This is part two of a two-part posting for #BlogFilmFood, a monthly digital dinner and a movie with a fab group of bloggers. Part one dealt with the idea of blogging and has no recipes. Still want to read it? Find the Julie part of Julie & Julia here.
Simone: Measurements don’t matter.
Julia: Oh but they do! They absolutely do!
I used to think measurements didn’t matter. I do my best cooking, I think, with nary a measuring cup in sight. Or, if it’s there, it is merely a suggestion: flour not leveled, eyeballing the sugar, letting the tablespoon runneth over into the pan as I pour. Then I had a batch of cookies that flattened and never baked because I substituted something for something. And then I burned a jambalaya and took two hours to serve dinner the first time I made food for Rob’s family because I didn’t measure my rice and water proportions.
Measurements DO matter. I still eyeball most things and make up recipes all the time. That’s just my way. But I have learned to appreciate that there is a science to cooking, especially to baking. Julia Child talks about this in Julie & Julia with regards to the way the acid in vinegar creates a reaction in the butter and wine to make beurre blanc. I admire that aspect of cooking and the way ingredients have certain properties that, when combined with other ingredients and their properties, can result in something totally new. It is hard for me to stick to recipes and I almost NEVER complete a recipe without some adjustment, large or small. But I can RESPECT the need for measurements, especially in key ingredients that might result in a chemical reaction. (Or, in my kitchen, a chemical FIRE. Because I can start a good kitchen fire, yo.)
How do YOU roll in the kitchen? Do you follow recipes to the letter? Do you create your own? Do you feel that measurements matter or not? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Now, on to a recipe with no measurements. NONE. Please don’t get stressed out if you are a recipe follower. This could fall into my Stupid Simple category because it’s so easy.
When I saw the movie Julie & Julia, it was with my mom, sisters- and mom-in-law. I was compelled to stop by the store on the way home and buy two things: bread and butter. I pulled out a pan and made the food that most stuck with me after the movie: fresh bread sliced thick and sauteed on each side with butter in a pan. It was a tiny scene and the food is hardly mentioned. Julie makes bruschetta for dinner as she and her husband discuss starting the blog. You could almost miss it…except it’s BREAD COOKED IN BUTTER. You can’t miss that. There is just nothing better. (Says the girl who just ate four pieces of bread cooked in a pan with butter.)
I won’t confess to eating a whole loaf of buttery bread that night. But I also won’t deny it.
In the movie, Julie makes bruschetta, but the bread and butter called to me. Simple, delicious. Basic. No recipe or measuring. Today I also made a topping by way of grape tomatoes, garlic, basil, and arugula, but the bread. THE BREAD.
- Bread (French will do, but sourdough is even better)
- Fresh lemon juice
- salt, pepper
- In a nonstick pan heat a tablespoon or two of butter and saute minced garlic (I did 4 cloves for four slices of bread) in a pan with diced tomatoes. Stir frequently and add diced basil when the garlic is beginning to cook through. When the garlic is soft, remove from heat to a bowl.
- Making sure all garlic is removed from the pan (it will burn), add a few more tablespoons of butter and let melt. Add sliced bread and let it brown on medium heat for a few minutes. Flip to other side and add butter if needed, as the bread will soak it up. The second side will take less time to brown. Watch for burning!
- Remove bread from heat. Top with arugula, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and the tomato/garlic/basil mixture. Or just eat the bread.
I’m linking up with other fabulous bloggers for #BlogFilmFood, a monthly series that is something like a digital dinner and a movie. (Next month is my choice and unless you want seafood by way of Jaws, you should give me suggestions.) Want to see what everyone else made, inspired by Julie & Julia? Click the links, foo!
Also, if Mastering the Art of French Cooking does not sound like your thing, but you want to learn from Julia Child, here is a FABULOUS book that has lovely basic and essential recipes. It provides a nice framework to basic cooking techniques and recipes without things like aspics or bone marrow. (If you click through the image to buy the book, it’s an Amazon affiliate link!)