A delicious ode to Julie and Julia
August 11, 2009

Meryl Streep doing a mean Julia Child...

Meryl Streep doing a mean Julia Child...

Yes, I was indeed part of the pack who made it to see Julie and Julia this weekend….Realizing the theatre at Harbor East would be packed with people just like me(Julia/food nuts), we got there just in time to find seats together. The audience was as expected, majority female, but there were plenty of guys there too for this new genre of film…the chick food flick. And we loved it. Meryl Streep pulls off the impossible…playing someone so much part of the public consciousness even as parody….and making the character plausible, and lovable. Just a word of advice…plan to eat something delicious afterward whether you’re eating out or in. Plan something nice. You will be ravenous for something with butter after seeing this ode to all cooking Julia Child. And sharing this movie with my daughter, who is just learning to cook, was such a special treat…I got tears in my eyes at one point….I know…so sentimental.

The ratatouille is coming together!

The ratatouille is coming together!

Our reward when we got home? Some amazing Ratatouille, (the dish, not the movie)compliments of my daughter who is a new convert to Julia Child’s legion of fans, now drawing a whole new generation of people learning the joys of slow food…actual cooking….in the kitchen..with real ingredients. Real butter. Real flour. Real vegetables! Now, there are as many recipes for ratatouille as there are restaurants in Provence, and they’re probably all delicious…here’s one from Epicurious, that uses copious amounts of garlic…(love it!)….but ratatouille is a forgiving recipe…adjust ingredients to your liking.


The ratatouille was finished before we made the afternoon movie…it sat happily on the stove with all it’s luscious ingredients(heirloom tomatoes that I got on sale from the farmer’s market…a large basket of “seconds” for $5 as they were racing decay, but perfect for cooking)melding blissfully into one another, and when we got home I quickly butterflied( not boned!) a chicken so that it would cook in half the time, roasted it  after rubbing it down with some butter mixed with Mediterranean sea salt, chopped some French Bread and put it all on the table with some real butter(Julia would want that). What a feast…I think we all channeled Julia that night as we savored the fresh tomatoey-garlic-eggplant-olive oily goodness…it was great plopped on top of the bread. Bon appetit!!

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A Quick Update..Beef Bourguignon laced with Harry Potter and Julia Child
July 31, 2009

 Sorry about no bloggy-mac-blog-blog this week….I’ve been a bad girl. A loyal reader wrote in saying(ok, complaining)…” Please tell Donna to update her Hamilton’s Habitat. Nothing has been posted since 7/24.” Hey, I know that, and I’ve felt guilty every single day, ok? But here’s a quick update…it’s almost news time!

I’m back on another round of antibiotics…no, not for a communicable disease, but for some recurring symptoms of Lyme Disease. But I’m hopeful this will take care of things. I’ll keep you posted.

My daughter was called for her first ever jury duty yesterday. She asked me the night before what time she had to be there….”8:15 am“, I told her. Horrified, she said, “8:15? How on earth do people go to work by then???” Ahhhh, grasshopper…..I told her lots and lots and lots and lots of people, including her Dad, have to be at work  by then…and lots more get to go in even earlier. The fact did not console her… at all. But she made it to the courthouse on time….did get called, but not selected as a juror(SHOCKER)….much relief on her part.

Making seafood paella

Making seafood paella

Let’s see, what else? I made a paella last weekend….found some wild caught shrimp that were really nice at the Supermarket….that were $7.99 a pound! Not bad for shrimp….and I keep a little jar of saffron(the most expensive spice in the world) in the frig, for just such an occasion, because it’s really not easy to find on the fly. I now order it off the internet.

Mmmmm, let’s see…went to yoga class and got my butt kicked Tuesday night…sometimes that instructor seems a little mean, but in a good way. I really felt it the next day, which means it’s a good workout.

And my daughter called this morning…you know, the one who plops roasts into the over without a pan underneath because I didn’t say use a pan…and asked, where one gets “stew meat”. “In the grocery store at the meat counter“, I say levelly.

Does it say stew meat?”

It might but it’s just cut up chunks of beef….why do you need stew meat?

Will ours look like this?

Will ours look like this?

I’m cooking dinner for you! Julia Child’s Beef Bo-erg-ooee-gon!” She’s delighted by the idea. And it is very, very sweet. “Do you mean beef bourguignon?” She does indeed. She has been inspired by the new movie coming out about la Julia, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking was one of the first serious cookbooks I used. I have made the above recipe many, many times. It is excellent…but there are many steps…perhaps too many for my girl? We shall see…the bacon has already been deleted I hear. But it will probably still be delicious….I’ll let you know how it went, but it is an ambitious recipe, as are many of Julia’s recipes. 

And today is J.K. Rowling’s birthday! Maybe we will celebrate by seeing the latest Harry Potter movie on the IMAX, at the Maryland Science Center…that really should rock. And for those of you discouraged about life or your job, or lack of one, remember that J.K. was an unemployed single mom, at rock bottom, which she said she found freeing….because there she was, but still standing. Her Harry Potter series became one of the best selling book series( and movies) of all time. Goes to show you, you just never know, and should never give up. A single idea can turn into great things. Or maybe just a very good beef stew. And tonight, that’s just fine with me. Have a lovely weekend, play nice, and come home safe…we miss you.