Sunday, August 05, 2012

in which mastery is still a ways away

Today's soundtrack:
The Olympics, of course.  Go Canada!

For my birthday and in a fit of post-Parisian afterglow, Miguel gave me Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking*.  Even a quick flick through is intimidating.  The lists of various crockery, the different kinds of sauces, and instructions on how to properly hold a knife all left me rather overwhelmed.  After about three months of working up my nerve, I decided to tackle a basic soup.  

Let us pause on the glory that is soupe au pistou, a Provençal vegetable soup made (almost completely) with seasonally fresh, UK ingredients.  I couldn't find fresh broad beans in the Cooperative, so I settled for the canned variety.  Nor did I have any fruity olive oil, so I used the Olea Cazorla olive oil that Miguel's mom had brought from Spain.  That being said, I don't really know enough about olive oil to know how a fruity olive oil should taste.  

The potatoes traveled the shortest distance, given to us by our neighbours in exchange for some homemade shortbread, and were fresh out of the ground.  If you know me, you know my love of the almighty spud, and these potatoes are amazing.  They beat by miles even the freshest potatoes available up at the Coop.  I must find some way of convincing Miguel that now is the perfect time to make a tortilla española...

Anyway, today was the last day of the soupe au pistou, and not having much left, I made a lovely toastie to go alongside - a mature cheddar, tomatoes, and homemade wholemeal bread beauty that rivals Calories of Saskatoon.  And as I'm just a little bit proud of myself that I managed to cook an (albeit simple) Julia Child recipe, I simply had to share it with all of you.  Sure, I'm not an executive chef with a knack for some amazing canapés (congrats Brock!), but I can make a mean veggie soup!

And just think - not long ago I subsisted on Quaker Instant Oatmeal (Maple and Brown Sugar only) and Kraft Dinner.  Fresh veg and fruit?  Perish the thought!  I don't know if any words can describe Miguel's joy at my foodie experimentation.  Like fried eggs.  I'd never eaten a fried egg until over a month ago, mainly because I was convinced they tasted rubbery and not at all like a scrambled egg.  I think this was a holdover from childhood and those plastic foods we used to play with in our Fisher-Price kitchen.  Plus, I didn't trust that wobbly yellow yolk.  But now, scrambled eggs are a distant and distasteful memory, much like the Sunshine Breakfasts on the BC Ferries.  Years!  Years I have wasted on scrambled eggs!  All hail the fried egg and it's wobbly yolk!

But I draw the line at snails.  And Louis.

* No, I haven't seen Julie & Julia.  My idea of a foodie movie is - and always will be - Chocolat.  I don't think that really needs explaining.

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