Vichyssoise

Traditionally served cold, Vichyssoise is a thick soup made of boiled and puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. Nobody is certain of this classic soup’s origin—though Julia Child called it an “American invention,” historians debate its roots in French cuisine. A similar potato and leek soup recipe was created in 1869 by the French chef Jules Gouffé, but another French chef—Louis Diat, based at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City—is credited with its reinvention. Though it is traditionally served cold, I can also be eaten hot.

 

The recipe is simple, easy, and timeless.

 

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter

8 leeks

2 medium potatoes

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

4 fresh chives

1 tsp nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Clean and slice the leeks, discarding the green ends. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and finely chop the leeks.

 

  1. Add leeks to the butter and let sweat for five minutes. Stop sweating if they begin to take on color. Add the potato cubes and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

  1. Add chicken broth to pot, stir, and bring to a boil.

 

  1. Reduce heat to a simmer, cooking on low heat for around 35 minutes—until the leeks and potatoes are very soft. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.

 

  1. In small batches (1-2 cups at a time), puree the soup using a high speed in your blender. When finished, return the soup to the cooking pot.

 

  1. Whisk in cream and nutmeg, then season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook an additional five minutes. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more broth.

 

  1. Transfer soup to a mixing bowl and chill over an ice bath, stirring occasionally. When the soup is at room temperature, cover in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerate to cool.

 

  1. Season to taste, top with chives, and serve in chilled bowls.

 

 

Oysters Rockefeller

Named for the inimitable John D. Rockefeller, this recipe was created in a New Orleans kitchen in 1899. Jules Alciatore developed the dish to address a shortage of escargot; the locally-available oysters provided a suitable substitute. The dish is characterized by a special green sauce and the inclusion of bread crumbs, which are then baked or broiled. The green sauce recipe has never been revealed in an official capacity, but it likely includes a purée of green vegetables, parsley, celery, chives, and capters.

 

Simple but indulgent, this is a great way to eat oysters.

 

Ingredients:

18 fresh oysters (on the half shell)

3 tbs of butter

6 tbs of finely-chopped fresh spinach leaves

1.5 tbs finely-chopped onion

1.5 tbs finely-chopped parsley

2.5 tbs breadcrumbs

Tabasco sauce to taste

½ tsp of Pernod (or another anise-flavored spirit)

½ tsp salt

Rock salt

Lemon wedges (for garnish)

 

Directions:

  1. Use an oyster knife to open the shells and remove the oysters. Discard the top shells, but scrub and dry the bottoms. Drain the oysters over a bowl to reserve excess liquids.

 

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the spinach, onion, parsley, bread crumbs, Tabasco Sauce, Pernod, and salt. Remove from heat and let cool.

 

  1. Press this mixture through a sieve and let cool. You may make this mixture ahead of time and keep refrigerated until use.

 

  1. Preheat your broiler. In the meantime, line an ovenproof plate with a layer of rock salt (1” thick). Set oysters in the rock salt, placing a bit of the reserved liquid on each oyster. Then, spoon an equal amount of the prepared spinach mixture over each oyster, spreading to the rim of the shell. Add breadcrumbs.

 

  1. Broil for approximately 5 minutes (or until the edges of the oysters have curled and the topping begins to bubble).

 

  1. Garnish serving plates with parsley springs and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

 

 

Sazerac

The Sazerac is a New Orleans variation of a cognac or whiskey cocktail. Traditionally, this cocktail is a combination of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, and sugar. Though the original recipe called for cognac, an insect epidemic destroyed several French vineyards, resulting in a switch to rye whiskey. This is the oldest-known American cocktail, originating in the pre-Civil War American south. It should be served straight up in a rocks glass.

 

Ingredients:

1 sugar cube

3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 oz cognac or rye whiskey

½ oz absinthe

 

Directions:

  1. Use the absinthe to rinse a chilled rocks glass. Discard any excess and set aside.

 

  1. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube and both bitters. Add the rye, fill with ice, and stir.

 

  1. Strain drink into the prepared glass.

 

  1. Garnish with a twisted lemon peel.

Aviation

A classic gin cocktail, the Aviation was created y Hugo Ensslin, the head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York. First served in the early 20th century, the recipe was published in a 1916 mixed drink book. The cocktail can be considered a variation on the gin sour and is made with gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de voilette, and lemon juice. It should be served straight up and in a cocktail glass.

 

Ingredients:

2 oz gin

½ oz maraschino liqueur

¼ oz crème de violette (or Crème Yvette)

¾ oz lemon juice

 

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.

 

  1. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

 

  1. Garnish with a cherry (fresh or maraschino).

The Rest at Bodega 331

Aw, man. You want to talk about a place that invokes the speakeasy era, how about an underground restaurant and bar that uses a different business as a cover? The Rest at Bodega 331 is located at an old location for a stock broker and investment company.

Through the backdoor “Rest” Room, you’ll find your way down to the basement where Salt Lake City boasts a legit speakeasy environment unlike any other we’ve seen. With local macabre art, dimly light environs, and a kitchen that sits in an old bank vault from the earliest years of the city. The seating area is long and narrow with a larger front room and smaller back room. You get the unmistakable feeling of going through a time-warp.

If you’re like us, you’ll go with a half-full stomach and a small group of friends to share drinks and split appetizers and meals. You’ll talk about pseudo-sordid topics and make pseudo-sinister plans in hushed whispers and with an inflated sense of importance. If you’re like us, that is.

 

Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a bourbon-based cocktail associated with the American South, originating in the southern United States in the late 18th century. Since the early 20th century, the drink has been promoted in association with the Kentucky Derby—each year, nearly 120,000 juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two-day period. A Mint Julep should be served on the rocks and in a highball glass, preferably on a very hot and humid day.

 

Ingredients:

½ tsp powdered sugar

1 tsp water

8 mint leaves

2 oz bourbon

 

Directions:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar and water at the bottom of a highball class.

 

  1. At the mint leaves and muddle.

 

  1. Add bourbon and pack tightly with crushed ice. Stir until the cup is slightly frosted on the outside.

 

  1. Serve with more crushed ice (forming a dome) and garnish with a mint spring. Add bitters to top if desired.