Monday, August 24, 2009

Julia Child, Fougasse, and Another Award

August is a very important month for Julia Child. She was born on August 15th, and died in the month of August of the year 2004, two days shy of her 92nd birthday. There are many people I wished I had met before they left this earth, Julia Child being among them. I have gotten to know her through the legacy of her books, her television appearances, and the lives of the many people she touched. I would have wanted to cook along with her, in her kitchen, and laugh with her.

The first time I heard about this amazing person was when I bought the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which I don't use as much as I should (note to self!). I was intrigued by this woman who is by far responsible for changing the way Americans eat, who introduced weird ingredients to a populations used to frozen TV dinners, in the land of processed food.

Many people are celebrating her life this month, and the movie Julie and Julia came out on the 8yth. I read the book Julie and Julia as part of my book club, it wasn't one of my favorites, but the movie was better, which is usually rare, and Maryl Streep did an amazing job playing Julia Child. Next I would love to read My Life in France to learn more about Julia, through her own words.

Michael Pollen, the clever journalist that he is, wrote a great article on Julia Child and food in the New York Times.

Dorie Greenspan collaborated with Julia Child in the wonderful book Baking with Julia and she also wrote a nice post on Julia in the form of a tale.

Julia at Melanger dedicated a basil lemon tart to Julia.

I have written many praises to the book Baking with Julia, here, and here , for its amazing array of wonderful recipes. The book was the product of a PBS series hosted by Julia Child, and the recipes are from contributing chefs, so consider it the crème de la crème of baking recipes and styles. For this month Bread Baking Day, an event created by the talented Zorra, I decided to try to make Fougasse since the theme is to bake something you have never made before. I had wanted to make Fougasse for years, since seeing the beautiful picture in Julia's book, but never managed to make it, so now was the time. While reading the recipe, I had a DUH! moment when I realized that Fougasse is the same as Focaccia, but shaped differently, not sure why it didn't occur to me from the name, a DUH! moment indeed.

from Baking with Julia

Makes 2 large or 3 small breads

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of tepid water
2 TBS active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tsp salt
EVO oil
fresh herbs

-Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of water and let it bubble for 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer.
-Add the rest of the ingredients and mix for 10 minutes at low speed with a hook attachment.
-Transfer the dough onto a floured counter, let rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, pull the dough and fold it like a letter to develop more gluten. Repeat one more time after 30 minutes. -Let proof until double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When doubled, punch the dough down, and let it rise a second time. After the second rise, punch the dough again and chill it overnight.
-On the second day, divide the dough in two or three pieces depending on the desired size of the final fougasse. Shape the dough into a tear drop shape and cut slits with a sharp knife so it resembles a leaf. Transfer the dough onto a paper lined baking pan and enlarge the holes so they will stay open during proofing. Brush the dough with olive oil.
-Proof the fougasse in a warm, draft free place until doubled. When the bread is proofed, sprinkle it with some salt and fresh herbs of your choice and bake it at 450F, until the internal temperature reaches 190F. I made three mini leaves that were 8 oz each, and two big ones that were about 1 pound each.

Lastly, I want to thank Lien, a blogger whom I feel very connected to, for surprising me with this award. I feel very flattered to be included in the group of talented bloggers Lien gave the award to, and to receive my second award in a week.


The rules, copied a pasted from Lien's blog are the following:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Like Lien, I don't like to talk about myself too much, and to pick 7 things is hard, but here it goes....

1. I am an advanced skier, but blew my left ACL, so now I ski like an old advanced skier.
2. I am a very messy house keeper, and have piles of documents everywhere. My drawers, on the other end, are very organized.
3. Chocolate is my drug of choice ;o)
4. I used to swim a mile a day for a while, until I hurt my left shoulder, now I am very out of shape.
5. Genetics was my favorite subject in College, followed by Biochemistry and Botany.
6. I find Politics really boring, a fact I am ashamed of.
7. Ironically, I failed English twice in High School (studying was not my priority back then I guess).

