I found the dusty well-worn cookbook in an old antique store off the beaten path in Ogden, Iowa. In researching the author, I was thrilled that I had stumbled across a treasure. The Gold Cook Book, first published in 1947 was written by Louis P. De Gouy, the Chef at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for 30 years. He was also one of the original founders of Gourmet Magazine and the author of 16 cookbooks. In the Gold Cook Book I found an entire chapter devoted to something you don’t find as a separate section in many cookbooks today- Compounded Butters. My favorite line opening the chapter reads, “Compounded (creamed) butters in cookery are the finishing touch to food, be it a soup, fish, meat, sauce or vegetable as is powder and make-up to the face of a beautiful woman.” The chapter covered every compounded butter from Anchovy to Truffle Butter, and I was struck at how simple these compounds are, often mixing together just two or three ingredients to the softened butter. The great thing about compounded butters is that they can be made ahead and stored in a closed jar and refrigerated indefinitely for use when necessary. I chose a recipe for a Garlic Butter and loved the idea of paring it with a simple salmon fillet. Adding some fresh squeezed lime juice to the compound gave the salmon a bright and flavorful finish. Choose nice fresh, thick slices of salmon, cook them in a grill pan or skillet with a little salt and lemon pepper, and then drop a dollop of Compounded Garlic Lime Butter on top for a perfect light meal in minutes.
We’re just five days away from our Southwestern fiesta with friends, Cinco de Mayo! Searching for some salsas? This Roasted Eggplant Salsa was rescued out of my own recipe box—the one I’ve had for years stuffed with recipe clippings, potluck favorites and scribbles on scratch paper. It’s perfect for a Cinco celebration if you’re looking to add something a little different to your salsa spread this year. I’ve also included one of my favorite recipes for stand-out Salsa Fresca. It uses ingredients found in many diced tomato-based salsas, but you can heat it up or tone it down anyway you like. Then grab a chip and dive right in!
Church fund-raising cookbooks are generally compilations of recipes by the family and friends of the church-goes. But in the case of The Bishop’s Bounty Cookbook; Food from Heaven that Tastes Divine, the book highlights the life, accomplishments and abundant recipes of the Bishop himself, The Most Reverend Charles Pascal Greco from the Diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana. I like to think that finding this old cookbook was a gift from above, since it has so many easy and delicious dishes in it, many of which are Father Greco’s authentic recipes. Throughout the chapters, you not only get great meal ideas but also a glimpse into one life that accomplished many things. Father Greco, born in 1894, built churches, schools, camps and even a ninety-six foot ship for “children to play and adults to sit and relax.” The Star of the Sea took five years to complete. But more than anything the Bishop loved to cook and share his recipes with anyone and everyone one. I chose the Chinese Barbecued Ribs because it’s so simple and savory! It makes enough to load up a platter and share, a notion that I think Father Greco would find absolutely heavenly.