27 November 2013

Wild Raspberries

A touch of whimsy during this holiday season.   In 1959, before he would become the Godfather of Pop Art, Andy Warhol made a living drawing for advertising agencies.  It was at the agency, Young and Rubicam,  that he met Suzie Frankfurt, who was married to one of the art directors.

Warhol and Frankfurt decided to collaborate on a cookbook.  Warhol was fascinated with the elaborate presamment featured in the old cookbooks.  He drew recreations of these elaborate cakes, decorated joints of meat, and huge displays of fruits. 
The faux recipes were tongue in cheek and the title was overt reference to Ingmar Bergman's wildly successful, Wild Strawberries.  Warhol's drawings were hand colored by friends who gathered at coloring parties.   There is no firm count on the number of copies of the self-published edition of Wild Raspberries.  In 2012, a good copy of the booklet brought $30,000 at auction.

 In 1997, Bulfinch published a lovey reproduction.


Contact Trader Vic's and order a 40 pound suckling pig to serve 15. Have Hanley take the Carey Cadillac to the side entrance and receive the pig at exactly 6:45. Rush home immediately and place on the open spit for 50 minutes. Remove and garnish with fresh crab apples.

26 November 2013


It is one of our favorite cookbook subjects: the incredible, edible egg.  Now this little book is a rare and cool treat.   We must digress....

Once upon a time a guy named Nick Fauchald decided to do a series of magazine/cookbooks and he headed to Kickstarter.  The idea was to create small, hand made cookbooks.   The idea was a big hit.

Volume One featured eggs; you had us at eggs....

Enter the writer of Eggs, one Ian Knauer.   Yes, you might look at Mr. Knauer and think:  hipster poser dude.   You would be wrong.  Knauer has serious food chops.  He was also raised on a farm.  An actual farm!  He wrote a fine cookbook about food from that farm entitled, The Farm, and we liked it very much.

Moving on... The Farm is now a PBS show.  (PBS is this really weird entity where each individual station picks and chooses what they air and, where I live, never really shows the programing that is getting the buzz which is a huge pain, but I digress again...) Do check your listing and best of luck.

Since the Holidays are upon us, we thought we would give a shout out to an eggy drink that is not a nog, but a fizz.

Strawberry Rhubarb Rum Fizz

2 fresh strawberries, hulled
2 ounces white or amber rum
1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce cream sherry
Angostura bitters
1 large egg white

Muddle the strawberries in a cocktail shaker.  Add enough ice to fill the shaker halfway, then add the rum, Aperol, sherry, bitters and egg white.  Shake until your hands are very cold, about 45 seconds.  Strain the fizz into a chilled coupe and serve.

Each little Short Stack has a witty cover and brightly colored pages.  Each booklet is hand stitched by folks with developmental disabilities, giving them a job.  Yes, there is a "but" coming on.
The bright and zippy paper often makes for lousy contrast.  Eggs is on a nice yolky colored paper, so the contrast is OK, but be forewarned, you may need a good light to read the recipes.

Grab up a set of Short Stack Editions here.

Follow Ian Knauer's The Farm here and you just might find a PBS channel to watch his show.

15 November 2013

Cool Cooking


Today's Famous Food Friday features rock stars of old...some of them still rocking today. Cool Cooking by Roberta Ashley was published in 1972 by the Scholastic Book Service. It was a draw for YA rocker who liked to cook as well as rock.

How old is this book?

So old that The Honey Cone was giving the Supremes a run for their money.

So old that Elton John was straight.

So old that that Michael Jackson was black, not to mention alive.

So old that Paul McCartney was a carnivore.

You will find:

Aretha Franklin's Chitlins.

Glen Campbell's Scrambled Eggs and Lamb

David Cassidy's On-the-Set Salad

and this winner from George Harrison.

Banana Sandwich
ripe banana
peanut butter (optional)
Slice a ripe banana lengthwise and lay it on a piece of bread. If you like, you can spread the bread with peanut butter.
We just love these old cookbooks that are compilations of famous folk making their own food! Grab some peanut butter, flip on "oldies" channel, and rock on to Cool Cooking.


12 November 2013

The Meringue Girls Cookbook

We bought this cookbook for the cover. Really, we did. It is a book about meringues. Who among us hasn't made meringues. My Mother loved them. She, unfortunately, never made the clear connection between the humidity outside and the outcome of the meringues. There meringues are not my mother's meringues.

