Friday, August 2, 2002
I began my column, "Carolyn's Cuisine," in the mid-seventies, when there were two newspapers in town. Carol Lobron, then the editor of the Carlisle Gazette, asked me to submit occasional articles with food ideas and recipes. When the two papers merged and became The Carlisle Mosquito, I continued my column. Many of the recipes that I put in the paper over the years became the part of my cookbook, Carolyn's Kitchen Revisited.
Thirty years ago, the Carlisle Unit of the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary was in full swing. Many of us women who were raising children in those days did not have jobs outside the home. Although our lives were full and busy, there seemed to be more time and energy for community fund-raising events that often involved preparing rather elegant meals for myriad people.
Each spring, the Carlisle Emerson Auxiliary would plan a Bridge and Fashion Show Luncheon. I remember one of these being held at the Simonds' home on School Street, another at the Tullys' on Judy Farm Road and several at the homes of Grant and Helene Wilson. Generally, about one hundred women would attend these get-togethers. There would not be a man in sight! At one of these luncheons, we "chefs" prepared a choice of three entrees for the lunching ladies. We made Chicken, Asparagus and Almond Casserole, along with Seafood and Rice Casserole and Mushroom Quiches.
Chicken, Asparagus and Almond Casserole
2 lbs. fresh or frozen asparagus
2 or 3 c. boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
6 T. butter
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1/3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
3 c. milk
2 T. sherry
Steam asparagus until barely tender. Place in the bottom of a greased, shallow baking dish. Layer chicken on top. Sauté almonds in the butter till golden. Stir in flour and seasonings. Gradually add the milk, stirring till smooth and thickened. Add sherry. Pour sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
One year the Auxiliary sponsored a family football outing to Foxboro Stadium to cheer on the New England Patriots, or the Boston Patriots, as they were called then. Tailgate fare was the order of the day. Two popular items that we shared were Deluxe Roast Beef Sandwiches and Italian Sausage Soup.
Daisy's Market sells delicious, lean roast beef as well as good bread. I suggest shopping there for all the ingredients for these hearty sandwiches.
Italian Sausage Soup
1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, hot or mild or a mixture
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, chopped
2 lbs. tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or one large (2 lbs. 2 oz.) can crushed tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 c. red wine
5 c. beef or chicken broth
1 t. dried basil (or 2 T. fresh, chopped)
1 t. dried oregano (or 2 T. fresh, chopped)
1/2 c. parsley, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 t. salt or to taste
2 t. Worcestershire
1/2 t. pepper
2 c. bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
1 c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Cut sausages into pieces the size of quarters and sauté in a large soup pot for 10 minutes. Remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add onions and garlic; stir and sauté till softened. Add tomatoes, wine, broth and herbs. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Add parsley, green pepper, zucchini and seasonings simmer for about 20 minutes. Add pasta and cook al dente or till just done. Taste for seasonings. Pass the grated cheese in a separate bowl.
Save this soup recipe for the fall. It is perfect tailgate fare.
Deluxe Roast Beef Sandwiches
3/4 lb. sliced, rare roast beef
8 slices dark rye or pumpernickel bread or bread of choice
4 garlic dill pickles, sliced vertically
4 lettuce leaves
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T. onion soup mix
1 t. horseradish
Mix the last three ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread each slice of bread with a layer of the sour cream mixture. Put the meat, pickles and lettuce on half of the bread. Cover slices with the remaining bread. Wrap well if the sandwiches are going to a picnic or a tailgate party!
Another fundraising event that I was involved with in those days was a "Chocolate Extravaganza," also held at the Wilsons' home. The community chocoholics were thrilled with this theme, and even those of us who weren't real chocolate addicts enjoyed the sumptuous desserts, along with getting together with old friends and new acquaintances. I remember some spectacular chocolate creations. My contribution was easy but delicious: a smooth, velvety mousse that is a chocolate-lover's dream. I have made it many times since then. Sometimes I serve it with a bit of raspberry sauce dribbled over the top or squiggled on a dessert plate before the mousse is spooned out.
12 oz. good-quality bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 c. strong coffee
1 stick butter
4 eggs, separated
3 T. Kahlua
1/8 t. salt
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy cream, whipped
Using a double boiler, bring water to a simmer. Break chocolate into pieces. Put in top of a double boiler with coffee. Carefully stir until smooth and melted. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, egg yolks and liqueur. In another bowl, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar as you continue to beat, until soft peaks form. Beat cream till softly whipped; fold into the chocolate mixture. Spoon mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes.
Raspberry Sauce (optional)
1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen (unsweetened) raspberries
1/4 c. sugar
Cook and stir raspberries over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Puree mixture; sieve out seeds. Cool.
It's great fun to recollect those days in Carlisle when my life and interests differed a good bit from what I do today. Some of my most nostalgic memories involve working with Carlisle friends and neighbors on special fundraising.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito