Well, its been a long time since I was able to write to everyone, I’ve had a lot going on in my life that has kept me away from my passions and away from my blog and cooking… so unfortunately I’m going to have to restart as sad as it is to say, I lost 7 months after my computer broke and work related stuff that prevented me from getting another in a timely fashion…. but as long as people enjoy the food thats all that matters… so, heres to hoping for a full year and 524 recipes.
Well, tonight I was being lazy… I didn’t really want to cook. But, I’ve neglected my blog for some time now and slowly falling behind my goal. So, simple and easy was the theme of the evening. Just going on what I had in my kitchen I decided on cream of mushroom soup and chicken over mashed potatoes… nice and simple… to my surprise making cream of mushroom soup from scratch was amazingly easy and there is zero comparison between those made from scratch and one from a can. I will never, not ever, use canned soup for cooking… or anything else… ever again. Only a few ingredients and about 30-40 minutes and viola.. the most amazing cream of mushroom soup I have ever had. Though, I don’t remember seeing anything about mashed potatoes in the book… oh well… I made them with the little french technique I’ve learned and they were so delicious.
And what to do with leftovers from such an amazing meal? Have another one 🙂 made a sort of gravy with the leftover white sauce and flour and mixed up some crust and turned it all into a shepards pie for today… obviously I won’t always be able to, but with what i made it ended up as a wonderful little pie. Along with a creme pie that ill have pictures of tomorrow and its recipe… but that isnt Julia’s. That one’s mine :-).
If you are continuing from the bifteck saute beurre bercy simply start this sauce in the pan you just removed your steak from.
Otherwise you might want to get a saucepan out or you’re not getting very far here ;-P
What you need:
(…. a saucepan)
¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 tbsp minced shallots
(same suggestion as before with the almost puree)
1 tbsp meat glaze or ½ cup brown stock/ beef bullion
big pinch of pepper
½ cup of butter
1 to 2 tbsp minced parsley
Boil the wine with that shallots (or onions), meat flavoring/stock and pepper until the liquid has reduced to about 1½ tbsp. Let it cool.
Cream the butter well (mix it up to a light cream) then a tablespoon at a time beat the butter into the wine flavoring. Beat in the parsley and season to taste.
(For bifteck saute beurre bercy, now simply pour your beurre bercy over your steak and serve.)
Simple enough to make, the sauces are going to take time to learn how to quickly and efficiently put together and reduce to the proper consistency.
The beurre Bercy is spread across the steak just before serving.
What you need:
2 to 2½ lb. steaks
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp minced shallots
(I recommend mincing to almost a puree, by hand… a machine would liquify them)
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
4 to 6 tbsp softened butter
2 to 3 tbsp minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the steaks until the red pearling starts oozing out, more if you prefer a more well done steak. Move to hot platter or separate moderately hot pan.
Remove the fat from the skillet,
((Below is the rest of the recipe for Bifteck saute Bercy, if you want to make the bifteck saute beurre bercy this recipe ends here and there is an additional recipe to make the beurre bercy in The Cookbook Section and simply continue cooking this dish from there.))
and add the butter. Stir in the shallots and cook slowly for a minute then raise the heat and add the wine.
Boil the wine down rapidly, stirring slowly but consistently making sure to scrape every section of the pan. Stirring too fast will cool it off as it has to boil hot and fast and stirring too slowly will let it burn. Thankfully it wasn’t my first time reducing wine. Roughly 3-4 seconds to scrape the entire pan should be sufficient. It should start looking like a syrup by this point.
Remove the base from the heat and immediately stir the butter in a spoonful at a time until the sauce has thickened. Beat in salt and pepper to taste, then the parsley.
Spread your sauce over your steak and viola.
This was my masterpiece this evening. So simple and decadent, given the proper time, nothing could be easier and more filling.
What you need:
3-4 quart saucepan
1 lb peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups of leeks thinly sliced; including the tender green or yellow onions.
(leeks are not an easy thing to find in my local markets, I used a half and half mix of green onions and yell onions)
2 quarts of water
1 tbsp salt
4-6 tbsp whipping cream or half that of soft butter
2-3 tbsp minced parsley or chives
((Optionally, you can add essentially anything you want to your soup like broccoli, cauliflower, beans… anything really. I added carrots, string beans and celery and a lot of cream 🙂 I liked the idea of it being very simple but I wanted a little more substance))
Mind you all of my beans are blanched first.
Simmer all of your veggies together partially covered for about 45 minutes. Obviously, If you’re cooking fresh beans you wouldn’t want to throw your… oh potatoes, for instance, in for awhile unless you plan on cooking them to mush. Depending on how large you’ve cut them… Idk… you’ll figure that out, lol.
Once all of your vegetables are tender mash them with a fork in the soup. Alternately, Julia says you can pass the soup through a food mill. Correct the seasoning and set aside until serving. Personally, I’d have rather been able to somewhat puree the vegetables to make the soup more smooth. Instead of a fork, oh my the time that would take, I have a potato masher with a wide bottom that was perfect for mashing up the vegetables.
