Thursday, February 19, 2009

A tip of the cap to Oscar

Mini Mushroom Quiche Caps

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council and

Yield: 18

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

8 ounces mushrooms
Non-stick cooking spray
1/4 cup finely diced green onion
Bacon, 3 strips, cooked
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black or white pepper
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 325º. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray. Slice 3 mushrooms for garnish. Heat a 10” non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add a single layer of mushrooms, and cook, without stirring, for about five minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side. Turn and cook about five minutes or until other side is same color. Set mushrooms aside.

Chop remaining mushrooms and add with onions, salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes, until onions are soft and all moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half and mustard. Stir in mushroom mixture and cheese.

Divide egg/mushroom mixture among muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Top each cup with one slice of mushroom and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Bake about 20-25 minutes until puffed and set. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes. Using a teaspoon, gently run the spoon around the edge of each cup and scoop each quiche to remove. Place a sautéed mushroom slice on top of each quiche and serve.

Apparently her husband was famous

Charles Darwin’s name is recognized around the globe and his discoveries have shaped our understanding of the natural world. While the scientist pursued research and theory, his wife Emma Wedgwood Darwin, like many women of her time, kept a notebook filled with recipes, culinary instructions and personal anecdotes about everyday life in the Darwin household.

Authors Dusha Bateson and Weslie Janeway have recreated and tested every one of Mrs. Darwin’s 55 recipes and put them in a new cookbook, Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book: Revived and Illustrated. This unique cookbook offers a rare glimpse behind the dining room doors of one of the Victorian era’s most eminent families.

More than a cookbook, Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book illuminates a lifestyle at the top of English society. This treasure trove of fifty-five delicious recipes reflects Emma Darwin’s social position and responsibility for feeding her family, entertaining guests, and maintaining the household. Reading her recipes and notes today offers remarkable insight into Victorian life and includes dishes popular in her day such as:

· Baked Cheese Custard
· Scotch Woodcock
· Beef Collops
· Chicken and Macaroni
· Veal Cake
· Turnips Cresselly
· Baked Apple Pudding
· Potato Rissoles
· Arrowroot Pudding
· Compote of Apples

And of course, all her ingredients were free-range and organic.

These wonderful recipes have been adapted for today’s modern kitchen and are easy to prepare and create unique dinner menus for family get-togethers, holiday parties, or weeknight dinners.

From a historical perspective, the authors provide a unique look at Victorian life through their Introduction chapter, discussing details and practices of the Darwin household. And, the historian in anyone will be delighted to see many reprinted pages from Mrs. Darwin’s actual diaries.

“While researching our book we found that cooking and eating a dish enjoyed by Charles Darwin and his family brought us closer to the great man,” say authors Dusha Bateson and Weslie Janeway. “And our impression of Emma at the end of our culinary journey? We felt a growing admiration and warmth. From her letters she emerges as a truly interesting and extraordinary woman. “

Feb. 12 was Darwin Day, the bi-centennial anniversary of Darwin’s birth and an international celebration of the discoveries and life of this extraordinary man. Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book is the perfect complement to the celebration of the life of Charles Darwin through authentic dishes from the Darwin household, and opening a window into the life and accomplishments of Emma Darwin, who gracefully supported her husband along his path of scientific inquiry. Cookery, history, Victoriana, and botany buffs alike will be sure to devour this rich culinary exploration.


DUSHA BATESON studied history at England’s Cambridge University. She may have inherited her interests in investigating archival materials and writing from her father, a BBC foreign correspondent to the Balkans and author of several books. Born and raised in the UK, Dusha has worked as a journalist and as a librarian. In 1988, her husband, Sir Patrick Bateson, became Provost of King’s College where the Batesons entertained many guests, from Queen Elizabeth II to the Dalai Lama. The Batesons live in East Suffolk, England.

WESLIE JANEWAY studied history and politics at Barnard College and Brown University. She has worked as a political analyst in banking, investment banking and continued to work in investment (at Sontag Advisory, a boutique investment firm) until 2006, when she and her semi-retired husband moved to Cambridge, England. She lives with her husband and son variously between Cambridge, England, New York City, and the coast of Maine.

Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book
Revived and Illustrated
by Dusha Bateson and Weslie Janeway
Glitterati Inc.
November 2008

We're baaaack!!!

Had a hiatus from the blog -- much non-food ado -- but now we're back running again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A glorious find. Must be seen. Must be tried.


Crawfish etouffe... smother some goodness

Mardi Gras is Feb. 24 this year, and the chefs at The Culinary Institute of America suggest you celebrate it Cajun-style by serving Crawfish Étouffée. (Note: It'll work with shrimp, and I've even substituted chunks of catfish fillets for this dish).

