In 2005, while strolling through a gardening store in the San Francisco Ferry building, I stumbled upon this enchanting story. The book caught my eye with its beautiful seafoam green cover displaying a bowl containing something white and whipped. Alongside the bowl, a wire whisk setting on its side as if the creator of the whipped substance just abandoned her task.
Under the title it reads, “365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment.” “OK,” I thought, “I have to see how this turns out.” I have never counted the number of recipes I’ve made in a year but I doubt it could even compare to her 524. I’ve always lived in tiny apartments so I know the culinary challenges presented by small spaces.
As I paid for my new reading material, I felt invigorated. I was looking for something to do, to stimulate my senses. I’d just finished culinary school and was working on my graduate thesis, but I also needed something to help me relax yet still feel as if I was making progress toward my cooking show dream. Reading about someone else’s cooking catastrophes might help me see that success is not always achieved through perfection.
I devoured that book in three days. If I wasn’t working, I was reading. I took it to the gym and read as I tackled the big stair machine also known as “The Gauntlet.” It’s one of the few cardio pieces that gives me a great workout at a low intensity making it easier to read and workout at the same time.
I felt a little sad when the book ended. “Oh, how can it be over?” I woefully sighed.
When I saw the movie trailer for “Julie & Julia,” I squealed with delight. I even reread the book. And you know what? It was just as good as the first time.
In case you don’t know the premise, Julie Powell is a disgruntled government employee looking for some excitement in her life. Like any adventurous soul, she learns that following your bliss can be nearly as challenging as working a hum-drum job but hopefully a little more fun and a lot more appetizing.
Julie is making all 524 recipes contained in Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MtAoFC) Volume 1. What happens throughout is a blend of mishaps, surprises, enlightenment and a dream come true for the author.
Although I don’t own a copy of MtAoFC I have been mastering my own version of French cuisine ever since I began studying French in grade school. As a health-conscious, gluten-sensitive dietitian, my recipes are somewhat adapted from the traditional, but they are still just as tasty.
Bon Appetite! And, à votre santé! (To Your Health)
Elizabeth Brown is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Holistic Chef who loves any chance to use French phrases and share recipes.
A French vegetable stew usually made of eggplant, zucchini, onions, green peppers, tomatoes and garlic, served hot or cold.
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 eggplant (aubergine), peeled if desired, cubed
4 summer squash, yellow or green, chopped
2 peppers, 1 green, 1 red, chopped
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped or 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon dried basil or 10 chopped basil leaves added just before serving
1 Tablespoon dried oregano or thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Chop vegetables into large pieces. You can either roast all of the vegetables tossed with oil and herbs at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. OR sauté first five vegetables in a large skillet. Toss with herbs. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve on its own, over whole grains or wrapped in a crepe topped with eggs and cheese of your choice.
1 1/2 cups millet or brown rice flour
3/4 cup corn starch
3/4 cup tapioca flour
(If you are not gluten-sensitive, use 3 cups all-purpose flour of your choice)
1/8 teaspoon salt (a pinch)
3 cups milk
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in a second bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Gradually beat in eggs and milk to make a smooth, very runny batter. Heat a lightly oiled 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto skillet. Roll the skillet to evenly distribute batter. Once the bottom is lightly browned, about 1 minute, flip the crepe. Cook about 30 seconds. Flip onto plate and repeat.
Sweet crepes: Add diced, warm fruit, chopped nuts and either maple syrup, honey or Nutella.
Roll crepe and eat with a fork.
Savory crepes: top with warm Ratatouille and scrambled eggs. Roll it up and eat it up! Trés bon!
An even easier crepe recipe and a great way to use up the extra tapioca flour I always seem to have leftover…
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup tapioca flour
Toss everything in a bowl and beat with a fork. Its ideal to use a bowl with a pour spout.
Heat a cast iron skillet or medium size skillet on medium low heat. Water should dance in the skillet when it is hot enough. Drizzle with oil and disperse to coat evenly. Add about 1/3 cup of batter and roll the pan to evenly coat the skillet with batter. Cook until the edges begin to lift then flip with your fingers or with a heat resistant spatula. Brown on both sides and serve with sweet or savory options. Note: if you have any fruit you wish to use up, now is the time. For example: diced apples cooked with a little water, honey and cinnamon until warm and bubbly! Yum-my!