Teeny Tiny Food for the Fourth

June 29, 2017

As promised, from Gourmet, July 1982, suggestions for miniature food for the fourth.

Frankly, making any one of these doll-sized dishes sounds like torture to me.


Sliders, from Gourmet, Circa 1982

June 28, 2017

Gourmet was very much into miniature food in the early eighties.  The magazine’s suggestion for a festive way to celebrate the fourth of July included all manner of tiny dishes.  More tomorrow, but for now, here is their recipe for miniature burgers and buns (along with the perfect drink).


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Lumpia and Ukoy Anyone?

June 27, 2017

Isn’t it amazing to think that a magazine could have a cover this quiet?  But that was back in 1974, when Gourmet cost a cool 75 cents on the newsstand.

It was also a time when the food of the Philippines seemed wildly exotic.  Today it’s all the rage – so if you’re in the mood for lumpia and empanadas, here are a few recipes.

fritters in batches spooning the hot oil over the top.  Drain on paper towels.

Serve with a garlic and vinegar dipping sauce made by mashing a clove of grarli to a paste with 1 1/2 teaspoons of slat and blending in a quarter cup of white vinegar.


For those who have requested it, here is the entire article.

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The Americanization of Spaghetti

June 25, 2017

Looking through my bookshelves I came upon this odd volume, written by Giuseppe Prezzolini in 1955.  I had no idea that there was enough interest in pasta in the fifties to warrant an entire book.

Mr. Prezzolini, it turns out, was a professor at Columbia, and the head of their Casa Italiana.  He was also a literary critic, magazine editor, and author of several books.  And in good news for spaghetti eaters everywhere, the man lived to be 100.

The book contains a slew of historical recipes, like this one.

As well as dozens of contemporary recipes from many sources.  This was my favorite:


Things I Love: Purslane

June 24, 2017

I will never forget the farmer in Venice who laughed uproariously when I asked her to give me the purslane she was weeding from her fields.  “This is not for humans,” she said contemptuously, handing over great heaps of the thick slightly lemon-flavored weed. Yes, it’s a weed, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson noted, weeds are just plants whose virtues we have yet to discover.

I’m a longtime fan of this particular weed. Googling around I found this article I wrote almost twenty years ago extolling its many virtues. Thoreau was another fan. “I have made a satisfactory dinner off a dish of purslane which I gathered and boiled. Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not from want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries.”

It puzzles me that purslane, with its satisfying crunch and easygoing flavor, isn’t better known. You can eat it raw, in soups or simply boiled. Here’s a Mexican favorite.

Purslane tacos.

Shopping list: purslane, tomatillos, a green chile, corn tacos, queso fresco.

Staples: onion, garlic.

Begin by making a quick green salsa.  Peel the papery husk off 4 tomatillos, wash them and toss them into a blender with 1 small green chile, half a small onion and a clove of garlic.  Whirl them into a thin liquid.

Take a big heap of purslane, wash it well, chop it well, and boil it for about 10 minutes. Drain.

Slick a skillet with oil and add the salsa. Bring it to a boil, turn the heat down and add the purslane. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Diana Kennedy adds cumin as well, but I prefer the tacos without.) Cook it down until it’s thickened into a lovely sludge.

Sprinkle some queso fresco across the top and served wrapped into warm tortillas.