Sunday, September 27, 2009

Soupe A L'Oignon

Onion soup makes me think of college. The Distillery used to make some yummy onion soup and it was all cheesy and warm and perfect for those rainy or snowy afternoons. So, when Tracy chose this recipe this week, I was excited because I knew I already liked it.

Last week, some of you may have noticed, I did not post. Julia and I were having a bit of a tiff. See, I made this garlic soup with poached eggs, and I just couldn't get myself together to buy the groceries on the day that I made it. So, while I'd practiced poached eggs the day that I bought them from the farmers' market, and they were good, I didn't get the soup made until two days later and by then, my eggs weren't fresh enough to poach well. Plus, I think that my dried sage and thyme were a little old and not so flavorful. My parsley was fresh and ended up dominating the flavor, so it tasted like parsley soup with some egg in it. I ate a bowl. The Tummy ate half of one. And we threw the rest out.

But THIS week, I knew I liked onion soup, so I put on my pearls and got to work. Wow! This is a fantastic recipe. It's a cold, rainy day, and the soup tasted better than I remember the Distillery's being. I think it was the wine and the cognac. In any case, Julia and I have made up, and I'm back on board. Now, pouting about a difference of opinion over some garlic soup seems childish, and I promise I won't miss any more weeks. In an effort to make amends, here is a photo of the garlic soup, which I didn't post last week.

Check out Tracy and Mary's soups as well!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mastering the Art of Life

You'd think that, with the start of a new school year, I have more than enough to work on right now. But, if I'm going to be working harder than I was all summer, I've decided I need to play harder too! And what better place to play than in my kitchen?

I've wanted a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck since I saw the Chefography of Ina Garten a few years ago. Ina, "the Barefoot Contessa" taught herself to cook by working her way through it. Then, I read My Life in France by Julia Child and I learned about how she (like Ina) got into cooking later in life and just worked at it like a diligent scientist. And then Julie and Julia came out, and I went to see it, and I found the story charming. (I thought it was a great idea for a movie, but Meryl really steals the show.) Combine those things with my 30th birthday this summer and wanting to get more serious about doing the things I like well, and you have all of the ingredients for my latest challenge to myself.

We are starting our own little cooking group. When I say "we," I mean my sister, Mary, over at Shazam in the Kitchen, and my friend Tracy, over at Tasty Sans Gluten, and myself. We are VERY busy women who live in different cities... er..... areas, and we are going to try one new Julia Child recipe each week.

We started with Potage Parmentier (Leek and Potato Soup). It was simple, delicious and not very difficult at all. So... without further ado:

Potage Parmentier
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
1 lb peeled potatoes, sliced
1 lb thinly slice leeks
2 quarts of water
1 Tb salt
4 - 6 Tb whipping cream
2 - 3 Tb parsley

Simmer the vegetables and salt in the water, partially covered, for 40 - 50 minutes. Then puree with an immersion blender* and correct seasoning. Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Just before serving, reheat to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in cream by spoonfuls. Pour into bowls and decorate with parsley.

*Julia recommends using a food mill instead of a blender for textural reasons.