Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My first attempt at "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"

Hi.  It's 11pm. and I just got done making a pear tart.  I had to make it today because the pears needed to be rescued from where they would have gone tomorrow (the compost pile).  Steve stayed awake just long enough to try it, and rave about it.  Good man.  In his bleary red-eyed, half-awake state, he sat up in bed, ate a bite, and said, "Wow, this is really good and I'm serious.  You know I wouldn't tell you that if it wasn't true.  This is really good!"  He makes me laugh every day.  I followed the recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, but I made up a few things along the way... no offense to Julia.  I love her love of butter, but I gotta cut the refined white sugar.  And it worked.  Yeah!  Now, I have to say that this cookbook was hard for me to follow because it often referred to other pages of the almost 700 page book to follow preparatory directions and then come back to the original page for further instructions for what page to find next.  It felt sort-of like reading a mystery book and I had to piece together the clues to find the right combination... not the kind of pressure I'm looking for... so after spending 20 minutes just reading everything for this one recipe, I decided to make it a "choose your own adventure" book instead.   I had a lot more fun making things up along the way.  For example, I left the sugar out of the red currant glaze altogether, and I deleted the custard (made of sugar and eggs yolks) and instead topped the tart with real (raw) heavy cream whipped with 2 TBSP. cognac and 1 TSBP. agave nectar.  It was still plenty sweet with the natural sugars from the poached pears.  I really admire all the work that Julia Child put into this amazing cookbook.  Sometimes great works of art are not straight-forward nor simple.  I am looking forward to my next adventure inside the pages.  When I recently watched the movie about her life, she said something that stuck with me.  And I used this great quote last Sunday when a raw chicken breast suddenly slipped out of my hands and onto the floor (as she says)..."Never apologize.  Just move on.  No one will ever know." 

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