Dorie Greenspan Says It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Delicious
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Cookbook season continues with one of the test kitchen's (and Martha's!) favorite authors: Dorie Greenspan, whose 13th book "Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook" comes out today. While Greenspan is best known for her James Beard award-winning baking bibles, she can work just as much magic in the savory realm. More importantly, "Everyday Dorie" is a reflection of how she cooks today: simply. "When I started cooking years ago, if it wasn't complicated, I didn't want to do it. I thought the only way I was going to learn is if I made a croquembouche on Tuesday and a coulibiac on Wednesday because I wanted to master techniques," says Greenspan. "Now I want inviting, comforting food that isn't overly worked, that satisfies but doesn't draw attention to itself."
A good example of such a dish is the mushroom-bacon galette in the book. It's a recipe that Greenspan has made again and again (and again in the test kitchen), and she likes to say that galette translates to "not perfect." It starts with a pâte brisée-like dough that comes together quickly in the food processor, although you can also swap in store-bought piecrust. Greenspan surprisingly rolls out the dough without chilling it first, between two sheets of parchment paper. She says, "You might think it's heresy, but it's easier to roll out the dough right away-it's more pliable, you don't have to wait, and the dough doesn't care!"
After the dough goes into the fridge, Greenspan works on the filling. She cooks bacon or pancetta in a skillet, followed by mushrooms with leeks, garlic (just one clove, as too much of the allium gives her nightmares, a phenomenon editor at large Shira Bocar has also experienced), white wine, and cream. The finishing touches are Parmesan, fresh thyme, and Greenspan's secret weapon in this recipe: walnuts. She says, "You get that bite of walnut and think, 'I wasn't expecting that.' It makes you perk up and pay attention to what else is in the dish."
Greenspan loves adding these surprise elements to her recipes but emphasizes that like walnuts, they're often very common ingredients. While she also lives in New York City and Paris, she has been spending more time in Westbrook, Connecticut in the past decade, which has affected her cooking style. "Being away from convenience changes how you think about food and makes you a more creative cook," says Greenspan. "The door of your refrigerator becomes more interesting." It's how she ended up adding both gochujang, the Korean chili paste, and frozen cranberries to the beef stew in her book. Greenspan doesn't know if she would have had the courage or verve to try such combinations when she was younger, but more than a dozen books later, she feels free to cook by grabbing whatever inspires her.
She wants her readers to enjoy the same freedom when making her recipes and thus often includes a "Playing Around" section at the bottom. It's meant to give home cooks permission to do what they like with the recipe-change it because they don't have one of the ingredients on hand or because they're inspired by something else at the market. In fact, when Shira commented that the galette reminded her of chestnuts, it got Greenspan excited about pairing the mushroom filling with chestnuts and apple cider instead of walnuts and white wine. Even after the book is published, Greenspan is never done tinkering, or what she so charmingly calls "playing around."
Watch a throwback video of Greenspan and Martha making another seasonally apt dish, Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good: