Category Archives: Books

Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken

There are people you meet – live, in real life, in the same room and breathing the same air, a handshake and a hug away – and now there are people you meet via the ether of  Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other platforms , who are

Intermet

I intermet Monica Bhide maybe ten years ago. I’m pretty sure she called or e-mailed me about Thanksgiving for the Washington Post, and then I found her blog and  her books.

In a scenario that could be the basis of a Hugh Grant movie some day,

Hugh_Grant_2014

I decided to order her newest book, a novel,  Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken  through my local bookstore instead of the internet. Score one for brick and mortar!

Through a series of mishaps, misfires and  miscellaneous modern life confusions it took  six – 6 – weeks to come in.

Karma, indeed.

But the reason I wanted to own her book, and not check it out of the library ….

Monica’s husband was rushed to the hospital : (click for Monica’s blog)

So many of you, my readers, friends and fans have repeatedly reached out to ask how you can help. As you all know, medical situations come with financial concerns. To that end, as a writer, words and books are how I make a living. Sameer will need 24-hour care as he heals and recovers, and I will not be able to work full-time for a while, other than just completing a few writing projects here and there.

 

So this is how you can help: If you have enjoyed my work and want to support me through this, all I request is that you buy a book or two or more to share with your friends. The sales of the books will help keep our dream alive. I say “our dream” as my writing career is not just my dream. It is a dream that Sameer and I created together and we don’t want it to die.

So buying the book was (supposed to be) a quick and easy way to support and help and keep them in my thoughts and share the story.

Since then

Inspiration Through Tragedy

(click the title for a link to the gofundme page)

a Gofundme page has been set up to raise money for Monica to

“…write a book, an interactive journal to help families and primary caregivers in the ICU and in hospitals so that they may benefit from my experience. This interactive journal will be filled with inspiring and thought-provoking stories of what happened with us, how we managed our emotions and found meaning in the most impossible moments. It will also have sections for people to write down thoughts and feelings during their own difficult time. The book will become a keepsake; each person who writes in it will make the book their own.”

So I’m asking if you could help – buy a book, or donate  money, or share the story on social media, or keep this family in your thoughts and prayers –

Monica Bhide

Moncia Bhide

 

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Filed under Books, Journal

Spenser for Dinner

So I ended up with a copy of Robert B. Parker’s Bad Business.

RBP Bad Business

Just the kind of read to unwind a busy work week on the Friday of my weekend.

(That sounds rather convoluted, but since week-ends are considered Saturday and Sunday, but I work Saturday, so my not at work days are Sunday and Monday….which makes Tuesday my Monday and Thursday my hump day and Saturday my Friday. So, SATURDAY, I read this book on Saturday night.)

And there were several cooking/eating/ food scenes in the book, because that’s the way Spenser is and that’s how Robert B. Parker writes.  I remembered, back in the day when  the books had been a TV series called Spenser for Hire

Spenser_For_Hire_title_screen

Robert Urich was Spenser

Robert U spes leatehr

and a pretty good stand in for Robert B. Parker

RBP with dog

Complete aside: Season 3 – that was 1987  –  they filmed a Thanksgiving episode. Which include scenes shot at Plimoth Plantation.

Spenser season 3

All three seasons are available on DVD

Season 3, Episode 7 Thanksgiving

 First Aired: November 29, 1987

Spenser takes Susan to Plymouth for Thanksgiving and runs into an old Army buddy whose down on his luck. When his friend, Mike Kaminsky, is accused of murdering the young wife of an elderly philanthropist, Spenser tries to prove him innocent. As Susan looks after the Kaminsky family, Spenser and Hawk search out the shifty background of the murder victim, and deal with the controversy conscious step-son. Attempts on Spenser’s life ultimately lead he and Hawk to the those responsible.

Someone (actually, quite a few of us) got to come in early to be pilgrim ‘extras’. Should you watch said episode and see a pilgrim with a dead goose?

MOI.

But my 15 seconds of fame is a story for another day.

Since the series was called Spenser for Hire, I thought the companion cookbook should be called

Spenser for Dinner

Because of course, there should be a cookbook.

Back to Bad Business.

