Umm, yeah so I’ve had a little wine….

I apologize in advance for going all Julia on you, but really, what do you expect after a (quite large) glass of wine and total immersion in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” volumes one AND two.  I may ramble.  And you have been forewarned.

It’s no secret to my family that I’ve been struggling with the menu planning as of late.  Ever since my return from Ohio a few weeks ago, I just haven’t been able to get excited about home-cooked food.  (Not that I’m totally into eating out either, but what choice do I have?  A woman’s got to eat.)  So after sampling the culinary offerings of my small town (not so great) and resorting to take-out containers of Carne Asada nachos washed down with store-bought birthday cake, I finally came to my senses.

About a year ago I saw “Julie and Julia”.  Not only was I inspired by the story (blogger finds way through food…) but I realized that the ONLY cookbook missing from my repertoire was “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” I added it to my wish list and promptly forgot about it.  Flash forward one year and my mom is asking what I want for my birthday.  I checked my ever-evolving wish list and asked her for the Julia Child classic.

Then, I took a vacation to Columbus, OH, (Not exactly THE destination of choice in February for most, but I had a good reason,) and become totally entranced by the whole “Farm-to-Table” movement that seems to have permeated the city.  I’m still trying to work out the flavor profile of a side salad I had one balmy Sunday afternoon and it’s been TWO WEEKS!  Suffice to say, I returned totally bored with the in-between season offerings here in Southern California.

Shortly after my return home, the birthday present from my mom arrived in the mail.  I flipped through both volumes and returned them to the shelf vowing to consult them further.

One week later I did just that.  My brother and I are exactly four years and six days apart so I usually end up making his birthday dinners with whatever gifts I have received.  I pulled out Volume One and settled on the pork tenderloin with Marinade Seche (Salt Marinade with Herbs and Spices).  It turned out perfectly, but I still wasn’t truly inspired.

Birthday Pig a la Julia Child

Today was truly hectic.  I’m currently working two paid jobs plus blogging, plus raising a kid part-time, plus…well you get it.  I had been going non-stop since 5:30 this morning and I hadn’t really given much thought to dinner beyond, “I’ve got some shrimp and cauliflower that needs to be cooked….”

So when I finally got around to preparing dinner, I decided on the Julia Child version of Cauliflower Gratin (Chou-Fleur A La Mornay, Gratine), steamed asparagus and pan fried shrimp scampi.  It wasn’t until I was knee-deep in saucepans that I realized a) why I never bought Julia’s cookbooks before now; b) that I was actually making a pretty French meal; c) I hate French Cooking (too many dishes); and d) that what I was cooking better taste pretty effing great!

shrimp, asparagus, cauliflower gratin

Madison’s review:  “the shrimp has a taste that I can’t quite figure out but I really like (garlic – she ate more shrimp that anyone else, I think) the cauliflower is a mix of sour/bitter and sweet but I like the cheesey crust – the sauce not so much.  And Naunta, you know I HATE asparagus.”  All in all, not a bad review from and eight-year—old.

All kidding aside though, I am really, really, really happy to finally have my own “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (volumes one AND two) in my possession.  I’m pretty sure that just reading the damn cookbooks will make me a better cook.

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One comment on “Umm, yeah so I’ve had a little wine….

  1. Susan Weisberger
    March 16, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    I wish I could send you to France next year for your birthday. Because I have heard you wish so often for the opportunity go to a culinary school in France. I have to go buy a lottery ticket now….:)

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