29 March 2012

Mad Men Cookbook

Actually, it is The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook as no one wants to get sued by the "official" Mad Men. So after a seventeen month hiatus, the boys are back in town. There is a thriving business in putting together this type of tie-in cookbook. Some of them are just slapped together, but Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin have done a wonderful job with this one.

One of the reasons that Mad Men has attained such a cult following is their exacting attention to detail. Creator Matt Weiner says it has become something of a game as viewers look for any little detail that is out of place. (Check out this short Q & A with property manager Gay Perello.) Gelman and Zheutlin have followed Weiner's exacting attention to detail. They have culled recipes from the popular cookbooks of the day as well as from some of the regular haunts of the Mad Men including, "21" Club, Keens Steakhouse, El Morocco, Stork Club, and Trader Vic's.

There are recipes for Pineapple Upside Down Cake featuring the new electric skillet-frypan, Date nut bread from Pat Nixon's contribution to Hints from Heloise, and John Kennedy's favorite daiquiri from Bacardi's "Be A Drink Expert" pamphlet. The book is chocked full of tidbits and facts and recipes that would actually find their way to a Mad Men table.

While definitely retro, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook has its own blog filled with more fun Man Men info.

Here is a classic that is still classical...

Caesar Salad
courtesy of Executive Chef Bill Rodgers, Keens’ Steakhouse, New York, New York

For the salad

3 1/2 cups clean, cut romaine lettuce
2 ounces Caesar Dressing (see recipe below)

For the topping

1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For the garnish

Raw egg yolk
4 thin slices pimiento
2 anchovy filets, cut in half (4 pieces)
Caesar Croutons (see recipe below)

1. Make the salad: Place lettuce in a serving bowl. Toss with dressing.

2. Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, garnish with egg yolk, pimento, anchovy filets, and croutons and toss well.

Caesar Dressing

1 1/2 ounces water
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup pure olive oil
1 1/2 ounces red wine vinegar
1 egg yolk
6 peeled garlic cloves
10 Italian anchovy filets
2 2/3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano -Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoons light brown sugar
3/4 tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Make the dressing: Combine the water and lemon juice in a measuring cup and set aside.

2. Combine canola and olive oils in a measuring cup and set aside.

3. In the blender, combine the remaining ingredients and mix for 10 seconds. With the blender running, slowly begin to add the combined oils in a slow and steady stream. As you continue to add the oil, the mixture will begin to thicken. When the mixture thickens, thin it out with 1/3 of the water/lemon juice mixture. Repeat this process until all the oil has been incorporated.

4. Chill dressing until cold.

Caesar Croutons

Note: Place the bread in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before slicing to make it easier to cut even squares.

Whole melted butter can be substituted for the clarified butter, but will brown the croutons faster. To make clarified butter, melt 4 tablespoons of butter slowly in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit until it separates. Skim off the foam that rises to the top, and gently pour the butter off of the milk solids, which will have settled to the bottom.

6 slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/4-inch squares (see note above)
2 tablespoons clarified butter, melted (see note above)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, parsley and thyme)
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Toss bread cubes in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.

2. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or just until slightly browned and crisp. Let cool at room temperature before serving. Store covered in an airtight container.

While I am trying to get used to that fact that there are no more zombies on my Sunday nights, I will say that between Walking Dead and Mad Men the food is definitely better with Don than Shane.

Next Week: Peggy is given new responsibility.

26 March 2012

American Gastronomy

Louis Szathmary was a noted chef. He may, however, be more noted as a culinary collector. He donated most of his cookbooks to the University of Iowa, making it one of the leading culinary repositories in the world. Much of the ephemera, including signatures of most Presidents and Firs Ladies went to the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales.

Szathmary wrote:

"It isn't strange, then, that I grew up to become a book collector, although I never expected to own some 45,000 of them.

Of these, only 18,000 are cookbooks. I remember the first book I bought within a year after coming to this country in 1951 with a small handbag and $1.10 in my pocket. It was at a Times Square bookshop in New York that I purchased, for 19 cents, a little volume by Ludwig Bemelmans. I never stopped buying books since."

Well it is just no wonder that we have a kindred spirit in Louis Szathmary and while we are doing our best to rival his collection, we are no where near his numbers. We do however, have a cookbook or two with his name on them. American Gastronomy is one my favorites. I admit to being a sucker for vintage cooking prints. Szathmary filled American Gastronomy with old prints and vintage recipes from his vast collection. He made a valiant attempt to define food or culinary experience that was truly "American." This was his premise for American Gastronomy, but flipping through the book one finds foods from North to South, East to West that form no quintessential American food experience but the which do reflect the vast nature of American cuisine.

In the end, trying to define American gastronomy as one thing or another simply muddies the water. It would seem that in all his study, he did find a great love of potato salads.

Ham and Sweet Potato Salad

2 cups diced, cooked ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups diced, cooked sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup diced celery, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 cup apple, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 cup fresh orange sections
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)1 cup mayonnaise.

1. Gently combine all the ingredients, adding the sweet potatoes last to avoid smashing them.
2. Chill and serve in large lettuce leaves.
3. If you wish serve additional mayonnaise.

The Centennial Banquet in Horticultural Hall, Philadelphia

Armour Calendar Girl

23 March 2012


As Easter approaches, we dragged out one of our favorite Easter recipes from Linda Collister's Chocolate. Collister has written a series of small books on chocolate. Several of them published by Ryland Peters. We have spoken before of our devotion to books by Ryland Peters. They are small and beautiful books that make food look its most seductive.

Truly, however, it may just be time to grab up all of Collister's "chocolate" books and make one big book. Until then, here is a favorite treat from just plain, Chocolate.

Surprise Eggs

6 very fresh eggs with pretty shells
5 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon heavy cream


1/3 cup whole unblanched almonds
1/3 cup whole skinned hazelnuts
1/2 cup sugar

Using the tip of a small, sharp knife, gently cut a small hole in the pointed end of each egg, then carefully snip away the shell with shearers to cut off the top, leaving a hole about 3/4 inch diameter. Empty out the eggs by shaking them over a bowl -- the contents can be saved for omelets or scrambled eggs. Wash out the empty shells thoroughly, then set them on apiece of wax paper in a baking dish and dry them in a preheated oven at 300 F for about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, to make the praline, put the nuts and sugar into a small, heavy saucepan and heat gently on top of the stove. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, then watch carefully, stirring frequently, as it cooks and turns chestnut brown, ant the nuts start to pop. Take care with hot caramel, because splashes can burn.

Lift the saucepan off the heat, g quickly pour the mixture onto the oiled baking tray and, using a wooden spoon, spread it out evenly. Leave until completely cold and set, then coarsely break up the praline with a rolling pin or grind it in a food processor.

Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a heavy saucepan, heat until hot but not boiling, then pour it over the chocolate. Leave for 1 minute, then stir gently. Let cool for 5-10 minutes until thick, then stir in the praline. Stand the egg shells upright in an egg carton or rack and carefully spoon the chocolate mixture into the shells. Chill overnight until firm, then remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before serving.

First, we just love recipes that say "1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon" it is just so confusingly obtuse. Secondly, after one has procured lovely egg shells, spooning chocolate into them will not only make them a mess but well... let's just leave it at that. Grab a Ziplock bag, scrape the chocolate and praline mixture into it and clip off one corner and use that to add the chocolate. It may seem messy at first, but try spooning chocolate into eggs shells and you will see the wisdom.

20 March 2012

Eggs: Book II

At Lucindaville we were raving about our new chickens. They are still a bit skittish and will not be laying for several months, but they are getting to know their new home.

We are looking forward to lots of eggs, which means looking for new egg recipes. In addition to the chickens we picked up a two volume gem from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Eggs featured a volume on egg production and breeding and this volume of recipes.

Book II was a compendium of chicken and egg recipes for the adventurous housewife. Of course the book was ready to teach you how to accomplish that most French dish, the omelet. I was drawn to more fanciful recipes.

The drink section of the book gave up a treasure trove of interesting drinks with the most outlandish of titles. Perhaps because there are just so many uses for eggs, spending the time to invent really lovely sounding names was just too much trouble. My particular favorite is the Albumen Fruit Beverage. Stick that on a menu and see if you have any takers. (Still I am thinking there might just be a Cocktail At The Burn Pit with 'Albumen" in the name.) Then there is the very French Lait de Poule or Hen's Milk. Again, it does not sound that appetizing. But judge for yourself.

Albumen Fruit Beverage

1/2 c. orange or lemon juice
1 egg white
Honey to taste

Beat egg white into a froth, add fruit juice and strain. Sweeten. Serve cold.

Lait de Poule

1 egg
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp orange flower water
1 c. boiling milk

Beat the egg, add sugar and orange flower water. Mix thoroughly and add hot milk, stirring as it is added.

19 March 2012

Lidia"s Italy in America

I recently had a birthday and what do you think I got for gifts. I bet you didn't have to think twice. My friend. Anne, gave me a copy of Lidia"s Italy in America. This is a bit funny as this was one of my go to presents this Christmas, but I did not get a copy....until now. Everyone I know loves, loves, loves Lidia. Frankly, I have never had a one of her cookbooks. It seems very strange as I have given copies of her books for many occasions. So now I have my very own copy.

Lidia"s Italy in America, Bastianich travels the country to find authentic Italian in the four corners of America. If you are of Italian descent, it must be a rush to have Lidia Bastianich show up at your restaurant and watch you cook. Italy is truly in her blood and even if the setting is America, the food is 100% Italian.

Now I have been a great artichoke fan, mainly because they seemed like a huge pain in the ass. But maybe if I started out small...with baby artichokes.

Braised Artichokes

2 pounds baby artichokes (about 16)
8 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon peperoncino flakes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1½ cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs

To clean baby artichokes and prevent them from oxidizing, fill a large bowl with approximately two quarts of cold water, and add the juice of two lemons, plus the squeezed-out lemon halves.

Peel and trim the stem of the first artichoke. Pull off any tough outer leaves and discard. Using a paring knife, trim away any tough parts around the base and the stem of the artichoke. With a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and discard.

Combine the artichokes, garlic, lemon zest and juice, mint, parsley, salt, and pepperoncino in a saucepan of the size in which the artichokes will snugly fit in one layer. Nestle the artichokes in the pan with the ingredients, drizzle with the olive oil, and dot with the butter. Pour 3 cups water and the wine into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the artichokes are tender all the way through, about 40 minutes.

I know what you want to know. Did Anne make me baby artichokes? No! She made a beautiful cassoulet and a chocolate cake!

17 March 2012

The Trout Point Lodge Cookbook

The guys behind Trout Point Lodge are an interesting lot.
Daniel Abel, Charles Leary, and Vaughn Perret came together to become food entrepreneurs. . Two boys from Louisiana and one from Oregon who had studied law, worked in politics, and studied Chinese history; guys who had lived in China, New York City and Ithaca. The suits fell in love with farmer’s markets and were called back to the Crescent City.

Soon they were raising chicken and goat, planting a garden and foraging both literally and figuratively for traditional Creole and Cajun ingredients. Soon restaurants in New Orleans were featuring their produce and cheeses. And then they took a trip to Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia was no accident. The original Cajun came to Louisiana from the Arcadian region of Nova Scotia. The French settlers who founded Nova Scotia were expelled and made their way to Louisiana. Arcadians who became “Cajuns” possessed an innate ability to live off the land and a remarkable respect for that land.Trout Point Lodge became their new venture. They built a cultural center, cooking school, and resort. The Pacific Northwest offers up a bounty of natural ingredients. In the Trout Point garden they grow fava beans.Here is a soup that can also double as a dip.

Chilled Fava Soup

6 cups fresh fava beans, shelled

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 cup medium tomatoes, pureed

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup Crème Frâiche

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the fava beans, and cook for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2. Place the beans in a food processor and process into a paste.

3. Transfer the paste to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the lemon juice and olive oil until smooth. Add the cumin, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and cream. Stir well. Cove and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or as long as 24 hours.

4. Serve cold, with a dollop of Crème Frâiche on top of each serving.

Add a bit less cream and you have a great dip. Versatile and tasty.

10 March 2012

100 Ways of Cooking Eggs

Here is another in our long line of egg cookbooks. Alessandro Filippini, who worked for 25 years at Delmonico, wrote 100 Ways of Cooking Eggs.

Originally compiled in 1892 100 Ways of Cooking Eggs was republished by the Dodge Publishing Company in 1915. This lovely period piece features a delicate, faint green decoration on each page that echos the cover with its beautifully “wrapped” egg.

Having worked at Delmonico for a long period of time, Filippini saw his share of famous clients and many of them got egg on their name – or their name on eggs. There are both eggs and an omlete Vanderbilt, both featuring a sauce of peppers. There are eggs Buckley, Hamilton Fish, W. W. Ladd, Jr., and Jay Gould to mention a few names that might stand out.

Since this little book was written from restaurant recipes, they tend to call for a dozen-egg minimum. The omletes begin with a basic omelet and the variations are just things stuffed into them. There are the usual sausage, ham and tomatoes preparations as well as a few sweet egg concoctions.

Eggs à la Paysanne

Put half a pint of cream into a dish, on the fire, and when it boils, break twelve fresh eggs, season with a pinch of salt and twelve whole peppers; let cook two minutes, and then set it in the oven for three minutes, so that the eggs get a good golden color, taking care that they do not harden. Remove form the oven, place the dish on another, and serve.

Worth cracking some eggs over.

06 March 2012

Modern Meal Maker

In 1935 the Sperry Flour Company published Martha Meade's Modern Meal Maker. I must say that at the time (heck, even now) it was indeed, quite modern. Spiral bound cookbooks were not that original, but this cookbook had a stiff wire coil at the top, allowing the cookbook to stand on its own. There have been a slew of these "new" cookbook designs featuring an easel presentation. Who knew they were not new at all but very retro. Modern Meal Maker was tabbed with each month receiving its own chapter, making it a "seasonal" cookbook decades before it was all the rage.

As one can see from the cover, there are 1115 menus and 744 recipes which covers three meals a day for 366 days with a few menus to spare. Since this cookbook was published by the Sperry Flour Company, the recipes make full use of the their products, but, with 744 recipes the vast majority of them use no flour products at all, so it really doesn't seem overwhelmed with advertising.

For the first Saturday in March:

If you are a follower of our other blog, Lucindaville, (check out the pulled pork pancakes) you know that we love embellished pancakes. So a recipe for Ham Sandwich Pancakes immediately caught our eye.

Ham Sandwich Pancakes

2 cups Sperry Pancake and Waffle Flour
1 1/3 cups milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
Sliced boiled ham

Add milk and lightly beaten egg to Pancake and Waffle Flour, and beat until smooth. blend in butter and mustard. Dip ham slices in batter and cook on hot pancake griddle. Cheese slices may be used instead of ham for a different "sandwich."

Or, perhaps, ham AND cheese may be used.

While the recipes are pretty straight forward, the Modern Meal Maker is wonderful look at how much food has changed and how much it has stayed the same.
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