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Aug 14, 2012 03:20 AM

What are you making in honor of Julia Child's 100th birthday?

Julia Child would have been 100 on August 15, 2012. She did so much for American home cooks. Back in the day, in my neighborhood anyway, no one used fresh garlic. I don't even remember a supermarket that sold it. Everything was canned, frozen or processed. Julia encouraged home cooks to use fresh ingredients and brought French cooking techniques into our homes and lives. Thank you! As a kid, I watched Julia on WGBH in Boston - in black and white, happily hacking away at chickens and fish. Julia and I share the same birthday and when I was 10 I was given a copy of The French Chef Cookbook for a present. I treasure it to this day.

In honor of Julia, I created a special cake for her - Almond Lace Cream Cake - Sponge Cake filled with Almond Diplomat Cream and covered with Chocolate Ganache and Almond Lace Cookies. Bon Appetit Julia.

For Julia's birthday dinner, I'm making Steak Diane, Gallettes de Pommes Duchesse, and Haricots Verts a la Maitre d’Hotel, served with a nice red wine.

Anyone else making something special?

Bon Appétit Julia.

Photo: Almond Lace Cream Cake

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  1. You are a very accomplished baker, TrishUntrapped. That cake looks stunning and sounds delicious. Do you do this professionally, or are you a home cook?
    I am, actually planning a special dinner to commemorate that wonderful lady who brought so much MORE into our lives. I wouldn't be a quarter of the cook I am today without her. We'll be starting w/ gougeres and champagne, and then moving onto a small plate of lentils au vinaigrette, seasoned with a little thyme. The entree is going to be roasted chicken, stuffed with lemons and herbs and rubbed down with butter, oh so much butter, and then moooooore butttter. Same veg. as you: haricots verts, but w/ browned butter (oh so much butter, and then mooore...) and sliced blanched almonds; and pilaf: rice, cooked down in strong veg. stock with shallots and a little garlic; tiny peas and diced carrots tossed in at the last.
    I'm still goggling at your dessert - nothing here will be that fancy. I'm making a good old classic lemon souffle.
    Your dinner sounds delicious, ma'am.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Mamachef, I love your menu! Julia was big proponent of a perfectly roasted chicken, sounds delicious!

      Thank you for the compliment. I'm a home cook. When I was little I taught myself how to read from the TV Guide. I saw a show advertised about a fire chief and thought, great I want to see that. But when I tuned in there was Julia waving a cleaver. I misread "Fire Chief" it was of course The French Chef. But I was immediately hooked and she became my icon. The first Julia recipe I made was crepes for my six other brothers and sisters. I'll be making crepes Sunday morning for breakfast.

      1. re: TrishUntrapped

        Now THAT is one great story. What's for lunch, then? Sounds like a good time for eggs mayonnaise, crudite, etc.......take it easy, gal!

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          Love your baking and your story, it was meant to be!!!!!!

        2. re: mamachef

          Sounds wonderful Mamachef - Julia would be proud!

        3. Julia had great empathy for us non bakers. This is my favorite Julia dessert

          1 large scoop best quality store bought vanilla ice cream
          1 Tbs (15 ml) dark rum
          1/2 tsp (2 ml) instant coffee, (I use Medaglio D'Oro instant espresso)

          Place the ice cream in a stemmed glass, pour the rum over it, and sprinkle with the coffee. Serves 1.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Berheenia

            Berheenia, that sounds terrific. One of the things I love about Julia is how she celebrated all foods be they simple or complicated - taste was the key. Nice tribute on your part!

            1. re: Berheenia

              Nom NOM, Beerhenia. There's a pint of Vanilla Bean ice cream in the freezer just begging to be treated like this.

            2. I'm staying home from work (I'm a college professor and the semester doesnt start until Friday anyway) and roasting a chicken, baking a small peach tart, and perhaps cooking various other things. And indulging in a Juliathon--watching DVDs of The French Chef.

              2 Replies
                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  I made a 6-in peach tart this morning, with enough dough and peaches left for a peach-blueberry tartlet. In the meantime, I've watched several episodes on DVD--French Crepes I (savory), Cheese Souffle, and Roasting a Goose. The latter was hysterical--as she is whacking the goose neck for use in the sauce, there is a bug crawling on it (spider, I think--a fly would have taken off). It is clearly visible and later is seen on the cutting board. There is a moment or two of subtle recognition of the bug by Julia, but she just carries on and throws the now-debugged goose neck into the pot. Gotta love her!

              1. Adding the thread Dave MP started on the same theme.

                I finally decided that I'll make Julia's recipe recipe of Salmon en Papilotte with Shallots and Tomato found in the book "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home". I've had the book since it was published and love the recipes they cooked together. Here's the on-line recipe if anyone is interested...
                From the same book I'll make Julia's Buttered Green Beans and a potato dish yet to be decided.
                Funny how we're making haricots verts... (I have a ton from my CSA and we pick-up this week's basket tomorrow!)

                Bon Appetit Tout Le Monde !

