Obituaries and Recipes

Obituaries are not my favorite reading –  in fact, I usually avoid them – the looming specter of mortality best left ignored – unless it’s news of someone famous.  One in the New York Times today caught my eye – Annemarie Huste, the Chef Who Said Too Much.   Annemarie Huste was able to glean her fame from getting fired by Jacqueline Kennedy, and her obituary prompted me to look for more about her.

Featured in a 1968 Weight Watchers magazine article, “Jackie Kennedy’s Gourmet Chef Presents Her Weight Watchers Recipes,” which led to her dismissal, Huste saw herself as a potential rival to Julia Child, with her own television show. The televised series never materialized but she did make it to you tube.  Here is a clip of her, sounding a little like Arnold Schwarzenegger – Preserving Lemons and Limes with Chef Annemarie.

Her fifteen minutes of fame also led to the publication of her own cookbooks and a cooking school.

Her cookbooks are still available for a penny a pound, and I found one of her recipes in hustebook  Annemarie’s Personal Cookbook – a worthwhile legacy.

Pistachio Ice Cream

4 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
Green food coloring
1 1/2 cups chopped pistachio nuts

Pour heavy cream into a bowl and whip until slightly stiff. Add the sugar and almond extract and beat thoroughly. Add a drop or two of food coloring (easy does it). Fold in the pistachio nuts. Pour mixture into a mold or other container and place in the freezer.

After 1 hour, stir the cream gently so that the nuts are well distributed and don’t sink to the bottom. Finish freezing for at least 6 hours or overnight.

41t3aivw88l-_bo1204203200_  Her recipe for chocolate mousse from her Cooking School Cookbook rivals Julia Child.

Ridiculously Fast Chocolate Mousse 

Yield: 3 servings (can easily be doubled, tripled or more)6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons Kahlua
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

  1.  In a small pot on low heat, melt the chocolate in the Kahlua and orange juice, and set aside to cool.
  2. Put the egg yolks, eggs, vanilla and sugar in a blender or food processor; blend for 2 minutes on medium high speed. Add the heavy cream and blend 30 more seconds. Add the melted chocolate mixture and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a bowl or individual cups and refrigerate several hours or overnight.


True Food by Andrew Weil

The advocate of the healthy life should live it by example, and Dr. Andrew Weil does.  Using his  background of botany and medicine, Weil has established himself as a leader in “well being” through his books and columns.  Complementing his latest venture, a restaurant in collaboration with chef Sam Fox, Weil has produced a cookbook – True Food.

Cookbooks can be adult picture books, full of enticing pictures of delicious dishes that drip off the pages, with recipes that you may or may never actually try.  Weil’s True Food offers ideas for those trying to eat healthier, without sacrificing taste.  Although the book leans toward vegan offerings, Fox’s influence is obvious with a few recipes for meat; the last chapter also includes drink mixes, some with vodka and whiskey – and a pomegranate martini.

I marked a few appealing recipes: the kale pesto, bison chili, pistachio dream; others to skip –  Korean broth, glazed burdock root.  The sea buckthorn fruit drinks might be worth tasting – if you can find sea buckthorn – the latest berry with promises of immortality – like acai, before being immersed in sugary drinks and smoothies.

Weil’s comfort not only comes through food; his introductions to chapters include quiet and forgiving thoughts on the merits of fresh natural ingredients that can just as easily be whipped into a delicious meal as those with less quality.  His comments on added ingredients used to mask staleness or inferiority, reminded me of a commercial I watched recently, proudly proclaiming that the restaurant added pancake batter to their scrambled eggs.

His food pyramid has chocolate at the top – no better recommendation for me to keep this book.

Related Reviews:

Comfort Food Fix

Somedays only macaroni and cheese or creamy clam chowder will sooth the troubled soul.  Everyone has a favorite comfort food, and Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix has the recipes to make those artery clogging selections healthier for you.

Using her tools as nutritionist and popular host of the Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite” show, Krieger sticks to natural ingredients and simple strategies.  With nine chapters, from “Breakfast, Brunch, and Bakery” to “Desserts” – my two favorite topics, Krieger includes snacks, salads, and vegetarian dishes, as well as the routine meat, poultry, and seafood.

