27 December 2010

Around My French Table


Shocked, I am sure you are SHOCKED to find that one of my favorite books of 2010 is a French cookbook. Well, every year there has to be a new French cookbook.

This year it is by Dorie Greenspan. Greenspan is one of those "foodies" that everyone seems to love. Her books are always informative and this one is no different. There is a lot of explanation, but in a friendly, "You can do it" kind of way. There are tips and ideas and lovely photos, so what more could one ask for.

Well, most of these recipes are culled from actual encounters Greenspan has had with people who actually cook. Then she has taken a cookbook writes mind to the recipes and the reader gets an actual French recipe with none of the hassle.


Dorie in the kitchen. We love showing cooks in their kitchens!

Here is a recipe that you might not think about at first glance. We have all seen pumpkins used as soup terrines, but here is a way to really use a pumpkin. (Remember to get a cooking pumpkin and not a big old Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin.)

Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good

1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into ½-inch chunks
¼ pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into ½-inch chunks
2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About ¼ cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot — which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky.

Using a very sturdy knife--and caution--cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween jack-o’-lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.

Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper--you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure--and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled--you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little--you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (But it’s hard to go wrong here.)

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours--check after 90 minutes--or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully--it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly--bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.


Our Best of 2010:

Around My French Table

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas

from all the reicpes at

Cookbook Of The Day



23 December 2010

Another Best...


One of our favorites this year featured the area of the country we live in -- Appalachia. Joan Aller did a great service in writing, Cider Beans, Wild Greens and Dandelion Jelly.

Here is a recipe for the Mountain Molasses Stack Cake, pictured above. when times were tough, people would bring a single cake layer to a gathering and then they would be put together with an apple sauce filling into a multi-layered cake.

Mountain Molasses Stack Cake

Cake

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

2 cups finely chopped apples
1/2 cup water
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour the outside bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans.

To make the cake, cream together the brown sugar and butter in a large bowl until light. Slowly add the egg and molasses and blend well. Beat in the buttermilk, vanilla, and nutmeg.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Pour half of the batter into each prepared cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on their pans on a wire rack.

While the cakes are cooling, make the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the apples and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and, stirring constantly, cook the mixture until a light syrup forms.

Place one of the cooled cake layers on a serving plate and spread half of the filling on top. Place the second layer on top, and spread the remaining filling over the top.



Get a copy of our favorite:

22 December 2010

The Geometry of Pasta


We have been saving some of our best for last.

So what happens when you combine a graphic novel, 2008's London restaurant of the year, and pasta sauce? You get The Geometry of Pasta. Unlike most cookbooks The Geometry of Pasta began as a visual idea. Noted graphic designer, Caz Hildebrand, is a Creative Partner at Here Design. He envisioned a cookbook that would focus on a common yet varied ingredient -- pasta. Once he conceived of the graphics, he needed an equally creative chef to develop sauces for each of the pastas. He really only had one choice.

Jacob Kenedy is the chef/proprietor of Bocca di Lupo. The often finicky Giles Coren wrote in the The London Times:
"Bocca di Lupo I went to only yesterday, and my tongue is still singing, my lip quivering, my brain dancing. Bocca di Lupo is just bloody marvellous."
I must say I have been quite spoiled with cookbooks featuring full color images, but this stripped down, graphic cookbook is a treasure. It features recipes for my favorite campanelle which means bell-flowers. It is getting harder to find and I am always upset when it is not on the shelf.

Here is the recipe for the famous puttanesca

Puttanesca
Whore’s sauce


200g spaghetti
50ml extra virgin olive oil
180g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chilli flakes
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
40g salted capers, soaked until tolerably salty and drained
120g black olives (Gaeta, if possible), pitted and roughly chopped
4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
100ml light tomato sauce (page 15), or tomato passata
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

What more colourful name could there be than ‘whore’s pasta’? This Neapolitan recipe may have originally been cooked by the proprietor of a brothel for his customers, a quick and cheap substantial dish to give them energy, or been inspired by the lurid colours of the ladies’ biancheria (undergarments). In any case, it is delicious, widespread, and enjoyed by people at every grade of respectability.

A few minutes before the pasta is cooked, heat a wide frying pan until smoking hot. Add the oil, followed immediately by the tomatoes, chilli and garlic. Fry for a minute until the garlic is just starting to colour and the tomatoes soften. Add the capers, olives and anchovy, reduce the heat to medium and fry for a minute more before adding the tomato sauce.

Simmer for a minute or so until the pasta is cooked a touch more al dente than you want it on the plate; drain it and add to the sauce along with the herbs. Stir together for 30 seconds over the heat, adding plenty of black pepper but probably no extra salt. Serve straight away.

Oh my, how good is this book? A favorite of 2010...

The Geometry of Pasta

21 December 2010

Another Fave in 2010

We love getting our quarterly "cookbook" from the girls at Canal House Cooking. Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton do a bang up job. Every time I get a copy in the mail, I just want to drive to New Jersey and move in with them.

Canal House Cooking Volume 5 features a wonderful essay by Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef at Prune (and the sister of Melissa Hamilton). I have been waiting for Gabrielle Hamilton to publish a cookbook forever and FINALLY her book Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

20 December 2010

Best Of 2010




Well, we haven't liked ANYONE's "Best Of..." lists so we are doing our own. Our first choice (in no particular order)

16 December 2010

More Lists



We are very happy with Eater National and their list of six books that are not Noma.

Cookbook Of The Day has three from the list! Read our post on The Frankies Spuntino.


15 December 2010

A David Lebovitz List


Food blogger and chef, David Lebovitz has an interesting list of best of 2010 cookbooks. A few of them might just be 2009, but who is counting. It is also a nice, long list with some of our favorites, including his very own Ready for Dessert. (We totally approve of adding one's own cookbook it a "best of " list. I mean, if you don;t think it is WONDERFUL, why should we?)



13 December 2010

Esquire's List



Esquire's Food For Men blog is featuring a "Cookbook of the Day" from now till Christmas.


Their first pick is The New Brooklyn Cookbook. Check it out.


04 December 2010

The End of an Era...

R.I.P. Elaine Kaufman

Elaine's is one of those places that lingers in the historical memory like The Stork Club or Studio 54. It is a place of fantasy and imagination for most of us, rather than an actual destination. Elaine's became synonymous with insider glamour in New York City. Elaine was never into the "Food Network" type of promotion claiming it was simply a way to sell pots. There was no "Elaine's Cookbook." In the end, the attraction at Elaine's was never really the food, but Elaine herself.


There are plenty of obituaries out there, but in keeping with Elaine's style, here is an interview she gave to Vanity Fair. A much more fitting way to remember her.

In lieu of a cookbook, the famed writer A. E. Hotchner wrote a book of fond remembrances entitled, Everyone Comes to Elaine's.

The good news is, God finally got a table.

30 November 2010

Top Ten Cookbooks

I am perhaps as big a cookbook fanatic as one can be. This year, I have been surprised at how many lists there out there that feature ten books -- and not a single book I care about. Perhaps I am getting old and out of touch? Well, I don't think so. We will be giving you a few of this years favorites over the next few weeks. In the meantime...

Noma seems to be on quite a few "BEST" lists out there. It is one of those books that I care nothing about. I do not equate big and expensive with great. But if any of my readers out there want to change my mind, go ahead, you write the review and we will post it.

Until someone steps up, here are some "Top Ten Lists" to peruse.


StarChefs.com gives Noma their top nod. My only pick on their list: Heston's Fantastical Feasts


The irascible or rascible or curmudgeonly or nasty or lovable (depending on your personality and perhaps his) Jeffery Steingarten has his list for Vogue. He too, gives highest honors to Noma. He give a place of honor to Jessica Harris's High on the Hog. I'm sure that this would be on my list, however it will not be published until 2011. So really it should be on next years list, Jeffery. He is also anticipating, as am I, Blood, Bones, and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton. I have been looking forward to a book by Hamilton for years now, so lets get it published already. So it would seem, Jeffery and I already have a pretty good "Top Ten List" for 2011!!


Let us know what's on your list!

27 November 2010

Williams-Sonoma Salads


I am a big fan of Georgeanne Brennan. Williams-Sonoma Salads is another one of her delightful compilations.
After everyone has over indulged in Thanksgiving festivities, I though a nice light salad would be fun. Actually, this recipe has often found itself on many a Thanksgiving and Christmas table.

If you served it, try adding a bit of leftover turkey for an interesting alternative to a sandwich.

Celery Root Remoulade

1 large or 2 medium celery roots(celeriac), peeled and cut into rounds 1/4 thick

Salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup mayonnaise

2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard


In a saucepan, combine the celery root, 1 teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, and water to cover by about 2 inches.
bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook 3-4 minutes. The celery root should be tender but not mushy. Drain well and, using a sharp knife, slice into thinner rounds, then cut into very thin strips. Alternatively, stack the slices and use a mandolin to shred the,. Place in a bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of the mustard. Taste the mixture. it should be well seasoned with the mustard but still taste of both ingredients.. Add mote mustard as desired. Pour the dressing over the celery root and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours before serving.


26 November 2010

Happy Thankgiving


From our favorite Turkey and Pilgrim

23 November 2010

Stuffings

Since we couldn't find a new Thanksgiving book, we thought we would give you a cookbook featuring a popular "Thanksgiving" item -- stuffing. I am a bit of a Thanksgiving purest. (I know what I said in the last post and I am willing to change, but no one has given me reason to change.) Thanksgiving at my house is static -- I cook the same thing, every year, year in, year out.

One of the things I always cook is my cornbread dressing. You see, Southerners are not big "stuffers" we are more the dressing type because our dressing is wonderful and we don't want it contaminated in some turkey cavity. Besides a turkey can hold about 1 1/2 cups of stuffing and we want much, more than that.

Carole Lalli was once editor-in-chief of Food & Wine. She wrote Stuffings which is a nice book that will give you all sorts of ideas and not just for turkey. As a child, we always had dressing with pork, and it was wonderful.


Her is Carole's cornbread stuffing. (It is not my mother's recipe, and Lalli is from Connecticut, but we are going to let that slide in the spirit of the holiday.)

Corn Bread Stuffing

2 pounds unseasoned bulk sausage meat
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
3 inner ribs of celery, leaves included, diced
kernels from 4 ears of corn
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
12 or so broken-up pieces of day-old corn bread
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup or less chicken broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the sausage in a heavy skillet and cook over medium-high heat until it loses its pink color, about 5-7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside on paper towels to drain.

Pour off the fat from the skillet, but do not clean the skillet. Return the skillet to the heat. Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter to melt. Add the onion, shallot, and celery, and cook, stirring, for 8-10 minutes, until they are soft but not brown; scrape up any of the sausage bits clinging to the skillet. Add the corn, sage, and thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Set aside the mixture to cook for about 10 minutes.

Place the bread in a large bowl. Add the ingredients from the skillet, along with the parsley. Combine the ingredients into a rough mixture (your hands are the best tools for this task). Do not over-combine or break up the bread more than is necessary. If the mixture seems very dry, add enough chicken stock to hold it together loosely. Season with pepper and, depending on the saltiness of the sausage, salt.

We don;t often have the chance to see into the kitchens of the authors we feature on Cookbook Of The Day, but
House Beautiful has a lovely slide show and interview with Carole Lalli. It is definitely a kitchen to die for!

22 November 2010

Thanksgiving Question???


Bear with me here...

One of my favorite movies is About A Boy based on the Nick Hornsby novel. It is quite literally about a boy and a young man that befriends him. That man, Will Freeman has never worked a day, yet he lives comfortably, in fact, better than comfortably. Why? Because his father wrote a Christmas song and every Christmas it gets played over and over and Will is set for the year.

This is probably why every Christmas anyone who can carry a tune does a Christmas album.

We started writing this blog several Thanksgivings ago. In that time, we have noticed a trend in holiday cookbooks much like albums. Every "celebrity" chef with at least two books eventually writes a CHRISTMAS cookbook. Yet, if you read about food, you will know that Thanksgiving is the holiday that everyone gathers together and cooks. So my question is...Why aren't there more Thanksgiving cookbooks. Last year we resorted to re-posting our faves and frankly, I would hate to do that again, but what am I to do?

Any ideas from my readers out there?

Interestingly, chef Marc Forgione won the title of The Next Iron Chef this week by preparing an "Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast." Forgione made five course and not a one of them was turkey.

Creative Thanksgiving are out there people, so some write me a cookbook!

16 November 2010

She Came In Throught The Kitchen Window


In honor of iTunes and the Fab Four reaching a tuneful agreement (and frankly moving into the 21st century after fighting like schoolboys over a stupid thing like the name "Apple", gee I'm surprised they haven't sued Gwyneth Paltrow for naming her kid "Apple" but then who names their kid "Apple" though Truman Capote named a character "Apple" which is probably where Gwyneth got the idea... but I digress).

Yes, Virginia, there is a Beatles cookbook, though I am here to say the Beatles had little to do with it, but given today's news, we just couldn't resist. She Came In Through The Kitchen Window by Stephen Spignesi features dishes that were "inspired" by Beatles songs. OK, it is not for everyone, but if you have a cookbook bent... here is...

Biscuits to Ride

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (or more) black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/8 cup water

Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl until consistency is thick. Roll out the dough in long strips and cut into bite-sized (or larger) pieces. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 25 to 30 minutes.

