Sunday, September 23, 2012


The YMs are a festive pair, so I decided to do something a little more festive in the drinks line besides white wine and or beer. We didn't have Cointreau but we did have Triple Sec, which is another orange liqueur, and basically the same thing. This is quick and fun, tastes good and is a good way to serve red wine cold. I was well received. I feel like I should have doubled the recipe, because we went through it pretty fast.


1 bottle dry red Spanish wine, preferably Rioja (Basically, as far as I'm concerned, it has to be red and dry. Spanish ? Not so much.)
sugar to taste
1 1/2 ounces cognac
1 ounce Cointreau or Curacao
1/4 cup orange juice
ice cubes
lemon slices
peach slices, club soda to taste

Place the wine, sugar, cognac, Cointreau or curacao, orange juice and ice in a pitcher and macerate with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and serve cold.
Makes about one quart.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snow on the Mountain (Gluten Free)

The South, as you might think, is a good source of cold desserts. When it's hot, diners want cold food, as does the cook. This is supposed to be molded in custard cups, which are little glass dishes much favored in the 50s. Bob suggested that we put it into wine glasses, which skips a step in the unmolding process, but doesn't necessarily give the effect of snowballs.
You can start this after lunch for an evening dinner party. I made an executive decision to make the sauce ahead of time and let it chill so we had cold sauce instead of warm sauce. If you don't have to reheat sauce at dessert time, it is one less thing to think about.

Snow on the Mountain

5 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup grated coconut

5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sweet sherry
2 tablespoons light rum

1. To make base, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually beat in the sugar and salt.
2. Soak the gelatin in the water and heat over hot water to dissolve. Fold the gelatin into the beaten egg whites.
3. Whip the cream until stiff and add the vanilla. Fold the cream into the egg white mixture. Spoon the mixture into lightly oiled custard cups and chill. When ready to serve, unmold onto individual plates or arrange the "balls" in a crystal serving bowl. Sprinkle with the coconut and serve with sauce.
4. To make sauce, beat the egg yolks until they are slightly thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the sugar. Add the sherry and cook over low heat until thickened and smooth. Do not let the mixture boil.  Stir in the rum and reheat without boiling.
Makes six servings.

Trout Amandine

I only spent a week in DC before taking off for London on Labor Day to visit my daughter. Since I hadn't seen the YMs all summer, or really talked to them except for a couple of conversations about how the Washington Nationals had the best record in not merely the National League but in all of baseball, better than even the Yankees, we invited them to dinner on Sunday, September 2.
I missed the boat on jellied veal, it needing a trip to the butcher shop on Capitol Hill. I had planned to have red snapper, but the fish store had no red snapper, not even for ready money, as Oscar Wilde would say. So I went with trout amandine. Trout Amandine has to be dipped in flour. I just left mine unfloured and went ahead.  They told us about their house that they are buying in Alexandria and about the Alice in Wonderland themed wedding they had gone to. (Neither the guests nor the bride and groom wore costumes.)
If you are unfamiliar with cooking fish but would like to try it, trout is good. It's relatively inexpensive, mildly flavored and the fish man cuts off the heads so you don't have the eye looking at you.

Trout Amandine

6 trout fillets
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup vegetable oil or peanut oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1. Dip the fillets in the milk and let stand until ready to cook.
2. Blend the flour with salt and pepper. Drain the fillets, but do not dry. Dip them in seasoned flour.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the fillets until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to a warm serving platter. wipe out the skillet.
4. Add the butter to the skillet and cook until butter just begins to brown. Cook the almonds in the butter and pour them over the fish.
Serves three to six.


Cucumber Marmalade

After I  made the  Winchester Center  Bread and Butter pickles, I was faced with another dilemma , vis , what to do with the rest of my baseball  bat sized friends. The obvious solution was cucumber marmalade.  Cucumber marmalade is one of these recipes that grew out of an abundance of something; clams,  avocados,  carrots, anything. Especially when you think  back to the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, when oranges were so rare for most people that  children received them in their stockings at Christmas, making marmalade of whatever came to hand made a lot of sense.                                                      
As  a result , the Northeast section of the cookbook has  recipes for carrot  marmalade,  cucumber marmalade, lime marmalade (see  April 2010 for that one) , quince marmalade and tomato marmalade.  The  Midwest weighs in with recipes for rhubarb marmalade and tomato marmalade.So, you get the gist.  Mid  20th Century home canners and their mothers could make marmalade out of nearly anything in the vegetable line. If cucumber seems to be a peculiar flavor for  your  morning  toast, fear  not. What this mostly tastes like and looks like is lemon  marmalade. It has 2 tablespoons of grated lemon rind and a third of a cup of lemon juice. Cucumbers just provide bulk.
This is actually a great recipe.  Those of you who remember my struggles with marmalade  at the  beginning of the blog will appreciate the fact that this recipe can  be made as written.  The author did not omit the words "for two  more hours" after  boil until thick. It says  boil for one minute, and it means boil for  one minute. Part  of that I believe is due to the  pectin.
Pectin, according to our Wikipedia  friends, comes from the Greek word meaning "partially congealed." It is made from citrus fruits and  used to thicken jams and jellies. I had actually never used it  before, thus my struggles with getting jelly to jell. The stuff is a failed jelly makers dream. Just sprinkle it in and bingo, congealment occurs.

 Cucumber  Marmalade

1 1/2  pounds cucumbers peeled,seeded,  and chopped finely or ground (two cups) (Use the food processor.)
 4 cups of sugar
 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/3 cup  lemon juice
 yellow food coloring
1/2 bottle fruit pectin

1. Place the cucumber pulp   in a  large saucepan . Stir  in the sugar,   lemon rind, lemon  juice and a few drops of   food coloring and mix well.
2.   Place over high  heat  and  bring to a full rolling  boil. Boil  hard  one  minute , stirring   constantly .
3.  Re move from heat  and  immediately stir in the pectin. With a metal spoon,skim off foam . Stir and skim for five minutes to coll slightly and prevent floating cucumber. (If  you wish to enter  your jams and jellies in contests at the county fair ,  I have it on excellent authority that floating fruit is a very bad thing.)
4. Ladle into  hot sterilized jelly glasses and cover with one-eighth inch of  hot paraffin wax.  Coo l , cover and store in a cool,dark dry  place.                          
Makes six  half pints.