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2 Home & Garden Cooking and Food- French

Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen

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Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen Cover

ISBN13: 9780767923835
ISBN10: 0767923839
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Simplicité

SIMPLICITY

You know how it is. Whenever youre at a party with people you dont know, someone is bound to pop the question, “So, what do you do?” I have to say I expand upon the subject with infinitely more animation now that my work matches my inner wants and needs, and when I do, my interlocutor unfailingly turns to Maxence with twinkling eyes to exclaim,“Wow, it must be an endless display of gastronomic prowess at your place!”

Full disclosure: not really. We eat well, that much is true, fresh vegetables from the greenmarket and quality goods from the shops around us, but the day-to-day menus are simple, and on weeknights we rely heavily on what we call picnic dinners: a bit of cheese from the cheese shop, a modest selection from the charcuterie, or leftover bits and pieces from the previous days cooking. Add a hunk of bread from the bakery, a green salad or a bowl of soup, and youve got yourself a quickly assembled and heartily enjoyed meal.

And on other nights, when inspiration propels me into the kitchen, its with an ample measure of improvisation that I cook, rummaging through the contents of the fridge, and putting together dishes that capture the day's mood and weather. This section holds a few favorites for simple meals, around which Ill weave variations to use whats on hand.

SALADE DE POULET, PÊCHES & NOISETTES

Chicken Salad with Peaches and Hazelnuts

When I still worked in an office — before I joined the pajama workforce — I often brought my own lunch. It was a habit I had formed when I lived in the States and this was a widespread custom: I would join my coworkers in the bright orange company kitchen, and we would munch on our respective meals over a game of Boggle (I never once won, but it did enrich my English vocabulary with three- and four-letter words).

At my French office it was less common, and most of my colleagues walked to a nearby bistro for the plat du jour. This was quite pleasant and I joined them from time to time to catch up on office gossip, but for reasons of nutrition, cost, and variety, I still enjoyed putting together my little picnic in the morning.

In the summer, I liked to pack colorful salads and escape to the nearby Parc Montsouris at lunchtime. As I entered the park I would pass by a gastronomic restaurant set in a handsome pavilion and pore over the daily menu in lieu of an appetizer. I would walk on to sit by the little lake, where a handful of ducks swam about, in the vague hope that someone might throw stale bits of baguette their way.

A fork in my right hand, a book in the left, and the container of salad propped up against me with my left wrist — a technique that took years to refine — I would dig in happily, comfortable in my delicious solitude. And after a little post-lunch walk I would return to the office, refreshed and sated.

This salad is a staple from those days, and I still prepare it now for quick lunches, simple dinners, or party buffets. It is an excellent use for leftover roasted chicken, which I like to buy at a rotisserie on rue des Abbesses, where the farm-raised chickens are plump and delectable, and where the lady looks strikingly like the famous French actress Marie-Anne Chazel.

• 3 ripe yellow peaches, about 7 ounces each (substitute yellow nectarines)

• 3 tablespoons hazlenut oil (substitute walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil)

• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

• 1 pound cooked chicken meat cut into strips, from a store-bought rotisserie chicken or a home-roasted chicken, about 3 cups

• 2/3 cup shelled hazlenuts, toasted, husked, and roughly chopped

• 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves (substitute fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves)

• Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

• 8 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, about 8 ounces

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as a starter

1. Peel the peaches: this is easier if you blanch them first by putting them in a pan of simmering water for a minute. (If you use nectarines, it is unnecessary to peel them.)

2. In a medium salad bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Add the chicken, peaches, hazelnuts, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Add the spinach leaves and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to a day; it gets better as it sits. Remove from the fridge half an hour before eating.

NOTE If you prepare the salad in advance, the vinegar will wilt the greens a little. It will still taste good, but may not look as presentable: if you make it ahead for company, add the spinach at the last minute.

VARIATION Use fresh (or dried) apricots and almonds instead of peaches and hazelnuts.

WINE WEIN & SEKTGUT THIELEN MERLEN FETTGARTEN 2003 RIESLING SPATLESE (Germany, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, white) A light-bodied wine with stone fruit flavors that reinforce the peach in the salad. Excellent balance between sweetness, to complement the slightly bitter nuts, and acidity, to stand up to the balsamic vinegar.

Invitation

ENTERTAINING

While I love eating out with friends, having them at home is something else entirely: the atmosphere is more intimate, you get to choose your own musical ambiance, and you're free to partake in the kind of conversation you wouldnt dream of letting anyone overhear in a crowded bistro. Of course, that means no eavesdropping for you, either, but you can't win on all counts.

Whether you are inviting friends for a simple apéritif, putting together an impromptu dinner, planning a more elaborate menu, or throwing a party, this section offers tips and recipes to make the occasion stress-free and successful.

GOUGÈRES AU CUMIN

Cumin Cheese Puffs

The classic version calls for cheese as the only flavoring, but I like to use cumin in mine: this complements the fruitiness of the cheese remarkably well and adds a welcome piquancy. Serve with an apértif drink, or use the same batter to make large gougères (about 3 inches in diameter) and serve as a first course, with a salad.

