Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My own Julie/Julia moment

Tonight I made Poulet Poele a l'Estragon with farce duxelles (casserole-roasted chicken with tarragon, with mushroom stuffing) out of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I cook a lot, and I generally consider myself a pretty decent cook, but this recipe... seriously, was out of this world.

The preparation was lengthy and definitely wasn't without it's trials. The mushroom stuffing recipe called for the chicken gizzard to be peeled and minced. Wha?? I had no idea which of the four pieces of offal that came in a little paper bag stuffed up my chicken's butt was the gizzard. I Googled "What does a chicken gizzard look like?"(as you do when hoping against hope for a little miracle, and perhaps a photo...) and guess what popped up? The Julie/Julia Project blog. Seems Julie had had exactly the same problem I did. With her brilliant help, I was able to quickly identify, peel... sort of... and mince my gizzard. Crisis averted. Thank you, Julie!

After an hour and 15 minutes in the oven, that chicken was damn near perfect. The skin was crispy, buttery, and golden brown. The meat was tender and juicy and perfectly seasoned. The mushroom stuffing was earthy and creamy. The sauce had just enough port and tarragon to make it a little bit sweet. Heavenly.

Next up, boeuf bourguignon!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Year, New Life

It's been nearly a year to the day since I have posted anything here, and it's incredibly difficult to figure out where to begin. So much has happened, so much has changed. Too much to try to cram into one little post, but I'm sure my story will come out a little at a time as I settle back into a routine.

This is a year for new beginnings for me. I have relocated back to the US - Austin, Texas to be precise. I have started three new jobs (yikes). And, AND, I have applied to a PhD program. All in the last three months. So much for taking it easy for a while.

I am taking sewing classes, and training for a 10K. I'm also determined to do yoga at least twice a week. One of the reasons that I love this town is that it's so granola. There's a great coffee house down the street from me that has free yoga classes if you purchase a drink. Nothing's better after a good class than a nice cup of hot tea, so it's a no brainer. Love it, love it, love it!

I am attempting, along with a few friends, to knit 10 pair of mittens in 2010 and blog about it. The challenging part will be the blogging about it. I have not been terribly successful in the past year in the blogging department, although most of that was not my fault, thanks to the Great Firewall of China. It's all about getting into the habit again, I think. Retraining the fingers, the brain, to spit all out into cyberspace for whomever. Speaking of...

Since I last wrote I have changed servers on this blog and many things may not have switched over. I am hoping (probably in futility) that I haven't lost all the subscribers to this. Otherwise, I'm writing for no one. but me. Which I guess, isn't so bad.