Thursday, August 13, 2009

What a fun time I had tonight! I was invited to go see Julie and Julia, the new Meryl Streep/Amy Adams movie about the amazing Julia Child and a young New York blogger. My hosts were the Benskins, Audrey and Joe, who invited me to come by their home before the movie. The house was beautiful and Audrey's paintings are incredible! They have such movement and light! And she paints BIG! I love them!

Now, for Julie and Julia....what a fun movie! Meryl Streep as Julia Child was amazing! She had her pegged right down to her voice. Julia was 6'2" and I wondered how they would manage that. You almost never see Julia's feet in this movie, so I suspect they had her standing on a box or she was wearing lifts.! Whatever they did, it only enhanced the movie. Stanley Tucci played the part of Paul Child, Julia's husband, and played it very well. Cute Amy Adams was Julie, the young blogger who decided to change her life by cooking over 500 recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia and Simone Beck, and do it in 365 days. She was as cute as ever!

Julia's time in Paris was a wonderful time for her, and the rest of the world has been enjoying the results since then. She attended le Cordon Bleu and learned to cook!

One of the recipes featured in the movie was Boeuf à la Bourguignonne , or to Americans, Beef Burgundy. The following is Julia's recipe, straight out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It looks daunting, but truly, it is worth it!

Boeuf à la Bourguignonne
For 6 people
6-ounce chunk of bacon
9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole, 3 inches deep
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
A slotted spoon
3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Crumbled bay leaf
Blanched bacon rind
18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms sautéed in butter
Parsley sprigs

Remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, ¼-inch thick and 1½ inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450º. Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.
For immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.
For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Bon Appetit!

By the way, I have a chance to see the movie again....and I'm going! I love movies that make me happy!

Now, as is Winnie Davis' recipe for her delicious Fresh Tomato Pie!


Basic pastry dough (refrigerated-ready-made is fine)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
4-5 ripe tomatoes, ½ “ slices
Black olives, sliced (optional)
Garlic salt to taste
Coarse black pepper to taste
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Chopped fresh basil for garnish

· Preheat oven to 425 degrees
· Line a 10” loose-bottom tart pan with pastry dough. [A 9” deep-dish pie pan works well, too.]
· Prick the bottom & sides of the raw pastry with a fork – and bake the empty shell for approx. 10-15 minutes
· While still hot, cover the bottom of the pastry with cheese [and olives slices if desired]; sprinkle with basil
· Arrange the tomato slices to cover the cheese as evenly as possible. [Cut the tomato slices in half & ring the pan for a pretty presentation.]
· Sprinkle the tomatoes with garlic salt & pepper and drizzle with oil.
· Bake 20-30 minutes – until cheese is bubbly
· Garnish with chopped basil.
Slice in wedges & serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8

Thanks, Winnie!

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