Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Julia!!!

Hello Everyone!
Oh my goodness, do you know what today is?!?!?!

National Non-Profit Day?
Well....  Yes.
National Thrift Shop Day?
Actually- yes.
And both of those are things that are very close to my heart.  But still no!
What is it then?
Today is the day that the Grande Dame of Television Cooking was born - the amazing Julia Child!!!!

This is the little station I have made for myself out of my night stand and my iPad where I have been watching the black and white episodes of The French Chef. Joy!

And yes I am that excited about it.  In my mind, we should make her birthday a national holiday because she was one of the main reasons that we have the infinite varieties of food that we eat in America today.  Thanks to her bringing over French food and its preparation on her show the French Chef,  a genuine interest in food in the American public was created and for this she will have my constant adoration.  In case you were wondering, we would celebrate this holiday by preparing and eating dishes that were Julia Child staples.
So, to help you prepare for what is, undoubtedly, going to be a National Holiday any year now, I decided that I would include some recipes for some of Julia's most classic dishes.


This first dish is one of my husband's favorites and is the perfect dish for summertime.  The recipe I have posted below is not a Julia Child's recipe - as she has a cookbook that is still in production and I don't want to be sued by big, scary publishers that can make it so I live in a cardboard box -  but this recipe is highly based off of hers which I have pared down for two people - rather than 6-8 people.  (She always seemed to be cooking for ALOT of people.)
You will want to prepare this dish ahead of time so that it has time to chill.  And by chill I mean it is served ice cold.

1 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (You can use any potato, but I like golden potatoes)
1 1/2 cups leeks, sliced -  including the tender greens (As Julia says.)  If you don't trust yourself to know what the tender greens are, just use the white of the leek
1 quart homemade chicken stock  (Julia just used water and you can also use vegetable stock - but I like the taste of chicken stock)
Kosher Salt, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup whipping cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. minced chives or green onions

1.  I thought that I would mention this as the first step in case we have people that have not ever really cooked with leeks.  Leeks can be very dirty and gritty.  A good rule of thumb before you cook with them is to cut them in half lengthwise and then slice them up.  Once they are sliced, put them in a bowl with water and rinse them thoroughly.  You kind of want to run them through your fingers in the water and separate them by rubbing them in between your fingers.  Once they are cleaned remove them from the water and dry them thoroughly, the easiest way to do this is with a salad spinner.
2.  In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan add the chicken stock, potatoes and leeks.  Simmer, with the pot partially covered with a lid,  until the vegetables are tender - about 30 to 40 minutes.
3.  Working in batches, scoop the soup into a blender and puree.  (Julia has you using a fork or a food mill!!!  Can you imagine?!?!  This soup would have been so much work back in the day.) You want to make certain that you puree until your veggies are rather creamy with no large lumps or pieces.  You can run it through a fine sieve if you are worried that your blender wont puree it fine enough.
4.  Pour back into the pot, making sure the pot is on a cold burner, you don't want to have any heat on under your soup,  and slowly pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly until you have a gorgeous creamy consistency.
5.  Taste for flavor.  Add any salt and pepper you desire.  If you feel it is too plain for your tastes, you can also add herbs at this time.  Basil is always nice as is rosemary, but this is one of those dishes that I like plain, so I just add salt and pepper as my taste buds determine is needed.
* Tip:  You may want to make your soup slightly saltier than you normally would as salt does lose some of its....ummm.... for lack of a better word..... saltiness when it is in a dish that has been chilled.  But don't overdo it!
6.  Allow the soup to cool a little before removing to a bowl,  Cover and chill in the refrigerator.  I like to let it chill for at least 4 hours, but you can have it chill overnight as well.

To serve:  Spoon cold soup into chilled soup tureens and garnish with the minced chives or green onions.


The next dish is ratatouille.  Which I can't even hear about or see without thinking of the Disney film by the same name. Because of this, I thought that I would include the recipe that this modern classic Disney film based their ratatouille recipe.  Yes, this is the same ratatouille that Remi served to the food critic.  Yes, this was an actual dish created by a real chef.  His name is Thomas Keller and he is something of a food legend and he advised on the food portrayed in the film.  I personally have never had the patience to make it, but I do think that it is beautiful. Keller actually doesn't call it ratatouille, he names it Confit Byaldi but, trust me, it is the Remi Ratatouille from the film.


For those of you would would like a more practical approach, I have a ratatouille recipe that you can do on the stove that was one of the very first recipes that I ever posted.  If you would like to see that much easier recipe, just click on the link below.


I was going to post a quiche recipe, as this was one of Julia's big staples, but I really want to save that for its own post on another day, so instead I will leave you with a link to some classic Julia television, The French Chef.  This one shows you how to make a classic Boeuf Bourguignon.

Isn't this a great behind the scenes photo?  There are four people sitting behind her.  Talk about a crowded kitchen!

Well, the only appropriate way to end this post is the Julia way so...... Happy Birthday Julia!  And, to everyone else,  Bon Appetite! 

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