Category Archives: TV shows

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

Bon Boeuf Bourguignon!

February 11, 1963,

the day the very FIRST episode of

The French Chef

airs.

The first recipe: Boeuf Bourguignon .

Which by most accounts is a lost episode,the tapes having been taped over…who knew?

Boeuf Bourguignon was reprieved in 1969.Both YouTube and Amazon streaming have likely candidates…….they claim 1963…….

 

 

Boeuf Bourguignon

This link will take you to Amazon streaming where you can watch the episode for $1.99.

There was later a companion cookbook

french-chef-cb

and there are also DVD’s

french-chef-tv-dvd

julia-child-rose

Julia Child Rose

Season One of The French Chef:

Season 1 Episode Subject
S01 (1963) E01 Boeuf Bourguignon (February 11, 1963)
S01 E02 French Onion Soup
S01 E03 Casserole Roast Chicken
S01 E04 The French Omelette
S01 E05 Scallops
S01 E06 Quiche Lorraine
S01 E07 Fruit Tarts
S01 E08 Chicken Breasts and Rice
S01 E09 Vegetables à la Française
S01 E10 Veal Scallops
S01 E11 French Salads- Mayonnaise
S01 E12 Chicken Livers à la Française
S01 E13 Roast Duck à l’Orange
S01 E14 Chocolate Mousse and Caramel Custard
S01 E15 Pâtés
S01 E16 Aspics
S01 E17 Bouillabaise
S01 E18 Lobster à l’Américaine
S01 E19 French Crêpes
S01 E20 French Crêpes II – Suzette
S01 E21 Steaks and Hamburgers
S01 E22 The Potato Show
S01 E23 Soufflé on a Platter
S01 E24 Dinner in a Pot
S01 E25 Pâte à Choux

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Filed under Influencers, The 1960"s, TV shows

Wallyburgers

charcoal-grill-648 

It started, as myths often do, in the dim, misty long ago times. Summer was ending, the days still hot but the nights were cooling, and school was beckoning. There was a fire, a charcoal grill fire. This was long after we had invented BBQ Cheetos, and we stood around the fire and talked of how good, how very good, how very much better than ordinary were burgers and dogs on a charcoal grill, and how we would miss that goodness through the winter, and why couldn’t there be charcoal grilling all year round, why must fire end with summer??????

Why couldn’t we make a place where we could have a charcoal fire all year long, where the burgers and dogs always taste like fire and we would call that place:

WALLYBURGER

And it was good.

And the story did not leave us with summer, but grew and changed and morphed over time.

When the youngest brother was still very young, we began to see him as the emblem of the Wallyburger,

the Wallyburger chef.

The story grew strong.

He would wear all white, like a superhero. A white cap and a white apron; white T shirt and white carpenter pants…..and as the story grew, the apron grew greasy. What was once shiny white became a little…less so.

Like Mel on Alice. Only more so.

vic-tayback

A little more grease, a little more scruff…

And Wallyburger Chef would have a 3 day growth of beard, even though he was really 3 years old, and the whole hipster scruffy face thing was decades in the future.

And

He would have a cigarette hanging out one side of his mouth, with a long ash that was just about to fall……

But because the burgers and dogs were

SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD

The people would come  anyway, and pay any price. That good.

 

6aff1ba1be155d267253a93e326fc79a

Time marching on

and years later, in front of the TV in the Ancestral Home, Dad gave the command.

 Invade.

That’s what Dad said as he was watched Phantom Gourmet.

phantom gourmet log

“The Walls should invade Wahlburgers

A little back story seems in order……

Dad – raised in Dorchester.

lower_mills_ma

The Neponset River as it runs through Lower Mills – this is where Nana is from

Wahlbergs – from Dorchester.

539w

Mark Wahlberg in Dorchester with reporter Lara Logan

Dad was a cop.

Donnie Wahlberg plays a cop in Blue Bloods

bluebloodswahlberg

Will Estes and Donnie Wahlberg in Blue Bloods

 

And so the plans for invasion began….the problem was that as Wahlburgers was being built ( we couldn’t invade until they were actually there) the various reports had the location sometimes in Hingham – the actual location – and sometimes in Boston, easier to get to, but out of town speak for a place in Massachusetts that isn’t Cape Cod or the Berkshires…..

hinghamburger

But Dad got sick right around the time that Wahlburgers opened in 2011, so he never got there.

