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Bringing a French Revolution to the Home Cook's Kitchen

Bringing a French Revolution to the Home Cook's Kitchen


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Pierre Gagnaire, a three-Michelin-starred French chef who has been dubbed "The Wizard of Paris" by The New York Times, seems to have a penchant for naming things after himself. Many of his restaurants around the world are named after "moi" — the famed Pierre Gagnaire in Paris on Rue Balzac, Pierre in Hong Kong, Pierre Gagnaire À Séoul in, you guessed it, Seoul, and Pierre Gagnaire – Tokyo. So it's no surprise then that his cookbook follows in the same vein. It's titled Pierre Gagnaire: 175 Home Recipes with a Twist (Flammarion, $35).

Originally published in French, this cookbook is Gagnaire's attempt to bring a little bit of his magic into the kitchens of home cooks without restaurant-level skill sets or ingredient lists. Does he succeed? To some degree, yes. Some of the recipes in the book sound a bit too simple (or perhaps, they're just a bit understated) — buckwheat pancakes, hot chocolate, or grilled sea bass, anyone? Uhh, maybe. On the other hand, some are just a little too "out there" for the ordinary home cook — foie gras crêpes with almonds and apricots come to mind, for example. But, there are definitely some gems in there that strike the right balance. Gagnaire may not think of himself as a revolutionary — in the introduction to the book, he writes, "It has never been my intention to revolutionize the culinary arts; I have always been guided in my life as a chef by the principles of pleasure, surprise, and by the intimate conviction that it is possible to have an offbeat approach to food while still paying respect to the raw ingredients" — but it's probably a safe bet to say that there aren't very many people thinking of making caramelized omelettes for breakfast, duck club sandwiches with provolone for lunch, or scallops marinière for dinner. And that's a good thing. These are the type of recipes that need to fill his next book, perhaps.

Just as important as the recipes in a cookbook aimed at home cooks, though, are the photographs. And here we have another bone to pick — the photography, while beautiful, isn't particularly helpful. The photos are more like highly aesthetic pictures of ingredients, like the kind you would find in some high-end art gallery or a museum, rather than photos of the dishes themselves. And they're few and far between. Photos of actual dishes are also sometimes shot far too closely to really be able to tell what anything is supposed to look like. Maybe we just don't get that part of the book, but if a book is aiming for the home cook, great pictures definitely help it fly off the shelf.

It's not a perfect realization of Gagnaire's noble intentions, but for a first attempt, it's not bad. There are enough interesting recipes to keep experienced home cooks entertained, but for anyone who doesn't use their mandoline, we'd suggest waiting for his next book.

French Toast with Pineapple Marmalade and Viande des Grisons

Homemade marmalade and fine air-dried beef similar to bresaola from Grisons, a region located near the Alps, dress up a brioche French toast. (Photo courtesy of Jacques Gavard)

Beef Tataki

Gagnaire draws upon his experience to bring French sensibilities to a Japanese classic. (Photo courtesy of Jacques Gavard)

Lemon Cake

This lemon cake turns into something truly special with the addition of a Kaffir lime and orange zest custard. (Photo courtesy of Jacques Gavard)

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.


Jacques Pépin: A Force in America’s Food Revolution

I CAME to America at the end of 1959 and started working at Le Pavillon two days later. That is where I met Craig, who came to write an article on Le Pavillon and Pierre Franey, who was the executive chef. Craig introduced me to Helen McCully, food editor of House Beautiful, and through her I met James Beard. A few months later, through Helen again, I met Julia Child, who was finishing the manuscript for “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and I had the opportunity to look at it.

That I had met the trinity of cooking — Julia Child, James Beard and Craig Claiborne — less than a year after arriving here is testament to how very small the food world was then. Julia and James Beard are still well known, but, unfortunately, the name Craig Claiborne is not as recognizable to foodies or culinary students as it should be.

Craig started working at The New York Times in 1957, when food was far from having the prominence it does now. In the early 1960s, food was sustenance, and the American culinary landscape was bleak. The food page was usually given to the editor of the women’s page to deal with as part of home economics and lifestyle.

But for Craig, writing for The Times was a dream come true. He had always wanted to work there and in the coming years, he would single-handedly create the vocabulary of food criticism and the four-star rating system. He would raise the standing of food writing and change the job of food critic into a respected, powerful and provocative position.

Trained in classical French cooking at the famous Hotel School of Lausanne in Switzerland, he took seriously the business of cooking, eating, going to restaurants and talking about food.

Craig had the extraordinary gift of being able to bring people together, mixing business and pleasure. He brought ethnic cuisine to the readers of The Times: Virginia Lee for Chinese food, Diana Kennedy for Mexican, Marcella Hazan for Italian.

He admired the home cook as much as the professional chef. For a grand picnic on Gardiners Island in 1965, he brought together French chefs — Pierre Franey of Pavillon fame Roger Fessaguet, from La Caravelle Jean Vergnes, from the Colony René Verdon, from the White House, and me — to prepare a sumptuous banquet for our family and friends, a feast he lavishly covered in The Times. It was the same group of chefs who would cook at my wedding at Craig’s house a year later, a celebration that he planned, organized and paid for.

What to Cook This Week

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the coming days. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • One of the best things about Melissa Clark’s chile-roasted chicken with honey, lemon and feta is the sweet-and-sour drippings in the pan.
    • Yewande Komolafe’s glazed tofu with chile and star anise is a take on the technique behind Sichuan hui guo rou, or twice-cooked pork.
    • Mark Bittman’s shrimp burgers are perfect with mayonnaise, mixed with Texas Pete hot sauce and plenty of lime juice.
    • This spring-vegetable japchae from Kay Chun is made with the Korean sweet-potato noodles known as glass noodles.
    • Millie Peartree’s brown stew chicken is built on a base of store-bought browning sauce, a caramel-hued burnt sugar concoction.

    He remains the most influential person in my professional life in America. Against my restrained, structured French training, he had that typical American generosity and openness. A weekend at Craig’s house was great fun. The guests would get up at their leisure and make their own breakfasts from eggs, fruit, croissants and cold cuts. It was quite different from what I was used to — so much more fun and free than the regulated, formal and strict way we used to receive people, even family and friends, in France.

    After breakfast, we would go to a local market to select food for the day. Craig was a locavore long before the word existed. We would get onions, potatoes, corn and lettuce fresh from the farm, and we would buy local fish, like striped bass, lobster and clams, all before deciding on a menu.

    I have fond memories of cooking with Craig and Pierre Franey in Craig’s enormous sun-drenched kitchen at the house in East Hampton. Pierre was an extraordinary chef and the perfect foil for Craig’s meticulous formal training. I can still see Pierre and me cooking, drinking wine, relaxing and laughing and Craig at his typewriter, his half-glasses perched on his nose, pummeling us with questions as we cooked: How long in the oven? What size pieces? What temperature? I came to learn from him how to develop recipes. There were always a great many cocktails, wine and singing at our parties, which would extend well into the night.

    Craig took reviewing restaurants seriously and agonized over his decisions. I went with him many times, sometimes with Pierre or other chefs, sometimes with guests I didn’t know. Craig was always incognito, reserving his table under another name and always paying for the meal. He would get opinions from everyone at the table, especially the professional chefs.

    I was amazed at how anxious he was. He worried he would miss something or not be fair. But he was fair above all. There was always something positive in his criticism, something to be learned. He was well aware of how damaging his review could be for a restaurant and, conversely, how beneficial.

    To me, Craig was one of the giants in America’s cooking revolution and he represented food writing and restaurant reviewing at its best.


