As a woman over 50, I cannot be bothered with too many things these days. I attribute that to me being a chicken without any eggs in her basket (i.e. menopause), but am glad to report that I am getting used to it. I have even begun to play with the word “crone” and kind of like it (thank you Yvette!). And while I do love to cook and bake, I am not into following new recipes because I have so many good ones that are easy and taste wonderful. I used to enjoy getting cooking magazines, but I no longer subscribe to anything because I don’t have time to read them. I’ve had stacks and stacks of old Saveur magazines piled up for years, waiting for me to find the time to go through and cut out “only the good recipes” to try later. The truth is that I have all the good recipes that I will probably ever need. Happily, I feel the urge for “more” or “better” slipping away. I do subscribe to several food blogs now, and getting them in my inbox has taken the place of relaxing with a magazine that came in the mailbox at the end of my driveway. I do so mainly because of the photos of the food that are really quite wonderful! If you’ve read my posts before, you know that David Lebovitz is my favorite. Continue reading Easy Savory Swiss Tart Recipe→
My Gazpacho is better than yours. Okay, I said it, and it’s true. I’ve been serving and enjoying this wonderful gazpacho for a very long time. I wish I could say it’s my creation but in fact, it comes from the cookbook, GOOD FOOD from FAR & WIDE : Favourite family recipes from the United Nations International School 1975. And of course there is a story there.
In 1975, I visited New York with college friends, and took a tour of the U.N. because I knew one day I would work there. I was young, ambitious, and wanted an international career. On my way out of the gift shop, I purchased the cookbook. I’m not sure why I did, because I was living in a dorm and never cooked. I’m guessing it was the cheapest thing I could find. Well, I never did work for the U.N. (although I did work for the World Bank and had many colleagues at the U.N.) but I am grateful for their cookbook. I must’ve used it hundreds of time over the last 35 years (OMG! Has it really been that long?) and one of my favorite summer recipes is the Gazpacho on page 22.
I’m sharing it now because it’s been unusually hot here for the mountains (90 degrees plus!), and it’s simply the best meal on a hot summer day. Just serve it with corn on the cob and you’re done. Oh, a blueberry cobbler would be the perfect dessert and with all those anti-oxidants, it’s just got to be healthy.
It seems appropriate that I credit Mrs. Henry Kent (whoever she is) for submitting the recipe. While she doesn’t appear to be from Spain judging by the name, she sure knows how to make a Gazpacho, so here goes:
5 or 6 ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 2 cups tomato puree) – I use real tomatoes
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
2 cups tomato juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 – 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
1 teaspoon salt
Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste (my addition)
Blend tomatoes, onion, green pepper and cucumber at high speed for 30 seconds. (I pulse it in my blender but don’t overdo it). Pour into large bowl. Combine tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt (add hot sauce here if you like) and add to soup. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with croutons on top, and an ultra thin slice of green pepper for color.
Prep time: roughly 15 minutes.
That’s the recipe in the book – follow it closely – you can add more garlic if you like, and if you like hot like I do, add some Tabasco. Also, I don’t like it pureed completely (like pea soup) – I leave some pieces in it, NOT chunks, but very fine pieces of vegetables. Lastly, if you make it early in the morning, it will be ready in the evening, but if you leave in the fridge overnight it will be perfect.
So when you’re enjoying your Gazpacho this summer, don’t think of me, but Mrs. Henry Kent (probably the wife of some diplomat) whoever and wherever she may be!
These are certainly interesting times we are living in, don’t you think? I mean, with so many ways to connect, everyone I talk to is simply overwhelmed with “life”? If the call is not lost, or they are in the middle of doing something, or their computer is down, or there is another call coming in, or I have to run, god forbid any daytime conversation can go a little deeper than actually hearing stress. It is very apparent that everyone, even retired people I know, are about at their limit of what they can handle! Oh, I forgot to mention the pressure to get the latest, or to upgrade. My husband thinks that I should soon get the iPad, because it would be so good to be able to have it with me when I have clients with me while driving – geez louise!
