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Aug 8, 2014 09:49 AM

Julia Child Cookathon next Friday?

Julia Child's birthday is Aug. 15 (next Friday). She would be 102. I'm planning to cook a meal in her honor (and trying at least one new recipe!) Anyone care to join me?

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  1. Interesting idea; how about this?

    Lots of choices and variety and even skill levels there.

    1 Reply
    1. Once again, I'll bang on about the virtues of her MtAoFC recipe for Baked Cucumbers in Butter Sauce. Good time of year for it, and a great way to deal with a glut of garden cukes, since a single portion results from a large cuke. This dish is a great partner for simpler fish or chicken dishes, ones that are not sauced.

      10 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I'm going to have to check this out--thanks, gg!

        1. re: greygarious

          I've just checked out the recipe and it looks interesting and unusual. I think it'll be on my menu next Friday! I assume she refers to dried herbs (the basil or dill)--is that what you use? And does it matter what sort of wine vinegar? I'd probably use white wine vinegar.

          1. re: greygarious

            Is the one-hour baking time at 375 degrees listed in an online version of the recipe correct? I'd intended to make these tonight but was cautious about so long a baking time.

            1. re: MidwesternerTT

              Good question--it's listed as 1 hr @375F in the book, but it would be nice to have that verified by someone who's actually made it.

              1. re: nofunlatte

                Yes, hard to believe, but it's correct. You'd think they'd turn to mush but no. Remember, acid firms up and lengthens the cooking time of any produce it's combined with, and the salt draws out a good bit of the cukes' water before cooking. I use dry herbs and don't think the type of wine vinegar matters. Rice vinegar would be okay, too. You just don't want a sharp vinegar, so definitely not plain white.

            2. re: greygarious

              Photo of the baked cucumbers I made Friday. Delicious indeed - this recipe is going on our make-again list.

              I served it with a sauced dish - shrimp & mushrooms on whole-grain spaghetti with Mornay sauce made using Julia Child's method for white sauce. Per CH Vetter's suggestion, I infused the(skim) milk for the Mornay sauce with some garlic & herbs while it heated. They were strained from the milk before it got added to the roux - a clove of chopped garlic, 1 t. dried oregano (I'd use less next time), 1 t. dried rosemary leaves, 1/2. t. tarragon. I used 1/4 C. shredded parmesean, 1/4 c. shredded Swiss. Lots of sauce leftover and it stiffened, so will need more warm milk added when reheated.

              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                I have no doubt anything Julia or you recommends isn't anything but fantastic, but I am having trouble for some reason with the idea of *baked* cucumbers. Any way to describe the flavor and/or texture? Thanks so much; I am way intrigued.

                1. re: Tehama

                  Hi Tehama. I also made the Baked Cucumbers in Butter Sauce on Friday. The finished texture of the baked cucumbers is surprisingly firm--not really crunchy, but still al dente. I think greygarious has described the phenomenon accurately: the preliminary marinating in s & p and the acidic vinegar really firms them up. I had time so I let them marinate for about three hours--Julia says 30 minutes or "up to several hours." Then just drain and dry them before baking for an hour in a baking dish with some dill or basil, chopped green onions, and pepper to taste. Plus 3 TBS of melted butter (I just placed small pieces over the top.)

                  I used rice vinegar per gregarious' suggestion plus chopped dill, and really liked the mild, slightly sweet piquancy which reminded me of lightly pickled cukes and matched my "summer veggie garden" menu theme. In typical fashion, Julia also lists several other variations to make and then add to the baked cukes: simple minced parslied cucumbers, creamed cucumbers, (with or without mushrooms) and cucumbers in Mornay cheese sauce. The latter two sound a lot richer but very delicious for cold weather menus!

                  Anyway, thanks to gregarious for reminding me of this recipe, which is so easy and can be baked ahead if you wish, and then rewarmed with or without the variations.

                  1. re: Goblin

                    Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm so intrigued by this that I will definitely give it a try very soon. I guess I have never even contemplating putting cucumbers in anything except a salad (or in their own salad with vinegar). Have a lovely day! Merci!

