When I had the immense pleasure to meet the charming cookbook author and brilliant baker Dorie Greenspan at BlogHerFood last October, she asked me to write to her when I prepared something out of her new cookbook, Around My French Table. So last November, we made her fabulous dish Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port Sauce for an important dinner party and I wrote a post and sent her a tweet about it. Being the delightful human being that she is, she took the time to tweet back and leave a comment on my post. A happy day for me indeed.
Well a group of dedicated bloggers, cooks, and avid Dorie fans have created a club called French Fridays with Dorie to build a community of people that cook the recipes from her new book and share their blog posts and stories each Friday. Last Friday, they cooked the short ribs and I had great fun reading many other stories about their results. And I finally joined the club.
But leave it to me to join a club that only has 4 rules and break one of them right from the start. I am supposed to post my story on Friday, that would have been yesterday, March 4. But it was not to be. Fighting a busy schedule and a nasty head cold, I hardly had time to make the bread, let alone write and post about it. So given my daily mantra of “all things are better late than never”, here’s the story about the Savory Cheese and Chive Bread.
Dorie includes the recipe in her appetizers section and suggests chilling a bottle of wine to enjoy it with while the bread is cooling. It’s a simple quick bread, no yeast involved so I was an immediate fan (those of you who read my blog regularly know my almost irrational fear of yeast-based doughs). My one pre-requisite was that I wanted to prepare it without going to the store – I was just too tired. Luckily it’s a very flexible recipe, in fact Dorie gives several suggestions of variations to match your tastes, dinner, or wine selection.
Her recipe calls for whole milk, which I didn’t have so I used lowfat organic lactose free milk. Didn’t seem too drastic of a substitution. I also left the nuts out and instead of just chives, which my herb garden had in only short supply, I used some thyme as well. I also had roasted red peppers in the fridge prepared from inspiration from another Dorie recipe so I chopped up one of those and added it. For the cheese, I used shredded cheddar and some diced grana padano, which is similar to a parmesan. She suggests, gruyere, comte, emmenthal, or cheddar but the first three would have required a trip to the store.
Instead of making one loaf, I used two small disposable paper loaf pans so I could give one of the loaves to my friend for her birthday since I was meeting her for birthday lunch yesterday.
As for the baking, I used convection baking, instead of regular so I cooked them at 325, instead of 350 and for slightly less time because the loaf pans were smaller than she called for.
One rule of the group is that I can’t share the specific recipe – this group’s experience is not meant to substitute for purchasing the book, but rather augment the experience of those cooking from it and to encourage others to buy it. If I didn’t think it was a fabulous book, I wouldn’t be writing this post or have joined the group. If you enjoy cooking for your family, entertaining, or just eating interesting and flavorful food, buy the book. Though it is entitled Around My French Table, it is not filled with unapproachable, complicated gourmet French cuisine. It is a collection of the recipes that Dorie and her friends share when dining around her table in her Paris apartment.
So how was the bread I baked while in a head cold stupor? I under salted it so my flavors were not as intense as I might have liked. I also would have put in more chives, had I had more. But as the bread sat for a few hours, the flavors began to intensify. I served the bread with a steamy bowl of the best cold remedy – homemade chicken soup. For an unusual appetizer or bread course, I highly recommend this recipe. Easy to make, easy to love.
Buy my cookbook now!