Therefore, I think it is more important than ever to have something that makes one very happy, that is thrilling even, and does not cost a lot of money. For me baking something from my garden satisfies that need. And in the moment it is rhubarb time!
I didn’t grow up eating rhubarb, but being with my Swiss husband has made me very aware that there are some people who consider it a divine comfort food. Actually, my mom, who grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, also swoons with the mere mention of the word too. She told me that there was a patch of rhubarb growing in their yard, and they used to eat it raw with a bit of salt on it. Well, it IS a vegetable she told me! So when we moved into our home some 8 years ago, I made a point to plant some in our garden.
They say that for the first year or so, you shouldn’t pick too much because the plant is getting established. I went out a few days ago to pick, or rather, “twist” the first batch, and I made a simple Swiss tart. It was so delicious that I ate some and decided that I now love rhubarb! My friend who is German told me that the first rhubarb, called “May Rhubarb”, is the most tender and delicious, and he got weak in the knees just hearing me describe the tart!
Here is the recipe. It’s easy. Take a break from FaceBook, from email, from the routine of your day, and try it. You’ll like it!
It feels like ages since I’ve posted something. I had a really bad cold, and I didn’t feel like doing anything for a couple of weeks. I also turned 52.
I had this urge to bake a chocolate cake with white, fluffy icing just like my grandma, Mabel Carter, used to make. I never made her “7 minute frosting” before, but I thought it was high time now that I am starting to look like her!
After looking hard and not being able to find her recipe in my collection, I decided to make one that sounded just like hers, called “Wonderful Marshmallow-Like Frosting” by Susan Branch that is in her Sweets to the Sweet book. She has a cult following, and I am one of her groupies. Here’s what she says, followed by the recipe:
“The classic boiled frosting, pure white, shiny and fluffy. You’ll need a candy thermometer.
1/3 c. water a pinch of salt
1 c. sugar 2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 tsp. vanilla
Stir the water, sugar, cream of tartar & salt together in a small, heavy-bottomed pan. Hook a candy thermometer to the edge of the pan & boil without stirring until mixture reaches 240 F. In the meantime, beat egg whites until stiff. Pour the 240F syrup over the whites in a thin stream, beating constantly until thick & glossy. Stir in the vanilla. Now frost the cake!
I found a simple chocolate cake recipe called “Gateau Therese” in David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris. This is a must read book, by the way. The following is what he has to say about it…
“Every Frenchwoman I know loves chocolate so much she has a chocolate cake in her repertoire that she’s committed to memory, one she can make on a moment’s notice. This one comes from Therese Pella, who lives across the boulevard from me; when I first tasted the cake, I swooned from the rich, dark chocolate flavor and insisted on the recipe.
Madame Pellas is fanatical about making the cake 2 days in advance and storing it in her kitchen cabinet before serving, which she says improves the chocolate flavor. And the Brie she keeps in there as well doesn’t seem to mind the company…”
I actually use just one stick of butter, which is probably a few grams less than what is called for, and, since most of my friends are into gluten-free eating, I use ground almonds instead of flour.
9 ounces (250g) bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped
8 T. (120 g) butter
1/3 cp. (65 g) sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
2 T. ground almonds
A pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Butter a 9-inch loaf pan (I used a 9’ round springform pan or whatever) and line bottom with parchment paper.
In a big bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the chocolate and butter together until just melted and smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in about half of the sugar, then the egg yolks, and then the ground almonds.
Start whipping the egg whites with that pinch of salt. Continue whipping until you start to see soft, droopy peaks. Gradually whip in the rest of the sugar until the egg whites are smooth and hold their shape when the whisk is lifted.
Using a rubber spatula, fold about a third of the egg whets into the chocolate mixture, then fold the rest of the egg whites just until the mixture is smooth and no visible white streaks remain.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth it on top, and bake around 35 min., or just until the cake feels slightly firm in the center. Do not overbake!