Friday, March 25, 2011

Pecans, Waffles, and the Classics

Well, wouldn't you know it, it just so happens that proclaimed foodie and Sex and the City actress, Sarah Jessica Parker, shares her birthday today with Pecans, Waffles, and the elegant Delmonico classic, Lobster Newburg. How cool is that!

Born in Nelsonville, Ohio, on March 25, 1965, as the fourth of eight siblings, Sarah Jessica Parker grew up in relative poverty following the divorce of her mother, an elementary school teacher, and her father, an aspiring writer. Raised by her mother and often out-of-work stepfather, she trained as a dancer and singer, bringing home paychecks from a young age. As a fledgling actor, Parker landed her first TV show at the age of eight; in 1976, after winning her first Broadway role in The Innocents, her family moved to New Jersey to encourage her career. Parker worked on the stage for the next few years, touring -- with four of her siblings -- in the national company of The Sound of Music and getting her first major break when she was chosen to take over the title role of Annie on Broadway, from 1979 to 1980. (source)
"Food and people are life's greatest pleasures!"

According to published reports, Sarah Jessica Parker's favorite hobby is eating! In one interview she said, "I will eat anything, from any country, with or without utensils!"

Sarah Jessica a foodie? I find that hard to swallow. I mean really, SJP, as she is more commonly referred to in interviews, is just so thin. I did read she likes pork chops, linguine with pesto, macaroni 'n cheese and when she was pregnant with her son, James Wilkie Broderick, she craved "The Golden Arches" and other fast food favorites. I suppose she falls into that category of people who can just eat and eat and never gain a pound. Perhaps...

photo credit New York Grub Street

In an interview with Allure Magazine in 2008 she is quoted as saying, "Anything having to do with food is pleasurable for me. Any conversation about food, review of food, story of food, picture of food, thought of food..." Hmmm...And this from People Magazine.

“I eat everything,” the actress told People Monday night at a special screening of her new film, Smart People, co-hosted by Allure magazine’s Linda Wells and The Cinema Society. “I’m just an eater. If it’s free, I honestly eat everything.”

As if to prove a point, the Sex and the City star rattled off a list of all the food she’d consumed in the past 48 hours: “Last night I had steak and some lamb shank. And I had some roasted chicken and some cassoulet and some profiteroles and some ice cream and some cheesecake.” And that’s not all. "On Monday I had two different tarts from Once Upon a Tart [in SoHo] and toast and a banana and a cup of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese,” she said. Oh, yeah: “And a glass of fresh orange juice.”

Here's a scoop for you, albeit a sketchy one, but none the less worth mentioning. It seems, SJP may be working on a new movie in Boston which may have something to do with food truck vendors. Are you reading this T.W? The movie, which wrapped up filming in New York City, co-stars Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks. The movie may be entitled I Don't Know How She Does It. And how's this for the syrup on the cone? When Bravo’s Top Chef Masters returns for its season three premiere, April 6, 2011 (at 11 p.m. before moving to its regular time slot the following week at 10 p.m.) Christina Hendricks will serve as one of the guest judges! Lovely:)

photo credit Bauer Griffin


Yes, March 25th is also National Pecan Day. Let's see, remember this sliver of Nectarine Pecan Cake from a previous Pecan Day post? (click the image for the scanned recipe)

Let me refresh your memory. The recipe, contributed by Pastry Chef Jim Dodge, was gleaned from a back issue of Chocolatier Magazine.

This dessert--comprised of buttery crisp wafers, moist genoise, fresh nectarines and rum buttercream--is a striking example of Jim's deep understanding of harmony among ingredients. The cake is presented with nectarine rum sauce; despite its subtlety, it clerverly accentuates the cake's star ingredients. Jim exhuberantly launches into the logic behind the dessert. He chose nectarines because few people know how to incorporate them into baked desserts. "I devised the wafers to add buttery crispness. They balance the drier crunch of the pecans. The rum contributes warmth. It awakens all the flavors of the dessert...

