Results tagged “apples”

Waldorf salad with Stilton

usa
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Waldorf salad was invented at the very end of the 19th century in New York’s Waldorf Hotel.  Originally it was just celery and apple, dressed well.  Over time other ingredients have been added - walnuts (or pecans), grapes, blue cheese, leaves such as watercress and sometimes chicken breast.  To be quick, you could use shop-bought mayonnaise, or plain yoghurt flavoured with mustard and lemon juice. 

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France: blink and you'll miss it

france
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Well, that was quick.  We've spent the last three days speeding south through France, trying to catch up some of the time we lost hanging about in the rain in England.  What with France actually being quite large, this has meant spending most of our days in the car, only coming out at night to appreciate our surroundings.

Smannapineau0001.JPGBut France being France, that hasn't meant any shortage of interesting culinary activity.  High-quality local specialities have crowded in on us at every turn, and we've learnt all about Norman cider and Pineau des Charentes - with the result that our new fancy car-mounted fridge is now full of both of them.  We've also stocked up on essential preserved food (i.e. confit de canard) for the rocky road ahead - let's see how well that survives the Sahara.

The first thing we noticed as we came out of the Channel Tunnel into France was that it wasn't raining - after a month in England in August that seemed somehow wrong.  The second thing was that it's a long way from Calais to Normandy, but we headed that way anyway so that we could stay at Marie and Pascal Brunet's fruit farm, La Prémoudière, where we arrived extra-late just so that we could wake everyone up by setting off our car alarm ...

Tarte Tatin

france
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Someone pointed out that the ideal pan for pommes Anna was also the ideal one for tarte Tatin.  So true.  So here it is, while you still have the pan out.  Until now I've used the same pan for both.  However - big news - I made my first foray onto eBay a few days ago and very excitingly won the fancy copper pommes Anna pan!  For less than a third its retail price - ha!  Hello eBay...!   The pan arrived today and is stunningly beautiful.  My first copper!   (Please excuse all the horrible exclamation marks, but this really has been an episode of great excitement.)

Anyway, the tarte Tatin is a much more serious matter than the prostitute's favourite potatoes.  Its integrity is fiercely guarded by the Lichonneux Brotherhood of Tarte Tatin, who reside in the tart's hometown of Lamotte-Beuvron in central France.  Check them out before you bake - they're worth it.

Smtartetatin0001.JPGI made this classic French tart for the first time at school several months ago and have since made it several times at home as it is so easy and so delicious.  There are just two tricks:  1) Buy the right apples - they should be able to hold their shape during cooking.  Coxs’ Orange Pippin is supposed to be the best.  Here in the US I’ve had great success with Pink Ladies.  2) Work quickly when making and handling the dough so that the gluten in the flour does not get over-worked and the butter does not start to melt.

PS Some people asked what I was given to cook in my final exam.  Well, we were presented with a duck (dead), some mushrooms, a bunch of chard and several turnips.  Plus there were all the usual store cupboard ingredients.  So, I made mushroom ravioli with a tarragon lemon butter sauce, followed by 'duck three ways' (just to be fancy) - slow-roasted leg, pan-fried breast, a little liver crouton and some ducky brandy sauce - served with sauteed turnip slices with dates and garlicky chard.  There was a recipe for a chocolate cake for dessert which fast became the wonkiest cake I've ever seen.  The rest turned out OK.

Granny Smith apples

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Who was Granny Smith?  The apple is named after Maria Ann Smith, who first propagated the variety in Australia in 1868, apparently by chance.  It is thought to be a cross between a wild species and a domesticated one.  Maria and her husband had been recruited to come to New South Wales from England 30 years earlier due to their agricultural skills.  The apple was then widely grown in New Zealand, then introduced to England in 1935 and the USA in 1972.

A fresh Granny Smith will be bright green, firm, heavy, shiny and with a tight skin, as depicted on the logo of Apple Records, known for releasing Beatles tunes from 1968 onwards (and for fighting with Apple Computers over use of the apple).

Granny Smiths are great for eating, cooking and salads as they are so juicy, crunchy and tart.  They also go brown less quickly than other apples once cut.  To ensure your slices don't go brown you can rub them with a wedge of lemon.

Carlo's Florentine apple cake

italy
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Well, I've had complaints that there hasn't been enough butter or cream in the last couple of recipes, so this week you're getting cake and next week you'll get the ice cream to go with it.  Has anyone attempted the (very healthy) pot stickers or gravlax yet??

This is the first recipe I've sent you that I learnt at culinary school in San Francisco.  We're getting a little more advanced now.  Having done stocks and soups we're now on to oysters and profiteroles (tricky).  Let me know if there's something you want a recipe for and I'll see if I can help..

Carlo's apple cake.jpgI was taught how to make this cake by Carlo Middione, who learnt it from his father, who lived and trained in Italy.  Carlo himself has 50 years of culinary experience and now runs an excellent Italian restaurant in San Francisco called Vivande.  I think the cake is delicious.  If possible, serve it while still warm, with coffee, vin santo, cold zabaglione or ice cream.  I think it goes well with wildflower honey ice cream.  It will keep well in the fridge for a week.
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