22 June 2012

The Hemingway Cookbook

A week or so back, my cable inadvertently turned on HBO and I taped a few things before they cut the feed.   One was  Hemingway & Gellhorn.  I love Clive Owen, but I can't say that I have ever been a big fan of Nicole Kidman.  When the movie started, I was pleasantly surprised that I like Kidman as the elderly Gellhorn.   

Clive Owen played Hemingway in the irascible, horrible, pain-in-the-ass way that one expects he might have been, but frankly Clive Owen is no Hemingway.   Every time someone called him "Papa" it made me laugh.  Hemingway at his most filthy and uncouth still managed to get the girl, which I find interesting if not a bit odd.  Clive Owen covered in sewage would always get the girl.   On of the producers of this film was James Gandolfini.  Gandolfini would have been a great "Papa" so why do they always cast the pretty boy?   Kidman spent a lot of her time throwing her rucksack across her shoulder.  It seemed to make Kidman uncomfortable, as this was probably the first time on 30 years that she ever carried her own luggage.  I think Philip Kaufman is a great director and Henry & June is one of my favorite movies.  It is too bad that Kaufman didn't cast Hemingway and Gellhorn with the same quirkiness he used in Henry  & June.  It might have been greatly improved.

There is a good bit of food in Hemingway's writing and historian Craig Boreth compiled many of those recipes in The Hemingway Cookbook.   Long out of print and quite collectible, the book is getting a second shot this year when it is republished and launched again.

During one scene in the Hemingway & Gellhorn  the couple is in the famous El Floridita.  

Hemingway at El Floridita with his arm around Spencer Tracy and his back to wife number four, Mary.

There Hemingway makes his favorite drink, the Papa Doble.  This recipe is based upon the Daiquirí recipe from El Floridita that Hemingway drinks with A. E. Hotchner in his book Papa Hemingway.

Papa Doble or Hemingway Daiquirí
2 1/1 jiggers Bacardi or Havana Club rum
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
6 drops of maraschino (cherry brandy)
Fill a blender one-quarter full of ice, preferably shaved or cracked. Add the rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and maraschino.
Blend on high until the mixture turns cloudy and light-colored, "like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots."  (Islands in the Stream, p. 281).
Fill a blender one-quarter full of ice, preferably shaved or cracked. Add the rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and maraschino.
Blend on high until the mixture turns cloudy and light-colored, "like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots."  (Islands in the Stream, p. 281).

Here is another example of Boreth pulling a recipe from fact and fiction.
"Aboard the Pilar, Ernest's beloved fishing boat, food took on epic
proportions. Even something as simple as a peanut butter and onion
sandwich, his lunchtime favorite, can be elevated to heroic status while at

     "Well, go down to the galley and see if that bottle of tea is cold and bring
it up. Antonio's butchering the fish, go make a sandwich will you, please?"
     "Sure. What kind of sandwich?"
     "Peanut butter and onion if there's plenty of onion."
     "Peanut butter and onion it is, sir."
     He handed a sandwich, wrapped in a paper towel segment, to Thomas Hudson and
said, "One of the highest points in the sandwich-maker's art. We call it
the Mount Everest Special. For Commanders only." (From Islands in the Stream, p. 390-1).

A.E. Hotchner, in his biography, Papa Hemingway, notes that this sandwich,
along with a glass of red wine, was Hemingway's favorite (Papa Hemingway, p. 194)."

Mount Everest special 

2 slices white bread
Peanut butter
2 thick slices onion

Spread one piece of bread thickly with peanut butter. Lay onion slices on
top. Cover with second slice of bread.

Clearly, there must have been something magical about Hemingway.  Name the last dirty guy, covered in fish scales and reeking of peanut butter and onions that you would take home to mama?

21 June 2012

Fancy Food Show - Not A Cookbook

Check out our notes on the Fancy Food Show over at Lucindaville.  We are too tuckered out to post it twice!  Literally five miles of food!

