''I’ve set up house in charming apartments from Paris to the Dordogne, from the Côte d’Azur near Italy, to the Côte Vermeille near Spain,'' Wini reports. ''Everywhere I’ve stayed, I’ve become immersed in the food of the region. I’ve dined in restaurants and in French homes, gleaning cooking tips from the bonnes femmes I’ve met. My days in France would see me heading to the markets, chatting with butchers, greengrocers, and cheesemongers, picking up French cooking magazines, and perusing the menus of the town’s mom-and-pop bistros for inspiration. Most evenings would find me in my little French kitchen, cooking simple yet gratifying dishes akin to what women all over town were serving to their own friends and families.
''The French cherish (and expect!) the pleasures of a great meal at the end of each day,'' Wini continues. ''And yet, most French women don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen any more than we do. I approach French cooking not as a chef or leisure cook, but rather in the spirit of today’s French woman (the bonne femme of my title), who would rather spend more time at the table than in the kitchen. You can cook like the French, no matter where you live. Many of the everyday recipes I’d enjoyed in France translate beautifully to the American table.''
Wini’s emphasis is on simple techniques, affordable, easy-to-find ingredients and speedy prep. Among the 250-plus recipes are classics--onion soup, crisp-skinned roasted chicken, beef Bourguignon, gratin Dauphinois, crème caramel--plus scores of more-modern preparations. Dozens of dishes showcase her clever take on the sauté/deglaze method of cooking: sauté the meat, deglaze the pan with wine and then add a handful of easy-to-find ingredients to make a true-to-France pan sauce...all in 30 minutes or less.
Wini also offers up a new take on French stews and braises, through dishes such as pomegranate pot-au-feu, tuna steaks braised with tomatoes, olives and fennel and others that call for contemporary ingredients assembled in a fix it-and-forget way. ''Believe me, there’s more to the French stewpot than boeuf Bourguignon and coq au vin, though I do include both,'' she adds.
There are also chapters devoted to appetizers, salads, soups, eggs, cheese, and desserts, as well as recipes for dishes you might not think of as French, such as sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pastas and casseroles.
Wini's book has gotten nice praise from some of the top food writers in the biz. For example, Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook says: “Wini approaches French cooking with the freshness of an outsider and the wisdom of an insider. Her conviction that French home cooking is accessible plays out winningly in recipes like Any-Day Chicken Sauté and Green-on-Green Avocado and Arugula Salad. But I'll relish the book for enticing riffs like Olives with Fennel and Pernod, and for the fact that Moranville writes with such ease and intimacy, you feel you're in France with her, cooking by her side.”
OK on to the giveaway. If you'd like to enter to win a copy of the book, simply leave a comment below, under ''COMMENTS.'' Please be sure to leave your email address so we can reach you if you win; signing in with your Google account is not enough. Tip: The more creative your comment the better! If you love French food, let's hear it! If you don't know French food, tell us why you'd like to. If you've dined around France, tell us why you loved it. We'll pick the winners in a week or two. Good luck!
And if you'd like to go ahead and just order the book, you can do that on Amazon here...and you can follow Wini on Facebook and on Twitter...
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