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Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen [Paperback]

Clotilde Dusoulier
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 15 2007

Clotilde Dusoulier is a twenty-seven-year-old Parisian who adores sharing her love of all things food-related—recipes, inspirations, restaurant experiences, and above all the pleasure of cooking with the fresh ingredients found in her local Montmartre shops. But her infatuation with food was born not in her mother’s Parisian kitchen, but in San Francisco, where she moved after college and discovered a new world of tastes. When she returned to her beloved France, her culinary exploits inspired her popular and critically acclaimed blog, ChocolateandZucchini.com.

In her first book, Dusoulier provides a glimpse into the life of a young Parisian as she savors all that the city has to offer and shares her cooking philosophy in the form of more than 75 recipes that call for healthy ingredients (such as zucchini) and more indulgent tastes (such as chocolate). The Los Angeles Times calls her recipes "simple, charming, and fun."

Appetizers such as Cumin Cheese Puffs, sandwiches and tarts like Tomato Tatin, soups like Chestnut and Mushroom, main dishes including Mustard Chicken Stew, and desserts like Chocolate and Caramel Tart can all be found alongside menus for entertaining, as well as tips for throwing cocktail or dinner parties with French flair. Chocolate & Zucchini is the book for anyone who has journeyed to Paris and can still recall the delicious flavors and aromas—or for those of us who only dream about them.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Readers of Dusoulier's ebullient food blog, chocolateandzucchini.com, won't be disappointed by this wonderful mélange 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, Simplicité (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 Comté Cheese Soufflés, 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 Crème Brûlée) 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. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“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.”
—Susan Herrmann Loomis, author of On Rue Tatin and The French Farmhouse Cookbook

"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."
—David Lebovitz, author of The Perfect Scoop and Room For Dessert

"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."
—Melissa Clark

“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.”
—Dave Lieberman

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Air from a Parisian Kitchen May 16 2007
Format:Paperback
I love a good cookbook, and I love meeting a new friend. With this inventive book you get both. The recipes range from simple sandwiches (how about a curried turkey sandwich)to traditional French icons (boeuf bourguignon). There are items to satisfy your sweet tooth (lemon butter cookies)or savoury cravings (hazelnut-thyme matchsticks or maybe a cumin cheese puff). And while you are reading you get to know Mlle. Clotilde and her world, sort of like having a great cook as a neighbour who tells you stories and gives you recipes and cooking hints over the back fence, or more appropriately from one Parisian balcony to another. Dusoulier also doubles as the photographer and does the craft proud whether it is outdoor scenic photography or the mouth watering food photography which she chooses to explore in it's simplicity rather than overburdening the senses. All in all a great effort, both utilitarian and entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars French without the fussy Sept. 24 2012
Format:Paperback
I borrowed this book from the library and about three recipes in (sardines club sandwich, chocolate zuke cake, and pistou), I'm feeling pretty certain I must own this book. So far, each recipe I've tried has been amazing, featuring flavour combos I would never have thought to put together. Her whimsical anecdotes are fun to read and very persuasive. I can't wait to try the prune/lamb meatballs and wet bread sandwich (if those sound gross, that's because you haven't read the book). Yum!
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5.0 out of 5 stars French Food Makes Everything Better June 30 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Initially I borrowed Chocolate & Zucchini from the library, looking for a bit of culinary escapism to transform a bad day. Six soul-saving recipes later - the Very Chocolate Cookies, and the Chocolate and Zucchini Cake seemed to make all my problems magically disappear! - I knew it had to become part of my collection. There are user-friendly recipes containing intriguing and unusual ingredients, and bright photos that tempt you to try everything. The author's entertaining anecdotes and sidebars about various ingredients dare you to indulge in the adventure of exploring French cuisine. Clotilde Dusoulier's cookbook has been an inspiring read which has given me much incentive to prepare and share even more of her recipes. It is a resource that I would highly recommend, (and not just to turn bad days into good ones). Merci!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Food, stories, photos and friends May 20 2007
Format:Paperback
Two of my favourite things in the world are food and books, so Clotilde's delightful combination of recipes and stories to accompany them is my idea of the perfect cookbook. Her photography adds an extra layer of appeal, with fresh, sharp photos of the recipes, and glimpses into 'her' Paris. The photos of produce at market stalls and outdoor shots of Paris will have people wishing they were there.

The recipes are well-laid out and well-referenced, methods are easy to follow, variations and substitutions are noted and wine pairing suggestions are also given.

I'm sure this is one cookbook what will be used over and over again. There are recipes for all occasions, from quick, simple snacks to sophisticated dinner party dishes, and lots of delicious everyday recipes as well. The essence of Clotilde's recipes is that they are enjoyable to make and to eat, especially when shared with family and friends.

The first recipe I'm cooking out of my new favourite cookbook? The Chocolate and Zucchini Cake, of course!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  68 reviews
55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Downhome Paris June 3 2007
By Ronald L. James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"It's great to nudge yourself out of your comfort zone, as that's how you'll grow as a cook, but don't take things (or yourself) too seriously: play with your food, and do whatever feels right and enjoyable. Something humble and simple, whipped up lightheartedly, will always taste better than an elaborate dish prepared by a stressed-out, cranky cook." -Clotilde Dusoulier

That's on page xxi in the section 'My Cooking Philosophy" of the book "Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen. If that way of thinking and approaching food appeals to you I know you will enjoy this little gem of a book! Trust me. It's innovative, down-to-earth, fun, yet practical too, with the occasional 'leap of faith' e.g. the chocolate and zucchini cake.