At the very beginning of Chapter 46, Vinnie is cooking up sausage and vinegar peppers…..

green-sliced-vinegar-peppers-32oz-jar.jpg

But any pickled pepper could work in this…

So I checked out the North End Italian Cookbook, and sure enough – sausage and vinegar peppers with potatoes.

sausage vinegar pepper FOOD

Sausage and Vinegar Peppers and Potatoes

2 # Italian sausage

1/4 cup olive oil

6 large potatoes, peeled, sliced thick and wiped dry

6-8 vinegar peppers

  1. Brown the sausages in the oil. Remove from the pan.

  2. Add the potatoes to the oil , turning till cooked and crispy.

  3. Add the sausage back and then tear the peppers on top, letting the juices fall in with the meat and potatoes. There will be steam when he vinegar hits the pan, so be careful.

  4. Turn off heat, cover  and and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

  5. The note in the cookbook says hold for a second day, but I’ve made some stellar fritatta…..just saying.

  6. adapted from pages 103-4

North End Ital cb mine

For Italian food from Boston, any one of the editions of North End Italian Cook Book will be your friend.

SPenser for Hire - Hawk and spenser

Did I mention Avery Brooks? He was in the series, too.

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Filed under Books, Italian, New England, Supper, The 1980's, TV shows

#ShakespeareSunday

Today is the last day of a yearlong celebration celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare – #BardYear.

Title_page_William_Shakespeare's_First_Folio_1623

First Folio

April 23rd 1616 is the day he died. It might also be the day he was born. We have his baptismal date, so we know he was born by when. But funerals are a bigger deal, celebration wise, in the 17th century then births (infants are considered to be lumps of flesh in search of their humanity; if you live to adulthood, you’re a person).

A quick run through of a few, very few selected Shakespeare and food books:

Shakeontoast

Last one read, first one mentioned – Shakespeare on Toast

I need to find out what the English “on toast” reference is, but it was well written, fast paced and enormously entertaining and informative   (words that belong together especially when dealing with Shakespeare). Not about food, how to read Shakespeare (aloud – they’re plays, not novels!) and other tips, tricks and insights.

And to continue the reverse chronological order in which I’ve read/ discovered them….

Shakescookbook

The Shakespeare Cookbook. Andrew Dalby and Maureen Dalby.The British Museum Press: 2012.

Lovely illustrations from the British Museum collection, like 17th century fruit trenchers…and lots more. Great food, too and adaptations.

fruit trencher BM

Fruit trencher or roundel from the 17th century- not just any wooden plate! from the British Museum

Shakespeare, not Stirred. Cocktails for Everyday Dramas. Caroline Bick, PhD, and Michelle Ephriam, PhD. Perigee Books: NY 2015.

shakesnotstirred

Quite possibly the most fun of the bunch…. Shall I Campari to a Summer’s Day?….Oh, yes!

Shakespeare’s Kitchen. Francine Sagen. Random House NY 2003.

Shakeskitchen

The photo’s in this are lovely and the recipes work extremely well in a modern kitchen, even if one or two are so adapted as to be unrecognizable from their Shakespeare time form….if you like good food, cook it all; if you want good history, cook the ones with period recipe mentioned….

dining with shakesespare

Dining With William Shakespeare. Marge Lorwin. Atheneum: NY 1976. has been part of my life for decades…it was my introduction to food in the time of Pilgrims, and the scholarships – and readability –  have help up well through the decades. I always find something new when I go back.

shakesplantssimmons

Plants of Shakespeare. Adelma Grenier Simmons.   1987. Caprilands Coventry Conn.

I got this little book when I visited Caprilands Herb Farm in Coventry Connecticut in the early ’80’s….might be time for a field trip….

Adelma_at_Hilltop

 

 

and this, too!

Shakesflowers

 

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Filed under Books, Spring

Goldenrods

Goldenrods

as in Goldenrod Eggs….

Martha Stewart Living April 2017 featured a story about Goldenrods…. not the weeds, the  eggs

msl-April2017cover-225x300

goldenrod eggs Betty Crocker

This is the photo from the Betty Crocker version.

Reading the article I had a Remembrance of Things Past moment, except it was for something that I had never eaten….it was something I’d read about.

It was a book I read when I was nine. Or ten. Definitely before 11.

