My friend, Maria, from my Paris cooking class recently turned me on to the website Cowgirl Chef, written by Texan-turned-Paris-resident , Ellise Pierce. It is a witty, smartly-written blog about her coming to terms with living in Paris and how French takes on some home-town favorites helped ease that homesick feeling. Her food became so popular with expats in Paris, she started a catering business which led to cooking classes which led to her new cookbook, Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent. This Texan is lovin’ the stories as much as the recipes!
Recipes include such French classics as Provençal fish stew and courgettes farcies/stuffed zucchini, plus some “cowgirl way” dishes like roasted ratatouille in which she, well, roasts the chunky cut veggies before assembling the final dish; a zucchini-cilantro soup where she uses stock instead of cream plus lots of cilantro and tops it with roasted tomatoes and goat cheese.
She also gives flat-out Southern dishes a new French identity like the jalapeño pimento cheese tartine, a recipe that takes me back to my childhood, and some straight-up tex-mex dishes like fish tacos and tacos al pastor get the nod. She finishes up with guacamole and pico de gallo, Texas chili (no beans, thank you very much) and chorizo. What’s a Texan, or American for that matter, not going to love about these dishes? This would make a super gift for any ex-pat friend missing the flavors of home.
With her folksy style and her home-grown attitude (read the rant about French vs Texas beef), this cookbook is a joy to read as well as cook from. She is on a book tour throughout summer and I just signed up for a cooking class/book signing at the Central Market store in Fort Worth in July! I’m such a lucky gal.