What’s Cooking: 2020-June-6

What’s Cooking? Vincent Price

Vincent Price, THE star of campy horror films for six decades (House of Wax, The Tinglers, and Edward Scissorhands, etc) was also an art collector, food historian and a gourmet chef who authored several cookbooks, including A Treasury of Great Recipes and Cooking Price-Wise, which was based on his television show. In addition, Price released cooking tutorials on vinyl; and demonstrated his cooking skills on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he poached fish in a dishwasher.

Price came to cooking naturally. His grandfather invented one of the first cream of tartar-based baking powders, and his father was the president of the National Candy Company. Remarked Price, “There are three things which really turn me on…one is work, another is art and the third is food.”

Here is his recipe for the unlikely pairing of bacon and mousse. For the daring palate:

Bacon Mousse

  • ½ lb. leftover bacon, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons horse-radish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • ¼ pint cold water
  • ¼ pint cream

Dissolve gelatin in the cold water. Heat for 10 minutes, add to cream and mayonnaise. Beat well together and add remaining ingredients. Mix and turn into moistened mold. You can vary this to taste—unmold onto lettuce hearts and watercress.

Vincent Leonard Price Jr. (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993) 

What’s Cooking?: 2020-May-30

What’s Cooking: Agnes Martin

Agnes Bernice Martin (1912-2004) was an American-Canadian painter known for her pared down geometric abstractions. Her work has been defined as an “essay in discretion on inward-ness and silence”. Martin is often considered a minimalist and her work was influenced by Taoist and other eastern philosophies.

Like her art, her daily life and dietary habits were marked by restraint and simplicity. After she left the bustle of New York in the mid-1960s, she settled in the New Mexican desert. There, she lived a mostly solitary life, which she believed kept her mind clear and gave her more time and energy to paint. Her diet was not surprisingly simple and repetitive. One winter, she consumed only walnuts, hard cheeses, and preserved tomatoes grown in her garden; another season, she subsisted on a concoction of gelatin, orange juice, and bananas. In times of intense artistic output, her go to snack was bananas and coffee. As Martin entered her eighties, she began to loosen up, allowing herself the occasional martini.

(From Artsy.net.)

Agnes Bernice Martin (1912-2004)

What’s Cooking: 2020-May-23

What’s Cooking: Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) was a French-American artist best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art. Her work explored a variety of themes including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the unconscious.

Bourgeois’ approach to cooking was as personal as her art. “I was told as a child in France that cooking is the way to a man’s heart,” she recalled in The Museum of Modern Art Artists’ Cookbook. “Today I know that the notion is absurd.”

Immersed in the New York avant garde art world of the 1960’2 and 70’s, Bourgeois was fond of entertaining her artist friends: “When the galleries close, we all troop over to my house. I have to be prepared to feed as many as fifteen people at a moment’s notice. It is easy for me because of my pressure cookers and my freezer,” she said at the time.

Bourgeois’s contributed to New York City’s Museum of Modern Art cookbook, which featured fellow artists Willem and Elaine de Kooning and Andy Warhol. She favored simple, economical dishes that honored her French heritage. Try this refreshing cucumber salad this summer! From Artsy.net

Louise Bourgeois’s French Cucumber Salad

  • 6 cucumbers, peeled
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 ½ tbsp. tarragon vinegar
  • ½ tsp. tarragon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped chives or green scallions

Layer slivers of cucumber in a small bowl, sprinkling with salt between each layer. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 12 hours. Remove the cucumbers and wash under cold running water, then dry on towels. To make the dressing, combine oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk. Drizzle the mixture over the cucumber slivers and toss. Add chives or scallions, then serve with hot French bread.

Adapted from: The Museum of Modern Art Artists’ Cookbook (MoMA, 1978)

Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010)

What’s Cooking?: 2020-May-9

What’s Cooking? – Pablo Picasso

Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, is one of the most iconic artists of all times. Picasso was best known for his unbridled appetite for women. His diet, however, was surprisingly restricted. When he was in his fifties and plagued by worries of ill health and decreased productivity, he adopted what today would be termed the Mediterranean diet, consisting of fish, vegetables, grapes, and rice pudding washed down with mineral water or milk. He ate in silence, uttering not a word from beginning to end.

Picasso’s doctor advised him to eat spinach. One of Picasso’s least objectionable ways to consume this leafy green vegetable was in a souffle.

Explore more of Picasso’s life from the PBS Digital Studio, “The Art Assignment” series.

Spinach Souffle (vintage recipe)
(4 servings)

1 package chopped frozen spinach (1 cup)
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon butter
2 or 3 shallots – minced
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
6 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons flour
1 and 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground back pepper – to taste
6 large eggs
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a two-quart souffle dish and sprinkle the sides and bottom lightly with Parmesan cheese.