I think it was called

“Two in Patches”.

Patches was the name of the car. More properly, a roadster. I’m pretty sure it was written in the 1930’s.

roadster

a 1930’s roadster

There was a brother – who was old enough to drive – and a little sister. She was close to my age – 9 or 10 or 11.  They had to drive cross country to get their parents who had been working in the steamy, vine-tangled jungles of Peru. Or hottest Brazil. One of those exotic, faraway places. They had a grown-up, who might have been Grandpa, that they picked up somewhere. They ended up in California, and there was a happily ever after reunion. It would probably be a good companion piece for The Grapes of Wrath.

There were hobos, and not all of them were friendly.

Sometimes they had to beg for work to earn food or gas money. I believe “beg” was their word for it. They gave people rides in exchange for food or gas.

Beret-e1457039149493

This is pretty close to what I remembering  what the girl might have looked like.

It was not a picture book, but there were line drawings.

ANYHOW….

…..at one point they are really hungry and they break into a hen-house. They get caught, and the cagey old farmer invites them in, and the girl cooks up a big old batch of……

EGGS GOLDENROD

So I looked up a recipe,  Thank you Betty Crocker

and merrily went on with my life. It seemed rather like egg sauce on toast, and I can’t say that I craved it or even thought about it again until I opened up Martha Stuart Living.

So, thank you for a trip back in time. Now I need to make some bread to have the toast to make the eggs….

A version roughly contemporary with my remembered childhood volume:

Goldenrod Eggs

Make a thin white sauce by melting

1 Tbls of butter then adding

1 Tbls flour. Add

1 cup milk

½ tsp salt and

Fg pepper. Stir until thick and smooth. Chop the white of

3 hard cooked eggs and add to white sauce. Cut

4 slices of toast in halves lengthwise.

Arrange on a platter and pour sauce over them. Force yolks through a strainer or potato ricer, letting them fall upon the sauce making a mound of yellow. Garnish with parsley and toast points. This may be served on individual dishes.

Serves four.

Wakefield, Ruth Graves. Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes. M. Barrows and Co.: New York. 1937. p. 61.

Ruth Wakefield Tried and True

Evidently, Fanny Farmer published the first Eggs Goldenrod recipe back in 1896. This is based on other peoples say-so. I’ll be on the look-out.

Eggs à la Goldenrod.

3 hard boiled eggs.

1 tablespoon butter.

1 tablespoon flour.

1 cup milk.

1/2 teaspoon salt.

1/8 teaspoon pepper.

5 slices toast.

Parsley.

Make a thin white sauce with butter, flour, milk, and seasonings. Separate yolks from whites of eggs. Chop whites finely, and add them to the sauce. Cut four slices of toast in halves lengthwise. Arrange on platter, and pour over the sauce. Force the yolks through a potato ricer or strainer, sprinkling over the top. Garnish with parsley and remaining toast, cut in points.

bost127

Boston Cooking School 1896

 

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Filed under Books, Influencers, Recipe, Supper, The 1960"s, Wicked Wayback

Red Light Green Light

There are TWELVE days of Christmas – all of you ever so eager to put those lights UP in November, don’t be in such a hurry to take them down – keep ‘em around at least until the 6th of January, the Feast of the Epiphany. That’s the day the Three Wise Guys, um, I mean Wise Men, finally get to the party. And let’s face it – January could use some low key good times, not to mention a little more light.

As for the red light….

Beets.

beetroot

Can’t beat them, so just enjoy them.

Last summer I used fresh tomatoes in salads and uncooked sauce for pasta. Once I found one recipe for uncooked tomato sauce, it seems as if there were thousands.

Or at least several.

Lidia!

lidia_bastianich_2014

Lidia Bastianich

Marian Morash!

vgcb

 

Total stranger from somewhere else!!

Newspapers and magazines…..

So when I got a new Italian cookbook (much of the Italian being American chefs in Italian restaurants…and the Italian cooking was restaurant cooking too.)

italian_intermezzo

 

AND

It came with music. To cook and dine with Italian music. The music was the deal-breaker.

As I was listening to Ciribiribin

– not to be confused with Chili Bean

 

I found yet another variation on the uncooked tomato sauce, but this one had a twist.

