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May 6, 2021

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Final Week

Today I’m going to wrap up this topic. Not because I’ve covered everything that there is to know about gluten, but because there are other topics

April 29, 2021

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Part 2

How do you know if you have a gluten issue? It’s possible that you may eat foods containing gluten and not experience any significant digestive issu

April 23, 2021

Veggie Stuffed Turkey Burgers

(The following recipe first appeared in the September 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Ingredients: 1 tablesp

April 22, 2021

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Part 1

What are your thoughts on gluten? Do you eat it, or not? Why are so many people talking about it these days? Just this week I received a call from a f

April 15, 2021

Anchor Habits, Being Still, and My Resident Rabbit

It almost feels as though our world is sort of opening up again. For now. How very indefinite. At any rate, prior to everything shutting down, perhaps

April 8, 2021

3 Reasons Why Losing Weight is Hard

It seems like such a simple concept. Expend more calories than you eat, and BOOM. Off go the pounds. Not so fast. There are lots of reasons why it’s

April 1, 2021

He’s Here, and He’s Adorable

This is week #39 of baby, and guess what? He arrived! Little Angelos is perfect and looks like a little angel—well-dressed in monogrammed attire wit

March 26, 2021

Leek, Potato and Zucchini Hot Cakes

Ingredients: 1 medium potato 2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)                                             

March 24, 2021

For the Love of Leeks, and Hot Cakes

It’s the week of the leek. From the looks of the leek I have in my fridge, it’s a good thing that at week #38, baby is about to make his grand wor

March 18, 2021

Swiss Chard, Your Refrigerator, and Advice from Julia

As we close in on this journey at week #37, baby is the size of a bunch of Swiss chard.  Swiss chard falls under the extremely nutrient dense umbrell

Keeping it Real, Recipe Included

I’m writing this after returning home from Julia Child’s birthday celebration. This evening, at Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience, we toasted to a wonderful cook, who would have been 106 today. 

There is much that we could celebrate about Julia and what she brought to American cooking. After viewing some television clips, what is quite obvious is that she was real.

She burned food, ruined recipes, dropped chickens, and kept right on going. Nothing stopped her from teaching us with great zeal and humor, as imperfect as she was.

I find that quite comforting.

Our birthday meal consisted of:

  • Gruyere Stuffed Mushrooms (Champignons Farci)
  • Eggplant Pizza
  • Salad greens with Basic French Vinaigrette
  • Poached Salmon with Cucumber Sauce
  • Buttered String Beans (Haricots Verts a la Maitre d’Hotel)
  • Chocolate Mousse topped with whipped cream

We toasted with a bit of champagne, and appropriate wine pairings were also available. Julia did lots of wine pouring and toasting, celebrating food and life.

As we continue to celebrate summer, kids going back to school, and beautiful sunsets, I offer you a recipe we enjoyed. It is from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child.

Basic French Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 Cup

  • ½ Tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup excellent olive oil or other fine, fresh oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste by dipping a piece of the salad greens into the sauce and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice.

Vinaigrette is always at its freshest and best when served promptly, but you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days. The shallots and fresh lemon juice will eventually go off, spoiling the taste of the dressing.

*Add minced fresh herbs to dressing as desired after all the oil has been added.

A true French salad is simply mixed greens with vinaigrette such as this. It helps to cleanse the palate between courses.

Cheers to Julia, eating amazing food, and keeping it real.

“Remember, ‘No one’s more important than people’!” In other words, friendship is the most important thing—not career or housework, or one’s fatigue—and it needs to be tended and nurtured.” –Julia Child, “My Life in France”

 

Basic French Vinaigrette

Basic French Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 Cup

  • ½ Tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup excellent olive oil or other fine, fresh oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste by dipping a piece of the salad greens into the sauce and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice.

Vinaigrette is always at its freshest and best when served promptly, but you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days. The shallots and fresh lemon juice will eventually go off, spoiling the taste of the dressing.

*Add minced fresh herbs to dressing as desired after all the oil has been added.

A true French salad is simply mixed greens with vinaigrette such as this. It helps to cleanse the palate between courses.

