Donning a pixie haircut and an all-black ensemble from her neckline to her toes, Dorie Greenspan charmed an audience of foodies at the Book Festival of the MJCCA on Nov. 5. Joined by New York Times writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Kim Severson, she talked about gougères (cheese puffs) taking over her freezer, four-course dinner parties in Paris and “coming home” for dinner.
Her new cookbook, “Everyday Dorie,” features colorful pictures of simple food.
Greenspan described her new love for pimento cheese. When her recipe tester, Mary Dodd, returned from a trip to North Carolina with a can of pimentos, Greenspan was immediately smitten. Her recipe for the Southern staple uses sharp and extra-sharp cheddar, though the audience had varying opinions on what type of cheese is best.
A Brooklyn native, Greenspan described her first cooking experience – one that ended in disaster. She came home from school with a few friends, all of whom were hungry, so she dug through the freezer and pulled out French fries. Instead of baking them in the oven, she poured oil into a pot and put the lid on it. Within minutes the oil had burst into flames and the kitchen was on fire.
“And I didn’t cook again until I was married,” she said with a smile.
Married at 19, Greenspan gave up pursuing her doctorate in gerontology to bake cookies in a restaurant she was fired from for what she dubbed “creative insubordination.”
Now the New York Times “On Dessert” columnist, Greenspan has 13 cookbooks. “Everyday Dorie” is the most accessible cookbook to date, she said. It contains recipes for home cooks, not gourmands. A regular at the Greenspan dinner table is the Subtly Spicy, Softly Hot, Slightly Sweet Beef Stew.
When she made the dish for her Parisian friends – Greenspan bounces between her homes in New York City, Westbrook, Conn., and Paris, France – they anticipated a classic Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy). But the spicy gochujang sauce and sweet cranberries pleasantly surprised the crowd.
Here is Greenspan’s current favorite recipe (edited for length) from her cookbook, “Everyday Dorie”:
Subtly Spicy, Softly Hot, Slightly Sweet Beef Stew
For the marinade:
1 bottle (750 milliliters) red wine, preferably fruity but dry
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons gochujang
5 quarter-sized slices of peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
Scallion greens, reserved from the gremolata
Cilantro stems, reserved from the gremolata
3 pounds beef stew meat
For the stew:
3 tablespoons canola oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, trimmed, cut into 8 pieces, rinsed and patted dry
6 carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
3 garlic cloves, slivered
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and slivered
½ cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup water
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon honey
2 points, star anise
Pinch of black peppercorns
A small sliver of a cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
A strip of orange peel (save orange for gremolata)
To marinate the beef:
Marinate overnight, or up to three days, in a dutch oven or plastic zipper-lock bag. When you’re ready to cook, transfer the beef to a plate lined with thick paper towels. Pat dry. Strain the marinade into a bowl; discard the solids.
To make the stew:
Warm 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the beef in batches, turning to brown all sides, for about 8 minutes. As the pieces brown, transfer them to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Pour off the fat from the pot and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When it’s hot, add the onion and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat. Turn as needed to brown the vegetables. Add the vegetables to the beef. Lower the heat and toss in the garlic, ginger and cranberries. When the mixture is fragrant and the cranberries have popped, scrape over the beef and vegetables and stir.
Return the pot to high heat, pour in the water and cook, scraping the bottom, until all the brown bits are up and the liquid has almost evaporated. Return the beef and vegetables to the Dutch oven, stir in the broth and remaining ingredients, including the marinade.
Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours until beef is fork-tender.
For the gremolata:
3 scallions, white and green parts only, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated garlic
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Fleur de sel or fine sea salt
Cooked rice, quinoa or egg noodles for serving
To make the gremolata:
Stir all the ingredients together.
Serve in shallow soup bowls over the rice, quinoa or egg noodles.