Saturday, January 2, 2010

Julie and Julia

Since I share my home with three adult men, I have put off renting "Julie and Julia". Everyone was busy this afternoon so I found it on direct TV and settled in to watch. It is, without a doubt, a chick flick. You have probably already seen it and know that it is a foodie chick flick. Even though all of my guys were home before it was over, I did enjoy it, being that I am both a foodie and a chick. I am guessing that there is a book and if I had read the book I would have better understood the fight and the mom. The move has a somewhat weak ending but most movies do end with a sigh rather than a powerful message. The premise is that Julie cooks and blogs her way clear through Julia Childs original cookbook, while also telling the story of a younger Julia and her husband. Not long ago I was reading one of my foodie magazines which included a survey wanting to know what percentage of their recipes did I make each month. Very few. I have a large collection of cook books but with a couple of notable exceptions, there are three to four recipes that I go to in about 30% of them. The rest look like new. I am inspired to try everything in just one of the many cookbooks on my shelf.

One of the first cookbooks that I bought as a young bride was a monster by Perla Meyers. Within weeks of buying "From Market to Kitchen Cookbook" I made a decision to go vegetarian. I read for the travel and the market writing. She is a very good writer. But I cannot remember ever making anything from this highly recommended volume. It is not vegetarian (never mind vegan) cookbook. After a twenty year romance with both vegetarian and vegan kitchens, along with a large collection of well used vegetarian books to guide me I have come back to reexamine Perla. Really, I was inspired by the movie.

I had shell steaks in the refrigerator. That in itself is not common for me but they had been crazy cheep at my favorite Mexican market. I had planned to just broil them with olive oil and herbs, toss them down with a baked potato, salad and some kind of bread. Who doesn't know what to do with the original fast food? Instead, lugging out Perla, I opened the index to find "steak". Nothing. Looking again in the beef section I found two titles. One for "Grilled Steaks in Herb Butter" and one for "Sautéed Steaks in Mustard Sauce" Mustard sauce is a personal favorite but I decided to go with the first one. That was a whole lot of butter! But two steaks served four people. That doesn't usually happen in our house. I took the plunge. Chopped the shallots (you can get a whole bag of nice firm, pink shallots for about 5 dollars at the cash and carry. Lasts me most of the winter usually), chopped the parsley and creamed them into the butter. Half the butter went on a plate that set over simmering peanut potatoes, half stayed at the ready in the bowl. Perla uses 1 and ¾ inch steaks. Mine were only 1 inch so I cut back the time per side to keep them rare in the center. High heat for three minutes then low for 7. Even cutting back the time seemed to produce to crusty of a steak before turning it over for another (4) minutes. What looked like ruined steak went on the hot plate of now melted herb butter. The reserved herb butter was spread on top of the steaks which were then covered with foil while I finished the soft cooked potatoes in the reserved pan font. Tossing them about to crisp up the skins. The steak is thin sliced before serving with the potatoes and the salad. Extra butter-herb sauce is drizzled across the sliced meat with a sprinkle of course salt and fresh pepper. Absolutely mouthwatering. I don't even want to know what my arteries are saying.

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