The Book is Published!

Cooking with adrienne Book

A Story of Friendship and Food

Cooking with Adrienne is a cookbook and the true story of a woman who became the American doyenne of French cuisine during the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.  She honed her palate on the food coming out of the kitchens of Alain Chapel, Frédy Girardet, Michel Guérard, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Roger Verge and others who were creating the New French Cuisine.  Adrienne began cooking in Paris with Simone Beck, co-author, with Julia Child, of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She became an accomplished cook and helped to pave the way for many of these chefs to bring the New Cuisine to America.

I began travelling, eating and cooking with Adrienne and her husband more than 25 years ago.  Just as Adrienne taught me to cook, I wanted to share with you Adrienne’s favorite recipes from some of the greatest chefs of the twentieth century, as well as her own original dishes, carefully explained with the French terms and fancy kitchen jargon laid bare.  Alongside the recipes are the equally delicious stories from Adrienne’s culinary travels: the month she spent cooking under the direction of three-star chef Jean Troisgros when he was a guest in their house in Mougin; She and her husband were the first Americans to visit Alain Chapel’s restaurant in Mionnay; sitting next to Julia Child and her husband in Michel Guérard’s Paris restaurant, Pot au Feu, and many, many more.

The mysteries of making a sauce are revealed, from a simple jus to beurre blanc and hollandaise, as well as the basics of stock and vinaigrette. The recipes run the gamut from Raymond Thuilier’s Gratin Dauphinoise, Auberge de Noves’ Caneton en Papillotte, Adrienne’s own Pigeonneaux aux Morilles, Frédy Girardet’s Passion Fruit Soufflé to the simpler, but no less delicious, Tomate Provençal, Pasta with Pesto and Scallops, Lemon Chicken and Potatoes, and Moussaka. They all reflect Adrienne’s belief that all food is good food if prepared properly

When Adrienne developed a rare form of dementia – Primary Progressive Aphasia – which robbed her of the ability to cook, speak or write, I began gathering together all of Adrienne’s recipes and stories.  The result is this book which I hope captures the camaraderie between two unlikely friends, united in their love of cooking and eating the best food possible. 

DONATE!

I am donating a portion of the proceeds from the book to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) to find a cure for PPA.  You can help me support The AFTD by making your own donation in Adrienne’s name. The process is fast, easy, and secure. I truly appreciate any support you can provide. It will benefit a great cause!

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Sauce Parisienne…Old School or Retro Cool??

Dover Sole Sauce Parisienne

 

I recently had to replace my copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking because the spine had split  and the pages were falling out.   While flipping through my shiny new copy I came across a sauce Adrienne and I had never made: Sauce Parisienne.  I don’t know why we never made it but it sounded like something I should try, at least once!  It is a reduction of the liquid you use to poach fish – either stock or wine and water – a roux of flour and butter, egg yolk and cream.   The result is a subtle taste of fish from the poaching liquid and lushness from the egg yolk and cream.

In Mastering, Julia suggests after dressing the fish fillets with the sauce you sprinkle them with cheese and finish under the broiler.  That was the Old School part which I abandoned after testing it.  But the sauce itself was delicious and easy – which is what we all want!

I ordered Dover Sole from our fishmonger and served it with the sauce, boiled potatoes and green beans that you see in the picture above. The sauce will keep in the fridge – I didn’t try freezing it – and works beautifully on fish cakes and even sea bass fillets.

