Julia Child in her kitchen


Now I’m no chef by any means, and that’s being generous. Honestly, my boyfriend is the chef in the house. He went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu here in Austin and has worked at some of the best restaurants in NYC. Since we moved to Austin in February, I’ve made it my mission to learn how to cook on my own and I’ve been slowly improving (I hope he thinks so too!). Secretly though, I give credit to Pinterest for providing 99% of my dinner ideas.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking and a bottle of wine

Step one, and I consider this the most important step, is pouring a big glass of wine. I felt really connected to Julie Powell in this sense. Also, I have found that it makes most of my cooking much better. Since I decided to make cornflake-crusted chicken this week, I chose a side dish from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking that would fit my southern theme: CHOU-FLEUR À LA MORNAY, GRATINÉ in other words, Cauliflower Au Gratin with Cheese.

Stirring bechamel for chou-fleur a la mornay, gratine

Sauces certainly are not my forte, however I sucked it up, downed a couple glasses of wine and hit the ground running. Turns out, I can make an awesome béchamel sauce and it’s pretty easy, who knew? The key to this sauce is the correct temperature and attention to stirring while over heat. Usually I try to keep my dishes within 5-7 ingredients for my own sanity. Yes, I know, but I’m taking baby steps here.

Blanching cauliflower for Julia Child's Cauliflower Gratin

My favorite thing about cauliflower is that it’s so versatile and inexpensive. You couldn’t pay me to eat it as a kid, but it has now become my go-to veggie. After making the béchamel, I quickly blanched the cauliflower and then covered it with the delicious creamy sauce (to which I added cheese).

Cauliflower Gratin with Cheese by Julia Child

Then in the oven it went! With a bit of multitasking, I was able to do both dishes at the same time and all under 45 minutes. For such an easy weeknight meal, I don’t know why I was ever afraid to try. Julia Child’s inspirational words have definitely resonated with me as I kept hearing her say, “Don’t be afraid!”

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

This was one of the few times I’ve actually truly enjoyed cooking. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the spirit of Mrs. Child, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy my meal.

Bon appétit!