35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2011
I believe I have been a secret Francophile for a lot of my adult life as a cook - at least when it comes to French cuisine and culture. Despite my Central Euro roots, and my passion for many other cuisines of the world, I have cooked many of the French classics that Richard Grausman, the author of "French Classics Made Easy" includes in this 'keeper' of a book. The best known classics such as Coq au Vin, Bouillabaisse, Boeuf Bourguignon, Cassoulet, Navarin D'Agneau to name a few of my favorites, are all included in this treasure of a book.
Actually, there are 250 French recipes that Grausman delivers to the home cook using ingredients readily available at your local supermarket. Add to that, the illustrated step-by-step techniques (for example, "How to Line a Tart Pan" as illustrated and described on page 65) and others throughout the book all add to the excellence of this cookbook.
The extent of Grausman's attention to detail in writing this book is to be commended. For ease of recognition to his audience, the recipe titles are in English, followed by the French translation. In addition, a personal favorite feature of any cook book is that the Table of Contents be comprehensive enough to include the page number where the reader can find not only where a particular Chapter can be found, but what page to find a particular category within a Chapter. That may seem like a "nit-picking" feature for me to get excited about, but trust me, when you've read, judged, and used as many cook books as I have in my professional culinary life, that feature is very useful to the reader!
First Courses (Page 14):
Main Courses (Page 86)
Vegetables & Other Accompaniments (Page 170)
Pastries & Desserts (Page 210) (Pastries Page 212 and Desserts Page 260)
Basics (Page 300)
The mystique behind French cuisine was attempted to be de-mystified by Julia Child decades ago through her TV shows and many cookbooks. However, as much as I admire all that she did to introduce the American palate to French cuisine (not an easy task to take folks from the ordinary and sometimes mundane "American" cuisine to Coq au Vin!) I believe that there were many home cooks who were still intimidated by some of the lengthy and complicated steps and some ingredients that may have been difficult to come by decades ago when Julia Child was in her heyday. Do you remember when the only mushrooms you could buy were those that came in a can? I do!
What Richard Grausman has done in writing French Classics Made Easy is to do just that!
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Hands down, Richard Grausman's,
French Classics Made Easy, is the best cookbook I've ever used!
The book takes classic recipes and simplifies them to make
them hits at any meal. Suggested wine and side dishes are perfect
complements to each recipe, and every dish I've prepared never
fails to get rave notices from family and friends.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
This is an awesome cookbook! I bought this because I have absolutely no experience with French cooking, thought it would be fun to try, and am a grad student so I don't have hours on hand to spend in the kitchen. I'm so happy I bought it!
Richard Grausman puts a lot of himself in the cookbook in a way that makes me feel like I'm taking a fun cooking class taught by somebody I really like. He adds a lot of notes about why you should or shouldn't do things a certain way, which I think is a sign of a good teacher and helps me be a better cook. And it never comes across as patronizing.
The really nice thing about it, too, is that the recipes are actually affordable. Sure, a few of them have some pricier ingredients, but Grausman always gives the chef an out if need be.
If you want to try French cooking, buy this cookbook!
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2011
I have been teaching the culinary arts to high school students for 23 years. Before becoming a teacher, I was a chef and restaurant owner for 12 years. French Classics Made Easy by Richard Grausman changed my life and those of my students in ways I never thought possible.
My students have been using French Classics for 20 years. At first, teaching 14 year old beginners about French cuisine was intimidating, but Richard Grausman's clarity Made it Easy. My student's start out making Baguettes, next Ganache with Creme Anglaise, and on to French Crepes. They can't believe their success nor can their parents. Over the years, these 14 year olds have progressed far beyond their dreams and my expectations. They have been featured on seven national television shows, including Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Nightline, the Food Network's Challenge and Chopped.
Learning the basics and cooking the French Classics has given my students the confidence to excel in college and become pillars of the industry.
My former students began with French Classics and now look where they are
- the Executive Chef for the national chain, Capital Grille
- the Executive Chef for one of Charlie Palmer's restaurants and now owns his own restaurant Broadway By Amar in Laguna Beach, California
- the Executive Chef at the celebrity packed, Strand Hotel in New York
- the Pastry Chef to the stars making specialty cakes for Sofia Vergara, Brooke Shields and Carmelo Anthony
- the Banquet Sous Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in NYC!
The lives of my students have been changed by Richard Grausman and his book French Classics Made Easy is a Culinary Masterpiece!
By Aristotle Matsis
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I am extremely excited about this cookbook. It is one of my top 5 favorite cookbooks (I have 11 linear feet of cookbooks) and it's definitely the most user friendly in terms of techniques of the books on my list. Richard Grausman's recipes are not only fabulous, he is a wonderful teacher, making French cooking "easy"! No home-cook will find these recipes intimidating, as there are many shortcuts to the classic French recipes. All will find them amazingly delicious. This book is an absolute gem.
