French Cooking – Tarte Aux Poires a la Bourdaloue


Copyright 2009 Julie Kohl

Over the Summer I read the books Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child.  Of course when the movie came out I convinced Richie to take me to see it.  The previews were funny enough but after being put through hours upon hours of the Food Network I’m certain Richie must have dreaded it just a little bit.  It turned out to be one of the best movies I have seen in a long time.  The story flowed well between Julie and Julia and Amy Adams’ and Meryl Streeps performances were spot on and hilarious.  And the food!  Oh the food looked delicious.

After seeing the movie Richie bought me a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1 and suggested that I try some of the recipes.

Two weeks ago I cooked the famed Boeuf Bourguignon with brown-braised onions and sauteed fresh mushrooms.  For sides we had cracked new potatoes (an Amy Finley recipe) and Asperges a la Beurre au Citron (Aperagus with Lemon Butter, a Julia Child recipe).  For desert I had made Le Marquis which is a chocolate spongecake with Creme au Beurre, Menagere which is a butter cream frosting with powdered sugar.  The meal was absolutely divine but literally took hours to prepare and I began to think that this French Cooking thing was not for me.  The results were fantastic and the process was enjoyable but the amount of dishes at the end was daunting to say the least.

It seems as if each recipe in this book is several pages in length and references at least two other recipes or techniques in the book. The opening sentences of the cookbook read,

This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistline, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat.  Written for those who love to cook, the recipes are as detailed as we have felt they should be so the reader will know exactly what is involved and how to go about it.  This makes them a bit longer than usual, and some of the recipes are quite long indeed.

WOW! She wasn’t kidding.  I think I have grasped and understanding of why French Cooks/Chefs are so talented and the french methods are coveted by so many chefs.  While labor intensive and long, the culinary knowledge you gain from cooking a single recipe can a turning point in your cooking skill.  The recipes aren’t about putting together food items as much as they are about getting to know the ingredients, building an understanding of how they work together and learning to combine technique and flavor in an effective and tasty recipe.

After two weeks of rest and cooking food that was good but not great I decided it was high time to break out MTAOFC again and see what treats I could whip up.  I had a beautiful whole chicken on hand and some juicy looking pears from the farmers market that I knew I wanted to use.

For the meal I decided on Polet Roti (Roast Chicken), Puree de Pommes de Terres a l’ail Roti (Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes) and Choux de Bruxelles Etuves a la Creme, or Creamed Brussels Sprouts.

For dessert I made Tarte Aux Poires a la Bourdaloue.


Copyright 2009 Julie Kohl

The tart crust is a Pate Sablee or sugar crust.  Basically it is similar to a sugar cookie only a little less dense.  The Pears are poached in Red Wine.  The recipe calls for Bordeaux Wine but I had Chianti so that is what I used.  After poaching the pears are removed and the wine sauce is reduced until it is thick and syrupy.  It is then mixed with jelly(the recipe calls for red currant but I used strawberry) and brushed over the crust.  The wine reduction takes on a deep earthy grapey taste that is amazing.  The crust is then filled with a chilled Frangipane, or almond custard, and then topped with the sliced poached pears.  I also toasted some slivered almonds to decorate the edges.

French cooking isn’t easy but the tastes are pure and amazing.  It takes time and patience and is even better if you can convince someone else to wash the dishes.  And the best part is sitting down to a meal with the ones you love, knowing you are eating good food that was made with love.

Please Note all photos are Copyright 2009 Julie Kohl.  Please do not copy or use these photos without my written permission.

In the News

Unless you have been accused of a crime I think most people enjoy seeing themselves in the paper. I have been in the paper quite a few times in my life.  My birth announcement was probably the first time, then as a small child I appeared in the paper trying to choose between two Easter dresses.  In high school I was in the paper several times for band, soccer and musicals.  I even was in the paper after I received a Rotary Club award.  Two summers ago I was filmed for the HGTV show That’s Clever.  The show still hasn’t aired but I was still interviewed by the local paper and had a nice article written.  My highlight of celebrity in the news was the year my picture appeared in TIME magazine! YUP!  That was REALLY cool.  But this summer my picture made the paper twice! I thought I would share these.

Here I am at the Farmers Market in Searcy.  During the summer I helped out at the CAFM booth every Wednesday.  Now that school is back in session I cant anymore and I miss it terribly! (I’m the one in the pink Certified Farmgirl t-shirt!)

This picture appeared in the Statewide paper on Thursday.

