Tag Archives: recipe

Much ado about lunch

22 Apr

IN A PAST LIFE, we’re sure we were among the ladies-who-lunch set. A crisply set table with flowers, linen and crystal with dainty plates of loveliness — we’re home.

Among the most adorable retro lunches is the famous mandarin orange souffle at Neiman Marcus.

The luncheon plate, shown here, is an unmitigated plating disaster circa 1980s. It is a matchy-matchy cylindrical composition including a mound of almond-studded chicken salad, fruit salad, poppy seed dressing, and a small muffin (we like banana bread with walnuts).

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard, such as Colman’s
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated onion, plus the juice released by grating
1 cup safflower or canola oil
1-1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 lb. cooked chicken breasts, cut into ½″ cubes
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup halved purple grapes
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ cup whipped cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine chicken, mayonnaise, celery, grapes, almonds, parsley, and salt in a bowl.
Add whipped cream and pepper; fold to combine.

Not to be neglected: The glistening molded souffle is topped with two mandarin orange segments placed back to back in the shape of a butterfly. Or is that repairing an unmolding disaster?
Who cares? Following are two recipes: one for individual molds, the other for a larger ring mold from our beloved Best of Bridge. We’re thinking the ring mold version will be a tad easier.

1-1/4 cups orange juice (preferably from concentrate, thawed and diluted)
1 tablespoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup canned mandarin orange sections (4-ounce can)

1. Pour 1/4 cup of the orange juice into a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over, and stir to dissolve. Seat aside to let the gelatin soften. Prepare and ice bath in a large bowl.
2. Pour the remaining orange juice into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir in the sugar and egg yolks. Over medium heat, gradually bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to steam and is slightly thickened. do not allow the mixture to boil. Add the softened gelatin mixture (which will have a rubbery texture) and the lemon juice. Stir until incorporated and then transfer the “custard” to a clean mixing bowl; sit the bowl in the ice bath to cool. While the custard is cooking, stir it occasionally.
3. Using a wire whisk or an electric whisk, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold some of the whipped cream into the cooled custard mixture to “loosen” it, then add the rest of the cream mixture and fold in until fully incorporated.
4. Place three or four of the mandarin orange sections in the bottom of six individual 5-ounce fluted plastic dessert molds and then fill the molds with the orange souffle mixture. Place the molds on a cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4
hours, and preferably overnight, until firm. Carefully unmold.
Serves 6.


Source: “The Best of Bridge” 1984
This recipe appeared word for word in the LA Times, but our BoB ladies renamed it.


2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
Dash salt
4 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups orange juice (about 10 oranges)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup orange sections, cut in halves
2 cups whipping cream, whipped

1 cup mayonnaise
Dash wine vinegar
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced celery
Salt, pepper
Toasted sliced almonds

Combine gelatin, sugar and salt in saucepan. Set aside.
Beat egg yolks with 1 cup orange juice. Stir into gelatin mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining orange juice, orange and lemon zest. Chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds when dropped from a spoon.
Stir in orange sections. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into 2-quart ring mold. Chill until set.

Mix together mayonnaise, vinegar and whipping cream. Add chicken and celery and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Unmold Orange Souffle onto serving plate. Fill center of mold with Chicken Salad. Garnish with sliced almonds.
6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings: 748 calories; 363 mg sodium; 293 mg cholesterol; 44 grams fat; 70 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 0.21 gram fiber.

Now and then

11 Sep


We would never dream of monkeying with our recipe for spaghetti carbonara. How chopped bacon and onion have their slippery way with noodles, the creamy egg yolk and parmesan coating every strand, the gorgeous grassy bites of fresh parsley. Perfection. True, we’ve slipped in a dash of red pepper flakes and a weensy bite of garlic, but they are truly unnecessary. We astonished our younger self making this for a family dinner after clipping ripping it from Seventeen Magazine (circa 1980-something-embarrassing, see below). So simple. So perfect.

NYC carbonara

NYC carbonara 2

After hearing us moan on and on about this hoarded cherished recipe, our betrothed took his first crack at this recently:

doug's carbonara

And wouldn’t you know it. It turned out perfectly. Sigh. Is there anything that man can’t do?

