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Julie, Julia, & Lisa: Or, If Only I Had a J-Name

July 13, 2010

I’ve always loved cooking and in recent years, I managed to achieve a level somewhere above totally sucking. So when Julie & Julia came out last year, I was in love. From the the streets of Paris to Queens, New York, Julia Child has reached across both time and space to bring forth the seminal French cookbook and, might I say, a hell of a lot of damn good recipes.

Plus, whomever you are, you get to wear a cute apron.

It doesn't have pockets, but I love it!


While many of Julia’s recipes are time intensive (and costly), her Surpêmes De Volaille aux Champignons [Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream] are shockingly easy (though there can roadblocks to this…see below) and made mostly with ingredients that should already be on hand.

So, last night, my mother and I decided to make it. However, despite our preparedness, there were…complications.

I should have begun by saying that I served this with Bruschetta.

A simple tomato dish served on sautéed french bread rounds, right? I’ve made this dish a hundred times so it would be no problem, right? Right? With cooking, forethought is 75% of the job and cockiness doesn’t belong in the kitchen. So of course, I forgot to get basil. Sending Lauren and my mother out to Fresh Market while I made the bread, I waited to finish tossing together the diced tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Then I got a call. Was it to tell me they were on there way home? No. It was to tell me that in every single form, Fresh Market was OUT of basil save for a pack of dried, chopped basil and a whole plant. Needless to say, I now own my very own basil plant to love and cherish and probably kill within a week (if I’m anything like my mother).

Once all that was done, I quickly pulled out the browned bread and rubbed each round down with garlic. I added strips of (VERY) fresh basil to the tomato mix, served it on the bread with a sprinkling of parmesan and served. And it was good. So good.

One obstacle down.

Now, the chicken recipe calls for the butter (the lots and lots of butter) to be heated in the casserole that will then go into the oven. Dilemma. How does one do this? What we (my mother and I) finally settled on was probably one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever participated in: we placed a ceramic casserole over direct heat (hot, hot flames) to heat the butter to a foam. Upside: it worked! Downside: when we moved the casserole off the flame, it exploded. Oops. So after cleaning buttery shards of pottery off of the floor and making sure no one was on fire (though Lauren did burn her hand trying to pick up molten cookware), we used a heavy copper-bottomed pot. That worked a lot better and had the plus of not trying to kill us in shrapnel-induced death.

So that went into the oven while we worked on risotto and asparagus. Julia writes that the sauce takes mere minutes and much like Julie Powell, I couldn’t help but think, the bitch lied. To be fair, I had to transfer the butter out of the (new, whole) casserole and back into the saucepan with the Vermouth and chicken stock so it took a lot longer for it to heat up and then reduce. But once that was done (which took almost fifteen minutes), I added cream and the sauce was done.

And it was fantastic.

Seriously, her recipes take time, but they never fail to please. With a glass (or two) of wine, there wasn’t a plate left un-scraped.

The only disappointment was the lack of dessert.

Julia’s Surpêmes De Volaille aux Champignons recipe, for reference:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2010 3:54 pm

    Delicious dinner, Lisa! I’m glad I finally got to try a Julia recipe the night it was made!

  2. janet permalink
    July 13, 2010 9:32 pm

    Dinner was divine and I am loving your new basil plant!!

  3. Lindsay permalink
    July 14, 2010 6:24 pm

    That was delicious. And I think the leftovers would be just as good if you remade sauce to put over the chicken.
    Nom nom nom.


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