I am the one in the Blue Dress.  The Chesapeake Energy Company along with the Thea Foundation donated $1500 worth of art supplies to 19 high schools in our area.  This is the second year my school has received a donation from Chesapeake.  Working in a small rural school district makes adequate art supplies hard to come buy.  The annual art budget is very small and I often end up spending much of my own money to purchase things for my students because many of them cant afford to buy it themselves.  This donation will help minimize that need this year so I am extremely thankful.

March on. Do not tarry.

March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path. ~Kahlil Gibran

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First – let me apologize for TOTALLY flaking on the whole 30 Days of Creativity/Something new.  I WILL get back to it.

Truthfully I knew that because this is August and I teach, and I had to be back to work last week and the first day of school is one week from today, that my chances of sticking with it religiously were very slim.

This is always a really rough time of year with me.  I do not deal with stress well and unfortunatly there are a few things at school that cause me high stress.

I LOVE what I do but last year was a rough year for me.  There were some things that were above and beyond my control yet directly effected me every day.  Part of the problem was plain and simple disillusionment. So I am trying really hard to stay positive and keep a good  attitude.

So I apologize for those of you that have been checking her looking for updates on my 30 days and havent found any.  I’m gonna do my best to get a few of those typed up and posted over the next couple of days.

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On a sad note, the community where I live is dealing with a tragedy this week.  One of our students was killed in a 4-wheeler wreck on Thursday.  She was 12 and would have started the seventh grade this week.  Being a small community where everybody knows everybody and is related to half the town it has had a profound effect on everyone.  Mostly I worry for her class mates that have to deal with this.  12/13 is a rough age to begin with.  If you are the praying type please pray for the friends and family of “Smiley Riley”.  She was a beautiful and amazing girl.  I am proud that I knew her and will cherish the memories I have of her from the last 6 years.

30 Days Day 6 and 7

Okay so I have to be the worlds biggest idiot! I mentioned back on day 5 how my camera battery was dead and I needed to let it charge so I could bpost pictures of the Zucchini Bread and the Wine Glass Charms.  I took the battery out of the camera and placed it in the charger.  There is a little light that turns green once the battery is fully charged.  I went to take a picture of yesterdays project which involved a pumpkin and a marker and realized that the green light wasnt lit up yet.  This was the first time I had let my battery go completly dead so I just assumed it wasnt done charging.  Todays creativity project was making a pen holder out of old floppy disks.  I have a tone of the things and not a single computer we own has a floppy disc drive.  Anyway the thing turned out pretty cool.  I went to retrieve the camera battery and to my dismay it was still not fully charged.  Well now I am realizing that something must be horribly wrong.  I am considering that new batteries like this must be very expensive when suddenly I realize the obvious.  The camera battery charger wasn’t plugged into the wall! DUH! So far my thirty days of creativity have made me feel very small.  Said charger is now plugged in.  Perhaps you will have 4 project pictures awaiting you soon!

30 Day of Creativity – Days 4 and 5

I didn’t forget! I swear! Yesterday and Today have been bizarre days to say the least.  My project for yesterday was another food project but I didn’t get started on it until after 8:00 last night.

Richie and I decided to go to Little Rock yesterday to do some clothes shopping for the upcoming school year.  Monday was our first “teacher day” of the year.  We don’t have to go back again until next Tuesday but when we do we are in it for the long haul so Monday was a stark reminder of why we look forward to summer break and that it was once again coming to an end!

So after hitting the gym we hit a few highly-overpriced boutique stores and then the mall.  We grabbed lunch at BlueCoast Burrito where I DEVOURED a Veggie Burrito! YUM!  I had to pick up something at Micheal’s for my day 5 bit of creativity and then we stopped at Sam’s Club.  We also needed to stop by Walmart to pick up a tube for my bicycle tire and some canning jars.  We finally made it home around 5.

Did I mention that after a summer of unseasonably cold temperatures(80′s) and amounts of rain for Arkansas that we finally hit upper 90′s with typical high humidity? Well it was a scorcher and I was ready for the pool when we got home.  I spent about an hour floating around before it was time to get out and take care of my farm chores and fix my bike.

Well it turns out the problem with my bike is the actual tire and not the tube so that project is tabled until I can get to a bike shop!  It was just after 8 when I finally went inside to relax.  And then I remembered 30 Days of Creativity/Trying something new and realized I had yet to do anything for the day.

I wracked my brain and all I could come up with was Zucchini Bread.  I know, LAME!  But I have 4 HUGE Zucchini left over from the farmer’s market that I need to use.  So I perused the internet and found a suitable recipe for two loaves which called for TWO CUPS of grated Zucchini.  I thought “GREAT, this’ll get rid of my Zucchini!” HA! Think again!  My huge zucchini are so huge that ONE alone yielded 3CUPS OF SHREDS!!!! Yeah!  So now what?

