Update 12: New Year's Goal: Become an "official" Gourmess by August 2010

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

I'm feeling very French today --it could be because I'm drinking wine right out of the bottle and eating Jacques Torres Caramels au Beurre des Charentes-Poitou by the handful as I type this. C'est bien!

Or, it could be because I've finished Sauce Espagnole (Basic Brown Sauce) and Sauce Tomate (Tomato Sauce) with great success. Both involved me bringing either the brown or white stock to a boil (skimming off any gunk that comes to the top) and then adding it to a rondeau that has sautéed butter, bacon and mirepoix waiting for it. Then, you add a singer of flour (dry flour-based liaison where the liquid is sprinkled with sifted flour and then either sautéed or placed in the oven for a couple minutes), a bouquet garni, salt, crushed garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and that's basically it. You simmer for about an hour, skimming away, and then run through the chinois so you get just the sauce -- not any of the bacon or veggies, etc. For the tomato sauce, I also ran it through a food mill so all the goodies would get juiced that way. Fun!

Sauce Espagnole:

Sauce Tomate:

I can't get over how great bacon and onions smell ... or, maybe it's the Chicken Tikka Masala I'm making at the same time (hey, I love to multi-task!).

Anyway, the weekend will be the rest of the sauces, and then we're on to Session 5!

Happy Friday!

P.S. I finally got a rondeau, thanks to RueLaLa.com's Culinary Institute of America boutique. The CIA packages everything so nicely -- the box even says "ENJOY!" when you open it.