Plenty of alluring plates of food for cold months are what the cooking teacher Susan Herrmann Loomis, who is based in France, provides in her new book, “Plat du Jour.” The seasonally focused recipes are mostly center-of-the-plate fare, including chicken braised in wine with leeks and cream, scallops with celery root purée, classic beef bourguignon, Basque lamb and sweet pepper stew, and even some vegetable showstoppers like potato and chive soufflé, and endive and leek gratin. A lovely salad depending on flat parsley for greens, with olives and almonds, is one of several suited for winter. The eggplant and tomato tart waits for another season. Simple, individual apple tarts are among the desserts to inspire the baker year-round. The recipes are accompanied by clever tips, in French “astuces.” The carbonnade of beef recipe could use this one, tell the cook to return the seared meat to the casserole once the pot is ready for the oven, which, in an editing slip-up, it neglects to do.
“Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy” by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Countryman Press, $30).