Well I made the bread and threw in the extra cup of shreds which proved to be fine.  The bread is delicious.  I ate a piece last night and one for breakfast.  I froze the extra loaf.  But now the dilemma is what to do with the 3 remaining gigantic zucchini!

But my night didn’t end there.  I’m finally relaxing on the couch and there is NOTHING on TV!  Finally Richie puts it on the WE network which is airing some bizarro show about Mail Order Brides.  The show end and a new episode comes on this time about “Free Love”.  TOTALLY WACKO!  Had to be the weirdest thing I have ever watched!

Anyway, 12:00 rolled around and it seemed like going to sleep was the thing to do.  Only when I got in bed I couldn’t sleep.  The moon was full and right outside my window and even with the shade down it was seemingly light enough to read a book.  After tossing and turning for and hour I went into the living room to sleep on the couch.  I watched a rerun of Friends and two reruns of That 70′s Show only it was the dumb ones after Eric leaves.  Finally around 2:30 I got back into bed.

5 seconds after I fell asleep I was awoken by my dog Lily nudging at my feet.  Now here is the thing about Lily.  She HATES thunderstorms.  But as long as she is inside and not out in the storm she is content UNLESS there happens to be a Tornado Warning.  She is like our own personal Doppler radar unit!  Seriously, every time I wake up with her nudging my feet there is a warning.

The satellite was already on the fritz from the torrential rain so I pulled up the Weather Channel App on Richies iPhone and discover that there where TWO Tornado Warnings piggybacking our area until 4 AM! SO, I am back out of bed, gathering pillows and blankets to put in the bathroom, consoling, the dogs and cats, looking for shoes and flashlights, and trying to convince my husband to get out of bed and come “cuddle/huddle” in the tiny bathroom with me.  He opts to stay in bed stating that he should have time to make it to the bathroom if he starts to hear the ROAR! MEN!  So I “cuddle/huddle” with the cat and play games on Richies iPhone until just after 4 when the storm finally slows down.  I crawl into bed now realizing that it is Farmers Market day and I have to get up at 5:50!

At 5 am I am awoken once again to torrential rains and thunder.  Lily isnt at the foot of the bed so I figure I am okay so I toss and turn until the alarm goes off at 5:50.  I shut it off and decide to lay in bed for two more minutes.  Well as you can imagine that didnt happen and I didnt wake up again until 10:54!

I’ve missed the market, I slept horrible and I cant breath.  I decide to go blog about day 4 when I come in to find that DSL is down due to widespread power outages in most of the state.  So instead I veg on the couch for a few hours.

And that brings me to now! I know I live such a sad pitiful life!  My camera battery is dead so I have no pictures yet of the Zucchini Bread (day 4) or of my wine glass charms which are the project for day 5.

I knew all of you mysterious people out there in cyberland were just dying to know what happened to me.  I have reported and HOPEFULLY later I will be back with pictures!

30 Days of Creativity/Something New – Day 3

Well for today’s activities I am trying something new!  In my garden this year I planted some banana peppers.  Mine are mostly small and my crop hasn’t been very good, but a friend was OVERLOADED with them and passed a big plastic bag full of them to me.  So I decided I would can some pickled peppers!  I love gettingbanana peppers on sandwiches at deli’s but they just aren’t something I would think of to buy for at home. I figured, I have jars, I have vinegar, I have peppers, why not?!

Last night, in preparation, I surfed the internet for a pickled banana pepper recipe.  Let me tell you there are HUNDREDS of them out there!  A lot of them called for sugar but I wasn’t really looking for a sweet pickle.  A lot of recipes were similar to one you would use for bread and butter pickles.  A lot were similar to recipes that you would use for dill pickles.  I just wanted something plain old pickle-y.

Finally I came across the site Canning Pantry where there was a recipe for Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers.  It was just the recipe I was looking for!

Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers by Jerry Ziehm

Sliced Banana Peppers
1 tsp. salt per jar
2 tbsp. olive oil per jar
1 quart white vinegar
3 quarts water

In a large sauce pot add water and vinegar.  Bring to a boil.  Slice peppers and add peppers, salt and oil to each jar.  Pack tightly.  Add hot liquid to jars.  Process jars 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

*I added a glove of garlic to each jar for a little extra flavor.

So – only time will tell if this is a good recipe or not.  I canned 6 pints.

