Good Morning Blues

September 10, 2016


You know how some days you just can’t cook?  Yesterday was like that.

A friend dropped by for dinner, and I thought I’d make a quick pasta sauce with the many tomatoes I had on hand. That worked out well.  But when I went to the cupboard I discovered we had no long pasta. We always have something, but….  Ended up eating the sauce on macaroni, which was fine, but not nearly as satisfying as twirling spaghetti.

We had plenty of greens, so a big salad was easy. But what about dessert? I opened the freezer, found some blueberries, and decided to make a quick blueberry cake to use up the last of the buttermilk (another staple I almost always have on hand). This is a lovely little cake that works well at the end of dinner- and makes an equally delicious breakfast. I happily buttered the bundt tin, tossed the berries in flour, and began constructing the cake.

As I poured the batter into the tin I noticed it seemed rather thick. But I paid that no mind and put the cake into the oven. Five minutes later, as I was cleaning up, I suddenly understood what was wrong with the batter: the three eggs were still sitting, uncracked, on the counter. What to do?

I pulled the cake from the oven, scraped the warm batter into a bowl and added the eggs, stirring them in one by one.  It was a desperation move….but surely worth a try. Then, not even bothering to re-butter the pan, I poured the batter back in and stuck the cake back in the oven. And waited to see what would emerge.

To my utter amazement, the cake turned out beautifully.  Still, if you’re going to make this recipe, I’d recommend doing it in the conventional manner.


Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt

12 tablespoons softened butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups buttermilk

grated rind of one lemon

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups frozen blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Toss the blueberries with a tablespoon or two of the flour.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Add the eggs, one by one; do not forget this step. Add the grated lemon peel and vanilla.

Mix the remaining dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix in the blueberries.

Bake for about an hour, until a tester comes out clean.  Set on a rack for 15 minutes, then turn out of the pan and cool completely.






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Merci Julia

September 9, 2016


I pulled this plate out of the cupboard today, and it made me think about the late Michel Richard, and how much I miss him. Then I tried to recall the event.  This is what I remembered: Merci Julia was an event in Los Angeles, organized by Michel Richard, honoring Julia Child on her 80th birthday.  I remember that the food was spectacular, that the money was raised for the American Institute of Wine and Food, and that just about every French chef in America showed up.

If you want to read about it, you can do that here, and here.  And if you want to read the controversy about the event, you can read the inimitable Kathy Jenkins, on why there weren’t more women involved, here.   Interesting, isn’t it, that twenty years before the Gods of Food controversy, women chefs were already asking “What about us?”

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Looking Back: Past Repasts

September 8, 2016

With the election in the air, I thought I’d post this menu, which Alice Waters made in honor of the first Obama inauguration. (Apologies to Alice for cutting off her name at the top.)




And while we’re on old menus, here’s a Tom Coliccho meal from around the same time.



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Consider the Oyster Stew

September 7, 2016

As with all iconic dishes, there’s been a lot of nonsense written about The Grand Central Oyster Bar’s fabulous stew.  Googling around I came up with a dozen different recipes.  One actually calls for milk instead of cream!

This recipe, from the September 1977 issue of Gourmet (cover below), is the real deal.


If you’re not prepared to consume a half cup of cream, this is not the dish for you.  But those of us rejoicing in the return of the r months, well, we are the walrus.



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