Print Recipe
Sauce Parisienne
Retro sauce for fish with a subtle taste and lush texture
Dover Sole Sauce Parisienne
Cuisine French
Servings
Cups
Cuisine French
Servings
Cups
Dover Sole Sauce Parisienne
Instructions
  1. In an enameled saucepan boil down the poaching liquid, or wine and stock, until it is reduced to about 1 cup.
  2. In a saucepan melt the butter, blend in the flour and cook slowly, stirring while they foam and froth together for about 2 minutes. Do not allow it to color. Off heat beat in the 1 cup of hot liquid, then the milk. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute until sauce is very thick.
  3. Blend the yolks and cream in a mixing bowl. Beat in dribbles of the hot sauce until a cup has been added (This acclimatizes the egg to the hot liquid and prevents it from scrambling). Beat in the rest of the hot sauce in a thin stream. Return to moderately high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes to a boil. Continue stirring for 1 minute or until the sauce coats the spoon nicely. If too thick you can thin with a bit of cream or milk. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Strain and serve over Dover Sole or Flounder fillets. Leftover sauce will keep refrigerated for up to a week. Reheat gently; do not microwave.
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Q&A with Michel Guerard

One of Adrienne’s favorite chefs, Michel Guérard, is interviewed by Time Magazine, 40 years after he first appeared on the cover.  But Adrienne first tasted his food five years prior to that… she always was ahead of the curve!

Here he reveals his current thoughts about haute cuisine, social media and what he wants for his last supper!

FRANCE-GASTRONOMY-GUERARD
French 3-star chef of the restaurant “Les Pres d’Eugenie” Michel Guérard poses on September 26, 2013 at his restaurant at Eugenie-les-Bains, southwestern France. AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS TUCAT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Michel Guerard Time Cover 1976
Michel Guérard on the cover of TIME’s European edition in 1976
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Mis en Place…What’s That?

mis en place

Everything in its Place ~ Mis en Place

The French term mis en place (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs) comes from professional kitchens and refers to the process of getting everything ready to cook.  Home cooks can take a page from the pros here because, although it takes time to prepare your ingredients to be cooked, it will speed up the cooking process enormously.

First you need to gather all the ingredients you will need for a dish – this is when you find out if you need to make a mad dash to the store!  Chop the garlic,  onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, etc. as needed.  Put the ones that will color in cold water. Fresh mushrooms tend to go brown if chopped too far in advance but you could stem them and clean them if necessary. Make or measure out the stock you will need.  Chop fresh herbs and measure out any dried herbs and spices.  Measure the butter and squeeze lemons and grate zest as needed.

Be sure to read through the recipe to make sure there are no surprises and do as much prep as possible before you actually start cooking.  Invest in a half a dozen inexpensive white ramekins to hold the chopped herbs, onions etc.

Once all the mis en place is done you will find that you are much more relaxed and confident about cooking because you have already done a dry run so to speak.

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Michel Guerard’s Warm Tomato Tart

michel-guerard-warm-tomato-tart

Michel Guerard’s recipe for a delicious and easy warm tomato tart is the perfect way to use up the last of the summer tomatoes and basil.   Adrienne loved Michel’s food and loved tomatoes – so this is a match made in heaven!

I think plum tomatoes work best.  If you can find good beefsteaks go for it but be sure to remove all the seeds and liquid or you will end up with a soggy crust.

Chef Michel’s tart is pictured above.

Mine was 20161017_200922not quite so pretty but definitely tasty.

 

Click here for a pdf of the recipe.  Continue reading “Michel Guerard’s Warm Tomato Tart”

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Tartare de Legumes or Cool Summer Vegetables

Tartare de Legumes

Adrienne gave me the recipe for Tartare de Legumes 20 years ago when I was complaining to her that I couldn’t get my kids to eat vegetables.  I didn’t make the recipe until just last night…Adrienne clearly didn’t understand what would and wouldn’t appeal to most young children…why would she!

The recipe is a take on guacamole and a wonderful way to serve fresh summer vegetables with very little effort.  It comes via Bistrot des Halles, a traditional French restaurant located near what was the old food market in ‘the belly of Paris’.  Good traditional bistro food served up with an occasional twist.

 

Get the recipe or  Continue reading “Tartare de Legumes or Cool Summer Vegetables”

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Marché Forville destination food market

Ever since they started travelling to France, Adrienne had wanted a kitchen to cook the food she was drooling over in every market they visited.  Marché Forville was about to become her destination food market.  In the USA in the late seventies it was still very difficult to get good local produce, free-range chickens or grass fed beef.  But in France every town had a market and every market was local.

Adrienne’s friend and food mentor Simca Beck introduced them to the villages in the hills above Cannes where she had a home.  They fell in love with the area and began renting a house in Mougin called La Calade.Marche Forville June 76 4

Every morning they would drive to the Marché Forville in Cannes to buy ingredients for supper that evening.  The covered market was located in Le Suquet, the old quarter of Cannes.

Marche Forville June 76 1

Marche Forville June 76

In those days it was mostly locals who came to buy the fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, poultry and cheese.  You couldn’t find better quality for love or money.

Adrienne became known to many of the vendors as a choosy customer but they loved her for it.  You can see here that she was on a serious mission to find the best ingredients possible.  She didn’t have to look very hard in this market.

And sometimes a three star chef would drop in and stay for a few days, or a month! Adrienne made sure that Jean earned his keep in the kitchen as her Executive Chef!

Jean TG and Adrienne, La Calade
Jean Troisgros and Adrienne at La Calade
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Foodie Friends and Piggy Weekends

Piggy weekend 2013

Every year beginning in 1988 six foodie friends got together for a weekend in The Hamptons and cooked their little foodie hearts out!  It was called the Dewey Lane Eating Club (DLEC) – after the location of the first event.  Adrienne was the architect of the menu and the head chef but everyone participated in the preparation and cooking of the food.   Except for her husband who brought the wine.

Over the years the venue changed but the name of the club stuck. I was invited to join the group in 2007.  That year it morphed into the Piggy Weekend because of a fabulous roast suckling pig we slow cooked on the BBQ and devoured. Subsequently the regular members were assigned or acquired piggy related monikers.  In the picture here from the August 2013 weekend when we reprised the Piggy menu, we are from left to right: Michael – Pig Latin, our hostess Lisa – Miss Piggy, Sharon – Free Range Piggy, Christopher – procurer of the pig and master grillman, Allison – daughter of our hosts and wife of the grillman, Martin – Not a Pig, Adrienne – Pig Pen, our host Dan – Piguin (inside joke!) and me – Pastry Pig.  We were ten little piggies if you count the pig!

 

 

 

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Vinegar Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Vinegar Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This is a quickie version of the Tomate Provençal recipe from Cooking with Adrienne, Volume I.  If you are like me, towards the end of winter you are bored with root vegetables and the bounty of summer is a long way off.  But you can brighten up your meals with this trick for boosting the flavor of winter tomatoes by roasting them with vinegar.  It will definitely wake up your taste buds.20160319_175610

It was inspired by a vinaigre de miel that I brought back with me from the Languedoc.  I had never heard of honey vinegar so of course I had to taste it.  The agrodolce balance in this vinegar caught me completely by surprise. Unfortunately it is not something that you can easily get outside of France. However, I tested a bunch of flavored vinegars and found that the citrus ones work really well.  And if you ever find real vinaigre de miel buy it!

Serve as a side to grilled fish or chicken, I think it goes really well with Sea Bass.

Click here for a pdf of the recipe, OR Continue reading “Vinegar Roasted Cherry Tomatoes”

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Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

Rosemary Lemon Chicken and potatoes

When this recipe from Ed Giobbi, author of Italian Family Cooking, appeared in House & Garden Magazine in the early Seventies Adrienne quickly made it her own.  It became a mainstay in her repertoire especially when she had to cook for a crowd, as she often did on weekends spent at her husband’s family home on Long Island.   Rosemary is a favored herb and it pairs perfectly with the chicken and potatoes.Chicken and rosemary potatoes in pot

The original recipe called for using rosemary branches but during the braise the needles dispersed into the sauce and were tough and unappealing when eating the finished dish.  I struggled with how to get around this and still keep it a fairly easy dish.  Putting the rosemary branches in cheesecloth was fussy and the flavor didn’t infuse into the potatoes and sauce.  In the end I got my resident chopper – my husband – to mince the rosemary.  It worked perfectly.  If you have to do it yourself, mince more than is required for the recipe and freeze it.  It freezes really well and you can use it straight from the freezer.

