Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dinah does Julia's Sauce Béarnaise

Like my mother told me...start with a good piece of meat.

For such a killer sauce it's kind of a sidenote in Mastering the Art. Dinah has a great kitchen with beautiful knives and pans. She all ready reduced the fresh and dried tarragon in the white wine, wine vinegar and shallots, and strained it...pictured in the foreground.

I won't go through all the details...see pages 84-85 in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Dinah got a fabulous texture this time, rich and smooth.

She alway plates things up real nice.

It was like butter and we ate it all...is that a piece of Sydenstricker I see?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Aspic preparation-Clarifying stock- accepting the challenge

Frank and Dinah challenged me to do an aspic so here's my first attempt. I made stock with roasted chicken bones, cellery and onions...I did have to add a boulion cube to give more flavor.

To make the jelly you need to use some type of thickener - in Holland we have the gelatin sheets like in France....but first if your stock is cloudy - you need to clarify it - make it clear in other words.
My stock was wicked cloudy so I turned to Julia for the solution. When you first read it you're like - this will never work - but amasingly enough it does. You need to boil half of the stock but keep the other half cold....beat egg whites into the cold stock and slowly add the boiling stock to this mixture and then put it back on the heat until a sort of foam forms on the surface...this is where I started to groan and laugh when reading the recipe - but really it's not that bad - the description is way more complicated than what you actually have to do....turn to low and move to one side of the burner so only 1/4 of the pan is touching the heat surface - do not stir - repeat 3 more times rotating the pan to get all sides....you see the shit rising to the surface! (page 111)
Julia says to strain it through four layers of wet cheese cloth - please - two layers of damp papertowels in a fine strainer works just fine.
After you strain it off you add the gelatin leaves while it's still warm - they should disolve pretty quickly otherwise you'll have to put it on a low heat....add some madiera wine and put some in your molds to let it set to create a bottom - which will actually be the top - think ahead - it's like jello and needs time to set.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Julia's Sauce Bearnaise

On August 2nd I made my first Bearnaise. I've certainly eaten my fair share in restaurants but never attempted to make it on my own. But I wasn't alone. Julia's recipe was written beautifully and I followed Peter's advice to read it three times. I felt like an expert and the result was perfect. BTW, I grew my own tarragon this summer so it was cut minutes before using, rather than the often wilted stuff from the grocery store. It made a difference. I served it with steak for my Man.
DMJ in Brooklyn

NY Times article Julia on the bestseller list...

