About this title:
To:The American home cook
Subject (URGENT):The family table
We need to lure our families, friends, and neighbors back to the table, to sit down and eat together. It is important that we be in charge again of our cooking, working with fresh, unadulterated ingredients. Enclosed you will find many simple-to-make, good-tasting, inexpensive dishes from the past that taste better than ever today. I urge you to try them.
· Good soups—satisfying one-dish meals that can be made ahead
· Dishes that can be made with what’s on hand—First-Prize Onion Casserole, Shepherd’s Pie, Salmon or Tuna Loaf
· Vegetables baked and ready for the table
· Real salads, substantial enough for lunch or supper, with snappy dressings
· Breads and cookies, puddings and cakes that you loved as a child
PS: There is nothing like the satisfaction of sharing with others something you have cooked yourself
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Marion Cunningham, editor of the revised The Fanny Farmer Cookbook
, is also the author of The Supper Book
and The Breakfast Book
, two gems of American home-style cooking. This simple but delicious fare is once again onstage in Lost Recipes
, a collection of almost 150 easy formulas for largely forgotten American classics. These recipes, which include the likes of Chicken and Dumpling Soup, Fresh Tomato Gratin Stew, and Salmon or Tuna Loaf might, in other hands, seem dated; here, they're just what the doctor ordered. Why? Cunningham has devised exemplary versions, which eschew bastardizations like convenience ingredients that have compromised--or replaced--the originals over time. (Her creamed corn, for example, requires fresh corn and real cream.)
Among the soup-to-nuts chapters, "Yesterday’s Side Dishes--Today's Vegetarian Centerpiece," scores with main-dishes like First-Prize Onion Casserole and Welsh Rarebit. "Real Salads and Dandy Dressings" offers equally revivable fare like Brown Derby Cobb Salad and Green Goddess Dressing, while chapters on breads and sweets present the "nostalgic" likes of Monkey Bread, Lazy Daisy Cake, and Dainty Pralines. (Readers should know that other versions of some recipes have appeared in previous Cunningham works.) Illustrated, and with pithy excerpts on food and dining from writers ranging from Brillat-Savarin to Eric Schlosser, the book is another Cunningham treasure. --Arthur Boehm
In the old days, every kitchen had a soup pot simmering on the back of the stove. That's no longer practical, but we do have refrigerators and freezers to store a bit of cooked rice or pasta, meat scraps, and vegetable trimmings, all of which add flavor and texture to any soup.
So use recipes such as my Emergency Soup, Simple Summer and Simple Winter Vegetable Soups, Turkey Soup, and Mustard Green Soup as guidelines, improvising with what you have on hand. Many of the heartier soups here, such as Cioppino, Seafood Stew, Mulligatawny, and Ham and Bean Soup, can be your main dish for supper or lunch.
Makes 8 cups
As a home cook, there are certain lessons that one learns over the years. The one lesson that I learned late was the importance of having a few recipes that could be made quickly if unexpected guests dropped in, or even a neighbor who was lonesome and just needed to share a simple supper to feel better. These recipes are "emergency recipes," and I keep a file of them, ready at all times for the spontaneous meal. They call for ingredients that you need to always have on hand. Emergency Soup is a fine example of what I mean. I serve it with a green salad and warm crackers.
4 cups chicken broth
1 rib celery
1 medium onion
1 cup small shell pasta
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Put the broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Grate the carrot, celery, and onion into the broth. Add the pasta and simmer for 5 minutes. Bite into a pasta shell; when it is tender, the soup is done. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. A lot depends on how highly seasoned your broth is; some canned chicken broths tend to be quite salty.
Serve in bowls and sprinkle with some grated Parmesan cheese.
note: In summer you might replace the carrot, celery, and onion with 2 unpeeled zucchini grated directly into the broth.
About Chicken Broth
A lot of recipes call for a certain amount of chicken broth in either soups or sauces. Today we get excellent canned chicken broths, so there's no need to make your own. But if you do want to and have extra chicken parts such as backbones, necks (if you can get them), and gizzards (not livers), it is very simple to make a flavorful broth. I find that if you get in the habit of cutting up the whole chicken yourself to use the breast, legs, thighs, and wings in a recipe, pretty soon you will collect these leftover parts in your freezer and have enough to make broth.
to make the broth: Just simmer about 2 cups of raw chicken pieces in 2 quarts of water, with a medium onion, a few cut-up carrots, and parsley stems or celery leaves if you have them; season with a little salt and pepper (not too much because the broth cooks down and the flavors intensify). Cook gently for about 11/2 hours, then strain off the broth. And there you have it-about 6 cups of chicken broth to store and use as you wish. And it didn't cost you a cent.