Not as many pictures are included as most cookbooks, but each recipe includes a footnote with a “before” and “after” count of calories, fat, sodium, and fiber; the “before” assumes you are using the worst – cream, butter, white flour, etc.; the “after” count identifies the dish with Krieger’s substitutes. Her mushroom, onion, and Gruyère Quiche with oat crust falls from 530 calories with 22 grams of saturated fat to 290 calories with only 7 grams of saturated fat.  The substitutions include old-fashioned rolled oats, low-fat buttermilk, olive oil, egg whites to supplement whole eggs, and lots of herbs.

If banana bread is your downfall, Krieger’s recipe reduces 500 calories with 12 grams of fat a slice to 300 calories with only 1.5 grams of fat.  Her secret? More bananas and non-fat yogurt in the mix.

Any cookbook that includes chocolate always get my vote, and Krieger comes through with dark chocolate pretzel clusters – only 110 calories (not that it matters when it comes to chocolate), and her index includes 8 chocolate recipes, including cookies, cupcakes, and pudding.

Krieger cautions in her “15 Fix Factors” that portion size does make a difference, but she still uses “a bit of butter” just like Julia Child, and her easy to follow recipes may be the catalyst to keeping some of those New Year’s resolutions.  I plan to use one of my Christmas gift cards to buy a copy, now that the book is due back to the library.

Chocolate and Zucchini

At first glance, Clotilde Dusoulier’s recipes in Chocolate and Zucchini seem to be easier to read than to make.  As a Parisian who relocated to San Francisco and then back again to France, Dusoulier offers  recipes that will make you want to be a gourmet.  She includes lovely menu listings – both in French and in English.  Each recipe has a story and mouth-watering pictures, and like Julia Child, she carefully explains each step simply and clearly.

The introduction is too long and repetitive, but the heart of the book is divided into three sections of recipes and stories.  The first section – “Simplicity” – includes four recipes for each of the topics: salads, sandwiches, savory tarts, soups, eggs.  Some are not so simple, but all look delicious – the kind of food you’d order in a bistro.

The second section – “Entertaining” – raises the level with food for dinner parties and buffets.  The Boulette D’agneaux aux Pruneaux (lamb and prune meatballs) is only one of many that had me thinking I’d look for it the next time I found a good French restaurant – not so sure I’d try making it though.

Finally, the last section – my favorite – “Sweet Things” – offers a mix of easy and glamorous cakes, tarts, and desserts, starting with an easy recipe for the chocolate and zucchini cake from the title and escalating to chocolate hibiscus crème brûlée and blancmange with basil or raspberry coulis.  The lemon butter cookies caught my eye – lusciously lemony – access the recipe by clicking here.

The stories accompanying each recipe demonstrate Dusoulier’s love affair with food and she has her own blog Chocolate and Zucchini to check out for more ideas.

In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite

As I browsed through Melissa Clark’s 150 recipes, I found a few that looked worth trying.  In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite offers  her stories of eating her way through life, from famous restaurants to  her family kitchen – along with recipes.  Clark, who writes a food column for the New York Times, starts her culinary adventure book with inspiration I often emulate…

“The first best thing about adulthood is being able to order three desserts for two people.  The second is having breakfast for dinner whenever the urge for pancakes pulls harder than pork chops.”

Each recipe has a personal story, and sometimes the recipe is familiar, e.g., “the mysterious David Dares pancake,” which turned out to be one of my favorites – Hawaiian David Eyre’s German pancake with lemon butter.  The one page introduction to this pancake has her mother cooking Sunday specials, with the reason behind her misnaming the dish.

Twelve chapters of recipes include vegetables, fish, chicken, sandwiches, cheese…but, of course, I headed straight for the desserts in “My Sweet Tooth and Me,” and “There’s Always Room for Pie (and Tarts).”  Some recipes mix unlikely ingredients – lemon curd with rosemary; others are too much trouble (unless you have an ice cream maker) – “Ridiculously Easy Maple Walnut Ice Cream.”   One I did make, with the salt but without the pepper – Kate’s Impossibly Fudgy Brownies – from Kate Krader, editor at Food and Wine magazine. Tastes like fudge.

With a mix of her own as well as famous resources, Clark’s book offers a variety of “food you love.”  The one page introductions are not always as interesting as the ingredients in some of the fare, but you can skip those, and go right to the table of contents or the handy index.

I check out any cookbook from the library before committing, to see if it’s worth buying, but it’s hard to find a cookbook I do not like…