    Nadege Nourian: Bringing French Pastry and Passion to Toronto

    Nadege Nourian is the France-born pastry chef whose progressive, yet traditional dessert style is revolutionizing the Toronto pastry scene. Nourian owns and manages, along with her partner Morgan McHugh, the pastry shop fittingly named for her, Nadege, which has locations on Queen Street West and at Yonge and Summerhill. A fourth-generation pastry chef, Nourian grew up surrounded by good food, inspired by her grandmother’s baking and chocolate making, and assisting her parents in managing their restaurant. Her upbringing, along with her plethora of training and experience, has led Nourian to place emphasis on the quality of her products, and ensure that the packaging of her pastry, and atmosphere of the storefront emphasize these details.

    Despite the shop’s unparalleled local and international acclaim, Nourian’s journey to the top was not all bonbons and frosting. Nadege is now in its third year of operation, and Nourian is relieved that her previous twenty-two hour long workdays, seven days a week, have now reduced to fifteen hours, giving her time for a day off here and there. Despite her lack of personal life, Nourian is all smiles. She asserts, “I love responsibility and a challenge,” and she explains that all of her hard labour is worthwhile when she is able to see her customer’s overwhelming delight for her treats. Nourian is also the first to acknowledge those who have helped her get to where she is today. After studying at the Institut National de la Boulangerie-Patisserie in Normandy, she moved to London to practice her technique and notably worked alongside Stephane Sucheta and for Alan Yau, an internationally recognized restaurateur. “You always have important people in your career, but they really changed me and [my] vision…made me more who I am now in terms of concept,” explains Norian.

    She thrived in the fast paced work environment as the “Sous Chef Executive” of a 60 million dollar project, where she oversaw two restaurants, a teahouse, and was in charge of a staff of twenty-five pastry chefs. Despite her love for London and her esteemed job, the prospect of opening her own pastry shop always gnawed at the back of her mind. When she met McHugh, whose father used to own the well-known Penny Farthing café, their shared dream and ambitions gave her the push she needed to turn down tempting offers from highly regarded chefs in London, and instead venture to Toronto to provide Canadians with European-inspired pastry.

    The opening of Nadege coincided with Toronto’s swift surfacing on the international food scene, and Nourian and her pastries have helped shine light on the talent that Toronto has to offer. Nadege has received an abundance of international review, and customers have travelled from all over the world to taste her renowned macarons, miniature cakes, and any pastry made with the famous Valrhona chocolate. Norian’s passion for developing and creating dessert will ensure that her journey will not stop here. Although what’s in the works is being kept under wraps, its safe to say that the Nadege empire will continue to expand, possibly even beyond the Canadian borders.

    Nadege is located at 780 Queen Street West and 1099 Yonge Street, nadege-patisserie.com/

    Rebecca Feigelsohn is a Toronto based editorial intern for Good Food Revolution. She recently completed her BA in English at McGill University and loves all things sweet. Follow her as she profiles Toronto pastry chefs @GoodFoodRevInt


    Your Chance to Cook with 5 Famous Columbia Chefs

    Many say that we have Jacques Pépin ’70GS, ’72GSAS, ’17HON ­— along with his friend and longtime collaborator Julia Child — to thank for bringing French cooking to America. For over twenty-five years, Pépin has been a fixture on public television, patiently explaining in his ever-charming accent how to make a proper beurre blanc or bœuf bourguignon. Pépin is also the author of thirty cookbooks, the winner of twenty-five James Beard awards, and a talented artist — a skill he says he picked up while studying at Columbia.

    Jacques Pépin may be the master of complicated French classics, but since the start of the pandemic, he’s been on a different mission — helping people whip up basic dishes using freezer and pantry staples. Since March, he’s posted over 160 three-minute recipes to Facebook, and he recently updated his 1990 cookbook, Quick & Simple. Full of genius shortcuts (like using a food processor to make a baguette) and last-minute dinner ideas (a hearty stew with frozen vegetables), it’s perfect for kitchen novices, or anyone with a case of culinary fatigue.

