Tag Archive | "“Julie & Julia”"

Boeuf Bourguignon Makes an Appearance in “The Hundred-Foot Journey”

It was the star of “Julie & Julia.” OK, maybe Meryl Streep was. But that movie left moviegoers with one thing on their minds: boeuf bourguignon. The hearty beef stew is a centerpiece of one of the movie’s more appetizing food scenes.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon

It makes an appearance in the new foodie movie, “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” as well. In the scene, the movie’s young hero serves the French classic to his Indian father, who is duly impressed with his son’s culinary gifts.

If you would like to try this at home, here is Julia Child’s original recipe, lightly adapted  from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and complete with her comments:

Boeuf Bourguignon
Boeuf a la Bourguignonne
[Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms]

As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately, you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.

Vegetable and wine suggestions: Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Émilion or Burgundy.

For 6 people.

  • A 6-ounce chunk of bacon

Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardoons (sticks, ¼-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  • A 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • A slotted spoon

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes

Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion

In the same fat, brown the vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of pre-heated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

  • 3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine, such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • The blanched bacon rind

Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of pre-heated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

  • 18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat. Set the mushrooms aside until needed.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

[amazon-product]0375413405[/amazon-product]Skim the fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. (Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.)

  • Parsley sprigs

For immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

From and

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Weekend Calendar: ‘Julie & Julia’ at the Pearl

“The problem with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”    —  George Miller

Movie Nights at Pearl featuring  ‘Julie & Julia’

Come to a free, outdoor showing of the film “Julie & Julia” at 8:45 this evening at the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St.

For food and other activities, come a little early. These begin at 7:30 p.m.  At about 8 p.m., CIA, San Antonio chef-instructor Hinnerk Von Bargen will demonstrate a vichyssoise recipe from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and pass around samples of the chilled leek and potato soup.

CIA's 10-foot chef's hat (toque).

Also, look for the 10-foot inflatable CIA toque that’s making the rounds of community events, such as at movie night at Pearl, the Blue Star Arts Complex’s First Fridays, the Avenida Guadalupe Diez Y Seis Celebration and other events. At the toque, CIA staff members are sharing info about the latest programs, events, news on the expanded campus and the chance to win a weekend class with a CIA chef. People can sign up to win or get info on the new campus by texting: 45384 Subject CIASA or by visiting the website.

Ramblin Rosé at Becker Vineyards

We’re seeing the end of summer coming – and what better time to take a drive into the Texas Hill Country and sample a cool selection of good, dry rosé wines?

You can do it all this Saturday at Becker Vineyards in Stonewall for Rambling Rosé.  Attendees of this Culinaria event return year after year for the opportunity to sample wonderful rosé wines, including one from Becker Vineyards.

You’ll accompany the wine panel through a blind tasting. On the panel are Dr. Richard Becker, Becker Vineyards; Steven Krueger, Resort Sommelier for The Westin La Cantera; Dr. Russell Kane, Vintage Texas wine blog; and Bonnie Walker and John Griffin of SavorSA and San Antonio Taste magazine.  They will help guide you through a palate of flavors.

Two sessions:
Noon and 2 p.m., Saturday
$25 per person
Tickets are available now. Call the Culinaria office at 210-822-9555 to reserve your spot today!

Exploring the Americas at the Lodge

The Lodge at Castle Hills, 1746 Lockhill Selma Road, is offering a new, five-part dinner series.

“Exploring Our Roots” features a modern American interpretation of cuisines from our ancestors. Chile is the highlight for this weekend. Upcoming dinner explorations will be inspired by foods from Mexico, Portugal, Ireland and England.

The four-course prix fixe menu is $30 and will be available tonight (Friday) and Saturday. Make your reservations by calling 210-349-8466.


1st Course: Palta Reina: Crab-stuffed Hass Avocado with Spicy Arugula, Fresh Lemon and Chilean Olive Oil
2nd Course:
Pastel De Choclo: Paila Baked Polenta with Ground Filet Mignon, Roasted Chicken, Corn and Chilean Spices.
3rd Course:
Merken Glazed Salmon A La Plancha with Fingerling Potatoes and Chilean Chimichurri
Dessert: Chilean Lemon Tart with Spiced Grapes and Red Wine Reduction

This offer may not be combined with other offers, coupons, vouchers or promotions.

