19 October 2009

Mastering The Art Of French Cooking

It's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. What else do you want me to say?

Wait, I do have something else to say. Several of my friends at the Smithsonian found themselves with the arduous job of going to Boston and packing up Julia Child's kitchen. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it, right. So Reyna, Paula and Nanci worked on recreating the kitchen and preparing subsequent events.
One such event was Nora Ephron donating several items from Julie and Julia.

The movie created such interest that the Smithsonian blog decided to run a Julia recipe of the week asking for volunteers from the staff to cook and write about a recipe.

My friend Ann immediately volunteered and WE cooked from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Ann doesn't cook, so she asked for a simple recipe.

Baked Cucumbers

6 cucumbers about 8 inches long

2 Tb wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
A 2 1/2-quart porcelain or stainless steel bowl

A baking dish 12 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep
3 Tb melted butter
1/2 tsp dill or basil
3 to 4 Tb minced green onions
1/8 tsp pepper

Peel the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise; scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the strips into 2-inch pieces.

Toss the cucumbers in a bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes or for several hours. Drain. Pat dry with a towel.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the cut cucumbers in the baking dish with the butter, herbs, onions and pepper. Set uncovered in middle level of preheated oven for about 1 hour, tossing 2 or 3 times, until the cucumbers are tender but still bear a suggestion of crispness and texture. They will barely color during cooking.

I cook -- a lot. My other friend, Anne, asked me if I had ever made Pâté de Canard en Crouté, one of Julia's more difficult recipes. I told her no. When I mentioned this to Ann, she said, "Great, you make that."

Read about the duck at the Smithsonian's blog, under Julia Child Recipe of the Week, October 19, 2009.

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