Organized in chapters from soups to sweets, "Celebrations" offers both single-dish recipes, such as Salmon in Sorrel Sauce, and "multi-dish" main-course specialties, including Venison Steaks with Black Current Sauce, Chestnut Purée in Zucchini Boats, and Cranberry Relish. Homey dishes abound, and readers will want to make the likes of Cocotte Veal Shanks, Gratin of Butternut Squash, and Ham Georgia with Peach Garnish. A detailed section on bread making yields such treasures as Black Pepper Bread with Walnuts, while two dessert chapters offer such delights as Chocolate-Orange Tart with Candied Orange Peels, Caramel Snow Eggs, and Mocha Success Cake. With the step-by-step photos, which treat subjects as diverse as pan lining and pepper peeling; useful asides by Pépin's daughter and colleague, Claudine; and instructive commentary throughout, the book is another Pépin hit. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Jacques Pépin, celebrated host of award-winning cooking shows on National Public Television, master chef, food columnist, cooking teacher, and author of nineteen cookbooks, was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon. His first exposure to cooking was as a child in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pelican. At thirteen years of age, he began his formal apprenticeship at the distinguished Grand Hotel de L’Europe in his hometown. He subsequently worked in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the famed Plaza Athenee. From 1956 to 1958, Mr. Pepin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.
Moving to the United States in 1959, Mr. Pepin worked first at New York’s historic Le Pavilion restaurant, then served for 10 years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, a position that enabled him to learn about mass production, marketing, food chemistry, and American food tastes. He studied at Columbia University during this period, ultimately earning an MA degree in 18th-Century French literature in 1972. Deciding then to devote much of his time to writing, he authored two groundbreaking step-by-step books on French culinary technique, La Technique (1976) and La Methode (1979). These works, and others that followed, earned him a place in the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1996, an honor bestowed each year on one author whose contributions to the literature of food have had a substantial and enduring impact on the American kitchen.
Mr. Pépin’s newest ventures are a public television series and companion cookbook, both entitled Jacques Pépin Celebrates! Featuring recipes for holidays and celebrations, the series--his seventh produced by KQED, the PBS station in San Francisco--is scheduled for initial broadcast in the Fall of 2001 to coincide with the publication of the companion cookbook by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Mr. Pépin is also currently featured in a twenty-two show series with Julia Child entitled Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home, which premiered on public television in September 1999. An earlier series he co-hosted with his daughter, Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen: Encore with Claudine, was named Best National TV Cooking Show at the James Beard Awards in May 1999, and its predecessor, Jacques Pépin’s Kithen: Cooking with Claudine, was a James Beard Award winner (Best National Cooking Segment ) in 1997. His other public television series include the acclaimed Jacques Pépin’s Cooking Techniques and three successful seasons of Today’s Gourmet with Jacques Pépin.
Mr. Pépin’s writing career began in earnest in the 1970s, when he authored the two aforementioned groundbreaking step-by-step books on French culinary technique: La Technique (1976) and La Methode (1979). These works, and others that followed, earned him a place in the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame (1996). His most recent cookbooks include Sweet Simplicity: Jacques Pépin’s Fruit Desserts (1999) and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (1999), companion cookbook to the series of the same name, was selected best cookbook of 1999 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and The James Beard Foundation at their annual awards ceremonies in the Spring of 2000.
A former columnist for the New York Times, Mr. Pépin writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine. He also participates regularly in the magazine’s prestigious Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and at other culinary festivals and fund-raising events worldwide. In addition, he is a popular guest on such commercial TV programs as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Today Show, and Good Morning America.
Mr. Pépin is the recipient of two of the French government’s highest honors: he is the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997) and a Chevalier de L’Ordre du Merite Agricole (1992). He is also the Dean of Special Programs at The French Culinary Institute of Wine and Food, a member of the IACP, and is on the board of trustees of The James Beard Foundation. He and his wife, Gloria, live in Madison, Connecticut.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
In our family, we love to celebrate. Anything is an excuse for a celebration, and celebrations always mean food and wine. The holidays, from Christmas to the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, are usually celebrated at home, as well as the obvious occasions—birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries. A lovely spring day or a cold, crisp day in winter is a pretext for my wife, Gloria, and me to celebrate. Likewise, beautiful artichokes and a plump duck from the market make me want to cook and share the bounty. In our house, life itself is a celebration.
