28 February 2010

We're Back

After an inclement and messy February where we lost lights, electricity, water and sleep, we have cookbooks books (and other books) piled high. I just need to clear Clementine off the computer and we will be back to our cookbook posts. After an entire year of posting everyday, we may just ease into it, but we still have more than enough cookbooks to keep going.

14 February 2010


One of the most popular “aphrodisiac” cookbooks published in recent years was Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge’s InterCourses. InterCourses has its fill of scantily clad or un-clad models lounging about holding food, it has witty banter, but most importantly, it has actual recipes. Many books in this vein, give you vague recipes for shucked oysters, chocolate, caviar and little else.

InterCourses not only provides recipes for food, but also for massage oils. It gives you ideas on when to serve foods, how they will affect the body, even which foods to try with your particular sign of the zodiac.

The recipes offer up folklore pertaining to the recipes. According to a book on love potions by Josephine Addison, rosemary holds the key to a young girl’s dreams of her husband-to-be. January 21 is St. Agnes Eve. On that day, if a girl sleeps with rosemary under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband. Once she has the husband, rosemary becomes a symbol of fidelity.

Pasta with Rosemary Cream Sauce

1/2 pound penne pasta
1/8 cup fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup tomato purée
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook the penne in water until al dente. In the meantime, sauté the rosemary in the oil in a saucepan over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the tomato purée. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes. Pour in the cream and Parmesan, stirring until heated through. Drain pasta and toss with cram sauce.

Whether you want to dream of a husband or keep yours faithful, try this pasta with the lovely infusion of rosemary.

13 February 2010

The Bordello Cookbook

Jo Foxworth has written about women who run business, in fact, she has run her own business. This kind of research led her to think about some of the first business run by women. The fact is many of the first women-owned businesses were bordellos. Foxworth combined a history of these “houses of ill repute” with a collection of recipes that they just might have cooked in The Bordello Cookbook.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone who has actually found a “cookbook” used at an official bordello, so Foxworth brought in Jeanne Bauer to help with the recipes that might have been served at such bordellos.

In many cities, the bordello was indeed a house. These houses served as a type pf gentleman’s club, providing a place to socialize, smoke cigars, grab a bite to eat, shower and shave and yes, have sex. The kitchens in many of these establishments provided food as readily as the women provided sex.

What would a bordello kitchen be without oysters?

Oyster Purses

1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked turkey
1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked ham
1 tablespoon, Dijon-style mustard
6 scallions, long green tops set aside, white part finely chopped
24-shucked oysters

Top each slice of turkey with a slice of ham, brush lightly with mustard, and scatter finely chopped scallions over the top. Place an oyster in the center of each, bring the sides up to form a purse. Tie each purse with a long green strip of scallion. Place the oysters in a glass dish and microwave on High for one minute, or until heated through.

Most bordellos didn’t have microwaves in the day, so I imagine these were just popped in the oven to warm up.

While we are not condoning visits to a bordello, we do endorse these easy to make appetizers.

12 February 2010

The Seducer’s Cookbook

Ah, it’s that Valentine’s time of year…

Every drugstore, grocery store and gas station has little heart shaped boxes of candy and some past-its-prime rose in a plastic tube. I am of the opinion that when holiday supplies can be purchased at the 7-11, the holiday spirit has gotten out of hand.

This year, instead of a heart shaped box, try a cookbook or a nice steak. Frankly, nothing says love like a slab of beef.

Famous restaurant critic and cook, Mimi Sheraton wrote The Seducer’s Cookbook. I must say, there are quite a few garlicky, spicy, bean filled recipes in this book that I wouldn’t feed someone I was trying to romance. Cassoulet, pesto, hot dog in hot sauce, anchovies stuffed olives, do not a romantic evening make.

Sheraton suggests a picnic, which I think is totally romantic. Of course if you live in – anywhere in the Uniteds States these last few weeks, a picnic may seem out of the question. Still, Sheraton says,

“any woman who is out to turn a young man’s fancy would do well to master this pastoral art. Fortunately, even the most cautious of city-bred male finds it virtually impossible to resist the charms of a pretty girl with a basketful of food…”

Especially if that basket is filled with lobster.

Boiled Lobster

Since this is virtually all you are going to eat and salt air makes for hearty appetites, I’d suggest you take four 1-pound lobsters along with you. To cook them, plunge them head fist into a big potful of rapidly boiling salted water flavored with an onion, a stalk of celery with leaves, a slice of lemon, 3 or 4 peppercorns and a sprig of parsley. Cover and let the lobsters boil for about 15 minutes; turn off the flame and cool them in their cooking water.
Refrigerate until you are ready to pack them. Wrap in foil, place in insulated hamper, and do not split them until you are ready to eat.

Nicolas Chamfort wrote: The loves of most people are but the results of good dinner.

So boil up some lobster, and fall in love.

11 February 2010


We have been stuck, stranded, bored, without electricity, Direct TV, internet, and sun shine.

But we are undaunted and will return.......
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