temp and that leftovers were delicious sliced and served on a green salad. I got a call I’d been waiting for all day just seconds before the fish was ready so I pulled it out of the pan and set it aside for nearly half an hour. Decided to just slice it and serve it on the salad. Good call.

          This is definitely spicy. Not for everyone. But I wouldn’t want to cut back on the white pepper either. I’ll just be careful to whom I serve it. I also think I could have cooked the fish probably 15 seconds less per side; it was pink in the center, but I would have preferred it more toward red.

           
          1 Reply
          1. re: JoanN

            We made this last night. Nice and quick to put together. The Mr. thought the spices were "weird." Like JoanN mentioned this is spicy. The spices are VERY present. I am torn about this one. I wasn't smitten with the recipe, but was intrigued. I think I'll have to try it again before I give the final verdict on this one.

          2. Cola and Jam Spareribs (page 280)

            Had my eye on this from my first flip-through. Smelled great. Looked spectacular. The taste, unfortunately, did not live up to the expectation.

            You rub the ribs with a mixture of five spice powder, ground ginger, and s&p then paint them with a mixture of apricot jam, orange juice, and lemon juice. You can marinate or not. I did, for about five hours. Roast 45 minutes, baste, roast another 45 minutes, add a cup of Coco-Cola and baste every 5 minutes for the next half hour.

            I had such high hopes. They weren’t bad; they just weren’t as wonderful as I had anticipated they’d be while they were cooking. The surface flavor of the ribs was good, but it didn’t penetrate the meat. Maybe a longer marinating time would have helped? Too many recipes out there for me to try to bother playing around with this one.

             
             
            25 Replies
              1. re: roxlet

                Not as much as you might think. The acid really cut it. I'm not all that crazy about sweet with protein, but that really wasn't the problem here.

              2. re: JoanN

                Coco-Cola on ribs? Sounds more like Paula than Dorie, American South than South of France.

                1. re: morwen

                  That's what I was thinking, morewen!

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: morwen

                    You're right. Dorie says that where she first had these ribs, in Tours, the chef had spent some time in Kentucky where he developed a fondness for both Coke and barbecue. She also says she couldn't pry the recipe out of him but she thinks her version is one he would approve of. I'm not so sure.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Virginia Willis also has a terrific recipe called, "Coca-Cola-Glazed Baby Back Ribs:. Page 79 in her "Bon Appetit Y'All" book. She studied in France with Anne Willan so brings her French training to her Southern roots. Here's my report of the recipe the first time I made it:
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6164...

                      My copy of AMFT has been shipped! So, I'm hoping for a Monday or Tuesday delivery. Yippee...!!

                      1. re: Gio

                        So glad you pointed that out, Gio. I'm sure I read it when you first posted it, but had completely forgotten about it. I'm making a note to give those a try.

                        I'm enjoying AMFT a great deal and I'd love to have someone join me on this thread. It's kind of lonely around here.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          As soon as I read enough of the book to mark some recipes, I'll join you Joan. You're doing yeoman service, though! As usual, I might add.

                          Right now I'm sorta doing a few of Ina's recipes and really paying attention to Mark Bittman's "The Food Matters Cookbook." (Last night it was 2 dishes: his roast pork w/apples, potatoes & onions and braised collard greens. More veggies than meat.)

                          1. re: Gio

                            I'm still waiting for Ina from the library. I have two other cookbooks out of the library. And three new cookbooks I've barely made a dent in.

                            It was just sort of by chance that I got on the roll with Dorie. You make something and it's good so you make something else. It helps that I'm finding quite a few of her recipes, especially if I pay careful attention to portion control, quite diet friendly. (In rather desperate need of that right now and I suspect I'm not going to find that true of Ina. ;-)

                            @smtucker: Really with you on the weather. She has a Braised Cardamom Curry Lamb that has had me checking the 10-day weather report since I first got the book.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Still waiting for my copy to arrive.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                That's such a bummer. Who did you order it from?

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Every time someone mentions that--what is it? a club? a Web site? both?--I go over to take a look. There have never been four books I wanted. At least, not all at the same time. And now I'm just as happy that that is true. Why should they be so behind everyone else on delivery?

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Same with me JoanN. I put books in my basket, think about it, and when I go back they're gone.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        I guess it's a club, if you think of it in the same way as you think of the old book clubs where you get a good deal on some kind of entry package and then you have a commitment to buy a certain number of books at the "regular" price. My experience is that it's difficult to take full advantage of their various promotions: if it's four for $1, I can only find 3 I really want; if it's two for the price of 3, I usually can only find 2 I want. I find that I end up getting a good deal on a couple of books and getting to try another random book for essentially free. Sometimes I end up liking it; sometimes, not, and I just give it away. It's a pretty good deal if they have the books you want.
                                        ~TDQ

                            2. re: JoanN

                              I too plan to join you, but real-life is getting in the way of even reading through the book, much less cooking from it. Now that the weather has turned chilly, French food like my cousin Anne makes when I visit her in Paris, is starting to appeal.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                I would join you but I am sans a copy of AMFT until mid-January. :(.

                                ~TDQ

                          2. re: morwen

                            This response got bumped down so it doesn't make any sense. It's regarding the cola and ribs recipe. I think Nigella has a recipe for ham with Coke. My reaction has always been "ewwwwwwwwwwwww!"

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              Oh, thank goodness someone else said it, LOL! I'm sorry, but with all of the fabulous recipes out there waiting to be made I would never, not ever, choose one that had Coca Cola as an ingredient. Ew. Ick.

                                1. re: bear

                                  I make my brisket w/Coke sometimes! You can't taste it in the end product, esp if you mix it with spices. It ends up a little sweet, but mostly savory with a hint of the sugar.

                                  1. re: Mrs.Bones

                                    Apparently a major part of the world production of nutmeg goes into Coke. It sounds quite good with ribs.

                                    1. re: Mrs.Bones

                                      Braising in cola sounds weird but it makes pretty good (and some might say) authentic carnitas.

                            2. re: JoanN

                              i really love CH - and this is yet another one of those times I am thankful for my CH friends. I have finally had the chance to earmark recipes from the book to try - and this (cola and jam spareribs) was one of them -- but I quickly took out the page marker, feeling as you expressed, "too many recipes....to bother playing around..."". Thanks for the feedback!