According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, the humble crawfish (known more widely as crayfish) owes its stardom to the Cajuns and is plentiful in the freshwaters of Louisiana's bayous and lakes. Crawfish finds its way into many dishes, but the little crustacean is mostly identified with étouffée, a Cajun translation of "smothered," derived from the French étouffer.

"Étouffée is the name given to dishes like this one that are gently cooked in a covered pot," explains CIA Chef Kathy Polenz. "Crawfish, or crayfish, are sold live or as cooked meat. If you buy crawfish meat, look for the words fat-on. Crawfish fat is an integral part of a good étouffée."

So, let the chefs of the CIA show you how to "laissez les bon temps rouler!" ("let the good times roll!"), by cooking up a pot of Crawfish Étouffée for Mardi Gras this year.The following recipe can be found in The Culinary Institute of America's One Dish Meals (2006, Lebhar-Friedman) cookbook, which is available for purchase at bookstores nationwide.

Crawfish Étouffée
5 servings

3 tablespoons bacon fat or canola oil
1 1/2 cups minced onions
1 cup minced celery
3/4 cup minced green bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon mild paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
Salt as needed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fish or chicken broth or as needed
1 1/4 pound crawfish tail meat with fat
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green portions
1/4 cup basil chiffonade (cut into fine threads)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat the bacon fat or oil in a casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers.
Add the onion and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, and garlic; cover the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the paprika, white and black pepper, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sauté, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and pasty, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and stir well to work out any lumps. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the crawfish tails and their fat. Cover the pot and cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until the crawfish is cooked through and very hot, 8 to 10 minutes. Add a little more broth as needed throughout the cooking time if the étouffée is getting too thick. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Add the butter, scallions, basil, and parsley and stir to combine. Serve the étouffée in heated bowls.

Nutrition analysis, étouffée without rice per an 11-ounce serving: 340 calories, 27g protein, 16g carbohydrate, 18g fat, 370mg sodium, 95mg cholesterol, 2g fiber.

Needing some sunshine?

Today's Your Table section of The Star takes a first glance at ordering seeds and such for the upcoming (really, it is) planting season.

Herbs such as parsley, chervil, cilantro and dill grow wonderfully from seed. Last year, we made a homemade cold frame and started the seeds outside weeks before traditional frost-free days.


Actually, there's still some flat-leaf parsley soldiering on through the winter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Classics, revisited

From the Your Table section of today's Anniston Star, a humble offering of old school American recipes that have never gone out of style. Cheers!

American classics
New era reminds us of the old favorites in our nation’s pantry
By Laura Tutor
ltutor@annistonstar. com

After their inauguration Tuesday, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and about 200 guests sat down for lunch in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill.

Another president, Abraham Lincoln, is Obama’s hero. So it’s appropriate that the first meal Obama ate as president was inspired by the Lincoln White House. On the menu for his inaugural lunch: seafood stew of lobster, shrimp and black cod topped with a puff pastry dome; duo of pheasant and duck served with sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes; and apple cinnamon sponge cake with sweet cream glace.

Not sure Lincoln would have had glace, but we won’t quibble.

The lunch, organized by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, included members of the Supreme Court, Cabinet designees and the congressional leadership. Chefs spent months researching the food and cooking style of the 1860s. Wild game, especially duck, appeared on many White House menus of the day. Apples were widely available.

“Stews were very popular. It wasn’t rare to have stew for breakfast,” says account executive Rickie Niceta of the decision to serve seafood stew. “But we were also thinking about who will be attending. They’ll be cold, and they’ll be starving. We wanted to start with something hot and substantial.”

January in D.C. calls for hot and substantial, but it also brings to mind some famous recipes that have been handed down through the years. The restaurant in the Senate section of the Capitol serves bean soup every day – and has for more than a century. And while some pages will insist it’s served the same soup every day for more than a century, the recipe is actually a pretty good bean soup for a cold day on the Hill.

Not to be outdone from the heartland, The Truman Library in Independence, Mo., has dozens of recipes that Bess Truman whipped up regularly for her family and friends: American classics like meatloaf and mac-and-cheese.

Finish your presidential meal off with something sweet, such as Mamie Eisenhower’s fudge, which still makes the rounds at Christmas, or the tart cranberry pudding served at Mount Vernon.

Thanks to our friends at The Washington Post for doing the legwork on the menu particulars.

Senate Bean Soup
According to one story, the Senate’s bean soup tradition began early in the 20th century at the request of Sen. Fred Dubois of Idaho. Another story attributes the request to Sen. Knute Nelson of Minnesota, who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903.

The recipe attributed to Dubois includes mashed potatoes and makes a 5-gallon batch. Well, he was from Idaho, so what do we expect? This is the original recipe, which included mashed potatoes – the ultimate thickening agent of its day. Oh, and this makes five gallons, so prepare to freeze some.

3 pounds dried navy beans
2 pounds of ham and a ham bone
1 quart mashed potatoes
5 onions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
four cloves garlic, chopped
half a bunch of parsley, chopped
Clean the beans, then cook them dry in a large (really large) pot for a few minutes to heat them. Add ham, bone and water and bring to a boil. Cook until begins just get soft, but still have some texture. Add potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add chopped vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour before serving.

Mrs. Truman’s Meat Loaf
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound pork (get all the meat ground and mixed at store)
1 cup bread crumbs (or oatmeal)
3/ 4 cup of milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
chopped onions
Mix and form into a loaf. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Several slices of bacon add to flavor if put on top at baking time.

Mrs. Truman’s Mac and Cheese
8 ounces macaroni, cooked and drained
1/ 2 pound grated cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/ 4 cup margarine (she said “oleo” on her recipe card. That’s so retro.)
In a baking dish, place layer of macaroni, then add a layer of cheese. Repeat your layers to use everything up. Combine milk and eggs; pour over macaroni and cheese. Dot the top with butter. This can be made up to this point and refrigerated for a day – just take it from the ’fridge and let it warm up some while your oven is preheating to 350. Then bake at 350 until hot and bubbly.

Cranberry Pudding from Mount Vernon

2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch salt
1/ 2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/ 3 cup boiling water
1 1/ 2 cups sifted flour
1 1/ 2 cups cranberries, cut in half
Combine eggs, sugar, salt and molasses. In a separate container, put 2 teaspoons of soda in 1/3 cup boiling water. Add to egg mixture. Stir in flour and cranberries. Steam in a buttered rice steamer for 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm with the sauce.
2 sticks butter
1 cup half and half
2 cups sugar
Melt butter. Add sugar and half and half and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Mamie’s Million Dollar Fudge
4 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 tall can evaporated milk
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bits
12 ounces German-sweet chocolate
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups nuts
Boil the sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk together for six minutes.
Put chocolate bits and German chocolate, marshmallow cream and nutmeats in a bowl. Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients. Beat until chocolate is all melted, then pour in pan. Let stand a few hours before cutting.
Remember, it is better the second day. Store in tin box.

More American classics
Source: The American Woman’s Cook Book (1950 edition my grandma gave me.)

Boston Baked Beans
2 cups dried navy beans
1 small onion, chopped
1 /8 pound salt pork or bacon
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1/ 2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons molasses

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain and rinse. In a slow-cooker, add all ingredients and 2 cups water. Turn to low and cook for 10 hours. Stovetop/oven: In a Dutch oven, put the rinsed beans and all ingredients. Simmer on the stove about 1-2 hours, partially covered, until the beans soften. Then pour into a baking dish and bake at 350 for another hour.

New England Clam Chowder
1/ 4 pound salt pork or bacon, cubed
2 small onions, minced
1 rib celery, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart clams (with juice from can or jar)
6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups chicken broth
salt to taste
1/ 2 stick of butter
1/ 2 teaspoon pepper
3 1/ 2 cups half-n-half
Brown pork in a Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add onion and celery and cook about 3 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and cook about 1 minute more, stirring to coat the vegetables with the flour. Add the potatoes and chicken broth, then cook over low-medium heat until the potatoes soften, stirring frequently so the vegetables don’t stick. Don’t worry if some of the potatoes start to break apart – that will help thicken your chowder. Add remaining ingredients, then cook, covered, over low heat for about 15 minutes. DO NOT BOIL. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.

Food glitterati coming to Atlanta

See Food Network stars at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show
Celebrate the creativity, diversity and just good fun of southern food at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show. The show will be April 18-19 in Atlanta. (There's also one in West Palm Beach, but who can afford to go?)
Both the Atlanta and the WPB event will feature the regions’ hottest local chefs in live cooking demonstrations and Tasting and Entertaining experts from around the nation will teach you how to make any event special with just a little creativity. Each event will also feature more than 150 exhibitors showcasing gourmet foods, specialty beverages, unique kitchen gadgets, floral, linens.
Last, but certainly not least, if you are a Food Network fan, see your favorite TV chef share their personal stories and recipes at the show. You can even get a special 10% discount on Celebrity theater tickets.
(Note: Tickets to the Celebrity Theater include General Admission, so you won’t have to buy both). Just enter the code SOFAB into the promo code box upon check out to receive the discount. This special promotion will only last until midnight on FRIDAY, so buy your tickets today!

