Archive for the ‘Gourmet Magazines’ Category

7:July 1956

Monday, Monday, Monday. Means I get to pick a vintage mag issue to peruse and share. Tough choice…a picnic, a salmon mold, or blueberry pie and that’s without even going in to the stacks. July just says blueberries and that pie looks good! Well, on the East Coast July says blueberries, but from what I have been reading we should be picking a cup a day next April from our garden. I am looking forward to that!

Culinarily Speaking:

I thought the most amazing recipe for blueberry pie was from America’s Test Kitchen where they take half the required berries and crush them in a pot and simmer down a bit to thicken add a grated granny smith apple, the whole blueberries and two tablespoons of tapioca for a tangy, bright and well set filling. Then they add vodka to the crust! I guess this is called the Foolproof Pie Dough. The vodka cooks off, but makes a wetter dough which is easier to work with. Typically a wetter dough is tough, but the vodka does not allow the gluten strands to form. Ingenious.

Horticulturally Speaking:

I recently found out why a blueberry hedge seemed like such a novel idea in the So Cal garden. It’s because they only recently created a low-chill variety that does well in our zone. Choosing the right variety is the first step to growing good blueberries and then I found this article in Sunset…

“In California’s mildest climates, more and more gardeners are finding that ‘Sharpblue’–once thought to be a rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinum ashei) but now known to be a southern highbush type (V. corymbosum) with low chill requirements–outperforms all other varieties.

Although it’s self-fertile and so can be grown alone, ‘Sharpblue’ does better when cross-pollinated with other southern highbush varieties such as ‘Sunshineblue’. During peak harvest (in April and May), the ‘Sharpline’ shown above left yields a couple of cups of fruit every three days. Berries are large, sweet, and juicy. The plant bears occasional fruit most of the year, and in fall yields a small second harvest.

How to grow blueberries

In coastal areas, plant blueberries in full sun. Inland, plant where they’ll get some afternoon shade. Plants need consistent watering for good fruit production, and acid soil that drains well (Southern California’s soils are naturally alkaline).

To compensate, plant them in containers filled with 100 percent peat moss; or try one of the following recipes:

* The six-year-old in the barrel grows in a mix of 6 parts moistened peat moss, 3 parts azalea mix, and 1 part sand.

* The mix in the plastic cylinder is equal parts peat moss and azalea mix.

From January through September, feed blueberries every six weeks with an acid fertilizer. In November, work in about 1/4 cup of soil sulfur around base of plants.

Blueberries require little pruning. In winter, shape plants and restore vigor by cutting branches three years old or older back to the base. Remove only branches that are too tall or no longer bear fruit.

COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.

Read Full Post »

Gourmet June 1955

Gourmet Monday on Tuesday, again. And yes, it is a June cover in July, but I just love this one! I love the food trends of the 50’s with their various and sundry images of molded food. Can you even imagine this amazing wedding cake? A frozen “bombe fleurs d’oranger” a shell of orange ice and filled with a white curaçao mousse. The ultimate 50-50 bar.

Glace a la Orange-Orange Ice

Combine 4 cups water and 2 cups sugar, bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Cool and add 2 the rind from 2 oranges, 2 cups orange juice, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Freeze in a churn freezer or an ice cube tray.

Mousse Curaçao

Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Let syrup cool. Beat 8 egg yolks in a double boiler until they are thick and pale in color. Gradually beat in the syrup. Add 2 tablespoons curaçao and cook over the hot not boiling water, stirring constantly until mixture is creamy and thick. Pour through sieve and stir in an ice bath until completely cooled. Whip 1 quart heavy cream to stiff and fold in to the custard. Yum!

Read Full Post »

Gourmet June 1959

Here is another installment of the Gourmet Monday post…summer schedule, so this is going up on Tuesday. Funny how my potting bench looks very similar to this one, less the ship in a bottle.  We have been planting seeds almost daily, and the seed packets on the cover remind me that I need to dry some of this season’s herbs for the pantry.

