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Sur la Table Julia Child Cooking Class

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to take a cooking class at my local Sur la Table.  The class was Celebrating Julia Child and featured some of Julia’s most famous recipes.  On the menu was a bouillabaisse with clams, mussels, and cod; puff pastry tart of heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, caramelized leeks and Gruyere cheese; cognac flamed breast of duckling a l’orange; and Grand Marnier souffle.  Before I took this class, I had never tasted clams, mussels, or duck…yes I was sheltered as a child.  But, after the class I will consider ordering any of them off a menu.  And, I loved the tart enough to make one for myself the next night!  The Chef (Maegan McPhee) made sure to wait to have all of our attention before adding any ingredient or giving us any tips for the recipe.  Also, all 14 of us, had the opportunity to get our hands dirty and take part of making every recipe.  If you have the opportunity to take this class at your local Sur la Table, take it.

Summer Bouillabaisse with Clams, Mussels, and Cod (recipe from The French Chef by Julia Child)

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Cup Sliced Yellow Onion

3/4 to 1 Cup Slice Leeks

2-3 Cups Chopped Fresh Tomatoes, or 1 1/2 Cups drained Canned Tomatoes

4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Mashed

2 1/2 Quarts Water

6 Parsley Sprigs, plus 1/3 Cup finely chopped parsley leaves for garnish

1 Dried Bay leaf

1/2 TSP Dried Thyme

1/8 TSP Ground Fennel Seeds

1/2 TSP Saffron Threads

1/2 TSP Grated Orange Zest

1/8 TSP Freshly Ground Black Pepper, plus more as needed

3-4 pounds fish heads, bones, and trimmings and 1 TBSP Kosher Salt OR 1 Quart Clam Juice and 1 1/2 Quarts Water

6-8 pounds clams, mussels, and firm-fleshed fish (cod or halibut)

1 Small French Baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices, for serving

2 TBSP Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

To prepare te soup base, heat an 8 quart Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add olive oil.  Add onions and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Add tomateos and garlic and cook and additional 5 minutes.

Add water, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, saffron, orange zest, and 1/8 TSP black pepper, stirring well to combine.  Add fish heads, bones, trimmings, and salt OR clam juice and additional water.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, skim off any impurities, and cook at a slow boil for 30-40 minutes.  Strain through a colander and return to a clean 8 quart Dutch oven.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the bouillabaisse, heat the soup base over high heat and bring to a rapid boil.  Add clams, mussels, and fish, then bring back to the boil and cook doe 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the shellfish and fish from the brothe and arrange on a serving platter.  Taste and season the soup with salt and pepper.  Place baguette slices inside a soup tureen and ladle in the soup.  Pour a ladleful of soup over the fish and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon juice.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

Puff Pastry Tart of Heirloom Tomatoes, Eggplant, Caramelized Leeks, and Gruyere Cheese (recipe from Sur la Table Celebrating Julia Child Cooking Class)

4 TBSP Unsalted Butter

1 Large Leek, white and light green parts only, washed and thinly sliced

1 TSP Herbes de Provence

1 Small Eggplant, Trimmed, Peeled, and Cut into 1/4 inch Dice

1 TSP Kosher Salt, plus more as needed

4 Ounces Chevre Cheese, crumbled

2 Ounces Roquefort Cheese, grated

2 Ounces Gruyere Cheese, grated

1 Large Ripe Heirloom Tomato, Thinly Sliced, Drained on Paper Towels

2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar (we used white vinegar)

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Package Frozen Puff Pastry, Thawed

1/2 Cup Pitted Nicoise Olives

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place a rack int he center.  To prepare vegetable filling, place butter in a large skillet and heat over medium heat.  Add leeks and Herbes de Provence and cook until light golden, about 8-10 minutes.  Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender and leeks are deep golden, another 6-8 minutes.  Stir in 1 TSP salt.  Set aside.

Combine the cheeses in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.  Place the tomato slices in a shallow pie plate and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the puff pastry shell, lightly dust a work surface with flour.  Unfold 1 sheet of thawed puff pastry and roll out lightly to form a 12×12 inch square.  Trim the corners to make it slightly round and dock (prick) the surface all over with a fork.  fit the pastry into a 9 inch tart pan and trim and excess.  Transfer to preheated oven and bake until light golden, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow shell to cool slightly.  Scatter the leeks and eggplant over the bottom of the pastry shell.  Top with the cheeses, reserving  1/2 cup.  Drain the tomatoes thoroughly and arrange them on top of the cheeses.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and olives.  Place the tart back in the oven and bake until the cheeses are bubbly and the tart shell is golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Garnish with the chopped basil and serve warm or room temperature.

