Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunset Memories

Today's New York Times has a great review of the century or more of Sunset Magazine. See this: The Original California Cuisine, Courtesy of Sunset Magazine. In my early days of cooking, I lived first in Berkeley, then La Jolla, and tried many recipes from Sunset. For a year, I worked in an office with a number of clerks and nurses who talked cooking all the time, and they recommended it. I've always regretted that its focus is so totally on the West, while I live here in Michigan. Reading it makes me too sad -- though I continued to subscribe and use the Sunset cookbooks for many years after I moved away from its region. I think my favorite recipe was for a cheesecake with a swirl of chocolate on top. It's been decades since I made that cheesecake.

Sunset was especially my frequent source of Thanksgiving ideas. Since it's coming up, here's one recipe:

Wild Rice and Sourdough Stuffing with Almonds

(Sunset, Nov. 92: for a 17 lb. turkey or a smaller turkey with some in a pan)

1/2 loaf of sourdough bread (1.5 LB loaf)

1/2 c. sliced almonds (1/4 LB by wt)

1 lb. Italian turkey sausage

2 large onions, chopped

1 TB. each rosemary and sage

1 and 1/2 c. wild rice, rinsed and drained

6 c. turkey stock, made the night before from turkey neck etc. (see below)

Night before: cook rice in 4 c. broth: bring to boil in 3 qt. pan, turn down, simmer 60 min, stirring occasionally. Leave in pan overnight on back of stove. Rice will absorb liquid. (When we didn't have enough time, we did this just before making the turkey, with less liquid, and it was not bad.)

Just before stuffing bird: spread bread cubes on rimmed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 min; set aside. Then bake almonds on same sheet for 10 min; set aside with bread. Crumble sausage onto pan and mix with onion and herbs. Cook for 1/2 to 3/4 hr. Discard any fat. Pour remaining 2 c. broth over bread, allow to absorb. Mix all ingredients together, stuff and truss turkey immediately. Original suggests baking dressing in a separate pan, but I stuffed a 17 lb.. turkey, including much stuffing between the skin and the breast and cooked for 5 hours with an aluminum foil tent, first half hour at 425 degrees, remaining at 325. This is as I made it, with adaptations to published recipe. If made in a pan, should have some butter added.

Here are some other recipes that I saved:

Sunset Green Chile Strata

A Sunday Brunch dish.

3/4 LB cheddar, Swiss, or mozzarella

1 LB bulk sausage or ground pork

5-6 slices white bread, buttered & cubed

4 oz can Old El Paso green chilies

4-6 eggs

1-2 cups milk

Salt, pepper, Chile powder

Brown and drain sausage. Shred cheese. Layer half the bread- sausage-chilies-cheese in buttered casserole dish. Repeat layers. Pour mixture of eggs, milk, and spices over all, and let stand over night. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Italian Pickled Vegetables

Made for Evelyn's Recital, 1986 and Evelyn & Tom's Wedding, 2000; these are Evelyn's instructions for making it in 2000, as I long ago gave her the edition of the Sunset Italian Cookbook in which it appears.

12-18 small carrots, about 3/4 in in diameter

1 small bunch celery

2 large red bell peppers

1 large (about 2 lbs) cauliflower

1 cup salt

4 quarts cold water

1 pound onions peeled

(calls for pickling or tiny white, but we cut regular)

2 quarts white vinegar

1/4 cup mustard seeds

2 tablespoons celery seeds

1 small dried hot red chile

2 1/2 cups sugar

Peel carrots; cut in half lengthwise and then into 1 1/2-inch lengths; measure 4 cups. Remove strings from celery; slice lengthwise and then into 1 1/2-inch lengths; measure 3 cups. Remove seeds and stems from peppers and cut into 1-in-wide strips. Break cauliflower into 1 1/2-in-thick flowerets and trim stems.

Stir salt into the cold water until dissolved. Add measured carrots and celery, peppers, cauliflowerets, and onions. Let stand, covered, in refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours; then drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.

In a 6-quart pot, combine vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, chile, and sugar. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Add vegetables and boil until vegetables are almost tender (10 minutes); discard chile.

Store in refrigerator in jars. (They have instructions on canning. We didn't do that though.)

I made it two weeks in advance.


~~louise~~ said...

I've always been a huge fan of Sunset Magazine. Do I dare say I enjoy it more than Southern Living for most occasions. I really should renew my subscription. Thanks for the reminder, Mae. Great choice of recipes!!!

P.S. I may just take you up on that future Michigan trip:)

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie said...

I discovered Sunset magazine when I moved from Michigan to California. I'm not in Cali anymore - home for nine years now is Las Vegas - still the West. I can understand how you'd feel a little left out with Sunset's focus on the Western states and cooking.

I'm sure there's gotta be a food focused magazine with Michigan and Great Lakes states ingredients. I'll never forget an omelette I had in Petoskey filled with cherries and sour cream. Uniquely Michigan.