Yes, Biscuits to Ride, and yes all the recipes are like that. But here's a bonus -- something you probably never thought you might see:

Yoko in the Kitchen.

12 November 2010

Marilyn's Stuffing


While we strive to make Famous Food Friday to be a revelation to our readers, we felt the recent news of Marilyn Monroe cooking stuffing to be simply too good not to highlight.

Marilyn’s Stuffing

Time: 2 hours

No garlic

A 10-ounce loaf sourdough bread
1/2 pound chicken or turkey livers or hearts
1/2 pound ground round or other beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped curly parsley
2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, pine nuts or roasted chestnuts, or a combination
2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano
2 teaspoons dried crushed thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt-free, garlic-free poultry seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon pepper.


1. Split the bread loaf in half and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and shred into pieces.

2. Boil the livers or hearts for 8 minutes in salted water, then chop until no piece is larger than a coffee bean.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, so no piece is larger than a pistachio.

4. In your largest mixing bowl, combine the sourdough, livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins, Parmesan and nuts, tossing gently with your hands to combine. Whisk the rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together in a bowl, scatter over the stuffing and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use as a stuffing or to bake separately as dressing.

Yield: 20 cups, enough for one large turkey, 2 to 3 geese or 8 chickens.

Read our favorites, Matt and Ted Lee in their New York Times article about cooking Marilyn's stuffing.

Over at Lucindaville, we posted a bonus with some of our favorite photos of Marilyn Monroe reading.

31 October 2010

Have a...


BOO...TIFUL DAY

28 October 2010

Baked Explorations


Baked is one of my favorite cookbooks and I wrote about it back in April of 2009. Well, the Baked boys are back with a new cookbook. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have another winner with Baked Explorations.

Baked Explorations features traditional American baked goods with exciting twists. Check out this interview at Eater for more incites into the Baked experience. To get a look at the actual bakery check out their Baked web site.

And now, without further ado...Wait! Let me just say here that the recipe is long and seems complicated. But here is the truth. The recipe has two components -- sweet and salty. Then the two components have to be assembled. So you really do not want a recipe that leaves out valuable sets do you? My advice is to read the recipe -- read it again -- and when you fully grasp the steps, you will see it is not nearly as complicated as you might think from looking at it.

So now, really, without further ado... a recipe.

Sweet & Salty Brownie

Caramel:
1 c. sugar
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 cup sour cream

Brownie:
1 and 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 & 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

Topping:
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
1 teaspoon coarse sugar


Make the Caramel:

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat, until a thermometer reads 350 degrees and is dark amber in color.

Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble up). Then add the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.

Make the Brownie:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13" pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water. Whisk in both sugars until completely combined. Removed bowl from pan.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until incorporated. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey. Add the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until there is just a trace of the flour mixture remaining.

Assemble:

Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Drizzle and 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce (not all of it) over the batter, trying to stay away from the edges. Gently spread the caramel sauce evenly. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the remaining batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently over the caramel.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and the coarse sugar. Completely cool before serving.


What else? Oh yeah, Matt went to the University of Alabama so no wonder he knows how to bake. I know that many of you are quite distraught that Alabama has a "buy" this Saturday. I know I am at a loss for what to do. Well, here's and idea -- BAKE!!!

20 October 2010

In Season

At Lucindaville, we featured Adam Nicholson's book on Sissinghurst. Sissinghurst was the home of his grandmother, Vita Sackville-West. In an attempt to improve revenue for the National Trust, Nicholson and his wife, Sarah Raven, proposed reviving the working farm. Sarah Raven is a gardening expert as well as the author of many cookbooks, including In Season.

Sarah Raven's book are always large, exuberant books, loaded with recipes and lovely photos. In Season follows that most fashionable trend in cookbooks, pointing out that food is better in season. While this idea seems self-evident, it is just so 2010. that being said, Raven is a great cook. She makes cooking seem effortless and fun.

Sarah Raven with daughter Rosie

Recently, I ordered some heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. I got some cranberry beans just to make this dish.

Cranberry Beans with Sage

1 pound fresh cranberry beans (or, if using dried beans, use 1 cup soaked overnight in cold water)
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 or 4 sage leaves, chopped, plus plenty extra for garnishing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
Dash of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
3 handfuls of arugula or young spinach leaves (optional)

Put the beans, garlic, and chopped sage into a pan, bring them to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are soft. Drain them and, while still warm, add 1 tablespoon of oil and put aside.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a very little olive oil until crisp and add to the beans. Mix together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and slowly add the rest of the olive oil to give a very creamy dressing. Pour this over the still-warm beans, retaining a third of it if you are using the salad leaves. Garnish with plenty of chopped sage leaves over the top.

If using the salad leaves, dress the leaves, divide among the plates, and spoon the beans over the leaves. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Raven teaches cooking and has a garden shop at Perch Hill Farm or visit her online at Sarah Raven's Kitchen and Garden.

13 October 2010

Lilla's Feast


Lilla's Feast is more of a memoir than a straight cookbook. The book is a biography of Frances Osborne's great grandmother, Lilla Eckford. The catalyst for the book can be found in the Imperial War Museum in London. The museum holds a cookbook that was written in a Japanese internment camp in China during World War II. Lilla Eckford, or Lily Casey as she was known then, lived in Cellblock 20, Room 3. She subsisted on rotting vegetables and occasionally some donkey meat. In that cell she wrote a cookbook on whatever scraps of paper she cold find. Not recipes for the food or lack of it that she was experiencing, but a book that would remind her of the safety and plenty of home. There are recipes for cream puffs, blancmange, beef, jugged hare and mulligatawny soup. It is her best effort to keep humanity in a situation that was unconscionable.

Here is a recipe from her time in China.

Shrimp Pork

vermicelli
onions
garlic
margarine
pork
shelled shrimp
mixed vegetables
salt

To serve say five people: 3/4 lb vermicelli (boiled until soft), 3 large onions, 1/2 lb pork cut into dice when fried in margarine until tender. Chop the onions and fry until golden brown, shell the shrimps about 4 ozs, prepare the vegetables then cut into small pieces. If garlic is liked, chop a very small piece. Boil the vegetables.

When all is ready, add onions, drained vermicelli, pinch of salt, chopped pork, vegetables (about 2 1/2 lb), shelled shrimps. Put into a saucepan and heat until very hot.

Sometimes and omelet is made and placed on to, also dry rice is served in a small bowl, with drops of soya sauce over.


Lilla proves to be an anachronism, a Westerner in the East of China and Japan and in later life, more of an Easterner in England. For years she fought to be compensated for losses she suffered in China. For nearly sixty years she waged a letter writing campaign, until she received a small check when she was nearing 101.

While Frances Osborne may be a bit sentimental about Lilla, it is still nice to see that in our most desperate times it is often the food of our childhood that unites us.

Frances Osborne's other great-grandmother was the notorious Idina Sackville, who we posted about at Lucindaville.

12 October 2010

Kenya Cookery Book

In the 1920's many a second or third born son, who became the "spare" rather than the "heir", headed out to the wilds of Africa. At the time it must have seemed like a fine idea. Their wives found themselves at a bit of a disadvantage. In order to make the transition from London to Nairobi more palatable, the St. Andrew's Church Woman's Guild, Nairobi compiled the Kenya Settlers' Cookery Book and Household Guide in 1928.

In addition to recipes, there was a dictionary of words in Swahili, info on how to iron woollens and lace, how to clean a white felt hat and how to keep paraffin lamps from smoking. All things I am sure the ladies of the Woman's Guild felt their sisters from London would need.

For the women who landed at Happy Valley, advice on addiction and how not to get caught sleeping with someone who was NOT your husband might have been a bit more useful.

As time marched on, the St. Andrew's Church Woman's Guild, Nairobi was undaunted by the more seemly arrivals from England and they have continued to offer updates to their guide, including how to cook with those newfangled electric cookers.

Still, if you find yourself stuck in Africa with nary a haggis in site, the St. Andrew's Church Woman's Guild, Nairobi have a recipe for you.

Mock Haggis

250 g. liver
125g. suet
1 large breakfast cup oatmeal
1 medium-sized onion
pepper and salt

Cover the liver with water and boil for 20 minutes, having first removed the scraggy bits. When cold, mince it. Brown the oatmeal in a little butter, then add finely chopped suet and onion, minced liver and seasoning. Mix all the ingredients with some of the water the liver was boiled in, but do not make too soft. Grease basin, pour in the mixture and steam 3 hours.


Actually, I find the mock haggis might just trump the actual haggis. And how, you might ask, does one address a haggis? Like Robert Burns...

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" 'hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!


To read more about the wild women of Happy Valley, check out Lucindaville.

08 October 2010

Canteen Cuisine



In 1992, Michael Caine enlisted celebrity chef Marco Pierre White to open a restaurant with him near his home in Chelsea Harbor, London. Marco jumped at the chance. It was not Caine's first foray into the restaurant business and he was well connected... oh yeah, and he had big bucks. The restaurant lasted about a year, decidedly longer than most of Marco Pierre White's marriages.


Around the time The Canteen was opened, White's career was taking off and Caine's was waning. I am happy to report they are both doing quite well.

After the restaurant closed Caine went on to win a Golden Globe and a second Oscar and he was knighted.

White would become, at 33, the youngest chef to win three Michelin stars (a title he lost to 28 year-old Massimiliano Alajmo). He also mentored (read: yelled at and belittled) numerous culinary stars including: Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, Bryn Williams, and Mario Batali to name perhaps the most famous.


Even though the restaurant didn't survive, the cookbook did. Canteen Cuisine came out several years after the restaurant closed, but it is filled with many fine recipes, including this lovey pud, as they say in England.


Chocolate Tart

500 g (18 oz) Valharona Equatorial chocolate, broken into pieces
3 eggs
200ml (7 fl oz) milk
350ml (12 fl oz) double cream
1 X 20 cm (8 in) Sweet Pastry Case

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/ Gas 4.

2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a bain-maire; this should not be too warm.

3. Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.

4. Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a pan, then pour on to the eggs, and whisk together.

5. Pass through a sieve on to the chocolate and mix well. Pour this into the blind-baked tart case.

6. Put the tart into the oven, and immediately turn off the oven off. Leave the tart in the oven 40-45 minutes.

7. When cool, trim the edges of the pastry, and cut the tart into 10 portions. Serve with chocolate shavings on the top, and sprinkled with icing sugar.


The chocolate is a dark 70%, so pick one of your own choosing. I trust you can use your own pâte sucrée recipe for the pastry case. So now you are good to go.

07 October 2010

Doves (not a cookbook per se)


Over at the blog To The Manner Born, I read a wonderful entry about dove hunting, which is a great way to spend an autumnal day in Alabama. When I commented on the post, I got a nice note from the author, David Bagwell. I also got a picture of the day's spoils and his wife's recipe for said spoils. (And now I would like to say how truly upset I was to have not been invited to share in the bounty... but I digress.)

Here is David's note on the recipe.

Here are my dove breasts, stuffed with basil goat cheese my wife made from organic goats, organic jalapeño and wrapped in bacon and grilled!

Seriously, he hunts doves and she makes goat cheese, these are people to party with, I must say.

04 October 2010

Slow Cookers Go Wild!


As you know, we are fond of game cookbooks and as the weather gets cooler (Who am I kidding, it is downright cold, today!) it is time to think about wonderfully, lovingly braised meats. While some culinary types look down their noses at the lowly crock-pot, many a classically trained chef will tell you there is no better way to braise meat. Still not convinced? Read Mark Bittman's wonderful article in the New York Time.

For game, which can often need a long cooking time, a slow cooker is a godsend. Enter outdoors woman Teresa Marrone. She has put together a book covering both the slow cooker and game. Slow Cookers Go Wild! is a great place to start. Unlike many game cookbooks, this book offers up delightful recipes that can easily converted to wonderful recipes for a cheaper cut of beef or pork, since I know most of readers are not facing an abundance of bear roast or moose... unless maybe Sarah Palin is a reader. ( No she's way too busy to be making slow-cooker moose.)

The sides are a lot of fun. There is a running joke on Top Chef about never making potatoes gratin, because of course they never get done. I love making a scalloped potato with an alternative ingredient. I love scalloped potatoes with pears or turnips. I like making scalloped sweet potatoes. Marrone makes a two-colored potato of white and sweet potatoes and cooks them for hours in the slow-cooker. I had never thought of scalloped potatoes in a slow cooker, but I am definitely giving it a try.

Here's a great venison roast recipe. It requires grabbing ingredients form the bar, but we won't tell.

Venison Roast Braised With Grenadine

2-pound boneless venison rump roast
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup grenadine syrup

Rinse roast and pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat until simmering. Ass roast and brown well on all sides: if the oil starts smoking, reduce heat slightly. While roast is browning, cut onion in in half from top to bottom, then cut each half across the equator, Cut each quarter into 1/4 inch wide wedges from top to bottom (rather than in half rings). Add onion wedges to dutch oven with roast, and stir them around occasionally while roast is browning. In measuring cup , combine broth and grenadine.

When roast is nicely browned, transfer to the slow cooker along with the onions. Add broth mixture to Dutch oven, stirring to loosen any browned bits. cook over medium heat for about a minute, then pour over roast in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until roast is very tender, 7 to 8 hours. To serve, transfer roast to cutting board and let stand for a few minutes, then cut or break the roast apart into chunks. Place venison in serving bowl; pour juices and onions from the slow cooker over the top.



Try this with a nice side of quinoa and you are good to go.

29 September 2010

Maple Syrup Cookbook

It might just surprise you to learn that the state tree of West Virginia is the Acer saccarum. But we just call it the Sugar Maple. They call it the Sugar Maple in Vermont, too, but we had it first, on 7 March 1949. Three days later those johnny-come-latelies in Vermont adopted the Sugar Maple.*

My neighbors Have quite the maple sugar factory, tapping many trees on their property and boiling up some excellent syrup. Recently, Sandi, added a volume to my cookbook collection, Maple Syrup Cookbook by Ken Haedrich. The book is filled with maple history, maple tips, and maple lore along with a bunch of recipes. Probably the best information in the cookbook is the simplest one -- how does one substitute the syrup of sugar in general recipes. He states that one measure of sugar requires only 3/4 of a measure of maple syrup. Baking is a bit more complicated.

As you might have guessed, many of the recipes in this cookbook have a autumnal feel to them, like skillet cake, brad pudding, four-bean bake and curried soup. My favorite recipe is a variation on my favorite way to cook root vegetables -- veggies, salt and pepper, butter, syrup and a dash of liqueur. I have an old bottle of maple liqueur someone brought me from Vermont. Its only use is added to vegetables cooked in maple syrup.
But if you don;t have any, by all means, use bourbon!

Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks
1 small ( 1/2-pound) yellow turnip, peeled and cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon or rum
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the carrots, parsnips and turnips in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan.

2. Heat the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan just until the butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the rum.

3. Pour the maple mixture over the vegetables, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, stir the vegetables and bake, uncovered, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes longer.


Vermont -- eat your heart out, or your vegetables.


* to be fair, Wisconsin picked the Sugar Maple in 1893, with New York coming in way behind by naming the Sugar Maple its state tree in 1956.

24 September 2010

Celebrity Pasta Lovers' Cookbook



Today's offering is a free cookbook download. To get a recipe you must download the cookbook. Barilla Pasta has started a new campaign, Share the Table to get folks back to the table.



They asked a bunch of celebrities to contribute their favorite pasta recipe to encourage you to cook more pasta and of course to gather at the table with family and friends.


So you will find Meryl Streep's recipe for Penne with Cauliflower, Roasted Pine Nuts and Romano Cheese; and Jimmy Fallon's recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara; and Mariska Hargatay's recipe for Pasta Alla Checca; and more.


Unfortunately for me, there is not a single recipe with my favorite pasta shape, campanelle. And I must admit, it has been hard to find lately and I am not happy about that, but I digress...


The Celebrity Pasta Lovers' Cookbook is available till 15 October. There is a catch. But it is a good catch. To download, you need to click a button promising to Share a Meal. When you do, Barilla donates $1 to Meals on Wheels Association of America.

Meals on Wheels gets money -- you get a cookbook -- how great is that. So if you want to find out what Kristin Chenoweth's pasta recipe is, you will just have to donate.

23 September 2010

The Derrydale Cookbook - Fish


Today we are offering up Volume 2 of the The Derrydale Cookbook, Fish.


In 1937, there was an edition of 1250 copies of this two-volume set. The reprint in 1992 was limited to 2500.

Much like the Game volume, there are many sauces and a few sides. It does not have the extensive beverage list, which perhaps means that the diner doesn't need the same type of libation to enjoy a trout as say a bear. Or perhaps, de Gouy just knew his reader would instinctively grab their copy of Game to find a nice fishy punch.

This volume has a good number of stews and chowders and velvety soups. Like the Game book, the fish is treated to multiple preparations, steamed, fried, baked, braised and roasted. Did I mention grilled?

Oyster Union Grill

This grill may be prepared right on the table in a chafing dish. Clean 3 dozen oysters and drain off all the liquid possible, put the oysters in a chafing dish, and as the liquor flows from them remove rapidly with a spoon, and continue this until the oysters are plump. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and add 2 to 3 tablespoons if butter. Serve on well buttered toast.

Simple and elegant.

22 September 2010

The Derrydale Cookbook - Game



In 1927, Eugene V. Connett, III established The Derrydale Press. It was the preeminent publisher of sporting and outdoor books in America in the first half of the 20th century. In the course of its history, The Derrydale Press published 169 titles. They are some of book collectors most elusive prizes. In the 1990's, many of the titles were reprinted, causing another big push of collecting. The press did a pair of cookbooks in the late thirties. Written by Louis de Gouy, whose book on ice cream we featured earlier, the two volumes featured game and fish.