    Melissa Clark

    Melissa Clark ’90BC, ’94SOA is a home cook through and through in fact, she’s never worked in a restaurant kitchen. But for the last thirteen years she’s written the popular “A Good Appetite” column in the New York Times and developed thousands of recipes for the paper’s food section, introducing readers to everything from sheet-pan suppers to deep-fried Twinkies. Clark is also the author of more than forty cookbooks and hosts a cooking video series on the Times website.

    The weeknight dinner grind is real, even when you’re working from home, but Clark’s Dinner makes life much easier. The author deploys interesting pantry ingredients (i.e., harissa or pomegranate molasses) to spice up dishes that are shockingly easy to whip up on a Zoom-packed Tuesday.

    Anita Lo

    For nearly two decades, Anita Lo ’88CC was the chef and owner of Annisa, the beloved Michelin-starred Greenwich Village restaurant that brought global flavors to fine dining. A favorite of food-TV fans, Lo was the first woman to win a challenge on Iron Chef America, and she also appeared on Top Chef Masters. Lo closed Annisa in 2017 and has been working on several new cookbook and restaurant projects since.

    Lo’s ode to cooking for one has found new life during the pandemic, providing great recipe ideas for anyone quarantining alone. Lo’s recipes are unapologetically sophisticated — think steamed sea bass with shiitake mushrooms or chicken tagine with couscous — in perfect proportions for a singleton.

    Christopher Kimball

    Most people know Christopher Kimball ’73CC as the cofounder of America’s Test Kitchen and the magazines Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country, all of which take a scientific approach to recipe development. In 2016 he created a new venture, Milk Street, a website, magazine, and cooking school that celebrates international flavors — a departure from Kimball’s New England roots.

    Essential cookbook: Milk Street

    The first cookbook produced under the Milk Street brand proves that ethnic cooking doesn’t have to be fussy or involve a long list of hard-to-find ingredients. Kimball’s recipes are bold and exciting, like Somali chicken soup and Japanese fried chicken, but easy for any home cook to master.

    Judy Joo

    Chef Judy Joo ’97SEAS splits her time between New York, London, and Hong Kong and hosted the Cooking Channel’s Korean Food Made Simple from 2014 to 2016. One of the four “iron chefs” on the UK’s version of the hit TV show in 2010, she’s passionate about sharing her love for Korean fusion cooking. Joo was also the first chef and owner of Jinjuu — a restaurant with two locations in London and one in Hong Kong. She left in 2019 to open another hit London restaurant, Seoul Bird.

    The companion book to Joo’s popular TV show, this cookbook does exactly what the title promises. Anyone looking to make restaurant favorites like japchae and bibimbap won’t be disappointed, but there are also some creative new dishes like “krazy Korean burgers” and pork-belly cheesesteaks.


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    Bringing French Cuisine to the Kitchen: Randy Risner Explores Easy Options

    VALLEJO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / February 19, 2021 / French cuisine is often one that rarely meets the home kitchen. It is defined by character and technique and unique flavors. As an interim city attorney in Fairfield, California, Randy Risner has learned to appreciate French cuisine. With a few cookbooks and online cooking courses, he's learned how to incorporate some easy options into his own home kitchen.

    Julia Child may have been an American cook, but she made French cuisine more approachable. This is who Randy Risner decided to channel when he wanted to start exploring more food from Paris, Bordeaux, and other regions of France.

    Much of what makes French cuisine unique is the number of techniques that are used. It's about learning about base sauces and precision knife cuts. Randy Risner was determined to learn how to cook a "proper French meal." Since so many chefs who are classically trained choose to train at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, he signed up for some of the online culinary courses.

    Randy Risner's Adventure

    Randy Risner of Vallejo was suddenly in his kitchen, learning how to chop and dice and julienne with a laptop providing him with all of the instruction he needed. Within weeks, he found that his knife skills improved drastically. He understood the differences between a velouté and a bechamel. Randy Risner could also recite the five mother sauces as he was taught within his online courses.

