There are times in the kitchen when I pray for wisdom......usually when a sauce looks too watery, or something in the oven is not, "rising to the occasion"! I'm not professionally-trained in cooking, I'm just a trial-and-error home cook trying to make everyone at my table happy. Sometimes my trials are, "trials by fire".... or dehydration. I must admit that learning to prepare large pieces of meat was tricky for me when I first began cooking. I have burnt or dried-out my share of roasts! That said, one of the little cookbooks in my collection is from a professional chef who took the time to jot down bits of cooking wisdom in a loose-leaf kitchen reference guide to remind herself of her trials in the kitchen, and what she did to remedy the situation. If you've ever had a cheese sauce turn out less-than-perfect, you know that cooking tips from Julie Child in a book form would be an invaluable addition to your cookbook shelf.
Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a lifetime of Cooking was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2000 and its ISBN is 0-375-41151-8. The web address for the publisher is www.aaknopf.com. Good luck in finding this one, it is more recent than many of the old cookbooks that I review, so you might have an easier search. In the acknowledgments, Mrs. Child calls this book her, 'happy collaboration of forty years of cookery with colleagues and friends'. She goes on to say that the idea for the book came after Geoffrey Drummond produced a 2-hour PBS special called Julia's Kitchen Wisdom that featured film snippets of her earlier shows on public television.
I'm so happy that Mr. Drummond's idea was transformed into book form. It is not a large cook book, but is concise and full of cooking basics. There is color blocking, which makes it easier to read, as any quick reference book should be!
Julia covers a wide array of food items, but keeps it basic: stocks, soups, sauces, salads,vegetables, meats,eggs,bread and dessert. She does include variations for each basic recipe. And, in true Julia-fashion, she gives us helpful information, all along the way (I needed this back in the days when I was turning pot roast into shoe leather!) Today I will give a sample recipe included on page 93.
for a 9-inch quiche, serving 6
6 strips of crisply-cooked bacon
A partially-baked 9-inch tart (pie) shell
3 large eggs
About 1 C cream
Salt, freshly-ground pepper, and nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Break bacon into pieces and strew in shell. Blend the eggs with enough cream to make 1 1/2 C of custard, and blend in seasonings to taste. Pour into shell to within 1/8 inch of rim. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until puffed and browned. Unmold onto a round platter and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note from Julia: Quiche Proportions
Any quiche can be made with either heavy or light cream or with milk. The proportions always are 1 egg in a measuring cup plus milk or cream to the 1/2 C level; 2 eggs and milk or cream to the 1 C level; 3 eggs and milk or cream to the 1 1/2 C level; and so forth.
***Old Cookbook Review-Every Friday!***