A lot of people use leftover cooked chicken bones to make broth, but I find that the final flavor of the soup lacks character and depth. Because of this, I would recommend using the cooked carcass and adding at least some raw chicken parts to liven up the soup. You can even buy a small package of wings for that purpose.
Makes 6 cups
This Spanish soup is as lively and appealing as a mariachi. Lovely on a hot summer day.
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (see Note)
5 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 21/2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded, ribbed, and chopped (see Note)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 loaf French bread, trimmed of crust and crumbled (about 4 cups)
4 cups cold water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
A few drops of Tabasco (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Put the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, garlic, and crumbled bread into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the water, vinegar, salt to taste, and Tabasco, if using. Blend the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, being careful to leave a little texture and not blending the soup until completely smooth. Stir in the olive oil and tomato paste, and whisk until completely mixed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
note: To prepare cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and discard them. Cut the cucumber flesh into pieces.
To prepare the bell pepper, cut it in half from stem-top down and scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut the white ribs out and cut the halves into small pieces.
Makes 10 cups
This soup from Vichy, France, is usually served cold, but it also makes a hearty meal served hot with toasted buttered rye bread and sliced chilled tomatoes on the side. To make the best chilled Vichyssoise, you should plan ahead and refrigerate the soup, soup bowls, and spoons overnight.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 leeks (white part only), cleaned and thinly sliced (about 31/2 cups)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons salt
11/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
Minced fresh chives for garnish
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan or a Dutch oven. Add the leeks and onion, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Stir in the potatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Now scoop up the soup, one ladle at a time, and puree it in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pan, add the milk and a little white pepper, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute.
When ready to serve, taste the soup and correct the seasoning if necessary. Garnish with the minced chives.
note: To clean a leek, cut off the stringy root end, and then cut the leek in half lengthwise. Hold it upside down with the root end closest to you, and run under cold water to wash away the sand and dirt.
Cold Cucumber Soup
Makes 4 cups
Think of this soup as "the colder, the better," especially on a warm summer evening. I like it best not overblended, when there are still some rough pieces of cucumber for texture.
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Sour cream, thinned with a little milk, for garnish
Put the cucumbers, chicken broth, milk, cream, and lemon juice into a blender or food processor. Pulse the ingredients together just until roughly blended; you will want to leave some pieces of cucumber unless you opt for a smoother consistency. Add salt to taste and the chopped mint, stirring with a spoon to mix.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Pour into chilled bowls or mugs, and garnish with a swirl of thinned sour cream.
Makes 10 cups
This is a supper soup that will make you smile-especially if you serve it with a sliced-heirloom-tomato salad.
3 slices bacon, chopped
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups diced peeled potatoes (almost 1 pound)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 cups frozen corn (or fresh if in season)
11/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Cook the bacon in a large soup pot until crisp. Add the onions and butter, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Put the potatoes in a separate pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork; drain and set aside. Stir the flour into the onion-and-bacon mixture. As soon as the flour is blended smoothly into the mixture, slowly add the milk and stir until well blended and slightly thickened and smooth. Add the corn, potatoes, and seasonings to the soup, and cook for another 5 minutes.
When serving, grate a little nutmeg over each individual portion.
This dish will make you happy if you live in the San Francisco area. It is also good no matter where you live. It is a native San Francisco recipe that is a real winner. Make it once and it will be in your "favorite recipe" file forever. Serve it with bread that has a coarse crust.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped (see Note)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped (see Note)
3 cloves garlic, mashed
4 cups tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon crumbled dried basil
11/2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme
3 pounds clams in shell, scrubbed (see Note)
2 pounds white fish fillets
2 crabs, cooked, cracked, and crabmeat removed (optional)
1/4 cup dry white wine
Pinch of cayenne
Salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large kettle, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and sauté until the onions are soft. Add the tomato sauce, water, parsley, basil, and thyme. Partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, add a little more water. Add the clams and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the fish and crabmeat, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, the cayenne, and salt to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes more.
To serve, ladle some of each variety of seafood into each bowl with a generous helping of broth.
note: To prepare the onions, cut them in half through the root ends and remove the papery outside skin. Cut the onions into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise and 1/4-inch slices crosswise.
To prepare the carrots, trim off the tops and peel off the skin. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.
For the seafood, look for clams that are tightly ...
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