Spaghetti Carbonara

Recipe adapted from Seventeen Magazine
UPDATE: We like one egg and 1/4 pound or 113ish grams 4 oz) of pasta per person, so just multiply that for a group. If you’re boiling a pound/454 grams/16 oz, that’s for four so use four eggs. We also now beat the eggs and mix in the cheese, minced parsley, black pepper (a splash of heavy cream if we have it). Makes stirring into hot noodles coated with bacon-ey goodness that much easier


8cf3eefd-6be4-44d2-a9ee-560333bb7b98a1c81474-f833-42c6-99ab-0c3cc9ca112c4 quarts water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lb bacon

1/2 medium onion, chopped

16 oz thin spaghetti (we served three people using 3/4 of a box)

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chicken broth

3 eggs

1/2 cup chopped parsley

3/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring water to boil. In the meantime, chop bacon into 1 inch pieces, chop onion, parsley. Brown bacon and remove, draining all but 2 tbsp fat. Add onion to pan and saute until soft. Add bacon again. When spaghetti is cooked, drain but reserve some starchy water. Pour chicken broth into pan and scrape up browned bits. Add spaghetti and toss in butter, stirring until butter melts.

Remove skillet from heat. Add three raw eggs and stir quickly to blend. The heat from the noodles will cook them nicely; leaving the skillet on the stove would scramble them. The noodles should be loose enough to stir easily. If they are too tight, add reserved water to loosen.

Mix in parsley, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Toss well until cheese is evenly distributed. Serve immdiately. Makes four servings.

Mario Batali’s

  • 1/2 pound guanciale (or pancetta or good bacon)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  1. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, render and cook the guanciale until it is crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not drain the fat from pan and set aside.
  2. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the spaghetti, until tender yet al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving the pasta cooking water.
  3. Reheat the guanciale in the pan with the fat and add approximately 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss in the cooked spaghetti and heat, shaking the pan, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add the grated cheese, egg whites and black pepper and toss until fully incorporated. Divide the pasta among 4 warmed serving bowls. Make a nest in the center for the egg yolk. Gently drop an egg yolk into each serving, season with more freshly ground black pepper and grate additional cheese over the top. Serve immediately.


Since preparing carbonara in our teenhood, we’ve adapted a signature way of preparing other baconish pasta. Our favourite on-the-fly pasta (a spicy tomato clam dish) begins with adding olive oil to a hot pan, followed by a sprinkling of sea salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and… wait for it… a few slices of pepperoni. We routinely save some thin rounds in freezer bags for such emergencies. Sliced into matchsticks, the pepperoni fat and flavour melts into the oil, making it positively dreamy. Once things are sizzling and smelling like heaven, we add a drained can of clams and some fresh garlic. True story. When they’ve had a good bath, we pour in a can of diced tomatoes with their juice and let the whole thing simmer. We’ve dared to add a splash of wine, a shot of vodka, or a splosh of beer to the bubbling mix as we allow it to reduce ever so slightly.

A sprinkling of fresh parsley and a bit of parmesan as you’re serving, and you’re done. Yum!

It’s a versatile dish. You can forgo said clams in favour of shrimp, salmon chunks, or anything else you can think of.

Oh. So. Saucy.

7 Sep

True to our name, we are saucy. We also have an ongoing tie for best burger sauce. And we have a recipe for neither.

We still swoon over the dynamite green apple barbecue sauce served atop our burgers at Victoria, B.C.’s Blue Fox Cafe.

New York’s Shake Shack has a secret sauce, but we have yet to successfully replicate its velvety goodness. Oh well, at least we knicked their tomato-simmered onions recipe, below.


The Fake Shack (or the Shack Burger at Home) by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt who posted at A Hamburger Today

– makes about 3/4 cup sauce –

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary.


Shake Shack Tomato-Simmered Onions
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup tomato puree
salt to taste
In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onions and season with a large pinch of salt. Cook until very soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add vinegar to pan and simmer  for 10 minutes. Add tomato puree and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over hot dog and burgers.

Todd Wilbur’s In-n-Out sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons finely minced white onion
1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced dill pickle relish
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
Deluxe Mayonnaise
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp barbecue sauce

Big Mac Special Sauce
• 1/3 cup mayonnaise
• 2 tsp pickle relish
• 2 tsp ketchup
• 2 tsp sugar
• 2 tsp yellow mustard
• 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate.

another version:
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of French dressing
4 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. stir well.
Place sauce in a covered container and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight), so that the flavors blend.

Stir the sauce a couple of times as it chills.
Makes about ¾ cup