17 July 2012

The French Country Table

 Face it.  We will read any French cookbook out there.  It is a sickness. An addiction.  We love it and that is that.  By now, the biggest differentiation between French cookbooks is the photographs. 

Ryland, Peters and Small, always a favorite publisher for cookbooks, publish the French Country Table.   They understand the value of photos, good recipes and basic bookbinding.  The thick muted paper has an old-fashioned feel and is the perfect vehicle for a country cookbook. 

Writer Laura Washburn has taken many of the familiar French dishes and given them a bit of twist.   There is a roasted chicken, but with guinea fowl.  There is a gratin with macaroni (yes, it is just a macaroni and cheese).  The clafoutis is rhubarb instead of cherries.

The pictures are lovely.  It is no wonder that Martin Brigdale has won numerous awards on three continents for his food photography.  The photos show the food at its best!  

 Your carrots should look like the above left carrots, especially if you procured them from one the vegetable vendors pictured!
Carrots with cream and herbs.

2 lbs. mini carrots, trimmed, of medium carrots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
a sprig of thyme
2 tablespoons crème fraise or sour cream
several sprig of chervil, snipped
a small bunch of chives, snipped
fine sea salt

If using large carrots, cut them diagonally into 2-inch slices.  Put in a large saucepan (the carrots should fit in a single layer for even cooking.) Add the butter and set over low heat.  Cook for three minutes, until the butter has melted and coated the carrots.  Half fill the saucepan with water, then add a pinch of salt and the thyme.  Cover and cook for 10 – 20 minutes, until the water is almost completely evaporated.
Stir in the crème fraise and add salt to taste.  Sprinkle the chervil and chives over the top, mix well and serve.

If you have ever passed one of those sad bags of “baby” carrots in vegetable section, now you have a great idea of what to do with them.  Whip up these carrots in cream and you, too, can transport yourself to the French countryside.

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