30 November 2009

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking

It seems fair that we should follow up Dione Lucas with one of her most successful students. Paula Wolfert, who left college to cook after being mesmerized by Lucas, has a new cookbook, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking. Wolfert did her mentor proud, as she was recently inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame by the James Beard Foundation.

I love cooking in clay pots. There is something so genuine and truly lovely about them. I confess that one of the "things-I-need-to-do-before-I-die" is to make my own clay pots for my kitchen.

In the meantime, Spanish cazuelas are my favorite and Wolfert recommends an 11-or 12-inch Spanish cazuela or straight-sided flameware skillet for this recipe. There really is no more perfect dish than this, succulent shrimp, fresh garlic, a hit of heat all in a nice oil. Add some bread and you cannot go wrong.

Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic and Hot Peppers

1 pound peeled small (about 60) or medium-large, deveined (24 to 30) shrimp
1 scant cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon mildly hot dried red pepper such as Aleppo or Marash
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
4 to 6 slices chewy country bread

1. Rinse the shrimp and wipe dry with paper towels. Leave them at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes so they are not ice cold when they hit the pan.

2. Combine the olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper in the cazuela. Set it over medium-low heat and warm the pan slowly, gradually raising the heat to medium or medium-high until the oil is hot. Continue to cook until the garlic sizzles and just turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Immediately add all the shrimp and cook until they are firm and curled, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on their size.

4. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons hot water and pinches of sea salt and pimentón. Serve at once right from the pot with the bread for soaking up the delicious oily sauce.

If you are interested in clay pots or great kitchens, here is a photo from the L.A. Times of Wolfert in her kitchen surrounded by pots.

I could cook there.

29 November 2009

Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook

Dione Lucas was among the first to teach cooking from a television studio in 1947. She held private classes were attended by such individuals as Salvador Deli, Helen Hayes and Paula Wolfert, who took 6 classes and immediately dropped out of college for a career in food

Dione Lucas’ books led to the growth of French cooking in America, though she never rose to the fame of Julia Child. Many people swear by Lucas' omelet recipe, others wax poetic on her more complicated dishes. Her squab was another favorite, not so much for the recipe but because she states that it was a favorite dish eaten by Adolph Hitler, which debunks the theory of his vegetarianism.

Her Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook gives this detailed but excellent recipe for beef with sour cream.

Boeuf Stroganoff
(Fillet of Beef with Sour Cream)

2 pounds fillet of beef (center cut)
Salt butter
1/2 ounce (1 package) dried mushrooms
meat glaze
tomato paste
1 1/2 cups heavy commercial sour cream
fresh dill

meat, trimmed and cut into pieces
garlic, chopped
dried mushrooms, soaked, drained and chopped
mushroom stock, strained
fresh dill, chopped

1. Remove any skin, fat and sinew from the mat, and cut it into thin fingers 2 1/2 inches long, 1 inch wide.

2. Heat in a heavy pan: 4 tablespoons (2 ounces -- 1/2 stick) of salt butter. Stir it until it is golden and sizzling.

3. Now, put in your beef, a few slices at a time, being careful that the pieces do not touch. This is the trick to browning meat quickly and evenly without allowing any juice or steam to form, thereby stewing instead of sautéing your meat. Remove browned pieces with a slotted spoon or tongs-- never stab with a fork!-- and set aside until all the beef has been cooked.

4. When all the meat is brown, put it back in the pan and flame it with: 1/4 cup of brandy

5. Remove the meat from the pan again and stir into the juices: 2 tablespoons (1 ounce-- 1/4 stick) of salt butter

6. Remove the pan from the heat and add: 2 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic. (Chop garlic in a little salt with a sharp knife.) 1/2 ounce of chopped dried mushrooms (These give a completely different flavor from our fresh mushrooms, and the two are not interchangeable. Put the 1/2 ounce of dried mushrooms to soak in 1/2 cup of warm water for at least 1/2 hour. Drain the mushrooms, saving the liquid, chop them very fine and add them to the garlic sauce.)

7. Stir slowly over heat for 2 minutes, but don't brown the garlic.

8. Stir in, off the fire: 1 level teaspoon of meat glaze, 1 level teaspoon of tomato paste, 3 tablespoons of plain flour, the strained mushroom stock

9. Stir over the fire until it thickens, but don't let it boil.

10. Beat in, a dab at a time: 1 1/2 cups of heavy sour cream, using a wire whisk.

11. Mix in: 2 good tablespoons of freshly chopped dill

12. Heat the sauce, but keep it below the boiling point or the sour cream will curdle. It should just be steaming. Then put your meat in, but do not keep it in the sauce over a flame or it will continue to cook. It can stay warm indefinitely over hot water, with a cover on, or on an electric hot tray.

If you want to be a thoroughly unruffled hostess, you can brown your beef and make your sauce in the morning, refrigerating them in separate bowls until about an hour before you serve. At the last minute, you can heat the sauce gradually, stirring it to keep it smooth and watching that it doesn't boil. Then add the meat, which will be room temperature by this time, and add your fresh dill to the sauce now, heat the two together, and there's your perfect Stroganoff, prepared in advance, yet served precisely au point.

It seems terribly drawn out, but read through the recipe and give it a try.

28 November 2009

Drinkology Eats

A booze hounds book for chow hounds. James Waller joins forces with caterer Ramona Ponce to expand his "mixology" franchise. I have given away many of his Drinkology: The Art and Science of the Cocktail to all my budding cocktail shakers and those who were looking to brush up on their mixing skills. Drinkology EATS: A Guide to Bar Food and Cocktail Party Fare offers up the nosh to keep the drinking going.

I thought of this because of one single recipe. It answers quite effectively, the age old question of what to do with all that leftover turkey. While this recipe is for chicken, I think you can safely substitute turkey. And, you can dispense with the cubes and just let the leftovers be as ragged as they can be. Waller and Ponce recommend using Dona Maria mole. It is concentrated so half a can will do.