Melt one Tablespoon of butter in a heavy saucepan and add the shallots. Cook for about three minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the thoroughly drained spinach and lemon juice and cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has evaporated, which will take about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Melt the 6 Tablespoons of butter in a heavy sauce pan and, over low heat, stir in the flour with a wire whisk; remove from heat.

Meanwhile, bring the milk to the boiling point and add it to the butter-flour mixture, beating vigorously with a wire whisk until smooth. Add the salt and pepper and continue whisking until blended. Let this white sauce cool a little.

Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Beat the yolks into the sauce one at a time. Stir in the spinach and set the mixture aside.

Beat the egg whites, including the extra white, in a large bowl until they hold soft peaks.

Stir a little of the whites into the sauce to make it easier to manage, then gently fold in the remainder.

Pour this mixture into the prepared souffle dish. Place in oven, turn heat down to 375 degrees immediately and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is well puffed up ad lightly browned.

What’s Cooking?: 2020-May-2

What ‘s Cooking? The Futurist’s Cookbook

Futurism was an Italian art movement of the early twentieth century that aimed to capture in art the dynamism, speed, energy and power of the machine and the vitality, change, and restlessness of modern life.
Futurism was launched by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909, when he published his Manifesto of Futurism on the front page of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro.

Futurism denounced the past and the oppressive weight of cultural history. The Futurist’s proposed an art that celebrated the modern world of industry and technology:

“We declare…a new beauty, the beauty of speed. A racing motor car…is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.”

Futurist Meat Sculpture from “The Art Assignment, PBS Digital Studios”

What’s Cooking?: 2020-Apr-25

What’s Cooking? – Salvador Dali

Spanish artist Salvador Dali, the consummate showman with the dramatic mustache, was a Surrealist artist whose works explored subconscious imagery. His most famous painting, “The Persistence of Memory” depicted melting watches. Dali was also known for his opulent dinner parties thrown with his wife Gala. A Surrealist in the kitchen as well, in 1973 he published, “Les Diners de Gala”, a cookbook filled with his unsettling illustrations and peculiar culinary ideas. Recipes included such delicacies as “Veal Cutlets Stuffed With Snails”, “Frog Pasties”, and “Toffee with Pine Cones”. Guests attending his dinner parties were required to wear outlandish costumes and wild animals often roamed free around the dinner table.

Explore the outlandish culinary creations of Salvador Dali in “Art Cooking” from the The Art Assignment, PBS Digital Studios.

Salvador Dalí’s Avocado Toast

3 avocados
1 lamb brain
9 oz. minced almonds
12 slices of rye bread
3 tbsp. tequila
⅓ cup vinegar
½ cube of beef bouillon
salt and cayenne pepper

Soak the lamb brains in cold water, remove their outer skin, and place back in the water. Meanwhile, boil a pint of water; add vinegar and beef bouillon. Remove the brains from the water, drain to remove excess water, and mix with avocado pulp. Then add minced almonds, salt, cayenne pepper, and tequila. Spread on toasted slices of rye.

What’s Cooking?: 2020-Apr-18-2

What’s cooking?

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo put passion into everything, including the preparation of meals.

Explore Art Cooking: Frida Kahlo by PBS Digital Studios

Frida Kahlo’s Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers.

Adapted from the book, “Frida’s Fiestas” by Guadalupe Rivera Marín and Marie-Pierre Colleby

4 ripe but firm avocados, peeled
½ medium onion, chopped
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
4 chipotle chiles in marinade, chopped
Salt to taste

Soak the chiles in hot water for 10 minutes, combine all the ingredients and mix well.

What’s Cooking?: 2020-Apr-18

What’s Cooking? Vincent Van Gogh

Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “The Potato Eaters” (1885) depicts a group of peasants eating a humble meal of tubers. Van Gogh painted the figures in earth colors to show that they “have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish … that they have thus honestly earned their food”.

Explore the life and diet of Van Gogh in “Art Cooking” from the The Art Assignment, PBS Digital Studios.

May this recipe for the humble baked potato be your blank canvas for a variety of toppings.

-Russet potatoes
-Extra-virgin olive oil
-Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350′. Pierce potatoes with fork tines. Rub with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake potatoes on an oven rack until they are soft when squeezed and skin is crispy. 60-90 minutes.

Vincent Van Gogh, “The Potato Eaters” (1885)

What’s Cooking?: 2020-Apr-11

What’s cooking? Claude Monet, Impressionist painter of waterlilies, haystacks and cathedrals, enjoyed fresh produce from his fruit and vegetable gardens in Giverny, France.

Explore “What Did Monet Eat in a Day?” from “The Art Assignment: PBS Digital Studios”.

Strawberry Mousse Monet

1 1/2 cups strawberries
1 1/2 T superfine sugar
4 egg whites
1 T butter for greasing the dish

Preheat the oven to 300′ F. Mash the strawberries into a purée and pass through a sieve. Sweeten to taste. Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks with a pinch of salt, then carefully fold in the strawberry purée. Pour the mixture into a greased dish and cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.