Flan

Desserts always fascinate me because they are often the least likely culinary dish to make yourself. This recipe for a flan is quite simple, consisting entirely of sugar, blanched almonds, condensed milk, cream, and eggs. I made the mistake of using brown sugar instead of white and the sugar syrup topping ended up being rather bitter. Paired with the fact that the flan itself wasn’t very sweet (maybe because I used evaporated milk instead of condensed, I always get the two mixed up). Furthermore, the almonds weren’t quite completely powdered in the blender which disturbed somewhat the velvety consistency of the flan. Despite all this, with a little maple syrup poured over top, this was a tasty little dessert and a fun new recipe to try, not to mention the endless puns you can make with the word flan!

Caesar Salad

Unlike any Caesar salad I’ve ever had, despite the fact that Vincent claims to have devised this concoction after personally viewing hundreds of Caesars tossed “north and south of the Border.” What makes it so peculiar to my expectations is how light and tangy it is. I’ve come to expect Caesar’s to be creamy, rich, and topped with bacon. But this is just another way in which the book reflects an almost anthropological dimension to it.

I’m not quite sure why this recipe is placed in the British section except that they wanted to put it in their ‘food market’ part of the book which ended up being Harrod’s, as they say it originated in Tijuana, Mexico.

Ranch Eggs

Last Sunday I had my whole family over for breakfast and served these Ranch Eggs with French Toast Santa Fe and Blueberry Muffins La Posada. The Ranch Eggs essential consist of scrambled eggs with a side of sauteed peppers and onions with bacon crumbs sprinkled on top. A hearty and tasty dish, lightened somewhat by the peeled and seeded tomatoes sauteed with the veggies. There’s nothing particularly special about this recipe but it got the job done and left everybody quite satisfied.

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French Toast Santa Fe

This recipe for french toast came from the Santa Fe Super Chief railroad dining car  in the USA, a now defunct deluxe passenger train which used to run between Chicago and Los Angeles from the mid-30s up to 1971. The recipe itself is fairly standard although the addition of cream and trimmed crusts makes it quite nice. They were supposed to “puff up” in the oven but it didn’t seem to work for me. Although perhaps I didn’t soak them for long enough in the batter and my bread was still fairly fresh.  Still, a great recipe and will probably become the standard for me now. As an aside, the Super Chief was considered the preferred passenger car of the Hollywood elite and carried such stars as Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and of course, Vincent Price. In 1952 there was even a film set on the moving Super Chief entitled “Three for Bedroom C” starring Gloria Swanson running off the success of her pivotal late era Sunset Boulevard. It is little gems like this which are the very reason I am so attracted to this book. Part culinary auto-biography, part time capsule, Mary and Vincent’s cookbook provides so much more than simply recipes.

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