Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinner at Jim and Ellen's

Last night we had a very enjoyable dinner with friends. To start, our hostess Ellen served some crackers and spreads from Trader Joe's party specials in the living room. Jim had several bottles of wine from their cellar, including one from 1991 that I really loved. We were happy to see Ellen, Jim, Susie, and David.

Then we moved to the dining room for Susie's Caesar Salad.
Susie's mother gave her the salad recipe, which she had long before obtained from someone who had learned from the original Caesar. The result is different from the standard restaurant offering because every part of it is marvelously fresh and perfect: romaine lettuce, home-made croutons, secret dressing made in a mayonnaise jar. Susie is of the EBA school (everything but anchovies).
Above is my casserole of Carbonnades a la Flamande, which we had for the main course. I followed Julia Child's recipe religiously. We served it with parsley-garnished noodles, as recommended. I didn't get Jim's French bread into the photos, but he also uses The Julia Child Recipe.
Jim also baked a great apple pie:
Following Julia Child's Recipe
You can see that my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking is full of splashes and stains from years of making this recipe. I've been thinking of the incredible number of recipes that I have made repeatedly from this book. It's probably the biggest influence of any book on my cooking.

I prepared everything as the recipe describes, cutting up the meat, slicing the onions... Then browned the beef, arranged the first layer in the casserole, and slowly browned the onions. I cooked it in the oven for the time recommended.

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