14 June 2012

The Southfork Ranch Cookbook

In honor of last nights premier of the "new" Dallas, it is only fitting and proper that we feature a recipe from The Southfork Ranch Cookbook.  Yes, Virginia, there is a real Southfork.  In fact, if one were so inclined, it can be rented for gatherings such as family reunions.

During the initial Dallas craze, Southfork was owned by J.R. Duncan(yes, J.R. Duncan, who could make this up?)  While he knew nothing of cooking, he encouraged Bea Terry to gather up the ranch recipes and make a cookbook.

Like most tie-in cookbooks, this one is filled with rather simple recipes that one would expect Miss Ellie to serve to the ranch hands.  There is a lot of meat, some cakes and pies and muffins and the essential chili.   Alas, the vegetables get quite mangled.  Well, perhaps not mangled as much as desecrated.  There are breaded carrots, peas in a cream-cheese sauce, and a green bean casserole with both powdered soup mix and canned soup.  I supposed working on a big ol' ranch means you need your carrots breaded and deep fried with aside of cream-cheese sauce.

Don't think for a minute you will get off the calorie train at breakfast.  Here's a crunchy morning egg dish.

Scrambled Eggs with Corn Chips

3 Tbsps butter or margarine
12 eggs
3 Tbsps milk
4 Tbsps catsup
3/4 cu crumbled corn chips

Place the butter in a large heavy skillet over low heat.  While the butter melts, brake the eggs into a mixing bowl.  Add milk and catsup to the eggs.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until frothy.

Pour mixture into the skillet.  Cook and stir occasionally until the eggs begin to thicken. Stir in the corn chips, and keep stirring until the eggs are set to desired consistency,  Do not overcook.
By all means do not overcook your eggs as nothing is worse than overcooked eggs filled with crushed Frito's.  Grab your fork and head over to that oil rig.

02 June 2012

The Back In The Day Cookbook

The one place I had to visit while I was in Savannah was the Back In The Day bakery.  Just before I left for my trip, my copy of The Back In The Day Cookbook arrived which made me all the more excited to visit.  I was really hoping to run into owners Griffith and Cheryl Day.  Cheryl Day's grandmother, like mine, is from Alabama and taught her many of the homey and delicious recipes in the cookbook.  

But, of course, they were out and about touring with their cookbook and the very second I was getting lavender shortbreads, they were in New York City on the Martha Stewart show.  (Check out Cheryl making coconut cake with Martha here.) 

This book is homey and fun.  It is the exact collection of recipes that you will want to pass on to your children and grandchildren.  There is no foam, agar agar, or agave syrup.  There is a lot of confectioners' sugar, butter and vanilla extract.  And mostly, a lot of love.  On these pages you will find pies and puddings, cakes and more cakes, and an occasional Easy-Bake Oven.  

 If there is a fault (and this may just be my personal bias) it is the constant repetition of information in the recipes like the constant use of the phrase "at room temperature."   Bakers know to bring eggs, milk and butter to room temperature before baking.  Putting in repeatedly in the recipe, I find, a bit distracting and over-kill.  I blame the editor.

Here is a great, fruity cupcake for your summer indulgences.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Frosting


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/3 cups pureed fresh strawberries (from about 2 cups whole strawberries)
1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 egg whites, at room temperature

Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together the strawberry puree, milk, vanilla and, lemon zest.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer) cream the butter on medium-high heat until light in color.  Turn the speed down to low and gradually add the sugar, mixing for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is completely incorporated and the mixture is fluffy.  Add eggs and whites one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating the strawberry mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed.  With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop batter into prepared cupcake cups, filling each one about two-thirds full. Bake cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting

1 pound  (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
Two 1-pound boxes (8 cups) confectioners, sugar
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 1 cup whole strawberries)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer) beat the butter, lemon juice, and fleur de sel on low speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the strawberries puree, mixing until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.  

 I can't wait to make these with my strawberry haul. 

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