Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Julie & Julia Project

Who doesn't love the movie "Julie & Julia?" If you're a cook, I think you have to love it. If you eat, you have to love it.  Am I right?  As a kid, I didn't watch much Julia Child. I remember just thinking that she was a frumpy, shrill-voiced old grandma type, which didn't interest me at all. However, my husband loved watching her so his impression is quite different. What this movie did for me was to educate me to what a truly unique, interesting and forward-thinking woman she was. 

After watching it yet again recently, I got to thinking about another cookbook of mine.  I have referred to it before. It's called Dinner Tonight and it was published in 2003 by the AllRecipes.com people.  

I was selling a house for a lady and went by one day to check in on her.  She had begun packing her house up and in her dining room I found stacks and stacks of cookbooks up against the wall.  When she said she was throwing them out, I said "Whoa, lady, back the truck up!"  You could hear the squeal of the brakes in my head.  Throw away a cookbook?  What foul blasphemy is this? So I rescued this one and a few others from the stacks and couldn't be more happy about this fortuitous encounter.

This cookbook is my super-#1-fandango-favorite.  If  you're unfamiliar with AllRecipes.com, go look it up now.  Real, regular ol' people like you and me post their recipes on the site. Once one of the rest of us make it, we rate & review it.  So back in 2003, the owners of the site decided to publish the highest rated recipes on their website.  There you have it. What I love about this book is that it's a collection of their best. Every recipe I've tried has worked and has been really awesome.  This is what lead me to decide that I will make any recipe in this book, even if it doesn't sound all that good at first glance.  I learned this lesson with the "chicken breasts Pierre."

One of my recents was "blackened shrimp Stroganoff." 

I went light on the blackening because of the little gourmand, but next time, I'm going to ramp up the spice.  I loved this dish for a few reasons.  First, so often when I think I'd like a hot, creamy pasta, this is what I see in my head.  Delicious shrimp with tangy sour creaminess, capers, roasted red pepper all tangled up in some noodles.  Add a hunk of crusty bread, maybe a little Caesar salad on the side and you have the perfect pasta supper.  The blackening seasoning paired with the creamy Stroganoff sauce is a sublime marriage of flavors that probably would have never thought to put together. And, of course, you can never go wrong with shrimp!

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