Chicken Cubes with Mole

about 4 ounces condensed commercial mole, such as Dona Maria
2 cups chicken broth
2 large chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

In a small saucepan, combine the condensed mole and chicken broth. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, even-textured, and hot.

Broil the chicken breasts until cooked through, about 7 minutes on one side and 4 minutes on the other. (Slice one of the breasts at its thickest part to make sure it is completely cooked; if still pink in center, return to broiler for 1 - 2 additional minutes.)

Allow the breasts to cool slightly before handling. Cut them into 1 -inch cubes, discarding the irregular pieces. (You should end up with at least 24 cubes.) Spear each cube with a cocktail pick, dip it into the mole, and arrange the mole-coated cubes on serving tray. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Somewhere on that leftover turkey, you have 24 cubes, or maybe just 12. Try this on any leftover turkey and add some rice and beans. It makes for an easy and different approach and gives a positive spin on, "Turkey, again."

27 November 2009

How To Eat

We love Nigella. Not for the obvious reasons, we know she is easy on the eyes, but because she's just so much fin in the kitchen. She obviously loves to cook for herself and others and she's not afraid to eat and we especially love that about her. Gearing up for that big old Thanksgiving extravaganza, I wanted to offer up something both comforting and light on this day before overindulgence.

Try this lemony risotto for a lovely pre-Thanksgiving meal.

Lemon Risotto

2 shallots
1 stick of celery
60g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
300g risotto rice, preferably Vialone Nano
1 litre vegetable stock (I use Marigold stock powder)
Zest and juice of 1/2 an unwaxed lemon
Needles from 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
60ml (4 tbsp) grated Parmesan, plus more to sprinkle
60ml (4 tbsp) double cream
Malden salt to taste
Good grating pepper, preferably white

1. Put the shallots and celery into a Magimix and blitz until they are a finely chopped mush. Heat half the butter, the oil and the shallot and celery mixture in a wide saucepan, and cook to soften the mixture for about 5 minutes making sure it doesn't catch. Mix in the rice, stirring to give it a good coating of oil and butter. Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan and keep it at simmering point.

2. Pour in a ladle full of the stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add another ladle full and stir again, continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all of the stock, equally, you may need to add hot water from the kettle.

3. Mix the lemon zest and the rosemary into the risotto, and in a small bowl beat the egg yolk, lemon juice, Parmesan, cream and pepper.

4. When the risotto is ready - when the rice is no longer chalky but still has some bite - take it off the heat and add the bowl of eggy lemony mixture, and the remaining butter and salt to taste. Serve with more grated Parmesan if you wish, check the seasoning and dive in.

Now that is how to eat.

26 November 2009


I am thankful for Madame Clicquot. Today's "cookbook" is more of a recipe from me.

Happy Thanksgiving

1 bottle of Veuve Clicquot
2 glasses

Chill the champagne in the refrigerator.

Pop open the bottle

Drink a glass with someone you love (or like)

Give thanks

25 November 2009

The Gardner and the Cook

This is a wonderful relic of the Victorian past. Lucy Yates tells us the story of her gardener and cook. "The Gardener" is one Charles Mann nicknamed by Yates "Charlemagne.” “The Cook” is a French woman named Charlotte. Yates gives us a tour of her life in the rarefied England at the turn of the last century. Recently Persephone Books reprinted another of Yates’ books, The Country Housewife's Book, but even they have little information on Yates.

Her words must speak for themselves. Here is her introduction to the tomato.
"The Latin name of the tomato is Solarium lycopersicum, the edible wolf's peach, or, popularly speaking, love apple. Another solanum, of which we also eat the fruit, is the aubergine, called in India the hrinjal.

It took some time for us English people to learn to like the tomato and to appreciate it thoroughly, but now we know that no garden can be considered properly productive unless it rears a few plants, and any one who has a greenhouse or frame at once settles to grow tomatoes therein."

And what to do with those tomatoes?
Tomato Rolls. — The skins and cores are removed from six to eight tomatoes, and these are pulped down. With them are put a few spoonfuls of minced ham, onion, a little seasoning, the crumb of a stale roll dipped in milk, a few drops of tarragon vinegar, and the yolk of an egg to bind the
mixture together. It is then shaped into rolls, dipped in egg, rolled in crumbs and cheese mixed, and fried in fat until crisp and brown. The dish is garnished with fried parsley.
This book was written in 1912. Two years later, the first World War would begin. It is rather sad to read this lovely little book knowing what is ahead for Charlemagne, Charlotte and Lucy.

24 November 2009

My Bread

If you cook, or read the New York Times, or watch television, you have no doubt seen Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery showing you his no-knead approach to bread making. Most good bakers knew you could proof dough in the refrigerator. Julia Child’s husband, Paul, bought bricks at the hardware store to line Julia’s oven for bread making. Some people would take terra cotta flower pots from the garden center and make mini-ovens in their stoves. Even ugly dough seems to look better AFTER an hour in the oven. But when Jim Lahey took is sloppy dough and threw it in a Le Creuset pan, the world was mesmerized. It was like inventing the wheel.

My Bread is is the hardback follow-up. Chocked full of bread recipes and other things it is well worth the money, especially if you have ever made his bread. Lahey and co-author Rick Flaste have compiled a winner of a book. Lahey tells a funny ( yet tragically hip tale) of the results of his first New York Times article. Most New Yorkers possessed a Le Creuset cast iron pan and it seemed the likely choice for this bread. Unfortunately, those nifty handle “buttons” on the top of the lids are not meant to withstand temperatures of 450 F, so many of them broke. What’s a hip New Yorker to do? Well, evidently, the answer is to go to your favorite cooking supply emporium and steal yourself a new one. Really people!

So as not to tempt you to go out a-stealin’, we are offering up a non-bread recipe.

Tortino di Cioccolat

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
4 large eggs, separated
¼ cup fine dry Homemade Bread Crumbs
pinch table salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat(or in a bowl n the microwave), melt the butter. Combine the chocolate with 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a medium bowl, add the hot melted butter, and stir a few times. Let sit for 3 or 4 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until smooth.
3. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl and slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. Mix in bread crumbs very thoroughly.
4. Put the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted whit the whisk attachment. Whip at medium speed until the whites are foamy, then reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Raise the speed to medium and continue whipping until the whites form stiff peaks (if they become dry or clumpy, they’re overwhipped and will not give the torte the light, smooth texture it needs; dump them and start over with new egg whites). Use a rubber spatula or whisk to fold a large scoop of the meringue into the chocolate mixture until incorporated (this will lighten it), then gently fold in the remaining meringue.
5. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Fill each cup approximately three-quarters full. Bake the tortini for about 10 minutes, until the are puffed up and just set in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack. The tortini will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for three days.

Truth be told, these are glorified, Italian brownies, but they are such a delight. And frankly, I love a cookbook author who tells you if you screw up, dump it out and start over! A man after my own heart.

23 November 2009

The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book

The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book is one of the classic American cookbooks. Published in 1910, it was compiled by the head chef of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, Victor Hirtzler. In his preface to the volume he wrote:

“In this, my book, I have endeavored to give expression to the art of cookery as developed in recent years in keeping with the importance of the catering business, in particular the hotel business, which, in America, now leads the world.”

Hirtzler was not the kind of guy who skimped on offering at his hotel. Dinner menus often included nearly sixty entrees from hamburger to Bohemian ham, plus nearly twenty kinds of fish, twenty clam or oyster dishes, eleven soups, fourteen cheeses ,and twenty-four relishes. He had over 230 ways to serve eggs.

The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book featured menus for each day of the week and recipes to provide that particular day’s fare. Here is the menu for November 23.

Stuffed tomatoes, Noyer. Cut the tops off two nice tomatoes, scoop them out and season with salt and pepper. Mix fresh bread crumbs and chopped English walnuts in equal parts and fill the tomatoes with same. Put a piece of butter on top and bake in moderate oven for ten minutes.

Baked apples. Wash and core the apples. With a sharp knife cut a circle through the skin, around the apple, above the center, to prevent the apples from bursting. Place on a pan and fill the hole in each with sugar mixed with a little ground cinnamon. Put a small piece of butter on top of each, and a little water in the bottom of the pan. Bake in a moderate oven. Serve with their own juice. Cream separate.

Baked beans, Boston style. Soak three pounds of white beans over night in cold water. Then put same in a one and one-half gallon earthern pot with one-half cup of molasses, one soupspoonful of English mustard mixed with a cup of water, a little salt, and one whole piece of fat, parboiled salt pork. Pour in just enough water to moisten, cover, and put in bake oven for four hours. Or in a not too hot range oven for two and one-half hours. If range is used, be careful that they do not burn. Serve from pot, or in small individual pots, with Boston brown bread separate.

Ecrevisse salad, gourmet. Cover the bottoms of four dinner plates with chicory salad. In the center make a nest of celery cut in thin strips like matches. On top of that one well-washed fresh mushroom head, cut the same way, and to cap all, put the tails of six ecrevisses. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a sauce of one-third tarragon vinegar and two-thirds olive oil. Cut two truffles like matches, and with some fine chervil, sprinkle all over the salad.

Eggs Henri IV. Breaded poached eggs fried in swimming lard. Place on a piece of toast spread with puree de foie gras, and cover with sauce Perigordine.

Sauce Perigordine. To one cup of brown gravy add one spoonful of chopped truffles reduced in sherry wine. Season with salt and Cayenne pepper.

Broiled squab chicken. Split a squab from the back, salt, pepper, moisten with a little olive oil and broil. Serve on toast, with maitre d'hotel sauce, quartered lemons and watercress.

Dig in!

22 November 2009

Cooking With Seasons at Rancho La Puerta

Rancho La Puerta is a tony spa and frankly, "spa food" is a bit of an oxymoron. I would never buy such a book, but his came across my desk in a pile of books I purchased. I always flip though cookbooks and this was no exception. Actually, the "exception" was how good the recipes were. Loads of breads and fruits and generally yummy items one would not expect in a book about a spa. Cooking With Seasons at Rancho La Puerta is great fun and jam packed with nifty recipes.

There is a note on how to use the book. It says at one point:

"Cooking can be as improvisational as jazz."

That has always been my mantra in the kitchen. You can be Ronald McDonald and have everything you cook come out exactly the same or you can be Django Reinhardt and make everything you cook a different and lively riff. I love saffron bread and I can't wait to give my recipe this Rancho La Puerta spin.

Orange Saffron Pine-Nut Bread

1 teaspoons Spanish saffron threads
4 cups of warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cups agave syrup or maple syrup
Zest of 2 large oranges
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup toasted pine-nuts
4 to 5 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more as needed

1. Soak the saffron threads in ½ cup of water for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the remaining 3 ½ cups of water and the yeast. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir the syrup, orange zest, saffron, melted butter and salt into the yeast until thoroughly combined. Add the wheat flour and mix until smooth.

4. Stir in the pine nuts and most of the all-purpose flour, reserving 1 cup. The dough will be a little sticky. Flour the countertop with some remaining flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour to the surface as needed to make the dough manageable. You may not use all the flour, or you may need a little more. The final dough should feel moist and a little tacky, but not sticky or wet.

5. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Turn over once to coat, and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Let dough rise in a warm, draft free place until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

6. Punch down the dough. Divide into 2 equal portions. Spread each into a rectangle and pinch the ends together.

7. Place each loaf in an oiled loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until the loaves have double in bulk, about 40 minutes.

8. Bake in a preheated 375-degree F oven for one hour, or until tops are browned and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Even at a spa one needs bread.

21 November 2009

A Brief Aside...

For some time now, we have been encouraging you to try new vegetables in your baking. We are now feeling validated by the folks at Tasting Table.

