Sunday, October 30, 2011

On the Move: From Waterfront to Inland - Spring 1974

Sadly we had to leave our Haycock Point residence due to the house being sold. Marc and I decided to find a home to buy. The properties in Branford were too costly so we ventured inland. We found a home we loved, a Cape Cod style sitting on acreage in Bethany Connecticut. At the time the house was not for sale, but it had a lease option to buy. We decided to take the lease option.

The kids loved the big yard. A riding mower was a must which we found one in the small garage under the house. The boys were excited to be able to use it to mow our large yard.
We had a row of Lilac trees - my most favored flower. I used them when in season for various events.

For me the kitchen was the best, close to being a commercial kitchen without the commercial stove, ha, ha. It had high ceilings where we hung pots and pans and plants, it was so homey. It also had room for a kitchen eating area. The dining room was for special occasions and homework. At times all 7 children would sit and do their homework with a lot of squabbles, needless to say.

Marc bought me a butcher block table to put in the middle of the kitchen and I was ready to do more teaching. I also did what is now called “The Chef at Home.”  I would prepare an entrée for my client and write out the instructions on how to heat or finish cooking the dish. I would then deliver the entrée to the client’s house and voila, the host or hostess finished it when needed. This was favored by a lot of my clients in the Woodbridge, Bethany area. I made some great friends who are still in contact with me or me with them. It never ceases to amaze me how food is a bond for family and friends. Entertaining was big in those days.

New York City was still a big part of the year 73/74. I became a consultant for restaurants like Maxwell Plum. Whenever the Chef created a new entree I was his taster before he presented the entrée to the owner, Le Roy. This was a fun job. I also did test cooking for the magazine: “Pleasure of Cooking”. The magazine was published by Cusinart in Greenwich Connecticut.

Marc and I also liked to entertain. One of our guests’ favorite dinners was when I made Shrimp with Grapes in a Curry sauce. My menu went like this:

A clear soup - like chicken broth with Madera wine served in a champagne glass (low rimmed). The entrée was served with a rice pilaf, a salad always after the entrée, dessert.  

I have to say that my children knew when to pitch in. One night I woke up to noise from my kitchen and discovered my son Steven chopping carrots, celery and other vegetables, mind you it was 2 a.m. He knew I needed all that for a stock I was going to cook the next morning. Boy I was so teary eyed and grateful to that boy.  He was all but 11 years old.

In a later blog I will enlighten you on some of my other children who became my support
system. I could never have done what I have done without the help and support of my children as well as Marc my husband. Here is my Curried Shrimp and Grape recipe.

Curried Shrimp with Grapes

6 to 8 large shrimp per person, peeled, cleaned and tail removed
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots or 1 sweet small onion
2 tablespoons curry powder, or to taste
1 cup chicken broth or fish stock
1 to 2 cups heavy cream (room temperature)
½ to 1 pound green seedless grapes, removed from stem and washed

Clean and rinse shrimp, drain. In a heavy frying pan melt the butter with the olive oil, on medium heat. Add the curry powder and stir for about 1 minute on low heat.Add the shallots and saute for about 2 minutes do not brown. Turn heat to medium low and add the shrimp, sauté quickly about 1 to 2 minutes – do not overcook.

Remove shrimp from pan and save in a bowl, keep warm. Add the stock and scrape the curry of the sides and bottom of the pan, and simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes on medium low heat.

Add the heavy cream mixed with 1 tablespoon of the hot broth slowly into the pan with the broth on low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Add the grapes cook for 1 minute re-add the shrimp and heat through. Serve

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Rice Pilaf or Couscous is great with this entrée; a Gewürztraminer will compliment this curry dish. Bon Appetite

Note:  You can prepare everything ahead up to an hour except adding the grapes and shrimp the last minute before serving.

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