review & recette: the french market cookbook & pascadous.

Just a few weeks ago, I managed to catch my friend Omid while he was in town. Omid and I became friends nearly 7 years ago when he lived in San Francisco, and a few years later, he and his wife, Alannah, moved from the City by the Bay to the City of Lights.  Omid and Alannah are both avid cooks and have a few food-related projects going on in Paris, so they always seem to know what’s going on when it comes to new and exciting food…stuff, for lack of a better word. Knowing that I’m a total French food freak, Omid told me about a woman named Clotilde Dusoulier, a Parisian food blogger who happened to have a speaking engagement coming up at Omnivore Books in San Francisco.  He told me, “You will love her.  Her book is great!”

So off to Omnivore Books we went, Jules and I listened to her present her books (she is so charming), and I ended up picking up two copies of The French Market Cookbook (Clotilde signed one for me, and one for my mom) as well as Chocolate & Zucchini, her first cookbook, which has the same title as her blog.

The French Market Cookbook is a delightful collection of vegetarian recipes that are listed by season, which is perfect for someone who absolutely adores a good farmers market or is looking to make vegetables a central focus of their diet.  The recipes are easy to follow (particularly nice for novice cooks) and aren’t overly complicated or laden with dairy, and many of the dishes also incorporate grains like buckwheat, quinoa, and bulgur.  I also like how Clotilde writes a snippet before each recipe, either giving some background on the dish, or helpful hints on preparation – instructional and entertaining.
You absolutely do not have to be a vegetarian to appreciate this book – the flavors and composition of the dishes are plenty satisfying.  Plus, if you’re like me and like pretty photos, this book has beautiful, fresh-looking pictures of many of the dishes and their ingredients.  I bought a copy for my mom since she has been expressing a desire to learn more vegetarian recipes, and this is a fantastic starting off point for her!
To purchase your copy, check your local bookstore, or an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  To try out one of my favorite recipes from the book, keep reading!
 
The first attempt.
 
The first week I had the cookbook in my hands, I made these chard pancakes from Laguiole called pascadous, and Jules, my constant test subject, ate one…then another, then another, which I took to mean that he liked them a lot!  That time, I rushed the dough and then put in way more chard than the recipe called for, so the pancakes came out thicker and stuffed with green veggies (see above) – delicious, but not exactly textbook.  My latest attempt looked more like an actual pancake and seemed to be more along the lines of what the pascadous should look like (there is no photo in the book of the finished product, but I followed the recipe exactly this time, except I substituted Cup4Cup gluten-free flour).  
 
Pascadous, from The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier
1 cup/130g all-purpose flour
Fine sea salt
4 large organic eggs, 2 whole and 2 separated
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine (optional)
1/2 cup/120 ml milk (not skim) or unflavored, unsweetened nondairy milk
8 ounces/225g Swiss chard leaves or spinach, finely chopped
Olive oil for cooking
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and 1 teaspoon salt and form a well in teh center.  Add 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks and stir to mix with part of the flour from the mound.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Add the garlic and wine and then pour the milk in a slow stream, whisking as you go, until all the flour is incorporated and the mixtures is creamy and mostly lump-free.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When ready to cook the pancakes, remove the bowl from the fridge and fold in the greens.
In a clean bowl, beat the 2 egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon salt with a handheld electric mixer or a whisk until they form stiff peaks.  Fold them into the batter with a spatula, working in a circular, up-and-down motion to avoid deflating the egg whites.
Heat 1 tablespoon cooking olive oil in a large skilled over medium heat.  Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot skillet, without flattening.  Repeat to forma as many pancakes as will comfortably fit in the skillet, probably no more than 4.
Cook until the edges are set and the pancakes are golden underneath, 4 to 5 minutes.  Flip and cook until the other side is set and golden, 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a warmed serving plate, grease the skillet again, and repeat with the remaining batter.  You should have enough to make 10-12 pancakes.
Serve hot, adding a little more pepper and a sprinkling of salt on top.
Voila!
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fiendishly fond of cooking, SoulCycle, Pilates, green smoothies, and Korean spas.

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