I am passing this award to 7 creative food bloggers :
*Anna of Kitchenlander, a very creative fellow Daring Baker and Italian blogger.
*Lisamichele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives, where you can find great recipes and wonderful photographer.
*Lolo of Vegan Yum-Yum, who takes beautiful pictures of her vegan creations.
*Marika of Madcapcupcake, another vegan Daring Baker who takes wonderful pictures as well.
*Tuki of La Ciliegina sulla Torta, who writes in Italian and takes great pictures of her wonderful creations.
*Philomena of O pistachio who has wonderful recipes and mouthwatering pictures.
*Y of Lemonpi, an incredible artist and very creative when it comes to dessert, also a Daring Baker who has saved my #@& three times on the challenges because she is a day ahead in Australia so her posts had alerted me that I was in trouble.

Go ahead, spread the love.


Lisa said...

Laura, Thank you so much, I'm incredibly flattered!

On another note, Julia is one of my top 5 favorite chefs of all time, and I also own a copy of Baking with Julia. It's one of my fav cookbooks hands down. As a matter of fact, I was thinking of taking on Steve Sullivan's mixed starter Pain d'Epi's (wheat stalks)for this month's BBA, but I'm running out of time due to other recipes I need to tackle!

Also, loved reading your '7 things'. As you may know, I tore my ACL, MCL, Meniscus etc, and am still rehabbing almost 10 months after the surgery. I don't think I'll be skiing any time soon. Oh, wait, I don't ski LOL

Finally, your fougasse turned out beautiful! It looks even better than the photo in the book. Major Kudos, and thank you so much again for thinking of me when passing on this award! :)

Rose said...

Wonderful post! Your fougasse looks delicious!

Genetics?! Fascinating!!! I really enjoyed reading about you :) Have a wonderful week!

Simona said...

Molto carina, la tua fougasse. Parlando di fougasse mi e' tornato in mente che un po' di tempo fa una persona mi chiese la ricetta della fugassa veneta e mi ha fatto venire la curiosita': l'hai mai fatta?

LegalAlien said...

Thank you very much for the award, I really appreciate it!

I'm one of those who didn't know about Julia before reading Julie&Julia, I wish I could say that's because I'm too young to know her!
Here I will have to wait until the end of October to see the movie, I'm really curious, because I've seen that a lot of people who weren't enthusiastic about the book loved the movie.

Anonymous said...

You are so sweet. Thanks for including me ♥

denise said...

Your fougasse looks absolutely beautiful! Combine that with your recent Tomales Bay (one of my favorite places in the world) kayaking trip and I'd say life has been pretty good for you lately.

Jill said...

Congratulations on your award! Your Fougasse looks so delicious and beautiful! I haven't made that kind of bread since culinary school (note to self--make some soon!). Also, I really enjoyed reading your post with all the great information about Julia Child and learning a bit more about you. :)

Y said...

Hi Laura! Congrats on your award and thank you for passing it on to me! Chocolate is also my drug of choice :D

Julia @ Mélanger said...

Thanks for pick up on the Lime Basil tart. Hope I did Julia proud. I think she would be suitably impressed by your fougasse here. I had to share your 'duh' moment. Fougasse....Focaccia. Ahhhhhh. :)

Jill said...

Laura~ Where is your DB Challenge? I'm so excited to see how it turned out. :)

Lien said...

What a beautiful shape has your fougasse, wonderful. We have to wait for this film to be in the theaters until october, but it'll be fun.
Great blogger you choose, it's great to meet some new blogs this way!

Jackie at said...

Hi Laura,

Love your fougasse looks amazing. You should submit it to the bread contest on my site. The winner gets a $179 Super Bread bread knife from New West Knifeworks. You can get more info here:

Let me know if you're interested. All I need is a photo of your bread (for voting) and the link to your recipe.


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