When my friend Monique (@labelle_eco_life on Instagram) told me she planned to do a Julie & Julia of my cookbook, I thought she was kidding. If you haven’t seen the Nora Ephron movie, in it, dissatisfied cubicle cog Julie, looking for a creative outlet, cooks and blogs her way through Julia Child’s classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She gives herself a deadline of one year to make all 524 recipes. Meltdowns and scrumptious food shots ensue.
Well, Monique was serious. Every day I’ve watched my recipes come to life in her Instagram feed. And while I doubt my simple dishes will trigger any meltdowns, the food Monique has been posting, like the food in the film, certainly does look scrumptious.
Photo credits in this post: Monique Labelle-Wheeler
Monique’s first nine recipes
Monique, very efficiently, started off with some ferments. The hot pepper sauce and preserved lemons ferment for a month or so (it depends on your kitchen) and they both go really well with other dishes that Monique will cook later, such as the potato-cauliflower dal, which itself goes well with the dosas, which go well with the sautéed chard…
Next, Monique moved onto the sourdough discard tortillas and refried beans (the hot pepper sauce will go really well with that meal). Like my pita bread recipe, you can keep the tortilla dough in the refrigerator and tear off hunks of the dough when you want to cook a few tortillas.
Monique already bakes sourdough bread so no meltdowns here… I updated the recipe for the book.
I wanted a recipe (or two…I have two) in the cookbook that calls for an entire bunch of herbs. When we need herbs for a recipe, we usually need only two tablespoons—great if you grow herbs but not so great if you buy them. This tabbouleh—a parsley based salad with cucumber, tomato and bulgur (cracked wheat)—uses a large bunch of parsley. Monique grabbed the fresh mint from her backyard.
Monique recently went vegan so she has been adapting recipes in my book when necessary, like these waffles. She used vegan yogurt and substituted flax meal for the egg and chose coconut oil for the fat. She said her family loved the waffles!
I’ll end with this last dish for now—Monique has signed up to cook all 75 recipes—my Kernel-to-Cob Corn Chowder. You first make broth with the cobs, silks and husks and then make a chowder, thickened with puréed cashews. Monique’s husband Dave and their son Marc cooked this for Monique for Mother’s Day on Sunday.
Monique and I chatted on Instagram Live today and you can watch that below if you like. She had lots of questions for me about fermentation (my favorite thing to talk about!). I showed up wearing my Julia Child shirt dress and pearls.