Saturday, July 4, 2020

Declare Your Independence by Baking a Washington "Pie"

My summer reading in 2020 has included "A History of Food in 100 Recipes" by William Sitwell. After learning that the brunch staple Eggs a la Benedick may have been created in 1894 either by Charles Ranhofer, the head chef of the original New York restaurant Delmonico, or by maitre d'hotel Oscar of the Waldorf Astoria for wealthy NY socialite Lemuel Benedict, that led me to explore what other foods are named for people.

Frontispiece of Charles Ranhofer's Belle Epoque cookbook "Epicurean"

The other famous dishes Ranhofer named for people that are still in vogue today include Lobster Newberg (Captain Ben Wenberg), Delmonico steak (Delmonico brothers), Chicken à la King (William King), and his version of baked Alaska that he called "Alaska, Florida”. Other dishes unknown today that are credited to Ranhofer include Veal pie and Beet fritters à la Dickens (Charles Dickens visit in 1867), Salad à la Dumas (Alexandre Dumas, père), Sweetbreads à l'Eugénie (Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III), an elaborate moulded Humboldt pudding (Alexander von Humboldt), Timbales à la Irving (author Washington Irving), Apricots with rice à la Jefferson (President Thomas Jefferson), Trout, Joan of Arc (French martyr Joan of Arc), Consommé Marie Stuart (Queen Mary Stuart), Pâté chaud ris de veau à la McAllister (Samuel Ward McAllister), Bisque of shrimps à Melville (author Herman Melville), Marshal Ney (Napoleon's Marshal commander at Waterloo Michel Ney), lamb dish Selle d'agneau à la Paganini (Italian opera composer Niccolò Paganini), Lamprey à la Rabelais (French monk, physician, writer and satirist François Rabelais), Tournedos Rachel (Swiss-born French tragedienne Elisa-Rachel Félix), Beef hash Sam Ward (Washington lobbyist Samuel Cutler Ward), Sarah Potatoes (French actress Sarah Bernhardt), Schiller pudding (German poet Friedrich von Schiller), Lobster cutlets à la Shelley (English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley), and Purée of wild ducks van Buren (8th president Martin van Buren).

Another named food discovery was the Washington "Pie" that is reminiscent of a Boston Cream Pie in actually being a cake. As described by a Washington Post article on the dish's origins, the original version sounds closer to a Victoria Sponge cake with jam in the center but a lot of bakers seem to think that a Washington Pie needs to be dressed up by topping with cherry pie filling (due to chopping down a cherry tree), coconut, or powdered sugar. Below is a recipe from 1936 and some other versions.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Traditional Swiss End of Summer Pie: Apricot Pie

I learned from a (now sadly closed for those of us that love European style pies) Swiss pie bakery called Kindli Haus on White Oak in the Houston Heights that for the Swiss a traditional September pie is Apricot Pie. For me fresh apricots can often be too dry and bland (hence apriums that are bred to have the juiciness of plums but the flavor of apricots), but I love them after they are transformed into dried and baked apricots when they become super flavorful. 

I was in Galveston doing some antique shopping and Twice Around Treasures 2528 Market St often has a nice selection of older cookbooks. I found this Swiss cookbook by Marianne Haltenbach called Cooking in Switzerland that retails for >$100 online, so I took some shots from the dessert part of the cookbook including the Apricot, Almond and Prune, and Thurgau Apple pies since I haven't done much baking with Swiss recipes.

Engadine Nut Cake

Bundner Chocolate Cake and Sour Cream Cake

Carrot Cake and Monastery Pie
Apricot Pie
Swiss Prune Tart

Almond and Prune Pie and Fruit Juice Pie
Vaudois Wine Cake and Thurgau Apple Pie
Thurgau Apple Pie

Since I'm also a big fan of German winter desserts I also captured the sections on their fruitcakes and lebkuchen.
Bern Braid

Lebkuchen and Schwyz Fruit Cake
Fruit Bread
 This Swiss Cherry Tart looks to be worth making too.

Fall Equinox 2019 - Apple Pie Time

Today being the fall equinox I'm looking at all kinds of apple pies. I took some shots from the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook from the Asheville NC restaurant so I could try the recipes to decide whether to buy the book.

Gala Apple Cashew Cobbler

Honeybee Apple Pie

 Since we're in an apple mood, here's a few additional apple recipes from their cookbook to try.