International Waffle Day

Waffle Day is a Swedish tradition which has been adopted world wide. I know for a fact, waffle days can get rather confusing sometimes. Why there's just plain ol' Waffle Day, celebrated on August 24th, the day the first patent for a waffle maker was issued to Cornelius Swartwout and, International Chicken and Waffles Day which is celebrated in October. All waffling aside, I'm not exactly what you would call a waffle loving person. Don't get me wrong, I like waffles just about as much as I like pancakes. If either of them are darned with lucsious whipped butters or home made syrup or fresh fruit or jam, I would have to say I really like waffles and pancakes. And, if either is smothered in whipped cream, I would have to say I'm really teetering on love!

I don't have a waffle iron any more. I gave it away. The only time I ever have waffles, and no they are not my first choice on the breakfast menu, is when Marion and I go down to the local Waffle House for breakfast. Marion says she enjoys the blueberry waffle there. I'm inclined to think it's a combination of the drive to town and the friendly service. (They love her there:) It seems to me, a restaurant that endows itself with the name of the food they are serving should be the Best! Perhaps, it's just me...

There is a way I will eat waffles, with delightful approval. That's when they are the sandwich part of my Hot Waffle and Ice Cream Sandwich. Then, and only then, am I in Waffle Heaven!

photo credit Saveur Magazine

Lobster Newburg Day

To say Lobster Newburg is a seafood dish made from lobster, butter, cream, cognac, sherry, eggs and cayenne pepper, is simply not doing it justice. Lobster a la Newburg is a but a nugget cloaked in the age of gluttony; The Gilded Age.

Its questionable history is doused with opulent elegance...

The dish was invented by Ben Wenberg, a sea captain in the fruit trade. He demonstrated the dish at Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City to the manager, Charles Delmonico, in 1876. After refinements by the chef, Charles Ranhofer, the creation was added to the restaurant's menu as Lobster á la Wenberg and it soon became very popular.

An argument between Wenberg and Charles Delmonico caused the dish to be removed from the menu. To satisfy patrons' continued requests for it, the name was rendered in anagram Lobster á la Newberg or Lobster Newberg. It is still quite popular and is found in French cookbooks, where it is sometimes referred to as "Homard sauté à la crème." When Ranhofer's printed recipe first appeared in 1894, the lobsters were boiled fully twenty-five minutes, then fried in clarified butter, then simmered in cream while it reduced by half, then brought again to the boil after the addition of the Madeira. (source)

Here is a rendition of the recipe published by Charles Ranhofer in his book The Epicurean ©1894.

"Cook six lobsters each weighing about two pounds in boiling salted water for twenty-five minutes.  Twelve pounds of live lobster when cooked yields from two to two and a half pounds of meat with three to four ounces of coral.  When cold detach the bodies from the tails and cut the latter into slices, put them into a sautoir, each piece lying flat, and add hot clarified butter;  season with salt and fry lightly on both sides without coloring; moisten to their height with good raw cream; reduce quickly to half; and then add two or three spoonfuls of Madeira wine; boil the liquid once more only, then remove and thicken with a thickening of egg yolks and raw cream. Cook without boiling, incorporating a little cayenne and butter; then arrange the pieces in a vegetable dish and pour the sauce over."

Since today is Sarah Jessica's birthday, I thought it would be almost as satisfying to include a recipe I unearthed in Newman's Own Cookbook for Sarah Jessica Parker's Grilled Shrimp with Vodka Lime Sauce. Not quite Lobster Newburg but almost as decadent.

Sarah Jessica Parker's Grilled Shrimp with Vodka Lime Sauce
36 extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined but with tails on
2 tbs. olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Vodka-Lime Sauce
1 cup vodka
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup sliced scallion, green and white parts, for garnish
In a shallow flat-bottomed dish, combine the shrimp with oil, salt, and pepper. Let stand at room temperature while preheating the grill. Preheat the grill.
To make the vodka-lime sauce: In an enamel or glass saucepan, combine the vodka, wine, and lime juice. Reduce the mixture over medium heat to 1/3 the original amount. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, quickly whisking in until completely incorporated. You wan to blend each piece of butter in fully, not just melt it, before adding the next. Work quickly but do not increase the heat in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm in a warm bath until ready to use. Do not reheat the sauce over direct heat.

