The Julia Child Celebration

5 Jan

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

For the past couple of years, Julia Child has been my inspiration, not just in the culinary-sense, but also in a how-to-live-the-rest-of-my-life sense.  As a fellow Tall Person, I have a sort of affinity towards her (because we’re both tall culinary-inclined francophiles) and the work that she has accomplished both domestically and internationally.  Last year for Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive the new(er) edition of her epic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Since then, I have taken more to reading her recipes than actually ripping the eggs and butter out of the fridge to whip up a french concoction.  But since I am at home, wallowing in the boredom of a college student on a Six Week Vacation, I figured “why not?”  Inspired by the meal that she created for the TV producers to convince them to sponsor The French Chef, I rolled up my sleeves and made quiche au fromage (le brie), steamed broccoli, a loaf of bread (courtesy of the bread-in-a-can from the local supermarket), and reine de la saba avec de la glacage au chocolat (queen of sheba cake with chocolate icing).  All in all, a bon appetit moment– even my littlest brother approved. (“This tastes so good, I’m just gonna eat the filling!”– little brother #3, in regards to the quiche)

"Le Diner du Demi-Cons"

Le Quiche

This is not the recipe verbatim because as I was making this, I found Julia’s instructions to be a little dated. (the cookbook was published in the 60’s afterall)  This applies to the cake as well.

  • 10 oz. brie
  • 6 oz  cream cheese
  • 2 tbs softened butter
  • 3 tbs whipping cream
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 3-4 grinds from the pepper mill and a couple pinches of salt)
  • 3/4 tbs of minced green onion tops
  • 8″ pre-made pie crust  placed on a baking sheet (as my brothers pointed out, if Julia made this, it would be homemade, but this just makes it easier when making a zillion things in the kitchen at once)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the cheeses and whipping cream with a fork until the lumps of mostly disappear.  Beat in the two eggs with an electric beater, about a minute on medium, or until lumps are pretty much gone.*

*Julia said to put it through a sieve, but the sieve almost broke when I tried this.  So I skipped sieving the rest of the mixture, figuring lumps of cheese would taste more than fine.

Season the egg mixture with the salt, pepper, and onions. Stir.  Place egg batter in pie crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbly-looking on the surface.

Le Gateau

Reine de Saba

A moist, ultra-rich, super-decadent chocolate-almond cake.

  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 tbs coffee
  • 1/4 lb softened butter (1 stick)
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 eggs whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/3 c of pulverized almonds (put the almonds in a food-processor, pulse with 2 tbs sugar until it has a mealy consistency)
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 c cake flour (scooped and leveled)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8″ cake pan. Set aside.

Put the chocolate and coffee in a small bowl, then put that bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cover and let chocolate melt.  (this has a double-boiler effect)

In the meantime, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.  Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.  In a separate bowl, beat egg whites, salt, and sugar until peaks form.

Once chocolate is melted, combine it with the butter mixture using a rubber spatula.  Stir in almonds and extract.  Stir in a 1/4 of the egg whites.  Fold in some of the flour.  Alternate between stirring the eggs and flour into the batter until both ingredients are fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into the cake pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the outside edges come away clean with the insertion of a toothpick and the middle part still has some batter-gook attached.  Let cake cool for ten minutes in pan, then flip onto a cake rack.  Cool for one to two hours. Then apply icing.

Glacage au Chocolat (Chocolate Buttercream Icing)

  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tbs coffee
  • 5-6 tbs unsalted butter

Place chocolate/coffee in a bowl like the double-boiler process used for the cake.  When chocolate mixture is mostly melted, remove the bowl and pot from heat and let the chocolate melt until smooth. (about 5 mins)  Lift bowl out of pan, and beat the butter in, a tablespoon at a time.  Continue beating, but move the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice water to cool the chocolate.  Continue beating until chocolate-mixture has cooled.  Spread it immediately over the cake with a knife or spatula.

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