Book Review – Julie and Julia

This book is not really about food, or at least not in the sense I expected. To be honest, it’s not really about Julia Child either, although the biographical bits are a nice touch. Julie and Julia seems to be more about one woman embarking on a quest to find some direction and some meaning on the eve of her 30th birthday (all those who have been there, say “aye”).

Julie and JuliaJulie Powell, a dissatisfied admin assistant for an un-named government organization, decides on a relative whim to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. 524 recipes in 365 days. No kidding.

Equipped with a rundown kitchen, a very understanding husband and a tenacity that borders on obsessive, Julie manages to tackle dishes that I have to admit that I would never have the guts to cook (I use this term deliberately and in reference to the very colourful recollection of the chapter on intestines, sweetbreads and other such delicacies).

I have not yet seen the movie that this book inspired, despite getting some free passes (sorry Shannon), but the reviews have been very favourable. I did see the trailer however, and it seems that the screenplay has expanded the role of Julia Child significantly, and with Meryl Streep, why wouldn’t you?

My review of Julie and Julia is also a good one. This book does not gush on about the food, but that’s OK. It does however give us insight into two women whom I suspect we can all relate to,  Julie and Julia.

Julie and Julia is currently available to those with lending privileges at the Wittmann Library.

Next up: Stanley Park, a book in which food is a key player.

Advertisements

What’s Fresh – Figs

Figs

We are fortunate enough to have a glorious fig tree in our backyard. Every spring, it is the last tree in the yard to reveal its leaves, but when it does, it’s  spectacular. Big broad leaves and so many of them. Now, that the hot days of summer are upon us (and is it ever hot), the figs are starting to ripen which means that it is time to share this delicious recipe with you. The great thing about this one is that it does not require turning on a stove, which, when it is 36 degrees seems mandatory.

Grilled Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese & Honey
from Fine Cooking, Issue 40

  • 1/2 c. soft fresh goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh breadcrumbs
  • Handful of mint leaves, rolled up and sliced thinly (the fancy term is frisee)
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 12 fresh mission figs
  • 12 slices of pancetta, very finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped

Continue reading

The best thing to do with Chickpeas – Ever!

ChickpeasOur family, like a lot of of other families, is attempting to eat a bit less meat. As a result, I am constantly on the look out for recipes that will provide us with the same satisfaction that one can easily derive from a nice piece of steak. So, without further ado here is my recipe for:

“The best thing to do with Chickpeas – Ever” or “Golden Chickpea Salad”.
adapted from a recipe I found at 101 Cookbooks

(I tend to make a lot of this, as we gobble it up…you may want to halve this the first time out of the gate)

  • 2 cans of chickpeas (I swear the organic ones do taste better, for what it’s worth)
  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 c. yogurt (lowfat does fine in this recipe, if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. curry paste (red/yellow/green…whatever your preference)

Continue reading

Spaghetti with Chicken, Sauteed Zucchini and Goat Cheese

It’s the end of July and the gardens are overflowing. There is a dark side to this, however….think back to the 2 or 3 tiny zucchini plants you popped in the garden way back in April or May. If I know my cucurbits, those 2 unassuming plants are now producing  zucchini at an alarming rate. What’s worse is if you don’t pick them off the vine, they will grow to an enormous size and will quickly become inedible.

So, for all of you out there who have an “bounty” of zucchini in your gardens and are at a loss as to how to use them up, here is a simple but delicious pasta to try:

Golden Zucchini

Spaghetti with Chicken, Sauteed Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Continue reading

Spotlight on Vancouver – The Kitchn

For those of you who aren’t addicted to the many fine blogs that Apartment Therapy publishes, allow me to introduce you. I am personally hooked on their food and cooking blog The Kitchn (I just found an entry titled “Bacon Camp”…what’s not to love?).

GranvilleIslandMarketI was really pleased to see our fine city featured in their City Food Lover’s Guide. In the article, you will find a nod to some of Vancouver’s favourite shops like Vij’s Rangoli, Terra Breads and Les Amis du Fromage. It also gives Granville Island its due (of course). If you are so inspired, you can log in and provide a local’s point of view on where the best place to grocery shop is or best local coffee roaster.

Yay, food! Yay, Vancouver!

MENU: Dinner for 5 in an hour (or so)

With three children, we don’t do a lot of eating out (a familiar refrain, I am sure). However,  a pleasant consequence of our “housebound” status is that we entertain a lot. After many years of devising complicated menus that had us sitting down to eat at 10:00-ish (right Emma), it finally occurred to me that the name of the game is choosing dishes that don’t require 87 steps to create. So, when good friends were due over a few Saturdays ago, I devised the following plan:

  • Grilled Flank Steak with a “Pacific Rim” Glaze
  • Steamed New Potatoes with Fresh Chives
  • Grilled Asparagus and Sweet Peppers
  • Vanilla ice cream with fresh berries and Hot Fudge Sauce

Continue reading

Book Review – The Sweet Life in Paris

Not only do we do a lot of eating at Chez Wittmann, we do a lot of reading as well. This is why I was especially pleased to stumble upon “The Sweet Life in Paris”, by David Lebovitz. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Lebovitz, I highly recommend you check out his brilliant blog, located here.

154His newest literary offering is both a memoir of his move to Paris and a light-hearted examination of what makes this city so enticing and  yet so perplexing. Readers join the author as he navigates the social nuances that seem unique to the citizens of the City of Light, such as using other people’s bathrooms and ordering a coffee. I especially enjoyed the chapters where Lebovitz confronts his arch-nemesis in a fish market or  his recounting of an intrepid search for shoelaces.

If the amusing insights into the life of a Parisian are not enough, “The Sweet Life in Paris” is also full of the delicious recipes Mr. Lebovitz is reknowned for, such as “Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes”, (you can find the recipe at my favourite cooking blog here).

This book is like a good meal; a balance of a lot of different flavours and ultimately satisfying. I was truly entertained, enlightened and dying to try out the recipe for Brownies a la Confiture De Lait (or Dulce de Leche Brownies).

The Sweet Life in Paris is currently available to those with lending privileges at the Wittmann Library.

Next on my reading list: Julie and Julia

Welcome to Chez Wittmann

I am personally addicted to food blogs…there are so many talented people publishing today. The best of the bunch provide me with inspiration for the kitchen and a good read as well.

159

I too love to cook, and if you look on my personal list of things to do, improving my writing skills is near the top (somewhere after “acknowledge all friends’ birthdays” and before “figure out how to make nail polish last more than a day”). So, with a no small amount of trepidation I am starting my own food blog. I have always hesitated because a) I am not convinced anyone would care what we have for dinner and, b) I am not convinced I can write coherently about what we had for dinner. However, as my mother has always told me, “You’re not getting any younger, so what are you waiting for”. Besides, I know she will read it.