            3. I'm in!
              I'll make Beef Bourguignon. From The French Chef Cookbook pages 289-292.
              May I suggest that the only way to really pay tribute to her will be to follow her recipe/s to the letter. No substitutions. No short cuts.
              I just scored this for .50 cents at a thrift store:

              4 Replies
                  1. re: Puffin3

                    forgot to mention it's a first edition.

                  2. I'd like to join you. With 4 of her books the hard part will be choosing which recipes to cook. Great idea, nofunlatte.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Gio

                      My menu will be:

                      It's a toss up between Smoked Trout Spread from "Baking with Julia". OR Julia's Caesar Salad from "Julia and Jacques at Home". I'll decide tomorrow.

                      Julia's New England Chicken Chowder from "Julia and Jacques at Home".

                        1. re: Gio

                          Julia's New England Chicken Chowder, Pg. 48 Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home:
                          Wonderful chowder, full of flavor, will definitely make it again. Good for all seasons. Loads of sliced onions, a bit of flour to thicken, diced potatoes, sliced carrots, chicken broth, S & P make up the base soup. That simmers for 20 minutes or so till all is soft then the slivered chicken is added and cooked through, sour cream is stirred into the chowder, then chopped parsley. Taste for seasoning and add additional S & P if necessary. Delicious!

                          Jacques' Caesar Salad, Pg. 109, J & J Cooking at Home:
                          At the last minute DH decided to make the salad and he chose Jacques' version, or rather Jacques' wife Gloria's. Julia's version takes 3 pages, whereas Jacques' takes 1 paragraph. Huh, men. Anyway it was awfully tasty. All the dressing ingredients: EVOO, lemon juice, Worcestershire, ground pepper, chopped garlic, egg, anchovies are placed in the bottom of the salad bowl and combined. Broken Romaine leaves are tossed into bowl then gently tossed with the dressing. Homemade unseasoned croutons were then added and mixed in. Lovely. I do think Caesar salad is my very favorite.

                          This was a very homely meal to celebrate Julia and I'm glad we participated. Oh yes... a classic gin and vermouth martini to toast the Great Lady!

                          1. re: Gio

                            Thank you for these suggestions, Gio. They sound like a great combo for a delicious dinner. Have to go find my copy of Julia and Jacques.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Sounds wonderful, Gio.

                              I've never quite known the best way to serve soup and salad. One first and then the other. Or both at the same time?

                              1. re: c oliver

                                In my family from the beginning of time it's been first course, main, salad, dessert. However, sometimes a specific small salad is the first course. The other night we had the chowder first then the salad.

                        2. Oh what a lovely idea! I'm in! The first cake I learned to bake as a child with my Grandmother was Julia's Queen of Sheba cake (Reine de saba)… that comes to mind.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Tehama

                            I changed my mind; I think I am going to do Les Madeleines de Commercy/The Madeleines with The Hump on Top
                            I hope this recipe is "truly Julia;" I don't have a madeleine recipe in the only Julia Child cookbook that I own:

                            1. re: Tehama

                              We are honoring her spirit and her joie de vivre--this is fine, Tehama!

                              I'm making her vanilla souffle, but I'm serving it with (non-Julia) Italian plums stewed in a vanilla sauce.

                            2. re: Tehama

                              Yum! What a lovely idea you had Nofunlatte & all my Chow friends!

                              I did the Madeleines de Commercy with the recipe I found online and the Foies de Volaille Sauté, Madère from my copy of the French Chef Cookbook. I regret I didn't get a photo of the final chicken livers [just one while they were cooking], but do have one of the final madeleines - with major humping action!

                              I decided on these two in honor of my grandmothers; each dish is/was one of their favorites!

                              1. re: Tehama

                                Oh, they look delicious! I'm impressed (and a bit envious--my souffle was merely okay, but I had a blast cooking it!) Since I'm cooking for one (and have some work to do), I decided on the souffle being dinner, the whole thing (all right, I did eat some cherry tomatoes). Anyway, I hope we are all having fun honoring Julia!