Sunday, October 18, 2009

Julia Child Cooking Club

My friend Fran recently invited me to join a cooking club that was being formed by a friend Jonna, I was asked to invite a friend and I asked Michelle. Two other women were also invited, my friend Heather and a new friend Patricia. The M.O. of the club is to create a menu based on recipes by Julia Child, prepare them in the host kitchen and enjoy them together. Well, we did that last night and it was a pretty fun and filling night.

Jonna hosted at her house not a 1/2 block from the beach. We started in her lush backyard kitchen so Heather could prepare the creme brulee for dessert while we enjoyed appetizers and champagne and got to know one another. We finally moved it inside to start prepping for dinner. The main living/cooking/dining area is on the second floor so we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset view. My contribution was the cheese course so, no cooking there!! Fran made the main dish of Supreme de Volaille aux Champignons or chicken cutlets with mushroom cream sauce. Patricia prepared Pomme de Terre a l'ail, Garlic mashed potatoes. Both of these recipes are from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 as well as the Creme Brulee. Michelle made Courgette aux Epinards, saute of grated zucchini with chopped spinach, this recipe from Volume 2.

I think everyone used a technique or style of cooking in their dish that they hadn't done before; for example, the potatoes had a roux, the chicken cutlets were just rolled in the hot butter briefly and finished in the oven, with no browning and the creme brulee was completely finished on top of the stove in the pot and not baked in the ramekins. Even the vegetable dish was a little different as the spinach was blanched before cooking and the zucchini was salted and squeezed dry of water.

For the cheese course we had "Haystack Peak" an artisinal cheese from Colorado. It is a pyramid shaped goat cheese, slightly aged, with a bloomy rind. I served it with a jam I made this summer of Local Blenheim Apricots and also a few recently harvested walnuts.

Everything prepared was done well and delicious. Lots of great wine too. My only concern was that there was so much richness in each dish, I could hardly communicate at the end of the night. My stomach was in so much pain. I didn't have to eat as much as I did, but I love food and always eat everything on my plate. Just call me Miss Piggy!

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