After spending months (and by months, I mean years) on a bookshelf, I finally pulled out my copy of Julie and Julia and finished it a few weeks ago. Truth be told, as much as I'd love to WRITE one, I generally despise bestsellers because I refuse to read anything Oprah readily endorses.
But alas, I was broke and bored and here was this book -- about food! and blogging! -- that I hadn't yet read.
So I started it.
Of course the book turned out to be an insipiration for me. I mean, it's about blogging! and cooking! And it turned out that one of the many things Joel brought into our relationship was a copy of Julia Child's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking. So I got to read along and actually MAKE some of the recipes.
Over the past few weeks, I've made so much food it should probably be illegal:
- Beef Wellington
- Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
- Rustic bread
- Blueberry muffins
- Blueberry pancakes
- Homemade crepes (my first try!) (Alex stood over the stove beside me the entire time like my own personal cheerleader. "That's like YOUR FIRST ONE, Mom and it's TOTALLY PERFECT!" That kid's a keeper.) (I filled the crepes with ricotta and blueberries and covered them with homemade caramel the first time, made Joel PB&J with honey-lemon butter sauce the second time and filled them with sharp cheddar, grain mustard and ham the third. Crepes are officially my new favorite food.)
- Polenta casserole (one for a party and then mini individual polenta pot pies for Joel and I)
- Fresh tortillas (also my first try!)
- Pork tenderloin carnitas
- Homemade pizza (with mama's gravy...)
- Brown sugar cookies
- Fleur de sel caramel popcorn
- Homemade flour tortillas (another new favorite)
- Homemade wheat bread
- Baked ham
- Scalloped potatoes with artichokes
- Ham and bean soup
But the biggest revelation is actually something straight out of Mastering the Art of French Cuisine:
Baked eggs in cream
If you've never experienced a baked egg, you are missing out on perhaps the most sinful of breakfasts. In my kitchen, baked eggs in cream quickly morphed into baked eggs in parmesan cream. Baked eggs with mushrooms. Baked eggs with spinach and shallots. Baked eggs with bacon. Baked eggs with pancetta. Baked eggs with cheddar.
Of course, maybe I'm partial to it because I'm not using store bought eggs. I'm walking out into the back yard first thing on a Sunday morning and retrieving a still-warm egg from our chicken coup. Here's a little comparison shot for you. The brown egg came from Lucy. The white egg came from the store.
It's hard to tell from this picture, but Lucy's orange yolk is twice as big as the yellow one from the store and her egg is more than twice as delicious. Next time I make baked eggs, I'll try to remember to photograph the process. It's really simple. But I guess what I'm saying is that I'm LOVING this urban farm thing. We'll probably plant our garden in the next few weeks and I fully intend to blog about that too.