There's The French Chef and There's Me

I had planned to focus solely on Les Miserables this July because it is such a monstrosity of length, but I accidentally went to my favorite little used bookstore the other day, and their July sale was Buy One Cooking Book, Get One Free, and though I don't particularly need anymore cookbooks, and though the cookbooks are just about the only books that are unpacked, and though I really truly don't have room for anymore books at all, well, I came home with this:

That's a lot of Paris in July goodness!  Here are The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child, Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn, Immoveable Feast by John Baxter, The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, and My Life in France by Julia Child.  I paid $9 for all, and then, since my husband is out of town, I took them all to bed and slept with them by my side.  Before falling asleep, I came across this gem from the master herself, Julia Child:
One of the secrets of cooking is to learn to correct something if you can, and bear with it if you cannot. (ix)
True in cooking, true in life.  As this book is oriented around the television episodes, I now want to find them and watch some and try to make something, anything, from this book.  I'm a pretty decent cook, yet this is daunting material.  

Channeling my inner Julia, I did something I never do: made up dinner.  I say I am a decent cook, but really I'm a recipe follower.  The other night, though, I needed to make something happen in our makeshift kitchen, and no recipe was available.  I had a package of Buitoni tortellini in the fridge, but I don't have a range upon which to boil a large pot of water.  I looked for recipes online that involved baking said pasta, but all called for boiling it first.  Oh well, I thought, and went for it anyway.  Here is the result:
I had to use what I had on hand, so if I make it again, there are few adjustments I would make (italicized below).  Now, at least, there is a recipe on the internet for a no-boil Buitoni pasta.

Baked Tortellini with Bacon

4 slices bacon

1/4 - 1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 zucchini, diced (increase to two or three small zucchini next time)
6-10 grape tomatoes, quartered (increase these as well)
1/2 - 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
20-oz package refrigerated three-cheese tortellini
10 turkey pepperoni, quartered (could leave these out)
Shredded cheese (I only had cheddar but would definitely use mozzarella next time)
Parmesan and fresh basil to garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare medium casserole dish.
2.  In medium skillet, fry bacon until crisp.  Set aside to cool/drain; crumble.  Do not drain off bacon grease.  Spread tortellini evenly over bottom of casserole.
3.  In warm bacon grease (medium-high heat), saute onion and garlic until softened.  Add zucchini and tomatoes, and saute until cooked through.  Pour chicken broth over all and deglaze pan.  Allow to boil for a few moments and then pour broth and vegetables over tortellini.  Stir to mix well.
4.  Stir in bacon (or sprinkle on top if you prefer it to stay crisp).   Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.
5.  Cover and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  Top with grated or fresh shredded parmesan and fresh basil.


  1. You made up dinner?! And it looks SO delicious. I'm a big fan of tortellini and bacon and grape tomatoes and zucchini. And you know what? I bet I could get the babe to eat this as well.

    Also...if it makes you feel better, it took me a good 5 months to get through Les Miserables. loved it and as soon as I finished I wanted to start it all over again, but whew what time commitment. Hope you're settling in!

    1. Also...wanted to ask permission before I pinned this. I know some people are protective and I totally understand...

    2. Pin away, friend! It is worth trying, I think.

      As for Les Miserables, I stalled a bit (on Waterloo, quel surprise), but I'm enjoying it again now. Just not at all certain I'll finish by the end of July.

  2. Yummy~ I'm saving this recipe for later. Thanks for sharing it! :)

  3. I always feel so great when I make up dinner! Yours looks delicious. I read Immoveable Feast last year, and loved it so much I did two blogs posts on it.



    I've seen lots of people mention Lunch in Paris in their Paris in July posts, I'm going to have to read it sometime.

  4. I have read and enjoyed all of the books you photographed. Don't you wish they made a movie of "My Life in France" instead of "Julie and Julia"? Everytime they went to Julie's place in Queens,N.Y., I kept wanting them to return to Paris--and I'm originally from Queens!