(Note: In a first-time ever move on the blog there is a co-poster! Linds H. will share her perspective of our adventure! Linds' commentary will appear in italics.)
I've seen the movie and read the book Julie and Julia, have read Julia Child's biography, have even seen the exhibit of her kitchen at the Smithsonian American History Museum (my fave of those museums, BTW), but...
I have never made a Julia Child recipe in my life.
There. A kitchenista's scarlet letter confession.
I've wanted to...but have just never done it. So, when Linds proposed making Julia's famous Boeuf Bourguignon (a word I can NOT say to save my life. Truly. If my life depended on it, I would be dead.) (Say it with me, people - bore-geen-yon - not that hard) I excitedly jumped at the chance. Not just because it was my first Julia recipe, but because Linds and I have never really cooked together - and of our girlfriend group of four we're the two that really cook a lot! I just thought it would be fun since Kim would be at my house for the day and overnight, and give us something to do indoors besides *just* drink. Turns out, it was the perfect recipe as it called for an entire bottle of wine.
The Great Book. I will be purchasing a copy of this soon... (Your birthday is coming - please don't.)
The famous recipe...The recipe is really quite simple and we were going to follow it to a T. I felt that, for my first foray in to French Cooking, the recipe shouldn't be messed with. I wanted to know what it was like when Julia made it...
Now, you would think for two gals who spend as much time cooking as we do we'd have very few questions. But right off the bat Linds and I had to confer on what we thought Julia was referring to as the bacon rind. We figured it was the fat, but exactly which section of fat? We finally agreed to just cut away everything but the actual meat. The recipe calls for the rind later, so we'd just use it then.
Except we couldn't. Linds unthinkingly threw it away. Oops. Oh well. It saved us a few calories, which is not very Julia-like, I know!
Linds and I had to confer once again about the browning of the meat. She was concerned it wasn't browned enough; I thought it was. Linds said they're supposed to be "super browned", but the recipe only says "nicely browned." I thought her need for something to be so brown was strange given she and her husband's opinion on what constitutes toast. They like warm bread, I believe in some color. It was a complete role-reversal for us! I said I would take the blame if the recipe was ruined... I take serious offense at that toast comment. Kim, the word "blackened" is usually only attached to things like shrimp, or tuna. Not bread.
Don't these look yum?
At this point we've added some salt and pepper, and some flour. The above browned veggies are in the pot and it's simmering nicely in the oven. Time for a break! Linds decided to take a pull from the bottle. We're fun in the kitchen and don't you forget it!
Not wanting to be outdone, I did the same. Only biting, as Linds said, "seductively," on a leftover piece of bacon. Wine, bacon and babes! Sounds like late-night Cinemax... Don't be fooled, though. Nothing remotely sexy about this. We at a lot of bacon that day. We didn't even have eye makeup on. It was Sunday for Pete's sake.
Ok. Back to the recipe. Next we threw in some crushed garlic, fresh thyme, the three cups of wine from the bottle sampled above, and some tomato paste you can see stuck to Linds' finger here. She should've been a hand model, don't you think...?
Now it's into the oven! Julia wants you to, "monitor the heat constantly"...but forget that! It has to simmer for three hours! We went shopping.
And when we came back - empty handed - we got to work on the next part: Preparing the mushrooms and more onions. Look at these beauties! I absolutely love, love, love sauteed mushrooms...
And the pearl onions. Don't they look delish? They were my favorite part.
The mushrooms and onions get dumped in to the simmering goodness, and that's all supposed to get strained to separate the juice from the solids. Then you're supposed to simmer the juice on its own, skimming the fat off the top. But there wasn't any. Oh yeah...! That's where the rind came in. Oh well. That rind would not have made a bit of difference. I meant to throw it out.
Finally! Only five hours later...voila!!
Linds boiled up some egg noodles to serve it over. Here's the plated version...
And the taste?
I think Linds' face says it all... Or maybe the way Nate is hunkered down over his bowl....
I am very happy with our experience and the finished dish. It was fun! And I finally feel like I've become a part of an elite-but-not-really group of Julia Child cooks; as though my kitchen resume has been bolstered.
I've made Boeuf Bourguignon! I'm so accomplished. Now, if only you could pronounce it.