The variation called for beets.

RED LIGHT

That were cooked. For 1 1/2 hours.

Which is very different from uncooked. Or tomatoes.

So I really don’t know how this qualifies as a variation and not a whole new recipes.

BUT

I had beets….

GREEN LIGHT

So I scrubbed them, tossed them with a little olive oil and roasted them in a 350 oven for 90 or so minutes until they were tender.

I took them out of the oven and put some water on for the pasta…..

Alton Brown has embraced the cold water method for cooking pasta….

abeverydaycook

 

Cold water pasta is another post.

Anyhow,

While the pasta cooked

farfalle_pasta

Farfalle – butterflies!

I peeled the beets and cut them into a dice. Tossed with some olive oil wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Also some minced parsley and a little rosemary.

Added with the now cooked pasta and some ricotta, a 1/2 cup or so of the pasta water. Stir, taste, adjust, EAT.

It was pink…..and it was good.

It was NOTHING like the uncooked tomato sauce.

But it was delicious.

It was also good re-heated the next day.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Dinner, Italian, Recipe, winter

Rabbit, Xmas rabbit

tizian-madonna_mit_dem_kaninchen

Titian.Mary and Infant Jesus with a rabbit, Paris, Louvre

rabbits_christmas_title

rabbit-xmas-janbrett

puigaudeau_ferdinand_du_-_chinese_schadows_the_rabbit

Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Chinese Shadows, the Rabbit

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Filed under Books, Holiday, winter

Book Club Chairs: Locale local

 Grab a seat…with your feet in the water, the sun on your back  OR  curled up in AC comfort OR in front of a fire.  It’s

                              Book Club time!

I’ve been reading…

Often I have a seasonal reading theme, whether I begin with one or not. I just like reading things that build on each other, complement each other, and keep my brain in the same neighbor for a while. This summer’s theme turned out to be:

Books set in Plymouth by

Local Authors who I know.

How’s THAT for a theme?

It started this spring with ROBERT KNOX

Bob Knox

Suosso’s Lane

Which is about Bartolomeo Vanzetti, who lived in Plymouth – just up the road from where I live now – and  early 20th century immigration issues and the labor movement  and…well, you’ll have to read it find out more….

 

Suosso's Lane cover

And then I heard that PETER TRENOUTH had a book out….

Peter Trenouth

Cloudy Hands

We worked together decades ago and have kept off and on in touch. This is a story that is heart wrenching, heartwarming and heartfelt and a bunch of other heart and flowers terms that are making me sound cliché instead of must read.

cloudy hands cover

Judith Campbell and the Holy Mysteries

Judy campbell

Olympia Brown / Holy Mysteries  series

There’s the story, the great people we meet, who grow and change and don’t change, revealing a little more of themselves in each volume AND there’s the moral AND the mystery AND the great food. I’m thinking Olympia Brown is a Leo, because she’s rather fond of ginger. I’ve offered to be a recipe tester for the companion cookbook…..

 

unspeakable_cover_300w

It’s been a summer to connect and re-connect with old friends and read great books with familiar locations and have friendly books on the shelves.

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Filed under Books, Summer

A Deepe Coffyn

Willem Clausz. Heda

SOOOO ……

I’m  reading and writing about PIES, specifically apple pies, and I get a package in the mail from a dear friend.

A book.

deepe coffyn

.

 A Deepe Coffyn by Janet Laurence

It’s a culinary murder mystery…the main character is cooking up an Banquet for a   group of culinary historians…and the next thing you know

someone is DEAD

But not because of the food.

If there’s one thing I love to read at the end of a week, it’s a murder mystery. Something about a problem and a solution all wrapped up in under 400 pages….It’s Murder, She Wrote between covers.

(Is there a book series for the TV series?)

Msw ss

 

And this book is the first of a series, a series I haven’t read. The author is from England. And there are nine more where this came from. They evolve/revolve around Darina Lisle – the cook- and William Pigram- the cop.

So now when pies are too hot a thing to contemplate (is there ANY cool weather out there anywhere?) I have something a little lighter to keep my brain occupied.

Thank you, Clarissa! A most appropriate and timely gift.

 

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Filed under Books, Summer, TV shows

Bunny, blushing bunny

2006AR0188-01

Embroidered Rabbit. England, 17th century c. 1625 V&A

This little blush colored  bunny ( a detail from an embroidered jacket) made me think of another sort of Blushing Bunny….

Bunny, Miss and Thumper

Miss Bunny and Thumper…from Bambi – but not this blushing bunny

This Blushing Bunny:

blushing bunny LAtimes

From “Worldly Blushing Bunny”  by Charles Perry Jan. 3. 2007 LA Times

One that is Welsh Rabbit ( or rarebit) with a can of tomato soup added

Campbells_Soup_Cans_MOMA

Campbell’s made soup good food; Andy Warhol made soup cans good art

Rabbits go back to Hannah Glasse

Glasse - First catch

A modern edition of The Art of Cookery is titled ” First Catch Your Hare.” Very appropriate for the first Welsh rabbit recipe to be there, too! Even though we all know that hares and rabbits aren’t the same thing…

and then are one or two more, the way there is never ONE rabbit….

18th century ‘Rabbit’ Recipes

1747

To make a Scotch rabbit,toast the bread very nicely on both sides, butter it, cut a slice of cheese about as big as the bread, toast it on both sides, and lay it on the bread.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

 To make a Welch rabbit, toast the bread on both sides, then toast the cheese on one side, lay it on the toast, and with a hot iron brown the other side. You may rub it over with mustard.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

To make an English rabbit,  toast the bread brown on both sides, lay it in a plate before the fire, pour a glass of red wine over it, and let it soak the wine up. Then cut some cheese very thin and lay it very thick over the bread, put it in a tin oven before the fire, and it will be toasted and browned presently. Serve it away hot.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

Or do it thus. Toast the bread and soak it in the wine, set it before the fire, rub butter over the bottom of a plate, lay the cheese on, pour in two or three spoonfuls of white wine, cover it with another plate, set it over a chafing-dish of hot coals for two or three minutes, then stir it till it is done and well mixed. You may stir in a little mustard; when it is enough lay it on the bread, just brown it with a hot shovel.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

The 1740’s

Scotch Rabbit

Toast a bit of bread on both sides then lay it on a plate before the fire. Pour a glass of red wine over it, and let it soak the wine up, then cut some cheese very thin and lay it thick over the bread and put it in a tin oven before the fire and it will be toasted and browned presently….You may stir in a little mustard.”

—   Scottish manuscript, cookbook of Moffat family.

  • The Thirteen Colonies Cook Book, p. 238

 1753          

To make a Scotch Rabbit.

Toast a Piece of Bread on both Sides, butter it, cut a Slice of Cheese about as big as the Bread, toast it on both sides, and lay it on the Bread.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5.(foodtimeline)

 

To make a Welch Rabbit.

Toast the Bread on both Sides, then Toast the Cheese on one Side, lay on the Toast, and with a hot iron brown the other Side. You may rub it over with Mustard.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5.

To make a Portugal Rabbit.

Toast a Slice of Bread brown on both Sides, then lay it in a Plate before the Fire, pour a Glass of red Wine over it, and let it soak the Wine up; then cut some Cheese very thin, and lay it very thick over the Bread; put it in a Tin Oven before the Fire, and it will be toasted and brown’d presently. Serve it away hot with Sugar over it, and Wine poured over.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5.

Or do it thus.

Toast the Bread and soak it in the Wine, set it before the Fire, cut your Cheese in very thin Slices, rub Butter over the Bottom of a Plate, lay the Cheese on, pour in two or three Spoonfuls of White Wine, cover it with another Plate, set it over a Chafing-dish of hot Coals for two or three Minutes, then stir it till done, and well mixed. You may stir in a little Mustard; when it is enough lay it on the Bread, just brown with a hot Shovel. Serve it away hot.

– 1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5

An Italian Rabbit.

Toast a Slice of Bread, butter it, put upon it a Slice of Cheese the Length of your Bread, Let that be toasted; then put upon the Cheese some Mustard and Pepper, then Parsley minced, and upon the whole some Anchovies, in Pieces, very thick, to serve away.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5

The Welsh are not alone in this! Scotch, English as well as Italian and Portuguese. This is one well traveled rabbit.

rabbit italian c1460

Italian rabbit 15th century

Sooooo

when do rabbits become rarebits?

