Brand New Apartment, Brand New Life

New Apartment

This is a big step, for me, for him, for us. It’s extremely cliché; I know it. We signed a lease together and I’m going to write this post even though he’ll probably be embarrassed. However, since many of you out there don’t know who HE is, he can relax, knowing that the ones who do know won’t make fun of him for too long.
My man and I lived together for a few months out of necessity and, I’d have to wager, a bit of laziness on his part. Or, maybe it was his sneaky way of a test drive. Whatever it was, living together at my last place of abode led to us signing our first lease together about one month prior to this post. We’ve been officially moved-in together for about three weeks; I think it’s going well! We even had our first houseguests over, including one of our favorite couples ever over for a hilarious evening of food and wine. I made boeuf bourguignon a la Julia Child (because I can’t resist making a mention of her wonderful legacy) and he made the most wonderful salad. Of course, the walnuts were raw, yet still scrumptious because, as we discovered in media res, our oven wouldn’t heat up…

New Life

In other news, I’ve gotten what one can only call a promotion of sorts. It’s funny how getting a raise and promotion only means new (and more) work. At least that’s what I’ve observed in the movies! Ha! I’ve just gotten my first one of either sort. Although, I’m not sure if I can really say promotion, but my hours of work and play have dramatically changed and, as of this payday, so will the number of dollars in my direct deposit.

Looking Backward, Just for a moment

It’s amazing to think that it was three years ago to the day, I was fired from my first job in the city, for, essentially, not being trained properly. I still believe there were more motives than that at play, but who cares at this point? The only reason I even know that it happened is that I have a draft labeled March 22, 2014: “Being fired and moving on…Yes, I was just fired from my job yesterday.”

I’m not sure I even want to open the draft to read the rest…I can’t believe how different my life is now. I can’t believe that back then I could even begin to fathom that I was happy. I was not nearly as happy as I am now……

Took the time to read that draft. I’m amazed at how positive I was about being fired from a job I loved so much…Of course, that’s how my momma raised me!

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The Hundred Foot Journey

In The Hundred Foot Journey, a young chef gets the opportunity to help a restaurant get its second Michelin star. The end left me a) wanting to move to France, b) wanting to cook. Of course, I was feeling sick so I did not do either of those things, but I wanted to! I had my emotions torn between food and France as I do every time I see a movie about food. Food-themed movies are typically about French food because French food is THE classic, quintessential cuisine. It is dependent on the careful techniques developed to make food look AND taste amazing.

Although the father in The Hundred-Foot Journey argued that there is a classic aspect to all cuisines, French cuisine is definitely the one that chefs developed into a higher art form first. France is where the restaurant industry began although, the label of first restaurateur is apparently up for debate. Nevertheless, the technique of French cooking: knife skills, the feeling of when different meats are cooked properly, the balance, and sometimes, delicacy of the flavors is what makes the difference.

Julia, My New Guide

So, I just got one of the best gifts of my life. Nothing extravagant or expensive….Well relatively speaking it’s exorbitant, I usually spend only a few dollars on a book. This one is quite a bit more costly than that. But this book, this book is special. My boyfriend just gave me the two-volume set of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. You may be able to imagine my excitement on receiving this gift, or maybe not. But if you have read my blog or know me personally (shout out to mom, haha), you know how excited I am. I’ve often said I wanted to be like Julia, dedicated to the art of cooking. My blog is even named for her most famous ingredient, butter.

But I’ve never allowed anyone to buy this set for me, and I wasn’t ready to purchase it for myself, for many reasons first and foremost, the price tag and my fear. I am terrible at following through on things, just like Julie from Julie and Julia, but I plan on being accountable for reading through the two volumes. I even intend to cook as many recipes as possible for the practice and to feed my boyfriend and roommates.

The big question is… Should I try to make every recipe in one year or less? Would anyone be interested in reading about that kind of travail?

 

Culinary School Aspirations and a Cat in my Lap

It’s been Eating Away at Me For Some Time Now

It’s taken me only two semesters of graduate school—aka $15,000 in loans—to decide that I’m not interested in getting a Master’s degree in English literature. I’ve finally decided to realize a dream that’s been roasting in my noggin’ for going on three years now. I want to go to culinary school. And I don’t mean just take a few classes. I want to do what Julia Child did and go to a FANCY culinary school. Not necessarily the world-famous Cordon Bleu, but still, somewhere prestigious would be nice. It would just be so delightful to me, as both an aspiring food writer/gourmet chef/fabulous baker.  I want to chop up onions the right way for hours every day until I master knife skills. I want to learn to make a pretty poached egg that doesn’t overcook on the inside. And I am willing to take out a huge loan in order to do it. I’d prefer to get a job to begin paying off my current loan, and then save up to pay for culinary school, but I’m not the patient sort.

