Butler County Times Gazette
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DAISY AND ALICE
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By Linda Bassett
Author and culinary school teacher Linda Bassett provides recipes for and tips on the season's freshest ingredients. She is the author of \x34From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.\x34 Reach her by email at KitchenCall@aol. ...
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Kitchen Call
Author and culinary school teacher Linda Bassett provides recipes for and tips on the season's freshest ingredients. She is the author of \x34From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.\x34 Reach her by email at KitchenCall@aol.com.
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By lindabcooks
May 13, 2013 5:23 p.m.



In my print column this week, I described my recent “Daisy Buchanan moment.”  Looking at the Gatsby-inspired collection of shirts in the window of Brooks Brothers, I found myself gasping, “Look at all those beautiful shirts!”  I’m still astonished at my reaction, except that I really had never seen so many beautiful shirts in one place, and suddenly, although I had never liked the character since I first read the book in high school, I now understood Daisy.  Or at least, Brooks Brothers made it so.

Later, my chef’s instincts kicked in, and I put together a menu inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Paris days, back in the Roaring Twenties when the golden couples, Scott and Zelda, Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy inhabited the city.  So did another couple, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.  Stein mentored the artists, buying their paintings cheap, recommending them to her friends, and selling high.  Toklas, kept her house and outlived her.  Later she wrote a cookbook so scandalous that it was banned.  Scandalous because one of the recipes contained an illegal ingredient.  Conflicting stories exist about whether she knew that the ingredient was a hallucinogen.  But on reading the headnote carefully, I believe she knew exactly what she was doing.

Since the shirt incident, I’ve been cooking Paris-inspired, bistro dishes.  Here’s one of my favorites; maybe Alice cooked it.



BISTRO-STYLE MUSSELS

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds fresh mussels

1 cup dry white wine

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 bay leaves

4 shallots, coarsely chopped

a 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley



  • Scrub mussels; rinse; pull out any small fibers from the shells.






  • Place mussels in a large, deep skillet .  Add wine, garlic, bay leaves, and shallots.  Cover. Cook, about 4 minutes, until the mussels begin to open.  Take the skillet off the heat.  Remove mussels with a slotted spoon, discarding any that do not open.






  • Strain the cooking liquid, and reserve.  Wipe out saucepan with a paper towel.  Return the strained liquid to it.  Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes.  Bring a boil over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in olive oil.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Spoon sauce from the bottom of the pan over the mussels.




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