Recipe from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child

Go Ahead, Be Fearless

We hear it often enough, those four little words that pack a huge punch: “Do not be afraid.”

Easier said than done.

Thankfully, I’m doing a little better with this concept, which gives me courage–and faith–to be fearless as I face new challenges.

I’m not going to suggest something crazy, like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. (One of my sons did this, and fortunately survived the stunt.)

Today, I’m giving you a few tips I’ve gleaned (and paraphrased) from Julia Child, to practice in your kitchen. Cooking your meals is healthier than eating out, and it can even be FUN! 

Whether you like to cook or you have some fear around it, you may find solace in taking her advice, especially if those recipes don’t always turn out quite the way you intend. They didn’t always work out for her either.

Julia’s Tips

  1. Simple dishes, well prepared, are important to know how to cook. Save the challenging recipes for those days when you need an adrenalin rush.
  2. Understanding basic techniques will help you with efficiency so you will not be so focused on speed. “Hurry-up” cooking will ruin the dish.
  3. Work ahead of time so that when your guests (or family) arrive, you may calmly complete the meal. You can always store and reheat a dish.
  4. “There is no reason to serve those bloody casseroles all the time. I even hate the name!”
  5. French cooking is simply a matter of theme variations. Once you understand how to brown the beef and slice the onions for Beef Bourguignon, you’ll know how to do so for other recipes as well.
  6. It’s important to watch, smell and taste the food as you prepare it. The senses belong in every well-run kitchen, like good knives.
  7. Use the best, freshest ingredients. When Julia was writing, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” she experimented with canned and frozen products and found them “okay” if that’s what was available.
  8. You may want to learn how to cut professionally with a knife, in case you end up on television.
  9. Since Americans have the annoying habit of not drinking white wine, what are they to cook and make sauces with? Dry vermouth is acceptable, according to Julia.
  10. Supermarket ingredients can be transformed into authentic French dishes, except you must include two essentials: time and love. 

“I think one should get one’s vitamins in salads and raw fruits, and what is cooked should be absolutely delicious and to hell with the vitamins!”—Julia Child

My Friend Julia

In honor of my late friend Julia Child’s Birth Month, I’ve decided to share some interesting facts with you about her life.

I did not know Julia Child personally, although I wish I did. I’ve been reading about her, own several of her books, and still enjoy watching her cook, thanks to reruns.   

Julia was born on August 15, 1912. She was the eldest of three and lived in Pasadena, California. She graduated Smith College in 1934, with a degree in History.

During WWII, Julia joined the Office of Strategic Services (the OSS), and became a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division. In other words, she was a spy. She was responsible for handling high volumes of top-secret documents.

Here’s the part I think some of you will REALLY find interesting. Julia was not always a great cook! She grew up in a home with a cook, so she didn’t have a clue about cooking until she met her would-be husband Paul, who grew up in a family that was very interested in food.

We learn to cook (or not) because there was someone in the kitchen to teach us. For Julia, that someone was a recipe book.

She was often frustrated because sometimes she would follow a recipe to the letter, and it would turn out great. Another time, it would be a disaster. Can you relate?

I hear from many people that planning, cooking, time, are a few of the challenges that contribute to less than stellar health. They simply don’t know how to begin the process, so nothing changes.

Julia learned proper cooking techniques when she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Even with that, she still suffered from occasional disasters in the kitchen.

Fortunately, her husband Paul was a patient man who loved her beyond her messed up recipes.

As she worked on her first cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which took 7 years to complete, she tried to write the recipes so that any new American bride could cook a French meal successfully—each and every time.

Seven years of what Julia referred to as “practice and passion.”

Practice and passion. Pratique et passion.

Life is a practice.

We’d best be passionate about living it.

Cooking a French dish may not be something you’re passionate about, however I encourage you to consider what you ARE passionate about, and then keep practicing.

If you’re not sure how to begin planning, cooking, finding time to take care of YOU, I’m here to help. We will come up with a plan so that you know what to do first!

Practice and passion. Pratique et passion.

And if you are not a particularly good cook and would like to be, consider yourself in good company with Julia. It’s never too late to learn—and practice.

 “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”—Julia Child, My Life in France”