Good Things at Mike’s

Check out Mike’s in the Village weekend specials, including a Chicken Tortilla Soup special, a Pan-seared Black Drum over Cajun Rice with Court Bouillon Sauce and a New Orleans Pasta Jambalaya with Gulf Shrimp, Chicken, Venison Sausage and more over pasta. Wednesday-Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., check out the lunch specials, including Fried Shrimp or Catfish Po’ boy, Ground Tenderloin Burgers and more.

Mike’s in the Village is at 2355-3 Bulverde Road, in Bulverde.

Coming up later this month!

Restaurant Week

Mark your calendars for Aug. 21-28.  Join in the celebration of Restaurant Week in San Antonio.  Guests will be able to sample food from San Antonio restaurants at delicious prices. Three-course prix fixe menus will be offered for lunch ($15) and dinner ($35).

Culinaria, formerly the New World Wine & Food Festival, says these restaurants are already signed up: Acenar, Antlers Lodge at The Hyatt Hill Country Resort, Auden’s Kitchen, Biga on the Banks, Bin 555, Bistro Vatel, Boardwalk Bistro, Boudro’s, Broadway Bistro, Cafe de Artistes, Citrus at Hotel Valencia, Coco Chocolate Lounge & Bistro, Kirby’s Steakhouse, La Gloria, Las Canarias, Maggiano’s, Paesano’s, Paloma Blanca, Restaurant Insignia, the downtown Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Grey Moss Inn, The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, The Palm Restaurant, Tre Trattoria and more. For a full listing and more information, check out 2010 Culinaria Restaurant Week.

Hatch Chile Fest and a hot contest

Chef Jason Dady and Central Market executive chef, Tan Nguyen help Central Market celebrate 15 years of Hatchmania on Aug. 31. Central Market’s Hatch Chile Fest is Aug. 18-31.

Dady and Nguyen each brings his own style to the dishes while using minimal ingredients and quick preparation. Dishes will feature Hatch Chiles and Chicken Thighs; Hatch Chiles and Shrimp; and Hatch Chiles and Watermelon. Pick up lots of tips and sample six dishes that feature everyone’s favorite chile.

6:30 – 9 p.m., Tuesday, August 31
Central Market, 4821 Broadway
Call 210-368-8600 for reservations.

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Griffin to Go: Meeting One Goal, Keeping Up With Another

Last summer I made a goal. After seeing the movie “Julie & Julia,” I told myself I was going to cook my way through an entire section of a cookbook. The book I chose was the “Avoca Café Cookbook,” a treasured volume I had picked up in Ireland a few years ago, and the section was on soup. (Click here.)

It took several months and not a lot of discipline on my part, but I’m happy to report that the last new soup has been made and consumed – and it was as good as the best of the lot.

I learned as much about making soup as I learned about one kitchen’s approach to this labor of love. Quite a few of the recipes begin with softening an onion in olive oil, which provides a natural sweetness. A good vegetarian stock is added later and magically, the flavors blend together, changing with each ingredient.

But most of all, the recipes were simple and straightforward, not fussy yet full of flavor. If this is what Ireland treasures, then it shares something wonderful in common with that other “I” country in Europe: Italy. The emphasis is on layering a few fresh ingredients in a manner in which they all complement each other, so you can enjoy the best that nature has to offer.

Recipe: Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

It could be something as comforting as cauliflower and cheddar or something as offbeat as parsnip, rosemary and olives.

Along the way, I revisited some old favorites, such as Courgette and Almond, just to make sure they were as good as I remembered. I also was forced to revisit a few vegetables, such as turnips, that I didn’t care for as a child and have largely avoided as an adult. (I still don’t care for them, but soft baby turnips have a more pleasant flavor than their rock-hard adult cousins.)

Some of the journey was frustrating. I had had a stand of lemongrass in the backyard, but the ugliest of winter freezes took care of that. So I had to buy fresh lemongrass from the market for the Sweet Potato and Lemongrass soup. (I also didn’t have time to visit an Asian market, so I probably paid twice the price for the stalks I needed.)