This Spring, my Number One Son and his girlfriend and I all went to Hingham.

wahlb-ex

Jake knew the way because in a past job, he delivered the buns.Because Dorchester is all about the connections, even in generations removed.

wahlburgers-menu

The menu

I got the Thanksgiving Burger – natch.

 

wahlburgers20mar16

For desert I got the Apple Empanada. We forgot to take picture until dessert time.Too busy eating.

menu_corporate-3

SOOOO 

it wasn’t quite an invasion.

It was a good meal with a leisurely drive to and fro.

And we discussed if Dad would have gotten an O.F.D. (Originally From Dorchester)  or a Triple Decker…(more properly called a ‘Tree Decka’ from what I remember in Dorchester-ese). And since my son didn’t know the

Wallyburger

story….well. I guess that’s what this is for. Our family. Our story. Their burgers.

While the family is gathered round to remember and connect (and eat – eating is wonderful for the memory!)  we will not doubt be remembering  the Wallyburger chef. And Dad. XoX

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Filed under Autumn, Bread, Eating, Thanksgiving, TV shows

Happy Birthday Roses!

for Rose Marie

also known as Sally Rogers

Rose-Marie-8

… my favorite on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

I loved that she was funny and sharp and quick and witty, and proudly, and without explanation wore her  little hair bow like angel kisses on her temple.

Sally Rogers always seemed to have a real life going on, somewhere out of camera range, not a just a TV set life.

emmys - 3

Rose Marie has three Emmys for the Dick Van Dyke Show

Even when the Dick Van Dyke Show ended, Rose Marie kept popping up – guest spot here, another there, Hollywood Squares, mother of the Monkees…

But I knew nothing about her.

I always wondered why she didn’t have a last name…..Hey, Marie is my middle name….

There was the whole child star thing…a little before my time

Her career began in 1929

rosemariebring bacon3

Radio Digest 1930

rose marie babyvit-94-baby-rose-marie-mike

But she wasn’t in the gossip pages or even in People magazine all that very much.

rosemariefinal book cover without copyright

She wrote a book

At least that I noticed.

But it’s her birthday  today and…. she’s 93 and still kicking.

Miss Rose Marie official sites

She is also famous for her spaghetti sauce.

Rosemarie sauce to doris day july2016

Rose Marie recently whipped up a batch for her friend Doris Day from her Facebook page

 

August is just a saucy kind of month this year

Directly from her website:

Rose Marie’s Spaghetti Sauce

  • One pound of ground round

  • One-half pound of ground pork

  • One-half pound of ground veal

  • Three eggs

  • Salt and peper to taste

  • Three colves of garlic (chopped fine)

  • Three-fourths cup of Italian cheese (Romano)

  • Three-fourths cup flavored bread crumbs

  • Two tablespoons chopped parsley

  • About three-fourths cup water

  • Olive oil

  • Two cloves garlic

  • Three to four pieces medium size country spareribs

  • Eight to nine Italian sausage links

  • Three large cans Italian tomatoes (no puree)

  • Three cans Del Monte tomato sauce

  • Two large cans of water (use Italian tomato can for measure)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • One-fourth cup oregano

  • One-fourth cup chopped parsley

  • One-eight cup chopped sweet basil

  • Use ingredients in order listed.
    Mix ground meats, eggs, salt and pepper to taste, three cloves of finely chopped garlic, Romano, bread crumbs and parsley in one bowl. Dampen with water, using enough to keep mixture fairly moist. mix with hands, but do not handle too much. Put aside.
    Cover bottom of large sauce pan with olive oil. Chop the two cloves of gralic and brown. Remove garlic.
    Brown spareribs and sausage until fairly well cooked; remove from saucepan.
    Make meatballs with two full tablespoons of meat mixture for each. Brown in olive oil; remove from saucepan.
    Put Italian tomatoes in blender and process until pureed. Put tomatoes in the saucepan containing the olive oil. Add the tomato sauce, the two cans of water, salt and pepper, oregano, parsley and sweet basil. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low. Put in the meatballs, sausage and spareribs which have been cooked. Let cook for three to four hours over low heat, stirring frequently. Keep tasting for salt and pepper need. If sauce gets too thick use water to thin it out.

Roses_-_Vincent_van_Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh – Roses  -1890 – National Gallery, Washington D.C.

 

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Filed under Birthday, Recipe, The 1960"s, TV shows

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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I’m strong to the FINNISH Cause I eats my Spinnage

I’m Sarah the  Pilgrim Woman! Ta-da!

