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[personal profile] ornerie

last night I got home to a box on my stoop.... a package from a swap pal! in it was a complete boxed set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

I've been wanting these books since forever but never really been able to justify them. there was always something else that needed the money, or the time or ?? but now, no excuses!!

I had always had the idea of systematically going through them, learning classical techniques and recipes, then adapting them for healthier diets and smaller audiences (what do I need with hollendaise for six?) Julie and Julia came out and I thought "hey! she had the same idea! awesome!". I'm listening to the book on tape right now....I have to admit I dont identify with Julie at ALL. I am happy with my life and my career, and she seems a bit prone to hystrionics (kitchen stuff never seems to stress me out that much. I in fact find it very relaxing, even if it fails) but the idea of exploring new chemistries, and applying the principles of classical french cooking to local ingredients is a very intriguing one to me.

My CSA box comes every other week, full of tasty fresh local produce. seasonal as heck, and much in line with how I ate when I was in France (as compared to the rather dated ingredients that the books used...they talk about using canned and frozen produce, for example)

and so I am looking forward to going home tonight and picking one of the many veggies I got yesterday and applying a new mantra WWJD? What Would Julia Do?

zucchini? oo! a whole chapter!
corn?
celery? leeks? potatoes? 

can I make a good creamy soup using lower fat products, using butter and cream as accents rather than primary buttresses? how little cheese will make a nice gratin? .

how can I incorporate whole grains (pretty much unheard of in kitchens when the books originally came out)? will brown rice thicken the way Julia uses white rice?

another fun challenge will be scaling everything down. the books recipes are currently scaled to 4 for main dish or 8 for sides. can I make just enough for 2? (ie one for me, one for the freezer for lunch box lottery....)

this will be fun :)
 

Date: 2009-09-16 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vittoriosa.livejournal.com
How totally awesome!!

My cooking mantra is WWAD (what would Alice [Waters] do?). :-)

Date: 2009-09-16 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ornerie.livejournal.com
I'm a Barefoot Contessa girl myself :)

Date: 2009-09-16 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joycebre.livejournal.com
yeah, these books are old. (I've had my set for who knows how long) Her other books, e.g. Cooking with Julia or The Way to Cook are more up to date on using fresh ingredients, etc.
I saw the movie, but didn't read the book. I wasn't thrilled with Julie either - why would you stress about boning a duck after you've cooked all the other recipes in that book? by then, boning a duck would be a very simple task. I thought they put that in for dramatic tension.

Date: 2009-09-16 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ornerie.livejournal.com
in listening to the audiobook, read by the author, I get the overwhelming impression of a female Seinfield in an apron with a whisk....

maybe its the new yorker vs the PacNWestie... food is supposed to be fun. if its not fun, why bother?

Date: 2009-09-16 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] asa-asa-asa.livejournal.com
I made a gratin from the first book, using milk instead of cream and way less butter, plus no meat, extra veggies and reduced by half to make it smaller, and it was good! I'm sure you won't have a problem - if I can do it, any dingbat can!

Date: 2009-09-16 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] asa-asa-asa.livejournal.com
I meant to imply that I am a dingbat, not you or anyone else - I think that came out wrong! :)

Date: 2009-09-16 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ornerie.livejournal.com
LOL! I knew what you meant :)

Yay for random surprises

Date: 2009-09-16 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ldyanna.livejournal.com
I identified with Julie on the level of her passion for cooking -- not on the other things. Since I taught myself to bone a chicken (and duck and turkey) I guess I thought that part was a bit whiny. But then I've never had my mom constantly complaining that I never finished anything or set such an optimistic goal either (she basically had to cook 7 recipes a week to get done on her schedule)

Re: Yay for random surprises

Date: 2009-09-16 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ornerie.livejournal.com
yep, I'm about half way through and am already a bit tired of the whining and crying and temper tantrums.

maybe those aspects are being played up for dramatic tension, or maybe I just dont have the artistic temperment :)

Date: 2009-09-16 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] courtierka.livejournal.com
Can I play lunch box lottery at your house? My freezer never has anything good in it... The elves don't seem to be any better at cooking then they are at cleaning!

Date: 2009-09-16 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ornerie.livejournal.com
LOL! lunch box lottery is the result of me cooking things that seem to make 6-8 servings, combined with me hating leftovers. but if you stick the leftover servings in the freezer, enough time goes by so they're not really leftovery in your head anymore :)

there is a small drawback in my proposed project in that dishes with so much cream, etc dont tend to freeze well...but we'll see how that goes!

Date: 2009-09-17 03:14 am (UTC)
ursula: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ursula
But . . . leftovers are breakfast!

Date: 2009-09-17 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quincydew.livejournal.com
Leftovers are literally my husband's favorite meal!!

Date: 2009-09-16 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] j-i-m-r.livejournal.com
You may want to experiment with non-fat plain yogurt in place of the cream if you want things a bit more healthy/ not as fattening.

Date: 2009-09-17 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ornerie.livejournal.com
guess whats on the stove now? :)
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