22 September 2010

Good Book Alert #3 - Saturday Beans & Sunday Suppers

Edie Clark has been a contributing writer and editor at Yankee Magazine for almost twenty-five years. In addition, she writes fiction, has published four books of memoirs, teaches writing and journalism at Frankin Pierce College, is an active lecturer, and keeps her own blog. I discovered Edie Clark, the memoirist, when I picked up a copy of her book, The View From Mary's Farm last winter. It chronicled her purchase, renovation of, and subsequent life at a small hill farm in the lovely New England village of Harrisville, New Hampshire. I loved her humor and the sense of history that she honored when she brought the house and fields back to use. I cheered for her as she weathered that first hard New England winter in her partially restored farmhouse and chuckled at the foibles of her new neighbors. It was a terrific read!

Last week, when I dashed into the local public library to return some books and pick out some new ones, her book, Saturday Beans & Sunday Suppers,  jumped off the shelf at me.  Little did I know that I would open the first essay and find a recipe for a fish chowder that mirrored one I was making for a blog entry I was preparing that very day.  I'm telling you, my mother once said that there is no such thing as a coincidence. All things are part of the larger design; one made by forces larger than we.  Mom's world view came wafting around me and sent a little shiver and a feeling of  'whaddayaknow!'  through me, as I curled up and read on through Clark's essay titled  'Aunt Peg's Chowder'.   .

I have continued on through her book that celebrates her most vivid food memories and the recipes that inspire them. There are other strangely similar recipes ... an apple pancake like Fabio's German pancake recipe that I shared yesterday, pizza crust that is different from mine, but 'feels right' to me. I almost feel like I have found a kitchen soul sister! Hurray for Edie Clark!  Her writing is as heart-warming as the food she shares with her readers. This is a book to give to someone in your life who loves a good story, a good meal, and vintage recipes. I plan to pick up a few copies for friends and keep one for myself ... and since Ms. Clark lives and works in this corner of New England, I plan to go see her speak at one of her upcoming events.

There are no coincidences ... hmm.

Edie's Mushrooms Provencale


2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced thickly
1/4 c. white wine
2 to 3 fresh scallions, sliced and chopped
1/2 c. Gruyere cheese, grated
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
pinch cayenne
fresh ground black pepper
4 c. Duchesse potatoes (recipe below)

Making the Dish:

1.  Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
2.  Heat a fry pan and melt the butter.
3.  Add the sliced garlic and saute until the garlic becomes golden and glistens.
4.  Add the mushrooms and continue the saute until the edges of the mushrooms become browned.
5.  Pour the white wine over the mushrooms and allow the alcohol to cook away.
6.  Butter a shallow baking dish and arrange the mushrooms in the bottom.
7.  Sprinkle the scallions and the cheeses over the top of the mushrooms.
8.  Sprinkle with the cayenne and then pipe the Duchess potatoes around the outer edge of the casserole pan.
9.  Bake until the top of the potatoes is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Duchesse Potatoes 


4 c. mashed potatoes
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. heavy cream or sour cream

Boil peeled potatoes until soft and mash them.  Mix the egg yolks and cream together and mix a bit of the warm potatoes into them to bring their heat up gently. Add them to the larger bowl of potatoes and add the butter. Whip until all the ingredients are incorporated. Add salt and black pepper, to taste. Place the potatoes in a piping bag and pipe around the edges of a stew or vegetable dish.  Finish the potatoes as your recipe dictates.

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