Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a book event featuring the charming Clotilde Dusoulier, the much-loved French blogger of Chocolate and Zucchini
, at Omnivore Books
, a bookstore dedicated to food and cooking books in San Francisco. Clotilde spoke about her latest book, French Market Cookbook:Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen
, and told us that she has always based her menus around the best seasonably available produce. A flexitarian, she has now adopted a predominantly vegetarian diet and wanted her third book to reflect this direction.
Rather than focusing on heavy cream-based dishes, Clotilde's book draws its inspiration from the regional peasant traditions of France's diverse geographical provinces. The recipes, which reflect her interest in both produce and baked goods, are organized by season and each recipe is briefly introduced, providing a warm personal and educational context for what follows. Clotilde's writing style is open and friendly and frequently references childhood memories, favorite restaurant meals, French cooking traditions, and taste secrets that come from a wide experience of cooking for friends. The recipes are thoughtful and considered, without being overly time-consuming and complex, making this a great cookbook for both seasoned and beginner cooks.
When asked which of her recipes in the book were her favorites, Clotilde chose "Poor Man's Bouillabaise", a vegetarian version of the seafood stew from Marseille (I'm planning a Fall vegan and gluten-free version of the bouillabaise, so stay tuned!) and "Pear and Chestnut Cake", made with chestnut flour from Corsica (a French island in Mediteranean sea). I have to say, additional standouts to me include the "Seaweed Tartare", "Cauliflower Gratin with Tumeric & Hazelnuts", and the cardamon-scented "Lebanese Coffee Dessert Jars" looks too delicious to resist!
If you love cookbooks with inspirational and straightforward recipes, great food writing, and beautiful photographs, you'll love this book. And, if you're a Francophile vegetarian like me, this one's a given.
If you're interested, here's a link
to my write-up regarding Clotilde's book event at Cody's in 2007.