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CHEZ PEPIN: Shows, memoirs, recipes and more

While food TV might be going down the drain, there are always reruns of the classics–The Complete Pepin, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, and Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way. These classics are the true semi-homemade shows, which teach home cooks how to elevate simple, readily available ingredients. Jacques Pépin, along with Julia Child, was perhaps the original celebrity chef. Unlike Sandra Lee’s semi-homemade messes, Pépin and his colleagues were culinary innovators and improvisors who cooked, rather than arranged, food. This semi-homemade mentality is reflected in his memoir, in which Pépin’s uncanny ability to make delicious what would typically be ordinary shines through.

Jacques Pepin remains a luminary of the culinary world. His cooking has always been unpretentious, translatable, and minimalistic, emphasizing proper technique rather than flourish. The case is the same with his writing in The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (2003), which showcases the journey of Jacques, country boy, to Jacques Pepin, the French culinary master.

Pépin’s memoir could have easily become a self-celebratory book, but it is rather unassuming and simply written (and illustrated, by Pépin himself), giving readers a glimpse into the culinary revolution Pépin both witnessed and helped spark. For foodie readers, Pépin’s home recipes, ranging from his mother’s apple tart to an egg dish he named after his mother, are opportunities to recreate his magic at its simplest and best in their home kitchens. His illustrations are a look into the mind of the man who knows how to balance technique and simplicity with creativity–an artisan and an artist, a chef and a visionary.

The Apprentice is a walks readers through the emergence of nouvelle cuisine as well as through the lives of revered culinary minds. Pépin’s close friendships with Julia Child, James Beard, and others are revealed in a new perspective–the perspective of someone who was working with them to cultivate their food revolution. As Anthony Bourdain called it, The Apprentice really is an “instant classic” for the culinary-minded.

Maman’s Apple Tart

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups flour

3 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes and chilled

3 tbsp. vegetable shortening

2 tbsp. milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 large Golden Delicious, Empire or Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8–12 wedges

2 tbsp. apricot preserves or jam

PREPARATION:

1. Heat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1 tbsp. sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add 3 tbsp. butter and the shortening and, using your fingers, rub into flour mixture to form coarse pea-size pieces. Add milk and egg and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Bring dough together with your hands. Transfer dough to a 9″ glass pie plate and, using lightly floured fingers, press dough into bottom and sides; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Arrange apple wedges side by side on bottom of pie plate like the spokes of a wheel, pushing gently into the dough as you go. Halve remaining apples and put in middle of tart. Sprinkle apples with remaining sugar and dot with the remaining chilled butter. Bake until the crust is golden, about 45 minutes. Using a pastry brush, brush apricot

preserves over the tart and bake for 10 minutes more. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

SERVES 6 – 8

Recipe courtesy Saveur.com

Les Oeufs Jeannette

INGREDIENTS:

6 jumbo eggs (preferably organic)

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably peanut oil)

Dressing:

2 to 3 tablespoons leftover egg stuffing (from above)

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1 tablespoon water

Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons virgin olive oil

Crunchy French bread

PREPARATION:

1.  Put the eggs in a small saucepan, and cover with boiling water. Bring to a very gentle boil, and let boil for 9 to 10 minutes. Drain off the water and shake the eggs in the saucepan to crack the shells. (This will help in the removal of the shells later on). Fill the saucepan with cold water and ice, and let the eggs cool for 15 minutes.

2.  Shell the eggs under cold, running water and split them lengthwise. Remove the yolks carefully, put them in a bowl. Add the garlic, parsley, milk, salt and pepper. Crush with a fork to create a coarse paste. Spoon the mixture back into the hollows of the egg whites, reserving 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling to use in the sauce.

3.  Heat the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet and place the eggs stuffed side down. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are beautifully browned on the stuffed side. Remove, and arrange stuffed side up on a platter.

4.  For the dressing, mix all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk or a spoon until well combined.

5. Coat the warm eggs with the dressing and serve lukewarm with crunchy French bread as a first course or main course for lunch

Recipe courtesy Food&Wine

 – Damanpreet Pelia

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