This book presents what a talented and creative lover of food might very well "throw together" at home in Paris and encourages you to do the same, no matter where you live. I wanted to write a review the day I received it (yes, I've followed her Blog for quite a while) for it seemed already familiar, like an old friend dropping by who had been on a journey and was now in my home. BUT to review a cookbook without trying out the actual recipes did not seem logical to me.

It's a fun read with great advice and yes, you can shut your eyes and pretend you do live in Paris (yet when you open them it's best to have some food sitting there)! Without too much effort you can please yourself and freinds with "downhome Paris" cooking in no time. To start - the Chocolate and Zucchini cake I found was best if you did NOT tell your friends the name of said cake..... just offer it casually with a side of ice cream or gelato or just as is and watch them ask for another piece. I made it with butter but Clotilde also suggests the peppery undertone of olive oil. I appreciate the optional method being given. Trust me, it's delicious!

The Honey Spice Loaf, perfect for Fall was also great in the Summer! If you like molasses and spice cookies, you'll love this loaf. Clotilde suggests candied ginger as an option and I heartedly agree. It really added a nice texture and added flavor kick.

The Curried Turkey Sandwich is wonderful and is made without mayo. I've nothing against mayo but this was nice and lighter in flavor and fat calories!

Baby Spinach and Shrimp Chilled Soup is light but satisfying and oh so easy. It calls for kefir but buttermilk (which is what I had on hand) may be used.

Lavender Apricot Compote was sublime. Apricots are in season now and I have lavender growing in my yard. No, I don't live in some exotic locale - I'm in Little Rock AR which is too far from Paris but I can pretend otherwise and enjoy the process with the help of this book! If you don't have apricots Clotilde suggests peaches or plums.

Yes, I have enjoyed everything I've made so far (there are more) and did not find anything difficult to put together. Some things may not appeal to some readers such as "Sardine and Tomato Club Sandwich" but I found it delicious and actually something you would secretly throw together when no one was looking and you were maybe home alone, only to discover you had a new delicious offering worth adding to your repertoire!!

I almost forgot to mention that Clotilde also gives wine recommendations for all her recipes - an unexpected plus for such a small cookbook. If any of the above appealed to you, buy this book (you cannot beat the price), read it, enjoy it and cook from it - you won't be sorry and hopefully you'll find a new friend in Clotilde and her enthusiastic approach to eating.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book! May 25 2007
By Soozie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I don't buy many cookbooks these days, relying on old standbys for measurements or proportions, and the web for new ideas. I've been a fan of Clotilde's blog for years, where I can enjoy a walk through Paris anytime, a visit to an interesting Paris restaurant, or sit by her virtual side as she invents a new dish. I have long admired her devotion to unusual ingredients, or usual ones in unusual combinations. So buying her book was an act of loyalty. But I'm so glad I did! Before I got it home I had taken a peek at the photos and had in mind trying several of her recipes with ingredients I already had on hand -- like the chicken and nectarine salad, mushroom and cheese sandwiches, and mustard chicken stew. I figure any cookbook that provides a single "keeper" is a winner, and I already have three from this one. (The very chocolate cookies will have to wait for a trip to the store!) Clotilde has honed her skills in the kitchen and with the English written word for years, and it shows in this wonderful book. Unpretentious and accessible, all while being inventive and interesting. What can I say? Buy this book!
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! May 15 2007
By Annette - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I just received this from Amazon yesterday, and have to say it is already one of my favorite cookbooks (and I have MANY)! I love to cook, love Paris, and have enjoyed the author's foodblog, so I've been looking forward to the printing of this book. It hasn't disappointed. Clotilde's conversational writing style makes me feel as if I'm sitting in the kitchen with a close friend. This is the first cookbook I've ever had the urge to read from cover to cover like a novel. I tried the first recipe in the book, Chicken Salad with Peaches & Hazelnuts, for dinner last night and loved the combination of flavors and the simplicity of preparation. Can't wait to read further and get back in the kitchen to try more of the yummy-sounding recipes!
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wish I liked it April 29 2009
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have followed Clotilde's blog for years. I enjoy her writing. I think she has interesting and creative ideas, but the book was a flop.

It's beautifully written, I love the photos, but of the recipes I tried,(pear and blue cheese madelines, a cookie made w/ orange flower water and mustard chicken) none of them came out well enough to be counted a success. They were all edible, but not very good. I gave my copy away.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've been cooking and baking through these recipes for months--and I love it! May 6 2010
By mecaks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was brought up in the kitchen and watching Julia Child and used Moosewood cookbooks and lots of ethnic cookbooks. I love Clotilde's Chocolate & Zucchini a lot and have read it through like a book! I haven't been able to do the wine pairings though...no source for the wines. It's a small book without the stay-open features of a regular cookbook but the binding has held up despite lots of back foldings to keep it open. Great pics of the final results fill the book. I've had great success with all the recipes.

The oeuf cocotte is a great way to start a holiday morning; I served the Olive Tapenade at a party and everyone loved it...(and these were mid-westerners). Ditto the Gougères au cumin and Pistachio pesto. I took her advice about a dinner party and made the Mustard Chicken Stew and it disappeared. The desserts are great (savory and not overly sweet). Pain d'épice, Yogurt cake, Crème Brulée with hibiscus (be careful not to boil the milk and cream at all or it will curdle). The Mango Ricotta with Macadamia Crunch I served at a dinner party is still being raved about...so enjoy, enjoy! I bought some lavender and am looking forward to making the apricot compote...
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