Dimanche Repas: Semaine 2
Pant, pant. Sigh, sigh.
This exercise of doing the Julie begins to remind me of how gullible I must be. I am banging my head against the wall, punishing myself for not being as successful as Julie was when she duplicated Julia’s recipes. It’s only a movie… I console myself. Then I think, perhaps I can never be a good cook. Maybe cooks are born, and not made. Ya think? But then… why are there so many thriving cooking schools? The art of cooking MUST be something you can learn — especially when the passion is there anyway, right?
So… can you tell this was yet another let-down weekend for me? Only my desserts seem to be turning out well. And I refuse to refrain myself to just baking! That’s almost like a life-sentence for obesity! I want to do it all! But I am getting ahead of myself… so let me share with you this week’s menu:Broiled Fish Steaks Au Naturel, served with Frozen Peas with a Julia Child twist Joel Robuchon’s Famed Purée de Pommes de Terre
Mousseline au Chocolat
First, I wanted to use swordfish (as Julia suggested) … but the guy at the fish market said… “Non, non, non. Ce n’est pas la saison!” Translation: “Geeez! Don’t you know?” I almost shrank, knowing how the french give so much reverence to eating only what is in season! There are pages and pages of what is in season every month of the year — which l’étrangers like me will only know with a helluva lot of research (and only if you kinda understand a bit of french — because you’ll find nothing in English!). Next choice, “Mahi-Mahi.”Ce quoi ça? — said he. Translation: “WTF??” Hooookeeey! This was beginning to be embarrassing! So I went home with good ‘ol reliable Tuna. Nice and fresh, anyhow — I could have almost chewed on it in frustration on my way home. Could have had a tuna sashimi snack all to myself!
Then came the required french dry vermouth for the fish. It sounded alcoholic… so me went to the good ol’ alcoholic’s paradise, Nicolas. None. No orange liqueur either. Thank God for google… I found substitutes for both… but at the last minute, my nounou came to the rescue and found me my nice bottle of vermouth in one of the most reliable groceries… one of my favorites… Monoprix!
Then… guess what happened next? Since the fish only had to be cooked about 20 minutes before serving time (including pre-heating the oven, whipping up the sauce after the broil, etc.)… I was so stressed that my fish would get cold, my plates would not be hot enough, etc… I actually read my recipe wrong! I thought it said, “pour 1/8th of the vermouth into the fish dish” — which I even carefully measured and followed. But… after checking the recipe again AFTER dinner… I realized it actually said… “pour up to 1/8th inch into the fish dish!” Geeeeeeeeez Louise! Thankfully, my lemon butter sauce was yummy — so it kinda saved my fish. If I were to do this all over again though… I would broil the fish for a much shorter time… because mine ended up rather overcooked. A no-no for fish! And oh, let’s also not forget the vermouth!
Of course, in all this chaos… I freakin’ forgot to take a picture! Blehhhh!!! 😦
The almost insignificant frozen peas though were the tastiest ones I have ever made — and is surely a basic recipe that I will repeat, which makes a wonderful, quickie side dish! At least I get 2 points for that! 🙂
And for that famed Robuchon mashed potatoes? Hmmm. It remains a mystery. I grew muscles turning that newly baptised moulin à légumes (Food Mill) while cringing at the thought that I was about to use a whole 83%-fat-bar-of-butter for a pound of ratte potatoes. I was actually triumphant at one point while stirring the potatoes vigorously, carefully incorporating the bits of butter and streaks of boiling milk! But only for a moment. I left it too long while waiting for dinner time — so it got cold and became a sticky big mass of goo. Failed again.
Lesson learned: Do not make Robuchon’s mashed potatoes too early — or, keep the casserole warm in a pot of hot water for a maximum of 30 minutes before serving.
It still tasted sinfully buttery and tasty… but surely didn’t have the consistency, nor the puffiness that I had dreamed of. Well, on the brighter side, at least I learned to use the indispensable french tool!
And… well, my Mousselin au Chocolat was appreciated by everyone. Personally, I found it much too sweet — and would lessen the sugar AND the coffee … which kinda robbed the dessert of the chocolate’s fine flavour. At least I was happy about this… including those cute little orange peel glaze thingamajigs that I made.
And that’s how this week’s le dimanche repas went. Score: 4/10. I would be licking my teacher’s you-know-what by now if I were in school, that’s for sure!
With the frenzy in my little Parisian kitchen though…
… I was happily cooking knowing that — not just one — but THREE other people around the world, my dear college friends, were laboring just like me. Walking the markets, studying the recipes, cooking the exact same dishes, then savoring them afterwards. One in Washington, one in Massachusetts, one in Shanghai, and me in Paris.
At least I didn’t feel I was alone — and it was fun enough just knowing that there were three other loonies doing the same loony exercise as me! 🙂
Note: I will share links to their blogs as soon as they get it up and running, I promise! 🙂