5 Indispensable Kitchen Tricks from Julia Child

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I have a feeling I've posted to the wrong forum, but I'm equally certain that @morning glory will find the right home for it.

Here's the text of the original post from the excellent Food52 site:

Before the word “hack” was in anyone’s vocabulary (or before anyone even knew what a kitchen hack was), we had Julia Child. Plugging away in her iconic blue-green kitchen, this master of French cuisine discovered more handy tips and tricks than any other chef we know.

Our Cookbook Club has spent January immersed in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 and even if you haven’t been cooking alongside us, we know that you won’t be able to live without these five incredible tips we’ve picked up along the way.


What to do when… your fruit sinks to the bottom of your cake.

It’s frustrating to pull a beautiful fruit clafoutis out of the oven only to discover that all of your luscious fruit has sunk to the bottom of the pan. There’s a surprisingly easy solution to this common baking dilemma, however.

When you’re ready to bake, spread 1/4 of your batter across the bottom of your pan and set over medium heat. Let it cook for just a few minutes, until a film of batter has set, then add your fruit and the rest of the batter, and bake as directed. Allowing this bottom layer to cook and “set” creates a barrier between the fruit and the bottom of your pan.

What to do when… you’re out of shallots.

Shallots are indispensable in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and with good reason. They add a mild, sweet flavor with none of the bite of their onion relatives. But what to do when you’ve used the last one and can’t whip up your favorite vinaigrette?

Try substituting the white part of a green onion, or very finely mince a white onion and boil it for one minute. This removes some bitter sharpness of the onion.


What to do when… your sautéed mushrooms are soggy.

Stop overcrowding them! For perfect sautéed mushrooms every time, take a tip from Julia’s playbook and give them plenty of room (and time) to brown.

Mushrooms can give off quite a bit of cooking liquid, so when they’re crowded into a pan, they’ll steam rather than brown. Avoid that by using a large enough pan and letting them have enough time to get those deliciously crispy edges.


What to do when… your soup is too salty.


An over-salted soup doesn’t have to be a mood-killer with Julia’s easy, meal-saving tip.

If your soup has taken on the flavor of the Dead Sea, you can remove some of the saltiness by adding a grated potato. Simmer the potatoes in the liquid for 7 to 8 minutes, then strain the liquid, discarding the potatoes. Note that they're acting like a sponge, absorbing salty liquid (not just salt), so you might need to add in more water or another (non-salty) liquid after removing them.


What to do when… you have too many egg whites.

If you’ve ever made ice cream, pasta, or curds, you’ve probably ended up with more than a few homeless egg whites. Luckily they can easily be frozen and stored.

Julia has the perfect tip for portioning them out: two egg whites measures approximately 1/4 cup. Freeze them in muffin tins, then once frozen, unmold and store in the freezer until they’re ready to use. Once they’re thawed, they’ll whip up perfectly!
 

detroitdad

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If your soup has taken on the flavor of the Dead Sea, you can remove some of the saltiness by adding a grated potato. Simmer the potatoes in the liquid for 7 to 8 minutes, then strain the liquid, discarding the potatoes. Note that they're acting like a sponge, absorbing salty liquid (not just salt), so you might need to add in more water or another (non-salty) liquid after removing them.
Dude, I just had this problem with a ham and veggie soup that I made. Thanks for posting it.

B
 

morning glory

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I think you are in the right forum (section) - at least I can't see where else this fits.

Before the word “hack” was in anyone’s vocabulary (or before anyone even knew what a kitchen hack was), we had Julia Child. Plugging away in her iconic blue-green kitchen, this master of French cuisine discovered more handy tips and tricks than any other chef we know.
Its funny but it took me a while (this was a few years ago) to understand what the word 'hack' meant. Its not so commonly used in the UK although it is creeping in. I would say 'cooking tips'. Hacks always makes me think of computer hacking! No matter. Whatever we call them, then such gems of advice have been around forever I'd think. And some of the oldest are the best. Of course, there are some mythic ones too - like putting the bowl end of a spoon in your mouth to avoid tears when chopping onions. :scratchhead:
 
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Of course, there are some mythic ones too - like putting the bowl end of a spoon in your mouth to avoid tears when chopping onions. :scratchhead:
I've never heard that one. But, you know the absolutely fool-proof way to avoid tears when chopping onions? Have someone else do it. :laugh:
 

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@ElizabethB

Julia Child was an extraordinary woman and Chef de Cuisine .. and Pâtissier (pastry chef ) ..

And highly respected in the " Bocuse Circle of Top Chefs " including Ducasse, Robuchon, Gagnaire etcetra .. She lived in Provençe for quite a number of years as well .. Her home is an emblematic monument museum which can be visited ..

I believe we once had this conversation ..

Have a lovely evening ..
 

morning glory

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@The Late Night Gourmet
I adore Julia Child! Thank you for sharing her tips. Our friends across the pond may not realize what an impact she had on American cooking. She literally brought French cooking to the U.S. She is an icon. Don't forget the pearls!
I do know about her. But then, I'm a keen cookophile (that is not a word). Some people in the UK will know of her and certainly many will have seen the film Julia & Julia. I haven't yet seen it! Some say she is the American Elizabeth David. And there are plenty of UK folks who won't have heard of Elizabeth David either.
 

ElizabethB

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@morning glory
Not to sound preachy - Julia Child brought French cooking to the American kitchen. Few American home cooks had ever heard of, much less dreamed of cooking Boeuf Bourguignon. Until Julia. In the '60's that was the dish for the perfect dinner party. Her shows (black and white) were filmed live - no edits for mistakes. I remember one show - she was preparing a turkey. She dropped it! Picked it up, wiped it off with a towel and proceeded with her recipe. Of course with her unique laugh.
Julie & Julia was a decent film. Meryl Streep played Julia Child. It is supposed to be fact based. A young woman decided to recreate all of the recipes from Julia's book Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days. She blogged her cooking journey. Just the thought is daunting! I have read here and there that Julia Child was not pleased with the movie.:laugh:

Anyway - I have a couple of her cook books. I no longer see re-runs of her shows. :cry: She really is an icon of French cooking in the U.S. Unfortunately if you mention Julia Child to the young generation you get the "DUH?" look. A shame.

Sorry for bending your ear. I just adore her!
 

morning glory

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Not to sound preachy - Julia Child brought French cooking to the American kitchen.
You don't - and I know she did. Same could be said of Elizabeth David but she didn't make TV shows. Her books are wonderful. Similarly, hardly anyone here will know of Elizabeth David unless they are my age and a keen cook.
 
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