Also – I just picked up the lasted issue of Mother Earth News.  I love this magazine.  It is one of my favorites.  I really need to subscribe.  I was flipping through the pages and saw a tip for making homemade grape juice.  My husband loves grapes and I had an extra quart of Mars Table Grapes on hand from my friend Joy at the farmers market.  I decided to give it a try. The tip is on page 38 and is sent in by Suzanne Mullins of Charlottesville, Virgina.  She says that you can put 2 cups of grapes into a quart jar, add a cup of sugar, fill with boiling water and process 10 minutes in a water-bath canner.  After six weeks you strain out the liquid and mix with an additional quart of liquid for 2 quarts of juice!  WHO KNEW! So I gave this a try too! I will report back in about 6 weeks to let you know.

Here is a picture of todays bounty!

30 Days of Creativity – Day 2

Today my bit of creativity included drawing.  Drawing is probably my most favorite art method, particularly using pen and ink. I have also always been fond of doodles.  Last spring I came across an art technique called Zentangle.  Basically you draw a random shape and fill in the spaces created by the random shape with a variety of doodles. You can even get a whole Zentangle making kit over at zentangle.com. Zentangles are meditative in nature, hence the whole “zen” thing.  Just do a google image search for zentangles and you will find hundreds of glorious examples.  So for today’s little bit of creativity I created three zentangles of my own.  Enjoy!

These images are copyrighted to Julie Kohl. Please do not use, copy  or link directly to these images without my permission.

30 Days of Creativity/Something New

I have decided that for my 30 day challenge I will do something creative or something new everyday.  I like that this leaves me open to a WIDE possibility of topics and subjects.  I already have some ideas brewing in my mind.  I will be incorporating some ideas Sarah and Melanie gave me in their comments on my last post as well!

For day one of my 30 Days of Creativity I decided to learn a new technique using the Photoshop Elements program I got for my birthday last year.  I decided to alter a photo of my nephew.  I learned how to use the adjustment layers to change and enhance coloring.  First I took this SOOC (straight out of camera) picture I took of my nephew Silas.

I think this is an adorable picture!  I love the way the color of his shirts compliments the bluish gray color of his eyes!  I decided to alter this picture by changing it to black and white but enhance the blue of his shirt and of his eyes to make them stand out a little more.  Here is what I came up with!

The change is not overwhelming but it definitely draws you more into his beautiful eyes! Juju love you, Silas!

Here they are side by side.

 

Thirty Days of Blank

So I was surfing the internet like a mad-woman while my husband sits engrossed in a video game in the other room.  I came across this site, after clicking a link I found on this site, which I found from clicking a link I found on this site!  Got that????  Anyway the idea of doing “30 Days of Blank” was a little intriguing.

I am currently wrapped up in the book Julie&Julia so I can watch the movie when it comes out. (I absolutely abhor watching a movie based on a book sans having read the book.)  The idea behind the Julie/Julia Project is strikingly similar to the “30 Days of Blank”.  Basically in “30 Days of Blank” you choose to do something everyday for thirty days in order to make it a habit or, if you will,  to better yourself.  In Julie Powell’s book she cooks all of the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in  the course of a year in effort to discover herself.

So when I came across Room 704where the challenge of the “30 days of Blank” was posed I began to ponder what exactly I could do for thirty days.  Choosing what you are going to do for 30 days is sort of like choosing a New Years resolution.  They are all sort of cliche and while you start out with good intentions there is this obstacle and that obstacle and you ultimately end up with a million excuses as to why you couldn’t and you are no closer to your ultimate goal.

As I ran through the list in my mind I decided to throw out all the ideas that were cliche.

Exercise – I already go to the gym three times a week, don’t see myself going anymore than that and I’m too lazy to stick an exercise video into the DVD player.

Eat Healthier – Isn’t that the million dollar topic these days!  What is healthier anyway?  For me my biggest issue is portion control not the healthiness of the foods I consume.  The reality of the situation is that dwelling on my portion size for thirty days is something I am already trying to do so is this really worthy of blogging about for thirty days?

Clean More – Okay my mother, my sister, my husband, my bunk-mates from summer camp can all tell you that when it comes to cleaning I am NOT your girl.  Mind you I don’t like filth but I also don’t mind that “lived in” feeling.  I’m not gonna dust every day, I’m not gonna clean the bathroom more than once a week so is cleaning more really worth it?  I’m the kind of girl that builds Stonehenge out of Capri Sun packages after-all!

The list of cliche topics goes on and on.  I want to do “30 days of SOMETHING DIFFERENT”!  BUT WHAT????  I feel that this decision is strikingly similar to what it feels like to choose the name you will give your first child! (Says the girl with no children!)  The “30 Days of Blank” starts today.  I only have 9 hours left in this day to choose what I will do (or not do) for 30 days.  OH, the pressure is daunting!

So I will keep you posted!  If  you have any brilliant, non-cliche, ideas please leave a comment!

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