Happy 100th Birthday!
There are many wonderful tips in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Here are two that I love. Y0u should heed these rules, unless you would like to be vague beef-buyer! Raise a glass and toast the woman that changed the course of cooking in America.
A cardinal point in the French technique is: Do not overcook. An equally important admonition is: Do not attempt to keep a cooked green vegetable warm for more than a very few moments. If you cannot serve it at once, it is better to set it aside and then to reheat it. Overcooking and keeping hot ruin the color, texture, and taste of green vegetables – as well as most of the nutritive qualities.
Any cook or housewife is well advised to learn as much as possible about grades and cuts of beef, as a vague beef-buyer is open to countless unnecessary disappointments and expenses.
Amuse-Gueules au Roquefort (Roquefort Cheese Balls)
Adapted from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume I”
Makes 24 cheese balls
1/2 lb Roquefort or other good blue cheese
6 Tbs softened butter (not quite room temperature; it should be waxy so you can mold the cheese balls)
1 1/2 Tbs minced chives
2 Tbs finely minced celery
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Cognac
1/2 cup fine stale white-bread crumbs
2 Tbs very finely minced parsley
Crush the cheese in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of the butter and work it into a smooth paste. Beat in the chives, celery, seasonings and Cognac. If mixture is very stiff, beat in more butter by fractions. Check seasoning carefully, adding salt if necessary (probably not). Using two teaspoons, shape into quenelles or roll into balls around 1/2 inch in diameter.
Toss breadcrumbs and parsley in a wide shallow bowl. Roll the cheese balls in the mixture so they are well covered. Chill. Serve as is or pierced with a toothpick.