Our Dear Julia

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking and referencing the great works of dear Julia Child.   Her personality radiates through the pages of her books. At the recent demo day at Bekah Kates, a kitchen store in Baraboo, I used Le Crueset cookware to demonstrate its wonderful uses.  The recipe I made was Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon.   I made it three times, actually.  Once at home before the store opened for tasting during the morning, and another while people shopped.  The smell of the deep, rich sauce greeted shoppers as they entered the store.   Several times people asked me, "it that "HER" recipe?", or, "did you see the movie?"   We all knew who we were talking about.   It just wasn't right not to make it just one more time the next day while spending time with friends.   Julia would have insisted!   As the leaves fall, give it a try!

About a month ago, I had a surprise arrive in the mail.  I had pre-ordered a cookbook and it arrived.   Not just any cookbook.  One of the best I've seem in a long time.   Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking With Julia, just wrote another amazing book,  Around My French Table.   Each recipe is well written and looks delicious.   While it's a beautiful book, it will be used and will be marked with the little sauce here, and a drip or two there.   Ms. Greenspan has a great blog if you're interested in learning more.

Another piece of Julia news!  In late October, ahead of schedule, As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto is being released.   I can't wait!   It's hard to imagine a book being better then her My Life in France but it will be fun to see. 

My most recent Julia moment was on Friday.   I made a wedding cake with spice cake and apricot lekvar filling.   The lekvar recipe was Julia's from Baking with Julia.  It's a delicious apricot paste with almonds and hint of brown sugar.  It's similar in consistence to thick applesauce.   The color is a deep pumpkin color which makes it a wonderful topping for scones, too.

Here's my recipe: 1 bag dried apricots (about 1 1/2 cups) 1/2 cups slivered almonds 1/4 - 1/3 cup brown sugar 2 tsp.  grated lemon or orange zest dash of lemon juice 2/3 cup water

Simmer the apricot, water and zest until the apricots are soft.  Combine apricots, brown sugar and almonds in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Spread in a pan, and cool, covered with plastic wrap.  Enjoy on scones, muffins or even as a cake filling.  Will keep 7-10 days in the refrigerated.

Enjoy autumn baking, cooking and entertaining.  Until next time, Bon Appetit!