I am far too often a day late and a dollar short (remember we’re all a work in progress), it’s been nearly two weeks (August 15th) since the birthday passed of the late great Julia Child but is there ever really a bad time to pay homage to someone who has made a difference in your life, I think not.
Normally Julia’s birthday will come and go without me giving it a second thought but a few weeks ago I was speaking with a fellow chef friend of mine from Connecticut who mentioned that the day was drawing near and how she planning to celebrate it with a weekend full of fun culinary festivities honoring the Godmother of the modern gourmet food movement in America. After that conversation I took a few moments to think about Julia, her personal life, career and subsequent legacy. I’ve always been a fan and I recognize the importance of her work in the food world as I know it. But this time what struck me most about Julia was how old she was when her career really took off. She was no twenty-something hipster (no offense, I love my hipster compadres) but instead well over 50 when her cooking show first aired. Most of her peers had adult children and were prepping for possible grandparenthood or retirement from other careers all the while she was just hitting her stride. Why is her age so important to me? Because for the past year I’ve really struggled with the direction of my own career. Much has changed in the past 15 years since I’ve graduated culinary school. And although I have reached many of the initial goals I set for myself I need to figure out a new set of goals and aspirations. I have always had this proverbial ticking clock inside my head making feel like I’m running out of the time needed to reach a certain level of success. But Julia’s story gives me hope, Julia’s story shows me that even though I am a near 40 year old African-American woman with two small children, a husband and an unfashionably dated CD collection I still have plenty of time to hit my stride and I’m hopeful that this blog and upcoming product line will get me there. So Happy Belated Birthday Julia Child and thank you for leading the way.
Cherry Coconut Clafoutis
The Cherry Clafoutis is the very first dessert I learned to make in culinary school and it is quintessentially French. It’s one of those desserts that’s super simple to execute but makes a sparkling impression. In my attempt to modernize it a bit I used coconut milk in lieu of regular milk. What results is a dessert that despite its tropical flair will have you falling in love with classic French cooking again.
Ingredients:1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for greasing the ramekins
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus some for dusting the ramekins
- 2 cup cherries, pitted and sliced in half
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- confectioners sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 6 – 6 oz ramekins; sprinkle the inside of each ramekin with a little coating of sugar.
- Place a few cherries in each ramekin in a single layer, I ended up with about 5 cherry halves in each dish.
- In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar together with a whisk until foamy and fairly thick.
- Add the flour, coconut milk, vanilla and salt. Continue beating until the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Pour equal amounts of the batter into each ramekin and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.