Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cooking The Books

The Internet and newspapers are all agog about the new film Julie and Julia. VB couldn't wait to see it. We try to do some sort of family thing every year. One year it might be the "New Years Day Hangover Movie," and another year it might be a Broadway show (usually a musical) and dinner. This special day typically occurs during the fall / winter holiday season. It all started when Elmer, VB's father-in-law would give everyone $50.00 and VB decided to treat the family to a movie. As we moved on, and out of the mid-west, it eventually turned into a fancier affair. And, let VB add, it cost way more than the $50.00 we used to get from Elmer. This year, even though we will be in the USA for Thanksgiving, given the minute amount of time college students have, it renders us without a proper visit to "The City" for a play. Plus, we plan on spending Christmas in Cairo this year. Yes, we will visit a lot of antiquities, but it just doesn't match the excitement we have of taking the train to New York, going to a show, having a special dinner, and freezing our asses off, as well.

This year VB promised, if everyone went to see Julie and Julia with her, she would make French Onion Soup, which she hasn't made since we moved from Abu Dhabi. Yes, the family began to drool. So, it was decided this past week was the week for that special date. Then Awesome Daughter decided she too would contribute a dish. She's the baker of the family, having made bread from scratch and kneading it with her own two hands (VB uses the KitchenAid for that). The Boss Man added that it would be great to have steak, and so VB decided to include Julia's Caesar Salad.

We went to the matinee and a bunch of very elderly folks showed up. We're talking about the Depends group. It was somewhat depressing, but then later Awesome Daughter reassured VB that Julie, through her blog, reawakened the love for Julia and cooking amongst the younger folks, although it would be hard to discern from the average age of the audience. I particularly felt bad for Number One Son. This is not a movie he would have seen on his own. His favorite part was the SNL skit with Dan Akroyd pretending to be Julia Child.

After we came home, Awesome Daughter made VB a martini with Tanqueray Rangpur Gin (they sucked martinis down in the movie, one after another, while lounging around. Well, at least Julia and her friends did. And it reminded VB of just how good, and potent, a gin martini is.) It was delicious, and VB was pretty much plastered before half the dinner was cooked.

Days before, Awesome Daughter made Creme Fraiche for her dinner contribution. We were somewhat skeptical, leaving it out to brew (below) for 24 hours. Bubbling, it looked like some sort of ooze you might grow in a science class.

Here Awesome Daughter tops off the cake. She made Chocolate Raspberry Ruffle Cake (video), which involves quite a few steps, several of which require refrigeration in-between. If you watch the video at the link, it looks as though Julia and Alice Medrich seamlessly make this cake throughout a few hours. The creme fraiche was started several days before; the chocolate shavings too; the cake was baked and almost completely assembled the day before. Below - the final step to the cake - the topping, which included chocolate shavings, raspberries, and creme fraiche.

Awesome Daughter feels a need to taste the French Onion Soup.

And, viola! It's done.
Julia Child's French Onion Soup (video)

Meanwhile, due to differing preferences as to the doneness of steaks, two are on while the rare ones await. VB was going to buy sliced filets from COSTCO. Every time she does that, she gets at least one, but more like two crappy cuts in the package of four. So VB decided to go whole tenderloin. She bought the PSMO (side muscle and fat have already been removed.) Saveur has an excellent article on how to butcher your own whole tenderloin: Cutting a Beef Tenderloin. As a result, VB gets quite a few nice steaks, and then the end for tenderloin tips.

More on the Caesar Salad here: Julia's Caesar Salad (recipe) and Julia Child and Jacques Pepin (NPR Interview).

The cake in full.

And, everyone is excited!

That white goo is the creme fraiche. The cake was worth the while, and we devoured it, along with our neighbor.

The bookcase aka Julia Child section of our library. The recipes we used are from The Way To Cook, Baking With Julia, and Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home.

And as VB shoots the pics of the books, she's being spied upon by a nosy little kitten.

For some fun. Julia Child was a guest on The David Letterman Show several times. Here Dave is young and fresh, Paul still has a few scraps of hair on his head, and is hardly as flashy as he is these days. Julia, well she's Julia - playing along, and embarrassing Dave. And, lastly, Dave's done some cooking on his own as you will see.

Julia Child On Letterman [1988]

No comments:

Post a Comment