Serves 6-8

Cognac-Flamed Breast of Duckling a l”Orange (recipe from Sur la Table Celebrating Julia Child Cooking Class)

2 TBSP Unsalted Butter, Divided

2 large (12-16 ounce) Muscovy duck breasts, skin on, fat trimmed to 1/8-inch thick (make sure you score the fat!)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Plus 3 TBSP cognac, divided

2 Cups Fresh Orange Juice

2 Cups Chicken Stock

2 Oranges, zest removed and segmented

2 TBSP cornstarch mixed with 2 TBSP water

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

1 TSP White Wine Vinegar, or to taste

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Melt butter in skillet and heat until it foams.  When foaming subsides, add duck breasts, skin sides down and sear until skin is browned and fat begins to render, about 5 minutes.  With a fish spatula carefully flip breasts and reduce heat to medium.  Cook until duck is medium-rare, about 8-10 minutes.  Transfer breasts to a cutting board with a well.  Tent loosely with foil to keep warm.

Pour off all but 1 TBSP fat from skillet and return to medium-heat heat.  Sprinkle sugar into the skillet.  Allow sugar to melt, undisturbed, until it turns an amber color, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and pour in 1/2 Cup cognac and orange juice, carefully scraping up the caramelized sugar and duck juices with a silicone spatula as the mixture will bubble vigorously.  Return skillet to medium-high heat and boil sauce to reduce to 2/3 cup, about 12-15 minutes.  Add rich chicken stock and orange zest and continue to boil for anther 10 minutes.  Stir together cornstarch and water in a small mixing bowl to make a slurry.  Pour cornstarch slurry slowly into orange sauce with whisking vigorously and cook until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.  Taste and season with salt, pepper, and white wine vinegar.  Keep sauce hot.

To serve, remove the skillet from the heat and carefully add the remaining 3 TBSP cognac.  If using a gas burner, gently tilt the pan toward the flame to ignite the cognac.  If using an electric burner, light it with a long wooden match.  Return skillet to heat and let the flames subside.  Add duck breasts back to skillet along with any juices that have collect on the cutting board.  Warm the duck breasts in the sauce for 1-2 minutes.  Remove the duck breasts and cut 1/4 inch thick slices using a sharp slicing knife.  Divide duck slices between 4 serving plates and arrange orange segments around them.  Drizzle with sauce and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Grand Marnier Souffle (Recipe adapted from The Arts & Soul of Baking by Sur la Table and Cindy Mushet)

Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing souffle cups

Sugar, for coating souffle cups

8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened

5 TBSP Sugar, divided

2 TBSP (3/4 ounce) all-purpose flour

1 (15 ounce) Container Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

1/4 Cup (2 ounces) Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream

Finely Grated Zest of 2 Large Oranges

2 TSP Vanilla Bean Paste or Pure Vanilla Extract

4 Large Eggs, separated, plus 1 additional egg white

3 TBSP Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur

1 Pinch Salt

Powdered Sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place a rack int he lower third.  Generously butter 8 (6 ounce)  ramekins, dust them with additional sugar, and tap out the excess.

To prepare the souffle base, place cream cheese and 2 TBSP sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Add flour and blend well.  Add ricotta and creme fraiche and blend well.  Add orange zest, vanilla, egg yolks, Grand Marnier, and salt.  Blend well.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

To prepare the egg whites, whip on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment until they form soft peaks.  With the miser running, rain in remaining 3 TBSP of sugar and beat until firm peaks form.  With a silicone spatula, gently stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the souffle base to lighten the mixture.  Fold in the remaining whites just until there are no more streaks of whites.

Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins, filling each one 1/2-inch below the rim, and set on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until set and firm to the touch.  Serve immediately, topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Serves 6-8


Bouillabaisse and Tart

Duckling a l'Orange

Grand Marnier Souffles

Grand Marnier Souffle

If you have any questions on the preparations of the recipes, let me know in the comments below!

Stay hungry…


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