Good morning you lovely servantless cooks!
That’s the audience Julia wrote her book for anyway. She wanted to make French cooking accessible to housewives without servants. Luckily, most of us aren’t housewives anymore! If you are, that’s wonderful, but the point is that more of us have a choice now. #progress
However, I’d wager a guess to say most of us still don’t have servants. The thing is though, a lot of Julia’s recipes have a lot of unnecessary steps in my opinion. Additionally, they utilize a lot of kitchen appliances that I think might be outdated, because I just can’t decipher her directions sometimes. So that’s another thing I’m trying to bring to the table. While my Julia recipes may not be exact replicas of the originals, I do think they’re more practical for 2014, and of course, healthier! VEG POWER!
(Photo cred to www.sundrip.com)
I’m really excited to present today’s menu, it was a full dinner menu, and a delight to cook. I just love spending my entire day off in the kitchen, with a glass of wine (or Julian Hard Cider in this case!) and my favorite 2000s teen movies that I’ve seen a million times playing in the background. While cooking this menu, I was able to watch Bring It On, Legally Blonde, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, AND some of Julie & Julia, which I watch almost every time. Having familiar movies on in the background helps me concentrate, like music does for some people. Anyone else?
- Gratin de Pommes de Terre Provençal (Scalloped potatoes with onions, tomatoes, anchovies, herbs, and garlic) VEGAN
- Endives à la Flamande (Braised belgian endive) VEGAN
- Fondue de Poulet à la Crème (Chicken simmered with cream and onions) VEGETARIAN
This would be a delightful menu for a dinner party, it was hearty and yet not too heavy, and lots of flavors.
Gratin de Pommes de Terre Provençal
(Scalloped potatoes with onions, tomatoes, anchovies, herbs, and garlic)
This recipe is worth reading just for the stroke of genius that came to me for replacing the anchovies. I couldn’t believe it worked out so well! Also, for the preparation of the tomatoes, you can find the method on this post here, under the “Coulis de Tomates” recipe.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 2 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2 small onions)
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Small saucepan
- Medium sauté pan
- 1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and juiced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 sheets nori seaweed + 1 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cloves minced garlic (the original recipe calls for 2 cloves, but I am of the opinion that there is never enough garlic)
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- An oiled baking dish, approx 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep
- 2 lbs peeled russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan crumbly cheese (I used “Go Veggie” brand and it was AMAZING)
- 1 tsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Cook the onions in the sauté pan in 2 TBSP olive oil slowly over low to medium heat until the onions are tender but not browned.
3. Place the prepared tomatoes and salt in the sauté pan and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Anchovy substitute! Rip up two sheets of nori seaweed into pieces and place it in the saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of water and 1 TSP salt. Boil for 3 minutes. What you’ll have is a vegan anchovy reduction substitute sauce! 1 TBSP of the liquid = 1 anchovy. Taste it – it’s amazing how fishy it tastes, but it’s just from seaweed! (If you don’t like fishy flavor in the first place, you can skip this step.)
5. Place 6 TBSP of the seaweed liquid into a small mixing bowl, and add 2 TBSP flour. Mix until you have your anchovy sauce/paste. Add in garlic, herbs, pepper, and 2 TBSP olive oil.
6. Spread one quarter of the tomatoes an onions in the baking dish. Over them, arrange a layer of potato slices, then half of the anchovy mixture. Next, half of the remaining tomatoes and onions, and another layer of potatoes, and the rest of the anchovy mixture. Top with the last of the tomatoes and onions, and then a final layer of potatoes.
7. Sprinkle the top layer with cheese and 1 TSP olive oil.
8. Place in the middle layer of the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
9. Serve warm and enjoy!
Endives à la Flamande
(Braised belgian endive)
If you’ve never had endives, I highly recommend them! I had never actually eaten one until I made this recipe, but I’ve sold pounds and pounds of them in my time working at Whole Foods, and everyone really seemed to love them. Another good thing – they’re a winter vegetable, and guess what, it’s winter! This means lower prices, and ensuring that they didn’t have to be flown in from a foreign country. Eating in season means eating sustainably. I learned that endives are from the daisy family, but to me, they taste like cauliflower! Delish. Plus, they look beautiful!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED (for 6 servings):
- 12 Belgian endives with tightly-closed leaves
- 5 TBSP vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 3 quart casserole dish
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- Minced parsley
1. Usually, endives come pre-cut and ready to cook, so if there doesn’t appear to be a stem, just wash the endives and remove any yucky leaves. Dry endives with paper towels.
2. Smear 1 1/2 TBSP butter in the baking dish to grease it. Take it from me – use your hands. (My dad’s specialty when I was growing up was meatloaf. He would make it once every couple of months or so, and it was always really exciting. He would put all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl, and would let me mash it all together with my hands, which did a better job than any spoon ever could have. Ever since then, I have been of the opinion that a good cook should never be afraid to get down and dirty, and use your hands as a tool. Make sure they’re clean though!!!)
3. Lay the endives in the dish in two layers.
4. Sprinkle each layer with salt and lemon juice.
5. Take the remaining butter, and “dot” the endives with it.
6. Pour water in the dish.
7. Cover dish with foil, and cook in the preheated over for 45-60 minutes, or until the endives are tender and easily pierced with a knife.
8. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
Fondue de Poulet à la Crème
(Chicken simmered with cream and onions – sooooooo yummy!)
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 3 lbs of seitan (pronounced “say-tan”, a meat alternative made from wheat gluten – you may have had it as mock duck)
- 3 TBSP vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
- Medium sauté pan
- Medium saucepan
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 curry powder
- 1/3 cup congac
- 1 pint whipping cream (remember, this recipe is vegetarian, so I did use real whipping cream)
- Sprigs of fresh parsley
1. If need be, cut the setian up into bite-sized pieces. Preferably, however, you’d be able to get the kind that comes pre cut, and already looks like pieces of chicken. Press dry with a paper towel.
2. In a medium sauté pan, lightly brown the seitan in butter.
3. Transfer seitan to a medium sauce pan, and add salt, pepper, and curry powder.
4. Pour in the congac and whipping cream into the sauce pan and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 35 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
6. Serve seitan hot, and pour a bit of the sauce over the top. Decorate with a parsley sprig.
And there you have it! Another week, another batch of recipes down. I believe that brings my total to 16 recipes total, 508 to go. 16 recipes in 4 weeks ain’t bad! I’d say I’m on track. I’ve been having so much fun with this project, and I hope you have been too. See you in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you!
Check out this awesome collapsible colander I got from Target! I’M IN LOVE!