Any ritual means being together around the table. In our family, the table is the place where all the important events of our life are discussed and resolved, and it is where our family traditions are upheld and sustained. Above all, the table is the place for sharing and pleasure, for, as Brillat-Savarin said, “The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter of what place in history or society; they can be part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.”
In this book and its companion television series, I am offering recipes that I have prepared over many years and for countless celebrations. Many of the recipes are drawn from the two volumes of The Art of Cooking, which was published in the late 1980s. I have given new life and interpretation to many of these recipes, which are part of our family culinary tradition. With many of the recipes, I have added pictures of the proper techniques required to create these dishes. These often basic procedures and techniques are a very important part of the book and are meant to show certain tours de main, or tricks of the trade, that are difficult to explain in words alone—and isn’t a picture worth a thousand words? Although each of these techniques is presented with a specific recipe to which it applies in the book, it often can an0d should be used in conjunction with other recipes to which it applies. For example, peeling and seeding a tomato, crushing garlic, making a mignonnette, and using a pastry bag are techniques used over and over again in the book. Knowing how to master these procedures will free you from having to look at a recipe over and over again, and that basic knowledge will help you, regardless of which cookbook you choose to cook from. Furthermore, this useful and essential part of the book relates also to the visuals of television, and all the recipes and techniques included in the book are demonstrated on the PBS series Jacques Pépin Celebrates.
Some recipes, like the Consommé Printanier with Chicken Quenelles, the Caviar with Blini and Frozen Vodka, and the Volcano Surprise with Lemon Mousseline Cake are more elaborate, intended for special parties. Other dishes, such as the Black Bean Soup Augier, the Roasted Turkey with Bread-and-Mushroom Stuffing, and the Rhubarb Galette are inexpensive, simple fare, part of what we eat every day. Meals should be eclectic, diversified, and reflect the occasion, the season, and the mood of the cook.
In my family, sometimes dinner is quickly prepared, inexpensive, and extremely simple, such as a soup, an omelet, and a tomato salad, or a pizza, a green salad, and some cheeses, and, always, a glass of wine. At other times, the fare is more elaborate and more time-consuming to prepare, often the type of food we enjoy making on the weekend. Such a menu may include the Soufflé of Mussels and Basil, Braised Duck with Glazed Shallots and Honey Sweet Potatoes, a salad, cheeses, and Red Berries–Soaked Cake. In summer, we sometimes eat only from the garden, enjoying a green salad, or a stew of zucchini or eggplant. One type of meal is not necessarily better than another when everything is prepared with care, with love, with fresh ingredients, and with some knowledge of cooking. A simple vegetable soup can be as extraordinary as our Stuffed Salmon in Flaky Dough or Lamb Loins in Ambush with Fava Beans Neyron and Leek-and-Mushroom Pie. What is important is the sharing of food with family and friends.
Although my basic training was in French cooking, I have not tried in the following recipes to be strictly “French,” or, for that matter, not to be “French.” I have cooked food that satisfies my palate, my stomach, and my soul, food that my family enjoys. Most of the time, my recipes have accents from other cuisines, from Vietnamese and Chinese to American Southern to Tex-Mex. I’ve always been enthralled by the cuisines of Italy and the south of France, and I adore Spanish seasonings, so many of my dishes reflect those particular loves. I invariably try to emphasize the functional aspects of recipes, to simplify dishes and procedures, and to stress the use of fresh and healthful ingredients, and I attempt to explain my recipes in a clear, concise, Cartesian way.
This cookbook has a larger scope than the other cookbooks and television series I have done. From the Oyster-and-Corn Chowder with Small Cornbreads and the Molded Eggs with Carrot Puree and Truffles to the Broiled Lobster Benjamin with Caramelized Corn and Potato Flats, I have demonstrated dishes that are complex but not difficult to make, dishes that you can prepare successfully at your next party. I have not come close to covering the whole spectrum of cooking, but I have made an attempt to create distinct and diverse recipes, from Venison Steaks with Black Currant Sauce, Chestnut Puree in Zucchini Boats, and Cranberry Relish to Bouillabaisse, and Cassoulet with Pumpkin Seed Sausage to Salmon with Mousseline Sauce. I have created many charcuterie dishes—Home-Smoked Salmon with Cucumber Salad and Salmon Gravlax Evelyn with Onion-and-Cucumber Garnish, Chicken Galantine, Parsleyed Ham with Rémoulade Sauce, as well as Fresh Foie Gras with Port Wine Aspic and a white cheese dish, called Fromage Blanc Jean-Victor with Roasted Garlic and Coral “Tree,” that my father used to make.
I have recipes for several types of bread, from standard baguettes to Black Pepper Bread with Walnuts, and Brioche Mousseline to Cheese Bread. I have tried to show the versatility of certain mixtures, such as pâte à choux, and to demonstrate how it is used with some of my favorite dishes—Gougères, Parisienne Gnocchi, and Potatoes Dauphine, as well as Profiteroles with Pastry Buttercream and Chocolate Sauce and Paris-Brest Cake with Praline Cream. I’ve done the same thing with puff pastry, giving recipes for three different types of puff paste: a classic version, a fast version, and a practically instant puff paste. I have given extensive examples of uses for this dough in savory as well as sweet dishes, from Puff Pastries of Oysters and Asparagus to a Flaky Raspberry Strip. Great summer fruit desserts are included, as well as a series of soufflés, several chocolate desserts, and petits fours. Because of the complexity of the recipes as well as the special celebrations where these dishes are served, more emphasis is placed on the presentation than would be for everyday cooking; many dishes—cakes and fruit desserts, for example—are served on large, beautiful platters rather than on individual plates. An impressive whole ham with peaches is enticingly carved at the table, and a beautiful, large orange vacherin makes for a stunning presentation.
My daughter, Claudine, is again my companion and partner in both the book and the television series, and although my wife, Gloria, makes only brief appearances on the shows (she loves her privacy too much), she is very much a part of the soul and spirit of the recipes. After so many years of companionship, our palates crave the same flavors most of the time.
I want in this book to demonstrate what a great pleasure cooking is for me and my family, how much a part of our lives it is, and how much cooking contributes to the makeup and civilization of the different countries of the world. My hope is that some of my food will add to your family’s enjoyment, relaxation, and pleasure at home, and that, by sharing with you my view of food and wine, I will become, in a small way, a part of your own celebrations and family gatherings.
FRESH FOIE GRAS WITH port wine aspic
yield: 8 to 10 servings
About 1 1/2 pounds fresh Grade A foie gras
(1 fattened duck liver)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 tablespoons good cognac
port wine aspic
1/2 cup coarsely chopped green of leeks
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/4 cup coarsely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh chervil
1 large sprig tarragon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (about 2 tablespoons)
1 egg white from a large egg
2 cups good white stock (see White Stock, page 15)
1 1/2 tablespoons good port wine
1 small truffle, sliced and cut into julienne
Bread or brioche (see Brioche Mousseline,
Soak the foie gras, still vacuum-sealed in plastic, in tepid water for about 1 hour to soften.
Following the illustrations, remove the liver from the plastic. You will notice that it has two lobes. Separate by breaking these lobes apart, and remove and discard as much of the sinews, veins, and gristle running through the liver as possible, pushing inside the meat with your thumb or index finger to dislodge them. (Don’t worry if the liver is broken into several pieces; it will still join together during cooking. However, when the foie gras is to be sliced and sautéed, it is best to slice it before cleaning, then remove the pieces of sinew from the slices afterward.)
If any part of the foie gras appears greenish, it probably means that the gallbladder has broken and run slightly onto it. This liquid is extremely bitter, and any green areas should be sliced off and discarded. ...