Sunday, June 28, 2009

The 60s

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Stuffed Artichokes

60s • Crimped, cooked and crazy to be free

Who said if you remember the 60s, you weren’t really there? How is that possible, considering all the changes and events that exploded around us that whole decade?! Chubby Checker twisted us into shape, the Beatles swept our souls, Martin Luther King hiked us up the most glorious mountain and Neil Armstrong walked us onto the moon. Forget? Never!

Gentle families invited us into their homes nightly –– people like the Cleavers, the Nelsons and the Reeds. We weren’t sure what to make of Mrs. Reed (Donna), who vacuumed in high heels and pearls, her perfectly coifed hair a graciously swaying and silken thing of envy as she bent to remove perfectly puffed pastries from her state-of-the-art Kenmore oven.

That same Mrs. Reed certainly wasn’t into burning her bra when it finally came down to that, midway through the decade. And they of the bouffant-hair persuasion, as well, resisted the call to de-girdle and decamp to college campuses where the stirrings of free thought and free love were agitating an already boiling political pot.

By then, string bean fashion was catching on, perhaps representing some sort of compromise between fashion and social consciousness: Twiggy, staring at us, doe-eyed, from magazine covers, her hair short and chic in one of Vidal Sasoon’s asymmetrical cuts, was more than faintly reminiscent of the starving waif you might imagine wandering war-torn Vietnam.

Perhaps, like us, you sought relief from the world’s woes by catching Broadway’s “Hair,” (now in revival on Broadway!) with its cast of naked cavorters dressing up the stage. Or you were swayed, and still are, by the Beatles call to ‘revolution,’ whereupon you grew your own hair extra long, ironed it extra straight, packed up some wretchedly unpalatable rice balls and headed for Woodstock wearing billowy, beaded gypsy garb or a peace-sign printed mini-skirt –– and never looked back.

Though the fashion of the day was all things to all people (which, in turn, initiated the unisex look), the culinary arts were headed down a more distinguished path. Oysters Rockefeller, salmon mousse and Beef Wellington were vividly portrayed on the covers of periodicals both middle class and swank. But the most exquisite of these were the culinary counterpart of that other revolution led largely by the Kennedys, who brought elegant dining as well as superbly sophisticated style back to the White House –– and back into the appreciation of the nation.


How she wore her hair: the Artichoke

A popular hairstyle in 1964, the Artichoke was a set that, when dried, teased and combed became a series of layered curls, resembling the Mediterranean thistle for which it was named. For unknown reasons, women of that era thought it attractive to wear their hair in the shape of a thistle.

We prefer the actual vegetable. For openers, it commands a certain respect at the checkout counter. Customers and clerks alike are clearly in awe of your culinary expertise as they ask, “What do you do with these things?”


Stuffed Artichokes

You’re probably used to seeing them marinated in jars. We like those in salads and sauces but when you really want to impress, buy them fresh, stuff and steam them. Gina’s mother passed this recipe down to her and she has been making it since she was a girl.

4 fresh artichokes

8 scallions finely chopped

12 heaping tablespoons of Italian flavored dried breadcrumbs

12 tablespoons grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

12 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley

1 lemon

2 garlic cloves peeled and smashed

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fry the scallions in olive oil until soft, then add the breadcrumbs and continue frying, stirring often until the crumbs are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile cut stems from artichokes (so they will sit upright in pot) and set aside. Using a serrated knife, cut approximately one and a half inches off the tips of the artichokes (and discard the tips.) Immediately after cutting the tips off, rub the cut side of the artichoke with a lemon half to prevent discoloration. Pound the cut side firmly on a cutting board to help open up the leaves.

Prepare a pot large enough to accommodate the stuffed artichokes. Put enough water in it to come about half way up the artichokes. Bring the water to a boil, add salt, garlic and lemon halves, cover and reduce heat to a simmer while stuffing the artichokes.

Add the grated cheese and parsley to the cooled breadcrumbs. Stir the crumb mixture well. With a small teaspoon and your fingers, drop a spoonful of crumb and cheese mixture in each leaf.

Place the stuffed artichokes in the simmering water. Peel the stems that you set aside earlier and drop them along side of the artichokes.

Cover and simmer approximately 30 to 45 minutes until tender.

Remove from cooking water with a slotted spoon and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Serves four, if you’re willing to share.

Can be enjoyed hot, room temperature or cold. Use as star of the show or as a side dish. We like it as an appetizer, too!


Hair confessions (Check all that apply):

_ I love my hair.

_ I never like my hair.

_ I love my hairstylist.

_ The wrong hairstyle makes me look fat.

_ I have hair issues but I can live with them.

_ My hair is too thin/thick/curly/straight.

_ I am a shop-hopping slut.

_ Cooking messes up my hair.

_ I’m still looking for the best hairstyle for me.

Write and let us know how you feel!


How she wore her hair: French Twist

To create a French twist:

Brush hair back from the forehead, smoothing and gathering it up as you would for a high ponytail. Twist the hair clockwise, holding the base of the ponytail close to the head. This will give a firm anchor to work against. With one hand smooth, the other twist, folding the hair inward until the ponytail is rolled inside the hollow of hair. A seam of straight pins or bobby pins will hold everything in place

No time to shampoo and style your hair? Put it up in an elegant French twist. Or, if you don’t have the hair or the inclination to do a French Twist, buy yourself a black beret, slip it lazily over one eye, then uncork a good bottle of red wine to serve alongside this yummy chicken liver pate. Slice the baguette and you’re good to go!


Chicken Liver Pate on Baguette

¾ cup butter

1 pound chicken livers, cleaned

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons brandy

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large 10-inch skillet over medium heat, using ¼ cup hot butter, sauté chicken livers and onion until the livers are cooked but still pink inside, and the onion is soft, (about 7 or 8 minutes) stirring often.

Using a food processor, pulse until mixture is smooth, scraping down sides with rubber spatula and incorporating well.

Meanwhile, in same skillet over low heat melt remaining butter, add to liver mixture with brandy, salt and pepper.

Mix well, spoon into a covered crock or small bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Makes 2 ¼ cups or 12 servings. May be made up to 3 days in advance. Serve with sliced and toasted baguette as an elegant first course.


In the 60s...

What's hot?/ What's not?

Dobie Gillis /James Dean

The flip/ Duck's ass (DA)

Jerry Lewis/ Jerry Lee Lewis

HiFi /record player

TV dinners /Sunday dinners

Shake 'n Bake/ Shake, Rattle and Roll

Blush/ Rouge

Twist /Jitterbug

wiglets /Uncle Wiggly

Pampers/ cloth diapers

Does she or doesn't she?"/ "Unpopular because your hair is gray?"

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