Philanthropy Never Tasted So Good
A weekend full of food and friends unfolds at The Greenbrier Resort, celebrating cancer survivors and the achievements of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown.
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"Do Soups First!”
When cookbook author and French food fanatic Dorie Greenspan attended the 2008 Food Writers Symposium at The Greenbrier, she was smack dab in the middle of her worst case of writers block. Struggling with a mish mash of ideas, Dorie got some tough love from a friend, author, and founder of the Paris cooking school, La Varenne, Anne Willian. “I was talking to Anne about my difficulties and she said, quite simply but authoritatively, ‘Do soups first!’” says Dorie. “And she was right—once I worked on the soup chapter, life got easier.”
What Dorie ended up with is her 2010 smash hit and James Beard Award winner, “Around My French Table.” It was in final proofing when she shared select recipes in The Greenbrier’s demonstration kitchen at the 2010 MBRCC gala and now we pass them on to you!
These cheesy puffs are a perfect party essential.
½ cup whole milk
½ cup water
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1½ cups coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or cheddar
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425˚. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil over high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low and stir energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring another minute or two to dry the dough—it should now be very smooth.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next and don’t be concerned if the dough falls apart—by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again. Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is completed, it should be spooned out immediately.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between each mound of dough.
Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375˚.
Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are golden, firm, and, of course, puffed, another 12–15 minutes or so.
Serving: Offer the gougères piping hot as soon as they come from the oven or when they’re at room temperature with Kir, white wine, or Champagne.
Storing: Shape the dough, freeze the mounds on a baking sheet, and when they’re solid, lift them off the sheet and pack them airtight in plastic bags. Bake them straight from the freezer—no need to defrost—just give them a minute or two more in the oven. Leftover puffs can be kept overnight and reheated in a 350˚ oven, or they can be frozen and reheated before serving.
Yield: 36 puffs
Adapted from “Around My French Table”
Similar to pâté, this flavorful spread is great on crusty bread, crackers, crostini, or fresh blinis.
1 small red chile
½ cup white wine or white Vermouth
½ cup water
1 bay leaf
5 white peppercorns
5 coriander seeds
2 small spring onions, peeled, long green tops removed and reserved, or 1 shallot
½ pound salmon filet, skin and bones removed, cut into small (about ½-inch) cubes
¼ pound smoked salmon (you can add up to 2 ounces more, if you’d like), cut into small (about ¼-inch) dice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 to 3 pinches of pink peppercorns
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Using a vegetable peeler, remove a strip of zest from the lemon and toss it into a medium-sized saucepan; finely grate the rest of the zest and keep the lemon at hand. With a small knife, cut away a sliver of the red chile, discard the seeds and toss the sliver into the saucepan; seed and finely dice the remainder of the chile and hold on to it for the moment.
Pour the wine or Vermouth and water into the pan; add the bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, onion tops (if you’re using spring onions) and ½ teaspoon salt and put the pan over medium heat. Bring the mix to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Drop the cubes of fresh salmon into the pan, cover, and poach the fish for just 1 minute. Turn everything into a strainer, drain, and then transfer the salmon, minus whatever seasonings have stuck to it, to a mixing bowl.
While the salmon is cooling, finely chop the spring onions, or peel, trim, and finely dice the shallot. If you’re using a shallot, rinse under cold water, then dice and pat dry.
With the back of a fork, lightly mash the poached salmon, then toss the smoked salmon, lemon zest, diced chile, and chopped onion into the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and give everything a good stir. Add the softened butter and use the fork to stir and mash it into the mixture until it’s well incorporated and you have a thick spread. Squeeze about half of the lemon’s juice into the bowl, stir it in, and season the rillettes with salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice (it’s nice when it’s lemony), salt and pepper, if you’d like, then stir in the pink peppercorns.
Pack the rillettes into a jar (a canning jar is traditional) or bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface, and chill for at least 2 hours—you want it to be firm—up to overnight.
Storing: Packed airtight, the rillettes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Yield: 8 servings
Adapted from “Around My French Table”