Arrange the shrimp in 1 layer in a hinged grill pan. Grill over a hot fire for 4 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. You can also saute them in batches, using 1 tablespoon of olive oil per batch, in a hot cast-iron skillet for 4 minutes per side.

To serve, put 5 shrimp on each plate, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of sauce over them, and sprinkle scallion rings on top. Serve at once. Serves 6

1. Sarah Jessica Parker Biography
2. Sarah Jessica's Secrets (@ Good Housekeeping Magazine)
3. Sarah Jessica Parker Will Be Watching the Vendies
4. Banana-Honey-Lemon Syrup (@ Queen of the Castle)
5. Smother in Chicken and Waffles (previous post)
6. National Lobster Newburg Day


  1. This looks absolutely yummy, and I just happen to have a whole bag of pecans in the pantry! Yay!

  2. I love waffles, and strangely enough, Outback Steakhouse is doing a strawberry shortcake with them right now. I was skeptical, but the Knight is a big fan of both waffles and strawberry shortcake too, so... we tried it. We loved it.

  3. Louise, you have the best blog; I also am a 100% foodie and I just love to read you have cooked up for us. Lobster Newburg is Special and I have made it a couple of times, although not quite as elaborate as the original, it was superb! Food trivia is one omy favourite things.
    Please keep dishing us this great information.
    Have a nice weekend!

  4. Oh, I wish I knew it was a waffle day, I love waffles and would have made some, with pecans of course :)

  5. Once again, Louise, you have outdone yourself with this incredible post. Won't you please, please, please put all your fun food knowledge into a book? It would be such a grand book. And who would have guessed that SJP was a foodie?! She is so svelte. Her shrimp recipe sounds delicious.

    By the way, do you happen to have any good cake recipes (from scratch) that use Kahlua? I made some homemade coffee liqueur a couple weeks ago and figured I'd have no problem finding recipes to use it; but when I poked through my HUGE stash of cake recipes today, could not find a one, made from scratch, that used Kahlua. I did find two that started with a boxed cake mix, but that was not what I was after. Anyway, I thought if anyone would know, it would be you. There's probably a national coffee liqueur day lurking in your encyclopedic food brain somewhere :) Thank you for putting my blog on your sidebar, too. How fun is that?

  6. I was actually considering making waffles today, but ended up trying a new scone recipe. Had I known it was waffle day I'd have made them, of course!

  7. Waffle day? I've never heard of in Germany. But when I was a child we had very often waffles on sunday afternoon with hot cherries and cream. I loved it.

  8. Look really yummy and I really enjoy your posts! gloria

  9. Fabulous treats! I really love waffles, but never got to making my own...



  10. i'll always love sjp best for her role in footloose. :)
    terrific post, louise--i am now sufficiently hungry.

  11. I wonder, if she can eat everything, how SJP keeps that figure?? Wish I had her metabolism!

    Love that nectarine pecan cake. Such an elegant dessert, Louise!

  12. I like SJP even more now upon hearing what a foodie she is! And I have been craving waffles - I need to celebrate waffle day soon - better late than never!

  13. I would love to eat everything I wanted. Esp. waffles!

  14. Pecans are such a delight--I will have to make a point of celebrating National Pecan Day now that I know it exists.

  15. That was a great collision of topics -- congratulations for making it so coherent!!

  16. You know my kids eat plenty of waffles. Ryan's new favorite is bluebery waffles, which I make with frozen blueberries, which I run under water for a minute or 2 to partially thaw. Too much information, right?

  17. What a delicious & good for you waffle this is!!!

    I love waffles as yummie as this!!


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none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise