Category Archives: modern and contemporary

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Herbs

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Herbs

Alexandre Dumas in his Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine (Great Dictionary of Cuisine) of 1873 wrote that the potato “provides real nourishment and is not only healthful but inexpensive.”

2 pounds small waxy potatoes
6 ounces haricots verts
½ cup scallions, chopped
½ cup chopped tarragon and parsley
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to more than cover them. Generously salt the water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a colander placed in the sink and let cool.

Bring the water in the saucepan back to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for about 2 minutes, until the beans are bright green and almost tender yet still retain a little crispness. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the green beans from the boiling water to the ice water and let them chill for a minute or so. Drain the beans and pat them dry.

When the potatoes are still warm but cool enough to touch, slice about ¼-inch thick. Cut the green beans into 1-inch pieces. Put the potatoes, green beans, and herbs in a large bowl and gently toss.

Make a vinaigrette by whisking the mustard, garlic, vinegar, and oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently mix some of the vinaigrette into the potato and green bean mixture. Taste and adjust with more salt or vinaigrette as desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8

Rompope

Rompope

The first rompope was made in the 17th century in the Santa Clara convent of Puebla, Mexico. It was a derivation of the Spanish ponche de huevo. At the time, the Catholic Church was prominent in government and society so convents developed innovative sweet and savor dishes for visiting officials and religious dignitaries.

This boozy and creamy drink that is one of them. It is still sold by nuns outside of churches in Mexico.

6 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 ¼ cup white rum

Bring milk, cinnamon, cloves, pinch nutmeg, vanilla, and baking soda to a boil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottom saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks,and sugar until thick and pale.

Remove cinnamon and clove from the milk and discard.

Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk to the yolk mixture.

Return mixture to pan and cook over low heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

When cool, stir in rum and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

(recipe adapted from Epicurious)

Baby Avocados with Orange and Olives

Baby Avocados with Orange and Olives

Between 1934 and 1935 Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas spent 7 months traveling through the United States. In Toklas’s “Food in the United States” chapter she refers to the trip as, “an experience and adventure, which nothing that might follow would ever equal.”

Of California she wrote, “California was unequalled. Sun and a fertile soil breed generosity and gentleness, amiability and appreciation. It was abundantly satisfying. In Pasadena amongst olive and orange groves we saw our first avocado trees and their fruit offered for salt stacked in great pyramids, almost as common as tomatoes would be later in the season.”

2 oranges
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup parsley, minced
1 tablespoon thyme
3 tablespoons chopped olives
salt and white pepper
6 to 8 baby Hass avocados
3 tablespoons olive oil

Zest the oranges into a small bowl, making sure to stop when you start to see the white pith.

Supreme the oranges. Cut off each end of the orange and set upright on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice off the pith, following the contours of the fruit, moving from top to bottom, cutting as little of the flesh away as possible. Repeat with the other orange.

Roughly chop the orange flesh and add it to the bowl with the zest. Add the garlic, parsley, thyme, and olives and season generously with salt and white pepper. Toss to combine.

Halve the avocados lengthwise, remove the pits, and fill each cavity with about 1 tablespoons of orange mixture. Arrange them on a platter, drizzle generously with olive oil, and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

Mincemeat Pie

mincemeat pie

Mincemeat Pie

To end the year on a sweet note, this recipe was made in my last class of 2017, A Dickens Christmas at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Arts.

A sweet pie of British origin, mincemeat consists of of mixed dried fruits and spices traditionally served during the Christmas season. Its ingredients can be traced to the 13th century, when returning crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices. In Georgian times the meat was dropped. Mincemeat pie was loved by Charles Dickens.

Mincemeat filling:
2 apples, peeled, cored, chopped2 apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 cup apple cider
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried currants
½ cup dried figs, chopped
zest of one orange
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup raisins
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon round nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup rum

Simmer apples, apple cider, brown sugar, apricots, dried cherries, cranberries, currants, figs, orange zest, orange juice, golden raisins, raisins, schmaltz, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and rum in a medium pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, 30–25 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill to let flavors develop. (Filling can be made 3 months ahead; freeze in an airtight container.)

Use as a filling in your favorite pie crust or make individual tartlets like the ones shown above!

Makes enough for 2 9-inch pies
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit