22 June 2010

A Man's Cookbook

One of the big stars of French culinary television was Raymond Oliver. He owned the three star restaurant, LeGrand Vefour, a truly legendary establishment. Kind of like James Beard, he has fallen a bit out of style in modern day culinary adventures. He is probably best known in America for his participation as one of the eleven judges at the Judgement of Paris, made famous in the movie, Bottle Shock.

In the late 1950's he wrote a book on cooking for men -- or a cookbook aimed at men -- to get them to cook -- for themselves. OK it sounds a bit more complicated than it should be. It was a guy's cookbook by snotty French chef. It made it to America in 1961 as A Man's Cookbook.

The book is a wonderful period piece complete with small black and white drawings of food items. He gives basic info on how to cook on a gas stove, an electric stove and the ever-present wood and coal range, which should give you some idea of how old this book is!

Above all, Oliver is a French Chef in the heyday of French cuisine. That means that he is not adverse to include a recipe for oeuf en gelée, which I always think of a a dish for a man's man. So how about pig's feet?

Pig's Feet
Les pieds de porc

Split in half, these are excellent pan-fried in bread crumbs or broiled. They may be truffled, that is, served with slices of truffles. Cook them in a well seasoned bouillon, drain them, and let them cool pressed between two planks. Once they are cold, cut them lengthwise, cover with bread crumbs, and broil. Serve very hot.

Or you could just have an oeuf en gelée.

19 June 2010

The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery

I know you think there was never a cookbook I didn't lust after. I must admit a certain fascination with flower cookbooks. There is something I just adore about cooking with flowers as an elemental ingredient. Maybe, and I the first to admit it, there is a profoundly prissy element to flowers as an ingredient. while nothing makes me happier than a side of beef, I also love a nice cold soup sprinkled with a "mystery" ingredient that came from the flower garden.

The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery by Leona Smith is from the early 1970's. Smith was considered the leading authority on flower cookery. Truth be told, in many of the recipes, the flower element seems to be just a garnish, but in this day and age of cooks all trying to trump each other in the exotic ingredient department, some nice pickled carnations might be just the ticket to one-upsmanship.

Every Thanksgiving, tables across America are laden with sweet potatoes. Here is a recipe that will make you the talk of Thanksgiving or even The Fourth of July!

Confucius Sweet Potatoes
1 pound sweet potatoes or 1 seventeen-ounce can
1 cup orange juice
1 three-ounce package of orange gelatin
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup yellow chrysanthemum petals

While the sweet potatoes are cooking (if using raw potatoes) combine all other ingredients except petals. Simmer and stir for 5 minutes.

Place sweet potatoes in the syrup ad let stand over the lowest possible heat for 15-20 minutes. Baste occasionally. Turn off heat, add petals, and baste until petals are glazed.

Once I found myself in an unfamiliar kitchen. I was making some carrots, but there was nothing interesting to flavor them with, so I was facing a bowl of steamed carrot. (OK, not the worst thing in the world.) I noticed a package of orange Jello on the shelf. I added the Jello and some butter to the carrot circles and turned out a truly tasty and interesting carrot dish.

Confucius says: When in doubt check the larder and the flower garden!

18 June 2010

“As We Like It” Cookery Recipes by Famous People

Our recipe today comes from Freya Stark.

Books are very important. How many stories of fascinating people begin with a book they received as a child? Freya Stark is no different. On her 9th birthday she received a copy of The Thousand on One Nights. After reading it, she became fascinated with the Orient and by the late 1920's she was in Baghdad.

The truth is, by 1927, when Stark headed for the Middle East most of the world had already been discovered. But Stark set out, often alone, heading to remote locations where no European woman had ever traveled. In Iran she located the fabled Valley of the Assassins.

Pool in Sayyid Abu Bakr al-Kaf's garden, Seiyun 1938

Stark wrote extensively of her travels, publishing her first book, Baghdad Sketches in 1932. Over the next fifty years she would write 24 travel books and autobiographies and eight volumes of letters. After her death, her godson,Malise Ruthven, published a collection of her photographs from Southern Arabia.

South gate, Tarim 1935

In 1950 there were approximately 7500 disabled soldiers among the 60,000 in the Returned British Prisoners of War Association. They were in need of some extra help, so a big group of “famous” people got together and compiled a cookbook to provide extra funds to those who needed it. The cookbook, “As We Like It” Cookery Recipes by Famous People contains recipes by the likes of Noel Coward, Enid Blyton, Richard Attenborough, a big bunch of sirs and ladies and viscountesses thrown in for good measure. The recipes are generally simple but I doubt there was much testing on these recipes. Still, it is fun to see the recipes chosen by some names you know.

While Stark looked like she never missed a meal, wandering about the backdeserts of Syria couldn’t be that conducive to finding a 7-11. Come to think of it, finding a nice cut of beef and a stewpan while hunting assassins in Persia couldn’t have been easy. Being a writer, one would think that Stark might have come up with a zippier title for the dish than, Economical Recipe for Meat. Really, it’s just mom’s pot roast, slowly braised. Quite divine.

Economical Recipe for Meat

Take a boneless piece of beef and put it in a stewpan into which it just fits easily. Cut up a sufficient number of raw onions to fill in every cranny round the meat. Add salt and pepper, and nothing else. Put a weight on the lid of the stewpan to prevent any steam from escaping and cook over a slow fire. It will make an excellent dish and the onion juice will all be absorbed.

My favorite photo of Stark on a picnic outside of Baghdad.
Notice her "picnic box."

Stark wrote, "To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world." Still traveling in her 90's, a reporter asked her about death and she replied,
"I feel about it as about the first ball, or the first meet of hounds, anxious as to whether one will get it right, and timid and inexperienced -- all the feelings of youth."

Freya Stark died at 100.

For a comprehensive look at the life of Freya Stark check out Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark by Jane Geniesse.

17 June 2010

Delights and Prejudices

Delights and Prejudices was written by James Beard in 1964. The book is filled with over 250 recipes, but each of them is sandwiched in the context of a larger work of memoir. On can never truly extricate themselves from their first kitchen and Beard is no exception. He grew up in the kitchen of his mother who cooked for several hotels in Portland, Oregon. While Beard fell in love with French cuisine, he never strayed from the locally grown produce and fresh ingredients that filled his mother's kitchen.

A newer edition of this title was published in 2001 with an introduction by Julia Child and a foreword by Charlie Trotter. James Beard has fallen out of fashion a bit in recent memory, but this is just the book to bring him back with a vengeance. What makes this book so marvelous is the way the talks about the food. Yes, the recipes are important, but they merely lay a framework for a larger story -- the story of a man who truly loves food and the people who grow it and cook it and sell it and share it.

Huckleberry Cake was a Beard favorite. He adapted his recipe from an old family recipe of Mary Hamblet, a lifelong friend to whom Beard dedicated the book. In some circles it is still referred to as the Hamblet Huckleberry Cake. Huckleberry Cake often has an asterisk stating that blueberries will make a fine substitution. If you believe that then you desperately need to read Delights and Prejudices. Beard makes it clear that only the tart, elusive huckleberry will give this cake the true flavor of the Northeast. (That being said, many of the blueberries that hit the supermarket from foreign lands are picked at a point that they are almost as tart as the precious huckleberry. On rare occasions, huckleberries turn up in the freezer case at a supermarket. If you want huckleberry cake, you need the huckleberry. But feel free to make a Blueberry Cake if you must, Beard won't mind.)

This edition of the book features recipes written like I like to read them -- with the ingredients incorporated into the method.

Huckleberry Cake

Cream 1 cup butter and 1 cup granulated sugar together until the mixture is very light. Add 3 eggs, one by one, beating after each addition. Sift 2 cups flour and save 1/4 cup flour to mix with 1 cup huckleberries. Add to the rest 2 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, and fold this into the egg mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and, lastly, fold in the floured huckleberries. Pour the batter into a buttered, floured 8-inch-square baking tin. Bake at 375º for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned, or when a tester inserted comes out clean. Serve the cake hot with whipped cream, or cold.

On the James Beard foundation website, they have the recipe converted to a modern layout.

Huckleberry Cake


1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup huckleberries
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375º.

Cream butter and sugar together until the mixture is very light. Add eggs, one by one, beating after each addition. Combine 1/4 cup flour with the huckleberries. In a bowl, mix the remaining flour with baking soda and then fold this into the egg mixture. Add vanilla and, lastly, fold in the floured huckleberries.

