Vichyssoise à la Julia Child

Julia Child's kitchen on display at the Smithsonian
Julia Child’s kitchen on display at the Smithsonian
Vichyssoise à la Julia Child
Vichyssoise à la Julia Child

Julia Child’s Annual Birthday Tribute

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.

Vichyssoise à la Julia Child Recipe

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Julia Child’s Upside-Down Martini

Julia Child's Upside-Down Martini

Julia Child’s Upside-Down Martini

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).

Julia Child Birthday
Rouen, France – Novembre 1948

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 in My 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…

Julia Child’s First Meal in France

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Sole Meunière à la Julia Child

Sole Meunière à la Julia Child

Sole Meunière à la Julia Child

Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 105th birthday. It has been a tradition to celebrate her birthday here on Taste With The Eyes for the past 10 years.

Julia Child Birthday
Rouen, France – Novembre 1948

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 every year in August, with some minor changes, to celebrate Julia Child’s birthday. This year I am including her recipe for Sole Meunière.

The text is as she describes her meal to us in My 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 almost 70 years ago.

Come, let’s travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection via Julia…

Julia Child’s First Meal in France and Sole Meunière

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Julia Child and Loup de Mer

Julia Child and Loup de Mer

Julia Child and Loup de Mer

As Julia Child tells the story, “Simca, Paul, Patricia, and I… penetrated into this beautiful courtyard and were seated at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis.

It was a splendid lunch, moving from apéritifs to pâté of fresh duck livers and truffles, thick slices of pain brioche, a timbale, tomatoes and a green salad. But the real reason we were there was for the loup de mer, a Mediterranean sea bass.

If you’ve been cooking for a long time, you can usually guess how a dish is made. Simca and I studied every detail of this remarkable loup, and tried to deduce its secrets.

The waiter appeared, and I asked him a few questions, which he was only too happy to answer. It’s delicious, we agreed, as we polished off our lunch. And it really shouldn’t be too difficult to make.”

Excerpted from My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.

How to Cook Loup de Mer Fillets

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