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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's Cooking? I Know How To Cook by Ginette Mathiot, Recipes & Review!

Move Over Julia, there's a New French Cook in Town...

Have you ever read a cookbook? Some cookbooks we buy because of a particular recipe that looks good, or the type of food it's about, but I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot is a literal feast! Not only does it have over 1400 recipes, simple and easy to follow recipes!, but there is so much great cooking information between the pages. And for good reason too- Ginette Mathiot has been teaching French families to cook for over 75 years! I Know How to Cook is to France what The Joy of Cooking has been to the USA! And we are so fortunate that the first English edition has come to America!

" The cuisine of France is among the richest and most diverse in the world, and the techniques and traditions it is built on have had a long-standing influence on chef's everywhere. However, this considerable reputation sometimes overshadows the profound appeal of French home cooking, which is anything but intimidating. It is a style of cooking based on resourcefulness and simplicity... In I Know How To Cook, Ginette Mathiot equips her readers with the building blocks for good cooking, educates them about the ingredients they'll encounter and the skills they'll need."

This cookbook is simply wonderful! From the fundamentals of why we eat, and creating harmony between the foods that we prepare, to how to equip your kitchen. Ginette teaches us all the basic cooking methods from Boiling & Poaching to Roasting and Broiling. I loved looking through this cookbook, it was a like going on a cooking adventure. There's a wonderful section on Flavorings, that leads the cook through garlic, onions and shallots and how to use these in various foods. Plus there are pages of herbs and spices.

The cookbook starts with sauces, moves into hors d'oeuvres (including different kinds of butters to make), milk, eggs & cheese, soups, fish, meats, poultry and game. This is followed by vegetables, salads, legumes, pasta, and rice. Oh and the desserts, cakes & pastries! At 975 pages, it's hard to believe Ginette Mathiot missed including anything! From scrambled eggs to Tarte tatin, I Know How To Cook is a fun easy adventure in French cooking!

Something you'll notice right away is the design of the cookbook. Visually its beautiful. There are colorful graphics through out the pages. Not every recipe has a photograph, but the ones included are large. But the nicest thing about the design of this cookbook is that the recipes are easy to read! The name of the recipe is big enough to see well and it's in bold type. And the recipe ingredients and instuctions are in bold! You will not have to strain to read these recipes! Plus, I like to make notes in the margins if I tweaked anything in a recipe, and there is plenty of room in the margins and below the recipe to add any personal notes.

Ok, speaking of recipes... No matter how intimidating the name of the recipe is, such as Steak A L'Allemande or Chicken Marengo, these recipes are easy. The instructions are clear. With most of the recipes only one paragraph long! AND with permission from the publisher, Phaidon Press, I'm going to share 2 of the recipes I made from I Know How To Cook by Ginette Mathiot!For my first recipe I looked for a recipe that my family would enjoy and that I could also make for my book club members after a long day at work. As I've mentioned before, the person hosting the book club usually cooks, so here's a recipe that will definitely please a crowd! It definitely pleased my family!

Navarrais Chicken

Poulet Navarrais

*recipe reprinted with permission of Phaidon Press Inc.


1 (2 ¾-pound) chicken

3 ½ tablespoons butter

Generous ¾ cup Madeira

Salt and pepper

6 ½ ounces mushrooms

2/3 cup tomato paste

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves 6

Cut up the chicken (see below). Heat the butter in a heavy pan, add the chicken pieces and cook over medium-high heat until browned. Pour in the Madeira and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and tomato paste, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Put the chicken pieces on a serving dish and coat with the sauce.

Chicken Carving and Cutting:


Stick a fork in the leg. Apply pressure to lift it, and slide a knife along the carcass to detach the meat. Cut off at the joint.


Stick a fork under the wing. Find the joint with a knife and cut through it. Press down on the fork to re

move the wing. Use the knife to hold the chicken steady.


Cut the chicken down the middle, lengthwise.

To cut the chicken before cooking, cut up the carcass in the same way as for carving a cooked chicken.

*My photo is just a sample of what came out of the pot, but this recipe could easily be doubled to feed more than 6. And let me tell you the sauce was delicious! The prep was easy, and this makes this recipe great after a long day at work... But I didn't stop at this recipe. I decided to make a little something for dessert. How about a sweet treat with just 3 ingredients?? That's what this Almond Macaroon recipe calls for!

Almond Macaroons

Macarons Aux Amandes

*recipe reprinted with permission of Phaidon Press Inc.


Butter, for greasing

2 ¾ cups ground almonds

3 egg whites

2 ½ cups superfine sugar

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Serves 6

Preheat the oven to 300ºF and line a baking sheet with buttered parchment paper. Put the almonds in a bowl and mix in the egg whites a little at a time. Stir in the sugar and mix well. Form the dough into slightly flattened balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

This is a cookbook I will use a lot. I've tried all sorts of recipes already and everything has been delish! Have you got a favorite French cuisine recipe? Would love to know what you've been cooking. And if you have any suggestions! Have you tried I Know How To Cook? Would love to know what you prepared!

I want to thank Kelly from Phaidon Press for sending me this wonderful cookbook to review! Thanks Kelly! I loved every bite! And I'm still absorbing the wisdom of Ginette Mathiot! And I will for many years! This will have a special place on my cookbook shelf! Would you like to take a peek inside I Know How To Cook? You can see inside the book at the Phaidon's Website!

*All recipes are copyrighted and are reprinted by permission of Phaidon Press


Esme said...

I have been wanting to get my hands on this book-I saw it at Christmas-when I was stranded and glanced through it. Given the size it was too big to just pick up and bring on the plane.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Esme!
Yes, you could really hurt someone by dropping this on their foot! It is big! And it is such a great cookbook too! Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at the recipes!

Natalie W said...

Oh those recipes sound so good! I'll have to look into getting this cookbook.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Natalie!
Yes, the book is filled with some wonderful recipes! And if you're up for some exotic cooking, with game, this book has got you covered too! If you try the recipes here, let me know what you think!

Harvee (Book Dilettante) said...

That chicken dish sounds a little like chicken parmigiana, with the wine and tomato sauce. Must try it.

Thanks for entering my cookbook give away contest!

ibeeeg said...

The chicken recipe sounds very yummy.
I am going to check into this book.

Anonymous said...

I must try a savory recipe one of these days.

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