Whenever a new cooking trend emerged during the 1970s, even among great chefs, curious readers were not long in asking for information and recipes. The Food Section went backstage at the White House to discover what was cooking, organized a discussion between Julia Child and France's Paul Bocuse to find out what was so nouvelle about nouvelle cuisine, searched out cottage industry dessert-makers in California and banquet recipes at the Four Seasons in New York.
Some local cooks we featured over the past ten years have become successful restaurateurs and caterers. Others are content to use their skills to entertain family and friends. Cookbook authors came to town, or came from our town, with great regularity. They left recipes behind them, as did various diplomats, entertainers and politicians. It is safe to estimate that during the decade just past the Food Section was a 10,000-recipe cookbook.
We reproduce here a few trend-setting recipes from among the hundreds that reflected, to borrow a word, style. GAME HENS WITH SPAGHETTI SQUASH (4 servings) 2 game hens (1 to 1 1/2 pounds each), split 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 3/4 cup dry red wine (such as zinfandel) 1 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon thyme or marjoram 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1 chicken bouillon cube Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a dutch over or highsided frying pan. Pat bird pieces dry and saute them until nicely browned. Brown gizzards and necks as well, but reserve livers for another use. Season with salt and pepper and remove from pan.
Add onion to pan and cook until softened. Add tomato pieces and optional garlic. Cook and stir until juice flows freely, about 3 minutes.Add vinegar. When liquid bubbles, add wine, herbs and bouillon cube. Stir to mix, return game hen pieces, cover pan and lower heat. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until meat is tender, turning once.
Meanwhile, pierce spaghetti squash in several places with thin knife, or two-pronged fork. Heat water in a pan and steam or boil the squash until tender but not soft to a knife -- about 30 to 40 minutes.
Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper. If it seems too liquid, remove game hen pieces and reduce over high heat. When ready to serve, return meat. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds carefully and pull out pulp with a fork. Place on plates or in the center of a serving platter. Season, then add meat and spoon sauce over both. Serve with a green vegetable such as spinach to provide color contrast. SCALOPPINE PICCANTI (Veal Scaloppine with Anchovies and Capers) (4 servings) 1/4 pound cooked, but not smoked, ham cut in a slice (or slices) about 1/4 inch thick 5 tablespoons butter 4 flat anchovy fillets, coarsely cut up 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped capers (if the capers are in vinegar rinse them in cold water) 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/2 cup flour, spread on a dinner plate or on wax paper 1 pound veal scaloppine, sliced very thin and pounded flat Salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons "grappa" or grape brandy 1/4 cup heavy cream
Dice the ham very fine. Put it into a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons butter and saute it over medium heat for just a few seconds. Add the chopped anchovies and capers and cook for a few more seconds, softening and mashing the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they dissolve into a paste. Turn off the heat.
In a large skillet put the oil and the remaining butter and turn the heat on the medium high. When the butter foam begings to subside, dredge the scaloppine in the flour, one at a time and on both sides and slip them into the skillet. Do not put in any more than will fit very loosely in the pan. Brown them nicely on both sides, 1 minute or so for each side, then transfer them to a warm platter seasoning them with salt and pepper.
When all the scaloppine are done, turn off the heat, and pour the grappa or brandy into the skillet. Quickly scrape up the cooking residues with a spoon and pour everything into the sauce pan containing the ham-and-anchovy mixture.
