Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday with Julia - Roast Leg of Lamb

I think at several moments today it was mentioned that we should probably just leave the house rather than stick our heads into the oven to sniff all the yummy smell that was emanating from there.

I cannot say that I made this Sunday all about Julia and I. I did not. For today was Easter Sunday. I brought Julia along with me on a mission of thanks and praise of all I have in this world.

ALL I have I owe to him. He is risen. Happy Easter.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Roast Chicken

There is something to be said for Sunday Chicken Dinner. Maybe a bit of nostalgia, a childhood memory.... who knows. At the suggestion of my friend Martha (and due to an imposed dietary regime) this week's "Sunday with Julia" left me a little fixated with a simpler time - my childhood and Sunday dinners at my grandparents' house.

There were only ever two things on the menu. Flat iron steaks with mushroon pan gravy and peas OR - chicken dinner.

I decided against the full bird today. I just refuse to pay 3.99/lb for carcass when I can have .99/lb quarters (I like the dark meat anyways).

Having inherited a bush of rosemary this past week, roasted veggies seemed the logical choice to accompany my chicken.

Winner winner chicken dinner! LOL! Bon Appetite!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Quiche Aux Fruits De Mer -Shrimp Quiche (or Lobster or Crab for that Matter ;))

A "nice light supper" is what I thought. 1/2 stick of butter and a pint of heavy whipping cream later? We have Julia's Shrimp Quiche! Sounds light enough right? LOL!

The only thing I can think of to describe this is "my seafood chowder in a pie". Of course you'd have had to have tasted my seafood chowder to appreciate that.

Sinfully rich and full of shrimp yumminess. My crust got a little darker than I would have liked before the filling set and it's not quite as pretty as some that I've seen photographed... There's only a half pan left for someone going back for seconds and thirds. :)

Success! :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Steak au Poivre avec Tomates à la Provençale

I think I decided a few days ago after seeing sirloins on sale in my Publix flyer that THAT was going to incorporate into my Julia Sunday.
First off - black and white peppercorns do not crack equally easily. I suspect my next cup of freshly ground coffee will have interesting flavor.

The steak was excellent, the flamed sauce divine. I had concerns as I researched that it was going to be some dish that was ALL about the sauce. It wasn't. And even though it pooled a bit in my plate? A perfect compliment to the steak. Not overtaking the dish.

Now - My biggest surprise of this day's cooking was the side dish I chose to make. The tomatoes!

Fresh and delicious! I've always been a fan of roasting fresh produce - I guess Julia was way ahead of me. ;)

I had to do the haricot vert just because I don't know how to make "squash" sound French.

A success. :) Bon Appetite!

p.s. I don't know if Julia had any feelings about the Dutch. I do know that the lady at the check out line today handing out samples of Dutch apple pie suggested French vanilla icecream to go with it. Who was i to argue?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Casserole-Sauteed Pork Chops

Well? Having had "date night" last night I was looking for something 1 - that I had most of the ingredients on hand and 2 - was easy. I LOVE a challenge but just wasn't up for one today. So my inspiration was the leftover half of pork tenderloin I found in the freezer. Voila! Who says Julia has to be expensive! I went to work with what I had on hand. :)

I have to say, the more I cook of Julia's recipes one truth holds - method. Always method. the simplest of ingredients transformed through method. I felt a bit of a failure for not taking on something more complicated today when I started. By the time I finished? Food is art in it's simplest form. I love it. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


My first Julia dish made without an ounce of butter or wine. *Gasp!*
Having been out of town all weekend I wondered if I shouldn't just give my blog a rest this Sunday. I guess I just have a need for it. It's part of "me". So I decided my fix this Sunday would be a side dish - Ratatouille.
Ratatouille is an eggplant casserole of sorts with zuchinni, tomatoe, green peppers, onions..... etc. My first dilemma presented at the store late afternoon where the produce clerk informed me that they had been out of eggplant for weeks as I was attempting to locate my last ingredient on the way to check out. Usually I'd have gone out in search of my missing ingredient but having a late start on my project I decided to improvise. "Be Unafraid!" I marginally increased the quantities of the rest of my ingredients in hopes that method would carry the deliciousness of the dish.
Layers of flavor. Sauted zuchinni, peppers and onions, garlic, peeling tomatoes, basteing.... layering.......
It did! I know the eggplant would have lended more complexity and depth to the dish but really? It was fantastically yummy. Julia suggests serving as a side to a meat course (boiled meat was suggested. Sounds delish.) I thought it hearty enough to stand on it's own served simply with some crusty bread and dipping oil. I might have served it with some cheese though as well (afterthought).
Of course at some point I'm going to want to prepare this again once the national eggplant crisis has eased. (Seriously - to hear the clerk tell it? Wow)
I think Julia would approve. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coq au Vin (Ragout of Chicken and Wine)