And I’m sure that like my parents, boyfriend and best friend, you are secretly (or, as in the case of father and boyfriend, not so secretly) worried about my sanity in wanting to pursue such a venture. I know I would probably write it off as a pipe dream if I were them. But they’re all at least pretending to be supportive, which I dearly appreciate. Although if they ever tell me I’m crazy or dreaming too big, we all know I won’t listen anyway because who’s to say what I can or cannot accomplish? Only my cat Jane is allowed to say I’m crazy because only crazy knows crazy, right? Although of course as I write, she’s sleeping purrrrrrfectly quietly on my lap.

So what do you think?

Parboil Pearl Onions, and Other Things I Need to Remember

Remembering Happy Times and Making things easier on Myself

I’ve been doing it wrong all  along: Don’t forget to parboil your pearl onions! Julia Child, Julie Powell and Laura Calder have all reiterated that for me. It makes them easier to peel!

Tonight’s dinner was an old standby of mine, a simple pasta with olive oil “sauce” that I love to make when I’m not feeling very happy. Carbs make me happy. But somehow I messed it up a little bit…I’m not sure what I did—perhaps too much olive oil and not enough of everything else—but it just kind of goes along with the week I’ve been having. But, I’m not going to dwell on my week anymore. I’ll tell you about a time when I felt comfortable and relaxed and satisfied with my life…

I really and truly wish that I had started my food blogging adventure months ago or at least in December. I was staying at my boyfriend’s apartment during my winter break and oh boy! did we ever put on a few pounds each! I had just started cooking some of Laura Calder’s recipes (by guessing mostly, as she isn’t very good about actually telling what she is showing you how to do) and it meant a lot of meats and butter and mmmmmmmmmmmm…yeah… I can’t even think about this one recipe without drooling, even on a full stomach.

Tonight I decided to watch my favorite episode of Laura’s show, French Food at Home. It’s “The Butter Show”! Have I mentioned it yet, my affinity for, nay, passionate connection to butter? I love the stuff. It really tastes good on everything. It’s super versatile too; you can prepare it a million different ways, and they pretty much all taste amazing. I think someday soon—before my eggs run out—I’m going to attempt a real hollandaise sauce, not the packet kind which some Americans use. Laura makes it seems so easy. Anyway, I was watching “The Butter Show” and it called to mind a night when I make steaks and herbed “composed butter.” It was VERY good. All you do is take softened butter and add chopped up whatever you’d like. I used a mix of parsley and cilantro and possibly something else. Not sure… but my boy and I loved it. Though I think that I spent more time on the butter than the steak, since I think that night he had to put his steak back on the range. Half of it was rather…raw for his taste. And we are both rare/medium rare steak eaters, so you can imagine how uncooked it was. But afterwards, we ate in silence and drank our pretty, pink wine (I delight in a good White Zin), and watched How I Met Your Mother, which I think we’re actually (surprisingly enough) behind on watching right now…

Olive Oil Pasta
My easy, comforting, Olive Oil Pasta

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Brie and Egg do NOT make a good pairing

This afternoon I decided I wanted to experiment after watching a video of Laura Calder, who is the Julia Child to my Julie Powell. Although I am not exactly going through a master cookbook like Julie was, her blog is the inspiration for mine, and Laura is my muse. I digress. After watching an episode of her show French Food at Home entitled “Truckstop French,” I was inspired to make a brie sandwich.
However, I had English muffins, not baguette, and I toasted them in butter instead of slathering on softened butter. Laura Calder loves butter just as much as Julia Child or I ever could. I love that about cooks who make French food. They are neither afraid of butter, nor afraid to use a lot of it and I really think that nobody ever should be! Butter is a saint, as is bread. I think they are frequently martyrs, but I’m resurrecting them for my own cooking escapades.
Back to my sandwich. I added to my sandwich an egg fried over easy in the butter from my English muffins. All I have to say is, “PLEASE do NOT make this sandwich!” it did not taste very nice, brie and juicy egg together…and I didn’t make clarified butter, which I probably also should have done. However, I don’t really know how and I don’t intend to learn it tonight, as I’m too tired from this week. A week, which is, to my dismay, not over yet…
I need another nap.
And maybe another glass of wine.

 

p.s. I found a recipe for “Quick and Easy Yorkshire Pudding” which I intend to try soon. Does anyone have any tips on what to pair with it? (Other than wine, of course!)

brie and egg sandwich
brie and egg sandwich with whole fried cherry tomatoes

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