French Classics Made Easy has given me a great excuse to have numerous dinner parties this summer, each time rolling out impressive, flavorful meals that have been enormous hits. Guests always beg for the recipe! Stated prep/cooking times seem right on, and since many of them require less than an hour, it's pretty easy to pull together a meal quickly. I appreciate that the advance preparation and hold times for the refrigerator and freezer (if applicable) are given for the recipes. There are even serving suggestions to help in menu planning.
Everything has been absolutely excellent, but some of my favorites are Watercress Soup, Shrimp A La Provencale (Shrimp in Garlic Tomato Sauce), Chicken A La Portugaise (Chicken with Mushrooms, Tomato, and Olives), French Lamb Stew, Waterless Cooked Carrots, Sauce Beurre Blanc (White Butter Sauce), and Almond Cake with Raspberry Puree. The recipe for Chocolate Mousse is fabulous and a snap to make. Actually, I have made most all the recipes in the book, many over and over again, and found them all absolutely yummy.
As for ease of use, I think the pictures are really helpful, the directions are very clear and the recipes uncomplicated to prepare. The introduction includes good information about ingredients, preparation, and even equipment. Variations to the recipes are also provided. Finally, I think there are numerous recipes that would appeal to people who like lean proteins with healthy, flavorful sauces, too. If you like lots of flavor, you won't go wrong with this book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I fell in love with the Bonne Femme cookbook and yearned for more accessible French recipes. So, I bought this cookbook and eagerly awaited its arrival. It's a great cookbook for planning dinner parties or date-night meals when you have a large budget and plenty of time to dedicate to cooking. The fish section is all salmon and lobster. The poultry section is mostly duck, squab, pheasant and even rabbit. The beef section wastes no time in getting to the whole tenderloin fillet and telling you to ask for specialty cuts of whole lamb leg. This is not a cookbook to turn to for dinner on Tuesday night, or even Sunday night unless your budget allows for whole ducks on a regular basis. Even the first breakfast dish calls for a "medium black truffle, chopped."
The one thing I do love about it is the section for sauces (both sweet and savory) including variations and what to serve them with. I don't see myself getting a ton of use out of this book.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This cookbook has recipes that have a French flavor, although many of them are recipes that one will find in any good cookbook. The French names are given for them and there are many tips, illustrations and general advice to help complete the recipes. This book does have more help than most. You can see how to truss a bird, puree soup, use a pastry bag. Hints for better flavor and variations are explained Serving suggestions and suitable wines are given. Ingredients are listed using fresh, canned or frozen equivalents. Charts are also included that solve soufflé problems and using canned stocks and conversion tables. However there are no pictures of the finished dishes.
The book is divided into courses; First - soups, salads, eggs and omelets, soufflés, fish mousses, pates and terrines, crepes, quiches, savory cream puff pastries, pasta, Main-seafood, poultry, meat, Vegetables and accompaniments, pastries and desserts. Basics, such as stocks, sauces, breads and desert sauces
Beginning cooks would really find help to fix some of these French recipes, as well as more experienced chefs.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
this book makes cooking fun and simple---it also produces delicious french food--i have tried almost every receipe and they are all wonderful--give it to newly married couples and people who have been cooking the same food for years--everyone will enjoy it--
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The French Classics Made Easy Cookbook by author Richard Grausman is a superb cookbook and a great value for the money as you will find a well-written comprehensive cookbook. Grausman takes the time to explain French eating habits and cooking while providing a well-thought out collection of recipes. Throughout his cookbook the author has included plenty of cooking tips and diagrams showing how to prepare the different recipes.
Some of the recipes you will find in his cookbook include:
Mediterranean Fish Soup
Green Salad with variations
Slow-Scrambled Eggs with Truffles
Smoked Salmon Souffle
Chicken Liver Mousse
Ham and Mushroom Crepes with Mornay Sauce
Gruyere Pastry Ring Filled with Cheese Souffle
Puff-Pastry Shells Filled with Seafood in White Sauce
Grilled Salmon Fillets
Shrimp A La Provencale
Poached Chicken with Creamy Tarragon Sauce
Sauteed Chicken A La portugaise
Sauteed Pheasant Breasts with Juniper
Fillet Steaks Charlemagne
Grilled Rib Steaks
Veal Scallops with Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce
Roast Leg of Lamb
Pork Medallions with Sauce Robert
Waterless Cooked Carrots
Green Beans with Shallot Butter
Cream Puffs Filled with Chocolate Souffle
There is an interactive table of contents making navigation easy.