FoodFrom4th: Joan Didion’s Personal Recipes

FoodIt’s funny how a cursory scrawl on a scrap piece of paper can be as telling of a personality as reading between the lines of a novel. That’s why we’ve been delighted by Joan Didion’s personal recipes this week in the 4th Estate office:

1

BORSCHT
(for 6)

– 2 lbs lean stew beef.

– brown + put in stewpot w/ 1 c bouillon, 2 qt water, clove, Worcestershire, Tabasco, garlic, 1 chopped onion.

– Simmer 1 hr.

– Add:

4.5 peeled + grated beets,
1 cut-up potato (large)
3/4 head shredded cabbage.
Thyme.
Juice a couple of beets. (Brown Sugar)
Dill weed.

– Simmer another hour.

– Serve with bowl of sour cream.

2

3

ARTICHOKES AU GRATIN
(Serves 8)

2 (9 oz.) pkgs. frozen artichoke hearts
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
dash white pepper
1 t. onion salt
1/2 t. prepared mustard
3/4 t. salt
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup reserved artichoke liquid
1 1/2 cups hot milk
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 T. dry bread crumbs
Paprika

– Heat oven to 450 F.

– Cook artichokes according to pkg. directions adding lemon juice to water.

– Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid.

– Place artichokes in a single layer in a 9-inch shallow casserole.

– Sauce: melt butter, add spices and flower, stir until smooth. Gradually add artichoke liquid and milk. Cook, stirring, until thick. Remove from heat, add egg and half of cheese. Blend. Pour over artichokes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, bread crumbs and paprika.

– Bake for 15 minutes.

4

RISOTTO

– Sauté 1 onion, chopped, in 2 T olive oil, until soft.

– Add 1 c rice, stir to coat, add 1/3 c white wine, let evaporate — add, bit by bit, 5 cups broth (1 can beef broth plus water to 5c).

DEVILED CRAB

For 1 pound of crabmeat:

– Melt 4 T butter, sauté 1/4 tp 1/2 cup chopped celery and 3 chopped scallions. Stir in 1/2 t dry mustard, 1 T flour, cayenne and salt. Add 1 container heavy cream, thicken a bit, stir in crabmeat.

– Pour into baking dish, finish with dried bread crumbs, Parmesan, and paprika. In oven 15 minutes, finish under broiler until brown.

PESTO

For a pound of pasta,

a cup and a half (about one ounce) of basil leaves, loosely packed
a handful of parsley leaves
1/8 ¼ cup pine nuts
several garlic cloves
a teaspoon of red pepper flakes
a quarter ½ cup olive oil

– Blend together, gradually adding oil and then mixing in pepper flakes.

VODKA SAUCE
(for pound of pasta)

1 stick butter, 1 t red pepper flakes, 1 c vodka, 1 8-oz can tomato sauce, 1 tomato, 1 c heavy cream

5

CRÈME CARAMEL
(For 12)

– Melt 1 cup sugar in 1/2 cup water in saucepan + cook until golden. Line 12 cups with this caramelized sugar + let it set.

– Scald 4 cups milk with long piece of vanilla bean. Meanwhile, beat together 6 eggs, 4 additional egg yolks, and 1 cup sugar.

– Remove vanilla bean + trickle hot milk into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture with care over caramel in cups.

– Place cups in pan of hot water + into 350° oven for 20-25 min, until point of knife comes out of center clean. (water must not boil.) Chill + unmold.

6

SHORTCAKE

2 1/2 cups Bisquick
3 T sugar
3 T melted butter
1/2 cup milk

– Knead 8-10 times

– Roll 1/2 in thick — cut — ungreased pan — 10 min at 425°.

PARSLEY SALAD
(35–40)

8 bunches Italian parsley

– Blend 16 T olive oil with one head parsley until smooth

– Blend in 4 T balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper

– When ready to serve place parsley in 1 1/3 C grated parmesan in bowl, toss with dressing

Try them out and let us know how you get on!

Thanks to Brain Pickings.

If you have a go at cooking any of our FoodFrom4th recipes, we’d love to know. Tweet us at @4thEstateBooks and use the hashtag #FoodFrom4th

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