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Jun 1, 2014 10:14 AM

June 2014 COTM - My Paris Kitchen: Appetizers (Mis-en bouche)

Greetings all!

Please use this thread to post your reviews of the following:

Appetizers (Mis-en-bouche)

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  1. Mise en bouche or Mises en bouche (plural) from mettre en bouche.

    Oh, those little nibbles!

    18 Replies
    1. re: lagatta

      Yeah I noted that the gender in the book was incorrect, but decided to enter it as listed. There are actually a lot of French errors in the book. That said he gets kudos for doing his best right.

      1. re: delys77

        I love David and his blog, but no. There are several of us who would have corrected the most egregious errors not for professional rates, but for a nice meal or some yummy baked goods.

        1. re: delys77

          The funny thing about this book is that reading it, I felt like he was using French phrases wherever he could throw them in, which seemed odd for a book that would naturally be aimed at an English-speaking audience. It seemed kind of showoffish, if that makes any sense. And if you are going to do that, you darn well better get it right.

          1. re: MelMM

            Well, often there isn't an exact equivalent. But I don't understand why he didn't have a francophone friend read it over, and why his editor didn't do so. That isn't David's fault, it is the editor's.

            I want to emphasize again how much I like his blog (though it is sweets-centric, andI avoid sweets) and I don't like picking at other writers.

            1. re: lagatta

              Yeah the book is about food, if there is the odd error in French so be it.

              1. re: delys77

                That is no reason to excuse poor editing.

                1. re: lagatta

                  Can't say I agree if we are just talking about issues with the French. If there are inconsistencies in the recipes that's different, but if he says le cuisine du marché instead of la cuisine (as he does in the intro) I'm not going to get hung up on it. It would doubtless have been better to have an editor with a keener eye, but does it matter, not really.

                  1. re: delys77

                    Well, I work in that field, and I do think it matters very much. Translators, editors, and the like are a bit anal, I know, but so are good cooks - and surgeons.

                    I know that it is a book in English, but it is set in Paris and David uses a lot of French phrases. They should be corrected, just as the English prose should be. It is not David's responsibility - he is an engaging and charming writer, but all writers need a good edit, even in their mother tongue.

                    Every time I see the thread title, I wince. I was thinking of buying it as I very much like his writing (and his blog) and I saw it at the cookbook shop at LE Marché Jean-Talon, LA Librairie gourmande, but "le cuisine" would make me hurl it out my Montréal fenêtre.

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Maybe the errors in grammar are intentional? He mentions in the narrative, I forgot where, that when he began blogging he was forever being corrected for this and that by people who wrote in. Maybe the errors are a "nod" to that learning experience and that it went hand in hand with the formation of this book.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        There in lies the difference, I don't work in the field of food writing or publishing therefore I have little trouble overlooking errors that don't detract from the books purpose, which is to instruct me on how to prepare certain dishes.
                        As a person who's entire family, on both sides, is from the Lac-St-Jean region of Québec and who has spent his entire academic and professional life in a bilingual environment I don't fret too much when an anglophone makes an error in French or a francophone makes one in English. If I did I would find myself tossing many's the person, book, email etc. out the nearest fenêtre.

                        1. re: delys77

                          I don't fret at all if laypersons make errors. This is a professional matter, not a question of rudely taking the "man (or woman) in the street" to task for linguistic errors.

                          1. re: delys77

                            I think it may also be how familiar you are with the language? I can see lagatta point of view. How hard is it to find a french speaker to read through the manuscript and correct the most obvious errors, like the chapter title?

                            I think similarly with Fuchsia Dunlop, some of the names she chose for dishes are a bit dubious. However, she doesn't go around using chinese phrases liberally within the text. And I think it must be much harder to find a bilingual chinese/english translator in the UK, then a french/english one. I don't complain about, but I can't help but feel a bit meh by it. (For example, I won't use the chinese name of the dish if they sound wrong or clumsy).

                            Edit: In contrast, Grace Young used quite a bit of chinese in the text of her book. But her usage and explanations are correct.

                            1. re: lilham

                              True, I think it would be far better to have things edited correctly, but I don't feel as strongly as Lagatta does that it detracts from the work. In the same line as your reasoning above I'm continuously presented with oddly translated Chinese on products I buy. I don't speak or read Chinese so I have to rely on the English translation of the product name on the bottle and figure out if the product I'm holding is in fact the correct one. This is less than ideal and in fact might prevent me from executing the recipe, but I take it in stride and use some deductive reasoning, them move on.

