I think you can tell what’s coming, but we’ve got a little bit to talk about first.
First, if you go here and watch a short video (about a minute and a half) and then fill out a form you can get a free sample of Tresemme’s new Split Remedy shampoo and conditioner.
The second (and last) non Julia item of business is to tell you about the most fabulous dinner that my hubby and I had last night. He got a gift card to Macaroni Grill for his birthday, so we decided to go and sample their 2 for $25 dinner that I mentioned not too long ago. Though it doesn’t offer our adored penne rustica in the deal, it was still completely worth it. For our 2 tapas, we got the mac and cheese bites – they were crisp outside, gooey on the inside, and dunked in a delectable truffle sauce – and the zucchini fritti which turned out to be thinly sliced ribbons of zucchini coated in a delicious crisp batter and accompanied by a cucumber/avocado sauce (which I didn’t care for, but the hubby loved). (Update: As of a few months ago -September or October 2013- Macaroni Grill has changed their zucchini friti. Now they’re serving thicker slices of zucchini that have been breaded and fried similarly to eggplant parm, there’s also marinara alongside. It’s okay, but nowhere near as wonderful as it used to be.) For his entree, he got the chicken under a brick: a sage-roasted (and VERY crispy!) half chicken served with asparagus, roasted potatoes, and diavola sauce. I got the pasta carbonara which is spaghetti alla chitarra with parmesan and pancetta and topped with a poached egg. Both our entrees were delicious! I’d also gotten a coupon (because I get their e-mails) that allowed us to get a free dessert. I got their lemon passion cake, but unfortunately they’ve changed their recipe since the last time I had it, and I didn’t enjoy this version as much (though it was still good, it wasn’t as amazing as before). All in all, we had an amazing dinner; it was a great way to celebrate his birthday.
On to the amazing legacy of Julia Child!!! I’m sure you’ve guessed that this week’s movie selection was Julia & Julia, which is one of my favorite movies. (Trailer here) While some might not consider it a romantic comedy, I find it to be hilarious, inspiring, and a wonderful picture of 2 happily married couples. The movie is the story of Julia Child and modern-day writer Julie Powell finding themselves through food, and is based on their respective books, My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prudhomme and Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. (Side note: I’ve also read both books. I thoroughly recommend reading Julia’s, but I found Julie’s had more cussing and discussions about sex than I care to read about.) The movie is brought to life perfectly by Amy Adams (as Julie Powell), Stanley Tucci (as Julia’s husband, Paul), and Meryl Streep doing an incredible job of playing Julia Child. If that’s not enough to reel you in, hold on, because I have lots of favorite parts to share with you. WARNING: You will get hungry watching this movie. Generally, I love the husband/wife relationships, the soundtrack, the delicious looking food, and the white dress Julie wears for her big duck party. And though I do enjoy the whole movie, I also really enjoy Julie’s inner monologue when starting her blog, her first post about butter, the egg poaching scene, Paul & Julia’s Valentine’s party, the lobster scene, and the whole section with Julia’s sister Dorothy (played by the hilarious Jane Lynch). There are also some hilarious lines that I like throwing out at random with my best friend: “Ritual cobb salad lunch tomorrow. Dreading, dreading, dreading.”, “And ‘breast’ your cards.”, “You hungry?” “No.” “Good.”, “You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.”, and my personal favorite – “You and I are vaches enragees.” (mad cows!). I doubt that you’d be surprised to hear that this movie was what got me first thinking about blogging, though the decision to blog came much later. As you can tell, I really love this movie and highly suggest that you watch it as soon as you possibly can. (Surprisingly, my soon-to-be SIL hasn’t seen it, so I’ll be working to remedy that very soon.)
Now the recipe that I wanted to share is an authentic Julia Child masterpiece: hollandaise sauce. The first time I made this, it was so amazing!! Unfortunately, the last two times I made it (including tonight) it broke (turned from creamy to grainy and watery). The first time it broke, I was able to re-stabilize it, and we still enjoyed it. Tonight, I was just too tired and didn’t have enough time (a.k.a. We were too hungry to wait.), so we went without it. I do think I’ve figured out the problem. Never, ever try to halve a hollandaise sauce recipe. It just doesn’t work. Go ahead and make the whole recipe, freeze part (if like me, you’re only serving 2), and use it again some other time. The recipe has lots of tips to fix problems, so just go ahead and try it. Just because it didn’t work for this time, I still love the recipe and will use it many more times in the future.
Hollandaise Sauce (from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child)
3 egg yolks
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter (cold)
1 c. melted butter
1. In a saucepan, beat the yolks with a whisk for 1-2 minutes, til they thicken lightly and turn lemon-colored. Whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and 1 tbsp. cold butter. Set over moderately low heat and whisk continuously at a moderate speed, removing the pan from the heat now and then to make sure they don’t cook too fast.
2. When the yolks cling to the wires of the whisk and you can see the bottom of the pan between strokes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the 2nd tbsp. of cold butter.
3. Start beating in the melted butter by driblets at first, til a good 1/2 c. of the sauce has thickened. Add a little more quickly as the sauce thickens into a heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Hope you’re having a great day, and remember, you can never have too much butter.