Pour the batter into a buttered, floured 8-inch-square baking tin. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned, or when a tester inserted comes out clean. Serve the cake hot with whipped cream.

Give this one a try and if you have never read James Beard, this is the place to start, and that is my prejudice.

16 June 2010

The Robert E. Lee Family Cooking and Housekeeping Book

Having a pile of family recipes is a lovely thing but usually a family thing. What happens when you find yourself with a pile of recipes attributed to the family of Robert E. Lee? That was the dilemma faced by Anne Carter Zimmer. Zimmer is the great-granddaughter of Robert Edward and Mary Custis Lee and her maternal grandfather was Robert E. Lee Jr.

As a child, Zimmer, like most self-conscious teenagers, was slightly embarrassed be the family connection. As she grew up, she realized the importance of her heritage and realized that her family recipes were more than just an assemblage of household tips, but a historical record beyond the scope of her immediate family.

A page from the collection featuring a Sally Lund Cake

She set out to translate the fragmented recipes and advice into a workable collection of recipes for the modern cook, enlisting a group of cooks to test and re-test the recipes while she searched for the family significance of each recipe. It was not always an easy task.

‘Sometimes what we did was more treasure hunt than testing, and occasionally serendipity served us well. "Butter the size of a goose egg" was an easy measurement to track down, because somebody's sister-in-law raised geese. But the size of a "bottle of oil" remained questionable and a "dripping box of flour," impossible to determine. Two receipts for caromels [sic] made a primitive chocolate fudge that either crumbled or relaxed into puddles; only later would I puzzle out why. And eventually I learned (from an eighteenth-century source) to make boiled puddings, but only after producing ugly, gluey concoctions that looked, as one helpful tester remarked, "like a brain."”

The result is the The Robert E. Lee Family Cooking and Housekeeping Book, a cookbook/history of days gone by. Since it is summer and since it is miserably hot, we felt that a refreshing drink from Robert E. Lee might be just the ticket. (Now we know that being a boy and being a general, Robert E. Lee most probably never lifted his hand to make a drink or food, but we are giving him credit anyway.)

Robert E. Lee's camp cooking kit

Roman Punch

Juice of 5-6 lemons
3 cups sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) currant jelly
2 quarts minus 1/2 cup water
1 cup brandy
2/3 cup black rum
About 5-6 tablespoons or bags of green (or black) tea

Heat about half the water with sugar and jelly, stirring to dissolve. Make tea with the rest. Combine the two mixtures. Cool, add lemon juice, brandy, and rum. Ripen overnight at room temperature or up to 3 days in refrigerator, then freeze if you like. Makes about a gallon.

Time to gather around the Burn Pit (actually, gathering around the air conditioner might be more fun) and lift a glass to the Confederate Dead, or to Wednesday. It doesn't matter as long as you are lifting a glass!

09 June 2010

Saved By Soup

My friend, Ann, who doesn't cook, has several cookbooks with the full intention of cooking. Recently she chastised me for stealing her "soup" book. She said she brought it out for me to see, but she never got it back. I thought that was odd. I am very much a "stew" kind of girl. A "chowder" girl. But really, soup is not my thing. So I checked the soup/stew category on my book shelves to no avail. I searched low then high. Tucked away high, high on a shelf (where I usually put books I don;t really think I will ever cook from!) sat Ann's soup book, Saved By Soup by Judith Barrett. Judith Barrett has written several risotto books (which I might add, sit within easy reach on the shelf.) which I love very much.

Anyway, if you insist on soup, this book is pretty good. My favorite section s on fruit soups, which I am more inclined to like than say, Asian broths of which there are several. Here is the closest thing to a stew you will find in Saved By Soup.

Home-style Chicken and Vegetable Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound boneless, skinless white-meat chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
2 medium-size carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
1/4 pound fresh fennel (about half a small bulb), tall stalks and leaves discarded and bulb finely chopped
1 medium-size zucchini, trimmed and diced
1 large Yukon Gold potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and diced
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes, with their juices
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt to taste, and cook, stirring, until all pieces have turned white and are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and place in a small bowl.

Add onion, carrots, celery, fennel, and zucchini to the pan and cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in chicken pieces, potato, tomatoes, and broth and bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potato is tender and the chicken cooked through, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in parsley, and serve.

