Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! It has been an honor, a passion, and a tradition to celebrate the Chef’s birthday on Taste With The Eyes for several years now.
This year I imagine her dear, long-time friend, Jacques Pépin, inviting her over for an intimate luncheon that begins with her favorite upside-down martini. The first course includes his famous chicken liver pâté with toasted baguette, radishes from the garden with Maldon sea salt and European-style butter, cornichons and cocktail onions.
“An excellent light supper need be no more than a good soup, a salad, cheese and fruit. And combined according to your own taste, a good homemade soup in these days of the can opener is almost a unique and always a satisfying experience,” so says Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One, Fortieth Anniversary Edition published by Alfred A. Knopf 2006.
And the beauty of this soup is that it is equally excellent served either hot or cold. Depending on the occasion, the weather, your menu, your mood… whatever it may be – choose the hot or cold version for your delicious soup-centric supper.
The month of May is the perfect time to serve this super-easy, seasonal asparagus soup! The color is quite spring-y. It has a lovely mild, grassy flavor with earthy and nutty undertones plus an exquisite creamy texture. It’s simultaneously simple and elegant, suitable for a weeknight supper or a weekend gala.
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 110th birthday. It has been an honor, a passion, and a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Taste With The Eyes ever since I started this blog in 2007.
This year, we are watching a super-charming episode of the cooking show Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home “IT’S SALMON DAY!” where they go on to prepare a half-dozen salmon dishes together.
Here we are going to spotlight their gravlax presentations from the show and from their cookbook. Julia calls hers “Quick Gravlax” and Jacques calls his “Instant Gravlax.” Both different and both fabulous.
The television series was the inspiration for the cookbook of the same name. In both, one can sense the pleasure the two have cooking together, tasting, exchanging ideas, joshing with each other, and raising a glass to savor the fruits of their labor.
In this one episode Julia gives Jacques a hard time about using black pepper instead of white pepper in a light colored dish…and he gives it right back.
Jacques asks Julia to add salt and pepper to the salmon tartare they are making together.
“Would you rather have black or white pepper?” teases Julia.
“Black, black without any question,” says Jacques.
“You like speckled food,” declares Julia.
“I do. I also like taste in the food and the black pepper has more taste than the white one,” retorts Jacques.
Again and again they demonstrate that cooking is endlessly fascinating and challenging, and while ultimately personal, it is a joy to be shared!
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 109th birthday. It has been an honor, a passion, and a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Taste With The Eyes for the past several years.
This year, let’s travel back in time to Cambridge, Massachusetts where I imagine dinner at the kitchen table of Paul and Julia Child as they enjoy a light supper together on a hot August night.
“An excellent light supper need be no more than a good soup, a salad, cheese and fruit. And combined according to your own taste, a good homemade soup in these days of the can opener is almost a unique and always a satisfying experience,” says Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One, Fortieth Anniversary Edition published by Alfred A. Knopf 2006.
Tonight’s light supper begins with Vichyssoise, a Cold Leek and Potato Soup, where surprisingly simple ingredients yield a soup with an elegant texture and captivating complex flavors.
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 108th birthday. It has been a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Taste With The Eyes for the past several years.
This year, let’s raise a toast to Julia with one of her favorite cocktails, the Upside-Down Martini also known as a reverse or “wet” martini, made with five parts vermouth to one part gin. We are going to craft Julia’s special drink with exclusively French alcools.
Noilly Prat was a favorite of Julia’s, a fine vermouth, beautifully crafted by the sea in the South of France. It is made with 14 global herbs and spices such as chamomile and coriander from Morocco, bitter orange from Tunisia, and orris root from Italy.
Diplôme Dry Gin has been produced in France since 1945 from a selection of the finest natural botanicals including genever berries, whole lemons, angelica, saffron, and fennel seed. The original recipe was perfected during WWII in the City of Dijon. At the end of the war, the original recipe became the official gin for the American Army stationed in Europe.
With naturally less alcohol than a traditional martini, Julia would say, “The best thing about a reverse martini is that you can have two of them!” (Full upside-down martini recipe below).
A Historic Re-Creation
Please join me as I re-create Julia Child’s very first meal in France, one that she experienced with her husband Paul Child. The story takes place in Rouen, France in November of 1948.
I originally wrote this post back in 2007. I resurrect it in August, sometimes with a new recipe, to celebrate Julia Child’s birthday. This year I am including a drink that she especially liked, the Upside-Down Martini.
The text is as she describes her meal to us inMy Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006.
The re-creation photographs are ones that I have taken on my travels; some are from France, others from California, a couple are shot in my own home. I use the sepia tone to give the images the feel of a single place over 70 years ago.
Come, let’s travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection via Julia…