Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dinner and a Movie: Julie & Julia

As you all know by now, I like cooking. A LOT. So when I heard about the movie Julie & Julia, I started counting down until it came out. I read both books a while back, and fell in love with Julia Childs after reading My Life in France. She was such a character, and I was fascinated by her life story. I also read Julie & Julia, about Julie Powell's blogging project. She cooked all the recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year, and blogged about the whole adventure. I liked the idea of the book, but thought Julie was kind of a jerk. Honestly, I didn't finish the book, but I still thought the project was a fun concept.

The movie Julie & Julia came out last Friday. I wasn't sure what to expect, because there had been tons of publicity before the movie and that is not always a sign of a good film. But I was excited, and insisted on seeing the movie on opening night. Aside from the fact we had to sit in the front row (full house!), I adored the move! The actresses did a great job with their characters, and I thought they did a great job combining the two stories in a way that really flowed. The movie made me want to cook, blog, eat, and live in Paris... so really it was all my usual emotions captured on film! I would recommend gathering your foodie friends to check out this movie, and have a French food feast planned for before the movie. But plan your cooking times carefully, to avoid arriving late and sitting in the front row :)

I made a broccoli and mushroom quiche for our dinner, with potato gratin and roasted green beans. Not the most summery meal, but it was a cool and rainy day in Chicago. I wanted to make the ratatouille from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but we'd had a busier day than I expected and I decided roasting green beans would be much more manageable. The quiche recipe was inspired by a recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Here's my version.

Savory Herb Pie Crust

5 ounces all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp herbes de Provence
8 Tbsp cold butter (1 stick), cut into about 8 pieces
3 Tbsp ice water, plus more if necessary

Combine flour, salt, and herbes de Provence in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn the machine on; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.

Add the three tablespoons of ice water, and process again until the dough comes together. Add more water if it's too dry, or a little flour if it's overly sticky. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disc, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to one day. Proceed with quiche recipe below.

Mushroom and Broccoli Quiche

1 recipe Savory Pie Crust
4 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onions
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, in bite sized pieces
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 tsp dried thyme
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups cream, half and half, or milk, heated until just warm

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the chilled pie crust and place into a pie dish. Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Boil or steam the broccoli for about two minutes, so it's tender crisp and not fully cooked.

Put the butter or oil into a large skillet that has been warmed over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute for 3 or 4 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for an additional 5 minutes, until mushrooms and onions are softened. Add the thyme and broccoli, stir, and take off the heat.

Combine the eggs and creme in a bowl, then add to the mushroom mixture. Place the partially cooked shell onto a baking sheet, and pour in the egg mixture. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the quiche is almost firm and lightly brown on top. It should still jiggle a little in the middle. Cool on a wire rack, and serve either warm or at room temperature.

I baked my quiche in the Gien tart dish I got for my birthday this year. Apparently it's a popular brand of earthenware in France, so I thought it was appropriate for this dinner!


Chris said...

Yay! I'm so glad you liked the movie! I LOVED Meryl Streep - totally stole the show. I could even have done without the Julie parts. :) Oh - and I hear Julie has a new book too?

Your quiche looks fantastic!

Liz said...

Miam! Mushroom and brocoli sounds good in this quiche. I also love the idea of adding herbs to pie crusts. The menu sounds good and I will be waitig for the movie to come out in Europe.

TheKitchenWitch said...

I loved the movie also! I thought Amy Adams did a great job...not sure why all the blah press for her?

That quiche looks delicious! Seems like the perfect dish for a light summer meal on the porch.