Saturday, September 5, 2009

Almost Done

Almost done with my 2009 Julia Child craze ~ I think.

Made creme brulee for my husband's birthday last week. This dessert is one we like so much at restaurants, I really want to get good at making it. Who better than Julia Child to teach me how? For years, however, I confused it with creme anglaise and was disappointed when it came out runny. (But oh, the fresh vanilla bean-y taste was divine.) Then I learned creme anglaise is supposed to be runny ~ it's a sauce. Not creme brulee though.

Anyway, I decided it was high time I owned a kitchen torch, so bought one last week, along with an omelette pan (more on that later). When it came time to brulee the creme, I couldn't figure out how to put the torch parts together. Gadget Guy did it in about five seconds and announced the necessary butane did not come with the torch kit. At that point, we were ready to eat the dessert, so decided to brulee under the oven broiler, which worked okay, but cooked the egg mixture ever so slightly. Next evening, armed with butane, we took turns torching the next two ramekins. What fun! The brown sugar bubbled and glistened, without the egg mixture getting heated. Yay! And yum! The third evening, we reprised our act with the final two ramekins. As an added bonus, when I Googled what to do with the creme brulee's leftover egg whites, the answer was mousse au chocolat. Aw shucks.

Today, omelettes a la Julia. I had bought an 8-inch pan with gently curved sides. In retrospect, taller, more squared-off sides, might be preferable, since Julia's method is to shake the pan and at the end, jerk it enough to fold the omelette over on itself. My first attempt was good, not great. In my second attempt, the liquid cascaded over the sides into a yellow puddle on the stove, and I ended up with quite a bit of uncooked egg on my plate. For our third two-egg omelette and Robert's first attempt, he got the motion down. I'll have to practice more to get a reliable result. But what we loved about Julia's method is that it yields a light, fluffy, moist omelette.

About that mousse au chocolat ... Let me just say that (1) if you use Julia's method, you'll end up with most of your kitchen utensils spread all over your countertops; and (2) it is worth the prep and cleanup time. We were so blissed out (and full) from licking the beaters, spatulas, spoons, bowls, and the countertops themselves, that we didn't even want dinner.

1 comment:

tandemingtroll said...

I really enjoyed reading about your cooking and torching experiences. I learned to cook an omelette from 'The Frugal Gormet', myself. And when I make quiche, I make a double recipe and freeze the rest, because it does require a lot of effort and quiches freeze nicely. Maybe we will celebrate our first day in the low 90's by making quiche.

Two years ago, I found a French cooking cookbook at the Grayslake Book Fair for $1. Eric and I have been trying out recipes for the past couple years, though we draw the line at rendering lard.

I have some ramekins, big and small, thanks to my brother, who is a chef. I haven't used them for their intended purposes yet. I would really like to make individual tarts at some point.