November 1, 2007

Julia Goes Hollywood

The Juliettes aren't the only ones inspired by Julia's quintessential Mastering the Art of French Cooking. From today's Variety (read on):

Meryl Streep to play Julia Child

Nora Ephron attached to direct film


Meryl Streep as Julia Child?

Columbia is cooking up "Julie & Julia," starring Streep as the famous chef and Amy Adams as a mastercook wannabe.

Project centers on a frustrated temp secretary who embarks on a yearlong culinary quest to cook all 524 recipes in Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." She chronicles her trials and tribulations in a blog that catches on with the food crowd.

Nora Ephron, who is adapting the screenplay from Julie Powell's book "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen," is attached to direct.

Studio is eyeing a 2008 start date.

Streep will next be seen in the war-themed drama "Lions for Lambs."

October 13, 2007

Onion Soup 2.0

October 12 was Alexandra's birthday, and Bay Area Juliettes will remember that this particular Friday was rainy and cold despite the happy occasion. On this day I made soup. A lot of soup, because it seems that not only are many of my friends fighting a cold, but also onion soup everyone's favorite. I made two double batches, amending Julia's original recipe slightly. I added thyme to both pots during the browning onion stage.

Batch one was made with approximately 2-3 pounds of yellow onions which, when sliced very thinly, amounted to the prescribed amount. I found it took longer than the recommended 40 minutes of browning for the onions to achieve the proper coloring.

On the second batch, I did not have enough yellow onions and had to add some sweet Mayan onions as well. Because these are milder in flavor, I added approximately 1.5-2 cups beyond what the recipe called for. Again, I found it took longer for the onions to achieve the golden brown coloring.

The second batch, perhaps because of the two types of onions used or perhaps because of the extra onions, surpassed the first batch in flavor.

I also found the recommended amount of cheese to be a bit too much for my tastes. Alternative serving suggestion: I poached an egg in the simmering soup, poured both in a bowl, sprinkled with a small amount of grated Gruyere cheese, and paired it with a endive salad for a satisfying autumn lunch.

I look forward to getting feedback from my friends, including Susan who made this soup possible by driving me and my several pounds of onions home in the rain.

October 8, 2007

Alexandra's Dinner Party

Through accident or genius, Alexandra prepared the scallops with half the butter suggested by Julia with good results. Alexandra contends even with less butter, it seems a bit rich for a main course.

The Clafouti was prepared with firm fresh nectarines. Besides being more flavorful, the firm fruit retained a pleasing texture and did not disintegrate upon cooking. The Frank family agrees that the flan is best the following day. Gretchen notes the texture seemed more dense and creamy.

Diane's Dinner Party

So I will cut to the chase- basically, they might as well rewrite the name of the book- Julia who? Diane Schneider Cooks French! That is how good it was. The Scallops were delic- I they were a little heavy for me as an entree- I did ok with a few bites- but they were yummy. I served them with a cucumber salad with homemade fresh Basil dressing- super good and summery, and a baby-ciabatta loaf. And HOORAH for Clafouti- I made it with apples. SO good. I actually drizzled a little of the left over apple-cognac-cinnamon sauce that the apples sat in before baking over the final product. Would have been super good with really good vanilla ice cream (I know I know, not for you)

But anyway, maybe it was Julia Child Virgin luck- but the first go round was a total success and a big hit with Megan and her boyfriend!
I am excited for next month's recipes!
xx di

October 7, 2007


Julia Child was celebrated in corn at the Warner Farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts. I saw this photo in Saveur Magazine, but you can read more about this particular corn maze, current and previous corn labyrinth art works, and Warner Farm here.

Pamela's Dinner Party

Aged reserve cheddar with fresh figs, toasted pistachios, cherry balsamic Coquilles St. Jacques a la Provencale served with steamed asparagus and red lettuce salad with sarasena olives and radishes in a simple olive vinaigrette.
Clafouti aux pommes
Craig digs in.
Chuck samples the flan.
Chef's notes: I added a course because I added a guest last minute. It's always a good idea to have a quality cheese on hand for such occasions.
I used fresh thyme instead of dried and even though I tripled the amount of thyme listed in Julia's recipe, the dish could have used more. Sadly my allergy to scallops prevented me from tasting as I cooked so there was no way I could have known. Still, my guests enjoyed it. Next time I make Coquilles St. Jacques a la Provencale, I will use more fresh thyme, less butter, and less cheese. Me thinks Julia likes her food on the rich side.
To balance the richness of the main dish, I served a very light salad of red lettuce, crisp radish and olives in a Simple Olive Vinaigrette. I barely consider this dressing to be a recipe since it is so simple: A bit of the oil/juice that preserves the olives, a splash (perhaps 1/2 T) of champagne vinegar, hint of salt and pepper. I poured the wet ingredients on the very dry lettuce and then mixed it well with my hands so the leaves were well coated. I sprinkled a pinch of salt and a couple of dashes of white pepper to the leaves and tossed again. The white pepper adds a slight heat without the strong pepper taste we associate with fresh black pepper.

My guests all loved the flan, which was served warm. At first I was disappointed with how it turned out, but then realized that I just prefer my flan cold. It was excellent with my coffee in the morning. Next time, I will serve my clafouti at room temperature or slightly chilled and I will use a deeper dish to allow for a thicker flan.
Thank you to Craig, Chuck, and Shelly (the photographer) for sampling my versions of Julia's recipes and sharing this meal with me.

Always Hungry

It's safe to say that Mark, the official taster, won't be intimidated by the November menu....

Our Eyes Were Too Big for our Kitchens

Menu, November 2007

Soupe a L'Oignon
(pg. 43) any variation is acceptable.

Boeuf Bourguignon
(pg. 315)

Fonds D' Artichauts au Gratin
(pg. 433) any variation is acceptable

Poached Pear served with
Biscuits a la Cuiller aka Ladyfingers
(pgs. 642 & 665 respectively)

October 4, 2007

Bad Chicken

Perhaps Julia never dropped a chicken, but it looks like she's about ready to spank this one.

Operating Instructions

Just to remind everyone how the Cooking with Julia Club will work:
  1. The club is structured like a book club, but instead of reading a book every month we'll cook something of Julia Child's.
  2. At each meeting we will compare outcomes, surprises, and delights and learn from the process (along with a glass of wine or two). We will also choose the next month's recipe and the next meeting date.

In closing it is perhaps a myth that Julia dropped a chicken, but she certainly did let a potato pancake fly. She promptly put it back in the pan and fixed it back into shape commenting to the viewers, "Remember, you are alone in the kitchen, and no one can see you."


Note: Page numbers refer to Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The 40th Anniversary Edition by Julia Child.


September 2007

Coquilles St. Jacques a la Provencale (pg. 218)
Simple Green Salad with Chef's Choice of Dressing
Clafouti (pg. 655)

The Original Invitation

As I finally feel ready to begin my journey with Julia, I thought it might be even more fun to do this journey together! My idea is that once a month we get together to chose a recipe for the next month and discuss the pros and cons and delights and explosions of last month's choice. Since there are women from all over the country who are in the club, we will have a mail/e-mail/phone correspondence going for the recipe choice, hints, and other culinary details. When I know who is interested I'll compile a roaster. For now look for Julia's arrival in your mail box, and pick something delicious you'd like to try for September!!!
Thank you all for your interest!
xoxo, Alexandra