Julia's Kitchen Wisdom

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom

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by Julia Child
     
 

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How many minutes should you cook green beans? Is it better to steam them or to boil them?
What are the right proportions for a vinaigrette?
How do you skim off fat?
What is the perfect way to roast a chicken?

Julia Child gave us extensive answers to all these questions–and so many more–in the masterly books she published over the course of

Overview

How many minutes should you cook green beans? Is it better to steam them or to boil them?
What are the right proportions for a vinaigrette?
How do you skim off fat?
What is the perfect way to roast a chicken?

Julia Child gave us extensive answers to all these questions–and so many more–in the masterly books she published over the course of her career. But which one do you turn to for which solutions? Over the years Julia also developed some new approaches to old problems, using time-saving equipment and more readily available products. So where do you locate the latest findings?

All the answers are close to hand in this indispensable little volume: the delicious, comforting, essential compendium of Julia’s kitchen wisdom–a book you can’t do without.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307593535
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/19/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
408,217
File size:
4 MB

Read an Excerpt

from the chapter Soups and Two Mother Sauces

"Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need look at a recipe again."

Homemade soups fill the kitchen with a welcome air, and can be so full and natural and fresh that they solve that always nagging question of
"what to serve as a first course."

***

CHOWDERS

Traditional chowders all start off with a hearty soup base of onions and potatoes, and that makes a good soup just by itself. To this fragrant base you then add chunks of fish, or clams, or corn, or whatever else seems appropriate. (Note: You may leave out the pork and substitute another tablespoon of butter for sautéing the onions.)

The Chowder Soup Base  

For about 2 quarts, to make a 2½-quart chowder serving 6 to 8

4 ounces (2/3 cup) diced blanched salt pork or bacon (see box, page 60)
1 Tbs butter
3 cups (1 pound) sliced onions
1 imported bay leaf
¾ cup crumbled "common" or pilot crackers, or 1 pressed-down cup fresh white bread crumbs (see box, page 46)
6 cups liquid (milk, chicken stock [page 4], fish stock [page 5], clam juices, or a combination)
3½ cups (1 pound) peeled and sliced or diced boiling potatoes
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Sauté the pork or bacon bits slowly with the butter in a large saucepan for 5 minutes, or until pieces begin to brown. Stir in the onions and bay leaf; cover, and cook slowly 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are tender. Drain off fat and blend crackers or bread crumbs into onions. Pour in the liquid; add the potatoes and simmer, loosely covered, for
20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, and the soup base is ready.

chowder suggestions

new england clam chowder.--For about 2½ quarts, serving 6 to 8. Scrub and soak 24 medium-size hard-shell clams (see box). Steam them for 3 to 4 minutes in a large tightly covered saucepan with 1 cup water, until most have opened. Remove the opened clams; cover, and steam the rest another minute or so. Discard any unopened clams. Pluck meat from the shells, then decant steaming-liquid very carefully, so all sand remains in the saucepan; include the clam-steaming liquid as part of the chowder base. Meanwhile, mince the clam meats in a food processor or chop by hand. Fold them into the finished chowder base. Just before serving, heat to below the simmer--so the clams won't overcook and toughen. Fold in a little heavy cream or sour cream if you wish; thin with milk if necessary, correct seasoning, and serve.

to prepare clams. Scrub one at a time under running water, discarding any that are cracked, damaged, or not tightly closed. Soak 30 minutes in a basin of salted water (1/3 cup salt per 4 quarts water). Lift out, and if more than a few grains of sand remain in the basin, repeat. Refrigerate, covered by a damp towel. It's wise to use them within a day or two.

fish chowder. Prepare the chowder base using fish stock (page 5), and/or light chicken stock (page 4), and milk. Cut into 2-inch chunks 2 to 2½ pounds of skinless, boneless lean fish, such as cod, haddock, halibut, monkfish, or sea bass, all one kind or a mixture. Add to the finished chowder base and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, just until fish is opaque and springy. Correct seasoning, and top each serving, if you wish, with a spoonful of sour cream.

chicken chowder. Substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts for fish, and make the chowder base with chicken stock and milk.

corn chowder. Prepare the chowder base using 6 cups of light chicken stock and milk. Stir 3 cups or so of grated fresh corn into the finished base, adding, if you wish, 2 green and/or red peppers chopped fine and sautéed briefly in butter. Bring to the simmer for 2 to 3 minutes; correct seasoning, and top each serving, if you wish, with a spoonful of sour cream.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. She lives in Cambridge, Massahusetts and Santa Barbara, California.


