julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

Hips Don’t Lie

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“I paused to put on some lipstick in a vain attempt to pretend I’m not an about-to-be overweight, about-to-be thirty-year-old in a dead-end job whom no one will ever have a romantic thought about ever again.” – Julie Powell 

I got home from work last night and had time to begin packing for a business trip (this morning I head out to Atlanta to work a trade show…*yawn*) before I needed to start cooking dinner. Our official business polo shirts arrived at work and I wanted to try them on before I packed them, just to be sure no weird surprises would await me in Georgia. And it’s a good thing I did, because I came to the disturbing (yet not overly surprising) realization that my work pants no longer fit. I could go on about how my dryer must have shrunk them, but let’s not kid ourselves – no amount of Spanx and special undergarments could hide the fact that my experimental French cuisine project was taking its toll. Trust me. I tried.

So it was a quick emergency pants run to my favorite French clothing store down the street (Tarjay) where I found some slacks on sale that would do the trick. While I would normally refuse to buy clothing a size larger and instead get myself back on some sort of exercise regime, desperate times call for desperate measures. And after all – it’s amazing what a roomy pair of pants can do for one’s comfort level. *sigh of relief*

Of course, being a mere 5’3″, any time I buy pants I am faced with the reminder that according to the world of fashion, anyone with my hip and waist measurement is apparently over 6 feet tall. Luckily, because this is a common occurrence, I have learned how to hem a pair of pants in ten minutes or less. I know, my skills never cease to amaze, do they?

Onions and Ham

When I got home from the store, time was running short – I was hoping to have dinner ready when Ben got home. So I got to work on our supper: Rapee Morvandelle (gratin of shredded potatoes with ham and eggs and onions). I’ve learned from Julia that any time she uses the word “gratin”, it means we’re going to brown something in the oven, so I knew that this meal would be a sort of casserole. It was surprisingly easy to make! I sauteed onions in a little bit of butter (I better enjoy these new pants while I can…at this rate, I’ll be getting a larger pair soon), then added some pre-cooked diced ham. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl I beat eggs, cream, seasonings, and grated Swiss cheese together, then added the ham and onions.

I set the mixing bowl aside and peeled and grated four small potatoes, squeezing out all their excess water in paper towels (it’s amazing how much liquid is inside a raw potato!). Then I stirred them into the egg mixture and poured everything into an oven-safe buttered pan. I dotted the top of the contents with butter and put the pan into the top third of my oven, preheated to 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Rapee Morvandelle

It was perfect timing – Ben got home just as the casserole was coming out of the oven. It looked terrific! The cheese and eggs had browned nicely on top, but weren’t too crisp. The liquid around the edges of the pan was bubbling and everything smelled terrific. I used a spatula to serve helpings onto our plates, and we made some biscuits from a can as a little side dish. We sat down to eat, and were both really happy with the results. The Swiss cheese had melted nicely and gave a little flavor to the meal, and the potatoes reminded me of American hashbrowns. I felt like the dish could use a little something, so I put some ketchup on my plate to dip my fork into, and I’m here to tell you that this dish is NOT missing ketchup. Ick. The acidity of the tomato reacted negatively with something in the morvandelle, so I would strongly discourage you from making that mistake. Ben thought it just needed more seasoning and was happy to add some salt and pepper to his plate.

Dinner is served.

Although we had this for dinner, this dish would make a great breakfast – it’s super easy and quick to put together and didn’t involve very many steps. We give this meal two thumbs way up. And the best part is that, because I made the full recipe instead of dividing it in half like I usually do, Ben has leftovers to snack on for the rest of the week while I’m out of town. Bonus!

Just because I won’t be at home in my own kitchen for the next few days, don’t think I won’t have plenty to write about this week. Keep checking back for your daily dose of culinary madness.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to finish hemming my pants. It’s hard living in a world made for giant stick people.

– Jessica

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One Response to “Hips Don’t Lie”

  1. Melody says:

    You’ll forgive me if your fellow 5′-3″ riser mate with considerably wider hips doesn’t shed any tears for your new found curves. You were most likely too thin, anyway. 😉

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