Oh My! The journey started in February 2016 has come to an end. For the past three-plus years, I’ve been cooking my way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen with my friends from Cook the Book Fridays. Though I have virtually disappeared since April, this week the group is cooking the FINAL recipe in the book, the cover recipe, so I had to join in.
Fortunately, this recipe is really easy and quite delicious. You start out cooking some bacon, then sauté onions in the bacon fat. Then, you brown chicken thighs which have been coated in Dijon mustard. Everything is mixed into some white wine, simmering until the chicken is cooked through. The final touch is stirring in more mustard, both Dijon and seeded, and some crème fraiche to make a creamy sauce.
This week has been hot, so I didn’t have patience to make the recommended homemade herbed pasta to go with the chicken. Wide egg noodles were a good stand-in.
While Chicken in Mustard isn’t a “height-of-summer” recipe, it is definitely a winner. It made a wonderful weeknight meal, but it’s company worthy too.
As I reflect on the journey of cooking through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, the list of recipes (or their components) that have become part of my standard repertoire come to mind. Here are my top 5 (in no particular order):
- The roasted cherry tomatoes from the Cherry Tomato Crostini – These are a summer favorite, and when the cherry tomato crop seems overwhelming, I make this and freeze it for a breath of summer when the weather turns.
- Green Beans with Snail Butter – The garlicky sauce is one of my favorite ways to dress up green beans (second only to the Green Beans Amandine from fellow CtBF blogger Mardi Michels’s wonderful book In the French Kitchen with Kids).
- Apricot crumble tart – The crust and crumble combination works just as well with other summer fruits like peaches or nectarines.
- Raw vegetable slaw with creamy garlic dressing which I particularly like with kohlrabi.
- Multigrain bread – I’ve incorporated David’s crunch mixture into my own version of sourdough multi-grain.
I also enjoyed the company along the ride. I’ve been cooking with many of the home cooks in Cook the Book Fridays for almost a decade when we met through French Fridays with Dorie in 2010. I continue to enjoy the friendships through the internet and in-person connections.
This isn’t the end for Cook the Book Fridays! Or, for me, My Paris Kitchen. I still have a handful of recipes that I haven’t made yet. I intend to finish those off. And the group will continue with Dorie Greenspan’s newest book Everyday Dorie, which we started when it came out last October. From here on out, it’ll be two Dorie recipes a month. And I’ll try to stay on track.
I’ve always loved the flavors of Thai food. They are reminiscent of Chinese and Indian, yet entirely unique to itself. Years ago, I dabbled in making Thai food at home, but that was many moons ago.
This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs from Everyday Dorie is hardly authentic Thai food, but the main ingredient in the sauce is the sweet-sticky dip that comes with fried Thai spring rolls.
The chicken is quick enough to pull together for a weeknight meal, prepared in a single pot. First, onions, garlic, and ginger are lightly sautéed until soft, but not browned. The aromatics are finished in some white wine which is cooked until it almost evaporates.
Now, in the only fussy part of the recipe, the onion mixture gets transferred to a bowl while you brown the chicken. And in another fussy part — which I skipped – you are supposed to wash out the pot if there are any browned bits stuck to the bottom after browning the chicken. Browned bits always stick to the pot. Without understanding why that would make any difference, I just kept going with the recipe and didn’t notice any adverse effect.
After the chicken is browned, the onions get added back along with chili sauce, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and Sriracha and the mixture simmers, mostly unattended, until the chicken is done. In my case, with the occasional basting, this took only 20 minutes.
The chicken is served garnished with sliced scallions, and if you want some added heat, red pepper flakes.
I took the Thai inspiration to heart when deciding on side dishes. I cooked only 4 thighs but kept the other ingredients the same. Jasmine rice seemed like a natural accompaniment, both for flavor and an edible sponge for the extra sauce.
My favorite part of the meal were the roasted vegetables I made. I roasted an assortment of diced root vegetables – carrots, sweet potato, parsnips, and red onion – until tender and browned. While the vegetables cooked, I simmered a red curry sauce made from coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, and a spoonful of brown sugar I thought the sauce would thicken more, but because it didn’t, just before serving, I tossed the vegetables in just enough sauce to coat but not pool in the bowl. Yum!
This turned out to be an easy weeknight meal with some flavors from somewhere else to transport you out of your routine for an hour or so.