Archive for October 2009

Happy Halloween

Suspiria, 1977

Rosemary's Baby, 1968

While I did not carve any pumpkins this year, I did go to Halloweekend at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, I watched Argento's 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria (by myself!), and I have put together a costume for the first time in years. I am going to be Rosemary Woodhouse from Rosemary's Baby, running around in a baby doll nighty with flats and a pixie wig. I might even be carrying Satan's child wrapped up in a bundle. I have always loved Halloween and the campiness of it all and, as I was looking at photos of pumpkins and caramel apples on line, I regretted not making a bigger deal out of my favorite holiday. Thankfully, there is always next year. Along with candy apples and pumpkin carving I will be serving a version of this Vampire Kiss Martini. Happy Halloween!

Vampire Kiss Martini

1.5 oz chilled vodka
1.5 oz champagne
3/4 oz chambord

Rim a martini glass with red sugar or garnish with raspberry syrup. Pour vodka and Chambord into the glass, top with champagne and pour remaining Chambord over the back of a spoon to make it float. Retract fangs and slurp away.

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I feel great, well pretty good, but that doesn't mean that things aren't going on around me. I mean the news is horrible. IRAs, healthcare, debt, unemployment, war, bombs. We're in a depression. And as if by magic, I'm doing some of the same things they did in the 40's when money was tight, but I only now realized it.

Take for instance the hair and makeup during the time. I'm so into it right now that I bought red lipstick and got out the curlers. See, the gals during that time couldn't spend money on clothes, so they got creative and put in a little more effort. Hence, styles got big and bold above the neck.

Bottom two images are by Irving Penn who died October 7th, 2009. What a body of work he has left us.

And isn't it ironic that a magazine that started during the Depression, closes down in the next one. R.I.P. Gourmet. Below are three cocktails they featured in the 40's.

Tequila Cocktail

January 1949
In our early days, Mexico was a popular exotic travel destination, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising to see so many reader requests for tequila recipes. This response to a letter to the editor from someone who’d returned with a bottle of the agave spirit is pretty close to a Margarita. Why not? It works.

Tequila is at its best if not too diluted, but we will compromise and give you something palatable.

Pour into a cocktail shaker, with ice cubes, the juice of 1/2 lime, 1 teaspoon sugar or 4 dashes grenadine, and 2 ounces tequila. Shake well and serve in cocktail glasses.

Bijou Cocktail

October 1941
The Dry Martini is the world’s leading appetizer with a spirits base. Recipe guides and such still advise you to make your Martini with 1 part Vermouth and 2 parts gin, but the average Martini drinker appreciates the drier flavor of a 3-to-1 ratio. Since a drink as simple and satisfying as the Dry Martini was just too good to leave well enough alone, there have appeared through the decades literally hundreds of recipes that were, in effect, Martinis with a dash of this or that added. A Sweet Martini merely substitutes Italian vermouth for French vermouth, and, consistently enough, substitutes a sweet maraschino cherry for the dry olive as a garnish. Add half an ounce of Green Chartreuse to your Sweet Martini and you’ve got what is known as a Bijou cocktail.

To summarize: In a cocktail shaker 3/4 full of ice, combine 1 jigger gin and ½ ounce each of sweet vermouth and green Chartreuse. Stir for about 20 seconds, adding more ice if the ice becomes submerged. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Mary Pickford Cocktail (known for her curls)

May 1943
Though the recipe doesn’t say so, you should fill a cocktail shaker 3/4 of the way with cracked ice, shake the ingredients well, and strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass.

An old favorite with us. Take 2 ounces Gold Label rum, 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice, a dash of grenadine, and a dash of maraschino—these last to taste. Must be very cold to be good.

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Farm Country

I found myself driving through a little bit of "corn country" this weekend as I happened to be reading Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. On my way to Sandusky, Ohio to ride the great roller coasters at Cedar Point, we watched the leaves changing colors on the trees and drove past the corn fields and rustic farms that spread for miles past the highway. As Micheal Pollan talked about the history and ethics of farms growing modified corn, feedlots, processed foods and high fructose corn syrup, all I wanted to do was jump out of the car and run through them. I couldn't help but romanticize life on the farm for a minute or two.

and of course, my farm wedding and many bridesmades

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Korean BBQ

dinner at San Soo Gab San

purusing the aisles at Joong Boo market

I have been a huge fan of Korean BBQ ever since my first experience three years ago at San Soo Gab San, a Chicago favorite among my friends. Known for it's sassy waiters and late night hours, I have enjoyed a hand full of meals at this hole in the wall...the only thing keeping me from frequenting it more often is its far North location on Western Ave. As you sit around a table with a grill placed at it's center, a minimum of two waitresses bring out a myriad of side dishes to nibble on, including potato salads, crispy glass noodles, pickled black beans and vegetables to name a few. The fun of this style of BBQ is the interactive experience of cooking your main entree yourself over the hot flames. Typically you wrap your entree (usually some form of marinated beef, pork, octopus or squid) with rice and sriracha in a lettuce leaf which you eat with your hands. So tasty! Always up to a culinary adventure, when my friend Chanel suggested we host a Korean BBQ dinner at her house, I was more than excited.

Our day began with a trip to Joong Boo market at 3333 N. Kimball Ave. A gem of a grocery store surprisingly close to my house, I was blown away by their amazing selection of fresh fish, produce, sesame oils, vinegars, srirachas, coconut milks and cooking supplies all at ridiculously affordable prices. We acquired all of the items necessary to create beef and tofu Korean BBQ as well as some of our favorite side dishes.

My job was to toast and grind sesame seeds to a powder. At first they smelled like burnt popcorn and I thought I had toasted them a little too long but, Chanel assured me that they were supposed to smell like that. I then ground them with a mortar and pestle until they were a nice powder. She then added them to a marinade of garlic, pear apple, ginger, rice wine vinegar, sugar, green onion, and soy sauce for the the thinly sliced tenderloin we would later grill on the make-shift bbq.

For our side dishes we sauteed some bean sprouts in a spicy sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and rice wine vinegar. Chanel sauteed some enoki mushrooms in sesame oil, and we put together some bowls of kimchee, chilled octopus salad, spicy shredded dried squid, and seaweed salad that we purchased from the deli at the market. We then steamed some rice and put out the plate of lettuce. We completed our meal with an assortment of mochi candies in cute little packages.

The meal was a huge success! More than anything, I am excited to go back to Joong Boo market to puruse the aisles, pick up a Japanese mandolin for slicing vegetables, and sample more items from the deli.

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