Sur ma table: Semaine 13
“Sur ma table” means “On my Table” — my new title to the second season of our Julia Child Series. It’s the second season because it has necessitated a change. It appears, by popular demand, that I am no longer allowed to cook on Sundays. Who would’ve thought that the weather would affect even my cooking day, right? Right. Now that Winter’s got one foot out the door, hubby thought we should go back to exploring Paris, or simply liberating our lazy Sundays without me stressing out in the kitchen. Fair enough. No argument there.
After all, I always look on the bright side of things. This could only mean that I can now cook in peace, in an empty house apartment on Mondays. That makes my “Dimanche Repas” (Sunday Meal) impertinent now, ergo … the change to “Sur ma table,” which also no longer restricts me to a particular day in the week when I MUST be in the kitchen. It’s a liberating detail, and probably one that might even allow me to cook many more times in the week! (Like the title of my blog ever restricted me from cooking on ANY other day of the week.) It’s a charming introduction to what you will see on my table — on any day of the week, whether edible or not! 🙂
This week, life got in the way for me … so I only managed one of the two dishes that Tina chose. The two dishes were: Tranches de Jambon à la Crème (Sautéed Ham Slices with Cream Sauce) and Timbale d’asperges (Asparagus Mold). I chose the latter, because along with this, I would have to learn an exciting and new sauce: the Hollandaise Sauce. This happens to be one of the five master sauces in the French haute cuisine mother sauce repertoire. So heck… we’ve got to start somewhere!
Out came another one of my priceless acquisitions — which, when I purchased, raised snickers from the Peanut Gallery: “Why in heaven’s name would anyone buy an Asparagus Casserole?” Ha! Pourquoi pas? I love my little asparagus casserole — because it has a net-like doodad that holds all the asparagus, in a straight “standing” position. Like soldiers, all being heated up equally, in a sleek casserole of boiling water. 🙂 Neat, right? See how sweet they look:
Then… I chickened out on Julia’s recommendation to learn the Hollandaise the long and hard way. She said that the Hollandaise Sauce is often the most dreaded of all sauces to make because the egg yolks can curdle and the sauce can turn. She says that “it is of great importance that you learn how to make hollandaise by hand, because part of every good cook’s general knowledge is a thorough familiarity with the vagaries of egg yolks under all conditions.” Thanks, Julia. But when you’ve had a full day, and have rushed home so you can fulfill your commitment to cook with 4 other people around the world, then blog about it, then still do your French homework, and put your 6-year old to sleep…. it just seems to make more sense to use the “Electric Blender Recipe.” After all, “as the technique is well within the capacities of an 8-year-old-child, it has much to recommend it.”
So let’s leave it at that — and let’s just say, I passed the Junior Competition for now, and will join the Masters at a later stage.
My hollandaise did taste pretty nasty — in a good way. I had to add water though twice or thrice because it was getting just a bit too thick in the blender as I was pouring the butter in droplets. Never mind that my hair got quite a few splatters of the churning hollandaise. It still tasted authentic enough. Both from my hair and from the bowl. 🙂
The Timbale d’asperges was quite easy. No fuss, healthy, vegetable dish — best eaten though as a side-dish to roasted meat, rather than a main course. Next time I make this, I would add some mushrooms too — just to make it a little more exciting. I also used stale whole wheat baguette bread crumbs rather than american white sliced bread — which, am guessing, didn’t do much to change the taste. If anything, it probably helped to give it a little more color! The recipe called for it to be made in a soufflé mold — which I still haven’t gotten around to purchasing. So, I used my good ol’ reliable terrine silicone mold — which rendered its usual ease when turning over the custard into a serving dish.
All gone in one sitting … thanks to my hubby’s vegetarian nephew who came that evening to enjoy an impromptu taste test. All in a day’s work! 🙂