Posts filed under pies

Dam these Hoover Asparagus Souffles are Delicious

President 31- Herbert Hoover, March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933

Everyone at my company has worked there for thirty years. Their dads worked there. Their granddads worked there. There is no mystery about what they will be doing for the rest of their careers. That terrifies me more than marriage and makes me want to run away and work at a beach bar somewhere, or perhaps on a game park feeding baby rhinos. Apparently, I am not alone. I read an article last week that the almost thirty-somethings are destined to lead “microlives”, reincarnating every couple of years.

From orphan, to member of the inaugural class at Stanford, to gold mining engineer, to President, Herbert Hoover was already on trend. He started his career in Australia overseeing the mines then moved to China in time to experience live fire during the Boxer rebellion. After helping thousands of Americans evacuate Europe when war was declared, he was appointed by President Wilson as the Head of the Food Administration and successfully kept the Allies fed without rationing. When peace time came, he continued on his quest to feed a hungry broken continent. When asked why food was being sent to starving Soviets, he famously responded, “Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!" 

When it came to White House entertaining, there was no rationing and no expense spared.  Lou Henry Hoover was in her element. She loved having company so much that the couple only ate by themselves three times during the first three years of Hoover’s Presidency (each year on their anniversary). Events were nonstop and there were often more than one going on at any given time; a tea in this room, a lunch in that one. This gave White House staff understandable kitchen anxiety. Miss Ava Long, the housekeeper, would get calls at 11am that the 1pm lunch, which had been planned for 10 people, had changed to 40 guests. One of her best menu improvisations had her grinding lamb chops down to make gorgeous lamb croquettes with a wild mushroom sauce. When guests asked for the recipe, she quickly named the dish “White House Supreme”.  Ultimately, Mrs. Hoover wasn’t specific about what should be served just that it should be made from the very best ingredients, no matter the season.  

The day to day meal schedule was predictable. The President had his “medicine ball cabinet” join him in exercising with the medicine ball in the yard for thirty minutes each morning before breakfast. Breakfast was then promptly served at eight beneath Magnolia Tree planted by President Jackson in honor of his late wife. Lunch was at one. Dinner was at eight. If you were late to the table, you were out of luck. The usher would ask you to wait outside until coffee was served or to come back another day.

Before Ava Long came to cook for the First Family, there was Mary Rattley. Too old to join them at the White House, she was the queen of the Hoover kitchen when he was Secretary of Commerce and is credited with the creation of most of their favorite family recipes. “Mr. Hoover is the easiest man in the world to please,” she always said, noting his love of Virginia ham, cherries and watermelon. Soufflés, like this one, were a favorite of Lou’s. Be warned soufflés are as impressive as they are tricky and don’t be discouraged if they fall flat the first time. They must be served straight out the oven to give guests some fleeting moments with the soufflé at its full height. While they are cooking, do not open the oven. Just leave it alone and it will rise to the occasion.

Mary Rattley’s Asparagus Soufflé Take one tablespoon butter and rub into it one and a half tablespoons flour and add one cupful cream [over low heat]. Cook until creamy and add the yolks of four eggs. Beat this mixture for five minutes and add salt and pepper to taste, the fold in one cup of asparagus tips, fresh asparagus preferred.  [remove from heat]. Then add the whites of four eggs, beaten stiff, [fold in] and put into a hot buttered soufflé dish, set the dish in a shallow pan of water and bake for thirty-five minutes in a moderate oven. It will stand up and look beautiful. Before you take it out of the oven, grease with butter and serve at once. 


  • Bake in a 350 F oven and do not open while it is cooking or it will fall flat! You can expect this to happen shortly after serving anyhow.
  • Wait until your egg yolk mixture has cooled to fold in the egg whites.
  • Add grated parmesan (1/4 cup) when you add the asparagus and to the top as a garnish. I also added grated black truffle to the mixture for that added decadence.
  • To get the soufflé dish, “hot and buttered”, heavily grease the mold and store in the oven while it is preheating.



Posted on June 15, 2016 and filed under appetizers, breakfast, brunch, pies, time travel.

President John Tyler's Pudding Pie

President 10: John Tyler (April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845)


We are back!! Last weekend I was just too full to even think about food (and that is saying something). I am surprised I didn’t develop gout, considering the epic sized portions I consumed. Well, with a week of rest, I am back up and baking. To the 10th President we go…


President John Tyler was the first President to assume office due to the death of the President elect. His opponents nicknamed his accession the “Accidency” and, truth be told, it seems like he would have been happy to stay at home in Williamsburg, Virginia and eat pudding; lots and lots of pudding. Well one would need lots of sustenance to create FIFTEEN children (eight with his first wife, seven with his second).  They were like the Presidential Duggars, with a hint less hypocrisy and far better clothing. 


Tyler’s first wife, Letitia, suffered a stroke, was paralyzed, and died in 1842. She had been known for her warm Virginia hospitality and dedication to her family. Following her death, something so grossly predictable happened to Ole Johnny. He fell in lust and actively pursued Julia Gardner, a 22-year-old hottie. Nicknamed the “Rose of Long Island”, she had just moved to the District and was breaking hearts and taking names. At first she resisted his advances but, following her father’s accidental death aboard a navy ship, sought comfort in President Tyler. Daddy issues much? 


Julia is remembered by many historians as the most beautiful First Lady ever.  She only had 8 months to make the most of the White House. The daughter of a New York State Senator, she had spent time in Europe and entertained liked a real aristocrat. With the most expensive champagne, the most beautiful floral arrangements, and dresses for a queen, President Tyler entertained her every whim. She threw a ball so over the top before her exit from Washington; she solidified her place in history.


Tyler Pudding-Pie

This pie has become hugely popular. Some cookbooks call it sugar pie.  It was the President’s favorite, and with all those mouths to feed, excellent bang for the buck. This is a fusion of a couple of old recipes that is easiest to put together and works the best.



  • Flour , to roll out pastry

  • Puff Pastry, 1 sheet

  • 3 Tbsp butter

  • 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk, well beaten

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup coconut, lightly toasted and more for top

  • 2 pints fresh raspberries

  • Powdered sugar for top (optional)


First, cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Then add the well-beaten eggs, along with heavy cream and grated coconut. Mix by hand. Roll out puff pastry on a well-floured surface. Place in a pie mold. Bake in a hot 450F oven for 10 minutes, until pastry sets. Add filling, then reduce the heat to 350F and cook another 25 minutes, or until pudding pie is firm. Cover pastry with tin foil if it starts to get too much color. Remove from oven and cool. Top with fresh raspberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional). 


Stay Tuned:

We must not sign off without mentioning President Tyler’s most important culinary contribution to this country. Towards the end of term, Tyler dedicated considerable time to the annexation of Texas (which was made official during Polk’s term). Oh ya’ll … the Lone Star state has brought us culinary delights ever since. Just you wait till we get to President Franklin Pierce and his Mexican cheese dip. Pure ambrosia. 

Posted on December 7, 2015 and filed under baked sweets, dessert, pies, time travel.

President Andrew Jackson's Party Punch and Shrimp Pie

We are in the money with some shrimp pie and punch to wash it down. 

The 1828 campaign for presidency was so ugly and bitter you would think it took place in our day and age. John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson (nicknamed Old Hickory) went head to head and things got very personal, very fast. Mrs. Rachel Jackson, who had been married once before (and also smoked a pipe and had a Tennessee drawl), became the focus of the mudslinging.  She sounds pretty awesome to me. When Jackson was elected, “Madame Presidentress”, as she was rudely nicknamed, was dreading the move to the Capitol, noting she would “rather be a door keeper in the house of God than live in that palace in Washington”. Well, ask and you shall receive. She died in December of 1828 at their home, the Hermitage, in Nashville.  The President, who was completely heartbroken, claimed that all of the bullying hastened her demise. I’m sorry Miss Jackson… I am for real.