So next time you want to drag out that same old carrot cake recipe, substitute beets, or summer squash or my favorite, parsnips. I am still searching for just the right recipe for Brussels Sprout Cake....

Beet Cake at Lucindaville

The National Trust Book of the Country Kitchen Store Cupboard

The National Trust Book of the Country Kitchen Store Cupboard by Sara Paston-Williams has a title almost as long as the book itself. Sara Paston-Williams is one of those cookery writers with a profound sense of history and the historical place that food plays in that history. She has worked for the National Trust, managing restaurants and writing about much of the traditional fare that would have graced the tables of many a stately home.

As you know, I love larders, pantries, and store cupboards, so this book speaks to me. There is a section on fruit cheeses. A fruit cheese is a type of curd. As a child, one of my favorite cakes was a Lemon Cheese Cake. Yankee's (especially the New York kind) don't understand Lemon Cheese Cake, an airy white cake filled with a pungent, jaw-aching lemon "cheese." I remember making one and my roommate saying, "That's not cheesecake!" We have always tried to forgive the ignorance of those less fortunate individuals who never resided in the South.

I make a wonderful Tomato/Orange Marmalade/ChowChow confiture, so I was intrigued with this jam.

Tomato and Orange Jam

2lb (900g) red tomatoes
Grated rind and juice of two oranges
Juice of 2 lemons
2lb (900g) sugar

Choose firm tomatoes. Wash and skin the and cut into quarters. Put in a pan and add grated rind and juice of the oranges. Cover a the pan and cook gently for about 10-15 minutes or until tomatoes are very tender. Add lemon juice, and stir in warmed sugar, heating gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. then, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes, until setting point is reached, stirring occasionally. Allow jam to cool for about 5 minuets before pouring into jars. Cover and store. This jam is very good spread thickly on wholemeal or granary bread or scones.

Seems to me, it might be great right out of the jar.

20 November 2009

Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres

I admit it, I love Martha Stewart. I tend to like the books that were actually, composed by Martha Steward. I have little use for those large compilations that come form her enormous staff and simply have her photo stuck to the front. But, when Miss Martha was cooking in her kitchen in Connecticut, borrowing dishes from relatives and arranging the same table over and over with different tablecloths and flowers, she was great.

A couple of weeks ago, Harry Lowe and Al, were off at an auction. They found a couple of books being discarded and ransacked the trash for me. One of books was a pristine, 1st Edition of her 1984 classic, Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres. There was much debate over whether Miss Martha had ever been that young, but I assured them, it was a very young Martha on the cover in classic 80's style.

The previous owner had clearly planned a party around this book, because several pages were bookmarked with notation of what to make on that page. This seemed to be popular and a tad on the easy side, but here goes.

Apricots with Bleu du Bresse

1/2 pound blue de Bresse, at t room temperature
15 fresh apricots, pitted and halved

Spread 1 teaspoon softened cheese on each apricot half. Serve at room temperature, or put under the broiler for 1 minute, just until the cheese begins to melt.
Yes, it's fruit stuffed with blue cheese. Remember, it was 1984 and most women wanted OUT of the kitchen and really couldn't be bothered with stuffing their fruit with cheese.

19 November 2009

Delightful Food

For some cookbooks it is the recipes that make them special, but there are other cookbooks with unique intangibles. One of these is Delightful Food by Marjorie Salter and Adrianne Allen Whitney. Rightfully so, the recipes are quite delightful.

The additional cache of this slim cookbook comes from the illustrations and the foreword.

The six plates interspersed throughout Delightful Food were painted by Oliver Messel, the artist, set designer and general man about town. The figures are drawn from plates and bowls of colorful food.

The introduction was written by Noel Coward over fifty years ago, and still rings true, today.

Of this book he writes:
"Nowadays everyone or very nearly everyone, cooks or has a specialité which they can whip up in a trice, everyone admits the Importance of Chives, everyone assumes a knowing look after the first bite or sup—“A pinch of cinnamon would have made all the difference,” they say – everyone has at least one recipe handed down from Great Aunt Laura or given to him by the chef of the remotest auberge in the Haute-Pyrenees; in fact, never has cooking been such fun."

With such a delightful cookbook, we chose a lovely lobster salad fit to serve to Noel Coward and Oliver Messel or to serve to your guests.

Lobster Alexandria

Yoghourt (1 bottle to two portions)
Diced cold lobster
Cucumber, cut in squares
Salt, pepper, lemon juice

Stir lobster into yoghourt, add cucumber and seasonings, Arrange in glasses. Trim with lobster coral and watercress.
Serve very cold.

Quick, easy and very beautiful, like Messel's illustrations. At the end of your meal you can listen to Noel Coward who will remind you, The Party's Over Now.

18 November 2009

Lois Burpee's Gardener's Companion and Cookbook

It is cold, the garden is in winter disrepair and I am already looking forward to getting seed catalogues for next year.

Since I didn’t have any seed catalogues, I turned to a “seed catalogue” cookbook. Burpee’s is a leading purveyor of seeds in America. Lois Burpee met her husband at a flower show. She got a job with the Burpee Company and after a year was doing research for David Burpee. After a time, he proposed and Lois became Mrs. Burpee.

Many years later, after growing a plethora of vegetable varieties, she wrote a cookbook, Lois Burpee's Gardener's Companion and Cookbook. The recipes are straight forward, using a wide variety of vegetables. This book was written in the early 1980’s so the variety of currently available heirloom and antique varieties of plants are not represented. It would actually be fun to see this cookbook revised with the many addition to the Burpee’s catalogue in the last 25 years.

The favorite vegetable for growing is the tomato. Here is a great idea for the abundant tomato.

Tomato Pudding

4 slices white bread, toasted and cut into small cubes
4 cups thick tomato juice or purée
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons raisins, pressed down
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Salt (if tomato juice or purée is not salted)
1 tablespoon butter

Put half the toast cubes in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Heat together all the together ingredients except the butter and pour over the toast cubes. Place the remaining toast cubes on top and press down a little. Dot with butter and bake at 325 F for 30 minutes or until heated through.