Here's the back story. Two young cooking school grads decide to team up and go on a cooking show to take a product from the kitchen to the marketplace, but, alas they have no product. Cupcakes have been done...and done and done anddoneanddoneanddone. Then there were cake pops and cookie pops and pie pops and well, pie. Then Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman thought of the simple meringue.

They perfected a meringue. Made it bite-sized, gave it exceptional flavors, and then made it beautiful and The Meringue Girls were born. Soon after, The Meringue Girls Cookbook was born. The biggest complaint about the book is about the book. That is, its a book about meringues. There are people out there who complain that it is a book about meringues. Basically a two ingredient one-trick pony.

Seriously, if you made meringues like this

you would not be complaining.

Meringue Girls Mixture

150g free-range egg whites (5 medium eggs)
300g caster sugar

Start by lining a large baking sheet with baking paperLine a deep tray with baking paper and heat 300g caster sugar at 200C until the edges are just beginning to melt. Heating the sugar helps it to dissolve in the egg white more quickly, creating a glossy and more stable mixture.Now, turn the oven down to 100C.
Add egg whites to clean bowl of a stand mixer. At first whisk slowly allowing small stabilizing bubbles to form, then increase the speed until the egg whites form medium peaks.Using a large spoon, add the sugar spoon by spoon while continuing to whisk. It is ready once you have a full bodied, stiff and glossy mixture (about 5 minutes).
Turn a disposable piping bag inside out, and use a paintbrush to paint stripes of natural food colouring on the inside. Fill the piping bag ensuring there are no air bubbles, and cut the tip off to the size of a 20p piece.
Pipe small kisses onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Its good to keep our meringues mallowy and soft in the middle, so take them out of the oven as soon as they lift off the baking paper with the base intact.


The Meringue Girls offer up a detailed, three page version for their meringue, so you will need the book. Remember my Mother? This is my Mother's recipe in grams. She use a cup of egg whites and two cups of sugar. She made them for years; every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. One in every four batches screwed up. Yes, there are only 2 ingredients, but it is trickier than one might think. My Mother made vanilla meringues. Sometimes she added pecans. That was it. But the world of meringuey goodness is as vast one one's imagination. So grab a copy and get creative. Remember, one only needs two ingredients!

*Update. Had a formatting problem! hope we worked it out.

07 November 2013

Le Pigeon: Cooking At The Dirty Bird

We have been waiting to get a copy of Le Pigeon: Cooking At The Dirty Bird by Gabriel Rucker.   It did not disappoint.  We spent so much time looking at it, that the cat became jealous and finally planted a paw on each page, successfully stopping any more perusing for the evening.

Rucker will quickly point out that he grew up in Napa -- not the wealthy, winey Napa, but the working class Napa.  That juxtaposition of fantastic ingredients, world-class dining, and making do with what one has clearly influenced the chef.

His drink pairings apologetically lists Bud Light Lime with a "don't know it till you try it" admonition.
Where else will you find a cookbook with an entire chapter on tongue.

Then there is the luxe treatment of foie gras, served with Eggo waffles.  A recipe that will have you saying, "Letgo my Eggo!"  

Rucker is also adamant that this is a restaurant cookbook.  He refused to dumb-down the more complicated recipes, which he argues are not so much complicated as a bit time consuming.  Stick with him and you will find a memory on the plate.  Like this one.  Not so much a dish as a meal.  Think of it as three components: a salad, a fish protein, a vegetable and there you have dinner.

Carrot Butter–Poached Halibut, Anchovy-Roasted Carrots, Fennel

2 pounds (900 g) small carrots, with tops
3 1/2 cups (875 g) unsalted butter
3 anchovy fillets, minced
3 lemons
Kosher salt
2 cups (500 ml) fresh carrot juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed, plus 1 whole clove garlic
1 bay leaf
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
4 halibut fillets, each about 6 ounces (185 g)
Maldon flake salt

