Monday, February 9, 2009

Oldies but goodies!
My last blog was about time capsules and I included a recipe from 1969. I started thinking about all the food fads and recipes that have come and gone.
When I was a chef at Crown Center in the early 90s, everything had lemongrass as an ingredient. Lemongrass is still around, used a great deal in Thai dishes, but in 1990, I was served a piece of meatloaf with a ton of lemongrass in it, in an Italian restaurant!
It was not one of my favorites.

I guess the biggest chef and food fad to affect me and my cooking in the 1970s was
Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet
I loved his recipe for
Swiss Fondue

1 clove garlic, halved
½ pint white wine
1 tsp lemon juice
8oz gruyère cheese grated
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
cubed bread pieces, for dipping

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the halves of garlic. Add the wine and lemon juice to the pot and heat until boiling. Lower the heat and gradually stir in the cheeses until melted, stirring all the time. If using kirsch, blend with the cornstarch, otherwise use water. Add to the cheese mixture and cook gently until the mixture is smooth - don't let it boil or it will burn. Using the fondue forks, dip the bread cubes into the cheese and serve.
It was a fun food, great for sharing with friends as well as family.

Then there was the year of Buzzard's Breath Chili. This chili took first prize at the
Chili Appreciation Society International Cookoff in Terlingua, Texas in 1977.
We had a tradition of having our very good friends over for Super Bowl Sunday, so in 1978 I decided to make Buzzard's Breath Chili. Let me tell you, Fred loved it, ate enough to kill a horse. The next day he was in the courtroom ,as he was every Monday, as the Federal Judge’s assistant. Shortly after court started, Fred had to be excused and spent the better part of the day in the men’s room! So, watch the size of servings!

3 tablespoons lard, butter or bacon drippings
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
8 pounds beef chuck or round, coarse chili grind
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon ground hot red chile
5 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon ground mild red chile
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
3 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
3 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
parsley (optional)
1 cup masa harina (corn flour)
Melt the lard, butter or drippings in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Combine the beef with the garlic, ground chile, cumin and oregano. Add this meat-and-spice mixture to the onions in the pot. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes, until meat is evenly browned. Add the tomato sauce, water, salt and optional parsley. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Stir in the masa harina to achieve the desired consistency. Cook 10 minutes longer, stirring. Taste and adjust seasonings. 16 servings
In the early 1980s, I bought a video tape on how-to prepare a perfect Thanksgiving Dinner. I'd never heard of the person who produced and starred in it. It was amazing....starting with planting flowers in the spring, just the right colors to make the perfect centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table. Then the vegetable garden was planted with all of the pumpkins, different varieties for different recipes, of course, as well as turnips, parsnips, tomatoes, green beans, etc, all the vegetables you might find in front of you that day.
The next section was weaving a table runner to match the colors of the flowers growing in the garden! But that was nothing....tag sales and antique shops to find the perfect platters, 16 little covered dishes shaped like turkeys (for the pumpkin soup, of course!) The barn was then decorated, corn stalks, gourds and pumpkins, autumn leaves were everywhere, as were the hand dipped candles! Are you getting the picture here? This video was made by one of America's Wonder Women/Over Achievers! But there is more.....
She went to the cranberry bog to buy her cranberries, the organic turkey farm to pick out the perfect bird.
Finally, the day arrives, 3 kinds of stuffing/dressing, 2 turkeys, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, 3 kinds of cranberries, beautiful salads , homemade breads, and oh my God....the desserts!
That's our Martha Stewart!

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