Monday, May 16, 2011

Julie and Julia Theme Garage Sale

It was a success!!! The garage sale and the Julie and Julia Menu!  Marianne and I have been planning our BBX = Beouf Bourguignon experiment for months but we could not find a time that we both can cook Julia Child's signature dish.

Today was perfect, we held a garage sale, a fund raising activity for our homecoming in Jan 2012.  We had all the time in the world, the cooking time according Julia's Book is 3-4 hours.  We got the recipe from the net and tried as much as we could to follow it religiously ... we just tweaked it a little according to our taste and time limitation.

Beouf Bourguignon (Lia's and Marianne's experiment)

1 K. pot roast cut of beef, cubed (according to Julia, you can also use sirloin tips, top round or bottom round)
250 grams bacon, cubed
1 T. Olive Oil
carrots, cut into chunks
white onion, cut into chunks
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. thyme
1 1/2 C. red wine
1 1/2 C beef stock (Add 1 beef cube to 2 C boiling water  = 2 C. beef stock)

Brown bacon in olive oil.  Remove crisp bacon with a slotted spoon.  Pat dry the beef with paper towel.  Brown the beef in batches in bacon fat.  Remove the meat and saute the carrots and onions in the remaining fat.  Return the meat and bacon in the pan.  Add red wine, beef stock and the seasoning.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes then transfer into a pressure cooker, tenderize meat for 1 hour.  Let it rest for  few minutes before removing the lid.  Let the sauce reduce until you get the consistency you like.  Garnish with braised onions and mushrooms.

* In Julia's recipe, the meat is supposed to be braised in the oven for 3 and half hours.  That was too long, so we did a short cut by using the pressure cooker.

Braised Onions and Mushrooms (Marianne was in charge of this part of the recipe)

15 pcs. small whole white onions, peeled
1 1/2 T. butter
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 C. water
1/4 cube beef bouillon
4 sprigs parsley
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 t. thyme
1 big can whole button mushroom, drained

When the butter and oil are bubbling, add the onions and saute for 10 minutes.  Pour in the liquid, season and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. 

Add mushrooms in the last 5 minutes of braising.

We had a "Julie Powell" experience.  Marianne and I were taking turns, checking the reduction rate of the sauce.  But  we were enjoying ourselves too, "chismisan" then we when checked the stew, it almost got burned!!!!  There was little sauce left but it turned out all right.

BBX can be served with boiled potatoes, rice or buttered pasta.

We cooked half a pound of linguine noodles, then tossed it in the liquid where the onions and mushrooms were braised.  Then transferred into a serving platter, topped with cubed fresh tomatoes and shredded basil.

I was just thinking the other day that life was not that exciting to me anymore.  There was nothing that I wanted to eat.  I did not have a craving!  Good thing I remembered the foie gras pate Tita Portia bought and shared with me.  I researched the net, with the help of Mariger, for a simple recipe of Chicken Liver Pate.  Foie gras is too expensive for an experiment plus, I read in some articles that they force feed the duck so it will produce a fatty liver.

Chicken Liver Pate

450 grams chicken liver, trimmed
200 grams butter, melted
1 T. white wine
50 ml. cream
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 C. clarified butter

Heat a heavy frying pan,  pan fry the liver in 2 T. melted butter until cooked but still pink inside.  Add the white wine and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Scrape off from the pan into the blender.  Add the remaining melted butter, cream, salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.  Transfer into ramekins.  Top with clarified butter.   Refrigerate over night.  Serve with hot toasted bread or melba toasts.  Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving so it will be spreadable.  Add a dollop of Mango or Apricot jam on top.

*Try spreading the pate on pear or green apple slices.   Delish!

I let them taste my favorite salad: Greens, pears, grapes, walnuts and blue cheese (Thanks Cath for the cheese.)   Dressed with Honey Cava Vinaigrette.

After lunch, the little girls (Soph, Marta and Elena) and I baked Chocolate Chip Cookies!

YUMMMM!  I was very happy my little bakers enjoyed themselves.  Can not wait for another "baking session" with them.

It was a long and tiring day but it was all worth it!  We were able to raise funds, experimented with Beouf Bourguignon, baked cookies with the kids and enjoyed the company of my grade school and high school classmates.  Until next time!

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