Recipe: Courgette and Almond Soup

Most of the recipes were vegetarian, a few were even vegan. The lone exception was a Tuscan Bean Soup that required bacon in it. And what an impact that bacon had on the final product! After the first taste of the meat boiled into the broth, I could understand why a few – not all, mind you – of my vegan friends will have the occasional piece of pork. I will remember the richness and depth of flavor it brought to the soup and use that in other ways.

I made the most of these soups during the worst of the winter, when I had a seasonal job. To save money, I would bring a jar of soup each day and pop it in the microwave. The aroma of Potato and Fennel Soup or Aztec Corn would fill the break room and often drew questions from co-workers who wanted to know where I’d bought it.

The last recipe in the section was Mixed Mushroom, which I made with button caps, brown mushrooms and portobellos. Rich and creamy, it was a fine end to a most tasty experiment.

Recipe: Aztec Corn Soup

Another goal I wrote about recently was planting a garden so I could enjoy some freshness from my own backyard.

I’m happy to report that the radishes, lettuces and arugula I planted survived the snow/sleet/slush that fell several days after planting. It’s almost time to thin some of the sprouts, which will make a great addition to a salad.

In the meantime, the potted tomatoes are thriving. I know some friends who have planted theirs in the ground already. I’m not quite ready to do that, but I do have them clustered in near the backdoor so they can get some light.

Recipe: Mixed Mushroom Soup

I also planted a pair of olive trees I picked up at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. I planted the arbequina, which should survive our freak freezes and bear fruit in a few years. I would appreciate that. The loquat tree I planted eight years ago is only now ready to bear fruit, and I fear I lost some of this year’s potential harvest to the cold.

But that’s the nature of gardening, isn’t it? We never know what nature has in store for us, no matter the goals we set.

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Don’t Be ‘Hurt’ or ‘Blind Side’-d on Oscar Night

The question isn’t whether it’s going to be “The Hurt Locker” or “Avatar.” For true Oscar junkies, the question is, what are you going to serve at the party?

Oscar parties in recent years have become as popular as the telecast itself.

People love to get together to cheer on their favorites over a few themed dishes or trash some starlet’s outrageous dress while downing another specialty drink whipped for the occasion.

This year, your chances to show off your creativity have expanded somewhat because there are 10 nominees for best picture.

You can go classy and serve French cheeses to go with “An Education.” Think baked brie or a warm goat cheese salad with a touch of honey and thyme. Or you could go gross and make a thick stew that looks like the dog food in “District 9.”

The Hurt Locker

“The Hurt Locker” is set in Iraq. Though little food is consumed, the setting has inspired us to create a hummus with a fiery kick of red chile in it. Don’t want the heat? The recipe includes a number of suggested variations, so you can make one to your own liking.

Kosher deli meats for a sandwich tray could fit “A Serious Man.” Just leave the cheeses away from that one.

The main character in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (yes, that’s the complete title of the movie) is pregnant, so why not haul out the dill pickle spears and, maybe, wrap each in a slice of Black Forest ham. Again, this is not something to serve in vicinity of someone who keeps kosher.

Blue food isn’t all that appetizing, despite what Percy Jackson might say in “The Lightning Thief.” So, make a toast to “Avatar” instead, using blue curaçao in a cocktail honoring the film. We offer recipes for an “Avatar”-ini and an “Avatar”-ita to make the evening fly by.


Think of a pasta dish, using those twisted spirals, to go with Brad Pitt’s equally twisted Italian accent in “Inglourious Basterds.”

Those who saw “Up” know that the mythical bird Kevin loves to munch on candy bars. For that, we offer Bird Seed, a special cookie that will please your guests as much as they would Kevin.

I’ve heard “The Blind Side” compared to cinematic comfort food, which could mean anything from meatloaf to apple pie, depending on whether you need a savory or a sweet dish at your party.

If you are really into preparing for an Oscar party, then take a trip to Costco or Sam’s Club and stock up on some pretzels, peanuts and granola bars. Create your own snack packs to go with all the airline travel in “Up in the Air.” You could also serve drinks from a host of mini-bar bottles.


