Julie and Julia, My Way


Post by community member:

Last February I picked up a copy of Best of the Sunset Cookbook, 101 Top Recipes.


As I thumbed through it and saw all the delicious looking dishes, I thought to myself “I could make every recipe in this magazine.

I decided to do just that. I would make the recipe, post a blog entry about it, and review the recipe. I gave myself one year to complete the task. I did the math and realized that I could get it done if I made two recipes a week.

Well, I have fallen behind and now have to make three recipes a week if I want to finish on time. What I have also realized after working on the project–there are some funky recipes in this magazine. I seem to be saving them for a rainy day. My husband probably doesn’t realize that a time will come when he finds tofu, gazpacho and octopus on his plate all in the same week! Right now he says it’s fun coming to the dinner table and finding something new. Be careful what you wish for, Michael.

Along the way we have found some of the recipes to just be outstanding and I thought I would share two of those with the CITR readers. The combination of the two would make a superb dinner.

The main course is Grandmother’s Chicken or Poulet Grand-Mere as the French would say. It is so good and so flavorful. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the vegetables so rustic and hearty. Make this recipe and don’t change a thing!


How to make Grandmother’s Chicken: Printable

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken (4 to 5 lbs.), cut into 6 pieces (2 bone-in breast halves, 2 bone-in thighs, and 2 bone-in drumsticks)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen pearl onions
6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and halved
3 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4-in.-wide pieces
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and cut into quarters
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed 4- to 5-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add skin side down to pot. Cook until skin is crispy and deeply browned, about 12 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tbsp. cooking fat, reduce heat to medium-low, and add onions, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, then add potatoes and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is well browned, about 8 minutes. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat.

Add mushrooms and chicken stock, bring liquid to a boil, and cook until liquid is reduced by one-quarter. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on top of vegetables.

Transfer pot to oven and bake, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

If you want the perfect dinner roll to go along with your Poulet Grand-Mere, I wholeheartedly suggest this recipe for Squash Dinner Rolls. Made with pureed winter squash, these rolls are just about the most delightful thing I have ever tasted. Because I can, I used my food processor to puree the butternut squash and my bread machine to make the dough. We also didn’t let these cool before eating them as the recipe recommends. Who does that? Nope, you want that butter to melt.

Squash Dinner Rolls2

How to make Squash Dinner Rolls: Printable

1 1/2 cups warm milk
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup puréed squash or canned pumpkin
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons poppy or sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine milk with yeast, sugar, and salt. Let stand 5 minutes, then add egg and beat well to combine.

Add squash and shortening; mash with a fork until shortening is in small pieces. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Gradually mix in more flour by the cupful until dough collects around spoon and pulls away from sides of bowl (you may not need all the flour).

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead 2 minutes. Put dough in a greased bowl; cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400° and butter a large baking sheet. Punch dough down, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead until dough is smooth and supple, about 7 minutes. Cut dough into 4 balls; cut each ball into 6 pieces.

Roll each piece into a round and arrange rounds on baking sheet so they barely touch. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds; cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool, then pull apart to serve.

These are so good you deserve another photo of the whole pan.

Squash Dinner rolls1

I hope you make these recipes and enjoy them as much as we did. As for me, I am off to make Salt-Crusted Beets with Avocado, Lavender, and Thyme. Lavender, really? Who does that?

Mary blogs at Buck ‘N Run Ranch.

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  1. kellyb says:


    It’s 7:30 in the morning and I just called my husband and told him to bring a chicken home for dinner. I’m drooling already! I also just happen to have butternut squash rehydrating in the fridge. Were you peaking in my windows? These recipes look fantastic and I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing. Great post I look forward to more.

  2. CindyP says:

    Great post, Mary!

    Really interesting that you’re making ALL of those recipes! Cannot wait to hear how Michael’s week goes with that menu 😉

    Wondering if the lavender helped with the beets at all? I really don’t like beets, but I love lavender. I can’t see lavender helping them much though! LOL!

  3. Mary says:

    Thanks Cindy,

    I made the beet salad but had to omit the culinary lavender as it was no where to be found. My neighbor grows it but doesn’t bloom this time of year. I would have had to order it online. The golden beets I had searched for were not going to wait for that so I just left it out. The beet salad was delicious but the 3 pounds of wasted salt bothered me.

  4. Liz Pike says:

    Oh my Mary, these sound absolutely delicious! My mom just called to tell about a special on chicken at our favorite grocery store. Will now have to add butternut squash to the grocery list so we can have both recipes this weekend!

  5. Mary says:

    Hope you like them Liz!

    Thanks to Suzanne for allowing me to guest post, to everyone for the kind comments, and to all the CITR readers who visited my blog today. I had my busiest day ever! Imagine what could happen if I buy a cow!

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