    French cuisine was easier than he thought. That's when he began looking at some of the easier recipes that he thought he could tackle. Coq au vin, otherwise known as chicken in wine, was one of the easiest dishes.

    Randy Risner also made such dishes as French onion soup, Croque Monsieur, and Ratatouille. He was able to bring French cuisine into his home kitchen. For his friends who hadn't visited France, he was able to amaze them with his culinary expertise. He was able to introduce them to foods that they wouldn't be able to try in real French bistros until after the pandemic ends.

    Randy Risner's Recommendations

    For any home chef, Randy Risner offers advice to make it easier to enjoy French cuisine. He believes that it starts with finding a good French cookbook. He offers up a classic like Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Dinner in French is also one he recommends by Melissa Clark for a modern spin.

    Randy Risner also recommends visiting a gourmet grocery store. The variety of ingredients can make a difference. It can lead to higher quality ingredients as well as being able to find exactly what a recipe calls for. In some instances, gourmet stores may offer a base or a prepped item that makes it easier to carry out a particular recipe, too.

    As Randy Risner continues his culinary journey into all things France, he shares his experiences.

    Caroline Hunter
    Web Presence, LLC
    +1 786-551-9491

    SOURCE: Randy Risner

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    Trudeau Tightens Up Mortgages After Macklem Sounds Housing Alarm

    (Bloomberg) -- Canadian officials escalated efforts to cool the nation’s booming housing market, moving ahead with tighter mortgage qualification rules after the central bank issued a fresh warning against buyers taking on too much debt.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government set a new benchmark interest rate on Thursday afternoon to determine whether people can qualify for mortgages that are insured by Canada’s housing agency. The move matches an April decision by the nation’s banking regulator to do the same for uninsured mortgages.The regulator -- the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions -- announced earlier Thursday it would implement its new rules June 1.Those steps coincided with a stern warning from Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem in the morning cautioning that Canadians should neither assume interest rates will remain at historic lows nor expect recent sharp gains in home prices to continue.“It is vitally important that homeownership remain within reach for Canadians,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.The moves come amid a surge in housing prices that’s raising concern among policy makers and economists. Cheap mortgages and new remote-working conditions have spurred a frenzy of demand for more spacious homes, with house hunters bidding up prices across the country.Canadians are so alarmed by the red-hot housing that nearly half the respondents in a Nanos Research Group poll for Bloomberg News say they’d like to see the Bank of Canada raise borrowing costs to curb demand for real estate and stabilize prices.Still, the measures announced Thursday are seen as incremental steps rather than representing a fundamental shift in policy.With the changes, home buyers will have to show they can afford a minimum rate of 5.25%. The current threshold, based on posted rates of Canada’s six largest lenders, is 4.79%. Economists have been estimating the tighter qualification restrictions would reduce the buying power of households by about 5%.The changes will have little impact on current housing price dynamics, according to Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.“This is not a game changer by any stretch of the imagination and it was highly expected,” Tal said by phone from Toronto.The measures from the government and the regulator came only hours after the Bank of Canada released its annual financial stability report, which highlighted the growing vulnerabilities associated with overleveraged households and speculative housing activity. It flagged three urban markets -- Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal -- as showing excess “exuberance,” with the national capital of Ottawa on the cusp of crossing that threshold.‘Not Normal”At a press conference, Macklem said some people have taken on “significantly” more debt, with many carrying very large mortgages relative to income. Borrowers and lenders need to understand that interest rates won’t always be at historic lows, and home buyers won’t be able to rely on rising values, he said.“It is important to understand that the recent rapid increases in home prices are not normal,” Macklem said. “Counting on ever higher house prices to build home equity that can be used to refinance mortgages in the future is a bad idea.”Outside of the warnings Thursday, it’s not clear how much the central bank can do to cool the market.Growing household vulnerabilities could give policy makers more reason to consider raising borrowing costs, for example, but higher rates would also inflate risks -- such as slow growth or a price correction. Macklem’s next interest-rate decision is due June 9 and the Bank of Canada has said it won’t consider raising its 0.25% benchmark rate until he economy is recovers fully from the Covid-19 pandemic.The Bank of Canada’s financial system review did find that Canada’s lenders could absorb a significant amount of losses in the case of another shock. The central bank said household debt and housing market vulnerabilities probably don’t pose a significant systemic threat to bank solvency, even though they could undermine future growth.“We have to look at the whole economy,” Macklem said at the press conference. “There are important parts of the economy that remain very weak, and the economy needs our support.”(Updates with context throughout.)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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    6 American Expats Who Went to France and Changed the Way We Eat