That covers the 10 best picture nominees, but we’re not done yet. We can’t forget one of the best actress nominees, Meryl Streep, who plays Julia Child in the savory comedy “Julie & Julia.” For this, we recommend — what else? – Child’s tempting Boeuf Bourguignon recipe, which was a centerpiece in the film and can be served in small bowls (or large) to your guests.

Finally, we remind you of a few takes we recently offered on popcorn, the perfect food for movies, Oscar parties or just relaxing at home.

The 82nd Academy Awards air at 7 p.m. Sunday.

(Photos: Darren Decker / ©A.M.P.A.S. (top),  Courtesy of Summit Entertainment, Mark Fellman/Courtesy of 20th Century-Fox, Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios)

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The Hot List: If You’re Not Warm Enough Yet …

PepperOnFire1Monday it’s a burger laced with the hottest chile pepper in the world,  Tuesday it’s Thai, Wednesday it’s a ridiculously popular (cooked in a hot oven) recipe —  and the list goes on.  Enough with the hot food, you say? We’d like to stop, we really would, but we’re on a (hot) roll.

1. The Four Horseman burger at Chunky’s Burgers & More, 4602 Callaghan, tops the list. Not only does this fiery burger contain jalapeños and serranos, it builds on the heat with habaneros. But it doesn’t stop there. The Scoville, or heat chart-topping ghost peppers are added for extra oomph. Though the burger is only a half pound, it isn’t the size but the heat level that counts here. The cost is $15.99, or it’s free if you can eat it all in accordance with house rules.

2. If you like spicy food, Thai food has to be high on your list. But not all heat levels are the same. The most tongue-searing temperatures we have found have been at Siam Cuisine, 6032 FM 3009, Schertz. When the server asks you how hot you want your dish, just say you want it “A.J. hot.” A.J. Kaewlium is the chef, and this is the incendiary level she likes her food. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

3. The hot foodie movie of this hot, hot summer was “Julie and Julia”.  After watching the film, foodies started making boeuf bourguignon in droves —whether they were making it again, after a long hiatus, or for the first time.  SavorSA ran the recipe and it is remains one of the top hits on our website. Click here.

4. At Garcia’s Mexican Food, 842 Fredericksburg Road, the habanero salsa comes in a plastic squeeze bottle and invariably with a warning from the server — “This is hot, you know?” We know and we like it that way. Some of us might dot it on our pork chop tacos, others might pour it all over their Wednesday special.  So many ways to enjoy this pretty orange salsa with a punch.

5. A greater variety of Indian food is making its way into San Antonio restaurants. One of the spiciest treats to arrive is mango chutney, a rich condiment made with green mangoes, lemons (including the peel) and a searing mixture of chiles, ginger paste and mustard seek. Though you can find this dish at many Indian places, the freshest version we have found is at Bombay Hall, 8783 Wurzbach Road.

6. In need of an extra-strength eye opener? Aldaco’s of Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, has a mix-your-own Bloody Mary bar that it offers Saturday and Sunday during its brunch. Add as much hot sauce and black pepper as you like, and let the remains of the previous day wash away.

7. Heat can be measured in various ways. At several Italian places in town, the pizza ovens are hotter than you might ever want to cuddle up to. The ovens in at least three places — Dough Pizzeria Napoletana, 6989 Blanco Road, Il Sogno, 200 E. Grayson St. at the Pearl Brewery, and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, 15900 La Cantera Parkway at the Shops at La Cantera — vary in temperature from 900 degrees to 1,200 degrees. What that means is, you’ll get a good charred crust on your pie. And if you want spicy heat on top, just reach for the pepper flakes.

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Can’t Get Enough of ‘Julie & Julia’?


Meryl Streep as "Julia Child" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

The recent release of the hit movie “Julie & Julia” has spawned plenty of discussion about Julia Child, her life and recipes and Julie Powell’s writings. Here is a quick roundup of the articles you’ll find on SavorSA inspired by the movie:

Photo: Jonathan Wenk (Sony/Columbia Pictures)

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‘Julie & Julia’: Like the Best Soufflé, Sheer Enjoyment


Meryl Streep as "Julia Child" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

We wonder if it is necessary, after all the talk leading up to “Julie & Julia,” to explain who the two women whose names are in the title are. But just in case you’ve been dozing off during food discussions lately, we’ll introduce them. They are Julia Child, the famous chef who died in 2004, and a disciple whom she never met, Julie Powell.

