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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: http://hungrysofia.com/2010/08/06/jul...

                            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!

                            3. i would love to. i love her peas.

                              1. I'm leaning toward making a dessert souffle and eating it for dinner! Mostly cooking for one these days, plus a busy workday. But I really want to honor her with something from MOFC Vol 1 (the only book of hers I actually own, though I did read My Life in France). I may also make a half-batch of the cucumbers that greygarious raves about.

                                1. I would love to join you. She was my first true and beloved cooking-teacher (through her books, primarily, Mastering I and French Chef Cookbook, as well as the show.) Anyhow, I'm on!!

                                  1. And Happy Birthday to YOU, Julia!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. I love her Salade Nicoise, and this is the season for it! Good idea to make it in honor of her birthday. Thanks for the idea.

                                      1. Her French bread recipe. Still have the Sunday Parade Magazine step by step. And now to think about it, Butter Poached Chicken Breasts.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ktmtp

                                          I remember that French bread issue of Parade Magazine. I still have the Parade Magazine pages from a Thanksgiving issue when Julia tackled The Turkey. As I recall, her solution to obtain more even cooking and easier carving: cut the bird into pieces (legs, breasts); roast the pieces in a pan; reassemble the pieces on the platter for display (some artful sprigs of parsley helped), then cut the various pieces into even slices. Can't remember what she did about the dressing--I'll have to pull out my Thanksgiving file!

                                        2. Great timing! My dad just gave me his used copy of her "My Life in France" and I will crack it tonight (August 15th).

                                          I will be celebrating with a martini. At a speaking engagement Julia was once asked by an admirer, "What is your favorite wine to eat with dinner?" She answered, "gin!"

                                          1. My menu tonight, dictated by the summer garden and what was to hand in my refrigerator and freezer:

                                            Crevettes Sautées au Citron (From Julia Child's Kitchen)
                                            Courgettes Gratinees a la Milanaise (Mastering, Vol. II)
                                            Concombres au Buerre (Mastering, Vol. I)
                                            Tomatoes a la Provencale (Mastering, Vol. I)
                                            Bavarois au Chocolat (Mastering, Vol. I)
                                            Lots of good bread
                                            No gin, unfortunately

                                            And just possibly my proudest procession: The French Chef Cookbook, Alfred A. Knopf, 1968.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Goblin

                                              Wow. I think you just won Chowhound for the day. Menu sounds amazing, btw.

                                              1. re: nofunlatte

                                                Hi Nofunlatte,

                                                What a great idea for a thread and I thoroughly enjoyed getting out my books and looking through them--and encountering that autograph again! Not to mention how fun it was to cook from the recipes.

                                                I remember how Julia (we all felt as if we were on a first-name basis with her, didn't we?) always had Paul Child sitting next to her at book signings to sign his autograph as well. She always insisted that she owed much of her success to him.

                                              2. re: Goblin

                                                That was completely enchanting! And delicious!!

                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                  I also have the book "The Way to Cook" inscribed to us. Quite special.

                                                2. I hope all had a great time honoring St. Julia yesterday! Although I only made the Souffle au Vanille* (served it with some Italian plums stewed with vanilla that I'd had in the freezer), I had a blast and wonder if Julia herself was smiling at me from on high. Put on some chillout lounge music, slithered around the kitchen, and made a fine old mess.

                                                  Next year, Julia's birthday falls on a Saturday, so I'm inspired (by both the day of week and by the menus you fine 'hounds shared on this thread) to have a dinner party with an all-Julia menu!

                                                  *cooking for one these days, which is a perfect excuse to have dessert as the whole meal!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: nofunlatte

                                                    Thanks so much for starting this thread/theme, nofunlate. It was fun. We look forward to next year's event.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      I made JC's New England corn chowder.

                                                      Such a simple recipe but so delicious.
                                                      Happy Birthday Julia dear.

                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                        That recipe is on my To Cook list. Just reading the recipe it sounded as if it would taste delicious.