Chefs We Love is a Valentine's Day tribute to those who have done great work in the culinary world -- to those who inspire us to not only eat well, but to try new things in our own kitchens. With this holiday around the corner, we at Kitchen Daily felt that it was appropriate to share our love and respect for those who have most inspired and influenced our passion for cooking. See more chefs we love.
I've developed a habit of digging through the bargain bin at the local Christmas Tree Shoppe for cookbooks. Most of the time I end up with a dud, but once in a while I find a real gem. The day I found Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours" marked down from $40 to $10, I had no idea how good of a deal I had truly found.
Take, for example, the first time I made Dorie's lemon cream tart (appropriately titled "The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart"). First, her description of the recipe drew me in: "The filling in this tart is everything. ... The ne plus ultra of the lemon world. ... The butter emulsifies so that the resulting texture is velvety and deceptively light. It is a stroke of culinary magic." Then, her meticulous-yet-simple instructions guided me to a recipe so perfect that when I brought it to the office, the boss called me to her desk to inspect it -- she gave her stamp of approval. My boss was Martha Stewart.
Needless to say, Dorie has been my go-to resource for all things baking ever since. Sticky buns, mango quick bread, bittersweet brownies, brioche -- I'll swear by any and all of Dorie's recipes. Each and every time, they're spot on.
The thing is, I love Dorie without knowing anything about her (except for the fact that she has three fabulous homes in Paris, New York and Connecticut, all of which I'm very envious). No, she's never had a show on the Food Network or appeared as a judge on Top Chef, and I rarely see her mentioned in my favorite food magazines. She's so under-the-radar that when I first saw her in-the-flesh at one of her CookieBar pop-up shops, I hardly recognized her -- I had always imagined her as tall and willowy, but in fact she's so small that I nearly breezed right past her. And to be honest, I don't need to know much more about Dorie. All I need are her brilliant recipes, unadulterated.
She'll win you over with the personal stories that accompany her recipes, weaving a tale about brownies or pie that make you feel like those recipes will create personal connections with those you bake for, adding real value to your life. By explaining why a particular recipe means so much to her, she'll inspire you to work your own magic in your kitchen.
To me, Dorie's spirit is best encompassed in that copy of "Baking From My Home To Yours" that I picked up years ago. In her blog In The Kitchen And On The Road With Dorie, she describes the book this way: "I was thrilled to be able to write this book because it gave me the chance to share the recipes I'd made and the things I'd learned over 30 years of baking at home and in the kitchens of some of the best chefs in America and France." Devotees even created an online baking club called Tuesdays with Dorie for readers who want to bake their way through the book.
And oh yeah, she's written 10 cookbooks over the past 20 years, six of which won James Beard Awards and IACP awards. So she's not flying that far under the radar.
Baking with Dorie
What do you think of Dorie Greenspan? Leave us a comment below!