Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Maybe it’s being finally able to keep down something other than french fries.  Maybe it’s feeling like this baby is going to change my life in ways I can’t even imagine. Maybe it’s those lofty dreams from watching Julia and Julia. Maybe it’s pure insanity.  But whatever the reason… I picked up a copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking at the library this week.  And tonight, I went for it.

Well, actually, there was a considerable amount of planning.  Monday night, after dumping some cans into a crockpot to make soup (a variation on Catherine’s Spicy Chicken Soup using… whatever similar ingredients I have in the house…) I prepped for my first ever big french meal.

Parsley was washed and chopped.
Fresh lemons were squeezed.
Green beans were trimmed.
Butter was clarified.

Butter was clarified!?!!? For the record, I had NO idea what this meant until 2 nights ago.  Lucky for me, this Mastering the Art of French Cooking book is serious business… and she tells you step by step how to do these crazy things. Like clarifying butter.

Tonight was when the truly crazy parts happened.  I made… eh hem… *pinches nose* Suprêmes de Volaille a Brun avec Beurre Noisette et Haricots Verts à la Maître d’Hôtel.

So yeah. In English (and yes, the cookbook translates all of these crazy french foods for you…) I made Chicken Breasts Sauteed in Butter with Brown Butter Sauce and Buttered Green Beans with Lemon Juice and Parsley.

This actually went much better than I expected.  Things I learned.  
  • Make sure you actually remember to thaw the chicken. Or else have a wonderful husband who can make last minute trips to the grocery store. (Thanks Jake, you’re the best!)
  • How to blanch green beans. (Another thing the book taught me.)
  • Read all of your recipes all the way through before you start.  This is the only reason I wasn’t drowning in a buttered grease fire… both recipes were pretty simple, but I needed the general idea in my head before I started.
  • Have high heat utensils. This has been a major problem in the past, but those awesome new red utensils were a Christmas gift from my sister in law. They can stand up to 600 degrees F. Thanks Melissa!
  • When Julia Child says, “cook chicken breast for 3 minutes, then flip, then 2 minutes…” her chicken must’ve been smaller than mine.  Because it took much much much longer.
  • If you’re going to eat french, you MUST take a french after dinner walk. To clear out the arteries.  From the stick of butter you just ate. No really. I think there was a whole stick of butter in my half of this meal.
But it was so delicious.

2 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of French Cooking

  1. Congrats on the success! I have these amazing vintage copies of Julia's cookbooks and I've always wanted to make something from them but I always chicken out (pardon any pun that can be derived from that). I have read through a good portion of them though and it's always fun to wow people with all the technical terms that are actually really easy things but somehow Julia always makes them sound so much more sophisticated (and French). Here's to good cooking! I've watched a lot of her shows too and she says that people are too afraid of fat and butter and if you know how to use them properly they really aren't that bad 🙂 So, Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!

  2. Kat you meed to try it for sure!! I know some of her recipes are going to be harder… Bit honestly… After pre washing, measuring, squeezing, chopping all the ingredients this meal ws really pretty easy! I did read through it twice before starting but I think actual cooking time was less than 30 minutes. Delicious foods. 😉

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