                5 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  That salmon sounds wonderful - I had to laugh, because it looks like it's actually a Patti Labelle recipe (whose recipes I love, BTW.) Yeah, I was racking my brains on the veg., and thinking of sauteed cucumbers, when what to my won'dring eye should appear but......yep, my CSA box. Solved the problem instanter. :) I'm sitting here with my butt glued to the chair or I'd get up to find the name of the potato dish, but the SUPER thinly-mandolined potatoes, layered evenly and cooked in butter and stock (covered first; uncovered to brown) are amazing.....when people get to them, not another sound is heard unless it's "what's IN these things?" and then if you elect to tell them, they won't believe you anyway and will insist there's something more in there, which there is most certainly NOT. Yep: that's what I love. She took the simplest ingredients and made them absolutely amazing.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    Hah!...Patti LaBelle. Love her. I think I read she had written a cookbook, in fact I think several cookbooks. Yeah, I did choose a potato somethingorother but I can't think what it is right now. There'll be just the two of us for dinner tomorrow so I don't have to get too fancy but I celebrate the Tying of the Shoes so I gotta do this one...

                    1. re: mamachef

                      This sounds like Pommes Anna, except Pommes Anna is just butter, no stock - if you ever do look up the name, will you please post it (and the recipe, if you have time)? They sound DELICIOUS and soft enough for my poor husband, who just had all four wisdom teeth out!

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        I've made Julia's Pommes Anna several times but not in a very long time. It's rich, calorie laden (caloriffic I say), decadent, and every other exuberant adjective one can utter. Looks pretty too. The trick to make the finished cake look perfect is to spend a fair amount of time slicing and shaving the potato slices in all the same size and form, then placing the slices in exact concentric circles in the skillet. The effort is rewarded when the serving platter is brought to the table and everyone swoons, LOL...
                        Here's the recipe...

                    2. re: Gio

                      Gio, thanks, I did not see Dave MP's thread. Love all things "en papilotte!"

                    3. The local farm is advertising cukes at 10/$1.00, which screams Julia's Baked Cucumbers but it's too hot for the oven. Hopefully the cukes will still be cheap when the weather cools a bit. This is a recipe to which I'd have turned up my nose if I'd just encountered it while skimming MtAoFC.
                      I took the plunge because Julie Powell was so effusive about it in the Julie & Julia blog. I was completely won over. It's great for anyone whose garden or CSA is cuke-heavy, because one portion is easily an entire large cucumber, having shed most of its water.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: greygarious

                        Oh my! I will be gettng cukes from my CSA tomorrow, so perhaps this will be part of the menu - thanks, greygarious!


                        1. re: greygarious

                          Reading that recipe I immediately thought of Zucchini. Those I have a glut of right now, but not cucumbers.

                          Surfing the net a few minutes ago I came across a site that has Julia's Poached Salmon with Cucumber Sauce recipe... but more that that there is a list of what various home cooks in the blogosphere are making in her honor... from soup to nuts...

                          1. re: Gio

                            Perfect - thanks Gio! I'd already decided that roasted chicken was the easiest for me - so Roasted Chicken with Julia’s Mustard Marinade will be the way to go for me!

                            1. re: Gio

                              If you try the cuke recipe using zukes, and it works, you'd be doing a public service by posting your results to help all the folks bemoaning their annual zucchini surplus.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                Well then, in that regard I'm prompted to make it tonight... because I just saw we're getting yet MORE zucchini tomorrow (plus other vegetables) Sheeeeesh.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Cucumbers (Concombres), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Pgs. 499 - 500
                                  On-Line recipe adaptation...

                                  As discussed above we made this last night but substituted slightly more zucchini for the cucumbers in the recipe. While the flavor of the finished dish was delightful the zucchini didn't really benefit from roasting with the liquid. My husband liked them very much, to me the zucchini were limp but tasted luscious and silky from the combination of melted butter and wine vinegar. I used Carapelli white wine vinegar, Chardonnay I think. The recipe was followed explicitly but I had to adjust amounts of seasonings to compensate for increased vegetables and subbed mild Spanish onion for scallions.

                                  Here's what we did:
                                  Peel and slice lengthwise 6 zucchini that are about 8" long then slice them crosswise. Cut these pieces lengthwise into 2" strips. Combine these strips in a bowl with wine vinegar, salt, & sugar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes then drain and blot. Heat oven to 375F, melt a few Tbsp butter. Put zucchini into a baking dish at least 12" X 1/2" and toss with melted butter, dill or basil (I used basil), minced scallions (Spanish onion), FGBpepper. Place in oven uncovered, bake about 1 hour, tossing a few times during the process.

                                  It's a really simple and easy recipe given Julia's precise instructions. As I typed these notes, though, I realize I may not have allowed the zucchini to rest in the vin/salt/sugar mixture long enough so the inherent moisture was not drawn out sufficiently, therefore leading to the "limp" result. It's a worthy recipe and would probably be much better had I paid better attention. Served with roast chicken and a potato/Romano bean/fresh corn kernel salad with lime & cilantro dressing...