Baked Walnut-Stuffed Apples

Apple Salsa

Friday, September 20, 2019

ROMA Italian Regional Wine Dinners

I've been on a bit of a hiatus, but I wanted to share with you a great event series going on right now. As you may know I have written a series of pie articles for Houston Food Finder. They are a bit of an advertising shortage right at the moment and Shannon Scott of Roma Restaurant in Rice Village stepped up to create a series of ROMA wine dinners with his chef Antonio Cuppone that would raise money to support the salaries of the staff of the magazine.

As of this writing we are halfway through the 20 regions of Italy. By chance my summer cooking project was to learn more about Italian regional cooking since I did the same with French regional cooking in 2018. I missed the first month, but I've been to almost all of them since then.

Here's a list of the menus and some photos for the ones I've attended. The meals have all been spectacular.

6/12/19 Tuscany Wine Dinner

Traditional Tuscany Tomato Soup served with Bread paired with Borgo Scopeto, Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2015

Potato and Bacon-filled Tortelli paired with Le Bocce “Solers” Tuscany 2012

Tuscan Beef Stew served with Potatoes and Carrots paired with Fattoria Bini “Gheppio” Tuscany 2013

6/19/19 Puglia Wine Dinner

Burrata cheese with frisella and cherry tomatoes paired with Chardonnay Puglia Italy 2017

Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe and garlic paired with Palma ¨Arcangelo¨ Salice Salentino

Roasted pork loin stuffed with ham and cheese paired with Vespa ¨Il rosso dei Vespa¨ Primitivo Salento Puglia Italy 2015

6/26/19 Campania Wine Dinner

Zucchini fritters with fresh artichoke dip paired with Ca Maiol, Lunana, Lombardy 2018

Baked Neapolitan style spaghetti frittata paired with Travagliono "Pernero" Pinot Nero, Lombardy 2017

Fried calzone paired with Cascina Belmonte "Naturae" Bebo, Lombardy 2016

7/3/19 Abruzzo Wine Dinner

Fettuccine pasta with bacon paired with Contesa, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2015;

Porchetta with spinach and roasted potatoes paired with La Quercia, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2017

Pizzelle cookie with vanilla gelato paired with Cerulli Spinozzi “Cortalto” Pecorino, Abruzzo 2016

7/10/19 Veneto Wine Dinner

Cod puree over grilled polenta paired with Colle Lauro, Prosecco, Veneto NV
Gnocchi with duck ragu in tomato sauce paired with Farina, Soave Classico, Veneto 2017

Slowly braised veal paired with Brigaldara, Valpolicella Classico, Veneto 2017

7/17/19 Marche Wine Dinner

Meat stuffed, breaded olives and piadina bread combo paired with Umani Ronchi, Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico, Marche 2018

Passatelli pasta with mushrooms paired with Marchetti, Rosso Conero Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Marche 2016

Roasted pork chops served with baked vegetables paired with Umani Ronchi, Rosso Conero San Lorenzo, Marche 2016;

7/24/19 Sicily Wine Dinner

Pasta and seafood salad paired with Caruso e Minini, Izolia, Sicily 2015

Authentic eggplant parmigiana paired with Cantine Grasso, Sette Aje, Nero Mascalese, Sicily 2017

Pork roulade with cheese in pizzaiola sauce paired with Marbino, Nero d´Avola, Sicily 2015

Crostini with gorgonzola pears and honey paired with Ca Maiol, Lunana, Lombardy 2018

Classic risotto Milan style paired with Travaglino ¨Pernero¨ Pinot Nero, Lombary 2017

Creamy polenta with luganega sausage ragu paired with Cascina Belmonte ¨Naturae¨ Rebo, Lombardy 2016

9/4/19 Fruili-Venezia Giulia Wine Dinner

Jota soup paired with Antonutti, Delle Venezia Ribolla Gialla 2018

Square-shaped pasta with light wine sauce with mushrooms paired with Antonutti, Pinot Nero 2017

Stewed rabbit roasted potatoes and carrots paired with Antonutti, Cabernet Franc 2016

9/11/19 Trentino-Alto Adige Wine Dinner

Canederli — Bread dumplings with fresh tomatoes and asparagus paired with Cantina Terlano-Kellerei, Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige 2018

