Hello new friends! I am incredibly excited to be crafting this first recipe post right now. I have literally been cooking for the last 4 1/2 hours, and am finally sitting with a glass of delightful French wine, in front of my laptop, ready to tell you about my first experience with vegetarianizing Julia Child’s cookbook.
For starters, here is my sous chef and I, right before we delved into the giant missive that is Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon. I spent the morning spending an embarrassing amount of money at Anthropologie/Sur La Table/Whole Foods. In my defense, I was super excited for this first post, so I went a little overboard. SO SUE ME! It was totally worth it.
Here are some of the unnecessary-yet-adorable things I bought:
I mean, ceramic egg cartons, HELLO!
Also, I finally actually got to sit down and read through the book ( a few days ago) and holy sh&^ I am going to have to get a lot more creative than I was originally thinking. I mean, you guys, there is an entire chapter on BRAINS. #GROSSAdditionally, since I began this project, I have also come to learn a bit about Julia Child’s views on vegetarianism, and I have to wonder if she isn’t rolling over in her grave about the very idea of some amateur chef vegetarianizing her sacred recipes. In the foreword to Mastering the Art of French Cooking (shall we simply call it MAFC from here on out?) she describes herself as an “enthusiastic carnivore”. Additionally, here is an entire quote from the queen chef herself on the matter: “I don’t think pure vegetarianism is a healthy lifestyle. It’s more fear of food—that whole thing that red meat is bad for you. And then there are people who don’t eat meat because it’s against their morals. Well, there’s nothing you can do with people like that. I’ve often wondered to myself: Does a vegetarian look forward to dinner, ever?” No offense Julia, but I personally look forward to dinner EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. That’s the veg*n’s biggest plight in life – trying endlessly to convince people that, “Yes Virginia, vegetarian food IS good…” And that’s what I’m here to help you guys do – get inspired, and look forward to a dinner of Julia Child recipes, despite the fact that you crazy people think red meat is bad for you. (Note light-hearted sarcasm.) This discovery of Julia’s views on the veg*n’s lifestyle, coupled with the reality of the insane meatiness/outdatedness of the majority of her dishes, lead me to rethink the original rules I set for myself. I originally said that I would try to change the recipes as little as possible, but in some sections, that’s just not going to be possible. I will absolutely do my best to retain the spirit of the dish, while creating something that a vegetarian would actually want to EAT. Additionally, I discovered that a bunch of recipes are actually already vegetarian, so for those, I will attempt to veganize them. Sometimes I will fail, but I’ll always take you along for the ride and show you my mistakes, so that we can learn together. They say Julia Child was fearless, and I admire that in an artist. I will channel that into this project and these recipes, and hopefully we’ll have a rollicking good time together. Here’s a bonus photo of my sous chef being cuddled by my handsome boyfriend: I KNOW! I can’t take the cuteness either. I’m too lucky. Aaaaaaalright, onto the pièce de résistance… THE FOOD! Presenting, my very first menu:
- Oeufs à la Bourguignonne (Eggs poached in Red Wine)
- Canapés (Basically large croutons)
- Timbale de Chou-fleur (Cauliflower Mold)
- Coulis de Tomates (Fresh tomato sauce with herbs)
- Champignons et oignons Sautés à la Bordelaise (Mushrooms sauteéd with Onions, Garlic, and Herbs)
Note to self: 5 RECIPES TAKE FOREVER. I will definitely not be cooking and blogging on the same day ever again! Lesson learned. But I said the first post would go out tonight, and so here I am, just for you 🙂
I will proceed in the order which I actually cooked:
Timbale de Chou-fleur (VEGAN)
Julia says, “This is a purée of cooked cauliflower mixed with eggs, bread crumbs, cheese, and milk. It is baked in a soufflé mold, unmolded, and surrounded with a sauce.” Sounds delicious, right? IT TOTALLY IS! This recipe has been 100% veganized for your cruelty-free eating pleasure. Bon appetit!
- Any mild salad oil (I used avocado oil)
- 1/4 c white bread crumbs
- 1/2 c minced onions
- 1tbsp organic Earth Balance vegan butter (I swear it’s as good as the real stuff people!)
- Pinch of pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 c Daiya Vegan Swiss Cheese (also DELISH, I promise!)
- 2/3 c white bread crumbs
- 1 1/4 c pureéd silken tofu
- 1 c unsweetened organic soy milk
- 4 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
- 3 lbs boiled cauliflower
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Spread oil on sides of a 6-cup souffle dish
3. Toss the 1/4 c bread crumbs in the soufflé dish, and roll them around until they coat the sides, and toss any extra
4. Cook the onions in 1 tbsp Earth Balance over low heat in a small sauce pan for about 6 minutes, not allowing them to color (except mine totally browned a bit and I honestly don’t see why it would make a difference.)
5. Scrape the onions into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the seasonings, Daiya cheese, bread crumbs, and pureéd tofu.
