Dimanche Repas: Semaine 3
For the non-Frenchies, I think I never mentioned that Dimanche Repas: Semaine 3 means… (according to anglophonic me!): SUNDAY MEAL: WEEK 3. Can’t believe we’ve made it this far! And I was lagging behind a bit with this post (and tomorrow is another cook-out day!)… so figured I better get this up!
This little fun Doin-the-Julie-project is getting more and more exciting because now, we have 5 people cooking the same menu in various parts of the world! RS, my dear old friend from Washington, a group mate in college, who was the brain-child of this all, having fallen in love with Paris when he came here last year! He is a happy-again-single-Harley-Davidson-rockin’ guy who is an awesome writer, among other things! Then, there’s AC — another group mate in college, all the way in Connecticut. Man of few words, philosophical guy no one would dare fool around with. When we were in school, I remember him starting a whole philosophical discussion over my pink eye glasses! There’s also TH, same group from school, who has lived most of her life in Germany, but is now stationed in Shanghai. One of my oldest, dearest girlfriends! We MAY have a fourth member — a dedicated mother of 3, who lives in the U.S., and came to visit me also last year together with TH. So many dear friends, sharing the same passion for food, in our quest to learn the French cuisine. Wonderful, isn’t it? 🙂
RS has been busy trying to update his blog with our weekly cooking sessions… and you should read his blog if you don’t believe me when I say he writes like no other: Check it out here.
This week’s menu was inspired by pbs videos of Julia Child that AC and RS chanced upon. Some of us were still ordering Julia’s books — so anything we found on the internet was of great use. When recipes come in video formats… even better, being the “visual” people that we are! I loved watching the videos — which sure beat reading Julia’s cookbooks (Vol 1 and 2) — which hardly have any pictures!
So… it was RS’ turn to choose the menu this week. He actually wanted a Tajine (not so frenchy, I quickly whined!) … so I opted for one of Julia Child’s guest chefs, Michel Richard’s Torte Milanese. Besides, as I excused myself, I had already perfected the Tajine de Poulet shortly after I arrived here. I loooove any kind of tajine — and it has become a regular fare at home.
For dessert, RS said we could choose from any pastry dessert on the pbs videos, or anything that required a pastry. I chose the Chocolate Napoleons by Julia’s other guest pastry chef, Gale Gand.
I definitely had fun cooking… as I always do with this weekly exercise, but somehow, I have yet to be ecstatic and on-top-of-the-world. One thing I learned this week was: Do not attempt any “ad-libs” just because you are trying NOT to waste food! I’m not saying, go ahead and waste your left-over ingredients… but just don’t try to pour in the whole cup of wine just because you want to get rid of the bottle. Especially if the recipe only asks you for half a cup!
That’s precisely what happened to my Torte Milanese. I didn’t want to waste all the great pastry I made… so I used it all on one torte. Wrong! My torte must have weighed at least 10 kgs with all that dough! It was so heavy, I went straight to bed after Sunday’s lunch because I just couldn’t prop up my bulging tummy! 🙂
It tasted really good after you’ve shoved half of the pastry to the side of your plate. I was also quite happy to have succeeded in doing the “turns” on the dough, and seeing the layers with all the squished-up butter. Yumm! I am still kinda freaked out by the fact that the dough actually had 2 full bars of butter (500 gms)!
Someone tell me how all the french women can stay so thin with all the butter that’s in their food???!!! Life is unfair.
Voila … Le torte milanese:
I wish I had taken a photo of the pie as we cut it… which would have revealed the layers of creamed spinach, swiss cheese, jambon, red pepper and herbed eggs but… well, you know how it is when the eating begins! It is difficult to entertain any interruptions! 🙂
To top off this wonderful torte (that I’d like to try doing again, while this time being faithful to the pastry proportions…), was the Chocolate Napoleon, which tasted better than it looked, actually! I loved the taste of the poached pears — but I think I put too little sugar on the pastry sheets and didn’t use clarified butter — which didn’t make it as crunchy as it was meant to be. Also, I had to make do with the raspberries I found — since cranberries were no where to be found in the winter time! My DD loved it anyhow… and all the plates returned to the kitchen clean and empty! 🙂 Hooray for me! 🙂
Et voila! 🙂 Another happy Sunday at the Borgers home.