From the monthly archives:

August 2009

French Cooking – Tarte Aux Poires a la Bourdaloue

by Julie Kohl on August 30, 2009


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.

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In the News

by Julie Kohl on August 22, 2009

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.

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March on. Do not tarry.

August 16, 2009

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 ******************************************************************* 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 […]

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30 Days Day 6 and 7

August 7, 2009

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 […]

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30 Day of Creativity – Days 4 and 5

August 5, 2009

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 […]

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30 Days of Creativity/Something New – Day 3

August 3, 2009

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 […]

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30 Days of Creativity – Day 2

August 2, 2009

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 […]

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30 Days of Creativity/Something New

August 2, 2009

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 […]

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Thirty Days of Blank

August 1, 2009

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 […]

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