Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100 to Julia!

Long before Dan Akroyd portrayed Julia Child's quirky kitchen manner on SNL, I enjoyed her shows on PBS. I loved her nonchalant skill with something as intimidating as French cooking. But it wasn't until recently that I dared to attempt any of her recipes. A couple of years ago I made her Beef Bourguignon and it was delicious! Fred loved it, but it was too rich for me and resulted in a little stomachache--probably from the large amounts of bacon fat and butter that I am no longer used to. I grew up with lots of that (my granny's grits swimming in butter come to mind--fondly), but now I can't handle it so well.  

Then I made Bouillabaisse, but used Cathal Armstrong's recipe. I don't know why. Maybe I was mesmerized by the rouille--an aioli-like sauce which involves potato and harissa. I love harissa and am always looking for ways to use it. After making rouille, however, I think I'm basically over it. The recipe made tons and I ended up throwing most of it out. Next time I will use Julia's Bouillabaisse a la Marseillaise recipe with fish heads and all and just serve the lovely fish stew with French bread. Good and simple! I happen to be reading the part in My Life in France where Julia tells of their time in Marseille and how the making of this fish stew is such a big controversy there that you hear a different story from each person about how to make it. Sounds like the controversy over Irish soda bread (with currants? without?) and some Southern foods I grew up with, things as simple as biscuits or banana pudding. Controversy abounds!

I wanted to remember Julia Child today by making something from one of her cookbooks. I own this one that I nabbed from Half Price Books. Now I need Volume One!
I wish I could tell you that I will be whipping up a batch of croissants (love!) but after reading the eight pages of instructions involved, I have ever more respect for those who do make them authentically and I will just savor those whenever I can, thank you very much.
I think I can manage to do something with these courgettes from our garden.
Actually, one of the biggest ones is going to make this Zucchini Coconut Bread, one is going to be sliced to go with a hummus plate for tonight's dinner, but one could be Courgettes Sautées à la Provenҫale, which is just blanched zucchini sauteed with olive oil, garlic and parsley. As I said, simple is best!

Have you ever tried any of Julia Child's recipes? I'd love to know!
Will you celebrate Julia's 100th today? At least with a croissant?


Evelyn said...

I have both volumes but have yet to make a classic JC recipe -- one day, right? Thanks for posting about her 100th birthday. Just this morning, my friends and I raised a cup of coffee in her honor. ; )

fig said...

Yes, here's to Julia and for making us all believe we can cook like the French!