OK, Ann, you were right! I did have the book. I am returning it pronto!

08 June 2010

The Art of Simple Food

Salad: Open a bag of lettuce. Twist off the top of that Ranch dressing and add to lettuce. Salad right? You are so very wrong. If you don't believe me, then tell that to Alice Waters. In her book The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution, she waxes downright poetic about the simple garden salad. In Waters' hands it doesn't seem the least bit simple.

"For me, making a garden lettuce salad — washing beautiful fresh-picked lettuces and tossing them together with a scattering of herbs and a vinaigrette — is as much of a joy as eating one. I love the colorful variety of lettuces, bitter and sweet; the flavor and complexity of herbs such as chervil and chives; and the brightness of a simple vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a whisper of garlic, which highlights the lettuces and herbs without overwhelming them.

For a salad to have flavor and life, you have to start with fresh, just-picked lettuces. I’m fortunate to have a small kitchen garden in my backyard where I grow various lettuces and herbs for salad, but if you don’t have such a garden it can take some real dedication to find good greens. Farmers markets are the best places to start. When my garden is not producing, or when I’m away from home, I shop for head lettuces and try to create my own combinations of lettuces, arugula, chicories, and whatever tender herbs I can find. I generally avoid the salad mixes, especially the pre-bagged ones, which usually seem to include one or two kinds of greens that don’t belong with the others. If there is a lovely mixture from a local salad grower, fine, but otherwise try to buy the best head lettuces you can find and make your own mix.

Wash the lettuce, gently but thoroughly, in a basin or bowl of cold water. First cull through the lettuces, pulling off and throwing into the compost bin any outer leaves that are tough, yellowed, or damaged. Then cut out the stem end, separating the rest of the leaves into the water. Gently swish the leaves in the water with your open hands and lift the lettuce out of the water and into a colander. If the lettuces are very dirty, change the water, and wash again.

Dry the lettuces in a salad spinner, but don’t overfill it. It’s much more effective to spin-dry a few small batches than one or two large ones. Empty the water from the spinner after each batch. Any water clinging to the leaves will dilute the vinaigrette, so check the leaves and spin them again if they’re still a little wet. I spread out each batch of leaves in a single layer on a dish towel as I go. Then I gently roll up the towel and put it in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve the salad. You can do this a few hours ahead.

When the time comes, put the lettuce in a bowl big enough to allow you to toss the salad. If you have some, add a small handful of chives or chervil, or both, either chopped quickly or snipped with scissors.

Toss everything with the vinaigrette, using just enough sauce to coat the leaves lightly, so they glisten. Beware of overdressing small, tender lettuces: They will wilt and turn soggy. I usually toss salads with my hands. (I eat salads with my hands, too.) That way I can be gentle and precise and make sure that each leaf is evenly dressed. Taste, and if needed, finish the salad with a sprinkling of salt or brighten it with a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste again and see what you think, then toss one last time and serve the salad right away."

OK. There you have it. Here is a fave salad variation. I adore cukes and this gives a variety of ways to go about making a lowly cucumber into a divine salad.

Cucumbers with Cream and Mint

There are many varieties of cucumbers, each with its own flavor and texture. I especially like Armenian, Japanese, and lemon cucumbers.

Peel and slice:

2 cucumbers

If the seeds are large and tough, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon before slicing. Place in a medium-size bowl and sprinkle with:


In another bowl, combine:

1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh-ground black pepper

Stir well. If water has accumulated with the cucumbers, drain it off. Pour the dressing over the sliced cucumbers and combine. Coarsely chop:

3 mint sprigs, leaves only

Toss with the cucumbers. Taste and adjust the salt as needed. Serve cool.

Add pounded garlic to the dressing.
Serve alongside sliced beets dressed with oil and vinegar.
Grate or dice the cucumbers and serve as a sauce over baked salmon.
Parsley, chervil, basil, or cilantro can be substituted for the mint.
Substitute plain yogurt for the cream.
Add spices such as cumin, coriander, or mustard seeds to the dressing.

One of the reasons i really adore this book is the way the recipes are written. They have an old-fashioned feel. they have that very "American Cookbook" list of ingredients carefully measured out, but when you read the recipes you know in your heart that Alice Waters hasn't raised a measuring cup to make this recipe.

