Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Autograph Celebrity Cookbook" - Jerry Orbach's (Law & Order) Pan-Fried Steak and "Love in the Afternoon" (recipes from ABC Soaps) Heiress Asparagus Soups - 2016 Emmy Awards

Date I made these recipes – Sunday, September 18, 2016 – Emmy Award Night!

Autograph® Celebrity Cookbook – introduced and compiled by Professor Richard Brown, New York University; foreword by Michael Lomonaco, Chef/Director, Windows on the World until it was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks
Published by DuPont, maker of Autograph® non-stick coating
© 1992
Purchased at BCPA Sale (Bloomington Crime Prevention Association), June 2016
Recipe: Pan-Fried Steak with Balsamic Sauce from the late actor, Jerry Orbach, who played Detective Lennie Briscoe on the TV show, Law & Order – p. 88

Love in the Afternoon Cookbook – Recipes from Your Favorite ABC-TV Soap Operas:  Ryan's Hope; All My Children; One Life to Live; General Hospital by Jeanne Jones and Donna Swajeski
Published by M. Evans and Company, Inc.
ISBN: 0-87131-426-6
Purchased at BCPA Sale (Bloomington Crime Prevention Association), June 2012
Recipe:  Heiress Asparagus Soup from One Life to Live's character Dorian Lord Callison, played by Robin Strasser – p. 85

So the Emmy Awards were on last night and this turned out to be a good thing as it distracted me from another competition that aired on another network:  the Packers v. Vikings game.  In Minnesota.  It did not go well for my Packers. 

Things went much better on the Emmy Awards unless, of course, you lost in your category, in which case you might as well have been playing for the Pack who lost the game.

And so it came to pass that I watched much more (like 90% more) of the Emmys than the game which was not at all what I intended.  I taped both shows, but intended to spend more time watching the game than the Emmys but that didn't happen.

Normally, I might have also "split" my Sunday night menu between an "Emmy" meal and a Packers football meal but it just got too hard to fit everything in.  And so it came to pass that a few days before the game, I decided on an Emmy-meal-or-bust approach and to heck with the football stuff for now. 

Focus is a good thing, amirite Packers?

The first book I used is the Autograph® Celebrity Cookbook.  You should know that this book does not contain any celebrity "autographs," as that refers to a non-stick coating created by DuPont, "sponsor" of this cookbook.  But it does contain celebrity photos and recipes, and all proceeds from the sale of this cookbook were given to Citymeals-on-Wheels in NYC, an organization that provides meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers.  That makes me happy.  But here's what makes me sad:  The foreword to this book, published in 1992, was written by chef Michael Lomonaco who was then in charge of the famous restaurant at the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Centers Twin Towers.  Windows on the World operated from 1976 until 9/11/2011.

On 9/11/2001, everyone on Lomonaco's staff was in that restaurant serving patrons, many of them people who had "always wanted to eat there."  My friend, Bob, knew of one such person who was there that day.  Given the spectacular view from the 106th/107th floor, it is no wonder it was popular.  I might have eaten there except for my fear of heights.  

On 9/11, American Airlines Flight 11 plowed into that building; you know what happened after that.  Chef Lomonaco was in the lobby at that time and was evacuated.  He was the only survivor of the restaurant staff.

Until I read the foreword, I did not connect the dots.  I knew who he was since he has appeared on numerous cooking shows, and I knew what happened to Windows on the World, and I might have even remembered that he was in the lobby, but I didn't pull it all together until the day I got pulled the book from my shelf to cook from it for my blog.  I think it is somewhat fitting, if not ironic that I had just written all about 9/11 the week before and now there I was with another cosmic connection to that day.

It's also fitting that many of the celebrities featured in this book (along with their recipes) found their fame in New York and not LA, performing on the stage or in movies or on TV.  Back in the early days of television, many productions were filmed in New York and if you go to Queens, you can go to the Museum of the Moving Image and take in memorabilia and see the old lots.  (I have been there and it is awesome!  I have also been to London's Museum of the Moving Image, or MOMI as it's referred to over there. http://www.movingimage.us/

One actor who made his claim to fame on both the New York stage and screen was the late Jerry Orcbach who most of you know as Detective Lennie Briscoe from the long-running TV show, Law & Order.  I loved the show, loved "Lennie" and particularly loved how the show was shot in NYC.  My husband and my favorite thing to do when watching episodes is "neighborhood spotting" where we guess (mostly correctly) where a scene took place.

As between Jerry's recipes for "Chicken with Artichokes, Mushrooms, and White Wine," and "Pan-Fried Steak with Balsamic Sauce," tonight's "Emmy" went (narrowly) to the steak.  It was delicious.  It was also shown paired with fresh asparagus which I did not make, but I did make an asparagus soup from another cookbook which sort of tied the whole thing together.

If Jerry's recipes don't float your boat, here's a sampling of some of the other actors and recipes that might:

  • Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) – Sauteed Shrimp with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes
  • Adam Arkin (guest-starred recently on How to Get Away with Murder) – French Onion Soup
  • Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck; Steel Magnolias) – Greek Meatballs
  • Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) – Pork Tenderloin Steaks with Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • Ben Stiller (Night at the Museum, Zoolander) – Sweet Ricotta Pancakes
 And lots, lots more!

