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Cookbook Review-The French Cook:Sauces

by Jane Windham on February 20, 2013

French-Cook-Sauces-CoverI was so honored and thrilled when cookbook author Holly Herrick asked me to review her new and about to be released cookbook The French Cook: Sauces. This is the first volume in a series of books she’s authoring that are designed for the home cook who has wanted to delve into French cooking.

HELENEHEADSHOTHOLLYphoto by Helene Dujardin

This is Holly, and you may remember when she sent us her cookbook Tart Love to give away on our blog last year. In addition to her other 3 cookbooks that she’s written, she has been a long-time restaurant critic and features writer for Charleston’s daily newspaper The Post and Courier. She’s also written features for magazines such as Southern Living. Holly studied at Le Cordon Bleu and has put her love of France to use by writing this first book in her series of books about French cooking.

I have not received my hard copy of the book yet, but Holly send me a PDF copy to review, complete with its gorgeous photographs.

Crab Cake with Hollandaise 0G6A1115-1photo by Steven Rothfeld

photo by Steven Rothfeldphoto by Steven Rothfeld

Not only were there gorgeous food photographs that made me practically drool, there were French street scenes and action shots of French chefs that made me feel that I was right in Paris.

Ok, I’ll admit it. French cooking has always intimidated me just a bit. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make my own Hollandaise, Bearnaise, and Puttanesca sauces but felt a little inadequate.  Holly demystifies the techniques in making these as well as creating your own stocks. And there is even a chapter devoted to whipping up your own mayonnaise. Didn’t think mayonnaise was French, did ya?  Well, it is the base for aioli, remoulade, and tartar sauces.

The French Cook: Sauces not only gives you the step-by-step instructions and tips for making all these sauces, but it also includes several recipes that use the sauces. So today I was inspired to make Roasted Asparagus with Oranges, Proscuitto, and Chive Bechamel Sauce.

roasted asparagus with bechamel sauce 003

Now, here in the South , we call a Bechamel sauce a white sauce. I’ve made that plenty of times, but I picked up a few tips from Holly about making it better. For example, Holly stresses that you must have equal parts of butter and flour. To add additional flavor, an onion is cooked into the sauce.  And Holly said that the milk must be cold when adding it to the flour mixture.

bechamel sauce

For this recipe, orange zest and juice were added along with fresh chives. Oh, yum! And then you add some chopped proscuitto to it! I knew this was going to be good!

roasted asparagusI roasted the asparagus and then dressed it with the warm bechamel sauce.

roasted asparagus dressed with warm bechamel sauceVoila! Let me just say that getting this recipe would be worth the price of the whole cookbook! I can’t wait to make this with our own fresh asparagus that we grow!

This book has given me the confidence to take on more French sauces, and if you’ve ever wanted to master them, too, then I’d highly suggest this cookbook. It won’t be available until March, but you can preorder your copy of The French Cook: Sauces at Amazon.

What is Holly up to now? Well, she’s cooking up a storm while working on the second book in the series-Cream Puffs and Eclairs!

Au Revoir!

Come join me over at:

Foodie Friday@Rattlebridge Farm

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Janelle February 21, 2013 at 1:06 am



michelle February 21, 2013 at 1:21 am

Will be giving this book a try.


Faye February 21, 2013 at 7:46 am

Great review Jane! Your making one of the recipes was a nice touch. Makes me want to get the book as soon as available.


Robyn February 21, 2013 at 9:46 am

I LOVE asparagus and that looks yummy. A glass of white wine and there’s your dinner! I have to have that cookbook!


Beckie Hemmerling February 21, 2013 at 10:14 am

Holly breaks down delicious recipes in a simple way that readers can understand. Thanks Holly for making it easier and thanks Jane for the delicious pictures and review! Can’t wait to get my copy!


Holly Herrick February 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Jane – thank you for the marvelous review and your pictures look fabulous! Great work and very appreciated. I have the review posted on my site for cross reference.


Mary February 22, 2013 at 6:59 am

Hi Jane~ This series of books sound wonderful! I have Holly’s Charleston Chef’ Table book which I love and ordered Tart Love after you reviewed it! I need to pull it out and tart it up :)


Shirley@Housepitality Designs February 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm

How wonderful to be able to review her new cookbook…the sauce looks wonderful and thanks for the great tips….


Lori @ Lori May Interiors February 23, 2013 at 10:49 am

Oh my Jane, I’m not sure I need to learn how to make these sauces. I might just enjoy them a bit too much! :) I love cookbooks and I can’t wait to delve into this one!

Have a great weekend!


Ann February 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

The asparagus looks incredible. Anything with orange or lemon zest is always so fresh and tasty. Looking forward to more dishes from the cookbook!


Jean Windham February 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Oh Jane what a treat to get to use Holly’s recipes. I, like you, am intimidated to just think of doing any French cooking. I know your recipe must have been great and it looked delicious too. Thanks for sharing the recipe with your blog. Jean


Carlene @ Organized Clutter February 24, 2013 at 9:31 am

Yum! I love asparagus!


Melanie February 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm



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