Lost Recipes: Meals to Share with Friends and Family

Overview

From:Marion Cunningham
To:The American home cook
Subject (URGENT):The family table

We need to lure our families, friends, and neighbors back to the table, to sit down and eat together. It is important that we be in charge again of our cooking, working with fresh, unadulterated ingredients. Enclosed you will find many simple-to-make, good-tasting, inexpensive dishes from the ...

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Overview

From:Marion Cunningham
To:The American home cook
Subject (URGENT):The family table

We need to lure our families, friends, and neighbors back to the table, to sit down and eat together. It is important that we be in charge again of our cooking, working with fresh, unadulterated ingredients. Enclosed you will find many simple-to-make, good-tasting, inexpensive dishes from the past that taste better than ever today. I urge you to try them.

· Good soups—satisfying one-dish meals that can be made ahead
· Dishes that can be made with what’s on hand—First-Prize Onion Casserole, Shepherd’s Pie, Salmon or Tuna Loaf
· Vegetables baked and ready for the table
· Real salads, substantial enough for lunch or supper, with snappy dressings
· Breads and cookies, puddings and cakes that you loved as a child

PS: There is nothing like the satisfaction of sharing with others something you have cooked yourself

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375411984
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/14/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 690,970
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Oatmeal Soup

In the old days, every kitchen had a soup pot simmering on the back of the stove. That's no longer practical, but we do have refrigerators and freezers to store a bit of cooked rice or pasta, meat scraps, and vegetable trimmings, all of which add flavor and texture to any soup.

So use recipes such as my Emergency Soup, Simple Summer and Simple Winter Vegetable Soups, Turkey Soup, and Mustard Green Soup as guidelines, improvising with what you have on hand. Many of the heartier soups here, such as Cioppino, Seafood Stew, Mulligatawny, and Ham and Bean Soup, can be your main dish for supper or lunch.

Emergency Soup
Makes 8 cups

As a home cook, there are certain lessons that one learns over the years. The one lesson that I learned late was the importance of having a few recipes that could be made quickly if unexpected guests dropped in, or even a neighbor who was lonesome and just needed to share a simple supper to feel better. These recipes are "emergency recipes," and I keep a file of them, ready at all times for the spontaneous meal. They call for ingredients that you need to always have on hand. Emergency Soup is a fine example of what I mean. I serve it with a green salad and warm crackers.

4 cups chicken broth
1 carrot
1 rib celery
1 medium onion
1 cup small shell pasta
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Put the broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Grate the carrot, celery, and onion into the broth. Add the pasta and simmer for 5 minutes. Bite into a pasta shell; when it is tender, the soup is done. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. A lot depends on how highly seasoned your broth is; some canned chicken broths tend to be quite salty.

Serve in bowls and sprinkle with some grated Parmesan cheese.

note: In summer you might replace the carrot, celery, and onion with 2 unpeeled zucchini grated directly into the broth.

About Chicken Broth

A lot of recipes call for a certain amount of chicken broth in either soups or sauces. Today we get excellent canned chicken broths, so there's no need to make your own. But if you do want to and have extra chicken parts such as backbones, necks (if you can get them), and gizzards (not livers), it is very simple to make a flavorful broth. I find that if you get in the habit of cutting up the whole chicken yourself to use the breast, legs, thighs, and wings in a recipe, pretty soon you will collect these leftover parts in your freezer and have enough to make broth.

to make the broth: Just simmer about 2 cups of raw chicken pieces in 2 quarts of water, with a medium onion, a few cut-up carrots, and parsley stems or celery leaves if you have them; season with a little salt and pepper (not too much because the broth cooks down and the flavors intensify). Cook gently for about 11/2 hours, then strain off the broth. And there you have it-about 6 cups of chicken broth to store and use as you wish. And it didn't cost you a cent.

A lot of people use leftover cooked chicken bones to make broth, but I find that the final flavor of the soup lacks character and depth. Because of this, I would recommend using the cooked carcass and adding at least some raw chicken parts to liven up the soup. You can even buy a small package of wings for that purpose.

Gazpacho
Makes 6 cups

This Spanish soup is as lively and appealing as a mariachi. Lovely on a hot summer day.

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (see Note)
5 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 21/2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded, ribbed, and chopped (see Note)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 loaf French bread, trimmed of crust and crumbled (about 4 cups)
4 cups cold water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
A few drops of Tabasco (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Put the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, garlic, and crumbled bread into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the water, vinegar, salt to taste, and Tabasco, if using. Blend the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, being careful to leave a little texture and not blending the soup until completely smooth. Stir in the olive oil and tomato paste, and whisk until completely mixed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

note: To prepare cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and discard them. Cut the cucumber flesh into pieces.

To prepare the bell pepper, cut it in half from stem-top down and scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut the white ribs out and cut the halves into small pieces.

Vichyssoise
Makes 10 cups

This soup from Vichy, France, is usually served cold, but it also makes a hearty meal served hot with toasted buttered rye bread and sliced chilled tomatoes on the side. To make the best chilled Vichyssoise, you should plan ahead and refrigerate the soup, soup bowls, and spoons overnight.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 leeks (white part only), cleaned and thinly sliced (about 31/2 cups)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons salt
11/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
White pepper
Minced fresh chives for garnish

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan or a Dutch oven. Add the leeks and onion, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Stir in the potatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Now scoop up the soup, one ladle at a time, and puree it in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pan, add the milk and a little white pepper, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute.