I am going to make a big dish of Tomato Pudding and patiently wait by my mailbox.

17 November 2009

And the winner is...


Just send us your mailing address.

Country Egg, City Egg

Yes, Virginia, I have another egg book. We can hardly go a month here at Cookbook Of The Day without posting a cookbook that features eggs. What can I say, we love our eggs. The past few weeks with the daylight ending at 5 PM and the cold setting in, the older chickens are molting and laying less, so the egg cartons in the kitchen have been sitting empty. It is very sad to see a stack of empty cartons without the corresponding stack of full cartons. This week the new pullets have laid their first couple of eggs, so production is beginning to climb.

Judy Rodgers at the Zuni Café is not only a great cook, but she also has a good eye for talent. Two of the people who worked for her were Gayle Pirie and John Clark. They met and bonded over eggs. For seven years, they prepared the egg dishes for Zuni’s Brunch menu. The next step was obvious, they wrote an egg cookbook, Country Egg, City Egg.

The book gives detailed information on exactly how to cook eggs, plus some really fun recipes. One is a favorite of Colette’s...


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold water
1 scant cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1/2 teaspoon or more salt
2/3 cup roughly chopped bacon (optional)

Combine the butter and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once, quickly stirring with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth and detaches from the sides of the saucepan. The dough will form a ball around the spoon. (This process moves pretty quickly.)
Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time until each egg has been thoroughly incorporated into the dough. Stir in the cheese, add the salt to taste, and, if you like, the bacon. Let the dough rest and hour.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, use two spoons to form 2-inch balls with peaks. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the blade of a knife when stuck into the center comes out clean. The gougers will puff to twice their size and turn golden brown.

I'm not sure Colette would have approved of the bacon, but we love the idea. If you are feeling a "French" moment coming on, whip up a batch of these and break out a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Seriously, what are you waiting for? You could get hit by a bus tomorrow!

16 November 2009

Fish on Friday

I adore Fish on Friday. I admit it is not exactly a “cookbook” in the most literal sense, but so much more. It is a scholarly tome subtitled Feasting, Fasting and the Discovery of the New World which combines history, religion, food, boatbuilding and environmental issues. Author Brian Fagan hypothesises that the discovery of the new world came about because of the spread of Christianity through the old world. The Church demanded "fish on Friday", causing an over fishing of local waters. The climate change further depleted fishing stock in Norway and Iceland. The demand for fish caused fishermen to develop better vessels to sail farther to fill the demand. Fagan writes:
"The elaboration of meals was a barometer of social standing as fine cooking became an art, particularly in regard to sauces using ingenious combinations of ingredients and the cooking juices of fish and meat. Haute cuisine was alive and well in Roman society, with its lavish banquets and magnificent displays of exotic foods, many of them from specific places of origin."
Here is one of the well researched recipes from the book.

Roman Seafood Stew

1 1/4 pounds fish fillet in bite-size pieces—ideally halibut or salmon
8 oz white wine, preferably a flowery tasting sauvignon blanc
17 oz beef broth
3 finely chopped leeks, including the green portion, well washed before chopping.
3 1/2 oz olive oil
1 3/4 oz fish sauce. A modern substitute is This Kitchen Premium fish Sauce, which is widely available, but anchovy sauce or other Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce would also work.
1 handful finely chopped fresh coriander or cilantro
1 handful finely chopped lovage or celery hearts
Dried or fresh oregano to taste
Pepper and salt to taste

Combine all the liquid ingredients and bring to a slow simmer. Add the fish and simmer for about 10 minutes, varying the time according to the doneness you prefer.
Remove the fish with a slotted spoon to a warmed serving dish, bring the liquid to a boil until it reduces in volume, add the chopped leeks, cilantro, lovage, and oregano, also salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning and add to the fish.
Now you can have fish on Friday or Monday!

If you love scholarly books on esoteric subjects as I do, then read Fish on Friday, if not for information , then for the recipes tucked into the exposition.

15 November 2009

Intimate Gatherings

Chronicle Books has an excellent track record with the production of cookbooks. They tend to favor a slightly small and square format, the paper stock is thick, the photography is beautiful and while they might not be as exhaustive as some cookbooks, but every title is solid and true to their titles.

Intimate Gatherings feature meals for groups of two, four or six individuals set in each season of the year. Ellen Rose runs a cookbook shop, The Cook’s Library, in Los Angles and Jessica Strand is a journalist and writer. The purpose of this book is to provide an outline to prepare simple and uncomplicated meals for small gatherings.

Each menu begins with a “Meal Manger” which provided an outline or a “to do “ list for the meal. You can begin the meals at least three days or an entire week before your gathering. The recipes are simple and you have probably seen most of them before. I am not sure that is such a bad thing in this instance. The idea of the book is to create an intimate gathering, bringing together a small group or even a single friend or lover to share a meal. The communion is the most important ingredient.

I wouldn’t mind communing with someone who made me this cobbler.

Aunt Jennie’s Mixed Summer Fruit Cobbler

1/4 cup walnuts


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour


5 cups mixed fresh fruit, such as peeled, sliced peaches or nectarines, and blueberries or blackberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or more depending on the sweetness of the fruit0
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Put the chopped walnuts in the pan and roast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes.
2. To prepare the topping: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and beat for another minute. Add the flour and beat until just combined. Stir in the nuts by hand. Roll the dough between two sheets of waxed paper into a square the size of a baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. To prepare the filling: Place the fruit, sugar, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan.
4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Peel off the top layer of waxed paper, place the dough on the fruit, and peel off the remaining piece of waxed paper. Tuck any overhanging pieces of dough between the fruit and the sides of the pan. Cut 3 or 4 small decorative slits in the dough with the tip of a sharp knife. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is pale golden.
6. While the cobbler is still warm, run the blade of a small knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Serve warm with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

While the meal manages are spelled out in this book, they are a good idea to plan any party, large or small. Next time you plan a meal, think of what you can make ahead, plan it out a bit and make a simple to-do list. It will make your part of the meal a lot more enjoyable.