I love that!

07 June 2010

X-treme Cuisine

After some foofy cookbooks last week, we thought we offer up the flip side today with Robert Earl's X-treme Cuisine. Gone are the tailgating and wedding brunches...here we have hang gliding, skateboarding and surfing. The tenor of this book is 14-year-old-boy. There is a fair amount of bodily function info, enough to leave an 8th-grade football team more obnoxious than ever. This is not the kind of extreme cuisine that involves eating warthog or live grubs, this is x-treme in that X-Games way. The X's are the tip off.

To Robert Earls' credit, he does try valiantly to introduce elements of fine dining into his tome. He has lovely diagrams for setting a table and offers a Q & A as to why there are two different forks. (One for meat and one for vegetables was a plausible answer.)

He shows our x-treme sports junkie a couple of napkin folds.

And if you need to throw a formal soiree at a surfing beach and find you have nothing to hold the place cards, grab all the Sex Wax you can find. Who knew Mr. Zog and his Sex Wax could be so handy!

Now before I give you a recipe, let me take this moment to make a brief observation... the recipe's these x-treme athletes offer up are strikingly similar to those offered up by the Junior League set we visited last week. I have no great anthropological answer for this, but if you are in a grocery store and find Tony Hawk and Miss Manners heading for the Velveeta, take cover.

Her is a tasty little number from renegade snowboarder Dave Seoane. Amazingly, it does not call for cheese, canned soup or potato chips!

Cinema Zucchini


10 strips of your favorite bacon
1 can of stewed tomatoes
3 baby-arm-size zucchini
1/2 onion, sliced
A handful of mushrooms

What to do

First fry up bacon until golden brown.
Then add the stewed tomatoes, zucchini, sliced onion, and mushrooms.
Feel free to add your favorite spices such as garlic, oregano, and cilantro.
After the zucchini is fully cooked, simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Goes great with your favorite red meat.

If you have a wayward 15-year-old and need a gift, this just might the ticket.

04 June 2010

The WASP Cookbook

Alexandra Wentworth is the author of the WASP Cookbook (the Protestants, not the bugs.) She comes by her waspness honestly, after all, her name is Alexandra Wentworth. She is the daughter of Mable Cabot who was formerly, Muffie Brandon who was the social secretary for one, Nancy Reagan.

Muffie is the one who is not Nancy

One a far more interesting note, she is the granddaughter of Janet January Elliott Wuslin Hobart, the famous explorer. (OK, not that famous either, but she would have been if Wuslin, her husband and fellow explorer, hadn't stolen all the credit.)

Janet riding a camel, 1921

This begs the question, how does the granddaughter of an explorer and the daughter of social secretary end up on the Starz Network? Even the waspiest among us can take a wrong turn!

So in the late 1990's Alexandra Wentworth published the WASP Cookbook. It wasn't meant to be a best-seller. It has the feel of one of those books that got published because Muffie had lunch with Buffy whose son just got a job from his brother Biff's Harvard roommate who works at a publishing house owned by Tad's dad who was having lunch at the Somerset Club(see Cookbook Of The Day) and said that Ali was between jobs and gee wouldn't it nice if she were a published author.

So they published a few copies in a cheesy blue velveteen with flaky gold titles and then remaindered most of them. As time marched on, they became quite the collector's item, so now that $1 remainder could set you back about $40.

I will say this for Wentworth, she is pretty funny. Unable to find a good WASP resturant or cookbook she writes in her introduction:

"...this is what prompted me to track down some old prep school chums (off doing graduate work at Cornell, having babies in Bedford Hills, or in prison for insider trading) to collect their family recipes and cooking secrets.

I discovered that, because most food is prepared for wasp's at the country club or by their help, most recipes were not written down in any kind of organized text. of course, occasionally, you can find recipes on the back of a Crane's stationary envelope or a yellow index card stuffed into an old Architectural digest magazine. But for the most part, WASP cuisine has survived almost entirely through an oral tradition handed down from mothers to daughters or from butler to butler."

The WASP Cookbook is divided, like so many cookbooks, into seasons. For Spring there is the Barn Party. Summer features a Croquet Breakfast. Autumn has A Middleburg Foxhunt, while Winter features the perfect items for the Blessing of the Hounds.