When ready to serve, taste the soup and correct the seasoning if necessary. Garnish with the minced chives.

note: To clean a leek, cut off the stringy root end, and then cut the leek in half lengthwise. Hold it upside down with the root end closest to you, and run under cold water to wash away the sand and dirt.

Cold Cucumber Soup
with Mint
Makes 4 cups

Think of this soup as "the colder, the better," especially on a warm summer evening. I like it best not overblended, when there are still some rough pieces of cucumber for texture.

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Sour cream, thinned with a little milk, for garnish

Put the cucumbers, chicken broth, milk, cream, and lemon juice into a blender or food processor. Pulse the ingredients together just until roughly blended; you will want to leave some pieces of cucumber unless you opt for a smoother consistency. Add salt to taste and the chopped mint, stirring with a spoon to mix.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Pour into chilled bowls or mugs, and garnish with a swirl of thinned sour cream.

Corn Chowder
Makes 10 cups

This is a supper soup that will make you smile-especially if you serve it with a sliced-heirloom-tomato salad.

3 slices bacon, chopped
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups diced peeled potatoes (almost 1 pound)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 cups frozen corn (or fresh if in season)
11/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Whole nutmeg

Cook the bacon in a large soup pot until crisp. Add the onions and butter, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Put the potatoes in a separate pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork; drain and set aside. Stir the flour into the onion-and-bacon mixture. As soon as the flour is blended smoothly into the mixture, slowly add the milk and stir until well blended and slightly thickened and smooth. Add the corn, potatoes, and seasonings to the soup, and cook for another 5 minutes.

When serving, grate a little nutmeg over each individual portion.

Cioppino
Serves 6

This dish will make you happy if you live in the San Francisco area. It is also good no matter where you live. It is a native San Francisco recipe that is a real winner. Make it once and it will be in your "favorite recipe" file forever. Serve it with bread that has a coarse crust.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped (see Note)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped (see Note)
3 cloves garlic, mashed
4 cups tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon crumbled dried basil
11/2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme
3 pounds clams in shell, scrubbed (see Note)
2 pounds white fish fillets
2 crabs, cooked, cracked, and crabmeat removed (optional)
1/4 cup dry white wine
Pinch of cayenne
Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large kettle, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and sauté until the onions are soft. Add the tomato sauce, water, parsley, basil, and thyme. Partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, add a little more water. Add the clams and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the fish and crabmeat, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, the cayenne, and salt to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes more.

To serve, ladle some of each variety of seafood into each bowl with a generous helping of broth.

note: To prepare the onions, cut them in half through the root ends and remove the papery outside skin. Cut the onions into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise and 1/4-inch slices crosswise.

To prepare the carrots, trim off the tops and peel off the skin. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.

For the seafood, look for clams that are tightly closed. Once home, if a clam will not close when it's tapped lightly on a counter, discard it. If you are purchasing cooked crabs for the Cioppino, ask to smell them to ensure their freshness. They should not smell too fishy. In addition, most stores will crack them for you, making it much easier to remove the crabmeat.

Seafood Stew
Serves 4

Seafood Stew was one of the all-time favorite recipes in many of the cooking classes that were given across the country in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The key to its success is brief cooking and making sure you buy fresh seafood. When I buy fish or seafood at the supermarket, I open the package as soon as I get into my car and smell the fish. If it doesn't have a pleasing aroma, I take it back into the store and return it. The seafood should smell "briny," not "fishy." The principle of this preparation is to use some of the seafood to make a full-flavored base and then add the rest of it to give the stew a lively fresh flavor.

1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound prawns or shrimp, shelled and deveined (see Note)
1 pound scallops
2 cups canned Italian tomatoes, with liquid (one 16-ounce can)
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
2 bay leaves, broken into several pieces
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Pour the olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for only 1 minute, stirring constantly so the garlic loses its rawness; if the garlic is browned, the taste will become acrid. Stir in 1/2 cup of the prawns and scallops combined. Chop the tomatoes roughly and add them and their liquid along with the wine, oregano, sugar, bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, allowing the mixture to bubble gently. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining prawns and scallops, and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the parsley.

note: To devein the prawns or shrimp, use the tip of a sharp knife to make a small cut down the back of each prawn from one end to the other and then remove the gray-black vein. Rinse the prawn with cold water. The intestinal vein contains grit and should always be removed.

Cream of Tomato Soup
Makes 7 cups

Who doesn't remember this soup from childhood? There is nothing better than a warm bowl of Cream of Tomato Soup along with a few crackers to cure whatever is ailing you.

3 cups chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh, if in season, or canned) (see Note)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 tablespoon honey
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the onions are softened but not browned. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and continue to cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, honey, salt, and basil, and continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and bring just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and push through a strainer using the back of a large spoon. Taste and correct the seasoning. Reheat before serving.

note: The flavor of the tomatoes is critical to this soup. If garden-fresh tomatoes are not available or in season, canned tomatoes will give this soup more flavor.

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