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Joined: November 14th, 2009

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February 23rd, 2020

Banana Foster Quinoa Pudding from Patricia's Pickles, Preserves, & Provisions

As a dessert, honestly, I found this disappointing. It's OK, but it tastes too much like someone tried to make it "healthy". The caramel isn't ooey-gooey enough, the custard isn't rich enough, the rum... read more >

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hipcook's Reviews

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12 recipe(s) reviewed. Showing 1 to 12Sort by: Title | Date | Rating

Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Vol 1)

By Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, Sidonie Coryn
Alfred A. Knopf - 2001

This is one of those recipes that makes you yell "Eureka!" in the kitchen. Or possibly "Look what I have created!" like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Or "I read your book!" like George C. Scott in Patton. (OK, that one might just be me.)

It's easy, it's delicious, it sums up why we still revere Saint Julia. It's even funny - I won't spoil the joke, but don't miss the prologue to the recipe.

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You know what's wrong with American hamburgers? Not enough butter. Well, Saint Julia knows the solution to that!

This opulent burger was a big hit in our house. I think of thyme as more of a friend to beans and pork than beef, but it lends these burgers an interesting depth of flavor. And oh, the butter... onions sauteed in butter, butter added to the meat, fry the burgers in butter. (In retrospect, I wish I'd read Julia's notes closer and gotten 90% lean ground beef instead of 80%.) The wine reduction (finished with butter, natch) made an interesting condiment - not exactly like steak sauce, but more like that than anything else I can think of.

Serve on a hearty bun with a lettuce leaf and pickles.

useful (2)  

1st January 2017

Champignons Farcis (Stuffed Mushrooms) : page 516

With cream, Marsala, tarragon, and Swiss cheese, these are much sweeter than the "mushrooms stuffed with herb cream cheese" that I remember from family holidays. They are refined and delicious, if a tad oily, and play well with other foods. That said, they are more effort than the old family "open a container" recipe; it'll be a matter of personal preferences whether that effort pays off.

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Very successful in my house. A lighter treatment than a cheesy "au gratin" but the butter and tomatoes add some richness. It would be good with a piece of fish.

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Yup, it's blanched cauliflower. Though I must admit salting the water is a good step.

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14th July 2019 (edited: 14th July 2019)

Clafouti (Cherry Flan) : page 655

It is a delicious baked custard, but I found my cherries lacking in flavor. I wish I'd taken the step to soak them in a liqueur (like the next recipe in the book states). Or maybe just a little cinnamon or nutmeg over the top.

Would definitely make again, but I'll check the intensity of the cherries' flavor and make adjustments next time.

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6th September 2014

Clafouti aux Pruneaux (Plum Flan) : page 657

It's just a baked custard with fruit on the bottom. Except for the fact that the flan is as silky as love, and the sweet egg and vanilla are the home of a childhood memory. It takes time, but so little effort, that I have to wonder why I haven't been making at least one a week.

I used the Lee Brothers brandied plums, instead of Julia's recipe, which worked just fine (and brought a bit of cinnamon to the mix). I forgot to swap in some of the plummed brandy for milk, which would have increased the fruit flavor.

An hour would have been a little too long in my oven; don't be afraid to start checking at 50 minutes or so.

useful (3)  

I was familiar with the technique of browning pork chops and then reducing heat and braising. But I hadn't thought to use a low oven for that step, and it had never occurred to me to let the liquid be butter. A good, simple treatment, rich but not a lot of work.

I skipped the sauce, but it turns out cloves of garlic braised in butter are also a good thing...

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2nd January 2017

Gâteau à L'orange (Orange Spongecake) : page 671

Good spongecake recipe, lightly flavored with orange. The outer edge of our cake came out just a hair tough, which might be related to the fact that we used a 10-inch pan instead of the 9-inch called for. A big hit with some whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.

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A dish which my wife and Nora Ephron both call "reason enough to own this cookbook." A delicious stew of lamb with spring vegetables like peas and green beans, and of course the usual cast of root vegetable characters.

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4th April 2016 (edited: 4th April 2016)

Navets a l'Etuvee (Turnips Braised in Butter) : page 486

A lovely easy technique for turnips. "Braised in butter" isn't actually as over-the-top as I thought - most of the braising liquid is stock or water. (And I probably used too much of it - I suspect "barely covered" actually means "not quite covered".) Definitely an improvement over just boiling them.

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Fun treatment for chicken. We didn't serve it with the brown butter sauce, but instead heated up a little tomato sauce and made an ersatz chicken parmigiana.

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