    The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy ($30) by Justin Spring takes a look at the rich lives of Americans who changed the way we eat. This passionate pack of epicureans set aside what they’d learned from their families and American culture in favor of adopting French culinary norms. What they found were countless sumptuous delicacies that were too decadent not to share back in the United States. As a result, there was a proliferation of books, TV shows, first-hand accounts, and of course recipes that made their way to America during the mid-20th century.

    Following World War II, there was a three-decade stretch, known as Les Trente Glorieuses, where Paris became not just the apex of tourism for intellectuals and artists but also an incubator of gastronomic genius too. Ironically, this culinary revolution was gaining steam just as processed foods were seeing their heyday across the pond. In America, dried eggs, powdered milk, and TV dinners were amassing a cult of followers dedicated to convenience. Early on, these products didn’t have the reputation of being bad for you. In fact, there were proponents of this space-age food who were producing “cookbooks” at the same time that new ideas about food and wine were beginning to trickle over from France. This period was formative in the way Americans talk about and eat food today. And if it weren’t for these six people, our country may never have experienced the Renaissance of cooking that led our current generation’s appreciation for haute cuisine and Michelin stars.

    AJ Liebling

    AJ Liebling was a writer for the New Yorker who used his words and widespread media presence to paint a lasting portrait of the chic and elaborate experience of dining out in Paris. Naturally, Americans couldn’t help but want to feel that too when they ordered a steak downtown on a Saturday night, so they slowly began to live out their interpretations of his descriptions of dinner in the City of Light. And so haute cuisine was born stateside.

    Alexis Lichine

    Let’s all take a moment to thank the man who made French wine available and comprehensible to Americans. This impresario and wine merchant led a lively life which resulted in him becoming the leading importer of French wines in America, and who, in effect, cultivated the American conception of what fine wine is today. You can even purchase wines that are branded under his name.

    Alice B. Toklas

    Proving that it’s never too late to pursue your dream, Toklas didn’t become a legendary foodie until she was 75. The life companion and muse of Gertrude Stein, she chose to autobiographically recount her life under the guise of writing a cookbook. Eventually, her work evolved to be more of a guide to meals at home in the style français than a memoir of her role in the Modernist period’s bohemian literary circles.

    Julia Child

    This woman may be the most well-known personality of all American Francophiles, and she’s famous for bringing the French palate to America. Through her TV show and two-volume cookbook, she forever changed the way we appreciate this European cuisine by introducing mid-century viewers to the rich food from an even richer culture. Watching her show, you get the distinct impression that French food must be good if this jolly lady can enjoy it so much.

    MFK Fisher

    By elegantly weaving her feelings about good food and associations with fine wine into her novels, this French cuisine pioneer offered a new perspective on food — one which asked the reader to consider food for its artistic merit in addition to its taste. Her most famous work was aptly named The Art of Eating.

    Richard Olney

    This reclusive artist unexpectedly blossomed into one of the most notable gastronomic visionaries of our age. His deconstruction of the French menu helped him create a model of eating that not only synchronized dishes with wines, but also with the season, to transform eating into an organic experience that’s linked to the earth. Needless to say, his beautiful depictions of meals made his cookbooks like Simple French Cooking works of art.

