My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes, written by Emily Dilling, is a Parisian-based cookbook recently released on September 15th. Dilling’s original idea wasn’t for a cookbook at all, but a Parisian Market travel guide. As the idea evolved, recipes were included and now the book is the best of both worlds. Along with seasonal recipes inspired by her adventures in Paris, you will also read about current food trends, the natural wine (plus craft beer, coffee, and tea) movement, specialty cookware and food shops, where to find restaurants featuring local food, how to recognize local and homemade labels, community gardens, and where to get the best bread or even events that teach you have to make it yourself.
Emily Dilling was born in California and moved to Paris in 2005. In 2010, she started the blog, Paris Paysanne, as a way to document her food finds and markets in the community. Here is her behind the scenes post introducing the cookbook on it’s release date.
Chapters are divided based on Season: Autumn, Autumn Recipes, Winter, Winter Recipes, Spring, Spring Recipes, Summer, and Summer Recipes.
Dilling includes a guide to local Parisian markets and other foodie finds in the beginning of each season. In addition to addresses and hours for those visiting Paris, she provides detailed descriptions of the area and what it has to offer. There is even a closer look into the lives of some of the vendors, plus how to spot the ones you should avoid. She also includes stories of some of her experiences, such as harvesting grapes for a natural winemaker and foraging the city for herbal tea ingredients.
Each season has 4-8 starters, 1 sauce, 4-5 mains, and 3-5 desserts. There are only a handful of beverages. I particularly appreciate that the title of each dish is provided in English and French. Every recipe has a headnote with background information and where to find it in Paris. Ingredients are provided in US Customary and Metric.
Photography is provided by Nicholas Ball. There are many photos that take you on a journey through Parisian markets with scenes of food and people. Most of the recipes include a photograph, from thumbnail size to full page. They are generally of the finished product or ingredients used.
This book is a wonderful pick for those who frequent Paris and are looking for an in-depth guide to the markets or wanting a closer look at the local food movement. Others like me will enjoy it purely for the delicious French food. I have not been to Paris since I was a small child, but will definitely keep this book on hand for when I return. Most of the recipes can be prepared in a short time frame with minimal ingredients, plus the ingredients used are generally easy to locate.
The Autumn chapter finishes with a recipe for Gâteau aux Noix (Forest Foraged Walnut Cake), optionally paired with Crème Anglaise (English-style cream custard). Coarsely chopped walnuts are added to a simple cake batter with beaten egg whites folded in for lightness. After baking until golden, the cake is served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and I added a few large walnut pieces around the border of the cake for a little extra decoration. I really enjoyed the pairing with the crème anglaise, but it would also be delicious with vanilla ice cream.
I almost had a fail with the crème anglaise (through no fault of the book). Right before the custard thickened, my newly sitting daughter fell backwards. While tending to her, the custard overheated and turned grainy. I was just about to toss it when I remembered reading about using the blender to save it. Well, the blender indeed worked and returned the texture to a smooth and creamy state.
I also made Tartine de Faille de Chèvre (Faisselle Cheese with Fresh Chives and Toast), Socca (Chickpea Pancakes), Coq au Vin (Slow-Cooked Chicken in Wine and Mushroom Sauce), and Salade de Concombres a la Crème Fraîche (First Sign of Spring Cucumber Salad).
Sliced baguettes/breads topped with ingredients are one of my favorite snacks and Faisselle Cheese with Fresh Chives and Toast definitely did not disappoint. Baguette slices are toasted until golden, then topped with creamy goat cheese seasoned with chives, lemon, freshly ground black pepper, and olive oil. Faisselle is a creamy raw cheese without a rind. I was unable to locate it, so I used a creamy, spreadable goat cheese.
Socca are thin, crepe-like pancakes made from chickpea flour (so gluten-free!). They are from Southern France (Nice), but Dilling tells you where to find them in Paris. They are best hot from the oven topped with freshly ground black pepper as a part of a starter or snack with fried zucchini flowers and fish.
I had an extra bottle of red wine from a recent party and used in to make Coq au Vin. Chicken pieces (with bone) and diced bacon are seared, then cooked with a tomato red wine beef stock and mushrooms until tender. Of all the recipes I made, this one was Chad’s favorite and gave us plenty for leftovers. Chad said it was even better the next day at lunch. Dilling suggests pairing the chicken with rice or her recipe for Shell Beans.
I made the First Sign of Spring Cucumber Salad to use up the last remaining cucumbers from my garden. Sliced cucumbers are tossed in a crème fraîche dressing simply seasoned with shallots, lemon, and chives. My grocery store was out of crème fraîche, but I found that it is actually easy to make your own by adding 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk to 1 cup heavy cream and allowing it to sit at room temperature for a day before refrigerating.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own.
Gâteau aux Noix (French Forest Foraged Walnut Cake)
Adapted from My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes
Crème Anglaise (Custard)- optional:
1 cup (240 mL) skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
8 tablespoons (110 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (40 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) walnuts, chopped
1 pinch salt
Powdered sugar for dusting
To make the Crème Anglaise: In a small saucepan, heat milk and vanilla extract over medium heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and egg yolks until smooth.
When the milk starts to steam, remove from heat. While whisking the eggs, slowly pour in a few tablespoons of the milk. When smooth and tempered, pour the eggs into the saucepan with remaining milk, continuing to whisk. Place the saucepan over medium low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (210 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch round cake pan with butter and flour.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour, then the walnuts.
In a medium bowl, or using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy. Add the salt and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites to the cake batter, gently folding. Add another third and gently fold. Add the last third and fold again. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, gently smoothing the top.
Bake in preheated oven until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm with the Crème Anglaise.