Pumpkin Bisque

Pumpkin BisqueCold weather is soup weather, especially soups of the rib-sticking variety. 

This is a tasty accompaniment to many fall and winter dishes. You can use canned pumpkin, but roasted pumpkin has a different and (I think) superior flavor. When sugar pumpkins are available, they are inexpensive and very delicious. I encourage you to use them if you can.

This recipe uses sampe as a thickener (see the notes). I think it brings a great flavor and texture, but if you can't get sampe, don't fret. The recipe is very forgiving, and it rewards exploration.  

Old Colony Club Twelfthnight 2017

Le Grand Aioli

The Old Colony Club of Plymouth hosts a magnificent Twelfthnight Gala on the Saturday closest to January 6th, the twelfth night of Christmas. These events pack the house and we set out the finest goodies!

We enjoyed a series of courses over the evening, with different themese to each of three rooms and passed hors d'ouevres in between the courses.

Here's what we had:


Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog (California), "Red Cow" Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italy), Brillat-Savarin and Brie (both France), Cabot two-year aged Cheddar (Vermont)



a beautiful green and white assembly in the Red Room, and a magnificent Le Grand Aioli in the Snug

Cold Poached Salmon



Pate en Croute

Pate en CroutePate en Croute is nothing more than a pate baked in a crust, but it looks fabulous! The first trick is to find a mold - after that, the rest is easy.

All you do is line the mold with pastry and then bake the pate. The melted fat stays inside, topped up with aspic. You can make this with the Pate de Campagne but I think the pastry treatment deserves a finer pate like the one below.


Type of Post: 
What's on my Plate?
a large black truffle (Tuber melanosporum)

These days, truffles are paradoxically ubiquitous and exceedingly rare, and it's easy to spend good money on the wrong thing.

Truffles also lose their awesome flavor very fast if they are not used immediately or stored properly. That investment is easily lost. 

Here's what I have learned.

The first thing to know is that there are several kinds of truffles. The grand old recipes of Europe normally call for only two varieties: 

Algonquin Cocktail

Algonquin Cocktail, as made at the Blue Bar in the Algonquin Hotel

The Algonquin is named for a venerable grand hotel in Manhattan, luncheon spot for a famed circle of writers in the 1920s and 1930s. The lore is interesting, and well-documented, so I won't repeat it here, but I do encourage you to look it up!

This is a simple potion made interesting by the inclusion of unsweetened pineapple juice.

The pineapple juice does not have to be a stopper - I have an ice cube tray that makes 1" cubical ice cubes, of volume 1 ounce. So I fill some of the cubes with pineapple juice and I can have an Algonquin whenever I am in a literary mood!

Puritan Cocktail

Puritan CocktailThis is a very old formula. 

I had long thought that the complex herbaceous audacity of green Chartreuse would be a perfect match for a gin of great character. Recent experimental evidence indicates a clear need for further research...

I really want to try this with Barr Hill Gin and with Uncle Val's Botanical Gin.  

Jambon Persille

Jambon Persille

This is a specialty of Burgundy. It has a light, sparkling flavor that dances in your mouth as the jelly melts, full of wonderful flavors!

I read about the Jambon Persille in Jane Grigson's Charcuterie long ago, and I wanted to try it ever since. Then last year while touring Burgundy on our big vacation, I got the opportunity to have it for lunch in Dijon! 

Once I knew how it was supposed to be, I could make it with confidence. Here's my recipe. 

Mushroom Pate

Mushroom PateA delicious cold dish the contrasts hearty mushroom flavors with creamy cheese. Use a mix of fresh supermarket mushrooms and dried wild mushrooms to get great depth of flavor.

I get excellent dried mushrooms in the Polish markets on Millbury Street in Worcester, near Kelly Square. The expensive King Bolete is a particularly nice addition, if you can get it. 

A German Winter Dinner

German Christmas Dinner

I made this hearty traditional German winter dinner in December 2014. Sauerbraten, the centerpiece of the dinner, is a Christmas favorite so it was a timely choice for December, but it's really good for any of the colder months.

I had recently been to Morse's Sauerkraut, where I got some good supplies and inspiration, but I had planned to make a sauerbraten for a long time so the whole plan just came together.

We had:


Honeymoon Cocktail

Honeymoon Cocktail, at Central Provisions in Portland

This one is too sweet for me as written. The Calvados is a stroke of genius, but I had to increase the lemon juice.

I'm intrigued by the ingredients, but I think the Honeymoon is not the best formula to use them.  I've been pretty happy with the cocktails in this fine book, but this one needs some experimentation. 

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