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Julia Child was Right

Friday, June 03, 2011

I remember watching Julia Child as a kid. She was on the PBS channel after my Saturday morning cartoons. I loved her enthusiasm and passion for French cooking. When she made a mistake, she would just keep right on going! Whenever I make a mistake cooking, I think, "What would Julia do?" Her food looked so decadent and fancy, but she insisted it was easy.

Years later, I discovered she was right! It is decadent, fancy AND easy!

I just recently learned how to make coq au vin. It is so delicious and easy, I make it once a month or so. Cooking with wine sounds expensive, but it's not. We are wine drinkers, and try to drink a glass a night with dinner ($5 bottle, not Dom Perignon!). Sometimes, we open a bottle, we don't finish it, and we accidentally leave it open too long. Wine starts to turn to vinegar pretty rapidly if you leave it open too long and it starts to oxidize. Instead of throwing it out, I make coq au vin with it.

I tried a slightly different technique with my coq au vin this time. I took pieces of chicken with veggies and marinated it in the wine with some herbes de provence. I love marinades. I thought, why can't you marinade coq au vin? It has such a wonderful rich flavor, I thought it would be even better if the chicken marinated and allowed the wine to permeate the meat.

I let it marinade 2 days. I browned the chicken in a large dutch oven, then put all the veggies and the wine marinade in.

It simmered for about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, I prepared a dessert treat. Poached pears.

I took a pear, peeled it, cut in half, and cut out the core. I put it in a small oven safe pan. Made a mixture of 4 tablespoons lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar, a teaspoon of cognac (optional), and about 4 tablespoons water. I poured it over the top of the pears. Covered with lid, and baked it in the oven at 325F for about 45 minutes until the pears were soft.

Always have a big leafy salad with lots of colorful veggies at every meal. Always.

I served the coq au vin. I should have taken all the pieces out and made a reduction with the juices, but...I was hungry. And lazy. So the sauce is bit more watery than it should be.

I plated the pear with a scoop of homemade dark chocolate gelato and fresh blueberries.

Looks decadent, fatty and rich, doesn't it? It all looks like something we are cheating on, or shouldn't do.

Not so fast. Here's the breakdown

Coq au Vin with salad:
Calories: 248
Carbohydrates: 5g
Fat: 16g
Protein: 15g

Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate Gelato and Fresh Blueberries:
Calories: 92
Carbohydrates: 19g
Fat: 2g
Protein: 1g

Net total for the whole meal:
Calories: 340
Carbohydrates: 24g
Fat: 18g
Protein: 16g

You've got a serving of protein, big pile of veggies, and a serving of fruit for less than 400 calories. It is neither low carbohydrate nor low fat, but it's the right mix of things you need to be healthy. Notice that there are no starches, however. You can add a small piece of bread, if you like. I felt it was unnecessary.

None of it is overwhelming. When we finished our meal, we were satisfied, not stuffed. When was the last time you had a fruit serving at dessert, and for less than 100 calories? Here is apparently the French secret to dessert. The combination of the lemon citrus, the pear, and the chocolate gelato blends together so well, you aren't screaming for more at the end. Less is more. The other trick (metabolically) is the fructose from the fruit, and the small bit of fat from the gelato prevents your insulin from surging. No raging mood swings. No sugar high, then crash. No hunger pains an hour after dinner.

Julia Child was 91 when she died. If any of this is unhealthy, let's just say I'd rather eat this unhealthy with cognac poached pears in my belly.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your Coq au Vin method is just like what Alton Brown does for his -- it takes two days, but it's still so simple! Hmmm... maybe this should be my next culinary adventure.

    And as for calories, I say that when it's real foods that you've prepared yourself, the calories don't matter as much because you know you're getting something wholesome and nutritious!
    3518 days ago
    I love watching re-runs of Julia Child !! While many of her recipes were very healthy, (eh-hem), some weren't quite as healthy. One of my absolute favorite recipes of hers, is her roast chicken. Do you remember what she does ?

    First, she massages lots of butter onto the skin of the chicken. Then, she wraps the chicken in strips of bacon. Then it goes into the oven to bake. OMG !!

    I wish they'd rerun her episode on eggs. She did the most marvelous omelettes. They were light, airy and tasty too. You should do her omelettes. Speaking of which. so should I ! LOL !


    PS - Of course, the reason Julia's food was sooo yummy was because she took time to cook. That's why I love that the slow cooking movement is making a come back.

    3519 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/4/2011 4:29:55 PM
    FARWELLCLAY: I don't always use a dressing. One that I often make that is a mix of red wine vinegar, a touch of balsamic vinegar, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
    3519 days ago
    Yum, I can't wait to try this! No dressing on the salad?
    3519 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7840601
    Great blog. Thanks for sharing it. When is dinner served? I'll be right over with some wine. emoticon
    3519 days ago
    Your food looks wonderful as usual! I love the poached pear idea along with the gelato!
    3520 days ago
    Beautifully Presented. I see the next generation super star :)
    3520 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5575543
    Mmmmmm good; yummy; and it looks great. I am going to try it. emoticon emoticon
    3520 days ago
    I adore Julia Child. I especially love her show with Jacques Pepin -- together the two of the are a riot! She always talked about how afraid we are of fat and how foolish it is. Yep, her take on moderation must be key since she lived to be 91!

    I agree with Don - what fabulous-looking dishes! Isn't it so satisfying when you produce such delectable and healthful meals in your own kitchen? emoticon
    3520 days ago
    Yum! Are you sure you didn't "borrow" some snapshots from a professional chef's website...? :-)

    Looks most scrumptious!

    3520 days ago
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