Archive | May, 2012

Pasta Primavera

28 May

We are crushing on Ricky Lauren’s new cookbook, The Hamptons: Food, Family, and History. Her pasta with Hamptons summer vegetables is very similiar to Le Cirque’s Spaghetti Primavera recipe from 1977, found at bottom.

Ricky Lauren

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil and saute 1/3 cup of pine nuts and 2 cloves of minced garlic until golden brown, 2-3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of sliced mushrooms and sweat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add a mix of lightly steamed vegetables (1 cup sliced green and yellow zucchini, 1 cup broccoli florets (try rapini), 1 cup baby carrots, 6 asparagus spears) 1 cup snap peas, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, a half cup of basil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 cup of the parmesan, and another 1/4 cup basil.

Serve over 1 lb of capellini, accompanied with the remaining 1 cup of

Parmesan for sprinkling.

Serves 4 to 6.


Maybe they were listenting to Barbra Streisand singing the love theme from A Star Is Born, or maybe they were getting down to Brick House.

They may have been talking about Annie Hall or Star Wars while drinking Martini and Rossi Austi Spumanti.

Whatever. If it was 1977, they were most certainly eating pasta primavera, made famous by Le Cirque and served well into the 1980s everywhere.

Reviled now by some — Amanda Hesser says it became an absurdity of 1980s so-called seasonal cooking — others didn’t seem to mind its heavy cream sauce fighting with delicate spring veggies.

1977: Le Cirque’s Spaghetti Primavera
The Times by Craig Claiborne with Pierre Franey

1 bunch broccoli
2 small zucchini, unpeeled
4 asparagus spears
1 1/2 cups green beans
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
3/4 cup fresh or frozen pea pods
1 tablespoon peanut, vegetable or corn oil
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced hot red or green chili, or 1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups 1-inch tomato cubes
6 basil leaves, chopped
1 pound spaghetti
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream, approximately
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Trim broccoli and break into florets. Trim off ends of the zucchini. Cut into quarters, then cut into 1-inch or slightly longer lengths (about 1 1/2 cups). Cut each asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Trim beans and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Cook each of the green vegetables separately in boiling salted water to cover until crisp but tender. Drain well, then run under cold water to chill, and drain again thoroughly. Combine the cooked vegetables in a bowl.

Cook the peas and pods; about 1 minute if fresh; 30 seconds if frozen. Drain, chill with cold water and drain again. Combine with the vegetables.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the peanut oil and add the mushrooms. Season to taste. Cook about 2 minutes, shaking the skillet and stirring. Add the mushrooms, chili and parsley to the vegetables.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan and add half the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook about 4 minutes. Add the basil.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and add the remaining garlic and the vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring gently, until heated through.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until almost (but not quite) tender, retaining a slight resilience in the center. Drain well.

In a pot large enough to hold the spaghetti and vegetables, add the butter and melt over medium-low heat. Then add the chicken broth and half a cup each of cream and cheese, stirring constantly. Cook gently until smooth. Add the spaghetti and toss quickly to blend. Add half the vegetables and pour in the liquid from the tomatoes, tossing over very low heat.

Add the remaining vegetables. If the sauce seems dry, add 3 to 4 tablespoons more cream. Add the pine nuts and give the mixture a final tossing.

Serve equal portions of the spaghetti mixture in hot soup or spaghetti bowls.

Spoon equal amounts of the tomatoes over each serving. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main course; 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

Apparently, using zucchini creates a creamy sauce when they are cooked down, according to Cook’s Country:

6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 small garlic clove, minced, plus 4 cloves, sliced thin

Salt and pepper

1 pound spaghetti

1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick

⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut on bias into 1-inch lengths

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

¼ cup minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup grated

Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

Toss tomatoes in 1 tbsp oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Cook, drain and return pasta to pot.

Heat 3 tbsp oil, add zucchini, pepper flakes, sliced garlic, salt until zucchini breaks down 10-15 minutes. Add other vegetables and 3/4 cup water and simmer. cook until asparagus is crisp-tender.

add with chives,lemon juice and 2 tbsp oil to pasta and toss. top with tomatoes and juice and sprinkle mint and pecorino. Serve with more pecorino

London Broil

25 May

london broil
The March 1978 Seventeen recipe page for London broil, tomatoes and bread crumbs, ranch bread, and potato sticks (?) is a curiousity.

