Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!

Sunday, August 15th would have been Julia Child's birthday.  In true foodie form, many make sure to celebrate the anniversary by gathering fellow foodies and having an entire meal from Julia's cookbook - Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

As I have mentioned previously, I am blessed to have many chefs and fellow foodies in my life.  I consider myself a foodie in that I LOVE to eat great food.  Can I cook?  Sure...I get by fine, but I definitely do not own many cookbooks (yikes!).  I cook what I know and periodically venture into some new items.

So you can imagine my panic when I received an invitation to BE Julia for the day.

Having the week from hell work-wise, I knew that I would not be able to prep much or even have time to get groceries ahead of time.  So I proceeded to search for easy recipes that used few ingredients.  I landed on the Potato-Leek Soup and was so excited because all I need to buy was leeks and chives to finish my ingredient list.

I had NO IDEA that this was an iconic Julia dish!

Anyway, I thought I would share the process and the story of my dish.

I started with my 2 quarts of chicken broth.  Eek!  I deviated from the original recipe on this item only.....I knew that the chicken broth would help add a lot flavor to the soup.  So with great confidence, I proceeded boldly.

I then proceeded to chop the potatoes and leeks for the soups.

I found out too late that I should have used Yukon gold potatoes as they are naturally creamier.

I seasoned with the salt and let the potatoes and leeks simmer for about an hour.

An hour later, I used a potato masher to mash the softened potatoes and leeks.  I quickly realized that it was a good thing I started my soup early.  This is what it looked liked after some serious mashing.
There was about an inch of liquid on top of the mashed goodies.  OH OH.....I took the soup off the heat and proceeded to make another batch of potatoes (no salt, no chicken broth).  When they were cooked, I blended the softened potatoes with a bit of the stock from the original soup to help blend the flavors a bit.  I put the blended mixture in to the original soup and I let it cook together for another 20 minutes.

I came back to the soup and decided to stir it up a bit.  OOOOOOOHHHHH NOOOOOOO!  I could tell something was sticking to the bottom.  I was actually BURNING my soup!  I found another pot and transferred the non-burned soup mixture.  The soup didn't taste burned and it didn't look like any burned potatoes/leeks made into the soup transfer.  This is what the bottom of my pot looked like!

Disaster avoided!!!!

I had no idea if my soup tasted the way it was supposed to, but I knew that it tasted good and people would enjoy it.  I'm happy to say that it was a huge hit!!!

Low and behold the feast that awaited me upon my arrival!  Here are just a few samples of the yummy goodness I sampled on.

Everyone was asked to show up with aprons, hats, and pearls.  I love anything that requires a costume and will go full force when asked to participate.

Here's a quick peek at some of us enjoying the great summer weather in the backyard.
We are about to delight in some delicious chocolate mousse!!!!!  It was the perfect ending to a spectacular meal!

Oh and I can't forget to mention our youngest chef of the night, my buddy Emma, who came around and asked us all to take a little scroll.  Each scroll contained funny, fun, great Julia Child quotes.

Thank you Emma and Mel for a fantastic evening!  I can't wait until next year!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My family loves me

About two weeks ago, our area got hit with a lot of rain over night.  When I say a lot, I mean the kind that creates flooding issues on the streets and, unfortunately for me, in basements.  In my case, this translated into me waking up to a soggy basement apartment.  Oh my :(

I went into a severe panic as I raced around unplugging things and worrying that my cat was going to get sick from drinking anything.  I was also worried we would get electrocuted.

Thankfully, I only got about an inch of water in parts of my house...but that was enough to crush my spirit.

I picked up my cat and ran out the door.  I drove Charlie to the parents our of safety concerns and was lucky enough to have a momma who came back with me to help me clean my house.  Amazingly, by the time we bought a dehumidifier and got to my house, most of the eater was gone.  But there was still some cleaning to do....lots of drying to do...and lots of disinfecting to do.  I had multiple family members come to my rescue too -- it was very touching.  I couldn't resist taking pics of everyone as they worked hard to help me get my house back in order.

Thank you Azul and Marcy for your double mopping duty!

Thank you Andy for that major vacuuming action!

Thank you mom, Jacky and Lorena for helping me finish up!