The second cookbook I used – Love in the Afternoon - is also celebrity-themed but this time around, the celebrities are all soap opera actors.  Daytime TV, of which soaps used to be a huge part, have had their own Emmy Awards for years – Daytime Emmys.  Daytime Emmys were held in May of this year and according to the internet, they were the 43rd Daytime Emmys.  I did not realize they were on for that long.

In the "old" days, of daytime TV, it was difficult for a soap opera actor to cross over to primetime TV or movies but these days, actors and actresses are free to roam about the cabin.  Now, many of the people we see getting a "nighttime" Emmy got their start on soap operas (or, as Tony Award host James Corden hilariously pointed out, Law & Order!).

Most of the famous soaps I grew up with are now long gone, but I tell you what, in their heyday, we were all glued to the set. I was a fan of CBS' The Young and the Restless (still running) as well as All My Children.  My mother was a fan of The Edge of Night, The Guiding Light and The Secret Storm, which she watched while ironing. (You remember ironing, right?)

So I watched as many soaps as I could in high school and then went off to college where I was amazed to find a whole "underworld" of soap addicts.  And by "addicts," I mean students who planned classes around their favorite soap operas.  At the time, most of us did not have TV sets in our dorm rooms (it was the dinosaur era), but the Wildcat Den, a student lounge and restaurant at my undergrad alma mater, Northern Michigan University, solved that problem by broadcasting the shows on the big screen TV. (And by "big screen" I do not mean the ginormous screens gracing many a home these days, but something sufficient to be seen from far away).

If you went into the Wildcat Den you knew better than to try to have a conversation with someone during soap time.  You also knew better than to point out the men who were watching (but claimed they weren't).  When you're addicted, you're addicted.

This cookbook only focuses on four ABC soaps:  Ryan's Hope, All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital. Other popular soaps though were:  Days of Our Lives ("like the sand through an hourglass, these are the Days of Our Lives") and the aforementioned The Young and the Restless but it is loaded with great-sounding recipes.  As always, I often hate my own self-imposed rule of choosing just one to use and then write about.

Looking back at these shows, the thing I find most interesting is how many strong women there were and how many [fictional] families were "ruled" by matriarchs, not patriarchs.  Actress Ruth Warrick, who was in the movie, Citizen Kane, played the always stuffy and uptight Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on All My Children.  Actress Jeanne Cooper played tough-as-nails Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless.  These were women who did not spend time in the kitchen, no sir! They had "people."  People who took care of the sundry things in life so they could focus on stirring up the pot.  (Some day though, I want to have "people.")

Although this is very much a woman-centric cookbook, fear not all you Asa Buchanan (actor Philip Carey) fans because Asa (from One Life to Live) has a few recipes up his sleeve as well.  If you watched the show (I confess I did not), then it should not surprise you that Asa's – head of the Texas Buchanan family – focus on Texas barbecue.

This cookbook is broken out into chapters by the featured soaps and then by characters from those shows.  There are plenty of recipes from which to choose and I had flagged several, but when I decided on steak from the other book as the main dish, I felt the need to find a suitable accompaniment from this book.  After a brief consideration of "Continental Celery Root," one of Dorian Lord Callison's (actress Robin Strasser) recipes,  I settled on the soup.  Both dishes complimented each other nicely.

And so there you go folks, everything you need to know about TV shows, soap operas, the Emmys and more.  Enjoy!

N.B. I cannot tell you how much I smiled when I saw a recipe called "Ruby Red Franks" (from All My Children character Opal Gardner), not because I wanted to make it but because it reminded me of one of my law professors.  The late Professor David Cobin taught Civil Procedure (Civ Pro) to first year law students and that class required us to purchase also a supplement containing all the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  That year, the book cover was a dark red and so he often asked us to pull out our "ruby red supplement."  I still have that book on my shelf, all of 15 years after using it because I cannot throw it out. He was such a sweet man and took such pity on all of us confused law students (Civ Pro is no picnic) RIP, Professor Cobin.

Pan-Fried Steak with Balsamic Sauce from Autograph® Celebrity Cookbook and actor Jerry Orbach – serves 4
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (1-inch-thick) boneless sirloin steaks (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.  Rub the mixture over the steaks.

In a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add steaks and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Transfer the steaks to a large platter.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Add the rosemary; stir to combine.  Add the vinegar, sugar, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.  Cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter.  Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve.

Heiress Asparagus Soup from the Love in the Afternoon Cookbook and (character) Dorian Lord Callison, played by actress Robin Strasser – 6 portions
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen asparagus, thawed
1 large celery rib without leaves, chopped
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed, using a mortar and pestle
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of white pepper
3 ¼ cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter or corn-oil margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup dairy sour cream

Combine the asparagus, celery and seasonings in a saucepan and cover with 1 ½ cups of the chicken broth.  Simmer until the asparagus is tender.  Ann's Note:  My celery remained a little too crunchy for my taste so if I had to do this over again, I would cook the celery and seasonings until the celery is fairly soft, then add the asparagus.

Melt the butter or margarine in a skillet and sauté the onion until golden.  Ann's Note:  Like the celery, I thought that the onion could have been cooked more but for how long depends on your taste as the recipe does not give cooking time guidelines.

Place the asparagus mixture and the onion in a blender container and blend until smooth.  Ann's Note:  I reserved some of the asparagus so that the soup was half blended, half "whole" asparagus.  We like it that way. 

Add the sour cream and remaining chicken broth and continue to blend then return the mixture to the saucepan and heat to serving temperature, but do not boil.

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