Cook book clubs popped up in my feed. Cook book clubs?! I loved book club, and dinner club, so I was intrigued. The basic idea is that you get together with a group of friends each month. You all get the same cook book. You each pick a different recipe, and bring it to share. Everything is served at room temperature, and there’s no doubling of recipes, so it’s stress free. You rotate houses each month and the host gets to pick the title. Okay, that’s too awesome! The first month at my house. Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. I’ll make two recipes so my non-cooking foodie husband can join in on the fun. Lots of friends scattered across the country wanted to play, but no local takers. Fine. I’d have a cook book club for one that month. I had so much fun with it, that it became a two-a-month thing, then weekly, and well, let’s just same I’m hooked. There’s just so much to learn in the kitchen, and I’m starving to learn it all! Here’s my review of Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. And here’s a link to the stuffed tomatoes recipe so you can try them, too!
Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen
by Jacques Pepin
I love this book. Everything I’ve made in it has been flavorful, healthy, and simple to make. As icing on the cake, the book is peppered with charming watercolors from Jacques. It’s all wonderful.
1) Parisian Potage (potato leek soup) – p50, with Country Bread – p110, and Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti – p398. Fantastic! We had a potato leek soup at a farmhouse restaurant out in the country in Portugal on our honeymoon, and this brought us right back there.
2) Garlic Escargot in Baked Potatoes – 138-139. Yummy! I made this after the kids already loved everything from Papa Jacques’ books, so that they wouldn’t mind trying snails, and they loved it, too.
3) Spinach-Stuffed Pork Loin Chops – p216-217. This makes such a pretty, easy, and flavorful dinner. Love this one.
4) Tomatoes Provencale – p340-341. Delicious, and fabulously fragrant. The madeleines are out of Julia’s book, The Way to Cook.
5-6) Beef Fillet Mini Steaks with Mushrooms and Shallots – p212, and Green Beans with Mustard and Cream Dressing – p301. Terrific dinner. The steak really is as tender as butter, and the green beans have a wonderfully sharp taste
7) Spanish Tortilla – p91. Delicious! If you’re not familiar, it’s like a potato frittata. Jacques’ method is so much easier than any others I’ve tried! Grateful!
8) Okay, this isn’t sexy, but it’s one of those things that make me an even bigger Jacques fan. Tomorrow’s my shopping day, so today I go into the fridge to see what I have to use up. I found a bunch of kale and a bunch of celery. I pulled out this and another Jacques book and found recipes to use up both, where I’ll have two fabulous dishes, and no one will realize I just didn’t want to waste anything. He’s never let me down. Celery Gratin – p306. Yum!
This is one of my 3 favorite Pépin books. This one is hands-down the most beautiful and charming, and fabulously accessible for the home cook. My favorite straight cookbook of his is Essential Pépin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food. It has no photos, but is packed with 700 of Jacques’ favorite recipes. And for an educational challenge, I love Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques.