COOKBOOK REVIEW: A double-dose of French flavor and charm

"A Table: Recipes for Cooking + Eating the French Way" by Rebekah Peppler (Chronicle, $29.95) and "Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy" by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Countryman Press, $30). Courtesy.
"A Table: Recipes for Cooking + Eating the French Way" by Rebekah Peppler (Chronicle, $29.95) and "Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy" by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Countryman Press, $30). Courtesy.

‘Plat Du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy’ by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Countryman, $30) and ‘Á Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way’ by Rebekah Peppler ($29.95)

I recently came into possession of two beautiful new French-themed cookbooks, both by American expats living in Paris with impressive culinary resumes. I found their individual approaches so enchanting that I wanted to shine a spotlight on both.

ExploreMore cookbook reviews

Plat Du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy” by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Countryman, $30)

Loomis left her native Seattle decades ago to study cooking in France, and went on to start a world-renowned cooking school in Paris and Normandy (On Rue Tatin) and write 14 cookbooks. Her latest draws inspiration from the chalkboard menus outside France’s bistros and cafes. These plats du jour typically center on a hearty, seasonal entree steeped in history and terroir, supplemented with a first course, a dessert, a fresh-cut baguette and wine.

Ingredient lists tend to be short, and cooking methods uncomplicated, if not necessarily quick. Rather than suggest convenient substitutes, Loomis drops in handy tips to ease the process. I made a homey yet elegant feast of Golden Roast Chicken with Shallots and Apples, Simple Boiled Potatoes, and A Classic Green Salad without breaking a sweat — all the better with the white Burgundy she suggested for pairing.

Á Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way” by Rebekah Peppler ($29.95)

A prolific food writer and stylist, Peppler cultivated a reputation for hosting relaxed, flavor-infused soirees in Brooklyn and Los Angeles before planting roots in Paris. In this savvy volume, she channels that laid-back style into stylish, sexy gatherings in the tiny apartment of her adopted city. Most begin with snacks and aperitifs (Chambéry Cassis, Pipérade Dip) and end with dessert and digestifs (Bonal After Hours, Cherry Galette).

Suppers are designed with cramped kitchens in mind. Apricot preserves, Dijon mustard, and a few other pantry items elevated a single-skillet entree of Pork Chops with Kale to special-occasion status. I served it family-style with Extremely French Carrot Salad and Gratin Dauphinois, and conjured my inner Francophile.

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.

In Other News