                              1. re: delys77

                                Delya, isn't that because I work in this field? For me it is very important that a contract be done professionally, and to find someone who can adequately translate, edit or correct. It is a matter of pride.

                                I know that this won't have the dire consequences a mistranslation or sloppy edit of a medical text or a peace treaty might, but the same care must be given, even in "life and style" pieces.

                                Actually, the gross mistranslations of Chinese goods could cause problems, and I'm sure the same befall Chinese consumers of Western products. Some of these translations are then translated into other Western languages, for example "laver aimable bicyclette" (wash gentle cycle). And I'm sure Chinese translations get retranslated throughout much of Asia.

                                1. re: lagatta

                                  I'm sure it is, your standards are doubtless different because of your profession, and I can respect that.

                                  Trust me I have been on the receiving end of customer complaints because of mis-translation. Just a few months ago someone in our web design group used google to translate a webpage where "parts and labour" got translated as "pièce et accouchement". In other words google translate thought we meant labour as in "give birth".

                                  Doubtless incorrect, but after I was done explaining to the client, I hung up the phone and had a good chuckle. That said, I didn't make the mistake and I'm not a translator.

                                  By the way all, we Canadians are often used to very long linguistic discussions given the demographic nature of our population, my apologies if this little aside has annoyed any of you. Bonsoir mesdames et messieurs!

                                  1. re: delys77

                                    "Pièce et accouchement" is a classic!

                          2. re: lagatta

                            How ghastly to be let down by your editor this way. I'd be angry if I were him. (If, indeed, he is even aware).


            2. Sardine Spread, p. 78
              Rillettes de Sardines

              Oh David, if only you and I lived closer. Or, if only I had friends who loved to sit down over bowl of caper berries, a glass of Lillet, and a jar of this rillette. I love, love love rillettes of all kinds so when I saw a rillette made from a can of sardines, I had to try it. Note that this recipe makes a lot of rillette. I halved the recipe and it still made enough to generously fill a glass canning jar, (the kind with the hinged lid). Since it only holds in the fridge for 4 days, I ended up throwing out all the leftovers which seems like a waste since we all enjoyed it.

              In terms of the recipe, it is nothing more than cream cheese, butter, canned sardines and some seasonings (scallions, capers, lime juice, s and p, cayenne).

              Pros: very quick to prepare and sardines are incredibly good for you, even the canned version.

              Cons: tasted overwhelmingly of sardines. I think next time I might opt for a can of smoked trout instead.

              Other things to note: serve it after it has been brought to room temperature so it maintains a spreadable consistence. I liked this better the second day so I would say the flavors need some time to marry. While I didn’t love this recipe, it was really well suited for when you need something to go with a cocktail and I would recommend it using canned smoked trout.

              13 Replies
              1. re: dkennedy

                I wish I lived closer, I'd have been there in an instant for the caper berries, Lillet and sardine rillettes. Sounds good to me.

                1. re: dkennedy

                  I love sardines. Some have a more delicate flavour than others (you can get great ones in France). But smoked trout would work well too.

                  Definitely going to make this.

                  1. re: dkennedy

                    Not sure if this was on Delys's original (and very impressive) list of recipes or not, but here it is in case it isn't:

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Wished you lived closer too - I'd like to think we would be good friends!

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        PERFECT! auto-correct typo! One for the ages.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Oh my ... JoanN, I wouldn't have even noticed that without your comment. Fantastic.

                          And yes, dk, I like to think so too.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            I'm mortified! But I corrected it.

                            1. re: dkennedy

                              Don't be!

                              Once, I was hiking in Spain and after a long day on my feet had finally washed my clothes and had my shower and was sitting in a courtyard having a beer. I had my phone and typed to a friend "I am sitting here under sunny blue skies looking up at a castle on a hill on one side and a beautiful old couch on the other." It was, of course, a church. But I'm still amused at the idea that she could have thought I was impressed by some musty old couch sitting outside in the Spanish countryside.

                              1. re: dkennedy

                                Darn missed the mortifying moment, whatever it was. I wish we all lived closer, darnit!


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  First one of us to win the lottery needs to buy a cooking cabin in some beautiful retreat area so we can have weekly COTM retreats.

