Since I was away last weekend I didn’t have the chance to go on any food travels so needless to say I was anxious to get back to the kitchen this weekend. I returned to Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking as the temperatures in the northeast had dropped considerably and so the cookbook’s heavy and rich recipes no longer seemed “off limits” as they were in the throngs of summer’s warm weather. It also seemed the perfect ode to our delicious French meal we had while on our cruise.
I started out by making aigo bouido (garlic soup) which I was slightly disappointed by. Julia writes:
“Enjoying your first bowl of garlic soup, you might never suspect what it is made of. Because the garlic is boiled, its after-effects are at a minimum, and its flavor becomes exquisite, aromatic, and almost undefinable.”
It was one of those dishes that smelled a lot better than it tasted. She recommends serving it with rounds of hard-toasted French bread and grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese.
For our main course I made ratatouille, an eggplant casserole with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchini.
“Ratatouille perfumes the kitchen with the essence of Provence and is certainly one of the great Mediterranean dishes. Happily a ratatouille may be cooked completely the day before it is to be served, and it seems to gain in flavor when reheated.”
I’ve never made ratatouille before but both D and I enjoyed it immensely. I didn’t have any fresh parsley to use or I’m sure it would have even tasted better than it did. It yielded a lot and I’m already looking forward to leftovers for lunch during the work week.
And for our sweet finish I made my first ever sweet souffle, souffle a la vanille (vanilla souffle). I was slightly nervous before making it, since souffles are definitely the “temperamental” sort in the cooking world. But I read through the recipe multiple times prior to beginning to make sure I fully understood each of the steps. It came out quite well I feel.