Jackson entered the White House alone, but to the biggest reception the country had ever seen. His inauguration open house on March 4, 1829 remains the wildest party the White House. It was a rager so large it can only be compared to those parties you see on the news when a kid posts their address on Facebook and half the world shows up. Folks were so thrilled that a ‘common man’ from Tennessee won the election that an estimate crowd of 20,000 people came to the Capitol to watch his inauguration. The mob followed the President to the White House, where they became so rowdy, Old Hickory had to flee out of a back window. With everyone good party, there is booze. The spiked punch went down a treat and fueled the mob’s enthusiasm. The recipe below is a party punch that won’t disappoint, similar to the orange version served by the barrelful.

Now we come to the BEST foodie story we have come across yet. Brace yourselves. In the penultimate year of his presidency, a dairyman from New York gave President Jackson the gift that kept on giving. It was a 1,400 lb cheese, measuring 4 foot wide and three feet thick. A similar situation would happen to me if I died and went to heaven (endless baked brie please?). As any good lover of cheese would do, he had it aged in the White House cellar and brought it out to share with the public right before his departure from office. People from near and far came for their wedge, stuffing their faces in a gorgeously gluttonous dairy fest. The cheese was finished but the scent lingered on, much to the horror of his successor, Martin Van Buren. Sweet dreams are made of cheese.

The Original Formula [Punch]- 16 cups

·         The juice of 3 or 4 oranges

·         The peel of 1 or 2 oranges

·         ¾ lb sugar

·         3 ½ pints of boiling water

Infuse half an hour, strain, add ½ pint of porter; ¾ to 1 pint each, rum and brandy (or either alone 1 ½  to 2 pints) and add more warm water and sugar; if desired weaker or sweeter, A liqeur glass of Curacoa, noyau, or maraschino improves it. A good lemon punch may be made by substituting lemons instead of oranges.

Jerry Thomas, Bar-Tenders Guide, 1862

My Notes:

·         I added orange zest to the final product because I like the texture but certainly not necessary.

·         I added Maraschino and it was delicious.

·         Porter is a dark beer made from brown malt– ie Guinness is one. 

Emily Donelson’s Shrimp Pie

The kitchen as the Jackson White House served up all sorts of Southern fare. Emily Donelson, Rachel Jackson’s niece from Nashville, moved in and did most of the hosting. She was a sweet Southern belle who quickly acclimated from her country ways to the fancy capital vibe. Her shrimp pie recipe is perfect comfort food for the fall.

·         1 cup pastry

·         1 ½ lbs fresh shrimp

·         1 tsp mace

·         3 whole cloves

·         3 anchovies

·         3 Tbsp butter

·         ½ cup white wine

Make up pastry and chill. Toss shrimp into boiling salted water, cover, reduce heat and cook slowly for about five minutes. Drain and if necessary remove shells. Start your oven at 425 or hot. Put shrimp in a buttered nine-inch pie pan and season with mace and cloves. Lay anchovies on top of shrimp, dot with butter, and pour in wine. Cover with pastry, seal edges securely. Bake fifteen to twenty minutes or until pastry is golden. Serves four generously.

My Notes:

·         There is absolutely no shame in buying premade pastry at the store. Use the shortcut pastry if you want a traditional pot pie style, or go for the puff pastry if you want to get fancy.

·         I used anchovy paste instead of anchovies as they are not my favorite thing in the world. The flavor was still there (in a nice way) but I didn’t have to look at them.

·         There is no thickening agent (like flour) in this recipe so it is runny. If you prefer a gravy consistency, combine the butter and a tsp of flour in a saucepan. Add the wine and make a thicker sauce before pouring it over the shrimp.

·         Add veggies of your choice if you want. I added leeks (lightly sauteed).

Posted on November 15, 2015 and filed under appetizers, drinks, fish, main event, pies, time travel.