                        2. re: dkennedy

                          Let us know if you try it with smoked trout! We get a ton of that here in MN!


                          1. re: dkennedy

                            Sardine Spread

                            Good stuff, this. DK has already described the minimal ingredients involved. I used lemon juice instead of lime (both are given as options). Ate with crackers.

                            I didn't feel it was overwhelmingly sardine-y. It may just depend upon your sardines. Or it may be that I've always liked sardines. Mine were fairly large and already boneless, so I could skip the step of pulling out the bones. The spread was incredibly easy, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

                          2. Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce (iPad ed.)

                            Who can resist a meatball? Not me, so this recipe leapt out at me as the first thing I wanted to try from this book. Lebovitz is calling this "merguez meatballs", and they do come out rather sausage-like in taste. The seasoning is a blend of fennel, coriander, and cumin seeds, which are toasted and ground, making the kitchen smell wonderful. These are supplemented with cilantro, garlic, sweet paprika, harissa or sriracha (I used harissa), salt, cinnamon, allspice, and sumac. All these seasonings are mixed with ground beef or lamb (I used beef), and formed into small meatballs. Several cooking options are given - I went with the option to bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

                            The sauce with the recipe is a sriracha mayonnaise, but there is a variation for a "cooling yogurt-tahini sauce", which is what I made. My thinking being that the sriracha sauce would be repeating the flavors in the meatballs, whereas the yogurt-tahini sauce would contrast.

                            The flavor of the meatballs was nice, but there were a bit salty for my taste (I used the amount of kosher salt called for). I was also using grass-fed beef, so even though he said not to use lean beef, it was pretty lean. That, and the fact that I had to hold the meatballs for longer than expected because Mr. MM was running late, all conspired to make these a bit overcooked and tough. That's not the recipe's fault however.

                            I would make these again, probably use lamb next time, and a bit less salt. I liked the tahini-yogurt sauce with the meatballs, and would probably use that option again, or a similar yogurt-based sauce.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: MelMM

                              Thanks for the review-- I just did the spice combination with a mix of ground turkey and beef to stuff into peppers for dinner tonight--

                              Its on the stove and the house smells amazing-- i added some canned tomato to it--

                              1. re: MelMM

                                Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce, p. 74

                                I made a half-recipe, with lamb (harissa in the meat mixture), and opted to sauté them in a non-stick pan. The one I tasted, fresh out of the pan, was juicy and delicious, but like MelMM, I had to hold the others (in a warm oven) so they were a bit dried out upon serving.

                                Mayo fiend that I am, I served them with the sriracha mayo (what looks like mustard in my photo).

                                We enjoyed these very much, loved the spices, and, yes, they are very merguez-ish. Although they haven't supplanted my favorite lamb meatballs, they're much easier so there's a good chance I will revisit this recipe.

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  What's your favourite if you don't mind me asking NMC.

                                  1. re: delys77

                                    Not at all. These:


                                    I made these with the recipe-stipulated turkey once, and they were very good, but with lamb they are divine so it has been lamb ever since. But all the chopping of raisins and pine nuts (and they really need to be chopped finely or the meatballs fall apart) is a PITB. The last time I made these I subbed pistachios for the pine nuts and, while still requiring fine chopping, they were just as good as the pine nuts in these meatballs.

                                    A few years ago, I once brought these to a dinner at the home of some friends who often host casual get-togethers. Now every time they ask us over, the host asks me to bring these--and then adds how much his teenage daughter loves them. So they've become something of a curse. (And, wow, do those folks know how to play me.)

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      Oh wow those look delicious, I'm sure the lamb is an excellent choice.

                                2. re: MelMM

                                  Would you (or someone) mind paraphrasing this one? I had to return my library copy of this book. I have 10 oz ground lamb in freezer in need of a good use.

                                  1. re: MelMM

                                    Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce, Pg. 74

                                    We made these last night But... served them as burgers in a delicious bakery soft roll (Iggy's in Boston), with a lettuce leaf, and Sriracha (TJ's) mayo as the condiment. A pound of ground lamb made four burgers. I reduced the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Perfect. Loved every exotic bite. A tossed salad was the only accompaniment. There's a pound of ground dark meat turkey just waiting in the freezer to experience the joy of the spice mixture.

                                    1. re: MelMM

                                      Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce, p. 74

                                      All credit to Gio for the suggestions of making these as burgers and doing so with ground turkey, as reading her report led me to realize that this recipe could work for me as "convenience food" (burgers are something I make for solo dining, and it's always nice to have a few prepped and squirreled away in the freezer, making what's already a quick meal even quicker).

