Friday, August 15, 2008

Julia Child is the Reason I'm a Personal Chef

Today is Julia Child's birthday. 

She would have been 96. 

Born August 15, 1912 Julia started her storied career as "The French Chef" in 1963. Her cookbook bible "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (1961), a 734~page door stop was originally rejected from the publisher Houghton Mifflin as "being too much like an encyclopedia." My copy is dog~eared and has a broken spine but I wouldn't trade it for the world.  

I remember watching the later years of "The French Chef" and later, "Julia Child & Company" (1978-1979). Truth be told, I didn't understand much of what she was saying and doing ~ I just know that I liked watching her combine everyday ingredients turning out beautiful masterpieces. Or, tell us when it didn't quite turn out right. 

Regardless, the most important thing she taught me is that no matter how good you are in the kitchen, sometimes things don't go according to plan. Cakes don't rise, omelets fall apart, you forget an ingredient.  

Believe me, if there's a mistake to be made in the kitchen, I've made it.  

So thank you Julia Child. For your amazing recipes, your selflessness and most of all your humor.  

Here's one of my favorite recipes from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

As Julia would say ~ Bon App├ętit!

Chicken Broiled With Mustard, Herbs and Breadcrumbs
Serves 8

2 ~ 2 1/2 pound broiler~fryer chickens, quartered
1/3c butter
2T olive oil
salt
1/3c Dijon mustard
3T shallots, finely minced
1/2t dried thyme, basil or tarragon
1/8t black pepper, freshly ground
1 pinch cayenne pepper
4c breadcrumbs, fresh ~ do not use packaged crumbs

Preheat broiler.

Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Melt butter and olive oil together and baste chicken with the mixture.

Place chicken, skin side down, in bottom of a broiling pan, rack removed. Place pan in oven so that chicken is 5~6" away from the heat.

Broil 10 minutes per side, basting every 5 minutes. Chicken should be very lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt.

Blend Dijon mustard with shallots, herbs, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Drop by drop, beat in 1/2 of the basting fat from the broiler pan whisking constantly until emulsified into a mayonnaise~like cream. Brush the mustard mixture onto the chicken pieces.

Pour breadcrumbs onto a large plate, roll mustard~coated chicken in crumbs and arrange chicken, skin side down, on the broiling rack. Dribble half of the remaining basting fat over chicken pieces.

Brown under broiler, about 10 minutes. Turn the chicken, baste with remaining fat, and cook another 10 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Monday, August 4, 2008

OK Foodie Friends ~ I'm Looking For a Recipe

To all my foodie friends: I've been searching for a recipe for over four decades.

I'm looking for a Cole Slaw recipe. Not just any cole slaw. And not with mayo or (yuck) Miracle Whip.

No. No. No.

This is a vinegar based cole slaw. The kind that makes your taste buds explode.

Let me back up and explain. My parents didn't take us out to eat very much when we were growing up. As in, almost never. But, when we did go out, we went to this fabulous chicken joint ~ in hindsight, it was a dive bar ~ that had THE BEST fried chicken and a spicy vinegar based cole slaw. I'd get a double order of slaw and forget the fries. Then I'd eat everyone else's slaw at the table.

I really loved that cole slaw.

I've tried to make it but can't get the proportions right.

So. I'm looking for a recipe that is cabbage based with a dressing of vinegar, white wine, sugar, garlic, red onion (or shallot) and that special something that I just haven't figured out yet.

Please don't keep me in suspense. I'm sure one of my genius foodie friends knows that that special something is.

Wonder if that is where my love of Bacchus started...