Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cooking With Julia

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year came from my husband. A copy of the movie, Julie & Julia, and Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking box set.

I think I've mentioned here before, how much I love this movie. I'm not too into giving my endorsement on movies, because whether a movie is good or not really depends upon what a person does or does not like in a movie. For me, this one is right up my alley. I love the food, cooking, blogging, history, relationships, etc. - - I absolutely loved it. I adore stories about people who follow their passion, no matter what. As for the two-volume cook book - - I'd never thumbed through it until Christmas Day. Really, the cookbook is amazing. I tend to prefer a cookbook with a lot of pictures so I know what my end result is supposed to look like. These books have no pictures, aside from a few pencil drawing here and there. What it does have is explicit instruction. Explicit. I really believe even the most novice cook could pick a recipe from these books and produce a fabulous dish.

I had my heart set on making Boeuf Bourguignonne (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms) for New Year's Day dinner, and I'm happy to report that I did just that. Not only that, but I also decided to tackle one of Julia's desserts, too - - Reine De Saba (Chocolate and Almond Cake). Mind you, I was in the kitchen for almost the entire day, but I loved every minute of it. I do believe that at one point, Steve came in to check my progress, and I jumped up and down and clapped because I was having so much fun.

Here's the "boeuf"....

....and the "bourguignonne"...

The end result was a dish that I never would have guessed in a million years that I could have produced. The flavors were amazing and I must admit that it was completely satisfying to enjoy a meal that I spent such a long time preparing. It was so much fun!

Part of the process was to learn to properly brown-braise pearl onions...these smelled soooo good while they were simmering.

I also learned that to properly brown mushrooms, you cannot crowd them in the pan. Yes, those mushrooms are swimming in butter and oil...yum.


As for the cake...it was also a delight to prepare, although I didn't think it was very pretty to look at, unfortunately. I think the cake decorator in me expects to see high, perfectly decorated end-result. What I learned is, a cake does not have to look like it came from a bakery to taste divine. This cake only contains a half-cup of flour, and therefore results in a texture similar to a chocolate truffle - - smooth, creamy, and bursting with chocolate (and rum, I might add).

Next on my list? Coq au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms, and Bacon). I'll let you know how it goes.

7 comments:

Kate said...

So good to see you back! I've been wanting to make that dish since I read the book and saw the movie. I know you said even a novice could do it but I would certainly burn something.

Cheryl said...

Oh lordy. I am so hungry (that darn diet dinner!)after reading your post. I would probably have a slice of cake before the main course!

Mum said...

I can attest to the fact that the meal was FABULOUS, and Heather really was right in her glory all day long. She had the best time preparing it. I would've given up after an hour.

Margaret said...

OMG my stomach is growling after reading that. Wish the computer had smell, I bet it was a heavenly scent!!

Heather said...

Really Kate, you would be fine. I think this cook book is going to be good for me because I definitely need patience to complete a recipe! I'm more of an instant gratification kind of gal, so it is hard for me to let onions simmer for 45 minutes!!

Kate said...

Heather,
You must read Julia Childs book called My Life In France. She wrote about the years they lived there and how she started the cookbook. I read it a few weeks ago and it's just like the Meryl Streep part of the movie. You would love it.

Heather said...

Hi Kate...I've actually ordered the book through inter-library loan at my library - - but I'm number 14 in line, so I think it is going to be awhile. You'd think my library would just buy a copy of it! I can't wait to read it!

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