                                      I used ground turkey thigh, harissa, and less salt than specified in the meat mixture, and cooked the one I ate last night in a skillet, as I will the rest when I pull them out. Because I dislike mayonnaise muchly, I made the alternative cooling yogurt-tahini sauce minus parsley, which I didn't have. I thought the flavor of the burgers was interesting and delicious, and found the yogurt-tahini sauce quite complementary.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                        I remember when I disliked mayonnaise. My waistline and thighs were much smaller.

                                    2. Beet Hummus

                                      I like hummus, and I had some beets on hand, so why not? The recipe calls for cooked beets, and says you can use canned. I had raw beets, and I decided cubing them and then steaming them would be the most efficient way to get them cooked - my beets were large and roasting them would have taken too much time. Similarly, he allows for canned chickpeas, but I had some cooked ones in the freezer, so that's what I used. The other ingredients are garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, cayenne or smoked chile powder, and pomegranate molasses. You whiz it all up in a blender. I added the tahini last, after everything else was blended, because that's what I've found works best when making regular hummus.

                                      I made up a quick flatbread to go with this. The verdict? Well, beet hummus doesn't taste that much different from regular hummus. A little different, but not as much as you might think. Which is probably a good thing if you are one of those folks who don't like beets, and have a bunch in your CSA box. This recipe is for you. For me, I thought it was fine, but I think I might prefer to have my beets in a way that shows off the beets a bit more. Also the neon pink color of this dip wasn't really appealing to me. Still, it was tasty.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        Glad to see your report, as this one had intrigued me. I am getting lots of beets in the CSA box lately, but I'm not looking for ways to mask their flavor, of which I am plenty fond. So perhaps I'll pass on this one.

                                        1. re: MelMM

                                          I made this too, but without the pomegranate molasses because It was on a different page on my iPad and I missed it! Notwithstanding, I really like the sweet earthiness of this hummus. I used vacuum-packed, ready-cooked Beetroot which made this pretty much a store cupboard dish. And I like the colour!

                                        2. Onion Tart (Pissaladière)

                                          I had to improvise on the crust for this, as I have to eat gluten-free, so this is more about the topping.

                                          Sliced onions are cooked down until browned in some olive oil, along with some thyme, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper. This forms the topping for the tart (really more of a flatbread, to me), along with some niçoise olives and anchovies. I used kalamata olives instead of niçoise, because I had them on hand, and DL gives that as an option.

                                          This was very tasty. Mr. MM probably would have preferred fewer anchovies, while I was fine with the amount I used. Served with the Baked Provençal Vegetables from the book, and some rosé.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: MelMM

                                            What did you use for the crust (we r in the same GF boat).

                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                              I just made one up, spur of the moment. No yeast. 1 cup tapioca starch, 1 cup expandex, 1 cup flour of choice (quinoa, millet, etc). 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, two eggs, 1 tsp salt, and some parmesan cheese grated in. 1 cup buttermilk, water as needed (about 2 Tbs) to get a pourable consistency. Poured out on parchment, spread thin. Then bake at 400 on a preheated pizza stone, about 10 minutes or so until it is firm enough to hold the topping. Then I put the onions, etc, on, then baked again for 15 min or so.

                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                Once again, thanks again for sharing. I'm going to commadire this recipe and attempt to make it.

                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                  It works well for when you need a flatbread, fast. No rising time needed!

                                            2. re: MelMM

                                              Oh, how I love pissaladière! This is on my list (although DH does not share my enthusiasm). Yours looks lovely.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                I would have to say this is my favorite of the recipes from the book so far. Although my crust doesn't count.

                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                    I love pissaladière. This is on my list too. My mother used to make the exact same thing with the exact same ingredients but probably without sugar, but I forget what she called it. We used to beg her to make it. She made her own dough; I make it with puff pastry now.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Yes, I was surprised to see the sugar in the recipe, but otherwise it's very similar to my standard, a recipe from Bon Appetit in 2001. The recipe I use cooks the onions with both rosemary and bay leaves in addition to thyme, and I use a pate brisee crust.

                                                    2. re: MelMM

                                                      I use the Simon Hopkinson recipe from an old COTM. My first time around was *such* a big deal for me - pastry!