Here are just two favorites...

Katie's Hunt Spread

3 cups ground country ham
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Place the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with stone-ground wheat crackers.

or try this...

Jane's Tomato Pudding

8 cups canned tomatoes, peeled and drained
1 1/2 cups seasoned croutons
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix ingredients in a large bowl and pour into a casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour, or until bubbly.

Just in time for the Vineyard Antique Show!

Featured on Lucindaville's Famous Food Friday

03 June 2010

The Somerset Club Cook Book

The Somerset Club began informally in the mid- 1820's. It was known as the Temple and the Beacon and finally the Somerset Club. It's present location combines two townhouses built roughly at the same time the club formed.

In 1819, David Sears built a townhouse at 42 Beacon Street on Beacon Hill that was designed by Alexander Parris. An addition was built in 1832, followed by an adjacent house at 43 Beacon Street for his daughter, known as the Crowninshield-Amory house.

In 1851 the Somerset Club purchased the Crowninshield-Armory house and dubbed it the Beacon Club until it was renamed the Somerset Club in 1852. In 1871 the Somerset Club purchased the David Sears townhouse, combining the two into one big clubhouse.

John Sears, great-great grandson of David Sears said of the club,
“It’s a place where you go to have a pop and talk about whether the salmon were biting and whether or not you’ve navigated the pond ‘round the fourth hole and how are the kids."

In a 2002 article marking the 150th anniversary of the Somerset Club, it's then President Samuel"Spike" Thorne laid out the rules.

For those who can make the cut, the Somerset affords an escape from the all too oppressive present. Here there are no baseball caps worn backwards, no harried wannabes, no remarkably rude teenagers sprouting metal from their faces. The club, of course, has its rules, and they’re strictly abided by. For example, a tie is a must. Work papers are forbidden in the dining room and almost everywhere else. And no electronics are allowed.

“Somebody comes here and opens up a cell phone, we tell him to put it away or get out,” says Thorne. Also, it is to be remembered that this is a social club — no touchy talk of politics here. “One does not enter the dining room or the bar with the idea that one has to bring forth a stimulating point of view on a hot topic of current interest."

From 1904 until 1944, the Somerset Club kitchen was helmed by Chef François Lombard, who kept detailed notes. In 1963, the club assembled a collection of recipes with the help of cookbook writer, Charlotte Turgeon.
Here is a lovely soup made from Jerusalem artichokes.

Crème Palestine

4 Jerusalem artichokes
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
salt and pepper

Pare the artichokes and slice quite thin. Cover with water in a small saucepan, dot with 2 tablespoons of butter, and stew for 20 minutes or until the artichokes are tender. Melt the rest of the butter in another pan. Stir in the flour, and when it is well blended stir in the broth gradually until it is all incorporated into a smooth sauce. Force the artichokes through a fine strainer or spin in the blender. Combine with the sauce and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tasty and brahmin!

02 June 2010

Holiday Eggs

Well, you know my love of all things egg! So it is really hard for me to turn down an egg book. This one is entitled Holiday Eggs. It is written by Georgeanne Brennan. Brennan always turns out a lovely product and Holiday Eggs is no exception. Combined with the recipes are tips for using the shells as tiny vases, votive candles, or napkin rings.

The photographs are, as always, well done. The book is simple and easy to follow. As with most "egg" books, there are a lot of scrambled eggs/omelettes of eggs mixed with whatever! Still, there are worse things in life than eggs mixed with stuff, especially if that "stuff" is a nice truffle.

Brouillade with Truffles

8 eggs
1 ounce black truffles, scrubbed and minced
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add truffles. In the top part of a double boiler, whisk the eggs and truffles together. Add the butter and place over simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened into a creamy mass of tiny curds; this will take about 15 minutes. Whisk in the salt and pepper and serve immediately on warmed plates, accompanied by slices of baguette or other country style bread, plain or toasted.

Of course, one might buy illegal drugs cheaper than a truffle, but I have yet to see a Coke Omelette, so in lieu of a big old truffle, you could always cut back on the butter and add a few drops of truffle oil.

01 June 2010

Looking for me...

Please don't make me relive it again... Check out my post at Lucindaville.
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