In the book on game, de Gouy braises, roasts, bakes, fries, terrines and jugs a wide cornucopia of critters, big and small. There are squirrels and deer, muskrats and elk, and pheasants, snipe, grouse and quail, just to get the ball rolling. There three marinades for bear, a ton of sauces and enough drinks and punches to have the cook sauced. Here is a delightful recipe for partridge. Fresh out of partridge? I rather think some nice chicken thighs would work beautifully in this recipe.


Braised Partridge with Sour Cherries

First roast a cleaned, wiped partridge, or as many as required, seasoned inside and out with salt and pepper, for 15 minutes in a hot oven, basting generously with melted butter. Remove from the oven and turn the bird into a generously buttered baking dish. Add a half dozen red or white sour cherries (canned), 2 tablespoons of cherry juice, and 3 medium-sized mushrooms, cooked in butter. Adjust the cover as tightly as possible, bake in a moderately hot oven (375F) for 20 minutes. Serve in the baking dish.


Now that you have eaten, get out there and scour those used book shops. TOMORROW: FISH


17 September 2010

Ricky Lauren


Fall is in the air and I was looking for a nice cool weather Famous Food Friday for Lucindaville when I thought of Ricky Lauren. I like to think of Ricky swaddled in tons of Ralph Lauren clothes, so she doesn't strike me as the summer type.



Several years ago she published a book that was part memoir, part Ralph Lauren add part cookbook. Interspersed between the ravishing views of her house, the ravishing views of the Colorado mountains and the ravishing views of tables were the recipes that she loves to make when she is "roughing" it in The Centennial State. The book is decidedly a prime example of gastro-porn. It is hard to focus on the recipes when staring at the views. I don't care if your grandma sweated over a hot stove, it fades into the woodwork (or should I say the lovely honed beams furnished with Ralph Lauren Home accessories.)


If you can manage to tear yourself away from the stunning photos, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that the recipes are pretty solid and easy to make. I can totally see Ricky rousting her little clan with fresh cooked scones. (Check out Lucindaville where Ricky rousts her clan with scones.)


Frittata a la Double RL

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, julienned
1 green pepper, sliced
8 cherry tomatoes quartered
1 red onion, chopped
1 potato, diced
8 eggs, beaten
2 ozs Parmesan cheese

1. Combine oil, juice, and garlic and pour over vegetables in a large bowl. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat broiler. Heat butter in a large skillet. Mix eggs into vegetable mixture and pour into skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook over medium heat, lifting sides to allow eggs to cook completely. Cook until bottom is set (about 6—8 minutes).
4. Sprinkle Parmesan on frittata and place pan under broiler. Cook until top is golden and set...................................................
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.................................................................


Sorry again, this time it was the light coming through the barn for the formal dinner party and the flag... I guess you had to be there.

15 September 2010

Pamela Harlech's Practical Guide...


to Cooking, Entertaining, and Household Management. There is almost more title than book! Here is a selection from the jacket blurb that I particularly love:

Pamela Harlech knows how to clean an old gilt picture frame as well as how long to cook a roast that didn't defrost in time.


It is a real stretch to think that Pamela Harlech was running around the castle cleaning frames only to discover that her roast had failed to thaw. Still, I have always been a sucker for her books. This book is a throwback to the "cookery" books of the late 19th and early 20th century that included household tips along with cooking info. This book is packed with cooking times, culinary terms, illustrations for making suet pastry and cleaning fish, and how to wash papier-mâché.*

The recipes have that old-fashioned English castle feel. There is a lot of pigeon and venison and forcemeat and artichokes, oh my. I'm not complaining, but after you have cleaned the gilt frames and the papier-mâché, some of the recipes might just require some extra time in the kitchen... for a chef. There are some thing even the unskilled might try, like a chicken liver sandwich.

Chicken Liver Sandwich

4 chicken livers, washed and cooked
2 tablespoons crisp bacon, diced
4 drops Tabasco sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together in a bowl and spread on rounds of buttered toast.
Needless to say, there are no illustrations for this one. I must confess, I bought this because of the lovely jacket. This is not the cookbook you give to a novice, but if you have a taste for British high living (and perhaps a staff) this is a fun addition to anyone's collection.



*Wash the object gently with a sponge wrung out in tepid water -- never use soap. then dry off with a cloth and polish with a little dry flour rubbed on with a chamois or other soft cloth.
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