So...I finally caved in. After constantly hearing all the buzz about Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours and seeing all the fun that people are having in the virtual cooking club French Fridays with Dorie (FFWD), where members make and post a new recipe from the book every Friday, I broke down and bought it (this despite my pledge that I wouldn't buy anymore cookbooks). Though the beautiful, hardcover, 544-page (yes, you read right) masterpiece arrived over a month ago, tonight was the first time that I actually cooked from it and marks my first post for FFWD!
Dorie's book contains French classics, interesting dishes that Dorie and her family and friends have enjoyed in different parts of France (she splits her time between Paris, New York and Connecticut) as well as random creations from her kitchen. Most of the recipes are very simple and accompanied by charming anecdotes, hints and Dorie's warm, personal, encouraging tone.
This dish of creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach is no different. Dorie explains that her husband adores risotto (just like Luis and I!), but that French restaurants just can't get it right. She wonders why the French version can't just be called creamy rice since that's what it usually resembles and comes up with this yummy dish. I just knew that it would be delicious...I mean, how can you go wrong with cheese, garlic, cream and spinach all in one dish!?!?
I made a few modifications to Dorie's recipe, increasing the amount of garlic (you can never have too much garlic!), decreasing the cheese (I used Emmental) and replacing the heavy cream called for with crème fraîche (that's all I had). And...la honte...I couldn't find any fresh spinach at the supermarket (that's what I get for going at closing time) and so subbed frozen...thus the bright green color of my rice. Unlike a traditional risotto, you cook the rice all at once, which means that this is super simple and quick. My kind of recipe! We both loved the creamy, garlicky goodness of it and agreed that this should be on the regular rotation for weeknight dinners. I served it with a simple salad of arugula, grape tomatoes and caper berries, but I like Dorie's idea of making stuffed peppers with it. Imagine some beautiful red or yellow peppers with this green rice inside. Yum!
* FFWD members don't publish Dorie's recipes on our blogs. We encourage you to buy her book instead...you won't regret it! *
On another note, thanks to all of you who buzzed my Peach Salsa into yesterday's Foodbuzz Top 9! Much appreciated!