14 November 2009

Giving Thanks -- REPOST

In 1620 Edward Winslow and his wife Elizabeth arrived on the Mayflower. Of the 102 to arrive, Edward Winslow was one of the 55 who survived the first winter. He remarried the widowed Mrs. Susanna White in 1621, the first marriage in the Plymouth Colony. The lone account of the first Thanksgiving was written by Edward Winslow.
"Our Corne did proue well, & God be praysed, we had a good increase of Indian Corne, and our Barly indifferent good, but our Pease not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sowne, they came vp very well, and blossomed, but the Sunne parched them in the blossome; our harvest being gotten in, our Governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a more speciall manner reioyce together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst vs, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoyt, with some nintie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed fiue Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed upon our Governour, and upon the Captaine, and others. And although it be not alwayes so plentifull, as it was at this time with vs, yet by the goodneses of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

If you are interested in history as a side to your turkey, give this book a serious look: Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie by Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver, and The Plimoth Plantation. Plimoth Plantation is the leading authority on Thanksgiving. This beautiful book collects history, photographs and recipes to form a lively account of Thanksgivings from Edward Winslow to Macy's, from deere to tofu turkey, from Indian pudding to Karo pecan pie.

In a world of electronic media when "the book" is often looked upon as a relic, Giving Thanks is an homage to what book publishing can be. The book is printed on thick, glossy paper with great photography and pretty great recipes to boot!

We doff our pilgrim hat to the folks at Clarkson Potter.

I stopped by the post office today, and I had my copy of Giving Thanks in hand. Nelda, the post mistress, chatted with me and said she was thinking of making a cranberry salad her mother made but she didn't have the recipe. I flipped to the index and quickly found Thanksgiving Cranberry Salad, which was pretty much the salad her mother made for years. As with so much in this book, we not only get the recipe but why we eat such things:

According to Laura Shapiro's Perfection Salad, these tidy salads were heavily promoted by reform-minded domestic scientists, who saw them as a way to make a neat, pretty package out of a mixture of disparate ingredients that would other wise look sloppy on a plate.
Well sloppy or not, here it is. By the way the "red gelatin dessert" would be Jello!!

Thanksgiving Cranberry Salad

1 3-oz. package of red gelatin dessert
3/4 cup boiling water
1 16- oz. can of whole-cranberry sauce
1 small orange, seeded and chopped or ground with the peel
1/2 cup chopped peeled apple
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Oil a 5-cup mold or six individual molds. In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve the gelatin dessert in the boiling water. Stir in the cranberry sauce. Chill the gelatin thickens but does not set. Add the orange, apple, celery and pecans and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared mold. Chill until firm.
Nothing says Thanksgiving like a congealed salad!

Be sure to add Giving Thanks to your cookbook library. While you're at it, add Laura Shapiro's Perfection Salad. It has been reprinted on numerous occasions, a testament to it's enduring legacy. For more information on early America visit Plimoth Plantation.

13 November 2009

A Southern Thanksgiving --REPOST

A Southern Thanksgiving is a wonderful little book. It has one menu for Thanksgiving -- the menu Robb Forman Dew has cooked for twenty years. Dew is an award winning Southern novelist. Her books, Dale Loves Sophie to Death, The Evidence Against Her, and The Truth of the Matter are staples on bookshelves as her Southern Thanksgiving Dinner is a staple in the kitchen.

Instead of filling the book with multiple recipes, she gives you the gift of her favorite dozen recipes interspersed with a great story or two. Dew informs her reader that potatoes are really a kinda "Yankee" thing.

Rice is the staple of New Orleans and Baton Rouge and Savannah and Charleston that potatoes seem to be in the Midwest and New England. Do, however, keep a box of instant mashed potatoes, a stick of butter, and a small carton of cream on hand in case you encounter a guest -- as I once did -- who becomes teary at even the notion of Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. I never invited her for a meal at my house again, but, then she wasn't related to me.

A true Southern lady -- accommodate your guest but remove them permanently from future invites!

Here is my Thanksgiving recipe -- instead of taking a bottle of wine to your host, give them the gift of A Southern Thanksgiving by Robb Forman Dew. Oh yes, and eat what you are served!

12 November 2009

The New Thanksgiving Table

Two years after Diane Morgan's The Thanksgiving Table, she produced The New Thanksgiving Table.
As always, Morgan has a lovely array of dishes that keep the traditional while giving them a bit of a kick-start. I never did serve a soup during Thanksgiving, that was generally an "after Thanksgiving" after thought. But here is a soup that just might make it into your family tradition file.

Trust me, no one hates mushroom soup more than me. My mother would use the canned variety in a casserole on occasion and I couldn't even bear to look at the globby mess. The truth be told, that "stuff" in a can is a far cry from mushroom soup. Let Andy Warhol paint those cans, and let Diane Morgan show you how to make a fine and delicious soup.

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Parmesan-and-Herb Croutons

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion (about 12 ounces), chopped
3 large portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound), wiped or brushed clean, and chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Parmesan-and-Herb Croutons (recipe follows)

In a 6- to 8-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan and sauté the leeks and onions, stirring constantly, until slightly softened and well coated with butter, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, stir to combine, cover, and cook 10 minutes longer. Raise the heat to medium, stir in the flour and cook 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt, sugar, and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes longer.

Cool the soup for about 10 minutes; discard the bay leaf, and then purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender and puree the soup right in the pan.) Return the puréed soup to the saucepan and add the cream. Cook over low heat until heated through, but do not let the soup boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle the soup into a warmed soup tureen or individual bowls, garnish with the croutons, and serve immediately.

Parmesan-and-Herb Croutons

5 cups fresh bread cubes (3/4-inch cubes), cut from a loaf of artisan bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes with the olive oil, Parmesan, and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Sprinkle the herbs over the bread cubes, toss to combine, and continue to bake until the bread cubes are crisp and golden, about 6 minutes longer.