Hey, if it rhymes for Popeye it can rhyme for me! (Popeye rhymes ‘finnach’ with ‘spinach’ – same deal, different dialect) popeye w spinach

And by the Finnish….I mean actual people from Finland.

These guys…

American Food Battle

Henri Alen and Nicolas Thielon from American Food Battle

Nicolas loved his pilgrim clothes….he thought he looked like a Musketeer, as in Three. And, The Three Musketeers did take place in 1627. In France and not New England, but still,

Nicolas could jump right in with the 1974 Three Musketeers crowd

Nicolas could jump right in with the 1974 Three Musketeers crowd, right in between Michael York and Richard Chamberlain

And, spinnage or spinach, was one of the dishes I prepared. It looked like this:

Spinach with eggs; German School, 17th century. Notice also r0asted quails

Spinach with eggs; German School, 17th century. Notice also r0asted quails

Divers Sallets boyled.
Parboile Spinage, and chop it fine, with the edges of two hard Trenchers upon a boord, or the backs of two Choppin-knives; then set upon a Chafingdish of Coales with Butter and vinegar. Season it with Sugar and a few parboyld Currans. Then cut hard Egges into quarters to garnish it withal, and serve it upon Sippets. So you may serve Burrage, Buglosse, Endiffe, Suckory, Coleflowers, Sorrell, Marigold-leaves,Wintercresses, Leekes boyled Onions, Sporragus, Rocket, Alexanders. Perboyle them and season them all alike: whether it be with Oyle and Vinenegar, or Butter and Vinegar, Sinamon, Ginger, Sugar, and Butter: Egges are necessary, or at least very good for all boyld Sallets.”
-1615. John Murrell. A Newe Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood ed. p. 15.

Quick run through for this Wicked Wayback Wednesday

  • Spinage is, natch, spinach
  • These trenchers are a kind of a knife, as are the Choppin knives – when I first saw this I thought they were Chopin Knives , and I was pretty sure that Chopin wasn’t around in 1615…
    Frederick Chopin, 1835 at age 25

    Frederic Chopin, 1835 at age 25 – nope, he wasn’t around in the 17th century

    Anyhow, chop spinach. Because of what happens next, even better, start with frozen chopped spinach and save yourself the trouble. When it’s cooked, drain the spinach. In fact, put it on an old clean towel and wring it out over a sink. Seriously. Squeeze that moisture out. I added 1/2 pound fresh sorrel to the almost 2 pounds of spinach as it was almost cooked down.  Sorrel doesn’t need much cooking and it really perks up spinach. The New York Times has this story on sorrel in the spring. (click on the link ) I’m going to try keeping some indoors this winter…..more on that later…. and I’ve never had trouble keeping sorrel all summer and into the Fall. Keep using it!

    Sorrel - Rumex acetosa. Oseille in French; suolaheinä in Finnish; acetosa in Italian

    Sorrel – Rumex acetosa. Oseille in French; suolaheinä in Finnish; acetosa in Italian

  • Put some butter in a heavy pan. By some, I mean a lot…Add the drained, wrung  out chopped spinach/sorrel mass. Put more butter on top. Over low heat, let the green stew up in butter and what’s left of its own juices.
  • Add currants – not the fresh ones, the dried ones. Parboil them first (just put boiling water over them for a few minutes – dried fruit is not as dried as it used to be. And that’s a change in the last 30 years, not the last 400). Raisins are really too big – currants are much nicer in this.

    Raisins V. Currants . Sometimes, Size matters.

    Raisins V. Currants . Sometimes, size DOES matter.

  • Add a splash of vinegar. How much depends on how much and how lip puckering your sorrel is, if you’ve added any. Add a little more butter on top, put the lid on the pan and keep it on low heat, stirring it about every now and again so nothing sticks to the bottom and all the spinach soaks up all the butter. Add more butter if it seems dry. Don’t be afraid of butter!
  • Hard boil some eggs. You’ve got time. Keep the green a-stewing.
  • What? No spinach? No worries – use borage, bugloss, endive, chicory,cauliflower, sorrel, calendula leaves , cresses, leeks, onions, asparagus (let me note here that in my opinion it is a crime against Nature to puree asparagus) rocket or arugala, and alexanders . This recipe is a master recipe – a whole class of salad, for all seasons of the year, covered.
    Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) are a kind of wild celery, still found in the English countryside

    Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) are a kind of wild celery, still found in the English countryside

     

  • Taste and season with cinnamon, ginger, sugar, vinegar and butter – all to your taste. Make it taste good. Your opinion counts!
  • Pile up on a serving platter and garnish with those hard boiled eggs, quartered. Serve hot, or warm, or at room temperature. What the painting doesn’t show is sippets – slices  of bread toasted or fried in butter. You knew there’d be more butter, right?

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Filed under Autumn, Recipe, The 17th century, TV shows

Red Potato Salad

More of a pinkish mauveish reddish….pnkyredthat’s what happens when you mix red beet root ….

with just about anything.

In the Victory Garden Cookbook it’s called Russian Beet and Potato Salad. Not red potatoes, not this time.
I thought I could play up Spud/ Sputnik angle by calling it Spudnik, but then I thought it might go unnoticed…..or worse, you’d think that I could NOT spell, and  didn’t even know how to use Spellcheck.
Sheryl Julian who was with the Phoenix back in the day, now with the Globe – I have a whole lot of her Sunday Globe columns in my clippings file. Here’s a story with her Apron obsession, which doesn’t sound so obsessive to me…..

The New York Times also had an Apron photo essay/story recently….

But the season is good for beets and potatoes, and this salad is almost a stand alone meal, if you add a hard boiled egg – a cold one for a hot day and a hot one for a cool night. For now is that part of September that is still Summer, but encroaching Autumn.

Autumn Leaves - John Everett Millias 1856

Autumn Leaves – John Everett Millias 1856

Red Beet and Potato Salad

2 medium potatoes

¼ c chopped parsley

1/3 c chopped scallions (or chives or Vidalia’s)

1 cucumber

1 dill or half sour pickle (or 2, 2 pickles)

Salt and pepper

4-5 medium beets

Mayonnaise

Horseradish mustard

  1. Cook potatoes until just tender, peel as soon as they can be handled and cut them into ½ inch pieces.
  2. Peel cucumber, cut in half and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut into ½ pieces.
  3. Cut pickle in to ½ dice and add with spuds and cukes.
  4. Add parsley and scallions and mix gently.
  5. Cook beets, slip off their skins and cut to ½ pieces.
  6. Just before serving add beets and season to taste.
  7. Dress the whole thing with a mixture of mayo and horseradish mustard.
  8. The longer the beets sit with everything the more magenta the whole thing gets. Sprinkle with vinegar of it’s too flat. Salt and pepper everything, too.

Victory Garden Cookbook p. 25.

Victory Garden Cookbook - Marian Morash

Victory Garden Cookbook – Marian Morash

Fractals, chlorophyll and solstice - what's not to love about September?

Fractals, chlorophyll and solstice – what’s not to love about September?

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Early Influncer – JULIA

I can not talk about cooking without mentioning Julia Child.

We were allowed to watch Educational TV (that was what PBS was called back in the dim, dark ages) and THERE SHE WAS. Right in our Living Room.

Julia at work

Julia at work

Just like Miss Jean on Romper Room, she looked right into the camera and talked right at you. It was always Magic Mirror time with Julia.

I love the towel in the apron

I love the towel in the apron

But practically from the start -and by start I mean 1963 – The French Chef  was a presence in our house.

julia-turkey

She was The French Chef, and yet she wasn’t French.

She cooked thoughtfully and fearlessly and with interest and curiosity.

Time Magazine

Time Magazine November 25, 1966

In this Time interview she says she’s tired of grey food and waiting to shoot a cooking show in color. For those of us with black and white TV, there was a whole grey world  that was no less magical for lack of color.

Julia tasting

Julia tasting

It wasn’t until the late ’70’s that I even read one of her cookbooks. I would take notes and cook from the shows. Unlike so many others, I did NOT start with boeuf bourguignon . She did LOTS of other things.

Julia and monkfish - where's the beouf?

Julia and monkfish – where’s the boeuf? I did not do monkfish, although I since skinned eels

I distinctly remember French Onion Soup, but it was not the first thing I made

Julia making French Onion Soup –

the episode is on YouTube

Tamar Hapsel at Starving Off the Land has a different version that is also great…

starvingofftheland.

February marks the anniversary of the first airing of The French Chef, so there’ll be more then.

August marks the anniversary of Julia’s birth – I usually dedicate the month to reading her and cooking from her….So much Julia!

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Filed under Books, Influencers, TV shows