Posts filed under breakfast

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. 

Notes:

  • 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.

Harding's Waffle Presidency

 

I play the lottery religiously. It is only a five dollar weekly commitment that affords me hours of Sotheby’s realty webpage bliss, as I search for villas big enough for my Wu Tang Clan-sized posse. Like clockwork, I then write off my loss as a donation to the state so they can try and fix the schools or potholes or both. I can’t decide if I did ever win, if I would tell anyone (other than good ole mom and dad). You seem to always read about lotto winners who have fifth cousins who crawl out of the woodwork in search of cash and opportunity. Well, Warren Harding won the Presidential jackpot. His political bros, who became known as the “Ohio Gang”, were eagerly awaiting their appointments. It was scandal after scandal thereafter.

 The most notorious of these scandals was the Teapot Dome scandal, which centered on the Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall’s acceptances of bribes from oil companies. It was the country’s biggest political scandal until Watergate. There were also scandals in the Justice Department and Veterans Bureau. It is widely contested if Harding even knew about the bad business his friends were getting in to, though he may have gained wind of it later in his Presidency. Truman claimed Harding once asked, "If you knew of a great scandal in our administration, would you for the good of the country and the party expose it publicly or would you bury it?" After his death in 1923, was when it all really came out.

 Elizabeth Jaffray, the longtime housekeeper of the White House who documented her experiences in “Secrets of the White House” (1926), wrote about Harding’s home life and named him the “best dressed” President.  Perhaps “biggest flirt” would have been a more accurate superlative.   Mr. and Mrs. Harding slept in the twin beds used by the Tafts and Ms. Jaffray noted Florence Harding’s unpredictable temper, peculiar disposition and particularly harsh treatment of the President. It seems he probably deserved it. Oh, if only she had the rhythm and artistic vision of Beyoncé to make “Lemonade” out of her lemons.  Harding had passionate affairs with multiple women; the most controversial of which was with Nanna Popham "Nan" Britton, daughter of a friend. She wrote an exposé named, “The President’s Daughter” in 1928, claiming Warren fathered her child when he was serving in the Senate. In 2015, Ancestry.com tested the family’s DNA and proved she had been telling the truth. Elizabeth, who died in 2005, was Harding’s only child.

 Harding’s taste in food was not as fancy as his dress or as varied as his women. He loved raspberries and strawberries and made sure there was a standing rib roast on the table on Sundays. Alcohol was not served during events, as the country was in the thick of prohibition, but Harding would enjoy a drink or two with his friends in private. Even though he was not a fan of eggs, he was of breakfast. He would have his “bros” over in the morning to enjoy the first meal and Ms. Jaffray provided a large spread. To keep you and your squad happy, we have done both a savory and sweet waffle option. Florence’s recipe was kindly sent to us by the Harding Home Presidential Site in Marion, Ohio, which is hosting a waffle cook-off this weekend.

 Florence Harding’s Waffle Recipe c/o: The Harding Home Presidential Site, Marion OH

Ingredients

·         2 eggs

·         2 Tbsp. sugar

·         2 heaping Tbsp. butter

·         1 pint of milk

·         1 pint of flour

·         2 heaping tsp. baking powder

·         1 tsp. salt

Directions

Beat yolks of eggs, add sugar, milk and flour; next, add melted butter and just before ready to bake, add baking powder and beaten whites of eggs. Cook in hot waffle iron. Don’t eat them on a full stomach. Cover well with butter and then pour maple syrup over the plate.

My notes

These waffles aren’t particularly sweet so you can choose to enjoy them the savory way as well. My sweet option is with fresh cherry syrup (recipe noted below) and my savory is with sausage gravy (like the Southerners make) and a poached egg. If you want to stay authentic, President Harding like chipped beef gravy and a host of recipes are online.

o   Quick Cherry Syrup: Bring one bag cherries (pitted) and 1 cup pomegranate juice to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 mins (about half). Add 1.5 cups granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 Tbsp. butter. Continue to reduce until syrupy consistency (coats the back of spoon). Remove from heat.  Makes 3 cups.

o   Quick Sausage Gravy: Remove sausage meat from the casings of 5 breakfast sausages. Brown in a skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. of flour to the browned sausage crumbles. Make sure it is well mixed. Add a little bit of milk at a time, constantly stirring. Keep adding until desired consistency (I prefer mine thicker). Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. A tiny little spoonful of maple syrup also does wonders.

 

Posted on May 23, 2016 and filed under breakfast, brunch, time travel.