Child came to fame by starting at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, then slaving over a book, with Simone Beck, that would eventually be published in two volumes and become a culinary classic, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Many more books and cooking classes, and eventually a television career, made Child a household name. She was truly a legend in her own time – for years – and barely had time to slow down before she died at the age of 91.

pk-05Julie Powell stepped into the limelight over a period of one year. She utilized a new-media, new-millennium approach to fame — writing a daily blog. This site would eventually attract thousands to read about what was not just a culinary journey but a personal one — a sort of cyberspace version of reality television.

So, what most of us already know about Julia Child is her love of cream and butter, her face and hair and voice, her height, her fine carriage. We remember her humor and sheer love of food. Now that she’s gone, this is ours to own, her legacy to us, along with the many books and videotapes that will keep her name alive. We might not have known that her personal life was as passionate as her cooking, with a supportive husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci of that other foodie film classic, “Big Night”) doting on his Amazon every moment of their married life.

Julie Powell is more of an unknown. She was born up the road in Austin. She and her husband had made a difficult move to Manhattan. Her job is stultifying, the apartment is small and unlovely. She’s a writer, but what has she written? Not much, she complains to her husband. Finally, to fight the despair of not doing something she honestly loves, she decides to cook her way though “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and document the experience. She, too, is married to someone who loves her madly, though he makes it clear that he prefers sex and dinner on a regular basis to awaiting the increasingly irregular meal, not ready to eat until the wee hours of the morning.

The women’s stories offer numerous parallels, which writer-director Nora Ephron ladles out in homespun, often hilarious ways that aren’t subtle but are as comforting as a helping of boeuf bourguignon. Not only that, the movement back and forth between the two lives is masterfully done; the transitions are seamless.

pk-22This film isn’t like Ephron’s earlier marriage film with a foodie title, “Heartburn.” In fact, the domestic bliss that Julia Child lives is refreshingly free of strife and as welcome as one of the butter sauces that sends Child into a swoon.

Helping matters immeasurably is Meryl Streep’s Julia Child, who is lovely, charming, nearly indefatigable and never defeated. The snooty woman who headed the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school that Child attended in Paris never accepted the American, despite the fact that her male classmates soon grew to admire her determination. The role had to be an actor’s dream — to portray someone so many of us knew and loved, and to show us some of the things we may not have been aware of. Streep nails the accent, the much imitated, burbly tones that would become a Child trademark.

But more than that, Streep captures Child’s joie de vivre. Her larger-than-life effervescence matches Child’s 6-foot-2 height.


Amy Adams and Chris Messina as "Eric and Julie Powell"

Amy Adams has the tougher role to perform, because Powell isn’t always that likable. Young, unfocused and, well, whiny, the blogger comes across as the opposite of Child. She wants to find herself — and find herself quickly, at that — yet she relies too much on others to help her. The blog idea is her husband’s, the money for the project soon comes from external sources, she lies to her boss. Yet (spoiler alert) she alone makes every recipe in Child’s book essentially on her own, right down to stuffing the live lobsters into the boiling water, with the oh-so-right Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” on the soundtrack.

Powell has been criticized by some as capitalizing on Child’s fame. But doesn’t every creative person stand on someone’s shoulders at some point in his or her career? To her credit, Powell’s homage to Child is more than evident in her words and deeds every step of the way. Child is her inspiration, her mentor, friend and teacher. The fact that it was her ticket to fame wasn’t the reason she set out to do the blog.

pk-09Most of you reading this review are probably more interested in the food than anything else the movie has to offer. Let us just say this: “Julie & Julia” will make you hunger for more than most cinema snack bars offer. The food scenes, in fact, make up for the shock therapy of “Food, Inc.” and other recent documentaries about our food supply. Linger on the images of chocolate pie filling poured slowly into a crust. Or of perfect boeuf bourguignon emerging from an oven. Amazingly enough, even the scene of trussing a boned duck, something most of us would never try, manages to coax a smile while kick-starting your taste buds.

In this area, “Julie & Julia” rises like the airiest soufflé, a dish that manages to be ethereal and joyously rich at the same time.

John Griffin contributed to this review

(Photos Jonathan Wenk / Columbia Pictures )

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Joys of Cooking With Rombauer’s Classic

Amy Adams as "Julie Powell" and Chris Messina as "Eric Powell" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

Amy Adams as "Julie Powell" and Chris Messina as "Eric Powell" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

The struggles of blogger-turned-author Julie Powell soon will be viewed in movie form by millions as “Julie & Julia” is released.

The book, subtitled “365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” describes Powell’s struggles to master every recipe in Julia Child’s “The Art of French Cooking” in a year. She chronicled her mission in a blog that soon amassed a huge following.

Thirty years prior to this 1961 edition of Child’s masterpiece being published, Irma S. Rombauer, an excellent home cook, self-published what would become another classic, “The Joy of Cooking.”

Rombauer’s book, illustrated by her daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, began at the request from her children. They’d asked her to make a record of “what Mother used to make,” she says in the preface of the 1943 edition. Her friendly but firm voice, plus recipes that worked, made the book a trusted kitchen companion in the decades that followed.

“The Joy of Cooking” is the cookbook John Griffin and I open up again and again when we need to double-check the time and temperature for cooking a roast or the correct technique for making muffins. (“Make no attempt to stir or beat out the lumps. Ignore them,” were Rombauer’s words.)

Amy Adams as "Julie Powell" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

Amy Adams as "Julie Powell" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

My book is the 1943 edition, which wasn’t in good shape when I purchased it in 1973 at a used bookstore in Tucson. After 10 years of use, it became so battered that a friend who worked at a library took it away with her to repair. But, it was beyond her skills, so she mailed it to a professional bookbinder. It came back looking quite spiffy. The cover was replaced by a fresh one of generic medium blue. The bookbinder trimmed the tattered, stained edges of the pages, making the book look better and the pages easier to turn.

Glancing over the preface to my book I came across a sentence that sounded eerily contemporary, as we, nearly 80 years later, struggle through an economic downturn. (What they called a “depression” back then.)

“When the revision of this book began a year ago we had no intimation that international obligations would lead our land of plenty to ration cards. It now goes to print with a number of emergency chapters added, written to meet the difficulties that beset the present-day cook,” wrote Rombauer in her preface.

Over the years, were they ones of poverty or plenty, our cookbook collections have grown. We’ve reached out to new culinary frontiers and turned to other books with regularity. However, “The Joy of Cooking,” with its harmonious blend of fact and homey wisdom, will always ensure its prominent place on our bookshelves.

Cecil and John have also written related articles on other cookbooks that have inspired memorable meals.


Clam Griddle Cakes

[amazon-product]0743246268[/amazon-product]1 cup sour cream
1 egg
3/4 cup minced clams, cooked or canned
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda

Beat together well the sour cream and egg.  Add clams and mix. Sift the flour, then resift with the salt and soda. Combine dry and liquid ingredients with a few swift strokes. Bake cakes on an oiled griddle until browned on both sides.

Makes 4 servings.

“The Joy” of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer

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Win Tickets to ‘Julie & Julia’ from SavorSA

** Update ** Thanks to everyone that participated! The contest is now over and we are no longer accepting entries. Winners will be announced shortly.

Winners Circle:

Monday, August 3rd Tuesday, August 4th Wednesday, August 5th
Bianca Maldonado
Ashley Shute
Marisa Garza
Danae Vigil
Jeff Pepper
Todd O’Neill

SavorSA is giving away six pairs of tickets to preview screenings of the food-flavored comedy-romance “Julie & Julia” this week.

Two pairs of tickets will be given away at the end of each day Monday through Wednesday. The screenings will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday August 5th at the Regal Alamo Quarry and 7:30 p.m. Thursday August 6th at the Santikos Palladium. Winning passes can be picked up at the theater 90 minutes before the screening starts.

To enter, fill out the form below. Limit one entry per person. (Readers who entered the last contest will need to fill out the form again if they want to be eligible to win this time.)


According to the film’s press materials:

Meryl Streep is Julia Child and Amy Adams is Julie Powell in writer-director Nora Ephron’s adaptation of two bestselling memoirs: Powell’s “Julie & Julia” and “My Life in France,” by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.

