The Novice Foodie: Julia & Julie & Kelli
If you like food and you haven't heard of Julie Powell and her Julie & Julia project, you've been under a rock for the past three months. Her story has been everywhere. The brief synopsis: Disillusioned blogger sets out to cook every recipe (all 524 of 'em) in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MtAoFC) in one year and blog about it. The blog prompted a book (Julie & Julia), which prompted a movie (Julie & Julia), released this summer.
During the height of the hoopla, I borrowed my friend Christine's copy of MtAoFC and immediately fell in love. It's not just a book of recipes, but a textbook for learning basic French techniques. I bought my very own copy last weekend, and I knew what I wanted to cook first: beef bourguignon (beef stew in red wine, with bacon, onions and mushrooms).
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The dish starts by cutting bacon into lardons and then boiling these to get rid of the smokiness. While the bacon was simmering, I prepped the carrots and onions and dried off the beef. Without drying the beef, it would be hard to get a nice brown sear. When the bacon was done, I drained it and then fried it in the bottom of my heavy casserole dish. I then removed the bacon and browned the beef chunks in the bacon fat in small batches.
This took FOREVER. This was also when I realized that it didn't feel like fall was on the way. Somehow it was muggy and hot on this, the day I needed to slave over a hot stove, and I was sweating like a whore in church. I could feel the potential zits rubbing their pimple-hands under my skin, just waiting to emerge triumphantly.