Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cooking, Baking and All That Jazz - recipes and even a wedding

Any excuse to use these videos - Don't you love 'em?!

Now that we've pretty well handled all the "All That Jazz," back to the cooking and baking . . . .

One of my favorite blogs is Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, and I was honored to be invited as a guest blogger a year or so ago by my friend, Julie Hyzy, who writes the White House Chef Mystery Series and The Manor House Mystery Series.  I admitted there that I'm not much of a cook.  The type of cooking I do enjoy consists of tossing a lot of stuff into a pot, like soups, stews, chili, spaghetti - you get the idea.  A little of this, a little of that - maybe a little more of this, etc.  Nothing ever tastes like it did the last time, but still tastes pretty good - or so we hope.  I seem to lack the focus, or the interest, in following a recipe closely.  I just feel the need to tweak; to add and/or subtract from the original.  For this reason it strikes a lot of people (including myself) as odd that I love to bake as much as I do.  

You don't get to do a lot of tweaking while you're baking.  Oh, you may get away with a little, but take that tweaking too far and you're gonna end up with a disaster on your hands sooner or later.  Mother and I can attest to that as we threw away a very messy, expensive version of a Harvey Wallbanger Cake many years ago.  WHY we felt this recipe needed more Galliano, I have no idea.   I have made it since (following the recipe to a "T" and it was delicious.  There are a lot of recipes for it on-line, including one at, if you're interested.

But there is one recipe I love that I will fix for special occasions.  It's pretty labor intensive, not to mention the "fat factor," but I love it.

I vividly remember running across this recipe at my friend John's house.  He was always cooking wonderfully elegant meals, entertaining with ease and panache and I always just sat back and enjoyed the fruits of his labors.  If there's one single thing I miss about living in Atlanta it would be John's parties.  But.  Since he's now in Miami and not Atlanta, it's a double moot point.  Now we have to travel to Miami (NOT that we're complaining - we adore Miami!) to be wined and dined by John, who still does it all as lovely as he ever did.

Speaking of John and his entertaining - he graciously opened his home on May 11, 1986 and gave Donald and I one of the most memorable gifts of our life.

Our wedding reception.

He had just recently bought this wonderful old home in Atlanta and had just started the long project of renovation.  Having our reception put a bit of extra stress on him, and we'll be forever grateful.  It was the most beautiful wedding ever.  

and here he is - 

Isn't he handsome?  We adore him.

Anyhooooo -  (I do manage to get off on a tangent now and then, don't I?)

Back in those days in Atlanta, while John cooked and threw the most perfect parties ever,  I would spend loads of time looking through his Gourmet and Bon Appétit magazines and scribble down recipes.  Some I would actually try.  One I did try and am still using is Joan Hackett's Country Pâté. I've guarded this recipe with my life. I've made about a beezillion copies of it in case one (or 20) copies might get lost. It also now resides on my computer (in several places). Then, just to be "for sure, for sure," I bought a copy of an old cookbook which I learned had the recipe in it. THE BEST OF BON APPETIT published in 1979.  1979!  See how long I've been guarding this recipe?  I was so happy to finally find, just recently, that it's actually in a cookbook!

And, just in case you're interested, here's the recipe:

Joan Hackett's Country Pâté
20- 25 servings

    4-6 bay leaves
    6 thin slices bacon

    3 tablespoons butter
    1 cup chopped parsley
    ½ cup chopped green onion
    ½ cup chopped onion
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 shallots, minced

    2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
    1 1/4 cups beer
    1 teaspoon fennel seeds

    1 tablespoon butter
    1 pound ground veal

    1 thin slice bacon, chopped
    2 cups crushed herb stuffing mix
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Salt & freshly ground pepper
    ½ cup shelled pistachio nuts

Put bay leaves in single layer in 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Line length of pan with bacon; set aside.

Half fill a large roasting pan with water and place in oven.  Close oven door and preheat to 350.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add ½ cup parsley, green onion, onion, garlic and shallots and saute about 2 minutes.  Remove to large bowl.

Place sausage in large skillet; add 1/4 cup beer and cook over medium heat, mashing and turning with spatula, just until sausage starts to lose pink color but is only partially cooked.  Stir in fennel.  Remove from heat and add to parsley-onion mixture.

In same skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Add veal and saute until partially cooked, about 2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup beer and cook 1 minute more.  Remove from heat and add to bowl. 

Place chopped bacon in same skillet and saute about 2 minutes.  Add stuffing and blend thoroughly.  Stir in remaining 3/4 cup beer and cook 1 to 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and stir into onion-meat mixture.  Add eggs, remaining ½ cup parsley and salt and pepper to taste; blend thoroughly.  Mix in pistachio nuts.

Carefully pack mixture into loaf pan, pressing down firmly.  Wrap entire pan in heavy duty foil (or doubled regular foil) as if wrapping a package.  Place carefully in roasting pan and bake 1 hour.  Very carefully remove from roaster and weight pâté for 3 to 4 hours by placing another loaf pan filled with heavy objects (such as books or canned goods) on top of a cookie sheet on top of wrapped pate loaf.

Remove weight and refrigerate pâté several hours or overnight.  To serve, remove foil, loosen completely with knife and unmold onto serving plate.  Pat off excess fat with paper towel.

OR - if you love cookbooks as much as I do, it's available at some of the used bookstores on-line - such as

How 'bout you guys - do you have a favorite recipe you do for special occasions?  I'm going to do the Country Pâté for our little neighborhood Christmas party.  Thank you, Joan Hackett!

Pat - I don't know why I didn't think to include the torte recipe!  But here it is - with my thanks to my friend Gigi Markyna for sharing it with me many years ago -
Fruit Torte (Obsttorte) from Gigi Markyna
Grease torte pan carefully, flour.

Beat 3 eggs on high speed till very foamy.
Add 5 Tbsps. warm water while beating.
Add 1 cup sugar - beat vigorously.
turn mixer to slower speed and add 1 cup of flour, and 1 tsp. baker powder
add 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring (or almond, or rum)
Pour into pan and bake at 350 for 15 or 20 min., till top is lighly golden.  Remove to cooling rack immediately.
When completely cool, arrange fruits of your choice as desired.
Use Dr.Oetker clear glaze over the top (found in the baking section of your local grocery).
Serve with cool whip.


Jill said...


Anonymous said...

Kaye, I absolutely LOVE those wedding pictures. They look like something out of a fairy tale. The pate looks a little too time consuming for me to make, but where's the recipe for that yummy looking berry tart thing?

Pat Browning

Susan Johnson said...

Thank you so much for posting the recipe for Joan Hackett's Country Pate. I discovered I had lost me copy about 5 years ago and have been periodically searching the Internet for it. You have definitely made my day today!