August 4, 2015
From Gourmet, 1975
As promised yesterday, here's another recipe from Gourmet's inaugural piece on the food processor in 1975. This one looks like quite a project. I wonder if it's worth it?
And for your further delectation, here are a couple of ads for artisanal food products from an earlier era. These are from the September 1951 issue. Eight lobsters plus a peck of steamers for $14.95!
August 3, 2015
April, 1975 is such a rich issue you could spend hours reading articles by Joseph Wechsberg, Naomi Barry and Lillian Langseth-Christensen. There are wonderful restaurant reviews by Jay Jacobs and Caroline Bates. And then you could go on to spend days cooking from the issue. Literally; some of these recipes are stunningly time-consuming.
This was the issue that introduced the Food Processor to the American public.
And here is the first recipe; it would make a perfect little summer supper.
And – sorry, I couldn't resist this – here's a rather shocking example of what is now being called "native advertising," smack dab in the middle of the article.
August 2, 2015
Finding head-on shrimp is increasingly difficult – and that's a shame.
Why do you want the heads on? Because they make this gorgeous red stock (the color comes from the fat in their heads):
This is what the stock looks like when it's cooking:
And here is how you make it:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
heads and shells of ¾ pound medium shrimp
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¾ cup wine
4 cups water
Remove the heads and shells from the shrimp and put them in separate bowls. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the shrimp heads, onion, carrot, and parsley, and cook over medium heat, covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp shells, ¾ cup of white wine, and 4 cups of water and simmer very gently, uncovered for about an hour and a half to make an intense stock (it will turn bright orange from the fat in the shrimp heads). Strain the liquid into a bowl and set aside. There will be about 1 ½ cups stock.
What do you do with it? It will improve almost anything you're making with fish. As part of the liquid in paella, it's superb. If you're making a seafood pasta, cook the pasta just al dente and finish it, briefly, in the stock. It's the start of a lovely bisque….
Where did I find these wonderful, sustainable (and expensive) sun shrimp? You can order them by mail – or if you're lucky enough to live in the Berkshires, you can order them from Rubiner's every week.
August 1, 2015
Some early issues of Gourmet were absolutely stellar. This one, April 1951, was one of those issues. Yesterday we looked at a few Chinese recipes. Today I'm adding a few recipes from an article on produce in the Veneto by a writer named Dorothy Giles. I haven't been able to find any information on Ms. Giles, who wrote this wonderful little aside on American produce of the time:
"Throughout the United States, even in good fruit-growing regions, fruits are like children brought up by an emotionally unstable mother. Either they early give up the struggle for security and grow neurotic themselves, or they develop a tough hide and a self protective lack of personality. "
In Italy, she said, things were quite different. She went on to extol peaches, pears, stracchino cheese, fresh ricotta – and this lovely-looking vegetable tart.
Made the torta last night, which reminded me that in the fifties Gourmet didn't have a test kitchen. This recipe needs a LOT of help. Basil, for one thing, which was unavailable in 1951. (Angelo Pelligrini didn't publish the first American recipe for pesto until the middle of the decade.) I'd forgotten that eggplant slices were such serious assassins of olive oil; they simply soaked it up. Next time I'll salt them before frying, which draws out the water and makes them less absorbent.
You also need really great tomatoes (which I lacked), a little garlic would be good, and unless you've got real mozzarella, use some other cheese like a fresh teleme in place of those supermarket slices that turn to rubber. And next time, I'll use half and half instead of milk, and sprinkle the top with grated parmesan.
I'll let you know how that turns out. Meanwhile, should you be interested in another vintage ad, here's your chance to help select Miss Rheingold, 1952.