as most people who know me well know, i sort of have a tendency to be easily taken by passions on whim. just read julia child’s cheerfully wonderful “my life in france” and was suddenly taken by the impulse to cook from the immortal mastering the art of french cooking. now i’m no julia child or even julie powell, but hey, i thought, she made it sound so easy in the book. and then it came in the mail.
this thing is a behemoth. and veritable encyclopedia of deliciousness francais.
aside from a couple of handdrawn diagramesque pictures this is what much of the cookbook looks like. now, i’m the kind of learning impaired retard who needs to learn things visually. i learned to cook from being shown or from following photograph laden cookbooks discovered in secondhand bookshops in japan, or the step by step photopr0n of people like the pioneer woman- so i’ll be doing my best here. for your benefit (those of you as intimidated by word laden tomes as i am), whenever i cook from this classic encyclopedia, i’ll do a step by step with photos.
to start off i decided to go with something simple- artichokes with a lemon butter sauce
fresh artichokes! wash ‘em up.
steam them in whichever way is easiest- our vegetable steamer is really convenient.
cut up a fresh lemon
juicing up a whole lemon will get you about 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
one whole stick of butter!
slice the butter into 8 pieces
boil the fresh lemon juice with salt and pepper down to about 1 tablespoon
remove from heat and wisk in 2 pieces of the butter
return to low heat and one by one add in each piece of butter, whisking together
always taste while you cook! i found the lemon to be too sharp and cutting so i added brown sugar until the flavour rounded out.
at the end you should have a rich, fluffy, buttery lemony sauce
pour over your freshly steamed, cut (with choke removed) artichokes and serve immediately. enjoy some fantastic buttery goodness!
i decided to start off learning the recipes of mastering the art of french cooking with 3 dishes- unfortunately the one i tried after this one was VERY unsuccessful- the garlic soup, despite an enormous amount of effort (all the time i spent slowly beating, drop by drop, the soup into the egg yolks! all that straining!) it was a huge clunker- i kept wondering if i’d done something wrong but i followed the recipe to a T and ended up with a weird concoction of hot water tasting vaguely of garlic and olive oil. it was so bad i actually threw the rest of the batch out. but the next recipe i tried out was both easy AND incredibly delicious- stay tuned for moules a la mariniere… with a twist!