Monday, November 21, 2011

around my french table

This month's cookbook club book: around my french table by Dorie Greenspan.

Yes, I've started a cookbook club. After reading this blog post, there was no way that I wasn't going to start/be in one. And having participated in regular book clubs before, two things have always held true for me: 1. I never like reading for pleasure a book that someone else has picked for me that I have little interest in. 2. Getting together and bringing snacks and food and eating and drinking wine were always the best part of book club. So why not make the club about the cooking and eating? Sheer genius.

We met this past Sunday and ate an amazing array of dishes from this month's book. We made: onion biscuits, cheese and olive bread, leek and potato soup, cafe-style grated carrot salad, bacon and eggs and asparagus salad, pumpkin-gorgonzola flans, a mustard tart, beef daube (beef stew, uses a whole bottle of wine!), hachis parmentier (shepherd's pie), slow-roasted tomatoes, cauliflower-bacon gratin, and apple cake with ice cream. Everyone's dish came out well, we had a great variety, and cookbook club is officially awesome.

This book has some solid recipes and was a good investment. My only complaint is that I can't make "pumpkin stuffed with everything good" (pie pumpkin stuffed with bacon, cheese, bread, cream, and herbs, baked, and pumpkin scraped and mixed into the filling; oh and then you can roast the pumpkin seeds for an extra fun snack) year-round. I made one in mid-October, but pumpkins were gone from my grocery store by October 30. Must plan ahead next year!

I'm definitely looking forward to January's cookbook club. Next book: TBD!

butter and shrimp and grits and bacon

Do you need a delicious dinner idea? Try making butter-poached shrimp with grits. I'll tell you what, despite the limitations imposed on me by the local Teeter -- only frozen shrimp instead of fresh and 5-minute grits instead of stoneground available -- the dish was incredibly satisfying and flavorful. Cooking the grits in bacon and the shrimp in a cup of butter (2 sticks!!) probably accounts for the flavor and buttery shrimp goodness. Hey, I never said this was a healthy dinner idea.

This recipe is apparently reprinted from Michael Ruhlman's Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques 100 Recipes A Cook's Manifesto. I'm curious to see some of his other recipes.