So yesterday I slaved over a stove for 9 hours for the birthday party of a lifetime, the only thing is, the guest of honor would not be attending. If you haven't read my blog on Julia Child I would suggest you do. It’s August 15, 2009 and Julia Child would have been 97 today. She died in 2004 at the age of 92. Some might remember her as the French Chef on TV (way before I was born) or the woman who wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but to me she was an inspiration.
Julia wanted to change the way a home cook cooks (no TV dinners for Mrs. Child). Julia didn’t just change home cooking, she also built a bridge between the average person and the professional chef. I thought about what she had accomplished and her undeniable passion for food, and that inspires me. It’s that passion that is driving me to bring a generation of teen chefs together.
All of the dishes I made were from Julia’s book. On the menu today were six dishes (really 5, but I’ll get to that later), 9 hours of preparation and lots of butter! I started off with a French vinaigrette for a basic field greens salad. Then started the Petitis Chaussons Au Roquefort (Pastry turnovers with Roquefort Cheese). This was definitely a hit, even though I used blue cheese as a substitute. I then made a Tarte Aux Pommes (apple tart) and I made the dough from scratch. Afterwards I made the esteemed Coq Au Vin (pronounced -Coco Van) which is a decadent stew of chicken in red wine (3 cups to be exact) with onions, mushrooms, and bacon. Next up was Ratatouille (sound familiar?) which is a delightful Eggplant casserole- with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchini. The aroma from the Ratatouille filled the kitchen and I was soon thinking about Provance just like Julia said it would. The final dish was risotto but time had run out, so that would have to wait until next time. I had just enough time to clean up, look presentable and greet my guests, eight of my close friends (all teens).
My friends and I sat down to dinner and made a toast to Julia. We had some wonderful French bread and enjoyed the rest of our meal. It was like Julia was there with us (there was a place setting just for her), watching my friends and I enjoy the wonderful food. My friend Matt who never eats vegetables said he loved the Ratatouille and would not have eaten it any other way. Seeing my friends try new dishes and talking about the meal made it all worth while. So thanks Julia and Happy Birthday!