I think I was 13 and it was a class trip to Quebec. At the foot of Chateau Frontenac, in a small cafe, I enjoyed Coq Au Vin for the first time. I remember it distinctly because our parents had to sign a release pre trip for us to enjoy this dish in particular (and the accompanying glass of wine - Mom must not have had her coffee yet that morning. ;))
Today was just "one of those days". We all have them. In fact even though I'd shopped for all my ingredients yesterday? (FOUND the tomatoe paste in a tube!) I just wasn't feeling it today. I went back to bed.
I'm going to call the blanching and peeling of pearl onions "therapeutic".
Insane is all I can say about this dish. I think at one point Al looked at me as I was awaiting a reaction, "THAT is CRAZY good!" Success!
p.s. My hair and eyebrows are still intact. LOL!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lasagna a la Francaise (Self Explanatory)

"What word do the French use for lasagna?", he says.



So lasagna meets Julia and my afternoon is born. This is decadent and like no other lasagna I've ever prepared! Thanks to Wanda for the recomendation. Consisting of not one but TWO prepared from scratch sauces it did take much of the afternoon to prepare (I need two stoves - and more pots)

As the sound of Nascar fills my background the marinara first, then the noodles, sauteing mushrooms, spinach, chicken and turkey........ and just when I thought it couldn't possibly smell better in here? The wine and onion bechamel. *Swoon*

An assembly line of ingredients layed into the pan with care and method. A true work of art I thought to myself as I tucked it into the oven.

So I have a quip about the recipe. Two 2qt saucepans of sauce are called for to be made. One, the marina, is only dolloped sparingly over the top. Two, the bechamel? I only used half the quantity and thought possibly I had used too much in my lasagna. If I'd have realized before hand I'd have cooked more noodles and made a second pan! Once the dish sat for awhile to rest it was fine. I guess I'm having spaghetti and meatballs sometime this week. ;)

Definately not your typical lasgna. Definately worth the effort. DEFINATELY delicious!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Filets de Poisson Poches Au Vin Blanc (Fish Filets Poached in White Wine)

Typically this dish is prepared using a white fish. If I'm going to put a bottle of wine to a task, my fish had better stay together! Salmon it is! I particularly liked the look I got from the seafood guy when I asked if I could "smell his fish".

This was the quickest of Julia's recipes I've prepared to date. Quick and delicious! I'm not so sure cooking ability has anything to do with the deliciousness of some of these recipes though. I mean - throw enough wine and butter at something and it's bound to taste good right? LOL!

Seriously - I enjoyed this dish. It was quick and simple with good ingredients I would have paid for that plate. Yum.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Potage Veloute Aux Champignons - Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom soup is really not one of those recipes that conjours up images of French cuisine. Quite the contrary - Cream of Mushroom soup makes me immediately think of tuna casserole come to think of it......

This dish was quite a process! I thought to myself, "Oh how simple a recipe to do today". And it was simple, just a process. Every step of which was worth it. There was not an inch in the bowl that didn't smack of mushroom flavor and richness.

One would usually expect a soup course to start a meal. This WAS the meal. Can you eat soup with a fork?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pate en Croute (Meatloaf Masquerade)

There are few things in cooking that challenge me quite like any form of pastry. You will rarely, if ever, see a blog entry from me about what a wonderful day of baking I've had because quite simply? It frustrates me consistently.

With that said - this recipe intrigued me completely so as to attempt it. After much debate as to the called for "from scratch" dough recipe vs store bought prepared pie dough..... I decided not to tempt fate today and purchased my dough from the store. Which is not to say that in itself still cannot be messed up put in my incapable hands! Side note - while a bottle of Limoncello may appear to be a suitable rolling pin substitute? It is not. The etchings in the glass make it an invariable dough shreader. Welcome to my afternoon! LOL!

As the pate cooks and shrinks there is a gap that occurs between the pate and pastry crust. It's suggested to fill that void with aspic. I prefer my broth as broth thank you., not gelatinous.

There is nothing "meatloaf" about this dish. It is a dreamy and rich pate enrobbed in crust and just melts on your tongue. I cut the recipe in half simply because I couldn't imagine eating leftovers of this for the whole next week without needing new britches by Friday!

Paired with a skinnied down version of my spinach salad, and although not as beautiful as Julia's - Success!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Return to Julia

I began this blog in May of last year. As happens with many things - life gets in the way. I've had a lot of changes during my hiatus, they needed to happen and take priority.

I received as a gift at Christmas time "As Always, Julia", a compilation of letters between Julia and Avis over the years. I spent a lazy day yesterday pouring through them. I refound what it has always been about Julia that I've been drawn to so many years - not just her cooking ability but her indominable spirit. "Be Unafraid!"

And so? Sundays with Julia is reborn. Stay tuned.