Showing posts with label Julia Child recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Julia Child recipes. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin

By Leslie Budewitz

One of my favorite food blogs is Deb Pererlman’s Smitten Kitchen. Perelman lives and cooks in a NY apartment with a small kitchen—no gourmet showrooms or palatial spaces with room for every kitchen appliance imaginable. Her recipes are much-tested and easy to follow, and beautifully photographed, step-by-step. And while she does occasionally offer a combo I can resist—you will never catch me frying an egg on top of anything—most of her food is easy to imagine making myself. (The perfect Manhattan? Yes!)

And she knows the classics. She’ll play with them, or as with this dish, serve it fairly straight. The original recipe comes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II.

We used the creaky, old full-sized food processor to grate the zucchini—it’s messy, leaving a pool of green liquid wherever it sits, but it makes quick work of the job with no scraped knuckles! We let the grated zucchini sit about 20 minutes, while we readied everything else, and got about a cup of liquid, which we supplemented with vegetable broth. We parboiled the rice and it came out perfectly; many comments say that’s not necessary, and next time, I’ll try the suggestion of simply letting it sit for five minutes, covered, in hot water, then draining it.

We used vegetable broth; chicken broth would also taste good. The original recipe calls for milk, which would be too rich for my taste, but is worth a try.

Perelman suggests baking in two one-quart dishes and freezing one; we have not tried that yet.

The salt: Our kitchen cabinets have become a storehouse for varieties of salt: Fleur de sel from the Camargue region of France, two varieties of gray Celtic sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, truffle salt, and who knows what else. (The refrigerator corollary: We once had nine varieties of mustard, but are now down to four. Bummer. I feel a mustard spree coming on.) But when we tried the Great Paddlefish Roe experiment, we used up all the kosher salt in the house, and somehow didn’t replace it. So when I saw Diamond, the brand Perelman recommended, in the grocery store, I bought a lifetime supply for 3.89. Actually, I doubt it will last more than a decade or so, barring any more paddlefish experiments.

This dish is the perfect accompaniment for Krista’s Parmesan Baked Chicken Breasts.

Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin 

2-1/2 pounds zucchini
2 to 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup plain, uncooked white rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Broth or milk
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray or butter for dish

Prepare zucchini: Wash zucchini and trim ends. Halve lengthwise, and if seeds are particularly large, core them out. Coarsely grate and place in a colander set over a bowl. Toss with kosher salt. Let drain for 20-30 minutes.

 Save drained liquid.  Squeeze a handful of the zucchini and taste; if you think it’s too salty, rinse and drain again, but don’t save the liquid this time. Squeeze all of the zucchini in handfuls, gently, collecting any juices in the bowl of drained liquid. (Perelman says blot dry on paper towels; I didn’t and all was well.)

Prepare rice: Boil for exactly 5 minutes in salted water. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare remaining ingredients: In a large frying pan, saute the onions slowly in 3 tablespoons oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.

Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic; add a few twists of pepper, and salt to taste. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

Assemble dish: Measure the drained liquid from the zucchini. Add broth or milk to bring the amount up to 2 1/2 cups.  Stir the liquid into the zucchini-onion mixture. Bring to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring.

Stir in the par-cooked rice and all but 2 tablespoons cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Spray or butter a 2 or 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons cheese and one tablespoon olive oil. (I think this could also be prepared and baked in a cast iron pan or other oven-proof skillet.)

Bake in upper third of oven until bubbling and browned on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. (If yours begins to brown too quickly, you can cover it with foil until the last 5 minutes.) The rice should absorb all the liquid. Let rest five minutes; any extra liquid bubbling around the edges should be absorbed as it rests. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

From the cover of BUTTER OFF DEAD: As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker …

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Key Lime Pie: What a tart!

Congratulations, Julie, on your
Barry and Anthony Awards!
I'm thrilled for you!

In fact, I'm so tickled for you,
I baked you one of my favorites:


Darn, you live too far away for me to deliver it. I'll just have
to eat it myself. The sacrifices I make!

Now we all have staples in our pantries -- flour, sugar and salt --
and in our refrigerator -- milk, butter and eggs. These are the things
we simply can not function without. Growing up in the Northeast, I
remember the emergency runs we made to stock up at the grocery store
when a blizzard (1978, anyone?) or hurricane was predicted. It could get
downright ugly in the canned section if supplies were running low!

Well, one of my staples is Nellie & Joe's Famous Lime Juice.
I use it on everything. Seriously, I can't even look at a fajita unless
it's been doused with Nellie & Joe's.

But my favorite recipe from Nellie & Joe's is the one
right on the back of the bottle for KEY LIME PIE.

Quite simply, it is:

9" graham cracker pie crust
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks (whites not used)
½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice

Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes.
Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before
serving, top with freshly whipped cream, or meringue,
and garnish with lime slices.

Does it get any easier than that? Not likely. And let me tell
you, this is one sweet and tart fabulous pie.

You can see more lime-licious recipes at:
And I encourge you to consider adding
Nellie & Joe's to your list of staples.
I know if a blizzard ever hits Arizona,
I'll be relieved to have my Key Lime
juice in the frig!

Jenn McKinlay
March 2010

aka Lucy Lawrence
Sept 2009
April 2010

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Julia and Me

Before Paula Deen and Rachel Ray, before Martha, there was Julia Child. My mom loved her show, and I was the lucky beneficiary of many delicious dishes based on Julia Child's recipes. One recipe for chicken breast stood out as my favorite. It's very simple and I still make it today, although I've simplified it a bit. I've searched through Julia's cookbooks and can't find the exact recipe, but I think she may have called it Chicken Supreme.


three chicken breasts or one package of chicken tenders
two tablespoons butter or olive oil
half a lemon
two tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Julia's original recipe called for butter. Over time, with the push to eat less saturated fat, I started using olive oil instead. Until I made it both ways for this blog, I was happy with the olive oil version.
  1. (Optional) Julia's recipe began with folding waxed paper over the chicken breasts and pounding them so that they are uniform in thickness. This is a great idea and will yield more consistent results, but I'm generally too lazy and skip this step.
  2. Heat a saute pan (or similar) over medium/low heat. Add butter or olive oil. Place the chicken in the pan and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the meat. Cover the pan. (Julia Child's version called for covering the meat with waxed paper and then putting a lid on the pan. I don't see much difference when I do that.)
  3. When the meat turns white around the edges (about three minutes for chicken tenders, five to six minutes for chicken breasts) turn the pieces over, add the parsley, cover and continue to heat.
  4. Cook just until the middle is no longer pink (about three to four minutes for tenders, about six to seven minutes for breasts, depending on the thickness).
  5. Salt to taste and plate the chicken. Drizzle the juices from the pan over the meat and serve.
Rice is a perfect match for this dish and I can't help thinking that Julie's White House Worthy Rice would be excellent with it! While it tastes delicious made with olive oil, I have to admit that it's better with butter. It's exactly the kind of dish that Sophie, the protagonist in my Domestic Diva Mysteries, would serve to her friends on short notice.