Paula Deen
March 28-29 West Palm Beach
April 18-19 Atlanta
Bobby Flay
March 28-29 West Palm Beach
Giada De Laurentiis
April 18-19 Atlanta

Guy Fieri
April 18-19 Atlanta
The Neelys
March 28-29 West Palm Beach
April 18-19 Atlanta

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sirius radio for serious cooks


The three culinary experts talk live on Martha Stewart Living Radio about food, life, travels and more

Martha Stewart, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert will take listener calls from around the country

WHO: Martha Stewart, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert

WHAT: Martha will interview Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert during a live broadcast of At Martha’s Table, an exclusive SIRIUS XM series.

Martha will discuss their accomplished careers and achievements, including Anthony’s bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential, and his series, No Reservations, now in its fifth season on the Travel Channel, as well as Eric’s experience as chef and co-owner of the world-renowned and award-winning Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City.

Martha, Anthony and Eric will also share their own tips, personal recipes and kitchen secrets with SIRIUS XM listeners who are encouraged to call in and ask questions during the live broadcast at 866-675-6675.

WHERE: Martha Stewart Living Radio SIRIUS channel 112 and XM channel 157, as part of
“The Best of SIRIUS” package.

WHEN: Live broadcast on Thursday, February 5, 2009 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm ET

MORE: At Martha’s Table is a live interview series that airs exclusively on
SIRIUS XM’s Martha Stewart Living Radio. The series features Martha Stewart’s intimate conversations with today’s most influential tastemakers. Recent guests include internationally-acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Tom Colicchio and Jamie Oliver.

Anthony Bourdain is a renowned American chef and author who won critical acclaim for his bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential, as well as his culinary and cultural adventure series, No Reservations, on the Travel Channel. He has written eight other books including A Cook’s Tour, Nasty Bits and No Reservations.

Internationally-recognized chef of Le Bernardin in New York City, Eric Ripert is one of America’s top chefs. Eric and Le Bernardin have been awarded the following accolades: four-star rating from the New York Times since three months after it opened in 1986; three-stars from the Michelin Guide; GQ magazine’s “Best Restaurant in America; ” New York magazine’s “#1 Restaurant in New York City;” The Zagat Guide’s “Best Food” award; and The James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” and the “Top Chef in New York City.” Eric is also the author of three cookbooks, including this year’s On the Line, a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of a four-star restaurant.

On Martha Stewart Living Radio SIRIUS channel 112 and XM Radio 157, Martha Stewart and her team of lifestyle experts teach, advise and inspire around-the-clock with shows about entertaining, cooking, pet care, gardening, weddings and much more.

Speaking of stew....

This glorious weather (not being sarcastic. I love cold weather) puts me in the mind of soups and stews. I've been on a soup tangent for some time now. I've tried not to inflict it on too many people, but today just SCREAMS soup.

The beutiful thing about soup is that it rarely tastes the same any time you make it. They are among the most forgiving of all dishes -- a little variation in a recipe generally adds character and is rarely a deal-breakers. They don't have the pouty nature of baked goods. They won't crash and burn and dry like chicken or beef, if you get careless.

Soup rules.


This Italian vegetable soup is ready in an hour. For four servings:

3 3/4 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped
4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
14-ounce can of peeled tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
4 ounces spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 tablespons olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to serve

Pour all ingredients (except pasta, cheese and olive oil) into a large saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the spaghetti and cook about 12 minutes more or until the pasta is tender.

Serve in bowls topped with some cheese.

Vegetable Soup
If Italian vegetable soup won't work, try this one from Quebec. It's not red or tomato-based, like most vegetable soups, which makes it ideal for folks who can't stomach tomatoes. A few Octobers ago, I had it at a restaurant in Quebec City. Super easy and, agian, four servings ready in less than an hour.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
5 cups chicken broth or stock
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, trimmed and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. yes, nutmeg
4 egg yolks (hang with me)
1 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter, then whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat for about a minute. Add the vegetables and stir. It'll be chunky and pasty. Stir in your cold or room-temperature broth/stock. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and the cream. Take ladle and put some (1/2 cup) of the hot soup and stir quickly into the cream-egg mixture to 'temper' the egg yolks (you don't want scrambled eggs). Then, just as quickly, whisk the egg-cream-soup mixture back into the full batch of soup. Stir briskly and cook for about 4 minutes until it's heated through.

Top with croutons.