Turn on the heat under the saucepan to medium high; add the heavy cream stirring briefly until the cream thickens. Turn off the heat and spread the hot sauce over the scaloppine on the platter. Serve immediately. -- From "More Classic Italian Cooking," by Marcella Hazan GERMAIN'S VIETNAMESE CHICKEN SOUP WITH STUFFED CABBAGE (6 or more servings) The broth: 3 packages chicken backs and wings (about 5 to 6 pounds) 2 gallons water, or enough to cover chicken by several inches 1 whole ginger, unpeeled but crushed slightly with the side of a cleaver 1 medium onion, peeled
Wash chicken pieces and place in a large pot or kettle. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim off surface scum, add ginger and onion and simmer, partially covered for 2 hours. Strain liquid, refrigerate and before using, skim off most of fat that has solidified on the surface. (If the stock underneath hasn't a jelly consistency, cook it down before making soup.) The cabbage leaves: 1 small, loosely packed green cabbage, washed and tough outer leaves removed 2 bunches scallions 1/2 pound ground pork 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger 1/4 teaspoon salt White pepper to taste Fresh coriander (Chinese parsley)*, washed
Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil. Plunge a pronged fork into the stem of the cabbage and immerse it in the water until outside leaves soften. Remove cabbage, peel off leaves and place on paper towels. Repeat process until you have 24 leaves or more as desired.
Cut green tops from 2 bunches of scallions and blanch them in the hot water for a minute. Scoop out and drain on paper towels.
Mix pork with 2 tablespoons minced scallions (white part), onion, ginger, salt and pepper. Chop fine enough coriander to yield 2 tablespoons and an equal amount of scallion green. Set aside.
Cut the hard stem from each cabbage leaf, then cut the tender part into a 2-by-4-inch rectangle. Place 1/2 teaspoon of pork filing on each piece, then roll it up or fold it envelope-fashion and tie the bundle with a piece of blanched scallion. (These may be done ahead and refrigerated.)
Shortly before serving, reheat the broth. Taste it and add salt and pepper as desired, then add the stuffed cabbage packets. Allow 4 per person if the soup is to be followed by a full meal; use more as desired. Cook them in the broth for 5 minutes, then spoon packets and broth into individual soup plates or bowls. Garnish with chopped coriander and scallion and serve.
*Available in Oriental and Latin markets. COLD CUCUMBER AND WATERCRESS SOUP (4 to 6 servings) 2 tablespoons butter 2 scallions, chopped 2 cups diced (but not peeled) cucumber 1 new or red potato, diced 1 cup lightly packed watercress leaves 2 cups chicken broth 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon salt pepper to taste Pinch of dried dill weed 2 cups plain yogurt
In a saucepan, saute the scallions until soft. Add remaining ingredients except yogurt and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until potato is tender.
Puree mixture in a blender and cool. Add yogurt and refrigerate 1 hour. SEVICHE (4 to 6 servings) 1 pound fish fillets (sole, red snapper, halibut, scallops) Juice of 6 limes 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 green chilis (serranos), seeded and finely chopped 1/4 olive oil 2 tablespoons vermouth 1/4 chopped parsley Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut away skin or bone from the fillets, then slice them into 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch pieces or bite-sized squares. Place in a glass bowl and cover with lime juice. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours, mixing the fish from top to bottom at least once.
When the process is complete, stir together 2 to 3 tablespoons of marinade with vermouth, salt, pepper and oil in the bottom of a serving bowl. Add tomato, onion, chilis and the fish. Mix with most of the chopped parsley. Chill until ready to serve. Sprinkle on reserved parsley at the last moment. FRESH PASTA
The basic dough recipe fettucine, tortellini, canelloni and the variations of homemade noodles.
To begin, make sure you have a clean, steady surface to work on. You will need a rolling pin, a broad-blade knife such as a cleaver and an area protected from drafts, as pasta dried out quickly.
For beginners, it's easier to work with a softer dough. Proportionaly, a recipe for flat noodles, calling for 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cups flour will serve 3 or 4 people; 3 eggs and 2 1/4 cups flour will serve 5 to 6 people; 4 eggs and 3 cups flour will yield enough dough for 7 to 8 servings. Stuffed pastas go further.
Break the egg, with your hands or a fork, and beat for 1 to 2 minutes drawing flour gradually from inside as well. Working with palms, squeeze the mixture together until a crumbly paste is formed. Start kneading the dough, folding it over, until smooth and elastic. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Set dough aside, covered, to rest for 30 minutes.