    French food is more than just baguettes and recipes with red wine — it embodies a lifestyle. These six adventurous and enterprising American expats captured the joie de vivre of French cuisine and educated their fellow Americans on the link between a happy life and food — and we still benefit from their efforts today in the most delicious ways.

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    Мы привлекаем к этому партнеров по маркетингу и рекламе (которые могут располагать собранной ими самими информацией). Отказ не означает прекращения демонстрации рекламы Etsy или изменений в алгоритмах персонализации Etsy, но может привести к тому, что реклама будет повторяться чаще и станет менее актуальной. Подробнее в нашей Политике в отношении файлов Cookie и схожих технологий.


    L’Auberge Chez François’ Chef Jacques Haeringer Shares Family Traditions and Recipes for Father’s Day

    Great Falls, VA (PRWEB) June 1, 2010

    Father’s Day is a day when we commemorate and celebrate Dad. This tradition to honor not only a father, but all men who have acted as a father figure, is celebrated not only in the United States, but in over 50 countries around the world. Fatherhood is an experience that bonds men across generations, continents and even food. In Great Falls, Virginia, the father-son bond is in evidence at the legendary Alsatian restaurant, L’Auberge Chez François. There, Chef Jacques Haeringer continues in his father, François’, footsteps, cooking up his father’s recipes nightly and keeping family traditions alive.

    “I was four years old when my father opened Chez François in 1954. French food and the restaurant business have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” says Jacques. “I began working summers with my father at the restaurant when I was twelve, first as a bus boy, then as a salad maker, and later as a cook. I remember my father’s uncanny ability to be on hand whenever I made a mistake. It was under his sharp eyes that I first began to learn the trade.”

    Alsace-Lorraine has produced one of the world’s richest and most varied cuisines. It combines traditional French cooking with unique ingredients. François Haeringer set out to bring the flavor of his native Alsace to America. For Alsatians, great food should be served in an intimate setting along with beautiful scenery. François created a tranquil setting for the restaurant bearing his name on six rolling green acres. The dining room and gardens makes enjoying a drink or meal unique and special. Guests are served in an old-world charming atmosphere reminiscent of the little family inns - or "auberge" - that dot the Alsatian countryside.

    “In 1954, there were only three French restaurants in Washington DC. My father was the first to offer complete meals to diners in a less formal atmosphere. His goal then, as it is now, was to operate a restaurant with ‘a nice ambiance, good, honest food, at affordable prices.’” For over 50 years visitors to the restaurant have enjoyed François Alsatian delicacies.

    To honor fathers everywhere, Chef Jacques shares two of his father’s favorite Alsatian recipes with home cooks to “impart the flavors, family traditions and culinary experiences of my father.”

    ALSATIAN STYLE ASPARAGUS
    Serves two

    8-10 ounces large asparagus
    sea salt
    freshly ground pepper
    2 tablespoons grated cheese (Parmesan or Gruyère)

    TO PREPARE THE ASPARAGUS:
    Peel the asparagus, if desired, and cut off the tough lower stems. Steam the asparagus over salted water to blanch, about 2 minutes. Asparagus should remain fairly crisp. Drain at once on a towel.

    TO SERVE:
    Preheat the broiler.

    Divide the drained asparagus between two ovenproof serving plates with the tips pointing in the same direction. Season with freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over the plated asparagus and place under the broiler until the cheese is lightly browned.

    The asparagus may be prepared ahead and reheated.

    PAPA’S ALSATIAN POTATO SALAD
    Serves Two

    2 medium Russet potatoes
    2 thick sliced strips of bacon
    2 tablespoons minced white or red onions
    1 tablespoon minced chives or green onions
    ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon dry mustard or 2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
    ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
    1/3 cup Vinaigrette
    sea salt
    freshly ground pepper

    Place potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes for approximately 15 minutes, until just slightly firm when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and cover with cold water. Once cool to the touch, peel the potatoes, split them lengthwise and thickly slice (1/8-inch thick).

    Place sliced potatoes in a large mixing bowl.

