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On The Side

Boston Baked Beans & Brown Bread

December 30, 2016

Despite the unfortunate  Phaseolus vulgaris moniker—the American Common Bean category includes bunches of beloved, native-to-the-Americas beans: navy, red kidney, pinto, great northern, marrow, & yellow eye, plus garden variety edible-pod beans (string, stringless and snap.) It’s not clear which of these the New England colonists first stewed in a pot, but we do know baked navy beans started with Native Americans. The Narragansett, Penobscot, and Iroiquois wrapped navy beans in deerskins—or put them in earthenware pots, along with venison, bear fat and maple syrup and then baked the lot in hot-stone-lined pits. Puritans eschewed the deerskins, but took to bean-pot cookery because the long, slow cook times meant housewives could prepare the beans a day ahead, and in so doing, stick to Puritanical no-cooking-on-Sabbath rules.

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Must Have Noodles

Veal Stroganoff

November 3, 2016

When Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov wasn’t busy commanding the Russian infantry in Napoleonic Wars, he feasted. Historians suggest that an early version of the multi-splendored stroganoff was served in Stroganov’s family kitchens for a good number of years before it was published in a Russian cookbook in 1871. Hence, the name. Continue Reading…

Must Have Noodles

Short Rib Stroganoff

November 2, 2016

There was a time when company coming meant Rob Hurrie’s mom whipped up the 2-cans-of-condensed-soup-ground-beef-bacon-&sour-cream stroganoff.  Chef Rob Hurrie’s deeply-flavorful short-rib rendition builds on his memories of just that dish.  “My affinity for rich foods started early,” Hurrie laughs. His update is a slow-braise with red wine & sherry, rosemary & thyme, mushrooms & bacon, crème fraiche & truffle oil. For best results, make the short ribs the day (or night) before you plan to serve the dish. And since you like stroganoff? Here’s another, classic version, to try

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Cake Walk

Melting Apple Cake

October 18, 2016

Baking recipes usually frown on softer apples, specifying instead that you use granny smith. That means you end up making loads of homemade applesauce out of the Jonathan and  McIntosh hanging around that didn’t get eaten…and too much applesauce is….too much applesauce.  But my Melting Apple Cake makes mushier apples a thing of beauty: The soft apples partially “melt’ into the cake as it bakes. 

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Cake Walk

Very Airy No-Bake Cheesecake

September 8, 2016

Cheesecakes come in dozens of flavors and textures. Contrasting with the dense, baked cheesecakes many know, this vintage 1959 no-bake version is so light and airy, it about levitates above the plate. If you have cheesecake lovers in your crowd, definitely try this one. You can make it two days in advance–keep it well-covered in a domed cake-keeper in the fridge until service.

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Baked Treats

The Original Chocolate Fudge Brownie (Palmer House)

September 8, 2016

The Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a chocolate-lovers dream: Boston-based chocolatier Walter M. Lowney brought the first American chocolate bars. America’s oldest chocolate maker, Walter Baker & Company, handed out samples and showed visitors how chocolate was made. And the Palmer House introduced the first chocolate brownie, because Bertha Palmer wanted a portable dessert that ladies could have in boxed lunches at the fair.

Unlike other brownie recipes which started appearing in 1904 and specified that butter and sugar were first creamed before being combined with a small amount of melted chocolate, the Palmer House brownie is made with more than a pound of melted chocolate and a pound of melted butter. The finished brownie is also glazed with apricot jelly.  A combination of chocolate fudge and brownie, crispy-chewy on the edges, ultra dense and chocolatey, we think it’s best served frozen, or very cold…otherwise, gooey things happen. (Not sure how this worked in a boxed lunch…) Chef Stephen Henry says for cleanest slices, freeze the brownies for three hours after glazing. Then cut, and serve while very firm and cold.

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Soda Fountain

Summer Girl Soda

August 26, 2016

Still hot? Me too! How about this vintage soda fountain creation? Raspberry, orange and vanilla in frothy foam…with all those pastels, it’s no wonder the Pacific Northwest, Meier & Frank department-store chain called this the Summer Girl Soda. According to fourth-generation Frank family-member Gerry Frank, Continue Reading…

Southern Stylings

New Orleans Okra Giardiniera

July 29, 2016

When Liz Williams, director of New Orleans’ Southern Food & Beverage Museum was little, her mama couldn’t stand okra. “So, I didn’t eat it either,” says Liz. But Liz’ Louisiana-born-and bred daddy loved the stuff.  He bought a jar of pickled okra on a picnic outing and won  Liz over with the crunchy spears. “When I figured out what it was, I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my mom that she was wrong about okra,” Liz laughs. “Eventually, she grew to like it.” For anybody else out there who is skittish about okra, pickling it is the way to go.  This vibrant, crunchy and lightly spicy giardiniera–a Williams family favorite–is a showcase for pickled okra. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Green Goddess Dip

July 16, 2016

Anchovies, chives, parsley, wine vinegar, sour cream…the original Green Goddess dressing was created by Chef Phillip Roemer of San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in 1923 for a banquet in honor of actor George Arliss who was starring in William Archer’s play, “The Green Goddess.” Add some minced garlic and zowie-wowie! It becomes a potent dip like this one we found in a 1940s “Let’s Eat Red Dot Potato Chips” company flyer. Continue Reading…

Salad Days

Brown Derby Cobb Salad

July 12, 2016

From Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant and named for its owner, Robert Howard Cobb, the Cobb Salad is the original chopped salad. A mix of finely chopped watercress, curly endive, Romaine and iceberg lettuces topped with crisp bacon, hard boiled egg, tomato, chive, chicken breast, Roquefort cheese and avocado, the original was served with a house-made “French” dressing that was more akin to red wine vinaigrette than the sweet orange stuff  labeled “French” on a salad bar.  Continue Reading…