Monday, August 14, 2006

Julia Birthday Project

For my part in the Julia Child Project initiated by Lisa at Champaign-Taste, I fixed Turkey Orloff, from the cookbook, Julia Child & Company.

That's Julia's on the left, and mine on the right. I think I came pretty close to getting it right. I chose this particular recipe for these reasons: (1) I already had most of the ingredients at home, and (2) it wasn't as work-intensive as many of her dishes. I didn't have to slaughter a lamb, fillet a whale, or roll out a crust.

The recipe in it's entirety can be found on my cooking Blog. It's long and windy there, but I can summarize it for you quickly: It's a casserole with onions, rice, turkey, mushrooms and cheese.

Brian's friend, John, is "renting" Brian's room for a few weeks until his apartment opened up. I've struck a deal with him: Skip the rent and be my slave: Help me shampoo carpets. AND drop back in and be my Julia guinea pig. Here's John's review:

Aw, he was just being polite. Honestly, neither one of us flipped over this dish. It was a little bland—no garlic! No pepper! Barely a spice! In addition, it was nauseatingly oily. Every layer but the cheese was cooked in butter, and it was more than I could handle, mentally. I do think I could take the base recipe, spice it up a bit, and create an "Orloff Lite" that would be more to my liking.

One observation I had while following this recipe is that Julia's instructions are VERY thorough. I'm not sure if that makes the dish easier or more cumbersome and intimidating. The onion chopping instructions alone consist of about 50 words.

Mine would have read: "Chop the onions." Maybe I'd throw an extra word, like "finely." Julia, however, gives standard and metric measurements for the size of the chopped onion...AND she even instructs the reader to peel the onion.

I had a blast playing along, and I DID learn some things:

I didn't know there was juice in a mushroom, but if you scoop up a handful of diced/chopped mushrooms and squeeze, it pours out, red. Mushroom blood! I will definitely incorporate that little trick in the next spinach & mushroom lasagna I make, to keep it from becoming watery.

And I'm less intimidated of roux now; flour and butter dishes (aka, gravy) have never been my strong point; gravy is assigned to my sister each Thanksgiving. I'm sure she'll print this out next November, highlight the line where I admit I really can do it, and hand me a spoon.

So, Happy Heavenly Birthday, and thanks to you, Lisa, for the challenge.
What's next?!


  1. I've tagged you:) Cos anna tagged me. refer to took me a while to do it..even then I've left some blanks.

  2. Why is it that every time you tell me you are coming to LA I'm out of town! I'll be in Pittsburg for my husbands high school reunion. We fly back on Sunday - maybe we can get together on Monday Sept 4th?

  3. I was going to make this dish too! But, it is very labor intensive. Well, so was the dish I made--go figure. It looks great, by the way.

  4. "Mushroom blood": very funny. I'm so glad you participated, even though you didn't love the dish. It's always good to try something new, whatever the outcome, eh?

  5. It looks good and I love learning new things like about mushrooms.

    I give it a thumbs up also!

  6. spinach and mushroom lasagna???? sounds too good to be true - is it?


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