Cookbook Club

4 Menus That’ll Make You Feel Like You’re In France

July 21, 2017

This month, Cookbook Club members have turned to our book of the month, My Paris Kitchen, for inspiration to host their own celebrations from Bastille Day parties to casual weekend gatherings. While Ina Garten, the party-hosting queen, advises you to never host a dinner party featuring dishes you’ve never cooked before, these recipes have already been tested and summarily devoured by club members, so we think they’re fair game for your next soirée.

So, have no fear! Invite some good friends (or your special someone) and treat them to one of these four menus, inspired by our Club:

Menu #1: The Tried and True Favorites of My Paris Kitchen

If you want to transport your guests to a Parisian bistro, look no further than this menu inspired by our cookbook club’s favorite recipes.

  • Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese
  • Chicken with Mustard
  • Green Beans with Snail Butter (so-named because it goes well with escargot, NOT because it contains snails!)
  • Madeleines

Vivian Lien has some helpful tips for making the very best Cherry Tomato Crostini for your dinner party:

Roasting the tomatoes reminds me that they are a fruit—they are so sweet, like tomato candy! I highly recommend taking the time to make the homemade goat cheese—it's super easy and so deliciously smooth and creamy. The only thing I'd tweak are the instructions for making the toasts. My bread was still completely soft after 5 minutes in the oven at 350° F. I ended up throwing them under the broiler* for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, which produced a delightful crunch.”

*If you try this, keep a close eye on these under the broiler!

Green Beans with Snail Butter; Madeleines Photo by Laura O. Ratliff, James Redden

Menu #2: The French BBQ

This is the perfect menu for sipping rosé with ice (no really, Lebovitz endorses this) while enjoying the long days of summer!

  • Salted Olive Crisps
  • Caramel Pork Ribs
  • Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing
  • Apricot Kernel Ice Cream

And since you’ll need something to spread on those salted olive crisps, our club members had a few suggestions. Sheila Scully says:

I cast my vote with the goat cheese! Pick a creamy type or whip it with a bit of cream cheese or heavy cream. And I agree with Aiala on adding a touch of sweetness so I think I’d serve some honey for drizzling.

Susan Quinby suggested serving the crackers with fig jam and Maree Reynolds chimed in with the suggestion of membrillo.

Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing; Salted Olive Crisps; Apricot Kernel Ice Cream Photo by Allison Grasso
Photo by Ali Wilson
Photo by Sheila Steinberg Aceves

Menu #3: The Vegetarian-Friendly

Nothing’s better than in-season vegetables cooked well. Try this menu showcasing the very best summer produce!

  • Comté and Ham Wafers (sans ham!)
  • Garlic Mayonnaise with Accompaniments (Le Grand Aïoli)
  • Herbed Fresh Pasta
  • Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

Erin Anderson’s post of Le Grand Aïoli for Bastille Day wowed the members of our group with her beautiful presentation featuring stunning produce from the farmers market. Joy Huang found the perfect way to turn the herbed fresh pasta into a vegetarian main by combining it with roasted mushrooms from Small Victories with fresh parsley, porcini salt, and lots of butter.

Comté and Ham Wafers (sans ham!); Garlic Mayonnaise with Accompaniments (Le Grand Aïoli); Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse Photo by Ali Wilson
Photo by Erin Anderson
Photo by Allyson Williams

Menu #4: For our Friends in Cooler Climates (or the Southern Hemisphere)

Some have commented that many recipes in the book may be better suited as winter fare. This is good news for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, n’est-ce pas?

  • Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate
  • Spiced Meatballs (shown below with Salsa Verde from page 333 in lieu of Sriracha Sauce)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Individual Chocolate Cakes with Dulce de Leche and Fleur de Sel

The meatball combination with mashed potatoes and salsa verde is the creative genius of Catherine Chapin Mayhew, and I know this combo will appear on my dinner table come November! The chocolate cakes are highly endorsed by the cookbook’s author, David Lebovitz, and are part of the July recipe challenge—join in by baking them, and be ready to post your photo of your cakes on July 31st, either in the Club or tagged on Instagram with #f52cookbookclub.

Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate; Spiced Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes Photo by Jennifer Scobie, Catherine Chapin Mayhew

Inspired to create your own menu from My Paris Kitchen? Check the Club to see who has already made each dish and if they have any tips before you get started.

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Have your own go-to entertaining menu? Tell us in the comments!

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Kate Hill

Written by: Kate Hill

Kate is a PhD student in Biology with a passion for cooking!