French Food Revolution Friday with Dorie 2015

frd logo with strap

This week, the French Fridays with Dorie crew is participating in Food Revolution Day, led by Mardi of eat. live. travel. write.

Our assignment this time around is to share something we’ve learned from Dorie Greenspan during our more than four years working through Around My French Table. It’s a theme nicely in keeping with Food Revolution Day’s emphasis on food education.

As Mardi explained:

Friday May 15th 2015 is the fourth annual Food Revolution Day – a day of global action created by Jamie Oliver and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to engage and inspire people of all ages to learn about food and how to cook it.

This year, Food Revolution Day is a global campaign to put compulsory food education back on the school curriculum. Jamie passionately believes that by educating children about food and cooking in a fun and engaging way, we can equip them with the basic skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives, for themselves and their future families. Dorie agrees – last year when I was chatting with her about food education, she said: “I would love to see a generation that can cook and wants to cook for themselves and others. The world would be a better place.”

It’s difficult to choose a recipe or technique that stands out from our experiences over the course of the group, only because we’ve learned so much.

We’ve tackled elegant French desserts that turned out to be easy, thanks to Dorie’s talent for instructions: Floating Islands.

We’ve learned that all you need for complex flavours and a hearty meal are a sturdy pot and a plump chicken: Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux.

We’ve used the simplest methods to create satisfying suppers: Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote.

We’ve got foolproof doughs almost by heart, allowing us to elevate everything from breakfast to cocktail fare: Gerard’s Mustard Tart.

We’ve overcome our skepticism of unfamiliar flavour combinations and found new favourites: Orange & Olive Salad.

We’ve filled our pantries with many more spices, herbs, condiments, and other ingredients than we’d imagined possible: Chopped Liver with quatre épices.

But most of all, we’ve expanded our cooking and eating horizons, as though we were a class of students led by Dorie’s steady hand. Many of our participants were already confident in the kitchen, while others were gaining confidence as we progressed, but there has always been something to learn from Dorie and from each other.

This is at the heart of healthy, happy eating – exploring new techniques and flavours, while building a foundation of everyday skills that can be applied to whatever you might find in the pantry or the markets. We’ve eaten richly and well along the way, but also with the kind of variety and substance that healthy bodies require.

The dish I’ve made this week is emblematic of a lot of what’s been wonderful about working through Around My French Table. It’s a classic French dish; full of nutritious ingredients; as elegant as you’d like it to be; and easily made affordable or luxe, as required. Dorie’s instructions ensure you’ll make the most of the ingredients and it’s another of the book’s many reminders that even the simplest of meals can be full of flavour.

Salade Niçoise

Nicoise Salad

The beauty of a composed salad is that you can alter it to suit all diners’ needs. In this case, I made a plateful with tuna, egg, and anchovies for me, then left them off for Kevin. There are many lessons in this recipe for young cooks, too. Hard-boiling eggs, blanching green beans, making vinagrette – but especially taking a look at what you’ve got in the refrigerator and pantry, then making a satisfying meal from it.

This revolution must certainly start there.

You can find links to the rest of the French Fridays crew’s thoughts on Food Revolution Day and all we’ve learned from Dorie, here: Food Revolution Day. And you can find the rest of the Doristas’ posts on Salade Niçoise, here.

(French) Food Revolution Day 2014 – Part 1

salad

Last year, the Doristas participated in Food Revolution Day for the first time. As you may remember, I got my partner to cook and write about a French Fridays recipe. This year’s theme was getting kids excited about food, so we were tasked with choosing one or more recipes from Around My French Table that we thought kids should know how to make. It was a tough task.

I finally decided that a healthy salad was my first choice. Making Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad would involve some ingredients that are familiar to a lot of kids, while introducing some that were likely to be new to them. It’s also one that gives kids some practice with knife skills. And it’s a recipe that’s not too hard, even for a beginning cook.

My second choice was Salted Butter Break-Ups. These cookies have been a hit with everyone I’ve made them for, young or old. Not only is this giant break-apart cookie fun to make, it also introduces many baking fundamentals and is a good first step for a young baker to move on to other doughs like pâte brisée.

The young cook I’ll be working with is my downstairs neighbour, but we can’t get together until the end of this weekend. So, there will be a Part 2 to this Food Revolution Day post, once we’ve made the dishes.

In the meantime, find out what the rest of the French Fridays crew chose to cook with kids: (French) Food Revolution Day 2014.

There is also a wealth of posts across the internet today, celebrating cooking with kids and healthy food. Here are some of the channels where you can find these stories:

Food Revolution Day: http://www.foodrevolutionday.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foodrevolutioncommunity
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/foodrev (#FRD2014)
Google+: http://www.google.com/+foodrevolutioncommunity
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/foodrevolution
Instagram: @foodrev (#FRD2014)

Much thanks to Mardi Michels for organizing this for us again this year!

FFWD – French Food Revolution Friday with Dorie (Warm Weather Vegetable Pot au Feu)

http://foodrevolutionday.com/
http://foodrevolutionday.com/

We’re doing something a little different for this week’s French Friday. The group is participating in Food Revolution Day, which was started by Jamie Oliver to get people into the kitchen and around the table together.

Warm Weather Vegetable Pot au Feu

I decided to do something a little different this week, too. Since this year’s Food Revolution Day theme is Cook It, Share It, I thought I’d ask my partner to take the lead on this week’s recipe and share his thoughts with all of you. I chose one of the recipes I’d missed when the rest of the group posted about it, Warm Weather Vegetable Pot au Feu, because it seemed like a perfect match for the ethos of Food Revolution Day. I also thought it was a good fit for my partner. I helped a little with the chopping and pot-watching, but Kevin made the dish. Here’s what he had to say:

I thought that the Warm Weather Vegetable Pot Au Feu was excellent, though I would have preferred it without so much of the vegetable broth. While the veggies tasted good with the broth flavouring, I didn’t finish all of the leftover broth in the bowl. In fact, it was almost better the second night when my partner made quinoa, which soaked up the broth nicely. I think my partner Teresa chose this meal for me to make because, although I was once a vegetarian for about eight years, I’m no longer one and would like to get back to eating this way the majority of the time. Not only was the dish tasty, but it was also cheap and easy to make, which I appreciated. This will inspire me to cook vegetarian more often.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about agriculture and food lately and I hope to do more in the kitchen and garden soon.

It’s been wonderful watching Teresa take part in the French Fridays with Dorie group. We have tried so many dishes that were new to us. If my memory serves me correctly, I’ve loved all the dishes but one. For the last few years, I always know we are likely trying something new on Friday and that element of surprise has been neat. It was great to finally make a dish. My partner Teresa does most of the cooking in the house, but I do cook occasionally – I have my usual dishes. For the most part, we cook separately. It was nice for Teresa to guide me though this recipe, as we keep talking about sharing more of the cooking, along with cooking more vegetarian meals. This dish accomplished both of those things for us. I hope we will do more of it together.

Food Revolution Day sounds amazing. I think we need a food revolution on a number of levels, but Cook it, Share It is a fantastic start.

Spinach, asparagus, carrots, potatoes, and slices of hard boiled eggs arranged over a bowl of broth.

For my part, I thought this dish was delicious, on the first night when we ate it as a pot au feu; on the second when we used the leftover broth to cook more vegetables, which we served over quinoa; and on the third when we used the remainder of the broth to gently heat up some lamb burgers I’d made. The broth made a very good gravy in the end.

You can find the rest of the Doristas’ posts for FFRFwD here: French Food Revolution Friday with Dorie.

You can participate in Food Revolution Day too, by contributing posts or pictures, or by commenting on those of others. Here’s how, as outlined by our own Mardi Michels, one of Food Revolution Day’s Toronto ambassadors and instigator of our French Food Revolution Friday with Dorie:

“Follow the Food Revolution
Make sure you’re following #FRD2013 online for up to the minute news, updates and messages to share, re-post and re-pin to your followers.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foodrevolutioncommunity
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/foodrev (use #FRD2013)
Google+: http://www.google.com/+foodrevolutioncommunity
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/foodrevolution
Instagram: @foodrev (add your photos using #FRD2013)”