The Gourmet's Garage
Have you done your garage clean/glean-out yet? I may be assuming a lot; perhaps your place doesn’t need a cleaning or a gleaning. I use that word, which means to separate things with the idea of keeping what you need, or what is relevant, and tossing the rest of it. I am adding “weening” to that list. I learned, when I looked it up, that means to expect or hope. In my case I hope and expect to clean and glean, to be able to rid my life (and shelves) of books and magazines that I’ll never read again, especially since I’ve realized I can now get information so easily on the Internet.
All this brings me to Gourmet magazine, the late and lamented (by me) monthly filled with beautiful photographs of food and recipes for dishes you may never make, but, never the less, great fun to read. Over the years I did make many of the dishes, and some I worked into what the home economists called rotation, meaning food that you make regularly, often at the urging of spouses or kids.
I’ve often boasted about collecting all but two or three of Gourmet’s issues since its inception in the early ‘40s, those war years when food was rationed. In those days the magazine was oriented toward liquor stores and was on the rack in those outlets. Earle MacAusland was the founder and publisher and the very talented Jane Montant was executive editor. I kept the issues neatly separated by years, and loved to read the recipes as well as the ads and travel columns. Oh, to visit exotic places like Istanbul, Scotland, or Lisbon! I eventually did, but by the time I could afford the time and plane tickets, the information about restaurants and markets was sadly out of date.
When I moved to a smaller space, some things had to go—among them boxes of Gourmet and the mid-century shelving that held them. I thought they were all goners, but a lone box turned up when we finally weeded out the new place’s garage where we had stashed things to sort out later. When I opened the box, there on top of the pile was the January 1971 issue. As the French say, quelle joie!
Pictured on the cover was a product near and dear to my heart: a clear glass Pyrex storage container. And in said vessel was a dish I had made over and over and over. “An Assortment of Sausages” was the article, and it was written in the all-paragraph, no-separate-ingredients listing the magazine favored back then. I can’t resist passing it along as fare for picnic season or lazy afternoons in the backyard. You can make it days ahead and serve it whenever hunger or drop-in tourists strike.
For the marinade:
- 21⁄2 cups water (use bottled water if your source tastes off)
- 13⁄4 cups white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 11⁄2 tsp. salt
- 20 peppercorns, slightly crushed with the side of your knife
- 16 whole allspice (ditto on the slight crush)
- 2 bay leaves
In a non-reactive saucepan combine all the marinade ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heating surface and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
Then you need:
- 11⁄2 lbs. fully cooked knockwurst, cut in 1⁄2-inch slices
- 1 Bermuda or other sweet onion (I use organic red onions), cut into thin slices and separated into rings
Arrange alternate layers of the sausage and onion rings in a 2-quart jar. Pour in the marinade, cover the jar, and refrigerate it for 3 days. The pickled knockwurst will keep refrigerated for several weeks, though not in my house—it is too good and handy as a snack for me or for company.
Chicken Bombay Istanbul Hilton
There must have been a very good chef at this Hilton, and talk about international! Turkey meets India. Why not come along for the ride? This dish will do it. Note there are some flames involved, so take my advice and turn off your over-the-stove exhaust fan. And if you wear a feathered poncho or something fringed with long sleeves, remove it and roll up some other, simpler (read less flame-prone) sleeves. I’m giving you this in that Gourmet paragraph style I just wrote about.
Buy 2 large and skinned whole chicken breasts. ( at’s 4 chicken breast halves...duh.) Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In a skillet gently sauté the chicken, covered, in 1⁄4 cup butter for 3 minutes on each side. Cut the chicken into thick slices and keep them warm. Stir 3 to 4 teaspoons curry powder (I prefer Madras) into the fat in the pan. Heat 3 tablespoons brandy or Cognac until you can feel it is warmed, then pour it into the curry mixture, ignite it (use a long replace match or one of those “flame-guns”), swirling the pan until the flames go out. Stir 1⁄2 cup each heavy cream and chicken broth and 11⁄2 tablespoons chopped chutney and cook the sauce for about 5 minutes, or until it is thickened. Add the chicken and let it just heat through. Serve the chicken with condiment dishes of toasted almonds, raisins, grated coconut (unsweetened), and fried bananas. This is said to serve two but, heavens, I’ve served four using rice as the starch. The flames impress the guests, so make sure they are in the kitchen when the match meets the pan.