From the Hardcover edition.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
August 5, 1912
Date of Death:
August 12, 2004
Place of Birth:
Pasadena, California
Place of Death:
Santa Barbara, California
Education:
B.A., Smith College, 1934; Le Cordon Bleu, 1950

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Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime in Cooking 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After 40 years of cooking with fellow chefs and friends, Julia Child has developed a refined method for cooking her master recipes. In this cute little cookbook, she has also included variations to many of the recipes to show us all how creative cooking can be, yet how essential it is to follow the basic cooking truths. Julia was born in Pasadena, California. She then moved to Paris with her husband Paul and studied at the Cordon Bleu. After writing her first cookbook 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking,' in 1961, she appeared on many public television cooking shows. Judith Jones can be credited for discovering Julia Child, she is the best editor Julia Child could have ever found. She is very wise and once wrote me a nice letter to explain why my instructions in my own cookbook were too truncated. She loves the cookbooks she edits to have a personality and an easy flowing writing style. I took her advice very seriously and she has in fact improved my writing by her one small comment. It is with that said, that I can say that her influence on this book has only made Julia's writing even more wonderful. I love the fact that Julia gives her editor so much credit in the Acknowledgments section. Without great editors, most cookbooks would never make it to the publishing stage. David Nussbaum was also very influential in the writing of this particular cookbook as he was with 'Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.' He helped to gather information needed for this book from Julia's books and shows. He also spent time with Julia in Judith Jones's Vermont kitchen, working out the details of some recipes. The book I am reviewing is only 127 pages, but there is also a 288 page large print edition which I applaud Julia for considering and publishing. In both books, Julia presents soups, sauces, salads, dressings, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, breads, crepes, tarts, cakes and cookies. The index is delightfully easy to use and I love the headings, e.g., Almond(s) is in a different color than the list following it. In that way, you can find the basic categories of Apples, Crab, Soup, Cookies, etc. When you read the text in this cookbook, you will almost feel that Julia Child is reading to you. I can hear her voice and that is what makes this book so wonderful. Each chapter begins with a fun note (or what you might call a headnote) from Julia. The first chapter is 'Soups and Two Mother Sauces.' There is a recipe for 'Leek and Potato Soup.' Julia explains the master recipe and then gives variations of 'Onion and Potato Soup,' 'Cream of Leek and Potato,' and 'Watercress Soup.' What you will learn from this book is 'techniques.' This allows you to create your own recipes. In cooking there are certain proven cooking methods and that is what I believe Julia is trying to show you. You learn to make a white sauce and a hollandaise sauce in the first chapter. The style of the master recipes is similar throughout the book. Each one has a nice heading of a different color, ingredients are listed in the order they will be used and the instructions are easy-to-read, yet do not have numbers. The Variations for the recipes are in a paragraph style, but also have nice headings in a different color. Each page has two columns of text. In the second chapter, you will enjoy learning to make a 'Basic Vinaigrette Dressing.' The variations sound just delicious and there is also advice in a small block which explains how to keep your vinaigrette fresh for several days. Throughout the book you will find little blocks of text with a pink background. These must be some of Julia's secrets. This is a book you will want to read and absorb. In the third chapter, Julia has charts for blanching and boiling vegetables. She says: 'When you serve fine, fresh green vegetables, you want them to show off their color.' She gives some sage advice on how to accomplish this. The chapter on 'Meats, Poultry and Fish' is an introduction into sautéing, broilin
Alicia-M More than 1 year ago
This is just what I needed for quick reference on most topics
Memavicki More than 1 year ago
This book is chock full of information on basic techniques. It is a great bridal shower gift for a young bride with limited cooking skills or an experienced cook looking to expand her horizons. You will refer to this often.
JuliaMVD More than 1 year ago
I agree with most of what previous reviewers have expressed so I'll keep it short. This is, indeed, an extraordinary book. It shows it was written after a lifetime of cooking in the sense that Mrs. Child was evidently aware of the changes in available ingredients, equipment and food trends, and deftly avoided dating herself and concentrated in what was tried and true. This book is probably be as useful 20 years from now as it was when it was first published, about a decade ago. I am not sure this book will be helpful for the very new and inexperienced cooks (another reviewer suggested Betty Crocker and I may agree with that). A couple of years finding your way around your kitchen, defining your own personal values and getting acquainted with your equipment and knowing the ingredients you can buy will certainly help appreciate this book better, as it contains the answers to many questions you may have (I personally found the list of tips to brown meat definitely revealing). In all, I would say this book is an essential addition to the thoughtful home cook's personal library and will surely pass the test of time with honors.
Stemline More than 1 year ago
Collected here are many, many tips and recipes for the sort of people who make their own meat broths, pastries, and other complex foods. It is more a reference than a cook book, although it contains many recipes. One warning: although some of the reviews I have seen call this an introduction, it will not be of much help to those who buy, for example, the introductory Betty Crocker cookbooks that explain such things as how to boil an egg.
Anonymous 9 months ago
A must have book if you love to cook, especially Julia's way..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have a granddaughter who is going to culinery school and Julia Childs was my favorite cook. I learned alot from her T.V. program long ago. I gave my gran-daughter some of my books and decided to get a few new ones of her own. Julia"s Kitchen Wisdom has great idea"s for a new person learning to cook with good idea's. The stock was and is always a first thing to learn. I did it and now her too. I give this book a 10 star.
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michelle warvel More than 1 year ago
such a good book and movie
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Whether you are just learning or an experience cook, this book is a wonderful reference. Great basic recipes with variations.
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