Thursday, October 17, 2013

50 Chefs for 50 Years, The New Basics and Silver Palate

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The sign of a good book!

Hearty...needs a salad, bread and wine!
 My 50 Chefs for 50 Years continues.  The New Basics is probably the cookbook that changed my life.  The authors are Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.  I find this book much more valuable than The Silver Palate, which I love, and also by the same team. Both books are full of recipes, no color pictures, but lots of tips of the trade, charts of cuts of meat, olives, apples, etc. and cooking charts with suggestions that go with the recipes.  My copy is falling apart, is full of cards, letters, pictures my kids drew, and most importantly, notes alongside the many recipes I have made from this book.  I've missed it, and pulling it out was really a joy.  The inscription inside to me is one of my favorites, from my mom.

As I read through these books, it is a bit of my history.  I write the date and event with my recipes, and remember so many of those days.

Anyone who has ever been to a party at my house knows that the Marinated Shrimp from the Silver Palate is my standard appetizer.  Delicious, beautiful and easy.  And I love soaking up the marinade with a piece of crusty bread! I have also adapted the Palmier recipe a dozen different ways.

But The New Basics is the book I love.  In November 1990, I made Apple Chicken for my neighbors in Grand Rapids, both of whom I still keep in touch.

I made the Roquefort Spread in May 1993, living in Atlanta, when I was very pregnant with Christina.  I borrowed some Port from my friend Tracy and didn't know it was rancid.  I had never had it before and tasted a little glass (it was sickly sweet).  Every pregnant woman's nightmare ensued, and I was sick for over a week. So needless to say the dip was a failure.

I can see us in our last house in TN gathered around the counter with friends and lots of napkins eating Grilled Cumin Shrimp, yum!

Waffles on Easter Sunday?  Yes, from this book in 1992, a full year before Christina was born.

And the showstoppers, Beef Wellington and Stuffed Flank Steak.  Christmas Eve 1991 and 1995, and many, many Christmas Eves to follow.

In 1996, Scott was traveling and Nic wanted Beef Stew, so I obliged, and we had dinner with candles according to my notes.  It was a special night just me and the kids.

We had a snow day in 1997 and I made Olive Rosemary Country Bread.  I have made it many times since!  This is my Better Homes and Garden equivalent.  I have never owned BH&G, but I know it was the go-to book for many home cooks.  The New Basics is the book my kids will fight over one day.    So the dilemma, really, is what to make for the tribute to these fantastic books?

That was easy.  I had friends coming for the weekend, Scott was gone, and I needed something that could be made a little ahead and kept warm.  It had to be hearty and delicious.  Chicken Puttanesca!
This is from The Silver Palate and was a winner all the way around!  I had most of the ingredients on hand, it cooked in under an hour and was perfect for dining outside with a glass or two of wine! Serve it with lots of bread to soak up the amazing sauce!

Chicken Legs Puttanesca
(adapted from The Silver Palate)

3 Tablespoons olive oil
6 chicken thighs, trimmed up

Cook the thighs in hot oil until browned on both sides.  Remove from pan and add,

1 onion, cut into slices
6 cloves garlic, sliced

Sauté until the onion begins to brown a little, do not burn the garlic!  Add

1 can plum tomatoes (around 24oz)

Stir well, breaking up the tomatoes.  Add each of the following ingredients, one at a time.

2 ounces anchovy paste
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup capers
5 sliced, sundried tomatoes packed in oil
1 Tablespoon Italian Herbs
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Your kitchen will smell heavenly!

Add the chicken back to the pan.  Cover and turn the heat down.  Cook for about 1/2 hour or until the chicken is cooked through.  Bread, salad wine....perfection!

Have you missed the previous chefs?  50 Chefs for 50 Years:
#1 Mom, and Steak In A Bag and Ambrosia Pie
#2 Chuck Williams (founder of Williams Sonoma) and Cheese Souffle and Chuck's Zucchini
#3 Dinah Shore, and Corn Crab Cakes with Jalepeño Tartar Sauce
#4 Deborah Madison, and Summer Squash Tatines
#5 & 6 Eli and Max Sussman, and The Best Fall Dinner EVER!
#6 Ina the Barefoot Contessa and Chopped Cape Cod Salad

Stay tuned.  We have a long way to go until I turn 50!  About 9 months......What are you waiting for?  Get in there and cook!

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