Amy Vanderbilt’s Broiled Grapefruit

Here is an elegant grace note as a first course or a light dessert.  This recipe is so typical of its era.  Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook ,  published in 1961, finds Ms Vanderbilt tackling the new issue of the household without servants.  The tedious work can be done ahead of time, freeing the hostess to tend to her many other duties.  Of interest: the illustrations in this book are done by a young Andy Warhol. Ingredients: grapefruit brown sugar butter sherry or ...

Margaret’s Black Walnut Celery Gems

My husband's mother made these tasty nuggets in the autumn of the year. Within the family their appearance elicits the ahhs and sighs of a tradition revered. To those of us who sniff out woodsy scents and flavors like hogs to truffles these are divine. Consider making some one-inch gems for the newly initiated. Botanist John Tradescant (1608-1662) of Kent gathered native Virginia black walnuts (Juglans nigra) to give to Charles I. Years later Margaret Moser Smith (1919-2007), a Virginia ...

Fare thee well to the ’57 GE, for now

As if I couldn't notice the '57 GE stove leaving with the '57 International in the background. That stove baked the best pizzas until the element caught on fire and ended those days once and for all, for now. If you refurbish old ranges please contact me. The stove kind or the land kind.

Singapore Sling

Think of a hot summer evening, distant steel drums, tiki torches, a glass in hand, drippy with condensation.  What’s under that little paper parasol?  A Singapore Sling?  You’ve heard it a thousand times, but the name brings to mind a sweet, sissy concoction, not at all what you were looking for.  Think again. Ingredients: Bombay Gin Kirshwasser Lime Juice Grenadine syrup Powdered Sugar Club Soda Ice Maraschino Cherries Lime Shake with ice 1 ½ ounces of ...

High Test Chicken Stock

A deeply flavorful stock with rich color is created as the meat is sautéed before simmering.  Start with either a whole chicken or legs for the greatest economy. 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped 3 ½ - 4 pounds of chicken chopped into small pieces, approximately 3-inches 3 -4 quarts of water 3 Bay Leaves 2 teaspoons of salt 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns Cut the chicken into pieces.  A cleaver is the most efficient way to do this as ...

French 75

WWI doughboys bivouacked in Champagne, France created this cocktail.  The French 75 is American immodesty applied with success to a few ingredients on-hand.  Do not wait for Bastille Day, July 14th , to try this sapid brew. Ingredients: Champagne Cognac Sugar cubes Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute and add about 1½ ounces of cognac.  Fill the glass with champagne and garnish it with a lemon twist. In the movie Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and ...

Red Chile Sauce

This is a short version of making red chile sauce. For me it is an autumnal ritual to can a dozen or more quarts by a much more demanding method. Here is a basic recipe that makes a satisfying enchilada. Get the best, freshest chile powder you can find. Ingredients 2 Tablespoons corn or canola oil ½ small onion finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic, minced 1 teaspoon whole toasted cumin seeds 2 Tablespoons of flour ½ cup of quality red chile powder 21/2 cups of water 1 ...

Buttercrunch Salad

“. . . no gardener knows the full joy of his craft who does not care for his plants from seedhood to maturity.”  -Louisa Beebe Wilder From your garden select the small buttercrunch lettuces, one per person, those that are just beginning to head.  Lift them from the soil, root and all.  Be careful to hold the greens upright to prevent the soil from dropping into the leaves.  Cut the root from the head leaving the base of the tiny head intact.  Now carefully wash the lettuce in cool ...

Egg Salad from the Henhouse

(inspired by Foxie Morgan) True confession: until spring of 2013 I had never been able to choke down one nibble of egg salad, and then Foxie offered me some.  It was a rainy day while we, the wedding planning women, paused for some needed sustenance.  Foxie opened her kitchen and offered pimento cheese (yes, good) and egg salad (oh, dear).  Great is my trust in Foxie, so great I waved my hand for a half of each, lest I cause mathematical discord in dividing sandwiches.  Well, I ate it.  ...

Horsin’ Around

Come on, let’s play! Let’s play with food. This idea came about as Saint Patrick’s Day was approaching and March was hanging on to winter with spiteful tenacity. Stomping out to the garden, pea seeds in hand armored in Wellies, I came to the speedy reality that boot-sucking mud wasn’t the medium for peas or me. Alright then, an armload of firewood and I’ll rethink this ambition to create. There’s the better part of a head of cabbage in the fridge. The great winter keeper ...