The croutons can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in a lock-top plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature.

As Lily Tomlin might say, "Is it soup? Or, is it art?" With this recipe, it is a bit of both.

11 November 2009

The Thanksgiving Table

Diane Morgan's The Thanksgiving Table was published in 2006. It was a straight forward cookbook offering Thanksgiving favorites with relatively easy cooking instructions for the novice, but with enough variety to hook the most jaded Thanksgiving cook.

It was also and attempt to get people to add variety to their family traditions and to make new traditions. Her is my Thanksgiving confession: Every year I look at countless magazines featuring, baked, barbecues, broasted, brined, deep fryed, fresh, free range, Vermont certified turkeys and a million sides and every year I make the EXACT same Thanksgiving dinner that my mother made right down to the frozen Butterball turkey. I cook it in the same covered roaster she cooked every turkey she ever cooked. I am not a great person to suggest changing one's traditions in any way.

There is one change I have been known to make and that is adding sausage to my dressing. This is not my dressing, but if you must, give it a try.

Italian Sausage, Mushroom, and Sage Stuffing

5 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
10 cups unseasoned dry bread cubes (see Cook’s Note)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound mild Italian sausages
1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped or brushed clean, stems
trimmed, and quartered
1 large yellow onion (about 12 ounces), chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large ribs celery, chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium
chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a deep, 9-by-13-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Place the bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. In 10-inch sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and swirl to coat the pan. Cook the sausages until nicely browned on all sides. Remove and let cool. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add to the bread in the bowl.

Return the pan to the heat, and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Swirl to coat the pan, and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and sauté 1 minute longer. Add this mixture to the bread cubes, and stir to combine.

Cut the reserved sausages into ¼-inch rounds and add to the stuffing. Add the beaten eggs and stock to the bowl, and mix well. Place the stuffing in the prepared pan and bake, uncovered, until the top is lightly browned and crusty, about 1 hour.

If you have room in your oven, bake the stuffing while the turkey is roasting. Otherwise, bake it beforehand and reheat it once the turkey is out.

Here's to new tradition. Is that an oxymoron?

10 November 2009

The Thanksgiving Cookbook -- REPOST

(As you can see, Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away. I had no idea when I wrote this a year ago that Gourmet would be gone.)

With Thanksgiving next week, I thought I would post some Thanksgiving cookbooks on the site. While it may be possible to get away with a standing rib roast for Christmas, it is hard to do Thanksgiving without some type of fowl. Ruth Reichl, well know editor of Gourmet summed it up this way:
"On my watch, we will never not do a turkey. I believe very firmly that there are some traditions that should be honored. And one of the great classic American traditions is the classic Thanksgiving meal."

Lucky for you, I am not going to share a turkey recipe with you. If you can't make a turkey, call the ladies at Butterball. One piece of advice -- you have a 30 pound frozen turkey sitting in the freezer, put it in the refrigerator NOW!!

The Thanksgiving Cookbook by Holly Garrison offers a lot of plain old-fashioned help. She takes you from setting the table to the leftovers. Garrison offers buying tips and cooking info on most every bird found at your grocery or in your backyard, from squabs to turkey. She will even give you tips on a standing rib roast of a ham (but don't tell Ruth Reichl!)

The book is all text, so if you need to see the finished product you are out of luck. The recipes are calm and straightforward. While she advocates fresh vegetables, she is not adverse to cheating with beets. Don't listen!!! If you are cooking for days, there is plenty of time to roast some beets.
Beets With Lemon Sauce.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Three 16 oz. cans whole small beets, well drained
1/8 teaspoon salt
Big pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy sauce pan. Stir in the brown sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the beets until they are well coated. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the beets are glazed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. (May be prepared ahead up to this point and reheated) Sprinkle the beets with grated lemon rind and serve.

For another take on Thanksgiving beets, check out my recipe for Beets With Candied Ginger In Yuzu Honey at the Lucindaville site.

09 November 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner -- REPOST

Thanksgiving began in 1621. So very American! We set foot on the shore and begin imposing order. Of the 102 settlers who arrived at the Plymouth colony only 55 were still alive to celebrate our first Thanksgiving. Most of the thanks goes to the Wampanoag Indians, without whom there would have most probably been no survivors of the Plymouth Colony. The Wampanoag shared their food with the settlers, but more importantly, they shared their knowledge of the local flora and fauna.

A short history of Thanksgiving is found at the beginning of Thanksgiving Dinner by Anthony Diaz Blue and Kathryn K. Blue. Anthony Blue is a leading wine expert and her and his wife hail from California. There is a definite Californian color to this straight forward cookbook. You will find a range of traditional recipes alongside couscous stuffing, stuffed Cornish game hens with Zinfandel gravy and corn and tomato salad with a mustard-cumin vinaigrette.

My favorite recipe, however is for Brussels sprouts. I made Brussels sprouts for my friend, Beverly, when she came to West Virginia from Alabama. It was evidently, the low point of the visit. Beverly informed me that she hated Brussels sprouts but she graciously ate one for my sake.

How can you hate Brussels sprouts?? Seriously?

Back to Thanksgiving...

This is a great recipe for two reasons aside from being Brussels sprouts.

1. You can make this dish a day ahead of time.

2. It is served room temperature so there is no need to waste oven space.

Make it on Wednesday, take it with you and by the time dinner is served, it will be ready.

Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Mustard Sauce.

4 cups Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

1. Trim the Brussels sprouts by cutting an X in the stalk end and removing the bitter outer leaves. Drop the sprouts into a large pot containing 7 to 8 quarts of rapidly boiling water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring the water back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer slowly for 5 minuets. Remove from heat and drain thoroughly, letting the sprouts stand for a few minuets.