I also added leeks and a lemon rind which I think work well with the chicken and rosemary flavors.  Don’t use a lemon with the juice in it because the juice will inhibit the cooking of the potatoes.  The rind is edible after being cooked and adds a surprising bite to the dish.  And to make it a complete one dish meal I tossed in Chantenay carrots .  They keep the dish easy too because they are already the perfect size and don’t need peeling.

Click for the recipe: Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

OR  Continue reading “Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes”

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A day without champagne is like a day without foie gras!

Champagne and foie gras

On one of my first trips to France with Adrienne and Martin in the early Nineties, we literally had champagne and foie gras at almost every meal!   Admittedly we were in the Champagne region for the first few days and then in Aquitaine but it all started on the plane. I was travelling in coach in those days and they were in Business Class. But Martin ferried glasses of champagne back to me so I wouldn’t feel deprived.   How deprived could I feel on my way to France???

As we progressed from Les Crayeres to Eugenie les Bain and then to Paris we were plied with champagne and foie gras every evening.  But towards the end of the trip we were facing a day without having had any foie gras and thus our motto was born!

‘A day without champagne is like a day without foie gras.’

 

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Simple Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

Sea Bass Sauce Vierge

We all know we should be eating more fish.  Especially after the holidays most of us are feeling a bit over indulged.  But many people feel that cooking fish can be troublesome: there is the smell, and the bones and the not overcooking it.  And then what do you serve with it so that isn’t boringly healthy?

I have two solutions to this dilemma:  Sea bass fillets and Sauce Vierge.

Sea bass fillets have hardly any bones and are wonderfully easy to cook using this ingenious method from Pierre Wynants, former chef at Comme Chez Soi restaurant in Brussels.  It all but eliminates the smell and takes the guesswork out the cooking time.

Sauce Vierge is an easy, Provencal-like sauce that is served room temperature and has no butter or creme.   It is made from fresh or tinned chopped tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.  A simple yet delicious sauce.

In under 30 minutes you will have a  ‘Comme Chez Soi’ meal, which means as if the chef cooked for you at his home.  And if you are really pressed for time, try the Troisgros’ Tomato Vinaigrette Sauce which requires no cooking at all.

Print Recipe
Simple Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge
This simple and delicious way of cooking Sea Bass comes from Pierre Wynants the former chef of Comme Chez Soi restaurant in Brussels. Sauce Vierge is a Provençal-style sauce which is rather like salsa without the chilli!
Instructions
  1. Combine the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, lemon juice and rind, olive oil and coriander in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and turn off heat.
  2. Just before serving add the fresh herbs and salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper. Place the fillets in a sauté pan - skin side down - that will hold them in one layer. Add the stock and wine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pan with a piece of buttered aluminium foil and cook for 10 minutes on medium low heat. Remove from pan, place on paper towel skin side up. With a butter knife remove the skin and place on warmed plates.
  4. Dress each fillet with the Sauce Vierge. Serve with steamed potatoes or creamy soft polenta and lightly blanched snow peas .
Recipe Notes

Adrienne added minced lemon rinds to her version.  I have a habit of saving lemon rinds after squeezing the juice out and putting them on the grill.  The smoky, slightly caramelized, taste from the grill works beautifully in this sauce.  Feel free to include your own additions, capers or chopped black olives would work with the Provençal theme.

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Click here to download a pdf of Simple Sea Bass Sauce Vierge

 

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Mousseline de Saumon

La Carte 31 March 1966

Adrienne made these lovely menu cards by hand for 
many of her dinner parties in the late Sixties and Seventies.  As I looked through them I noticed there was a dish that appeared regularly but which Adrienne and I had never made together: Mousseline de Saumon.

