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...................................................



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.

13 September 2010

Midnight Feasts

Charmain Ponnuthurai gathered a group of fairly famous folks to put together a cookbook with a theme. The theme was midnight eating. The book is a fundraiser for Springboard, a children's dyslexia organization in Britain. Those of you who read this blog (and correct its spelling) know that such a cause is near and dear to my heart, or my brain which is unable or unwilling to differentiate between "d" and "b" and "p."

In the introduction to Midnight Feasts, Ponnuthurai fondly remembers a passage from British children's author, Enid Blyton, who wrote in The Ship of Adventure of children sitting in a dark courtyard eating:

"I've never known bread and cheese to taste so lovely, " said Diana.
"It's goat-milk cheese, isn't it Bill?"
"I say, look at Mickey stuffing himself."

Chefs like Fergus Henderson and Yotam Ottolenghi, royals like the duchess of york and Lady Carole Bamford and actors like Gillian Anderson and Gwyneth Paltrow take us into their late-night cravings and ideal after- dark dinner.

Gillian Anderson's Peanut Butter & A Banana

1 banana
2 tablespoons peanut butter

Take the banana and slice it end to end down the middle. Take some peanut butter, smooth or crunchy, your choice and lather it down the one side of the banana as thick as your tastes desire. Place the other half of the banana on top like a sandwich.
Then slice two, three or four times, depending on the size of your banana, creating little individual peanut butter banana sandwiches. Wrap each section individually in tin foil and place a whole lot of them in a plastic container in the freezer. Then, in the middle of the night, open the freezer, grab a ball of tin foil, unwrap it and find a surprisingly delicious snack just waiting for your enjoyment. It image that most reminds me of this snack is the yellow man that pops up when you send an AOL email message.

If you read this blog, you know I am not making this recipe. I let my love of the X-Files and Bleak House override my hatred of bananas.

11 September 2010

Chicken & Game

Brillat-Savarin once said, "A chicken is a canvas on which the cook can paint." In Chicken & Game by Ninette Lyon, she certainly does paint a nifty chicken. She also manages to to include guinea, squab, turkey and even a rabbit or two in her canvas. Lyon was a French cook who wrote a little book about cooking meat. Meat At Any Price became a huge hit in France. The book won several culinary prizes and the butchers of Les Halles offered Lyon's her weight in meat. Not a bad prize.

Chicken & Game was published in the early 1960's so there is no illustration for the recipes. They are quite straight forward and easy to assemble. Well, the chicken recipes are easy as anyone can find a chicken -- the pheasant and wild boar might be a tad more difficult if you live off the beaten track.

Chicken in the Sunday staple at Doe Run Farm (though we try to keep that a secret from the girls who lay our eggs!). I am a huge fan of giblets. Some of my favorite recipes involve chicken gizzards. Thumbing through Lyon's book, I found several recipes for chicken giblets, but this one included not only gizzards but an often overlooked veggie, salsify. Salsify looks like a big old hairy carrot and tastes mildly of oyster.

Giblets with Salsify

1 tablespoon fat
2 lb giblets
1 onion
1 lb salsify
1 clove garlic 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 glasses bouillon or water
salt and pepper
1/2 clove garlic

Heat the fat in a flameproof casserole and brown the giblets, the onions sliced in rings, and the salsify cut in even pieces. Add crushed garlic and flour and brown these too. Season, and stir in the hot liquid. Close the lid, and simmer for 3 hours. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a trace of garlic.

This is excellent. Trust me on this one. You can feel free to bring this to a potluck and you can rest assured that you will be the only one to bring it to the table.

03 September 2010

Food For Beauty

There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.
Helena Rubinstein

Today's Famous Food Friday is Helena Rubinstein. In mid August, The Peak of Chic brought back one of my favorite features on her blog -- "What's In Their Library." Fittingly, The Peak of Chic changed it up a bit and produced "What's In My Library -- Jennifer Boles." One of the books from her own library was Helena Rubinstein's cookbook, Food For Beauty and since it is in our library, too, we thought it would make a great Famous Food Friday.

Marie Laurencin (1885 -1956)
Helena Rubinstein wearing a yellow shawl, 1934

Helena Rubinstein was the eldest of eight daughters of a Polish merchant. In 1890 she headed off to Australia giving up her study of medicine to find a husband. What she found was the appalling skin of Australian women. Rubinstein began selling a cream of almonds and tree bark to help with dry, flaky skin. Within three years her creams had earned her $100,000 and she headed to Europe. In 1914 she moved on to New York. She wrote of her first impressions of American women:

"It was a cold day,and all the American women had purple noses and grey lips, and their faces were chalk white from terrible powder. I recognized that the U.S. could be my life's work."

Graham Sutherland (1903-1980)
Helena Rubinstein in red brocade Balenciaga, 1957

In 1938 as a supplement to her cosmetics empire, Rubinstein wrote a cookbook based on the Bircher-Benner diet in Zurich, Switzerland. Maximilian Bircher-Benner, much like John Kellogg, set out to changed the 19th century diets. He chose fruit, vegetables and nuts over meats and breads. His ideas combined controlled nutrition with spartan physical discipline. His most famous idea was muesli.

Food for Beauty is filled with beautiful sounding recipes. One would be hard pressed to figure out what the ingredients are but who wouldn't want to partake in Lotus in Sunlight,Citrus Sunwheel, Tropical Radiance, Imperial Garden, or Sun Shaft?

Here is her recipe for a light soup.

Essence of Tomato

2 lbs. ripe tomatoes
1 bunch green celery tops
2 leeks (entire)
1 small potato
6 outside lettuce leaves
1 cup empty pea pods
2 quarts cold water

Wash vegetables thoroughly but do not peel them. Chop coarsely. Place in a large enamel, copper or glass kettle. Cover with cold water. cover kettle. simmer for 2 hours. Then mash through a fine sieve. Serve hot in bouillon cups.

Now don't be lazy, whip up a batch of Essence of Tomato and settle in for your own Day of Beauty.

Read it again at Lucindaville.

02 September 2010

Ice Cream Desserts

It may be September, but it is still in the 90's here, so we are not packing up the ice cream machine just now.
I pulled out Louis de Gouy's book Ice Cream Desserts. It is filled with recipes and nifty bits of information that everyone should know. For instance:

There is a subtle distinction between a fruit cocktail, a fruit cup and a frozen cup. Fruit cocktail is essentially an appetizer; whereas fruit cup is often served as a dessert, and a frozen cup, usually composed of fruit and ice cream, attractively dressed, is also a dessert.

Pay attention, there will be a quiz.

Louis de Gouy has quite the culinary persona. His father, Jean, was the Esquire of Cuisine at the Imperial Courts of Austria and Belgium. After studying at Daddy's knee, Louis moved on to study with Escoffier. He worked at some of the most illustrious hotels in Europe and America including the Grand Hotel, Hotel de Paris, Hotel Kennsington, and the Waldorf-Astoria. In addition he worked on J.P Morgan's yacht, Wild Duck, on a round-the-world cruise.

In his copious free time, he wrote over 20 books. His "masterpiece" was The Gold Cookbook, with nearly 3000 recipes. My favorite is the two-volume Derrydale Cook Book of Fish and Game. But today --ice cream.

The purpose of this volume was to enable the home cook in preparing delectable frozen treats. Given the time period, 1938, there are few options for making ice cream other than the hand cranked freezer or simply placing the base in the freezer. Unlike Baskin Robbin's 31 flavors, there are 470 recipes in Ice Cream Deserts.

Here's a recipe that sounds totally modern and well beyond the 31 flavors.

Cornflake Ice Cream

1 cup fresh milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, combined with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cup corn flake cereal
2 cups heavy cream, whipped custard-like

Combine sugar and cornstarch and mix well. Stir int he milk, a small amount at a time, cooking over hit water until mixture is thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from hot water, cool slightly, then stir in slightly beaten egg. Return to hot water and cook for 2 short minutes, stirring constantly, Strain through double cheesecloth. Stir in the heavy cream, whipped to custard-like consistency alternating with corn flakes and flavoring extracts. Freeze in refrigerator tray until mushy. Remove from refrigerator , scrape bottom and sides, then beat smooth. Return to freezer try and freeze for three hours.

What a lovely idea -- breakfast ice cream!
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