Using a pasta machine, break off a piece of dough the size of a lemon and feed through the rollers (set widest apart) a few times, folding it over and kneading evenly. Shift the rollers to the next setting and pass the kneaded dough through. Lower the setting and feed once more until dough is completely thinned out. If making flat noodles (fettucine) feed through desire setting, separate strands and let dry on a towel, or the back of a wooden chair. Uncooked pasta will keep a month without refrigeration. Store in a dry, cool cupboard. Pasta can also be frozen. PAUL BOCUSE'S POULET AU VINAIGRE (4 servings) 3 tablespoons clarified butter or 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon cooking oil 1 chicken (2 1/2 to 3 pounds) cut into small serving pieces* Salt and pepper 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled 1/2 cup mild white wine vinegar* 1 large or 2 small tomatoes (about 3/4 of a pound), peeled and seeds removed 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 2 tablespoons butter
Heat 3 tablespoons clarified butter (or butter and oil) with garlic cloves in a heavy-bottomed pan. After butter has sizzled and sound dies, add chicken pieces, they should fit the bottom in one snug layer.
Saute over medium-high heat until pieces are lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Salt and pepper liberally.
Meanwhile chop tomatoes to a dice. When chicken is brown, add vinegar. Let liquid come to a brisk boil, then add tomato pieces and parsley. Cover pan and lower heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes, turning pieces once.
Remove chicken to a serving dish and keep warm. Skim fat from pan; then boil down juices for 3 minutes or so to reduce volume by 1/3. Remove garlic peel and mash cooked garlic pulp into sauce. Stir, taste, adjust seasoning and then whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Pour over chicken and serve at once.
*Notes: Chicken should be cut into 4 leg and 4 breast pieces. First two sections of each wing should be cut apart and used. Reserve tips for soup or stock. Most commercial vinegars are too harsh for this dish. A mixture of 2/3 dry white wine or Beaujolais that has begun to turn and 1/3 vinegar will give a better result. There is not much sauce, so serve rice apart, not under chicken. CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE & CRUST (16 servings) 12 eggs, separated 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 3 tablespoons 2 teaspoons vanilla 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup brandy 15 ounces unsweetened chocolate 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened 3/4 cup coffee 2 1/4 cups heavy cream Chocolate crust (see below)
Beat yolks in top of double boiler with 1 1/2 cups sugar, vanilla, salt and brandy, over simmering water, until mixture is thick. Remove from water and set aside.
Melt chocolate over hot water or over direct heat, carefully. Remove; beat in butter a little at a time. Gradually beat chocolate into yolks until mixture is smooth. Beat in coffee.
Beat whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat 1 cup of whites into the chocolate mixture to thin it. Then fold in remaining whites until well blended. Whip cream until stiff and fold into chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared crust and chill overnight in refrigerator.
Or spoon mixture into 16 individual souffle cups, each holding less than 1/2 cup.
Chocolate Crust: Crush enough chocolate wafer cookies to make 1 1/4 cups of crumbs. (Use a rolling pin, blender or food processor). Mix with melted butter and pat into bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and fill. POACHED FISH FILLETS IN SOUR SAUCE 1 1/2 to 2 pounds fillet of sole or other mild whitefish 2 tablespoons minced scallions 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh ginger 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 cups chicken broth 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon sweet peas 2 tablespoons white wine 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional) 2 tablespoons vinegar Pince salt 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Add 8 to 10 cups water to a wok. Bring to a boil. Poach the fish for about 2 minutes (do not overcook it.) Remove the fish to a serving dish. Pour water from wok. Sprinkle scallions, ginger and black pepper over the fish.
Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in the wok until smoking hot. Pour oil over the fish.
Clean the wok; add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Add soy sauce, sweet peas, wine, sugar, vinegar, salt (but taste the sauce before adding any salt) and liquid cornstarch; stir lightly until the sauce thickens and clears (about 10 seconds). Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with sesame oil and serve hot.
Variations: For hot and sour fish, add 1 teaspoon hot red pepper powder or 1 teaspoon hot pepper oil to the sauce when you add soy sauce. For sweet and sour fish, add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar at the same point.