The Gleeful Gourmand: A Mid-Morning Confession

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Mid-Morning Confession

It's time for a confession. A kitchen confession, if you will, and one that I am not proud of. Actually, I'm a little bit ashamed and embarrassed.

Two Christmases ago I received "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." And while I've read it several times through, it wasn't until last night that I actually made something from it. Yes, that's two whole years that I have not made one damn thing from the greatest cookbook ever written. And nothing grand, at that - no Boeuf Bourguinon, no Reine de Saba (the queen of all chocolate cakes). Nope. I made green beans.

Wait, scratch that. I didn't just make green beans, I made Haricots Verts a la Maitre d'Hotel, which roughly means I made green beans with butter, lemon juice and parsley. Well, not parsley because I didn't have that on hand. Why green beans? Because I have never been able to get green beans right. They never taste great when I make them. And then I discovered why. 1) I was not salting the water before boiling the beans. 2) I was not blanching them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. 3) I was not then transferring them to a separate frying pan to toss with butter, a pinch more salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

I followed all the steps, and while the green beans came out mushy because I forgot I was using beans in a steamer bag, and not fresh green beans (the crop our store gets was affected greatly by the weather in Florida this year), the taste was INCREDIBLE. I didn't follow the measurements exactly - I used less butter, and less salt (and of course, no parsley), but I followed her technique to a T. And I am never going to make green beans the same again, even with all the extra steps. It was a green bean revelation.

So there you are. My mid-morning confession. Hopefully I find some time and energy soon to tackle a more complicated dish. I'll keep you updated!


Jenna said...

Testing to see if I can post a comment on my blog.

Kristen said...

i have made the beouf bourguinon before (2x) and it literally takes all day. but it is soooooooooo worth it! tastes wonderful! glad to hear your green beans turned out well. another good combo for them is instead of butter when you return to the pan... olive oil, a little salt pepper, thin sliced red bell pepper, thin sliced red onions, some fresh tarragon and when they are done toss a little feta cheese in there. yum!

Jenna said...

Yum, that sounds great! Thanks for the suggestion! :)

Kirsten Oliphant said...

Sounds delicious! But guess what? I kinda hate Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Maybe I should do a guest post or we should start a thread on snobby culinariness?

Jenna said...

Sure, you could do that. But the whole point of why they wrote Mastering The Art was to take the snobbiness out of French cooking and make it accessible to everyone. Still, I'd love to hear why you hate it so much! :)

Unknown said...

How is 7:45 am mid morning for you when I'm not even up yet? My alarm goes off at 8. Oh yeah, no 3 year old.

I as well have not cooked a thing out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I don't even have a copy. I have plans to one day attempt these recipes. Glad to see the proof is in the pudding.

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