6. Bring the soy milk and remaining Earth Balance to a short boil, and add to the onion mixture in the mixing bowl. Whisk everything together. (Julia called this a “custard” and says you can make it ahead of time if you wish.)7. Cut the cauliflower into small, bite sized pieces and boil until tender. (At the Whole Foods I went to, they only had broccoli-cauliflower, and I figured it would do just fine. Totally did. Don’t be afraid to take chances and stray from the recipe if something is calling to you!) 8. Fold boiled cauliflower into “custard” mixture. 9. Transfer contents into the prepared soufflé dish. 10. Place soufflé dish into oven and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a knife comes out semi-clean. 11. Remove from over and let cool for 30 minutes. 12. Run a knife around the inside edge of the dish, and quickly flip soufflé dish onto a serving plate. 13. Remove soufflé dish, and your cauliflower mold should be standing in one piece. Notes: I edited the original recipe quite a bit, due to the consistency changes and some really outdated cooking techniques. The original recipe called for regular butter (of course) and 5 eggs. The general rule of thumb for using tofu to replace eggs is 1/4 c to each egg. You blend silken tofu until it’s a drippy cream-like consistency and it works like a charm. You can’t even taste it! The Daiya cheese also worked REALLY well in this recipe. It’s the absolute best vegan cheese on the market because it melts, and it’s not all soy-based. Highly recommended.) Coulis de Tomates (to accompany the cauliflower mold) (VEGAN) INGREDIENTS
- 1/3 cup minced yellow onions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3 lbs ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced, and chopped
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Medium herb bouquet, tied in cheesecloth (4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme)
- 1/8 tsp fennel
- 1/8 tsp basil
- Small pinch saffron
- Small pinch coriander
- Small pinch dried orange peel
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook the onions and olive oil over low-medium heat for about 6-8 minutes until the onions are tender but not browned (again, I don’t think it matters too much if they do.)
2. Stir in flour and cook slowly for 3 minutes without browning
3. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herbs, and seasonings. Cover the pan and cook slowly for 10 minutes. (Pro-tip from Julia: when peeling the tomatoes, blanch them for 10 seconds and the skin will peel right off – she was right! As if there was any doubt.)
4. Uncover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water or tomato juice if necessary – do not let sauce be scorched or stick to the bottom of the pan.
5. Remove herb bouquet, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over slice of cauliflower mold to compliment.Oeufs à la Bourguignonne (VEGETARIAN) (I personally do eat eggs if they’re cage free and local or organic. I know that other vegetarians may have different views on this, but I ask that you respect my choices, and I will respect yours. If you do not personally agree with the eating of eggs, please skip this recipe. However, I do have a really awesome idea for a vegan “sunny side up” egg, so I’ll make that a separate post later, and any non-egg eaters can substitute that anytime I choose to include eggs in a recipe.) INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings):
- 1 c vegetable stock
- 1 c young red wine
- 2 fresh eggs
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 parsley sprigs
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 chopped scallions
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 canapés
- Thick loaf of french bread
1. Bring the stock and wine to just below a simmer, and poach the eggs in it. (I will post an entirely separate entry on how to poach eggs in the near future. For now, here is a supporting article if you’re not familiar with the technique: HOW TO POACH EGGS. Additionally, these wine-poached eggs ended up looking REALLY GROSS. Prepare yourselves…
… to this…
… TO THIS!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOOK AWAAAAAAAAAAAY!
2. Remove the eggs to a dish, and add a bit of the poaching liquid to the bottom, and set eggs aside.
3. Tie the bay leaf, parsley, and thyme in a cheesecloth, and put in the wine/stock mixture. Then add garlic, scallions, and other seasonings.
4. Bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes, and then remove herbs.
5. Blend the softened Earth Balance and flour to a smooth paste (called beurre manié.)
6. Beat into wine mixture with a whisk.
7. Boil for 30 seconds, and remove from heat. This purple sauce is your egg garnish.
8. Prepare 2 canapés (simply cut a 1 1/2 – 2 inch slice of bread, and toast in a pan of Earth Balance vegan butter until lightly browned and crispy.
9. Gently reheat poached eggs by setting egg dish with poaching liquid over a pot of simmering water.
10. Place poached egg on canapés, and drizzle purple sauce over the top.
Notes: Again, I realize this looks terribly disgusting, but I assure you it tasted DELIGHTFUL! Especially the sauce. I would almost recommend poaching a regular egg, and just garnishing with the amazing sauce. NOMZ. I also tweaked the sauce recipe a bit because I was making a smaller batch, and I think it turned out GREAT. Everything except the egg itself is vegan.
Champignons et oignons Sautés à la Bordelaise (VEGAN)
The simplest recipe, but Steve says it was his favorite. Who doesn’t love a good mushroom? I would have originally tried the shallots recommended in this recipe instead of onions, but I was going to try this other recipe, “White braised onions”, but after I started into the recipe I realized the onions were supposed to be whole, and I had already started chopping them… so, like any good chef I just threw ’em in something else! I am a kind of “fly by the seat of my pants” chef. Some people probably think that’s not a good habit, but I love it. Keeps the stress down, and the creativity up!
- 1/2 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 large onion, chopped into long pieces
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3 tbsp white bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Sauté the mushrooms in oil and butter until lightly browned
2. Stir in onion, garlic, and bread crumbs
3. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes
4. Season to taste
Final plate, a.k.a DINNER!
WHEW! That was a lot of typing. But so worth it!
I found myself taking a lot of liberties today, and tweaking the recipes for the modern world. These are simplified, but only in a good way. I mean, I figured you wouldn’t want to stick a plate, over a boiling pot of water, into an oven… I personally didn’t, so I found a way around it for you! I don’t want anything to think I’m being sacrilegious in tweaking these recipes – they all still boil down to the genius of Julia. However, it would be a pretty boring blog if I simply cooked them – I want to make them accessible, too! And also veg*n, of course.
There you have it my friends, the very first venture into Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the one-and-only Julia Child. 5 recipes down, 519 to go. I am so, so honored to have you guys along for the ride. Please, share with the vegetarian or foodie in your life and help me spread the word. And if you have any feedback, or try any of the recipes, leave a comment and let me know!! I would love to hear from you.
If you’d like to follow my adjacent Instagram account for more food pics, you can do so @juliachildgoesveg
Alright, time for some puppy cuddles and tonight’s bottle of French wine. BON APPETIT, and THANKS FOR READING!