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October 17, 2019

A Story with Heart

When considering our health, so many times we think about starting better habits on Monday, or after a big celebration, or at the beginning of a new y

October 10, 2019

Ever Get Mad at…You?

I recently saw a post from a wonderful lady we’ll call Ann. (This is not her real name, so you can insert any name you prefer to use here. Maybe you

October 2, 2019

Managing Inherited Behaviors

Ice cream is still my favorite food. It has been my favorite food my entire life, as far back as I can recall. I firmly believe that my fondness for i

September 29, 2019

Fresh fruits and veggies, fish, good fats make healthy eating delicious

(The following article first appeared in the February 14, 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version) T

September 26, 2019

Applause for Your Consistency

Today, I acknowledge and applaud you for your commitment to consistency. Whether you consistently make a conscious effort to consume more vegetables f

September 19, 2019

No Time? Quick Meal Ideas

No time. Can you relate? I’ve been feeling the crunch of more scheduled evening events—and I no longer have kids going back to school! As I sat lo

September 12, 2019

The Biggest Nutritional Challenge

When it comes to losing weight and improving nutrition, what is the #1 challenge? Go ahead, take a guess. If your answer is, “I don’t know what I

September 5, 2019

Mr. Non-Compliant Ate Gross Greens

Miracles do happen and life is full of surprises. If your loved one is not keen on eating as healthy as you’d like, keep the faith. I offer you a st

August 28, 2019

The Other 84% of Health

In last week’s blog, I mentioned water intake, slower eating, and increased movement. Did you pick up on the fact that I never suggested WHAT to eat

August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

Keeping it Real, Recipe Included

I’m writing this after returning home from Julia Child’s birthday celebration. This evening, at Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience, we toasted to a wonderful cook, who would have been 106 today. 

There is much that we could celebrate about Julia and what she brought to American cooking. After viewing some television clips, what is quite obvious is that she was real.

She burned food, ruined recipes, dropped chickens, and kept right on going. Nothing stopped her from teaching us with great zeal and humor, as imperfect as she was.

I find that quite comforting.

Our birthday meal consisted of:

  • Gruyere Stuffed Mushrooms (Champignons Farci)
  • Eggplant Pizza
  • Salad greens with Basic French Vinaigrette
  • Poached Salmon with Cucumber Sauce
  • Buttered String Beans (Haricots Verts a la Maitre d’Hotel)
  • Chocolate Mousse topped with whipped cream

We toasted with a bit of champagne, and appropriate wine pairings were also available. Julia did lots of wine pouring and toasting, celebrating food and life.

As we continue to celebrate summer, kids going back to school, and beautiful sunsets, I offer you a recipe we enjoyed. It is from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child.

Basic French Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 Cup

  • ½ Tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup excellent olive oil or other fine, fresh oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste by dipping a piece of the salad greens into the sauce and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice.

Vinaigrette is always at its freshest and best when served promptly, but you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days. The shallots and fresh lemon juice will eventually go off, spoiling the taste of the dressing.

*Add minced fresh herbs to dressing as desired after all the oil has been added.

A true French salad is simply mixed greens with vinaigrette such as this. It helps to cleanse the palate between courses.

Cheers to Julia, eating amazing food, and keeping it real.

“Remember, ‘No one’s more important than people’!” In other words, friendship is the most important thing—not career or housework, or one’s fatigue—and it needs to be tended and nurtured.” –Julia Child, “My Life in France”

 

Basic French Vinaigrette

Basic French Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 Cup

  • ½ Tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup excellent olive oil or other fine, fresh oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste by dipping a piece of the salad greens into the sauce and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice.

Vinaigrette is always at its freshest and best when served promptly, but you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days. The shallots and fresh lemon juice will eventually go off, spoiling the taste of the dressing.

*Add minced fresh herbs to dressing as desired after all the oil has been added.

A true French salad is simply mixed greens with vinaigrette such as this. It helps to cleanse the palate between courses.

Recipe from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child

Go Ahead, Be Fearless

We hear it often enough, those four little words that pack a huge punch: “Do not be afraid.”