After a bit of digging through her files I came upon her hand-written recipe.  It is as simple as can be – which is why it appeared on so many menus – and can be made ahead of time, served either hot or cold.  Of course it is delicious!  It makes a lovely luncheon dish with a salad or the perfect starter for a dinner party.mousseline_de_saumon

Here is the link to the recipe: Mousseline de Saumon

OR Continue reading “Mousseline de Saumon”

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Pissaladiere Nicoise

pissaladiere tart in Provence

I first had a Pissaladiere Nicoise at the restaurant Le Nid d’Aigle, in the mountains above Nice. I loved it and not just because of the picturesque moment captured in the photo!  When I returned (solo) from my escapade I made it  for Adrienne and it became one of our favorites.  The sweetness of the slow-cooked onions contrasts perfectly with the saltiness of the anchovies, the sharpness of the olives and the pungent scent of thyme.  For those of you who are saying eeeewwww to anchovies – they really are a necessary part of the overall taste and without them you just have a lot of sweet onions.  I started out using  Julia Child’s recipe but changed it a bit over the years.  I added crumbled bacon for the smoky taste and cherry tomatoes for a bit of acidity.  They are optional but who would say no to bacon?!

Pissaladiere TarteIt makes a great first course or the main for a luncheon with a salad and cheese course. Mangiare!

Here is the link to the recipe: Pissaladiere-Nicoise

OR Continue reading “Pissaladiere Nicoise”

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Fluting Mushrooms on the bidet

fluted mushrooms

I had never heard of ‘fluting’ mushrooms until  Adrienne’s husband told me this story.  In the late Sixties Adrienne took a series of cooking lessons in Paris with Simca Beck, co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  One day she taught  Adrienne how to flute a mushroom, even though the practice was long out of style. Fluting involves carving a design into white button mushrooms so that when they are cooked they look decorative on the plate.    It takes a lot of practice in order to get it right but Adrienne loved mushrooms.  On her way back to the hotel she and her husband were staying in on the Left Bank she bought a pile of white button mushrooms.  With no kitchen sink to practice in, Adrienne perched on the edge of the bidet fluting away!  I can just picture the young and earnest Adrienne not wanting to make a mess but so determined to learn the technique!

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Craig Claiborne

“In my next life I want to come back as Adrienne and Martin!” 

Craig Claiborne was the food editor and restaurant critic for The NY Times and got to know Adrienne and her husband after repeated meetings at restaurants all over the world.

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Ratatouille in winter

Adrienne's Ratatouille

Making ratatouille in the winter may sound perverse but when the ingredients are seasonably available in the summer the last thing you really want to do is spend the afternoon in the kitchen standing over a hot stove.   But now as the days are shorter and the cold weather keeps us indoors, standing over a hot stove is much more appealing.  So I am making Ratatouille today!  I know I am bucking the trend for sourcing locally but in fact I will be using basil and parsley grown on my own windowsill even though the eggplant and zucchini are imported and the tomatoes come from a tin!

Everyone has a recipe for ratatouille or a similar type of long slow braised vegetable dish. This one is probably not dissimilar but the one difference is Adrienne always insisted that each vegetable must be sauteed separately because each one has different properties. The zucchini is full of water which it will exude while cooking.  The eggplant will absorb all the oil in the pan before eventually releasing it and browning.  The onions and garlic are cooked together before adding the tomatoes and their juice.  Finally at the end everything is combined and simmered slowly along with the basil, parsley and most importantly a good dash of vinegar.   Adrienne is a big proponent of using vinegar to cut the sweetness of certain vegetables especially when they have been slow cooked.  You will find that it is an undercurrent in most of the recipes here.

Here is the link for the recipe: Adrienne’s Ratatouille

OR Continue reading “Ratatouille in winter”

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