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Showing posts from August, 2009

Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms & Cream

*** WARNING: If you make this dish, you may be tempted to lick the remaining sauce from the pan! The mushroom and cream sauce that smothers the chicken breasts in this recipe is so divine. I found this in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I . She never fails to impress me (as you can probably tell from the numerous Julia recipes I've been blogging about lately!) Just think...cream, mushrooms and butter...Mmm....sauces don't get much better than that, folks! It's creamy, luxurious and satisfying...all at the same time. Furthermore, the way that the chicken breasts are prepared produces incredibly tender and moist chicken. Because I used my Le Creuset dutch oven, I did not follow Julia's suggestion of covering the chicken with a piece of buttered wax paper (gasp!). I simply covered the dutch oven with the heavy lid and popped it into the oven. The results were fantastic! I served this chicken with asparagus...perfection! Brad and I both are

Dobos Torte - A la Daring Bakers!

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonfulof Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella . They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: ExquisiteDesserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. ***It's that time again! This month's challenge was none other than a fabulous Dobos Torte...a five layer sponge cake that's filled with a decadent chocolate buttercream and topped off with a beautiful display of wedges coated with caramel. Sounds yummy, right? This particular cake was invented in 1885 by a man named Jozsef C. Dobos...a Hungarian baker. The recipe was kept under lock and key until Dobos retired in 1906, at which point it was finally shared. Boy, am I glad this recipe is not still a closely guarded secret. The taste was fabulous! The steps to make this cake are numerous...it took several hours just to complete the cake. That's one reason I'm so proud

Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat (Chocolate & Almond Cake)

***Ladies and gentleman, I present to you - Julia Child's wonderfully scrumptious Reine de Saba cake. The texture of this cake is quite incredible and perfectly chocolately. I made this in celebration of Julia's birthday on August 15th...along with the Boeuf Bourguignon and Pain Francaise posted below. The pulverized almonds in this cake give it such a nice flavor. I simply ground some slivered almonds in a food processor, until they were the correct size. *** A great tip is to add about a teaspoon or so of granulated sugar to the bowl of the food processor before pulsing the almonds. This will prevent the almonds from turning into a paste!*** Because this cake is baked in one 8" cake round and is only one layer tall, it's really a simple cake to make. I put it together the night before our big Julia celebration. It kept perfectly in the fridge for several days. The texture of both the cake and the icing is wonderful. It really does sort of melt in your mouth. The

Julia Child's "Pain Francaise" (French Bread) - Revisited!

***I've decided something...there aren't many recipes or dishes in the world that are better than fresh bread right out of the oven. One of the only things that can make it better is if you've made it yourself. There's something oddly rewarding...and comforting at the same time...about all of the mixing, kneading and muscle that goes into making this bread. It can be hard to find a scrumptious loaf of authentic French bread here in the USA. That's where this recipe comes in. Julia Child spent A LOT of time trying to come up with the perfect loaf. She writes in her memoir, My Life in France , that "it would eventually take us two years and something like 184 pounds of flour to try out all the home-style recipes for French bread we could find." Wow...one thing is for certain...Julia had patience! She eventually traveled to Paris from Cambridge at the request of Professor Raymond Calvel...a wonderful baker and teacher at the Ecole Francaise de Meunerie. Th

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon!

"Boeuf Bourguignon." Just hearing the name of this dish lets you know that it's something special. Not just special either....It's like sitting on death row and you can only have one more meal special ! Seriously....if I could only have one more meal, this might just be it. Julia herself described this dish as "certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man..." Boeuf Bourguignon is basically beef that has been slowly cooked in red wine, with bacon, onions and mushrooms. I've heard so much about this dish lately. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Julie Powell made it in the new movie Julie & Julia . This was also the very first dish that Julia Child prepared on The French Chef ! It's such a classically French meal. The beautifully complex flavors...especially of the sauce!...really makes this dish amazing. One of the best things about this meal is the fact that you can make it ahead of time and re-heat it just be

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JULIA CHILD!!!

So, as you might already know, today would have been Julia Child's 97th birthday. In the grande dame's honor, I'm planning to host a fabulous French dinner tonight. Of course, all of the recipes are from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I & II . On the menu: - The Famous Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms) - Pain Francaise (Fresh French Baguettes) - Reine De Saba/Glacage Au Chocolat (Chocolate & Almond Cake with Chocolate-Butter Icing) All made from scratch! As we speak, the Reine de Saba is sitting pretty in the refrigerator (I made it last night), and the dough for the baguettes is about to undergo its second rising. Next, I'll be starting the Boeuf Bourguignon. Whew! It will be a lot of cooking, but I like to think Julia would be proud. ;-) Of course, I'll blog all about each dish in the next few days. Stay tuned! Bon Appetit!!!

Athenian Orzo

***Brad and I just love Greek food...especially if it involves seafood and feta cheese. So naturally, I was excited to try this recipe when one of our best friends, Dustin, shared it with us. He found it over at EatingWell.com. Not only is this dish healthy, but it is packed with intensely delicious flavors! Shrimp, garlic, tomatoes, capers, onions, feta and a dash of red pepper flakes to add a little heat. In fact, this dish almost has a cajun flair to it...it has just the right amount of spicyness. We recently got to indulge our love of Greek food at a wonderful little place called Nabeel's Cafe . I've shopped at their market several times before, always meaning to eat in the cafe when I had a chance. Well, we happened to be in the area around lunch time last weekend. We started the meal with an amazing appetizer called Feta Theologos. It's actually a recipe from the Monastery of St. John in central Greece. It's essentially a fresh slice of feta cheese wrapped in fo

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Amazingly Easy!!

***Chocolate chip cookies have always been an absolute favorite of mine...for as long as I can remember. But then again, I do adore chocolate of any shape, form or fashion. You might remember these Double Chocolate Chip Cookies or maybe even these Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies that I posted way back in November 2007. Both of these cookie varieties use the same base recipe found here in this post. This recipe is seriously so easy that it's almost ridiculous. I make these ALL THE TIME. While having a pile of homemade cookies sitting around isn't necessarily a good thing for the waistline, it sure is delicious! These cookies can be made in 20 minutes flat...with a little practice, maybe even 15! With the help of a simple box of cake mix, these cookies come together in a flash and will bake up beautifully before your very eyes. The possibilities are endless. Select your favorite ingredients and go from there. Are you a shredded coconut, chocolate chip and pecan fan? Well by al

Julia Child's Brussel Sprouts Browned with Cheese

***Okay, so I do realize that there's an infinite amount of other things in this world that are incredibly more exciting than Brussel sprouts. Trust me. Maybe you could take up basket-weaving, learn to play the bagpipes, or maybe even learn to juggle. All kidding aside, the term "Brussel sprouts" has never really inspired a lot of excitement in me. "Dear, you have to eat your vegetables before you can go play." We all heard this growing up. Many of those not-so-yummy veggies have become some of my favorite things...broccoli, spinach and asparagus all come to mind. Brussel sprouts however, have never been a favorite of mine. As it turns out though, this particular recipe just so happens to be Amy Adams' (you know...the actress who plays Julie Powell in the new movie Julie & Julia ) favorite recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume I . Check it out here: http://www.lhj.com/recipes/easy/chicken/meryl-streeps-amy-adams-julia-child-recipes/

Cardamom Vanilla Pound Cake

***Okay, so there are a few ingredients on this earth that I simply could not live without. Cardamom and vanilla are easily on the top of this list. There's something about the warm spicy taste of cardamom...with that delectable little hint of orange that gives it that extra little bit of "specialness". And there's vanilla...who doesn't love the classic and comforting taste of vanilla? Plus, it doesn't get much better than fresh vanilla seeds scraped from the vanilla beans...! So, because of my love for both cardamom and vanilla, this cake was an extremely easy choice. I didn't have to think too hard about making this one! I'm so glad that I did. The cake was scrumptious, and the combination of the 2 flavors was just over-the-top delicious! Plus, the little flecks of vanilla seeds throughout the finished cake just add another little special touch. As the magazine mentions, the flavor of this cake intensifies after the first day, so it's even bett