We are tinkering with a marinade for flank steak:

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper

For now, we’ll just try this recipe from The Hamptons: Food, Family, and History by Ricky Lauren.

“One of the first meals that I mastered was London broil with baked potatoes and simple steamed vegetables. I made it for Ralph and the children because it was an easy, quick meal to prepare. It was a dinner they often requested, and it became a basic meal that I could count on in my gradually growing repertoire. As my confidence grew, I started to prepare it for weekend guests.”

London Broil with Creamy Horseradish Sauce
Serves 6

For the London broil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 to 21/2 pounds flank steak or top round

For the creamy horseradish sauce
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives

To make the London broil: To make the marinade, mix together all the ingredients except the meat. Place the meat in a shallow dish and cover with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before cooking. Preheat a grill to high, oil the grate, and set it 5 to 6 inches above the coals. (Alternatively, preheat the broiler to high and set a rack 5 to 6 inches below the heat source.)

Remove the meat from the marinade (discard the marinade) and pat it dry with paper towels. Grill (or broil on a broiler pan) on each side for 6 minutes for rare or 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a carving board and let stand for 8 to 10 minutes. Slice the meat at a 45-degree angle across the grain and serve with the horseradish sauce.

To make the creamy horseradish sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve in a ramekin beside the meat.

Pressing Information

23 May

Yikes. Look what passed for “cooking” in the early 1980s.

This hilarious “sandwich machine how to,” courtesy of Seventeen Magazine September 1982, is just too much.

We must confess, somewhere in the depths, we have a similar sandwich press. Its sole purpose is for autostrato toasts: crisp little panini of soppressata, mortadella, provolone, dijon-garlic mayo, with warm marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

From Seventeen:

“Here’s a sandwich grill that beats an ordinary skillet, and you don’t even need a stove. Plug in Oster’s Hot and Toasty anywhere. Fix yourself a special snack of three favourite foods: creamy peanut butter, crunchy apple slices, and pieces of a chocolate bar, melted together between white bread. It’s practically dessert!”

“To make yourself an at-home variation of a Danish pastry: grill cream cheese and jelly — any flavour you fancy — on triangles of cinnamon-swirled raisin bread.”

“We heartily recommend a health-wich, sided by alfalfa sprouts and avocado slices. It’s whole grain bread with a melted Muenster or Swiss cheese filling, studded with avocado slices and sprinked with chili powder and bacon bits (for an extra crunch).”


Can’t say we would ever make this, but in the interest in retro Seventeen recipes, we found this one online, year unknown.

Hi-top Sandwich
(one serving)

2 eggs, separated
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Toast two slices of bread on one side only. Place one slice of American cheese on untoasted sides and one slice of tomato on top, place in broiler or toaster oven (on broil setting) to melt cheese slightly and warm tomato. top with one or two slices of onion.

Mix two egg yolks in small bowl with mayo and mustard, add salt and pepper to taste, should have a bit of zing to it. Whip two egg whites in bowl until peaks are barely stiff. Carefully mix in egg yolk mixture thoroughly but try to keep egg whites as stiff as possible.

Pour mixture over toast, put in broiler again until egg mixture is lightly browned, should only be a couple minutes. Watch carefully.

Baked Chocolate Bars

17 May

I know, I know. I’ve fallen down the retro rabbit hole.
But here’s a summer-worthy treat featured at the NY World’s Fair.

Seventeen Magazine, February 1964
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 baking powder
1/2 butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
9 bars (about 1 1/2 oz. each) milk chocolate (These would have been 5 cent bars from 1964!)

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Cream butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in brown sugar, then egg and vanilla. Add sifted flour mixture, stirring with a spoon until well blended. Chill dough.
Divide dough in half. Roll out one half to a 9 X 13-inch rectangle between two sheets of waxed paper. Remove one of the sheets from the dough and turn (dough-side down) into a 9 X 13-inch pan. Remove waxed paper. Arrange candy bars over dough to cover entire surface. Roll out remaining half of dough. Place on top of chocolate. Press dough against sides and corners of pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
Cool, then cut into 24 squares.
Delicious warm or cold.

