Sunday, December 13, 2009

Julie and Julia... Newport News Style (Part 1- The Preparation)


Okay,okay, I know that every food blogger in the world has already posted on Julie and Julia and I am probably the last foodie to post on this movie.Originally, like the rest of the foodblogging world, I had plans to do a dinner and go with my daughters to see the movie, but time and other responsibilities interfered and there was such a dearth of posts, that it seemed superfluous. So last week when Julie and Julia came out on video, Bridget and I wanted to make our own try at mastering the art of french cooking and watching the DVD in the comfort of our own home.


First of all I have to tell you that my copy of MTAoFC came from a garage sale at our church. While I had plenty of cookbooks, I did not have this one and it seemed almost sacrilegious for any self-respecting foodblogger not to have a copy, and so for $4, the two volumes came home with me.I have to admit thought that they have been on my bakers rack since then, in a place of honor, seeming a bit daunting for me to even open up. However, the release of Julie and Julia and my promise to my daughter that we would cook from MTAoFC was my inspiration to pull these volumes off the shelf to do exactly what Julia had hoped- educate the average American on French cooking. The first challenge was to find a recipe to make - I wanted something that would be challenging but not so hard that I had little chance of success. I also wanted to not have to go out and buy a lot of ingredients. I had some lobster tails in the freezer, so I decided on lobster quenelles au gratin, a light, French dumpling with white sauce and cheese. Bridget decided to make crepes with a beef, mushroom and spinach filling and bearnaise sauce.Frankly,I thought we were both reaching but we were excited and our plan was to have dinner ready by the time the Redskins finished losing so we could start the movie and enjoy our own French masterpieces.


First, the quenelles. Quenelles begin life as pate a choux, the same pastry that is used for cream puffs . With the simplest ingredients- butter (of course), eggs, flour- and a lot of elbow grease can transform a bland paste into a light as a cloud dumpling that is just amazing. I added three pureed lobster tails, but you could use salmon, or other fish. After the pate a choux is made , it had to chill, and then cream was beat in half-tablespoon by half-tablespoon (not as easy as it sounds). Then the fun part. Julia said to poach the quenelles in water that is just barely simmering, another thing that is not really as easy as it sounds. When they we done a laid them in a bed of white wine white sauce and sprinkled them with swiss cheese. Then they were baked in the oven until the top was brown and bubbly.

Now Bridget's crepes. I have made crepes before, but honestly they have been so much trouble and either they are too thick, to thin, fall apart, etc. so I was a bit skeptical when Bridge said she was going to make them . The truth - I was blown out of the water! She was a crepe-making machine. See what I mean?




video Part two: the food and movie....

4 comments:

Pam said...

Wow she really is the master crepe maker.

Deborah Dowd said...

Pam- Given my experience as a cook, it was both humbling and exciting to see how quickly she took to it!

thomasenaalicea said...

hello~nice to meet u..............................

Sheila N. said...

Deb - it looks like you've trained her well!!