Based on two true stories, “Julie & Julia” intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends … until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

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‘Avoca Café Cookbook’

dscn1446I have never wanted to cook all of the recipes in a single cookbook. Even a favorite like Simon Hopkinson’s “Roast Chicken and Other Stories” contain sections I wouldn’t go near. Who needs five recipes for calves’ brains, especially when their sale is outlawed in this country?

If I make 10 recipes from a cookbook and like eight of them, I think I’m doing exceptionally well. Is that a waste of money? Not to me.  One  good meal is worth the price of the book that a recipe or two helped produce.

That said, there is one book in my collection that I have returned to repeatedly. It is the “Avoca Café Cookbook,” written by Hugo Arnold with Leylie Hayes.

I picked it up several years ago after eating at the cafe, which is near the eastern coast of Ireland. Friends and I had gone there for lunch one day on our way to Dublin from the charming village of Bunclody. I had partied a bit heavily the night before, and my head and stomach were not cheered at the thought of food, to put it mildly. But one taste of how fresh everything was — and on a cold February day, no less — and I perked up a bit.

I was pleased to find a copy of the cafe’s cookbook for sale, one that included our weights and measurements in addition to metric. (That’s getting harder when you go abroad these days.)

Once home, I tried to recreate some of the magic I had tasted and found it in almost every soup recipe I tried. Green Bean and Coconut. Petit Pois and Mint. Spiced Lentil and Lemon. Each one quickly entered my repertoire of recipes that I have returned to.

I now have to have Baked Garlic and Onion Cream soup at least twice each winter. And I make Tomato, Celery and Apple soup year-round. Even one of the recipes that sounded a bit bizarre — Parsnip, Rosemary and Olive soup — proved a keeper once I had tasted it.

In addition to having gorgeous photographs, "Avoca Cafe Cookbook" has large margins, so you can take notes on any of the recipes you try.

In addition to having gorgeous photographs, "Avoca Cafe Cookbook" has large margins, so you can take notes on any of the recipes you try.

It wasn’t until I had made the 10th or 11th soup from the book that I realized all of the recipes in this section were vegetarian, which is not something I generally seek out. In fact, soup to me had always been something made with chicken stock, if not turkey stock or beef. I even have bacon stock in my pantry, which should not surprise anyone who knows me.

It was about the same time that I set a goal for myself that was similar to Julie Powell’s in “Julie & Julia.” I was going to make every soup recipe in the book. That’s 17 recipes, and I’ve hit 14 so far. It’s not the season for White Winter Vegetable soup, and I still haven’t seen too many turnips I want to cook.

But I have enjoyed the Cauliflower Cheese soup for its unbeatable mixture of onion, potato and cauliflower mixed with butter, half-and-half, cream and aged cheddar. Tomato, Lentil and Orange soup was bright and clean, as was Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper. Sweet Potato and Lemon Grass was soothing and gave me a good excuse to use some of the lemon grass in my backyard.

I have also tried a number of other recipes in the book, from Beef and Guinness Stew (the whole cookbook is not vegetarian) to a Mediterranean Tart with roasted vegetables. There’s plenty of margin room on each page to write notes on, which is great because some of the terms used in Ireland don’t always translate to our American soil. “Monkey nuts” are “peanuts,” and in the following recipe, “courgette” is “zucchini.”

This is a summer treat, especially for those with a garden full of zucchini.

dscn1240Courgette and Almond

1/2 ounce butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
3-4 cups vegetable stock
3 medium courgettes (zucchini), finely chopped
1 ounce ground almonds
4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream, plus extra for garnish
4 ounces (1/2 cup) milk
Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish

[amazon-product]095381520X[/amazon-product]Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion and potato, and cook over a very low heat for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potato is cooked. Add the courgettes (zucchini) and more stock, if need, to cover. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. As soon as the courgettes are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the ground almonds, cream and milk. Purée in a blender, then reheat gently and season to taste. Serve topped with a few toasted slivered almonds and a swirl of cream.

This soup can also be served chilled.

Adapted from “Avoca Café Cookbook” by Hugo Arnold with Leylie Hayes

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