Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not Exactly Living Up to My Dreams, Am I?

We like good food around here.

I mean reeeeally like it.  And I like to think that I'm a pretty good cook.  I used to be horrible (ask Chris, it's sad but true.)  But I feel like I can attempt pretty much anything these days and have it turn out not just edible, but possibly delectable.  Lack of time and money (mostly money) has put a damper on this passion to some degree, but I would love one day to run a bed & breakfast, or a tiny little mom & pop diner, or something fun like that.

Here's our recipe book collection:

We have the basic and essential Betty Crocker cookbook.  Actually, we have two.  But we also have two HUGE cookbooks (both of which I realized are not in the picture because they were on the counter, having recently been consulted to find the best vinaigrette recipe) that each claim to contain the very best tried and tested recipes.  And we have a cookbook specifically for appetizers, one of tex-mex foods, one for chocolate (mmmmm...chocolate), one for paninis, one for non-alcoholic drinks, one of British recipes, one from our Alaskan cruise featuring food from the cruise ship, one geared towards kids (it's called Pretend Soup), and many, many others.  We don't, however, have Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

See, last night Chris & I watched Julie & Julia.  The movie was good, not the best I've ever seen, but enjoyable (Meryl Streep was fabulous as Julia Child), but man, oh man, the food looked like it was to die for.

I went to bed last night inspired to cook great food and cook it well.

On Sundays, now that church meets at 9:00am, we fix a big Sunday dinner.  This is the one day a week you'll be guaranteed to find not just one, but two or possibly even three side dishes alongside the main course.  And homemade rolls.  Mmmmm...homemade rolls.

But this morning, after going to bed with visions of not sugarplums, but boeuf à la bourguignonne, coq au vin, pear tarts, and poached eggs dancing in my head, I got up, slapped some chicken breasts in the crock pot, and dumped two cans of cream of chicken soup and a packet of onion soup mix on top.

Yeah, not so much with the Julia Child-esque cooking there, huh?  (that sentence came out really Sarah Palin-ish, didn't it?  Well, I do read all the newspapers...)

I did make rolls and mashed potatoes and a salad with spinach, pear, feta, and toasted walnuts (okay, Chris made the salad, but still...)

My going-to-bed vision was somewhat crushed by the crock pot meal, but everyone ate it, which I suppose is more than I could say for, say, aspic (which, honestly, doesn't sound all that to-die-for anyway.)

But we did have a dessert that would do Julia proud.  I can't take credit for it, but Chris did make crème caramels that were rich and creamy and really, really good. (I just realized that the reflection in the shiny top of the crème caramel is pretty much a mirror image of the picture at the top of the post.  Weird.)

One tasty treat at a time, I guess.  One at a time.


  1. What a coincidence. We watched that movie this weekend, too. (And we loved Meryl Streep as Julia Child!) Zack informed me that he needs to have this boeuf à la bourguignonne and I am suddenly in the mood to take a cooking class of some sort.
    You are far and away a better cook than I am, so when you make it let me know how it goes and then I'll give it a try! :)

  2. There is a boeuf à la bourguignonne recipe in that Best Recipes cookbook. (Yes I checked too after watching Julie and Julia) although the name of the dish is in English.

    I've been tempted to try it to. What is holding me back? You need an entire bottle of red wine. I don't know anything about wine except that it is considered expensive and wont happen this month.

    The creme caramels look great!

  3. Carrie, with all the free time you have now that you're a stay-at-home-mom, you should totally take a cooking class! ;)

    Emily, where do you think I found how to spell boeuf à la bourguignonne? And cooking wine is really not that expensive, and you can find it by the vinegars (if they have it at WinCo, they'll have it anywhere.) I bought a bottle of white for about $3, and although I haven't checked, I would assume red is the same. The bottles are slighly smaller than normal wine bottles, so you may need more than one, but even at $6, it's not too much.

  4. Loved that movie, and I was almost inspired, as well. But not quite. I enjoy throwing food into the crockpot and having it done when it's dinner time just too much. But what a pretty dessert!

  5. Hello superpaige! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! (it's kind of sad how giddy unexpected comments make me.) I agree, the simplicity definitely earns the crockpot some bonus points, but it was a little disheartening to bring my dreams crashing down around me so quickly after their inception!

  6. Allie - I will have to check at the store but sadly I think that wine - including cooking wines are only sold at the State Liqueur Store. Don't get me started on Utah's bizarro alcohol laws.

  7. Oh, one more thing. I was about to reserve Julie and Julia at the library and was reading reviews on Amazon. Sadly, Julie Powell is in real life much less cool that Amy Adams and the feel good movie made her out to be. Not only does the movie underplay how poorly she treated her husband during that time, her next book is about her two year affair and how it relates to what she learned about being a butcher - no joke.

    I now have "My Life in France" by Julia Child on reserve as it got AMAZING reviews. No on stars.

    Okay I'm done now.

  8. For good cooking memoirs try ruth Reichl's Tender at the bone- she scatters recipes through the book as well, but very interesting life and her mother is the definition of a Really Bad Cook.
    I had never thought of cooking wine as difficult to acquire- but then my in-laws recently demonstrated that there are three bottle shops in walking distance of my place, so kind of the opposite problem.


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