Everyday Dorie: A few words with Dorie Greenspan

Esteemed cookbook author Dorie Greenspan visited our Old Town shop to celebrate her new book, Everyday Dorie.

Greenspan is best-known for her pastries and baking. She’s written 13 cookbooks including Dorie’s Cookies, Around My French Table, and Baking: From My Home To Yours.

This latest work shares impressive dishes without any added pressure. The recipes are practical and casual, using common ingredients and equipment to create simple and satisfying meals. As always there’s room for dessert, but you’ll also find lots of her best snacking, picnicking, and lunching recipes.

Our staff crafted a menu for the event, courtesy of Everyday Dorie.

Shepherd’s Pie, Cardamom Cake, Tortilla Soup, Shrimp Tacos, and Pink Peppercorn Thumbprint Cookies were just a few of the dishes served.

We caught up with Greenspan before the festivities to chat about favorite foods, holiday plans, and Everyday Dorie.

The Spice House: If you had to cook one Everyday Dorie recipe everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Dorie Greenspan: Everyday for the rest of my life? This is hard, of course it’s hard! I have favorite recipes in the book, but what would I want everydayI can have more than one thing right?

TSH: That’s fair. Breakfast, lunch, dinner?

DG: So I love the Ricotta Spoonable. It’s ricotta with lemon zest, lemon juice, and herbs. That could go over anything. That could almost be breakfast on a piece of toast.

I love the Salmon Rillette. Poached salmon, with herbs. Makes a great spread. Makes a great sandwich. I could live on that. But hmm, I need dessert. You wouldn’t deprive me of dessert, right?

How about the Pear Upside Down Cake with Chinese five spice blend?  All of that’s not really a meal, but I’d be happy with that everyday.

TSH: You’ve written books with the likes of Daniel Boulud, Pierre Herme, and Julia Child, if you could collaborate with anyone else who would it be?

DG: If I could, I would bring Julia back. It was extraordinary to work with her. I’d love to write a classic French cookbook with her. She had such a deep appreciation and love of French food that to really spend time with her, talking about the classic dishes that she loved to make and loved most…I would love that.

TSH: When you’re in the States, what French foodstuff do you miss the most?

DG: Butter. Cultured butter. There’s some cultured butter that you can get in America, but it’s not like you can go to the corner market and just get it. So I miss French butter that’s been cultured so it has that tang and the butter that has crystals of fleur de sel. I miss that.

TSH: Vice Versa?

DG: Pie, you know I adore French pastry but there isn’t pie like we have here. I miss cookies too. French pastry is amazing, but there are some American sweets that I find I crave.

TSH: Like a chocolate chip cookie?

DG: Like a really good chocolate cookie. I don’t miss the savory food so much, because the French savory food is pretty great.

TSH: Which spice do you use most, in your cooking?

DG: I used to use cinnamon and nutmeg a lot. I’m using more star anise and more ginger.

TSH: How do you like to use star anise?

DG: I love it in pastry, but I really love it with beef. So if I’m doing a beef stew, I’ll drop in star anise. I also love it in soups. For me it almost feels like a mystery spice because if you don’t know it really well, you can’t quite pick it out. So you taste something and you think. “Mmm I love this! What is that?” And it’s often Star Anise. Cardamom is a lot like that also. That citrusy edge that it has, and you can’t really be sure what it is. I love the smell of cardamom and the flavor.

TSH: What’s your best advice for a young cook?

DG: Cook. Just get in the kitchen and cook, and keep cooking. Make mistakes. Usually mistakes can taste pretty good.

TSH: Do you have any plans to cook for thanksgiving?

DG: I’m cooking half of Thanksgiving, so I’m not cooking the turkey. I’ll do a soup—I don’t know what yet. I’ll do a couple of sides, I always do cranberry sauce and I’ll do some desserts. It’s totally not traditional, but it just looks holiday. In the book there’s a recipe for Triple-Layer Parsnip Cranberry Cake. Think carrot cake, but not. Cream cheese frosting. Cranberry ginger jam in the middle.

TSH: Do you have a favorite pumpkin or squash to make pie with?

DG: That’s not easy to answer! So I’ve made pumpkin pie out of just about everything. I’ve made it from canned pumpkin puree. I’ve made it from kuri squash. I’ve made it from butternut squash. I just play around!

Greenspan encourages cooks to do just that—play around, bend the rules, and experiment with her recipes.

“You gotta have some fun, so there’s a lot of playing around that I did with the recipes. The book has little boxes that say playing around that give you the chance to change the recipes to do what you like with them. I think [The Spice House] is a great place to think about playing around, because it’s like a treasure trove of possibilities. It’s a chance to find a new flavor and think about what you want to do with it.”

Thanks to Dorie for dropping in, it’s not everyday we get to do this. And thanks to our store managers, Lonnie and Chasity, for cooking all the delicious food.

To find out about more book-signings, spice seminars, collaborations, and pop-ups, check our events page or follow us on Facebook.

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