August 24, 2009
After 48 Years, Julia Child Has a Big Best Seller, Butter and All
Almost 48 years after it was first published, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child is finally topping the best-seller list, bringing with it all the butter, salt and goose fat that home chefs had largely abandoned in the age of Lipitor.
The book, given a huge lift from the recently released movie “Julie & Julia,” sold 22,000 copies in the most recent week tracked, according to Nielsen BookScan, which follows book sales. That is more copies than were sold in any full year since the book’s appearance, according to Alfred A. Knopf, which published it.
The book will make its debut at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list of Aug. 30 in the advice and how-to category.
“In a month, I’ve sold almost seven times what I sell, typically, in a year of ‘Mastering,’ and it’s going to get even higher,” said Lee Stern, the cookbook buyer for Barnes & Noble. “It’s amazing.”
Amazing not just because the book is almost half a century old, costs $40 and contains 752 pages of labor-intensive and time-consuming recipes — the art of French cooking is indeed hard to master — but also for what those recipes contain.
In a decade when cookbooks promise 20-minute dinners that are light on calories, Ms. Child’s recipes feature instructions like “thin out with more spoonfuls of cream” (Veau Prince Orloff, or veal with onions and mushrooms, pages 355-7) or “sauté the bacon in the butter for several minutes” (Navets à la Champenoise, or turnip casserole, pages 488-9). And for a generation raised to believe that Jell-O should have marshmallows in it, there is plenty of aspic — the kind made with meat.
Readers who only recently opened the book, and have been blogging and tweeting about it, have found some anachronistic surprises.
“I’m looking at these ingredients going, Oh, sweet Lord, we’ll die,” said Melissah Bruce-Weiner, 45, a resident of Lakeland, Fla., who bought the book on her way home from seeing the movie. Horrified by the prospect of cooking with pork fat, she tried her own variation of boeuf bourguignon, which she called “beef fauxguignon.”
“I know why all of the greatest generation has died of heart attacks,” she said. “I actually did a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a can of French onion soup, and a can of red wine — it was the same can — I filled it with the bottle that I had been drinking the night before.
“Yes, Julia Child rolled over in her grave when I opened the cream of mushroom soup, I’m pretty sure of that. But you know what? That’s our world.”
Mindy Lockard, 34, of Eugene, Ore., made Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence, which calls for a whole stick of butter, for a recent dinner party.
“I found the recipes, actually, much easier than I thought they were going to be, but the amount of butter was a bit overwhelming,” she said. “There’s a picture of me cooking, and I have this glow, and it’s from too much hot butter. I expected to break out the next day.
“My husband loved it and asked if we could have it again the next day. I actually said, we probably shouldn’t have this in the same month.”
Ms. Child, who died in 2004 at the age of 91, liked to say, “ ‘Oh, butter never hurts you,’ ” her editor, Judith Jones, recalls. “In this country, we sort of have a love-hate relationship with food — we love it, but we’re also afraid of this whole fear-of-fat mania.”
Mireille Guiliano, the author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” said there are reasons why American and French bodies respond differently to the same fatty ingredients.
For starters, the French eat more fruits and vegetables, and they walk more, she said. And then there is portion size. “The French simply eat much less,” she said.
Some of that is alluded to in the movie “Julie & Julia,” which combines scenes from Ms. Child’s discovery of cooking while in France with the true story of a modern blogger who decides to cook her way through “Mastering the Art.”
“Mastering the Art” — co-written by Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and the first of two volumes — is not the only book that has gotten a lift from the movie. The book “Julie & Julia,” which was written by the blogger Julie Powell and was the basis for the movie, has been reprinted 13 times this year in movie tie-in versions by publisher Little, Brown.
The movie editions of “My Life in France,” the 2006 book that chronicles Ms. Child’s years there and provided biographical material for the movie, have been reprinted nine times by Knopf.
Knopf has also reprinted “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom” six times this year, and it will top the Aug. 30 Book Review list of advice and how-to paperbacks. According to BookScan, which tracks roughly 75 percent of the book market, it is the second-best-selling cookbook in the country, behind “Mastering” and ahead of more contemporary titles like “Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes” and “Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200,” a book of recipes under 200 calories.
As for “Mastering the Art,” even discount stores that have never stocked the book, like Sam’s Club, are putting in orders.
“We won’t be caught up for a while,” said Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf.
Part of the sales can be credited to movie promotions from Columbia Pictures, which released the film. “Basically, we just integrated it into everything we did, so if we had radio promos, we’d give away the book; if we had screenings, we’d give away the book,” said Marc Weinstock, president of worldwide theatrical marketing for Sony Pictures, Columbia’s parent company.
But booksellers were still startled by the demand for new copies. The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle and Barbara’s Bookstore, based in Chicago, have both run out of “Mastering the Art” recently. At Powell’s Books in Portland, managers had ordered extra books for a Julia Child promotional section.
“Pretty much by the Sunday after the movie opened, it just looked like a bomb hit it,” said Gerry Donaghy, the purchasing supervisor for new books at Powell’s.
And at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, N.Y., “My Life in France” has been “flying, flying off the shelves,” said a co-owner, Maryann Calendrille. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Nora Ephron, the film’s writer and director, said she had hoped to inspire more cooking.
“This was a secret dream,” Ms. Ephron said, “that the movie would sell a lot of books.”
She added: “I’m completely delighted that people are walking out of the multiplex and into the bookstore.”

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Who's ready to try an ASPIC?

Frank and I were talking and thought it might be fun to try making an aspic? Any takers.....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Souffle au Fromage, Breakfast 8/15/09 11:30 AM

Souffle au fromage, garden tomatoes, crispy thick bacon

Wanted to get my Julia groove on early and praised her throughout for her dedication and precision. I used the 8" diameter Bennington Potter dish Stephen gave me. The recommended 6" or 4" diameter dishes would have given more height.

I lined the buttered dish with homemade breadcrumbs and this made the edge and bottom delicious. The interior was creamy and smooth; I stuck strictly to the recommended seasoning levels to be sure I got that taste.

If you're feeding someone like Rudy, be sure to heed Julia's advice: There should be no lingering when a souffle is to be eaten. Julia's words and food made for a special Saturday morning at-home for two.

Happy Birthday Julia - Soufflé de Crabe

Sorry for the order of the pictures - still learning!

I just put the scallops in the little food processor and they were puree in seconds. The Madeira wine really made the dish - and the scallops provided some complexity that made it rich and filling.

The recipe called for ground flounder but I used scallops instead.

It was a lovely day and we ate outside and finished the whole thing between the two us.

I served it with Champagne de Lattaignant - one of the last bottles from our trip to Reims.

I gave the smaller one to our Thai neighboor - she's always making things for us.

My mixture with the flour, butter, milk and egg yolks was thinner than what Julia said it should be - but it got so thick I added a little white wine. I used gruyere on the pans and emmentaler in the souffle - I added the cheese to the egg yolk mixture instead of the egg whites.

Didn't have any trouble with the egg whites - just a pinch of salt.

Lobster would have been easier - It only took me about a half hour to shell the crab!
I coulnd't get lobster because of the annual mussel festival in Yerseke - all the streets were closed - couldn't get chicken food either! So I opted for crab claws at the fish store in Goes.