Easier said than done.

Thankfully, I’m doing a little better with this concept, which gives me courage–and faith–to be fearless as I face new challenges.

I’m not going to suggest something crazy, like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. (One of my sons did this, and fortunately survived the stunt.)

Today, I’m giving you a few tips I’ve gleaned (and paraphrased) from Julia Child, to practice in your kitchen. Cooking your meals is healthier than eating out, and it can even be FUN! 

Whether you like to cook or you have some fear around it, you may find solace in taking her advice, especially if those recipes don’t always turn out quite the way you intend. They didn’t always work out for her either.

Julia’s Tips

  1. Simple dishes, well prepared, are important to know how to cook. Save the challenging recipes for those days when you need an adrenalin rush.
  2. Understanding basic techniques will help you with efficiency so you will not be so focused on speed. “Hurry-up” cooking will ruin the dish.
  3. Work ahead of time so that when your guests (or family) arrive, you may calmly complete the meal. You can always store and reheat a dish.
  4. “There is no reason to serve those bloody casseroles all the time. I even hate the name!”
  5. French cooking is simply a matter of theme variations. Once you understand how to brown the beef and slice the onions for Beef Bourguignon, you’ll know how to do so for other recipes as well.
  6. It’s important to watch, smell and taste the food as you prepare it. The senses belong in every well-run kitchen, like good knives.
  7. Use the best, freshest ingredients. When Julia was writing, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” she experimented with canned and frozen products and found them “okay” if that’s what was available.
  8. You may want to learn how to cut professionally with a knife, in case you end up on television.
  9. Since Americans have the annoying habit of not drinking white wine, what are they to cook and make sauces with? Dry vermouth is acceptable, according to Julia.
  10. Supermarket ingredients can be transformed into authentic French dishes, except you must include two essentials: time and love. 

“I think one should get one’s vitamins in salads and raw fruits, and what is cooked should be absolutely delicious and to hell with the vitamins!”—Julia Child

My Friend Julia

In honor of my late friend Julia Child’s Birth Month, I’ve decided to share some interesting facts with you about her life.

I did not know Julia Child personally, although I wish I did. I’ve been reading about her, own several of her books, and still enjoy watching her cook, thanks to reruns.   

Julia was born on August 15, 1912. She was the eldest of three and lived in Pasadena, California. She graduated Smith College in 1934, with a degree in History.

During WWII, Julia joined the Office of Strategic Services (the OSS), and became a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division. In other words, she was a spy. She was responsible for handling high volumes of top-secret documents.

Here’s the part I think some of you will REALLY find interesting. Julia was not always a great cook! She grew up in a home with a cook, so she didn’t have a clue about cooking until she met her would-be husband Paul, who grew up in a family that was very interested in food.

We learn to cook (or not) because there was someone in the kitchen to teach us. For Julia, that someone was a recipe book.

She was often frustrated because sometimes she would follow a recipe to the letter, and it would turn out great. Another time, it would be a disaster. Can you relate?

I hear from many people that planning, cooking, time, are a few of the challenges that contribute to less than stellar health. They simply don’t know how to begin the process, so nothing changes.

Julia learned proper cooking techniques when she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Even with that, she still suffered from occasional disasters in the kitchen.

Fortunately, her husband Paul was a patient man who loved her beyond her messed up recipes.

As she worked on her first cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which took 7 years to complete, she tried to write the recipes so that any new American bride could cook a French meal successfully—each and every time.

Seven years of what Julia referred to as “practice and passion.”

Practice and passion. Pratique et passion.

Life is a practice.

We’d best be passionate about living it.

Cooking a French dish may not be something you’re passionate about, however I encourage you to consider what you ARE passionate about, and then keep practicing.

If you’re not sure how to begin planning, cooking, finding time to take care of YOU, I’m here to help. We will come up with a plan so that you know what to do first!

Practice and passion. Pratique et passion.

And if you are not a particularly good cook and would like to be, consider yourself in good company with Julia. It’s never too late to learn—and practice.

 “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”—Julia Child, My Life in France”