Fennel Salad
1 fennel bulb, sliced 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick using a mandoline
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped white anchovies (boquerones)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. Remove the carrot tops, wash, and set aside. Peel the carrots and halve them lengthwise. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup (125 g) of the butter with the anchovies and the grated zest from two of the lemons. Add the carrots and season with kosher salt. Transfer to a baking sheet, spread in a single layer, and roast in the oven until slightly softened but still a little crunchy, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with the juice of one lemon.
3. In a shallow saute pan over medium heat, combine the carrot juice, the crushed garlic, bay leaf, and orange zest. Cook until reduced by three quarters, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 3 cups (750 g) butter and stir until melted, then reduce the heat to very low and keep warm.
4. Next we’re going to buzz our carrot top pesto. Simply combine the carrot tops, the whole clove garlic, the olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and a pinch of kosher salt in a blender and blend until you have a fine pesto consistency. Set aside.
5.To make the fennel salad, in a bowl combine the fennel, olive oil, chives, and anchovies and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
 6. Now, to poach the fish. Heat the carrot butter to 130°F (55°C) over low heat. Season the halibut with kosher salt and add the fish to the butter. Keeping the butter at 130°F (55°C), poach the halibut until you can press down on the fish with a fork and don’t feel a pop (that pop is connective tissue that hasn’t yet broken down), about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the halibut to a plate lined with paper towels. Squeeze the juice of the third lemon over the fish and sprinkle with Maldon salt.
7. To serve, place roasted carrots in the center of four shallow bowls and top each with a halibut fillet. Top each halibut fillet with the fennel salad. Drizzle the pesto around the fish, spoon a tablespoon of carrot butter over each plate, and serve.
Face it, there are some things in the cookbook you will never cook and there are some you will want to cook.  There a glorious photos and practical drawings.   There are recipes and an ode to the Plymouth Valiant and it will make your cat jealous.  What more do you want?

05 November 2013

Duck, Duck, Goose

How To Spot  An Only Child
To spot an only child, yell "duck" in a crowded room.  People raised with sibling will intuitively cover their head and crouch.  An only child will raise its head and ask, "Where is the duck?  What kind of duck is it?"

Hank Shaw offers up a lot of answers to the only child and others in his book Duck, Duck, Goose.   Duck, Duck, Goose is Shaw's second book.  Hunt, Gather, Cook is one of our favorites.  (And, as we have said before, we were absolutely sure, we had written about that book and it seems we have not!  Shame on us.)

So, you always order duck in a restaurant, but rarely cook it.  You have hear all those scary stories of how duck is soooooo fatty, and it will be greasy and tough and gamy and on and on.  Not true.  Not if you follow Shaw's hints and tips.  Just take a breath, read the recipes and you will be on your way to making a perfect, succulent fowl.   Not to mention that Shaw has always been a great defender of our favorite fowl part, the gizzard.  We are definitely making a big batch of corned gizzards. 

The adventurous among us can grab a gun and shoot your own duck, which Shaw often does.  Not the shooting type?  Well, just pick up a duck at the grocery store. It will be easier than you think.  Either way, you will quickly learn that duck does not taste like chicken, but it might just be that easy to cook.

Who doesn't love a good duck confit.  If it seems another of those "too much trouble" recipes, Shaw's Crock Pot recipe will have you whipping up confit this Saturday.  From a personal standpoint, we feel that any meat braised to the point of falling off the bone perfection is the best sauce for a pasta.  Duck Confit is no exception.

Duck Confit with Pasta and Lemon

Make sure you have all of the ingredients prepped before you start cooking, as this dish comes together quickly. Have the water boiling, and give it plenty of salt; you want it to taste of the sea. 
2 confit duck legs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon duck fat, or as needed
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh tagliatelle
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated lemon zest, for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile, pick all of the meat off the duck legs and reserve the skin. Tear the meat and skin into small pieces. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon duck fat, and the duck meat and skin. Turn the heat down to medium.
Generously salt the boiling water, then add the pasta and stir well. 
Add the garlic to the sauté pan and mix well. Watch the garlic: the moment it begins to brown, turn off the heat. When the pasta is al dente, drain it into a colander, then
add it to the sauté pan. Alternatively, use tongs to transfer it from the boiling water to the sauté pan. Turn on the heat to medium and toss the pasta to coat well with all of the ingredients, adding more duck fat if the mixture seems too dry. Season with pepper, add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and toss again. Taste and add the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice if you want. Serve immediately, garnished with the lemon zest.

On a personal note:   On three separate occasions we have missed meeting Hank Shaw.  It seems we are always a day early for one his readings and frankly we are getting sick of it.   We were very happy to actually see Hank Shaw hunting with Andrew Zimmern.  We watch a lot of cooking shows and would like to say that Hank Shaw should have his own show.   He has a different point of view, he has won a James Beard Award, he has a cool website. so come on, give him a show.

04 November 2013


A while back, my friend Deanna, who is facing a move, asked if I might like some cookbooks. Quick, guess the answer. I didn't hear much about it after the initial question and she has been in the middle of gigantic move, so one doesn't ask. The she mentioned on Facebook that a friend had done a post office run and my name was one one of the packages.


Sure enough, a lovely box of cookbooks arrived. So, I will be posting soon.


In the meantime, thank you, thank you, thank you, Deanna.


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