Spaetzle — Traditional “little sparrows” pasta with speck paired with Cantina Tramin, Chardonnay, Alto Adige 2017
Torta di Mele Caramellizzata — Caramelized apple tart served with vanilla gelato paired with Cantina Tramin, Pinot Noir, Alto Adige 2018

9/18/19 Umbria Wine Dinner

Crostini al Tartufo — Crostini with black truffle and mushroom sauce paired with Tenuta di Salviano, Pinot Nero Rose, Umbria 2017

Stringozzi alla Norcina — Classic Umbrian pasta with homemade sausage, garlic and parsley paired with Vitiano, IGT, Umbria 2015
Arrosto di Maiale al Latte — Stewed pork loin in a light vegetable sauce paired with Falesco Tellus, Cabernet Sauvignon, Umbria 2015

9/25/19 Basilicata Wine Dinner

Focaccia Materna -  traditional stuffed focaccia
Paired with Paternoster “Vulcanico” Falanghina, Basilicata 2017

Lasagna Coi Ceci: Lasagna with chickpeas and rosemary
Paired with Cantine del Notaio “L'Atto” Basilicata 2014

Costine di Maiale ai Peperoni: Pork ribs with a red bell pepper sauce
Paired with Igni, Aglianico del Vulture, Basilicata 2015

10/23/19 Sardinia Wine Dinner

Clam Fregola
Culurgiones d' Ogliastra Homemade potato stuffed pasta in a fresh tomato sauce paired with Cantina Mesa Giunco, Vermentino di Sardegna, Sardinia 2017
Maialino alla Sarda Traditional baked whole suckling pig
paired with Pala “Silenzi” Carignano/Monica, Sardinia 2016
Seadas al Miele Fresh Sardinian sheep's cheese dumpling topped with honey paired with Cantine Argiolas Costera, Cannonau di Sardegna,Sardinia 2016

11/13/19 Tuscany Wine Dinner 2

Pappa al Pomodoro (Traditional Tuscany Tomato Soup served with Bread) paired with Mormoraia Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Tuscany 2016

 Tortelli di Patate al Pecorino (Potato and Bacon-filled Ravioli) paired with Poggiopiano Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2015

Peposo di Manzo (Tuscan Beef Stew served with Potatoes and Carrots) paired with La Prodaia "Giolito" Sangiovese; Tuscany 2012

12/11/19 Piemonte Wine Dinner

Vitello Tonnato Sliced veal with a traditional tuna sauce paired with Marchesi Incisa, Roero Arneis 2017

Risotto al Castelmagno e Tartufo Risotto with black truffles and Castelmango cheese paired with Marchesi Incisa, Sant’Emiliano, Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2016

Brasato al Barolo Classic beef stew with Barolo wine paired with Marchesi Incisa, Barolo Dallalto DOCG 2014

Gianduitto Chocolate paired with Marchesi Incisa, Felice Moscato d’Asti 2018

1/28/20 Calabria Wine Dinner

Crostini all’ nduja e melanzane alla parmigiana
Focaccia with nduja and eggplant melanzane parmigianaI Greco, Rosato Sauv, Calabria 2017
Bucatini tonno e capperi
Bucatini pasta with tuna, tomatoes, capers and olive oilI Greco, Gaglioppo, Calabria 2012
Braciole di maiale con salsa ai peperoni e patate arrosto
Grilled pork chops topped with a bell pepper sauce and served with roasted potatoesI Greco, Masino, Calabria 2012

3/4/20 Neapolitan Wine Dinner

Zeppole di ZucchineZucchini fritters with a fresh artichoke dip Balleria “Carmen” Brut, Greco di Tufo, Brut, Campania, Italy 2013
Pasta Patate e CozzeRigatoni pasta with mussels and potato sauceBellaria, Coda di Volpe, Campania, Italy 2016
Frittata di MaccheroniBaked Neapolitan style spaghetti frittata Balleria “Rafe” Aglianico, Campania, Italy 2015
Braciole alla NapoletanaSlowly cooked pork stew in a light marinara sauce Balleria “Rafe”  Agliainico, Campania, Italy 2012
Torta CapreseCapri chocolate and almond flour less cake Limoncello

Val D´Aosta Wine Dinner

Emilia-Romagna Wine Dinner

Lazio Wine Dinner

Molise Wine Dinner

Liguria Wine Dinner