1852

No. 164. How to Make a Welsh Rarebit.

First, make a round of hot toast, butter it and cover it with thin slices of cheese; put it before the fire until the cheese is melted, then season with mustard, pepper, and salt, and eat the rarebit while hot.

 

  • Francatelle, Charles. A Plain Cookery Book. p. 78.

But that’s not the end of rabbits – rarebits and rabbits continue together through the centuries

1858

Welsh rabbit.

Welsh rabbit is made by melting cheese and adding wine and other seasonings.

  • Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book. p. 206.

I haven’t been able to fill in the 100 year gap between The Lady’s Companion and Miss Beecher (who is Catherine Beecher, Harriot Beecher Stowe’s sister), but this already became more obsessive/compulsive then it began.

In the 2oth century, English Monkey, Yorkshire Buck, Scotch Rarebit, Cheese Muff, The Mackie, Oyster Rarebit, Midnight Rabbit and of course, Blushing Bunny.

Welsh Rarebit

6 servings

Melt in the top of a double boiler over simmering water:

1 tablespoon butter

Stir in and heat until warm:

1 cup beer, ale, milk, or cream

Gradually, stir in:

4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar or Colby (1 pound)

Cook, stirring constantly with a fork, until the cheese is melted. Stir in:

1 egg, beaten

    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon sweet paprika

    ¼ teaspoon dry mustard

    (¼ teaspoon curry powder)

    Pinch of ground red pepper

Cook, stirring, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Serve at once on top of

12 slices white, rye, or other bread of your choice, toasted, or 18 crackers

 The Mackie

Prepare Welsh Rarebit, above, topping toasted slices of white bread with sliced tomatoes and crisp bacon before covering with cheese mixture.

Blushing Bunny

Prepare Welsh Rarebit, above, substituting tomato juice or canned condensed cream of tomato soup for the beer or the milk.

  • Rombauer, Irma S., Becker, Marion Rombauer and Ethan Becker. Joy of Cooking. Scribner: NY. p. 112.

 

joy of cooking 75th

and on the Rabbit/Rarebit debate, Joy of Cooking says this:

“Our correspondence is closed on the subject of rarebit versus rabbit. We stick to “rarebit” because “rabbit” already means something else. We can only answer the controversy with a story. A stranger trying to calm a small crying boy: “I wouldn’t cry like that if I were you.” Small boy: “You cry your way and I’ll cry mine.”

 

I realize that the history or recipes and food  isn’t quite the same as MY history with food and recipes, I’ve stared another blog  for the historical things. Foodways Pilgrim will continue as my journey with food. But for the historical inquiry, The Backstory of Welsh Rabbit (or Rarebit, as the case may be) or What Did They Serve at the First Thanksgiving sorts of questions/stories/cool background, that will now be at Plays with Fire.

Caravaggio_-_Cena_in_Emmaus 1601 National galleryLondon

Cena in Emmaus – 1601 –  Caravaggio at National Gallery, London

Caravaggio_supperat Emmaus Milan Brera Fine Arts Academy1606

Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus (again)  this in 1606 and now in Milan at the Brera Fine Arts Academy .How has the food changed – and why?

   Plays With Fire

Van Goh rabbits in landscape

Vincent Van Gogh Landscape with Rabbits 1889

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Filed under 1990's, Books, Bread, Recipe, Wicked Wayback

Postmortem

patrica cornwell Postmortem

is the name of a book by Patrica Cornwell and there was a copy in the coffee shop last week, so I took it home for a weekend read.

kisskadee interior

The coach is now in another nook, but around that corner is a bookcase for take one or leave one library. And, yes, MOM, I’ve left plenty.Like I’ll leave this little murder mystery. Eventually.

I’ve read it before, but a good mystery can be read more then once. Patrica Cornwell also has Dr. Kay Scarpetta  (the focus character) be a good enough that she is mentioned on the cover of  a cookbook….

Food to Die For

I’ve mentioned this cookbook before – in

Wednesdays Were Chili Nights and

Fresh Garlic Soup

A little quote from Postmortem:

When all else fails, I cook.

Some people go out after a god-awful day and slam a tennis ball around or jog their joints to pieces on a fitness course. I had a friend in Coral Gables who would escape to the beach with her folding chair and burn off her stress with sun and a slightly pornographic romance she wouldn’t have been caught dead reading in her professional world—she was a district court judge. Many of the cops I know wash away their miseries with beer at the FOP lounge.

I’ve never been particularly athletic, and there wasn’t a decent beach within reasonable driving distance. Getting drunk never solved anything. Cooking was an indulgence I didn’t have time for most days, and though Italian cuisine isn’t my only love, it has always been what I do best.

– Cornwell, Patricia. Postmortem. Impress. 1990. p. 128

This is the other reason I keep going back to Kat Scarpetta. I, too, don’t play tennis or swim or get drunk and I don’t have time for cooking – really cooking , not just throwing something together   –  most days. But if I can knead dough or roll out a pastry or chop some onions and add tomatoes……order returns to the world.

Anyhow, Kay goes on to make a pizza with more topping then I would put on a pie, but that’s just me.I’ve got a few mushrooms, and of course, onions and garlic, and there’s a sausage or two lurking in the freezer….I may have to go to the corner store for mozzarella, in which case it will probably be the pre-shredded stuff…..easy-easy

 

Pizza

Dough:
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cup  bread flour (Of course, I do not make a trip to the store just for this. I’ve used white, wheat and a combination of all three. Bread flour with the higher gluten takes more abuse and makes a very nice crust)
1 packet yeast (I buy in bulk and I have a special yeast measuring spoon, so I have to look up how much that is every-time I write a recipe out. It’s 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup very warm water
1 tablespoon honey (this actually helps with the browning and moisture content of the finished crust – if you don’t have honey, just leave it out. Sugar will make it a weensy bit sweeter but won’t work like honey.But the little dab of honey is really a secret ingredient and makes this dough different then other doughs)
2 tablespoon olive oil (+ more for the pan)

1) In a medium bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, yeast and salt. Stir in warm water, honey and oil, stirring until mixture begins to leave the sides of the bowl.

2) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Knead for about 10 minutes or until it is soft, smooth and elastic, adding enough of the remaining flour to keep the dough from sticking.

3) Place the dough in a large greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel  Let the dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled.

5) Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface knead to release the air bubbles. Cut the dough in half and shape each into a ball. Cover and let rest while preparing your toppings.

Toppings:

3/4 pound whole milk fresh mozzarella or 3 cups pre-shredded (if you’re not gonna get the fresh stuff – which is just about everywhere these days, unlike in 1990…just get the pre-shredded stuff. If you have fresh, cut it up and place on paper towels to drain. If you use your salad spinner as a colander, you can even give it a spin or two to shake off the excess moisture)

Any or all of the following:

2 Tbls olive oil

4 cloves (or more) of garlic, sliced or diced

2 sausages, whichever you like

2 bell peppers, any color or combination of colors, cut into strips

2 slice onions ( I’ve used red, yellow, white, Vidalia – no bad choices here) slice thin (or chopped if you’d prefer)

1 large Portabello mushroom or other ‘shrooms to equal 1 1/2 cups cut up

a little more olive oil

basil, oregano

salt and black pepper

2 cups red gravy

1/2 cup grated (freshly – use the fine side of the grater!) Parmigiano-Reggiano

  1. Is the mozzarella draining? Start draining.
  2.  Put the olive oil in a pan (big enough to hold your topping) Put in the slice sausage, then onion, then peppers, then mushrooms, then garlic…stir it all around. You want to shake all the raw out, and start the carmelization.
  3. Drain on a paper towel
  4. Preheat oven to 450°.
  5. You can make 2 -12 inch pizzas, or one big pan pizza (10 x 15) or make one pizza and freeze the other half of the dough for later.
  6. Oil you pan, roll, stretch or pat your dough into place
  7. spread dough with sauce (1 cup for each 12 inch pizza – adjust accordingly)
  8. Add toppings
  9. Put mozzarella on top and sprinkle lightly with Parmigiano-Reggiano
  10. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is beginning to brown.
  11. Cut into pieces and mangia tutti!

 

 

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