The Bookshelf: Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table
September 21, 2011
A celebrated author of ten cookbooks (and one of JBF’s first editors!), JBF Award winner Dorie Greenspan will stop by today’s Beard on Books to talk about her latest tome, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours. We asked her to fill us in on her go-to recipes, favorite dining spots in New York, new state-of-the-art iPad app, and more. Read on for the interview. JBF: Is there a recipe from your book that you use as your go-to entertaining dish? Dorie Greenspan: I love to serve Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar for dinner parties. The salmon is rubbed with sugar and salt, like gravlax, and then packed into a canning jar with vegetables and oil. The potatoes are boiled and then packed in their own jar with vegetables, oil, and some vinegar. I pass the jars around so that everyone can dig in and take their own. The dish is fun to serve, and it’s the kind of food that gets people talking. JBF: Which recipes from your book embody the philosophy of French home cooking? Dorie Greenspan: Dishes that combine everyday or pantry ingredients in ways that end up being surprising and stylish seem very French to me. For instance, Sardine Rillettes (a great little cocktail spread) is nothing more than canned sardines, cream cheese, onions, herbs, and lime juice. It’s super tasty. JBF: We love how elegant yet rustic many of your recipes are. Do you think it surprises people that French cuisine doesn’t always have to be fussy? Dorie Greenspan: I think the accessibility and often hominess of French cuisine surprises people. Restaurant food in France (and here) might be elaborate, but elaborate is easy when you’ve got bunches of trained people in the kitchen with you! Today’s style of home cooking, the cooking I focus on in Around My French Table, is very, very approachable and, as you say, often quite elegant. I love that about modern French cuisine. JBF: We know that you now reside in both Paris and New York City. Are there any New York City restaurants that you feel capture the “elbows-on-the-table” French cooking you adore? Dorie Greenspan: These days, I like the look, feel, and food at Buvette, the small restaurant in the West Village. I love that there are so many mom-and-pop bistro-type restaurants that are opening in the city, and the fact that they’re neighborhood restaurants makes them all the more appealing. JBF: Are there are parts of your Parisian lifestyle that you find indispensible? What do you bring back to the United States? Dorie Greenspan: I tend to bring back “perishables.” I always return with macarons from Pierre Herme, bread from Poilane, cheese (Mont d’Or in the winter) from Laurent Dubois, Christine Ferber jams, and chocolate-covered marshmallows from Pierre Marcolini. JBF: As the author of the JBF Award-winning cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours and Baking with Julia, your mastery of baking is well known. Do you have an all-time favorite dessert? Dorie Greenspan: This is not a fair question. Asking me to name an all-time favorite dessert is like asking me to name my favorite child. I can’t do it, which might explain why I have only one child. That said, I would hate to live without World Peace Cookies from Baking: From My Home to Yours and Pierre Herme. JBF: What is your top can’t-miss recommendation for a food-lover traveling to Paris? Dorie Greenspan: The markets! I love the market along the Boulevard Raspail in the 7th arrondissement. It’s a conventional market on Tuesdays and Fridays, and an organic market (one of only a handful in Paris) on Sundays. On Sundays, you must taste the goat cheese from Philippe Gregoire, the Gorgonzola from the Italian vendor (I know it’s not French, but it’s creamy beyond belief and so, so very good), the leek and potato pancakes at the top of the market (follow your nose), and any fruit or vegetable that catches your fancy. JBF: Which three kitchen tools or gadgets could you not live without? Dorie Greenspan: Another tough question. I definitely never want to be without a KitchenAid stand mixer, a good skillet (these days I’m loving my deBuyer pans) and my favorite rolling pin (a sleek white nylon French pin from Matfer). And all my baking gear. And my slotted fish turner. And my coffee grinder and espresso machine. And my Benriner slicer. Not a fair question at all. JBF: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your new iPad app, Baking with Dorie. Dorie Greenspan: I like to think of myself as a “baking evangelist.” I want everyone to get into the kitchen and bake, and enjoy that feeling of making something with their own two hands. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to really teach, and share more information than is possible in a cookbook. For example, every single recipe comes with a step-by-step instructional video. I like that the app brings the title of my cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours, to life. The videos were shot in my actual kitchen in Connecticut, and when people use this app in their own kitchens, we’ll truly be baking together.