Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Julia!! #JuliaChild

Today is Julia Child's Birthday.  The iconic chef who taught so many that cooking a great meal was not only possible but a lot of fun as well.

She was the first "tv"chef, years before anyone ever dreamed that there would be an entire network devoted to nothing but cooking and food.

Julia has been an inspiration to many home cooks and professional chefs.  The movement brought about by her and her friend and cohort Jacques Pepin has evolved into quite the following of people who also document their food journeys on the internet through blogs.

We food bloggers dream of one day influencing just one person as much as Julia influenced the whole cooking community. In honor of Julia's birthday, our friends, Ellen of Family Around the Table and Cynthia of Feeding Big, invited a group of us to share a recipe that was written by Julia or one that we thought she would love.

I had just gotten back from the Farmer's Market where I had picked up this gorgeous head of cauliflower.  I pulled out my favorite Julia Child Cookbook and went to the Chofleur section.

Like all of Julia's recipes in this book, this is a simple process but is broken into several parts with each part being on a different page.  In this case, the bechemal is located in another section.  I have combined it all into one recipe to make life easier for you.  You're welcome.

This dish is not only easy but it can be made any time during the day and finished when you are ready to have dinner.  Cauliflower is blanched, combined with the sauce and topped with bread crumbs and shredded Swiss cheese.

A half an hour before serving, place the casserole in the oven and let it get bubbly and crispy brown on top.

Cauliflower Gratin
(Chou-Fleur a la Mornay Gratine)
source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Florets from 1 head of cauliflower
4 T. butter, divided
3 T. flour
2 c. whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 T. dried bread crumbs
2 T. shredded Swiss Cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower florets.  Cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Melt 2 T. of butter in skillet over med high heat.  Stir in the flour and cook until slightly nutty smelling.  Whisk in the milk.  Cook and stir for a minute or two until thickened.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Butter the inside of an 8x8" baking pan.  Pour 1/3 of the milk mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Add the cauliflower and pour the remaining sauce over the top.  

Combine the bread crumbs and cheese.  Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Melt the remaining 2 T. of butter and drizzle over the top. 

Bake in a preheated 375* oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly and the top is golden brown. Print Recipe

More Recipes to Honor Julia Child


  1. This looks SO tasty. I love cauliflower. I've been pickling it a lot this summer. I'll have to try this preparation soon though. Thanks for sharing, Wendy.

  2. There is nothing better than a big cheesy gratin! Cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies - it's soo versatile. You nailed this one. What a lovely way to celebrate Julia and her birthday!

  3. I am glad you put the whole recipe together in one place! It makes me crazy when I have to search for something. This looks really good and I think it is a recipe my family would love. I will head to the Farmer's Market and find a beautiful cauliflower!

  4. We love cauliflower around here, and I can't wait to give this recipe a try. It looks wonderful,and so cheesy!

  5. This looks very tasty. I need to break out of my rut and try it!

  6. This looks awesome! Sometimes following her recipes can be like looking through a flip book. This I need to try!!!

  7. What a wonderful birthday to celebrate, I have her cookbook but have not cooked anything from it. I bet this cauliflower dish is delicious.

    1. Her recipe appear much more complicated than they are because she has so many steps and they are scattered throughout the book but in actuality they are (at least those I have made) pretty straightforward and simple.

  8. This looks amazing Wendy! I love cauliflower and this looks like an amazing recipe!


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