Watermelon Cake

17 May

From the August 1964 Seventeen:

“Don’t throw the seeds away. They’re chocolate. You can even eat the shell take a bite it’s sweet as a watermelon and light as air our angel-food surprise. you make it with a mix, tint part pink, part green, bake it in a mixing bowl — and take it outdoors to eat on a lazy back-yard afternoon or summer night.”

watermelon cake

Crabby Mad Menu

14 May

It’s true. Mad Men at Trader Vic’s. Mai tais and crab rangoon.

Polynesian hor d’oeuvre Crab Rangoon
Trader Vic’s Pacific Island Cookbook by Vic Bergeron (Doubleday 1968)
½ pound crab meat
½ pound cream cheese
½ teaspoon A1 steak sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Won ton squares
1 egg, beaten

Chop crab meat and blend with cream cheese, steak sauce and garlic powder.
Put ½ teaspoon of mixture in center of wonton. Fold square over cornerwise. Moisten edges slightly with beaten egg and twist. Deep fry until golden. Serve hot.

Mother’s Day

12 May

Hooray for spring but more importantly, hooray for moms.
Thanks to the wonderful Lori for this 1980s classic from Seventeen:

mother's day 2

Tuna, Parsley, Walnut Salad in a Pastry Shell

12 May

We have been secretly wanting to make this 1980s Seventeen magazine recipe for years. It’s an elegant take on tuna salad with parsley walnut pesto nestled in a pâte à choux shell. Plus avocado. Simple but sure to be a show stopper.

Not sure what year this page was from, as I only have a photocopy that’s partially cut off!


“Tuna salad takes on new elegance the way Elizabeth serves it here. It’s easy but impressive — for a meal that begins and ends with summer-fresh ideas.”

Pastry Shell
3/4 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tbsp softened butter

Tuna Salad with Parsley-Walnut Dressing
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cans (7 oz each) tuna, drained
1 tbsp lemon juice

1 ripe avocado
Lettuce leaves

Pre-heat oven to 400*. Prepare the puffy pastry shell: In a medium-size saucepan, cook milk and butter over medium heat until butter melts and milk almost boils. Remove mixture from heat, and with a wooden spoon, beat in flour and salt all at once.

Return to low heat, and stir vigorously for about 1 minute, til batter leaves sides of pan and clings to spoon.
Remove from heat, and let cool 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition (use an electric mixer or a wire wisk). After you’ve added the eggs, the batter will be smooth and glossy.
Grease a 9-inch pie plate thoroughly with the softened butter. Spoon in batter; spread evenly.
Bake at 400 for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and set on a wire rack to cook for 10 minutes. Shell will collapse slightly. Carefully remove shell from pie plate, and let it cook completely before filling.
Meanwhile, prepare tuna salad: Break off stems from parsley. Fill a measuring cup with enough leaves to measure 1 cup when pushed down slightly. Put parsley in food processor bowl or blender along with walnuts, garlic, salt, and half the oil. Whirl several times seconds. Scrape down sides, and whirl again while pouring in the remaining oil. In a mixing bowl, break up tuna, leaving some chunks. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss with parsley-walnut dressing.
Assemble salad: Cut avocado in half, remove pit, peel each half, and slice lengthwise. If not serving immediately, dip the slices in a mixture of 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 cup water, so they won’t darken. Line cooled shell with lettuce leaves, place avocado slices around edge, and spoon tuna salad in center.
Cut into pie-shaped wedges. Serves 4.

Cinco De Mayo

2 May

Cinco de Mayo is upon us.

So festive! We’ve been experimenting with slow cooked carne asada and carnitas for the past few years. We love stuffed roasted poblanos, and we’ve added a strong list of tacos to our arsenal: bright orange and cilantro chicken, sweet potato, lime and and chipotle chicken, and shrimp and fish.

And we recently acquired granite molecajete. Ole.

So, while we have a satisfying collection of tried and true recipes, here are two very basic condiments that have escaped us: pickled red onions and simple crema for fish tacos.

Cebollas en Escabeche from Rick Bayless
1 small red onion, peeled and cut in half
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Thinly slice the onions with mandoline. Add to a non-reactive bowl. Pour boiling water over to wilt them for about 10 seconds. Drain immediately.
Add back to empty bowl, and pour lime juice over, stirring in salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Will last for a week or more in the refrigerator.

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream or heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup milk
Mix together.

1/2 very small green cabbage, coarsely grated
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch Maldon sea salt
Combine everything together and let it sit for 20 minutes. The cabbage will wilt slightly, but will retain its crunch.