Showing posts with label Gourmet Magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gourmet Magazine. Show all posts

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pork Chops Scarpariello adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Italian Immigrants bound for the US.
Notice the preponderance of men.
If you frequent good old Italian-American Red Sauce restaurants, you may be well acquainted with a close cousin of this dish: Chicken Scarpariello.  Its origins, however, are not in Italy but in an Italian American kitchen.  Its name, “Scarapiello”, means “Shoemaker”.  If your imagination takes you to an immigrant shoemaker coming home and making this for dinner, you may not be far off base.  When Italians started immigrating to this country from 1890 on, very often the men went on ahead leaving their wives and children behind until they’d established themselves.  Many early Italian immigrants were barely educated and the early waves were full of laborers and, less often, artisans like shoemakers.  The Italian men latched onto ‘padrones’, immigrants who had arrived a few years earlier.  These men handled lodging, savings and work, giving farms and factories a constant labor supply.  Interestingly, around 50 percent of Italians who immigrated to this country from 1900 to 1920, saved all the money they earned and re-patriated to Italy.   These men never even learned the most rudimentary English.  They pined for their homeland and did everything they could to duplicate the cooking of their wives and mothers back in Italy.  “Scarpariello” is one example.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rigatoni with Hot Sausage and Fennel from Gourmet Magazine

First Issue of Gourmet, January 1941
         How we still miss Gourmet!  Some of my earliest childhood memories are listening to my father reading aloud as he and my mother ate vicariously at Gourmet’s table.  The magazine first appeared in 1941.  The United States entered the war shortly thereafter.  Subscribers were urged to keep their issues until the war ended. That way Gourmet’s readers could try the recipes without wartime rationing. While devoted to food and wine, Gourmet also covered “Good Living” which meant that many of my parent’s annual vacations were built around Gourmet’s take on Madrid or Lisbon or London. As to its recipes, while the country wallowed in dishes involving cans of cream of mushroom soup, Gourmet took the high road. I can still hear my father reading, on the subject of Peking Duck, “first wring the bird by its neck until it is dead”.  Gourmet was nothing if not complete.  In many ways, Gourmet was well ahead of its time.  This was driven home to me with this take on pasta from 1990.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicken, Cashew and Spinach Stir-Fry adapted from Gourmet Magazine

         If I could teach one technique that is perfect for weeknight cooking, it would be the stir-fry.  It is the absolutely ideal last minute dinner when you’re not entirely sure when everyone’s getting home.  You put everything in place in advance.  Then, when whomever you are cooking for arrives at the door, you’re ready to have dinner on the table in moments.  In the case of this Asian inspired version of a stir-fry, the cooking time adds up to all of 12 minutes max. That’s kind of hard to beat.  And hard to beat too are the flavors and textures of this dish. The tender chicken, the crunch of the cashews and red pepper, a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes, the green of the spinach—they all come together in a silken sauce that’s better than any Chinese take-out. Come to think of it, if you ordered Chinese, it would probably take longer to get to you than this dinner does. You’ll notice that I served this dish without any sides.  The obvious choice would be a bed of fluffy white rice. But we sometimes skip the carbs and then of course, there’s the matter of Arsenic in Rice.