Cooking: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Taste of France

Do I have two French cookbooks? You bet your ass I do. I’ve always been fascinated with France (in general) and specifically Paris. Call me a romantic. I’ve been to Paris 3 times and I still love it. I remember buying this book AGES ago. This may actually be my oldest cookbook (in terms of how long I’ve owned it). The Great Gatsby was my favorite book I read in high school. I haven’t used this cookbook a lot. I always felt like the recipes were intimidating so I avoided it for the most part – but could never part with it because it was just too beautiful. This project really forced me to try this cookbook and I’m so happy I did. Most of the recipes really are staples so I found recipes that were close enough or even exact.

You can buy the book here.

I really think that my computer ate some of my photos because I only have a few from this week. The rest have to come from my IG stories again.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Find the recipe here (minus the buttermilk brushing, this is exact).

Well. Looks like I forgot to write about these beautiful buttery carb love bombs. Instagram Stories to the rescue (again)! I have always avoided making biscuits because I thought they were hard. Why did I think that? My dad is a fantastic cook (I’ve talked about this a lot) but that man cannot make a biscuit to save his damn life (sorry dad). It turns out to be a hockey puck. Maybe I’ll have him try this recipe because it was so quick and easy! You can definitely throw it together for a weekend breakfast.

French Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches

I’ve wanted to try this recipe for a while but I always ended up on “It’s a damn egg sandwich” and moved on. BOY was I wrong! This blows all egg salad sandwiches out of the water! First of all, I do want to tell the audience that I somehow can’t boil eggs. I’ve had everyone and their mom (including my MIL) give me egg boiling advice and I totally appreciate all of you but I can’t do it. I screw it up every time. So since I like boiled eggs, I got this bad boy and I have never regretted it. I used the baguette I had cooked the night before – which I would hollow out next time. It was A LOT of bread. Instead of mixed lettuce, I used arugula cause that’s what I had. I also added in some spicy mayo because why not. 10/10 recommend this. I don’t think I’ll ever make egg salad sandwiches any other way (with or without the ham – still great). The thyme really was the game changer here. You could taste it and it added so much flavor. I couldn’t find this exact recipe and since I loved it so much, you have to have the exact.

RECIPE
8 large eggs (hard boiled)
1.5 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
1.5 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1.5 tablespoons mayo
1.5 teaspoons mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices ham
1 baguette, sliced lengthwise, then cut into four equal sandwich pieces
mixed lettuce leaves (optional)
1 tomato, thinly sliced (optional)

Peel and chop the eggs and place together in a medium bowl. Add the green onion, parsley, mayo, mustard, thyme, paprika, salt, and black pepper, and stir together. Place a slice of ham in each section of baguette as the bottom layer of filling in the sandwiches. Spoon the egg mixture evenly on top. Add lettuce leaves and tomato, then cover with the top pieces of bread.

Vichyssoise

Find a recipe here.

This soup was so flavorful, it definitely took me by surprise. Instead of using a standing blender, I used an immersion blender – it’s way easier. This would be a great and filling meal (with fresh bread) in and of it itself. I often forget that soup can really be the star! Just get some good bread. Which leads me to…

French Baguette

Find a recipe here.

I’ve made baguettes before and they’re surprisingly easy. It’s just a lot of waiting around for things to rise. There’s not much better than freshly baked baguettes. This is a super basic recipe – as it always is. The loaves are going to be weird looking and that has never bothered me. I’m not selling these babies, I’m eating them. Probably in one sitting, thank you very much.

Bouillabaisse

Find a recipe here.

Okay. Let me just start this with: If you want to make this, you should get all 100% fresh ingredients. We used to live right by a fresh seafood market and it really did spoil me. We could have gotten everything in this recipe right there – fresh. But we’re at the beck and call to whatever Safeway has on hand. You’d think there’d be more fresh seafood sellers everywhere in California. I digress. Even if you don’t have fresh stuff – the effort of making this dish vs the results is just too high. It was way too much work for what it was. I’d rather order it somewhere (or honestly not eat it again, I won’t miss it). I did, however, really like this anchovy sauce/paste thing. I’d totally put that on a fresh baguette.

Nicole Diver’s Chicken a la Maryland

Find a recipe here. Just add dijon on the side!

This recipe kind of scared me. Bananas with chicken?? And mustard??? Ew. BUT LET ME TELL YOU. It was amazing. I’m shocked. The creaminess of the bechamel and bananas blended well with the tang of the dijon. The textures all worked together well too. I’d eat this every single day, not gonna lie. The only change I made was I didn’t have ~freshly grated nutmeg~.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Paired with boxed mashed potatoes because after 2 freaking days I was tired okay.

HI! HELLO! HOW ARE YOU? This beef needs to marinate for two fucking days. Guess who didn’t know that. You’d think by now I’d actually read instructions. If you’re going to write a cookbook and you need to marinate anything for longer than 30 minutes, there should really be a disclaimer though. I also didn’t pay attention to the “Burgundy” part of the wine so I just used regular red wine we had on hand. I also used beef stock instead of veal because that’s what I already had (and I honestly don’t know how much I’d use veal stock to have it sticking around). While the meat was cooking, I wrote down that the house smelled amazing so that’s something. I bought half the amount of mushrooms on accident but it was honestly enough. This was amazing. It was 100% worth the 2 days of marination and 3 hours of cooking. It’s a waiting intensive dish, but I say do it. The meat just falls apart and melts in your mouth. The mushrooms were cooked perfectly. There were a ton of recipes out there but nothing that was this close and nothing where you had to marinate for 2 days so I figured I’d just post it here.

RECIPE
1 bottle of Burgundy wine
2 tablespoons brandy
4 onions, 2 thinly sliced and 2 chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, crushed
10 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
2lb chuck roast cut into large cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil
4oz bacon, cubed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/4 cups veal stock (I used beef)
4 tablespoons butter
1lb mushrooms, sliced
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine the wine, brandy, sliced onions, carrots, parsley, bay leaf, 1 crushed garlic clove, peppercorns, and salt. Mix well and add the cubed beef. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 2 days. Preheat the over to 300 degrees (F). Strain the meat from the vegetables/marinade. Set aside. Dry the meat with paper towel. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a few pieces of the meat and saute for 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl and set aside. Repeat for the remaining pieces, in small batches each time. When all the meat is browned, using the same pan, add the bacon and saute until lightly browned. Transfer the bacon to the bowl with the meat drain the pan and return it to the heat. Pour 1 cup of the reserved marinade (without veggies) into the pan to deglaze, scraping the bottom to loosen up all the little bits. Return this liquid to the reserved marinade. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the onion and carrot from the marinade, along with the additional chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the meat and bacon, using a slotted spoon and return the pan to the heat. Add the flour to the pan, combining it with the oil and stirring until well mixed and brown, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, remaining crushed garlic, stock, reserved marinade, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and whisk to remove any flour lumps. Add this to the meat and vegetable mixture. Place the entire mixture in a 9×13 baking dish. Bake in a preheated oven for 3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed (I didn’t need to). Season with salt and pepper to taste. About 15 minutes before the meat is ready, melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir them into the stew and serve.

Gnocchi al Virgil Thomson

I remember the first time I had gnocchi. A girl I was friends with (who is hella Italian) brought some her mom made over to me. I was IN LOVE. I’d never even heard of this beautiful potato deliciousness. Her and I had lost touch for a few years and when we re-connected, I told her how much I missed her moms gnocchi… Turns out it was a package I could have just bought in the pasta aisle. Whodathunk? I made gnocchi from scratch for the first time a few years back and it’s easier than I thought – but this was the first time I was making it with potatoes. I think I’d use a blender to make the potatoes SUPER creamy next time because I definitely had some chunks here. I remember being just annoyed and hungry so that could have been the issue too. I also made them a little bigger than I should have but they were still tasty! Definitely very basic recipe but good to have up my sleeve. This one I also couldn’t find, interestingly enough… so here you go.

RECIPE
1lb yellow potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). Bake the potatoes in the preheated oven until you can squeeze with your hands. Set aside briefly to cool to a temperature where you can handle them. Cut each potato in half, scoop out the insides into a bowl and mash. Scatter most of the flour onto a clean work surface, make a well in the center and drop the mashed potatoes into the well. Add the beaten egg and gently combine all the ingredients to form a dough. Cut the mixture in half and roll into long ropes of dough, then cut these into 1 inch pieces to create small dumplings. Place these on a baking sheet or cutting board sprinkled with flour and indent the tops using a fork (they can be frozen at this point for later use). Bring a pan of salted water to boil. Drop the gnocchi in and remove them with a slotted spoon when they start to float to the surface – this will only take about 1 minute. While the gnocchi cook, melt the butter in a pan with the garlic. Place the cooked gnocchi in individual serving dishes. Toss with melted butter (after removing garlic) and sprinkle over the grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and finish with nutmeg.


Were there any here that you’d make?

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