19 October 2009
Inspired by Julia
Life is beginning to calm down after a hectic and difficult several months. Not only did I have energy and time to cook tonight, but my back is feeling well enough that I was able to putter around the kitchen tonight, with help from Drew and older kiddoes.
I went to see Julie & Julia with some girlfriends a few weeks ago. I was taken by the Julia storyline and would have relished more of her and less of the more modern story. I'm about half-way through My Life in France and I was also able to pick up Julia's Kitchen Wisdom. I'm inspired! (No, I'm not going to cook my way through her books, but I'll share what I learn!)
I was hoping to make a cheese souflé for dinner, but school took longer than I thought it would and I had a late afternoon chiropractor appointment. I wasn't sure what to do about dinner, when Drew mentioned that we had some porkchops in the freezer. We put them in to soak in a sink of hot water and they were defrosted when we returned home. I poked around in my CIA Cookbook and decided to make a Lyonnaise sauce to go with the chops (it was more a variation of a Lyonnaise sauce - I had no demi-glace, so we substituted beef stock). After sautéing the chops, we added to the pan butter, a finely chopped onion, white wine (a Pinot Gris), some late harvest Riesling vinegar (yes, it's amazing!), and some salt and white pepper. After the onions were cooked and the liquids reduced, I added some store-bought beef stock (have you ever seen pork broth on sale at the grocery store? I figured beef was close enough). This simmered for awhile and reduced even more. It was absolutely heavenly.
We'd stopped and picked up a couple of baguettes (I've not been baking lately because of my back) and I made a white wine and butter reduction and then sautéed some leeks in it; I also added tarragon, parsley, salt, and white pepper. After baking the baguettes for about 10 minutes in a 450˚ oven to crisp up the crust, we sliced the bread and ladled the leek and butter sauce over the top. More heaven!
I don't have measurements for any of this, but it wasn't hard. I was playing with the technique of reducing liquids before using them that Julia mentions in her books.
On tap for later this week: orange roughy filets with a beurre blanc sauce; Hungarian goulash (after I receive my sweet Hungarian paprika from The Spice House); and Julia's boeuf bourguignon; oh, and that cheese souflé, baked in phyllo dough sheets.