Thursday, January 26, 2017

French Country Cooking, Book Review

 French Country Cooking, Meals and Moments from a Village in the Vineyards by Mimi Thorisson.

Before I actually review this book, let me say that it is a visual feast! Even if you never cook a single thing from this book, just paging through it is a satisfying treat for the eyes. The photos are stunning. (Oddur Thorisson was the photographer.) And even as a coffee table art book, this book is a success. In fact, my daughter saw this book on my kitchen counter when she visited and wanted it for her coffee table.

Aside from the visuals, I did enjoy the recipes. The directions are given in both European and US customary measures (i.e., grams and cups). However, it is important to note that the flavors and tastes of the recipes are very European. For example, the orange blossom cake I made has a dense texture with lovely orange blossom flavor but without the heavy sweetness common to many American sweets. Personally, I love this. But it is different.

Also, given the European context, some ingredients are hard to find. Orange blossom water is not on the shelves of most American grocery stores or even specialty food markets. However, Amazon does carry many such items. Though as much as I want to make roast bone marrow with herbs, I can’t find a butchery where I can buy veal marrow bones. But there are still plenty of recipes to make.

Here are some photos of the ones I tried:
The Orange Blossom Cake. I served it for my 26-year-old
son’s birthday. It was delicious!

This soup was the Simple Vegetable Potage. Delicious and hearty.

I do wish I’d been able to find fresh tarragon for the Poulet Chasseur. But my herb garden was dormant for the winter and none of the stores in my area carried tarragon. It was still delicious--you can't go wrong with mushrooms, cognac, white wine, shallots, and fresh herbs!

I’ve made the Baked Pears with Chocolate more than once. Though the recipe says to use firm-ripe pears, I also tried the recipe with pears just going soft, loved it even more. The riper pears came out tasting like pear-flavored custard and you could just spoon the flesh right out of the pear skin. Yum!
 In sum, I’d definitely give this cookbook five stars. And I can’t wait to make the vanilla marshmallows and the black peppered filets mignons with cognac.

To check out this cookbook on Amazon, click here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy "New " Year

The month is half over, and I haven’t even posted on the blog yet this year.

Here’s what’s been going on:

1. My oldest son got married last month. It was wonderful. Our family is thrilled.
Here's a photo of my husband and me at the wedding.

2. My third child graduated from university. He’s now an electrical engineer. I’d post a photo, but he’s camera shy.

3. I had a significant birthday.

One of my gifts was a ten step puzzle box. Beautifully inlaid and wonderfully intricate.

4. A beloved family member who lives thousands of miles away came to visit,  and we had a murder mystery dinner. This is my youngest son--normally he's a college junior majoring in biochem and not a drug-dealing biker. We love getting into character.
5. And last, but not least, I have a deadline approaching quickly. So I’ve got a new tea cup to make sure I finish in time. It holds at least five times the tea of a "normal" cup. So five times the double bergamot earl grey. Yum!