Recipes and Stories

27 August 2012: American Ragù

August 27, 2012

Tags: American Ragu, American Cooking, Historical American Cooking, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Pasta, Spaghetti

American Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
If you are of a certain age, you remember it simmering for hours on the back of the stove, thick with tomatoes, redolent of garlic, oregano, and sometimes an adventurous splash of wine, filling the house with its rich aroma. It came to the table ladled thickly over a bed of fat, slightly overcooked spaghetti, dusted generously with grated cheese that came straight from a green can. (more…)

25 August 2012: Annabella Hill’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin Medallions

August 25, 2012

Tags: Annabella Hill, Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book, Historical Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, Classical Southern Cooking

Mrs. Hill's Grilled Pork Tenderloins with Sage Butter, 1867
25 August 2012: Annabella Hill’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin Medallions

While working on a story for a Labor Day backyard party, I kept coming across articles that were reaching (or should we say, stretching) for something new and different—and with very little real success. What they generally ended up with was the same old things with a different sauce slathered onto it.
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22 August 2012: Petti di Pollo al Forno

August 22, 2012

Tags: Ilda's Petti di Pollo al Forno, Genoa, Genovese Cooking

Ilda's "Petti di Pollo al Forno" has been a staple in my own kitchen for more than thirty years
It was 1978 and I was in Genoa, Italy, allegedly to study architecture. The truth, however, was that I spent far more time in the kitchen with Ilda, the Genovese woman who was our cook, than I did in studio—a fact that ought to have told me something, but that’s another story. (more…)

11 August 2012: Cooking by Numbers

August 11, 2012

Tags: Marcella Hazan, Pasta alla Vongole, Linguine with Clam Sauce, Classic Italian Cooking

Linguine with Marcella's White Clam Sauce
A popular, trend-conscious food magazine recently published a piece proudly touted on its cover as “Our best 3-ingredient recipes ever!”

Humph.

Forgive me for sounding irritable, but it can’t be helped: I sound irritated because I am. The title alone was enough to annoy, but the recipes themselves—well! (more…)

9 August 2012: The Art of the Omelet

August 9, 2012

Tags: French Omelets, Julia Child, Omelets, Omelet Technique, Omelet Pans

The Perfect French Omelet, where "butter and eggs go to be elevated to art."
On the eve of what would have been her 100th birthday, the indomitable, inimitable Julia Child has been on the minds of a lot American cooks, whether they knew her or not. There are many things that resonate with her memory, but for me, nothing speaks more plainly of everything that she taught and believed in than a classic French omelet. (more…)

5 August 2012: Maharaja’s Burra Peg

August 5, 2012

Tags: Champagne cocktails, Maharaja's Burra Peg, The Savannah Cookbook, Historic Cocktails, Chatham Artillery Punch

Mahraja's Burra Peg, photographed by John Carrington
When the weather turns lethally hot in August, it will surprise no one who has ever been near Savannah to learn that a popular local prescription for relief is both old fashioned and alcoholic: the champagne cocktail. Though the popularity of these concoctions peaked in the 1940s and 50s, their roots go back at least to the late eighteenth century, when champagne punches were popularized by the likes of England’s Prince Regent George IV. (more…)

4 August 2012: More Summer Tomatoes

August 4, 2012

Tags: Tomatoes, Green Beans, French Beans, Savannah Cooking, The Savannah Cookbook, Classical Southern Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, Summer Cooking

Young Green beans, which often go by their swanky French name, "haricots verts"--in fresh tomato sauce -- photography by John Carrington, from The Savannah Cookbook
While summer tomatoes are still at their peak, indeed, overflowing in some home gardens, here is another lovely thing to do with them.

I submit this in response to the persistent myth that Southerners historically had no subtlety with the vegetable pot: it comes from a late nineteenth century Savannah manuscript. (more…)

3 August 2012: Seafood-Stuffed Tomatoes

August 3, 2012

Tags: Fresh Tomatoes, Shrimp, Crab, Seafood, Classical Southern Cooking, The Savannah Cookbook, Lowcountry Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, The Texas Cook Book

Savannah Seafood-Stuffed Tomatoes, from The Savannah Cookbook; photography by John Carrington
Fresh tomatoes, sweet shrimp, and delicate blue crab have a great affinity for one another, so it is no surprise to find any two of them combined in the pot wherever they all thrive, but especially in the tidewater regions of the Deep South. There’s Crab and Tomato Stew, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp and Tomato Pie, Seafood Gumbo—as many variations as there are coastal cooks. One of the loveliest and simplest ways of combining them, however, is when ripe tomatoes are used as a delicate casing for what amounts to a shellfish gratin. (more…)