Also included in this issue is my new favorite vintage column; From the notebooks of Louis Diat. This month, June 1959 he discusses Garnishes and Decorations, Cold Sauces for Hot Fish, Dishes en Surprise. Tomorrow I’ll share some timeless recipes for compound butters but the decorations are dated, to say the least!

Herbes de Provence – a dried herbal blend
I have found many, many different combinations for this must have dried herb blend with thyme being the only herb included in every version. Use equal parts of the following for a basic recipe:

Winter Savory

Add smaller portions of the following to change it up:
Fennel Seeds
Orange Zest
Lemon Zest

Fines Herbes – a fresh herbal blend
Equal parts and very finely chopped.

Read Full Post »

Artichokes at Market

More late night lite reading in the June 1956 Gourmet. I enjoyed an article about spring vegetables by the Inventor of Vichyssoise.  These old magazines are so intriguing!  And in many ways completely relevant to the current food revolution going on right now.

Louis Diat is cluing in the reader to the esteem in which les gourmets francais hold vegetables.  He goes on to describe the zeal of French shoppers; chefs and housewives who so carefully picked through the fresh peas for the smallest and most perfect.  He talks of working on a family farm and learning from experience about fine produce.  He ponders the fact that many chefs are great gardeners and why the garden experience is important background information for choosing quality vegetables at market. Then finally he gives credit where credit is due, “don’t overlook the fact that none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the farmers who grow the vegetables that keep alive the prestige of fine French cooking.”

He tells the story of the state of the state’s vegetables when he arrived.  In 1910 Louis Diat came to open the kitchens of the Ritz Carlton in NYC.  He talks about giant American vegetables and turning carrots down to a more petite and respectable size out of desperation.  He was amazed that there were no leeks or shallots.  Mon dieu!

He thinks there must be someone who would grow the kind of vegetable suitable for the Ritz a table. At last a fellow hotel chef Louis Deligny  of the Hotel Astor, yearned for country air and happened to be as good a gardener as he was a chef.  Chef Diat was his only customer at first, as he  bought everything Deligny grew.  Ah, the private kitchen garden!

I wish I could take a time machine and watch the goings on in a big hotel kitchen in 1910 or 1940.  But, I worked in a big hotel kitchen in the 1980’s and I am sure it was pretty similar to the Euroldfashioned kitchens of yore.  We were always turning carrots, mushrooms and potatoes, worshiping at the ground of all baby vegetables and filling cucumber boats with crab meat for 2000 guests.  There was lots of aspic, the making of apple swans and cheddar cheese gold fish…I personally made several kiwi baskets adorned with blueberry roses, (a la Villeroy and Boch) for Foreign and American Presidents.   It was called the West Coast White House back then, can you guess the big hotel kitchen?  Yes, yes, the Century Plaza.  Though, I digress.

The point here is what?  If you love to cook you should have a garden.  If you are a chef you need a kitchen garden.  If you are a kid, you learn to love food when you have a garden.  If you love to garden you can be a farmer.  Dig in!

Vichyssoise – original recipe from Chef Diat

Diat was born in Vichy, France, and his mother – like most French housewives – served her children plenty of hot potato soup. Years later as he sought to invent some new and startling cold soup for the Ritz-Carlton menu, he remembered that fine soup of his mother’s. He also recalled that patty-cake rhyme, “some like it hot, come like it cold.” Out of that combination of thoughts came Vichyssoise, named for his birth place.

4 leeks, white part
1 medium onion
2 ounces sweet butter
5 medium potatoes
1 quart water or chicken broth
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups milk
2 cups medium cream
1 cup heavy cream
Serves eight.

Finely slice the white part of the leeks and the onion, and brown very slightly in the sweet butter, then add the potatoes, also sliced finely. Add water or broth and salt. Boil from 35 to 40 minutes. Crush and rub through a fine strainer. Return to fire and add 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of medium cream. Season to taste and bring to a boil. Cool and then rub through a very fine strainer. When soup is cold, add the heavy cream. Chill thoroughly before serving. Finely chopped chives may be added when serving.

I also worked in the (Euroldfashioned) kitchen at Scandia on Sunset…Vichyssoise was one of the items in my station.  It was used as a base soup as well.  I would grate cucumber and add a touch of mint…

Read Full Post »


Every other plot at the community garden, has a stand of blackberries that makes me green with envy! I am going to satisfy my desire for berries however, with Marion Berries in my own back yard. Curling up yesterday with the 1956 issue of Gourmet and all it’s fruits of summer poetry, lore and ruminations, re-energized my quest. I found a great educational site at Oregon State, and who better than Oregon to tell me how to grow Marion Berries?

Trellis Diagram

I am getting the spot ready, ordering my plant, and will have to wait until next summer for my fruit. I will try to pass the time making jam, crisps, crumbles, bettys, soups and tarts with market berries until next summer…Now for the canning class! When I find one I’ll let you know…Chef Michael? Are you canning? Teaching?

In the aforementioned vintage magazine, there is a fascinatingly alluring article titled Strange Fruit and they had me at “gustatory versatility”. Any-hoo, it talks about the history of fruit soups among the ancient cuisines of the world. The Slavs are partial to berries, the Russians make a raspberry sour cream soup with mint and eat it with a slab of pumpernickel. The Norwegians wed cherries with a disproportionate amount of Sherry, the Danes love buttermilk and raisins, and the French glorify their cold fruit soups with good wine of the country, such as Blueberry Soup garnet in hue with Claret and topped with meringues. Okay, enough teasing. Here are a couple of recipes that didn’t sound too terribly bizarre…

Medley Fruit Soup
In a sauce pan combine the following fruits, all finely chopped: ½ cup of each fresh peaches, strawberries, rhubarb, oranges, and pineapple. Add ¾ cup granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 whole cloves and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Add two quarts of water and bring slowly to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Puree (I like the food mill) and chill thoroughly. Serve with crackers.

Culinary update: I would serve with La Brea Bakery fruit and nut bread and St. Andre Brie. Or better yet, bring on the whole cheese cart. Man, that sounds like the perfect dessert course!

Raspberry and White Wine Soup
Cook 1 quart ripe raspberries and 1 cup dry white wine slowly for 15 minutes, until the fruit is tender. Strain fruit and juice through fine sieve (food mill), and return to the heat. Stir in paste (½ tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water) bring to boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes stirring and skimming. Season with white pepper, salt and sugar to taste. Add ½ cup orange juice and ½ cup white wine. Serve with pound cake.

Culinary update: for this raspberry soup I might just leave out the thickener, add a little grated granny smith apples to the cooking process, and reduce for the right consistency. Adding the juice and white wine 1 tablespoon at a time alternating and stop when it’s just right. I will test and repost.

Read Full Post »

Gourmet June 1956

June is June, and what’s in season in June remains the same, which ever year. This issue is filled with articles debating the peach vs the nectarine. The gustatory versatility of fruit, followed by a history lesson and recipes for fruit soups. An article titled, Drink Yourself Cool: from a punch bowl or a pitcher. And sample menus for the wedding breakfast. I do love these old magazines and I will post recipes from this issue throughout the week…they are simply classic!

The cover of this issue of Gourmet, Volume XVI, Number 6. is illustrated by Hilary Knight, who went on to a project you have all seen…the Eloise books, posters, cards etc!

Here’s the recipe for the pitcher of refreshing beverage depicted in the cover art. Sounds yummy!

Kalte Ente-
Peel a lemon in a wide unbroken spiral strip, leaving one end of the spiral attached to the lemon. Make the peel quite thick and cut slightly into the fruit pulp. Put the lemon in a tall glass pitcher and hang the free end over the pitcher’s rim. Pour in to the pitcher 1 bottle of dry white wine and let the wine stand for 15 minutes. Add ice cubes, 1 more bottle of dry white wine and one bottle of chilled champagne. Stir the mixture gently and serve in punch cups.

I think I would be very cool with this on my patio table.

Read Full Post »