News about Holly Herrick, her books, appearances and writing.
News about Holly Herrick, her books, appearances and writing.
Cookbook Review and Giveaway
It seems everyone who loves to cook or eat, particularly French cooking or eating, has a souffle story. Some are happy, some are rather sad. I have my share of both. But for Greg Patent, author of The French Cook – Souffles (Gibbs Smith, March 1, 2014), most of his life has been a souffle love story. And, it began with the French Chef herself, Julia Child. Already a talented baker under the guiding hand of his Granny who mesmerized him whipping egg whites with a fork during in his “first childhood” in Shanghai, Julia later seduced him with her balloon whisk, copper bowl, and stunning souffles.
Patent, who travels to cooking demos with his own copper bowl and balloon whisk, expertly details all of the elements of making both sweet and savory souffles in this beautiful book (photography by Kelly Gorham). His writing is concise, detailed, and at times almost scientific in describing the how-to’s of making souffles puff. His passion for cooking, baking and souffles comes through in every syllable. At times, it’s as if you can practically hear his soothing “voice” in your ear, building your souffle-making confidence all along the way.
Patent begins the book with an excellent series of descriptions of the four types of souffle bases (bechamel, veloute, bouille, or fruit/vegetable puree), and especially helpful lessons on mounting egg whites, folding, breaking egg whites, the debate over fresh or older egg whites, finally confessing in his down-to-earth manner, “I tend not to fret over the freshness of egg whites in making a souffle.” Beyond the base and the whites, the bottom line is timing. As Patent wittily states, “You must wait for them (souffles); they won’t wait for you.”
If you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait to make the likes of Green Garlic Souffles, Crab & Morel Mushroom Souffles, Meyer Lemon Souffles, and Cold Passion Fruit Souffles. Patent includes all kinds of wonderful derivatives from a standard souffle, including a souffle stuffed crepe, souffle roulade, and frozen souffles, as well as several sauce recipes. The James Beard winning author has penned several cookbooks and has another winner on his hands in “Souffles.” Julia would be proud.
Like Patent, I love making souffles, but as I said before, I’ve had a few sad souffle stories, including a woefully underdone chocolate souffle at Tour D’Argent in Paris, and a fallen souffle for a tardy photo shoot.
Do you have a souffle story? If so, please share it with me here in the comments section. I’ll select a winner on May 1 and will mail you a copy of Greg’s book.
As always, bon appetit!
(Please note: Souffle should be finished with an accent on the “e” but my formatting will not allow me to do it!)
Thank you to The Times and Democrat for a nice article about me and my books as well as the other two authors participating in next week’s sixth annual Page Turner event, the newspaper’s biggest annual fund-raiser. I enjoyed speaking with reporter Dionne Gleaton. To read the entire story, click on the link below.
Otherwise, here’s a short except and quotes from yours truly:
She said her first cookbook was based on a newspaper column she had written about shopping at farmer’s markets.
“It really hasn’t stopped since then. It’s been fun. I still love going to farmers’ markets or a beautiful grocery and finding something spectacular. It’s about sharing the knowledge and love of cooking and doing it in such a way that everybody will love and enjoy it,” Herrick said. “The goal is to make it inspirational and fun.”
Herrick said perseverance is a critical to the art of writing.
“You just have to do it. Dreaming doesn’t get it done. The actual art of any kind of writing is to be attuned with what is going on around you all the time. The key is to be very observant and to try to be a good listener. Try to get the undertones as much as possible because that sensitivity will come back through your writing,” she said.
She said food writing is as much an art as novel or poetry writing.
“I think of the myriad of examples of experts in food writing like James Beard and Julia Child. They’re all people who described food and had a poetry of their own. I went to one of the biggest cooking schools in the world, but I learn something new every day even in my own kitchen,” Herrick said.
France, French cooking and her current book series are among the topics which she said she will touch on at the Page Turner Luncheon.
“I’m sort of between two cultures right now, but there are similarities between Southern cooking and French cooking, which most people think of as fancy and impractical. But French cooking actually stems from frugality and freshness,” Herrick said, adding, “I promise to make it fun.”
Here’s more specific information about the event on March 4. I hope to see you there!
Wondering what to get your sweetie for Valentine’s Day? How about some sweets for your sweet? Learn how to make fried choux pastry (beignets) with a fresh raspberry coulis from my demonstration and perhaps purchase a signed copy of one (or two!) of my cookbooks after. They really do make lovely gifts anytime of the year for anyone that enjoys cooking. I would love to see you there. It’s going to be fun and delicious.
Wall Street Journal’s Gastronomy columnist Aram Bakshian, Jr. wrote a very flattering review of The French Cook: Cream Puffs and Eclairs(as well as 4 other cookbooks) in this past weekend’s (December 14 and 15) edition. What a lovely Christmas present!
Here’s an excerpt from the column:
“There’s a bit more puff to the pastries described in Holly Herrick’s “The French Cook: Cream Puffs and Eclairs” (Gibbs Smith, 127 pages, $21.99). The latest addition to its publisher’s volumes on aspects of French cooking, this is a slender tome about a fattening yet exquisitely airy and oh-so-French dessert genre: cream puffs and éclairs. The lightness comes from the choux pastry base of simmered butter, water, flour and eggs, which Julia Child described as “one of the easiest pastries to make,” once you get the hang of it. Whatever its size or shape, the choux pastry serves as a model home for hundreds of fruit, custard, crème, cheese and chocolate fillings. Many of them are included here, from quick-cooking fruit sauces like Coulis aux Framboise (raspberry sauce intensified with crème de cassis) to the multilayered flavors of Profiteroles (cream puffs) with Salted Caramel Macadamia Nut Ice Cream and Warm Caramel Sauce (a great combination of a lot of sweetness with just a touch of savoriness). Ms. Herrick, an award-winning pastry chef herself, is the ideal docent for this classic gallery of French desserts, and her recipes, for even the most complicated items, are concise and clear.”
Mr. Bakshian also rightly states at the top of his piece that “Christmas remains a bastion of culinary custom, a time to open our hearts, loosen our belts, and enjoy food rather than obsess about it.” Indeed! Wishing you and yours an especially warm, loving, beautiful and delicious Christmas and good tidings for 2014.
Thank you to Maribeth Clemenete at Bonjour Colorado for taking the time to talk with me about The French Cook: Cream Puffs and Eclairs, making pastry, France and Charleston’s dynamic restaurant scene. You can listen to the full 30 minute link here:
It’s hard to believe Christmas is just two weeks away!
If you’re still looking for that special something for the cookbook lover in your life, please consider one of my cookbooks. If you’re interested in a signed copy (copies) mailed directly to you, please message me here with the best contact information for me to reach you, and we’ll make it happen.
The French Cook: Sauces and The French Cook: Cream Puffs and Eclairs are beautiful together as a gift for lovers of French cooking in particular. I sell the pair at a 15% discount price of $42 for both plus shipping.
They would look beautiful under the tree and yield many happy and delicious returns for years to come. Wishing you and yours a beautiful, delicious, safe and happy holiday season and a fabulous 2014.