    Dice the bacon and sauté until slightly crisp. Pour the hot bacon, grease and all (that’s the best part and the secret of Papa’s recipe) onto the potatoes. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently using a rubber spatula. Salt and pepper to taste.

    STEAK AU POIVRE
    Serves two

    2 New York strip steaks, 12 ounces each
    sea salt
    1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
    1 tablespoon coarsely ground coriander seeds
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons Roquefort cheese

    FOR THE SAUCE:
    1 teaspoon minced shallots
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    ¼ cup dry white wine
    1 cup Basic Beef Sauce
    1 teaspoon butter
    pinch of minced garlic
    2 drops lemon juice
    sea salt
    freshly ground pepper

    Preheat the broiler. Lightly salt the steaks.

    Combine the pepper and coriander. Using the heel of your hand, firmly press the mixture into both sides of each steak.

    Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet. When the butter begins to brown, add the steaks and cook over moderately high heat until they are browned on both sides. Allow 3 minutes per side for medium rare.

    Remove steaks and place on a platter, keeping them warm while you prepare the sauce.
    Wipe out the saucepan in which the steaks were prepared. Then add the shallots, pepper, and wine, and place over high heat. Let the mixture reduce until it is almost dry. Add the Beef Sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter with a whisk. Add the garlic and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings.

    When ready to serve, place 1 tablespoon of cheese, broken into four or five pieces, on top of each steak.
    Place the steaks under the broiler until the cheese begins to melt.

    Remove the steaks from the broiler and pour the sauce around them. Serve at once.

    OPTION: steaks can be grilled instead of in a skillet.

    BASIC BEEF OR VEAL SAUCE
    Makes 1 quart

    3 pounds veal or beef bones and meat
    1 cup coarsely chopped onions
    ½ cup coarsely chopped carrots
    1 two-inch piece of celery
    3 tablespoons flour
    2-2 ½ quarts cold water
    2 tablespoons tomato purée or 1 fresh tomato, chopped
    2 bay leaves
    3 whole cloves
    pinch of thyme
    4 parsley sprigs, optional
    ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 teaspoon butter

    Using a meat cleaver, crack and cut the bones into small pieces. Place in a roasting pan and brown in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the partly browned bones and continue cooking until the vegetables are also well browned, approximately 15 more minutes.

    Remove pan from oven and drain the fat. Dust the bones with the flour, return pan to the oven, and cook for 5 more minutes.

    Transfer the bones and vegetables to a stockpot. Deglaze the roasting pan with 1 cup of the water, scraping any meat particles from the bottom. Cover bones with deglazing liquid and remaining water. Add tomato or tomato purée, herbs, and garlic.

    Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 2½-3 hours. Skim occasionally.

    Strain into a bowl and discard solids 2½-3 cups of stock should remain. Dot the top of the stock with the butter to prevent a skin from forming.

    Hint: If a sauce is too thin, the easiest way to thicken it is with cornstarch. Place a small amount in a cup and stir in water, a few drops at a time, until a thick paste (the consistency of kindergarten glue) is formed. Whisk a little into the simmering sauce and boil 2-3 minutes. Add more cornstarch until the desired consistency is reached.

    Recipes can be reprinted with the following credit: Copyright Chef Jacques Haeringer and L’Auberge Chez François.

    Chef Jacques is one of America’s most respected and innovative culinary personalities. Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Jacques loves to create and serve contemporary French fare. His menus feature reinterpreted Alsatian and French cuisine for American palates. When he isn’t in the kitchen he can be found teaching his popular gourmet cooking classes. Jacques is often asked to author magazine articles, cook up recipes at culinary events, and to be a guest on television and radio shows across the country.

    Jacques is the author of “Two for Tonight,” a collection of recipes that inspire romance through food and togetherness, and the “Chez François Cookbook,” the bible of classic Alsatian cuisine featuring some of the restaurant’s most popular recipes. He lives in Northern Virginia and is currently working on a new cookbook and television show.


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