Reheat to a simmer just before serving, remove from heat and stir in the cream or butter by spoonfuls.
This is where I conquered my soup with a large amount of cream. Garnished with a little fresh parsley. Simplicity in its greatest perfection.
Tonight was an interesting night to say the least; shopping for my dinner party wasn’t able to be finished in time so dinner ended up being a couple hours late. Thankfully, for anyone fairly used to a kitchen, Julia’s instructions are quite simple to follow and for those that arnt familiar everything is explained in the beginning in great detail. I think the hardest part of everything was no more than my fear of not being able to do it right. Constantly wondering how bad it might turn out of if I wasn’t following the instructions properly. Fear really is the mind killer. Thankfully my friends were here to lend a helping hand to the process but I have to wonder; if this seemed so foreboding to me… how many others are hiding from their passions and talents from fear of failure. Julie and Julia didn’t and neither will I. I’ve omitted taking pictures of this evening’s dinner since I wasn’t pleased with it visually due to my time limit. In the future I will be sure to include pictures of the dishes.
Tonight’s menu consisted of:
Petits Choux au Fromage
Roast Bifteck in Beurre Bercy
Haricots Verts a la creme
served w/ a hardboiled egg
The dinner turned out to be fantastic, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Nothing brings people together like good food.
After the initial worry of getting started everything came together quite well. I admit that the sauce posed a particular challenge. Consistently, I over reduced the sauce and added more wine to restart. Unfortunately, my sauce didn’t taste the way it should have since I didn’t follow the proper instructions but it was wonderful regardless and when they say mince the shallots for the sauce I find it to be something more along the lines of a puree. My sauce could have been much more smooth had I minced them further than what most would normally call ‘mincing’. And shallots… AMAZING…. this is the first time I had ever had one, I tried a nice piece while I was preparing the sauce. Delicious.
The petites chaux au fromage were definitely delicious but they were one of the ones I seem to have some trouble with; they didn’t turn out as described… but, practice makes perfect (It helps to not overcook them (^_^ ) lol.). The bifteck was by far the easiest to get by, other than the sauce. That should have had a little more time invested in it… but its things like that that you learn by doing it. Some things have to be lived to be learned even if it is something culinary. Out of everything made the one that was, by far, the most easy to make turned out to be the single most time consuming; the potage parmentier and the haricots verts a la creme. Neglecting the fact that the beans needed plenty of time to cook made for a long stretch of time in finishing the dish considering I have only 4 burners to work with while trying to cook and prepare everything else. Thankfully, Julia’s book includes a wonderful guide for vegetables and how they should be handled. Take my beans this evening; had I not seen this guide I would have made the same mistake I have always made when it came to beans. I left them sit, warm. Turns out, they have to be cooled, then reheated when needed, if they’re not going to be served right away. Otherwise the beans discolor and lose much of their flavor; tonight, my beans tasted better than ever before.
I also discovered why, in my opinion, the portions are so small. Honestly, I used to think it was just chincy. Even with a simple selection for tonight’s menu I found how quickly filling such rich and authentic food can be. To be served an american sized portion of this kind of food would quickly lead to great amounts being thrown away. Even the portions I served this evening were quite large comparatively to french portions even though they were still half the size of any normal dish I’m used to making. Well, needless to say I obviously didn’t poach an egg first. I, however, think this was sooooo much better.
Once I have the hang of it I’m sure the french techniques will quickly become second nature. Constantly, I am amazed at what they have accomplished in just their cooking alone. How even something as simplistic as green beans can become a dish so remarkable that it can be served alone. Recipes soon to follow.
When they say make sure your eggs are fresh make sure they are very fresh. My eggs were just a little runny, I was not able to poach them at all. So tomorrow I will go to the store and get new eggs mine were a little old. And then I guess I’ll also pick up ingredients to start making meals. I hope you guys enjoy this.
Well… I can think of nowhere better to start than the first scene of her attempt in the story that began this… poached eggs…. I’ve never had a poached egg before… I think I’m going to try this one all by itself.
I have to admit, just beginning the book has proven to be a test of conviction in itself. I am not unfamiliar with the inside of a kitchen; I have been cooking and inventing new dishes for years. This, however, is going to be a challenge. One that I quite look forward to. Now, I simply need to decide if I want to just start at the beginning and work through to the end or take the next month putting recipes together as entire meals, which might be a dilemma in itself without the knowledge of having made any of them before. Am I completely insane? I’d prefer to match up recipes and make meals but am unsure of what would go well with what… I suppose its decided, then. I’ll spend the next month matching up recipes and making meals. I’ll keep them simple and not go overboard to avoid overwhelming myself and to avoid possibly going through the recipes too fast.. I doubt that I’m going to have that problem. Wish me luck… anyone who might be listening…