Tuesday, December 22

A Holiday Meal

Before my in-laws left Luxembourg we had a special holiday meal and exchanged gifts. My MIL and I planned the dinner from the cookbook, Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, which they gave me for my birthday. Little did they know what a timely gift this cookbook was. I had just finished My Life in France on the plane to Hawaii and was feeling the love *big time* toward Julia Child.

For our first course we made Onion Soup Gratinee (French Onion Soup.) It was delicious. I will definitely make it again.

For our main course, we made sole meuniere (which was the first dish Julia Child's ate when she arrived in France in 1948.) Although we found sole in the grocery store, we didn't buy it. When I told the man at the sea food counter I'd like some sole he held up a whole fish. Yep. I don't know how to fillet a fish, nor did I want to figure it out. In instances like this, the little French that I do know vanishes because I get so nervous. I couldn't even think of the verb to cut. So, I tried a cutting gesture to indicate I wanted it filleted. He held up a smaller fish. I said no, merci and went over to the prepackaged, filleted fish with my tail between my legs.

To go with the fish, we prepared brussel sprouts, according to Julia's specification, and rice (cooked with dry vermouth, minced onion, chicken stock and a bay leaf.) Both were great.

We didn't make a dessert, instead we purchased a special German cake called a baumkuchen. As a child my MIL received one of these special cakes at Christmas time from her Grandmother in Germany. Unfortunately we couldn't find one with a chocolate coating which is what my MIL remembered. We did find one with a sugar glaze though. We bought a few donut holes for the girls and garnished the plate with Christmas cookies. A perfect end to a special and memorable meal.

I can't recommend Julia's Kitchen Wisdom enough. It is a reference book of only a 130 pages. It contains master recipes such as vanilla souffle, with variations of them following each recipe. It is also filled with little cooking tips that are insanely helpful for people (like me) without mad cooking skills - to dredge or not to dredge or when is the chicken done?

If you have any last minute shopping to do run out and buy this book. It would be perfect for a beginner or a more experienced cook. While you're at it, pick up a copy for my MIL. I basically had to pry my copy out of her hands before she left. Ha!

Bryce and I are trying the beef bourguignon recipe for Christmas dinner. I'll let ya know how it goes.


Lisa said...

My MIL is a bit Julia obsessed after seeing the movie this fall. So I got her Vol 1 and 2 of Mastering the art of French Cooking by her. Have you used those? Hoping she likes it. I have a few cookbooks on my wish list that I am hoping to get. But I can't even imagine doing all that fancy stuff you are creating. Looks amazing!

Mama Llama said...

Is this a cookbook, or a sit-down-and-read-it book?

katy said...

Lisa - I haven't seen the movie but after reading, My Life in France I really want to. The Mastering the Art books are her comprehensive, detailed recipes. I don't have either of those. I'd like to look through them. Kitchen Wisdom is not a thorough "how to." It has the basic, "Master Recipes" and then little tips and tricks and things to remember. Other than the master recipes it is supposed to be used when you forget something in the kitchen like, "what temp do I . . . " It is not a fancy french cookbook at all. Mastering the Art books are the fancy french cook books. Nothing we made is fancy or hard at all!! You know I don't know how to cook. These were all simple, simple simple. Remember we didn't bake the dessert :) Merry Christmas to you!!

Mama Llama - I think I kinda answered your question in my response to Lisa. It is a cookbook, but all the tips and tricks make it more readable than a regular cookbook. It is not at all a personal narrative or story, though. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Katy.... the word you wanted to use with the fish monger was probably....are you sitting down....."Fillet". It **is** a french word :)


christie said...

i have a Julia Cookbook from way back and
it has the beef bourg. in it and it is very good.
it also has a pork chop and artichoke recipe
that is wonderful, and her paella recipe is the
one that fell on the floor in front of our guests.
I hope you get to see the movie...loved it.

Juleskis said...

You need to see the movie! It really was good...I liked teh Julia parts better than the Julie parts tho. :)

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