Wednesday, May 13, 2009

vintage delights

I am a self-admitted magazine addict and my penchant for food mags definitely rank high on the addiction list. I am also a bit of a pack rat and am partial to keeping years upon years of back-issues of foodie magazines of all types, size, shape and form to thumb through for seasonal inspiration. They are great reference and good quality recipes never seem to go out of style. When Gourmet and its sister magazine, bon appetit, recently underwent a slick new makeover which modernized the content and food imagery, it was a move in the right direction. Now I am positively hooked.

So when we were approached to inherit a vintage collection of Gourmet magazines, there was no question of what we would do. It was one thing to now be the proud owner of this fabulous collection, but another to know the right thing to do with them. Clearly these magazines were not given to sit idle on the shelf (likely what they were doing in their former years), so we decided to put them to practical use - as such, we are rolling out a 4-part series of classes aimed at revealing each fabulous decade of edible trends. Chef Candice poured over the editions (mildly irritated that the earlier editions were published with no photos) and came up with a sophisticated series of 4 classes that will touch on each the roaring 40's, nifty 50's, swingin' 60's, freedom 70's and classic 80's from late May through August. Aspic, jellies, fish balls... oh, such delicious sounding delicacies! (I promise, we won't be that cruel - although Candice assures me she will throw in an aspic or two.. they are, after all, making a comeback). She has come up with a truly genuine menu reflecting each decade - and these are recipes that you really and truly will serve to your close family and friends. Believe me, I was there for taste test day and have been swearing by the fish balls (aka salt cod fritters in modern day language) ever since. Deelish!

I'll leave you with a recipe from the above photographed May issue, 1960.
This was taken from a curious article entitled "Rabelaisian Salads" - a topic I shall not expand on here so you'll just have to borrow our copy to read more about what that means exactly!
I saw the first signs of Ontario asparagus in the markets this past weekend, so the recipe below is quite timely. Definitely substitute the capon for poached chicken if you are in a pinch. I am envisioning this dish served al fresco on a warm spring day... maybe you'll try it this long May weekend?
Let me know if you do!

Capon and Asparagus Salad
Gourmet Magazine, May 1960

Cut the white meat of a poached capon in thin slices and marinate it in French dressing with 1 chopped shallot.
Snap the tough ends from a large bunch of asparagus and trim the stalks to the same size. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until it is just tender but still crisp. Cool it under running water and marinate it in French dressing (recipe to follow).
Combine 3/4 cup diced cucumber with 1 cup cold cooked rice and bind the mixture with a little mayonnaise.
Marinate 6 cold cooked artichoke bottoms in French dressing for 1 hour. Drain them well and stuff them with the rice mixture. Sprinkle the artichokes with 2 finely chopped truffles. In the center of a large serving platter, arrange the chicken in overlapping slices. Arrange the artichokes alternately with little bundles of asparagus around the chicken.
Serve mayonnaise seasoned with lemon juice separately.

French Dressing
Gourmet Magazine, May 1960

"A salad without dressing is like a spring without a shower, or a bird without song. Only rabbits and other meadow dwellers can happily feast on undressed greens".

To 1/2 cup vinegar - wine, cider, tarragon, or malt - add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper. Stir the mixture well, add 1 1/2 cups olive oil, and beat with a fork until the dressing thickens.
For a creamier, thicker dressing, put an ice cube in the mixing bowl and stir the dressing for a minute or so longer. Or set the mixing bowl into another bowl filled with ice, while the dressing is being stirred. The dressing may be mixed and shaken in a bottle.
If a garlic flavour is desired, hang a clove of garlic by a thread in the bottle containing the vinegar for a least 3 or 4 days before making the dressing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Would Like One Long Weekend Please!

Even if we do love our jobs, we are always looking forward to long weekends...
I know I have a lot of gardening to do and some new recipes to test out!
What will you be doing?

The markets are officially opening this weekend (luscious hanging flower baskets just in time for mother's day!), and should be in full swing next weekend. If you make it down to the Ottawa Farmer's Market at Lansdowne Park, be sure to stop by Pascale's All Natural Ice Cream, a new addition this year. Yum!

Entertaining next weekend and want some idea? We still have a few spots left for Candice's class, Long Weekend Entertaining... Easy ideas for that first weekend at the cottage or picnic!! Learn to incorporate the mysterious quinoa into your meals...

Sustainable Seafood on Tuesday!

A lot of restaurants in the region are now trying to promote sustainable fish and seafood, how can you be part of this at home?

Next Tuesday, the nice folks from The Whalesbone Sustainable Fish and Oyster House will be dropping by, along with chef Susan Jessup, to talk about sensible choices for fish and seafood and why people are changing their habits (or should be!).

The lucky group will sample some delicacies from La Boucanerie in Old Chelsea, learn to clean, cut and cook their own fish, and then, most importantly, sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy!