06 Jun Special of the day: Fifty Years of Gourmet Magazine
Fifty Years of Gourmet Magazine
by Sydne George
Helping me lovingly load up the last of the coveted collection into the back of my car, my mom’s dear friend Molly remarked, “Like a pet puppy, I’m glad they’re going to a good home.”
The conversation which led to my wonderful windfall unfolded at a birthday luncheon I threw for my mom back in February. Tempering my envy was no small task when Molly mentioned that she had amassed fifty years of Gourmet magazine and was wondering what in the world to do with them after they had begun to gather dust over the years. Hmmm…
This was no time for timidity. “If you ever want to get rid of them,” I somehow mustered the courage to spill out, “I would love to have them.”
And just like that, Molly bequeathed the entire batch to Yours Truly. Lucky, lucky me!
Finally finding an extended block of time over Memorial Day weekend, I went to work organizing the volumes dating back as early as 1949, year by year, issue by issue. With the help of Mike and the girls we arranged them assembly-line style into 50 magazine boxes on a bank of unused bookshelves beyond our laundry room. By some synchronistic stroke of luck, the entire ensemble fit perfectly in the allotted space. I guess some things are just meant to be.
Early issues laden with wordy narratives and recipes calling for ingredients like tongue and frogs legs were generously peppered with limitless liquor advertisements long before food photography enticed home cooks into replicating recipes in their own kitchens. What a treat to see, live and eventually in color, the progression of a prestigious culinary publication throughout the years.
A faithful fan of editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, a powerhouse in the food world, and her iconic food magazine, the news of shuttering Gourmet in 2009 came as a shock. It marked the end of an era which began back in January 1941 when their first issue came out.
Alas, Gourmet magazine’s legacy will live on for me as this classic collection allows me to pluck an issue off the shelf on a whim and travel back in time to take a taste of that era in our culinary history.
With heartfelt thanks to Molly for her generous gift of Gourmet, I give you this week’s Special of the day: Fifty Years of Gourmet Magazine and recipes for Chive Cheese Profiteroles, Seared Steak with Thyme and Blistered Tomatoes and Frozen Apricot Mousse. Happy cooking!
Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.
Chive Cheese Profiteroles
Inspired by a recipe in the June 1958 issue of Gourmet magazine
(makes 24 cocktail sized puffs)
½ cup water
¼ cup butter
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
8-ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ½ teaspoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly snipped chives
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter.
In a medium pot over medium heat, heat water and butter until butter melts.
When butter is completely melted, add flour, all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball.
Remove from heat.
Whisk eggs into dough, one at a time, beating to incorporate before adding another egg.
Add salt and cheese and mix to combine.
Pipe or spoon small round dollops (1-2 inches in diameter) of dough onto prepared baking pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned
(Use oven light to check without opening oven door.)
Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake an additional 2 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Shuffle puffs onto cooling rack and let cool completely.
Combine all filling ingredients in mixer bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.
When completely cool, slit puffs in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
Fill each puff with filling and replace tops.
Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with fresh chive blossoms, if desired.
Seared Steak with Thyme and Blistered Tomatoes
Inspired by Porterhouse Steak with Pan-Seared Cherry Tomatoes recipe in July 2008 issue of Gourmet magazine
4 medium beef loin tri tip steaks
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 garlic cloves, cut in half horizontally
8 large thyme sprigs
2- ½ pint containers mixed cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Position oven rack in middle of oven.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large heavy pan over medium high heat.
Sprinkle steaks on both sides with salt and pepper.
Sear steaks in hot oil, about 4 minutes a side, until nicely browned.
Transfer to ovenproof baking dish and bake in preheated oven for about 5 minutes for medium.
While steaks are baking, clean out pan and add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Heat over medium-high heat until hot.
Add garlic to hot oil and cook quickly until golden, about 2 minutes.
Remove garlic from pan and add tomatoes and thyme being careful to avoid splattering oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Stir tomatoes and continue cooking until blistered.
Cover and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until tomatoes just start to soften.
Remove from heat.
Let steaks rest briefly before serving.
Arrange seared steaks atop garlic smashed baby red potatoes on a platter and top steaks with blistered tomatoes.
Garnish platter with fresh thyme sprigs, if desired.
Frozen Apricot Mousse
Inspired by a recipe in the June 1988 issue of Gourmet magazine
3 fresh apricots, peeled and pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
In a blender, puree fresh apricots and 1 tablespoon sugar until smooth.
Beat egg yolks and 1 tablespoon sugar in mixer until pale yellow and slightly thickened.
Using a clean bowl and clean chilled beaters, beat cream until stiff peaks form.
Fold whipped cream into apricot mixture until incorporated.
Spoon apricot mixture into four stemmed glasses and freeze for four hours or overnight.
Remove from freezer a few minutes prior to serving so mousse can soften slightly.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at https://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.