A fabulous book for people who love to cook. Or for those who want to cook well and are afraid to try.
To Jacques Pépin, every meal is a celebration. And his delight in creating delicious offerings for family and friends is contagious. Moreover, as he shares here the secrets of the meals he has prepared over the years,
his careful instruction and his appreciation of ingredients and techniques that make a difference are so persuasive that you want to jump right in and join him at the stove.
Here you’ll find all the dishes that make up the celebratory menus Jacques demonstrates in his new twenty-
six-part television series—plus many more. Most of the recipes have been drawn from Jacques Pépin’s The Art of Cooking (now out of print), with many of them updated and refined for today’s home cook.
Although the book is organized in chapters from soups to sweets, many main-course recipes are offered with one or two accompaniments that are an integral part of the presentation—and Jacques carefully walks you through the preparations so everything comes out on time. Some are more ambitious, such as a splendid dinner of Chateaubriands with Madeira-Truffle Sauce, Mushroom Timbales, and Crêpe Shells with Corn Puree; others are simple family fare, like Tuna Steaks with Potato-and-Zucchini Salad. All are delicious, representing a range of exquisite and earthy flavors that you can, of course, mix and match at will to create
your own menus.
Two chapters are devoted to mastering the techniques of making bread and various pastry doughs, and are followed by recipes—both savory and sweet—that utilize these essential culinary skills. Once you’ve learned how to make a crusty baguette, you’ll be confidently whipping up a round of Black Pepper Bread with Walnuts, or Brioche Mousseline, or Cheese Bread. Master the relatively simple pâte à choux and you can make gougères, gnocchi, profiteroles, and a Paris-Brest cake, all with the same basic dough. The same goes for puff pastry, for which Jacques offers three versions: classic, quick, and instant.
Embedded throughout the text are Christopher Hirsheimer’s vivid step-by-step photographs of Jacques demonstrating specific essential techniques. With his splendid knifework to guide you, you’ll soon be boning out your own salmon and home-curing it, or creating a beautiful coral tree out of carrots and scallions. Jacques is an artist (his drawings embellish many of these pages), and he inspires you to make your own food visually enticing. Particularly inviting are the chapters devoted to sweet creations, which will bring out the artist in you.
Above all, the message here is that cooking is a joy and that your food is a gift to others. So don your apron, fill your kitchen with good smells, and make every occasion a celebration à la Jacques.