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

• 1 cup flour, sifted

• 4 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Comté or Gruyère, about 5 ounces (substitute a good Swiss cheese)

Makes about 40 gougères

Chilling time: 30 minutes

1. Measure all the ingredients before you start. Combine the butter, salt, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, add the flour all at once, and stir quickly with a wooden spoon unitl well blended. Return the pan to medium-low heat and keep stirring until the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

2. Let cool for 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, stirring well between each addition, until incorporated. (What you have just made is a pâte à choux.) Sprinkle with cumin and pepper and fold in the cheese. The batter will be thick. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a day.

3. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the batter from the fridge, and use two teaspoons to shape small balls of batter (about 1 inch in diameter) that you will plop onto the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each. If you have to work in batches, cover the batter and return it to the fridge.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffy and golden — however much you want to peek inside, do not open the oven door during the first 10 minutes of baking, or the gougères will not rise well. Turn off the oven, open the door just a crack, and leave the gougères in for another 5 minutes. (This helps prevent an abrupt temperature change, which would cause the gougères to deflate and nobody wants that.) Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes and serve warm, or let cool and serve at room temperature.

NOTE You can freeze the gougères for up to a month and reheat them (no thawing necessary) in a 350°F oven for 8 minutes. They won't be as moist as freshly baked ones, but they are very convenient to have on hand for unexpected guests.

VARIATIONS Replace the cumin with caraway seeds, rosemary, or paprika, or omit the spices altogether.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

vanessa, June 17, 2007 (view all comments by vanessa)
Of all the food blogs-turned-book deals, Dusoulier's was the one I most eagerly awaited. Her writing style is as delicious as the recipes she offers-- it's flowing, easy, humorous, and very informative and never fails to remind me why I love cooking, eating, exploring, and sharing food. The recipes come with straightforward wine pairings and entertaining anecdotes; the accomanying photos make me want to lick the pages.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780767923835
Author:
Dusoulier, Clotilde
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Subject:
Regional & Ethnic - French
Subject:
Cookery, french
Subject:
French
Subject:
Cooking and Food-French
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20070531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
4-COLOR, 50 PHOTOS THROUGHOUT
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
7.96x6.34x.61 in. 1.08 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Desserts and Candy » Chocolate and Candy
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » French
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Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen Used Trade Paper
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767923835 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Readers of Dusoulier's ebullient food blog, chocolateandzucchini.com, won't be disappointed by this wonderful mlange of new creations and old favorites. Dusoulier's charm lies in her culinary curiosity and enthusiasm, and she deftly conveys both through 75-plus recipes and narrative commentary. The 27-year-old Parisian arranges her book into three sections. The first, Simplicit (Simplicity), includes salads, sandwiches, savory tarts, soups and eggs. Part two is Invitation (Entertaining) and features recipes for hors d'oeuvres, 'impromptu' dinners like Hand-Cut Steak Tartare, dinner party fare such as Comt Cheese Souffls, buffet items and sides. The final portion concerns sweets, clearly Dusoulier's favorite. With scintillating recipes for cakes (Apricot and Pistachio Ricotta), tarts (Blueberry Amandine), desserts (Chocolate Hibiscus Crme Brle) and 'sweet bites' (Orange Flower Shuttle Cookies), this section brims with innovation. Overall, newcomers to French cuisine will learn to make some classics, like Pistou Soup and Beef Bourguignon, while those seeking to expand their repertoires will enjoy the author's idiosyncratic creations. Dishes like Broccoli and Apple Quiche (born out of a 'greenmarket run one fall morning') and, of course, Chocolate & Zucchini Cake (which may sound 'a little odd,' but is 'surprisingly successful' and features 'real teamwork at play') are just some of Dusoulier's delightful and unusual offerings." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "This collection of remarkably accomplished recipes, from market-fresh salads to indulgent desserts, includes a soupçon of tasty tales and tips from Clotilde's Parisian kitchen, and is sure to inspire readers and cooks no matter where they live."
"Review" by , "Clotilde Dusoulier, a young French woman who discovered her love for food in the United States, shares with readers her lighthearted, enthusiastic, and thoroughly modern approach to a very personal culinary passion."
"Review" by , "Dusoulier has a great deal of charm, and her recipes are fresh and appealing."
"Review" by , "Is there any food lover who doesn't dream about living, cooking, and eating in Paris? This charming homage to French home cooking feeds that fantasy with a feast."
"Review" by , "Clotilde Dusoulier's comfortable, homey food has just the right amount of authentic French flair, and her stories of life in Paris speak to food's universal ability to bring people together and make them happy. Of course, being transported to Paris never hurts either."
"Synopsis" by , Illustrated throughout with Dusoulier's evocative photography, Chocolate & Zucchini is the book for anyone who has journeyed to Paris and can still recall the delicious tastes and aromas — or for those who only dream about them.
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