Monday, June 8, 2009

French Cooking Series Inspired by Julia Child

Julia Child famously admitted that she didn't start cooking until she was 32. Up until then, she just ate. A meal of oysters, sole meuniere and wine in Rouen, France was a culinary revelation, "an opening up of the soul and spirit." From there she immersed herself in culinary study, and eventually became a world famous chef, author and TV program host. She had a big personality, an infectious cheery enthusiasm and a lot of heart. Her kitchen is an exhibit at the Smithsonian museum.

Julia reminds us that passion and curiosity are the most important parts of food and cooking. Inspired by her undeniable joy for food and for life, we've designed a French cooking series based on Julia's recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. At the end of this six class workshop you will have hours of practice in basics like knife skills, sanitation, cooking methods, product identification, seasoning, proper usage of herbs, and of course extensive practice of classical French techniques.

Julia's influence on American cooks is undeniable. Both Martha Stewart and Ina Garten (of Barefoot Contessa fame) kick started their culinary careers by working through the recipes in her book. The novel Julie & Julia by Julie Powell is about a woman who, facing a quarter life crisis, makes it her mission to cook every recipe in the book in one year. Soul-stirring revelations (and a lot of kitchen hilarity!) ensue. The book is also being made into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child (check out the trailer here). Perhaps journalist Sylvia Lindman put it best as she wrote about Julia at the time of her passing in 2004:
Before Julia, whisks, soufflé dishes and copper pans were novelties brought home from France by pretentious tourists. After Julia, they were standard American kitchen battery. Before Julia, French cooking was an effete art form. After Julia, French cuisine was within reach of any home cook. Her joie de vivre, ability to explain techniques, and what-me-worry approach to mistakes made serious cooking fun.
If you're in a recipe rut, a skills rut or even just a life rut, this series is sure to spark a new passion for food and culture that will whet your appetite for the good life. The methods and techniques you'll learn will provide a solid foundation of culinary knowledge and practical applications that will open a whole new world of possibilities in your kitchen! You may not be the next Julia Child (or maybe you are!), but you'll walk away from this series with a greater appreciation for French food and wine, and the know-how to whip up a mean Sole Meuniere, perfect Potage Parmentier, and more!

This special series begins next Tuesday, June 16 from 7-9pm, and meet every week for a total of six sessions. You can save $25 by purchasing the classes as a series, or you can register for individual sessions for $65 per class.

Click here to register for the series, or click on the class titles to sign up for an individual session.

Preparing Hot & Cold Hors d'Oeuvres
Fonds D'Artichauts au Gratin (Stuffed Artichokes au Gratin)
Petits Choux au Fromage (Cheese Puffs)
Rilette de Saumon (Salmon Rilettes)

Preparing Classic Sauces
Bechamel Sauce
Veloute Sauce
Espagnole Sauce
Hollandaise Sauce
Classic Vinaigrette
To demonstrate some of the sauces we will be creating:
Filets de Poisson Gratines, a la Parisienne (Fish Filets Poached in White Wine, Cream and Egg Yolk Sauce, a Veloute sauce variation)
Baked Chevre Salad with Lavender Vinaigrette

Preparing Hearty Soups
Potage Parmentier (Leek and Potato Soup)
Soupe au Pistou (Provencal Vegetable Soup with Garlic, Basil and Herbs)
Forest Mushroom Consomme with Foie Gras Crouton and Chervil

Preparing & Plating Composed Salads
Salade Nicoise
Crispy Fried Sea Scallops over Peppercress Tossed in a Dijon Champagne Vinaigrette

Seafood Fabrication & Preparations
Thon a la Provencale (Tuna Steaks with Wine, Tomatoes and Herbs)
Pan Roasted Halibut over Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Vegetable Fricassee

Poultry Fabrications & Preparations
Poulet au Porto (Roast Chicken Steeped with Port Wine, Cream and Mushrooms)
Chicken Fricasse with La Fricasse de Champignons Sauvages au Cognac (Fricasse of Wild Mushrooms flambeed in Cognac)

1 comment:

  1. A good story

    GK Chesterton: “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

    Voila: This book is a poetic view of 30 of the best loved French cheeses with an additional two odes to cheese. Recipes, wine pairing, three short stories and an educational section complete the book.

    From a hectic life in New York City to the peace and glories of the French countryside lead me to be the co-founder of Ten years later with the words of Pierre Androuet hammering on my brain:

    “Cheese is the soul of the soil. It is the purest and most romantic link between humans and the earth.”

    I took pen and paper; many reams later with the midnight oil burning Tasting to Eternity was born and self published.

    I believe cheese and wine lovers should be told about this publication.