2. While the sprouts are cooking, mix the vinegars, syrup, mustards, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk thoroughly. Slowly add oil, a drop or two at a time, then in a thin, steady stream. The mixture will get thicker and lighter in color.

3. Add the Brussels sprouts to the bowl containing the sauce. Toss well to coat each sprout. Serve at room temperature.

Beverly aside, give this recipe a try.

08 November 2009

Thanksgiving 101

Rick Rodgers has done several of these "101" type books. Thanksgiving was such a big thing in my family, that I have a hard time imagining anyone who can't throw together a turkey, dressing and pie. I forget that there are a lot of people who don't know exactly how to get it together. There are several basic cookbooks for this and Rick Rodgers' Thanksgiving 101 is a good choice.

I thought of this book because of a conversation I had with someone who never cooks. She mentioned a pumpkin roll thing (she didn't really have a name for it) but the second she started talking about it I knew exactly what she was talking about.

I don't know where this recipe originated, I think perhaps it is a standard "Libby's Pumpkin" recipe, but it has become a popular Thanksgiving dessert. As with so many things that have become "popular" this dessert had been subjected to many a horrific interpretation. So many times it looks particularly inedible. Rodgers has dressed up the recipe a bit, adding a nice "spiked cream" and some nuts. (As you know I generally have an aversion to nuts, but I do rather like walnuts so I am letting this slide.)

Pumpkin-Walnut Roulade with Spiked Cream

1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely chopped walnuts

Confectioners' sugar, for sifting


Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

Spiked Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons dark rum or brandy, optional
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger, for garnish

1. To make the cake, position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 375° F. Lightly butter a 10 X 15-inch jelly roll pan. To line the bottom and sides of the pan, cut a 12 X 16-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. At each of the four corners, cut a diagonal slash about 2 inches long. Fit the paper into the pan, folding the cut ends over each other at the slashed to form neat corners. Lightly butter and flour the paper, tapping out the excess flour.

2. In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat the sugar and eggs until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. (The mixture should form a thick ribbon that falls back on itself when the beaters are lifted about 2 inches from the bowl. It must be stiff enough to support the weight of the dry ingredients.) Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice.

3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves onto a piece of waxed paper. With the mixer on low, gradually beat in the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, being sure to reach into the corners. Sprinkle the batter with the walnuts.

4. Bake until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Sift confectioners' over the top of the cake. Place a clean kitchen towel over the cake, then top with a baking sheet. Holding the baking sheet over the cake, turn the cake upside down and invert it onto the towel on the baking sheet. Carefully peel off the paper. Place the paper back on the cake. Using the towel as an aide, roll up the cake and cool completely.

5. To make the filling, in a medium bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until combined. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until smooth.

6. Unroll the cake and discard the paper. Spread the filling evenly over the cake and sprinkle with the crystallized ginger. Re-roll the cake (you won't need to use the kitchen towel) and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the filing is firm, at least 1 hour. (The cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

7. To make the spiked cream, in a chilled medium bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat the cream, confectioners' sugar, optional rum, and vanilla until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip, such as Ateco Number 5.

8. Transfer the roll to a long serving platter. Garnish the cake with swirls of the whipped cream, and sprinkle with the walnuts and crystallized ginger. To serve, cut the cake diagonally into thick slices.

Now, I know everyone (well, not everyone, but the ONE who gets stuck in the kitchen cooking all this food) gets rushed during this time of the year, but if you are going to the trouble of making a "homemade" dessert, do make it look edible! A last minute dusting of 10X can do wonders for cattywhompus jelly roll!

Check out Rick Rodger's web site.

HOUSECLEANING at Cookbook Of The Day

I could be cooking...


In the past two weeks my phone has been out for 5 days.

My electricity has gone off 4 days right in the middle of the day...

which in turn means my computer has been off in addition to the cloudy days where I suffer from satellite outages.

THEREFORE: We are often posting late and in clumps so we can get everything on. Do forgive us...

I have enough trouble posting comments on other people's blogs and don't always think to look back at them.
Here are some comments we especially loved and wanted to share with you.

mamacita had further recommendations from our post on Baked. She says try their versions of Peanut Butter Pie and Chocolate Pie. The Baked boys also have a blog so check that out here. mamacita has the blog, What Would Jane Austen Do? Check it out.

Dean had this to say about our A Sacred Feast post: "Dinner on the grounds" is one of the great reasons to go to a southern singing! If you want to do Sacred Harp singing, anywhere in the country (and a few places not in the country), check out fasola.org for an extensive list of regular singings.

little augry wanted a few more recipes from Darling, You Shouldn't Have Gone To So Much Trouble.

Here are a couple of famous contributors:

Marianne Faithfull
Different Sweet/ Sour Pork

Pork fillet
Brown sugar
Garlic, mashed
Lemon, thinly sliced

Pound garlic and salt. Grill the pork on one side, turn and spread the garlic on the uncooked side, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and return to the grill. Just before it is cooked, remove from the heat and cover with paper-thin slices of lemon. Grill for a few minutes longer until the lemon becomes soft and delicious.

Marianne was doing a bit of heroin during this period... I rather like the "cook until done" aspect of this recipe. And I do love the instruction about cooking the lemon until they are "soft and delicious." I need a "delicious" tester for my kitchen.

Roald Dahl
Norwegian Cauliflower

1 cauliflower
1 bag of frozen prawns or shrimp
Béchamel Sauce

Make a béchamel sauce. Add the defrosted prawns. Pour his mixture over the cooked cauliflower. A traditional Norwegian dish, easy to make and delicious. A great supper for children.

Who knew. I make a variation of this as a planned-over pasta sauce. Check out my recipe at Lucindaville. Check here for a "revolting recipes" from Dahl.


We began experimenting with Cookbook Of The Day a year ago. We posted some scattered posts before we got officially into the grove. I am out of town for a few days so we are going to re-post some of our old Thanksgiving posts with some new ones to get you prepared for the holidays.


...for reading Cookbook Of The Day


Don't forget the "Spice Up Your Life" giveaway.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin