Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vintage life, vintage lamb, vintage pasta, vintage soup

We have two dial phones and Paul's record player. We use the same knockoff Weber charcoal grill Paul bought 28 years ago. At first we were behind the times. Now, we are suddenly vintage. Like fine wine I like to think. (As opposed to being cheap - it's not broke, why replace it?)
We also have the first Caller ID ever made. But that's just out-of-date. It's not yet vintage - but given our history of hanging on to things (Paul's 30-year old Schwinn bicycle and my swiping my mother's first mixer - with a grinder - because I couldn't bear to see it get tossed) someday the Caller ID, too will be vintage.
As a teen who loved to play in Vintage Greenwich Village - I haunted second-hand shops for clothes from the 1940's. My excuse to "go to the Village." Greenwich Village was filled with scents of incense, shops with posters stating, "War is not healthy for children and other living things." And everywhere you turned there were vintage shops - selling secrets of the past.
I'd walk Washington Square seeing Henry James at every turn. Clement Moore was across from the old (vintage?) Balducci's. I memorized Jack Finney's Time and Again wondering how I could find someone to send be back into New York's history.
The peek into NYC's past has been replaced by Ralph Lauren and designer cupcakes. I still seek the answers to the future from the whispers of the past. Times were precarious then. Times are precarious now. My safety net was the dinner table. If we could almost always come together at the dinner table, this was something stable in my world. This was bridging the past with today and setting the stage for a future.

Using a recipe from the past brings solace. A lamb chop prepared the way my grandmother prepared it in the 1890's in Stigliano evokes her grittiness and my lack. As we eat the lamb chops amid a snowy, frigid Minnesota winter, I am at so many dinner tables. I'm at my home in Queens as an anxiety-ridden teen, at Aunt Fay's meldodramatic dinner table (I'll cut your heart out if you don't eat!") and sometimes I'm in the poverty-stricken mountains of Basilicata with Grandma and her siblings. They're speaking in dialect and they're arguing. And using their arms descriptively.

Marinate the lamb chops (two-eight hours before cooking). The vinegar adds just a tad of sweetness as the rosemary, garlic and oil permeate the chops.
Vintage Lamb Chops - serves 1
For each lamb chop: (serves 1 - just increase with each additional lamb chop)

  • 1 lamb chop - (shoulder chop works well)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary - coarsely chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • *small amount of olive oil for sauteeing

Vintage Lamb Chop Preparation

  1. Put lamb chop/chops in bowl just large enough to hold it/them.

  2. Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic and rosemary in a small bowl.

  3. Salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Pour over lamb chop/chops.

  5. Cover and put in fridge for 2-8 hours. When ready to use, bring to room temperature.

  6. Heat small amount of oil in skillet large enough to hold the lamb chops.

  7. Sautee about 5 minutes on each side (until medium-rare).

I served them with some warm white beans (with a little vinegar, lemon and oil in them) and sauteed grape tomatoes over a bed of arugula.
My mother is a crushed red pepper fiend. Crushed red pepper is a very popular condiment in Basilicata. Used simply with pasta, garlic, oil, parsley and cheese - the pepper makes the a simple dish come alive and wards off the chill. Grandma made her simple pasta with pork or possibly wild boar or goat back "in the old country." My mother would add it into seafood. And so I did. This simple pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and red pepper flakes is easy, warming for the winter and lets you savor each ingredient. Grandma appreciated tomatoes. They had to brought up to the mountains every sumnmer, where they would dutifully can them. Life in New York City was actually easier.
Vintage Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Ingredients - serves 4
(amounts vary according to taste - like lots of pasta - make a pound - lots of shrimp - yes - make a pound)
  • 3/4-1 pound linguine

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves minced

  • 3-4 teaspoons red pepper flakes

  • 3/4-1 pound shrimp - deveined

  • 1-14 ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons fresh, sliced Italian parsley for serving

Vintage Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

  2. In a large skillet (at least 12 inches) warm your olive oil on low. (If you happent to have red pepper oil, cheat and throw it in - most delicious).

  3. Add your red pepper flakes and garlic (a trick I adapted from Michael Symon). Gently heat the red pepper and garlic in the oil for as long as it takes for the water for the pasta to boil.

  4. When you add the pasta, add the shrimp to the skillet. Raise the heat to medium.

  5. Let the shrimp gently simer in the oil. When it start to turn pink, turn the shrimp over and add your can of tomatoes.

  6. Bring to a simmer.

  7. Drain your pasta and it to the skillet (or if there's not enough room, gently mix in a serving bowl).

  8. Scatter fresh parsley. Serve. Be warm. Savor.

Use small, fresh tomatoes if you have. Add or subtract amounts. Use scallops. Swipe linguine for spaghetti or even angel hair or a wider fettucine. When our ancestors came here, they "made do." Please do the same.

The theme for Eat. Live Be. For a better 2011 this week is "Baby it's cold outside." And in Minnesota it is. This is when I turn to soups for sustenance, for guilty pleasures and comfort.
Nothing brings you closer to the hearth than stracciatella. Known as the Italian egg-drop soup, a little semolina, Parmesan and eggs are swirled into clear broth creating cooked little rags that curl up in the same way I want to curl up in the winter. This is ripe for additions/changes. I (boring alert) watch cholesterol so sometimes use 1/4-1/3 cup of egg whites. Sometimes I add the semolina. In my old, wicked ways - I was in danger of having a little broth with my melted Parmesan - so take the amounts as gentle suggestions. And in my two-year journey to be more vegetable-centric, I always add spinach or chard at the end.

Vintage Stracciatella Ingredients - serves 1 (double, triple, quadruple at will)
  • 12 ounces chicken broth (can use 8 ounces, can use 14 ounces, can use beef broth - play!)
  • 1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg whites - play!)
  • 1 tablespoon semolina (if you have it)
  • 2 tablespoon freshly-shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (I am here to say I have used much more!)
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach or Swiss chard
Vintage Stracciatella Preparation
I have seen recipes where they want you to mix the eggs, cheese and semonlina in a little of the cold broth first - I never do that. But you certainly may.)
  1. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano and semolina.
  2. Bring broth to a simmer.
  3. Add egg mixture to broth and whisk constantly until the eggs turn to flecks of little white rags and the Parmesan is melted.
  4. Add your green and stir until they are just wilted. Serve.
Two weeks into the challenge, life is - well - challenging. I have yet to sacrifice flavor or huge desires because of a "diet." I am not on a diet. I am midfully eating. (Right now I am mindfully eating the smallest chocolate chip cookie known to man.) Next week's challenge is (gulp) "What is your biggest challenge?"
I may have to address that I am not doing well in the "being succinct" category. Or maybe I need to post more than once a week. All food for thought. And my thoughts turn to food. If you want to join the challenge. click on Eat. Live Be. For a better 2011. Or find them on Facebook.
I will be sending the pasta with shrimp recipe to Girlichef for Pasta Presto Nights (my favorite nights). And if you think you cannot lose weight eating pasta - think again. I am doing it!


Sara @ Saucy Dipper said...

I'd like to add vintage glasses to the list. You can wear those no matter your dress size!

I love that pasta is part of the diet. Recipe sounds delish.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh my - Balducci's is a place I conjures up some nostalgia for me too. And that great Jack Finney book has been collecting dust on my shelf for too long - time to reread that classic. What a bounty of yummy vintage recipes you found to delight us with. And I want to steal that white plate with the raised fruits around the rim!

Sandra said...

All three meals look wonderful, but my favorite...Vintage Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Preparation. Wonderful story, and I enjoy reading them very much!

Vibey said...

Three beautiful recipes with, as usual, beautiful stories to go with them. Straciatella is one of my favourite soups and the very definition of comfort. Matter of fact I made some last December 26 to soothe our tummies after the excesses of the previous couple of days. Everyone was sighing!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What lovely meals Claudia. I believe the lamb chops are calling my name. I like the idea of using a pinch of red pepper in recipes. I think it adds a little zest to everything without anyone knowing your secret.

I could just imagine you at your grandmother's table with your relatives talking. What a fun story.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

My goodness if I didnt know better I would think my mom cooked those chops, what a great picture and memory of wonderful lamb chops every Saturday night. Piles of them. Our favorite. The rosemary is perfect on them! I love that shrimp and pasta dish as well. Your grandmother must have been related somewhere! I am at home everytime I come here... I love all these meals and can so totally relate! Thanks for giving me so many warm memories and love the fun stories!

denise @ bread expectations said...

All beautiful meals, but the shrimp pasta is calling my name! Your posts are always a joy to read Claudia - your aunt sounds terrifying, and wonderful LOL

Anna's Table said...

Claudia,I totally identify with you. Believe it or not,we still don't have caller id on our phone. We too are firm believers in not replacing something if it's not broken. My husband should meet yours because for years he would paint and replace parts to rejuvenate his beloved BBQ.
Thanks for the lovely post which brought me down memory lane and made me feel nostalgic. I was once again sitting at my parent's table with my dad, enjoying some of his favourite dishes. He adored lamb chops. Your recipe is exactly the same that my mom continues to use today.

Anne said...

I wish I never threw away some of those vintage things like records and a record player. My husband still has his records. I adore lamb chops, my mother used to make them all the time. I must try your recipe. I tend to order lamb chops out. I will definitely try the shrimp with linguine.
Thanks so much for sharing all your recipes.
Have a great day.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

What a beautiful trio of recipes! I'd love each of them for dinner tonight...lovely!!!

Unknown said...

I have to admit that I was too focused on the lamb to pay attention to any of the other dishes. When I see that someone's preparing lamb I hold my breath. I LOVE lamb so I hate to see it smothered in flavors that hide its wonderful taste. Bravo to your grandmother. I can't wait to try her amazing looking lamb recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

Stay warm up there!

Angie's Recipes said...

Our microwave, toaster and oven are about 25 years husband bought them...and after we moved to new apartment, I took all of them...just didn't feel like dumping all the stuff away just because they are out of date.
What a vintage feast you have prepared for your family! I love especially that pasta with shrimp and tomato.

Jackie at said...

Mmmmm! What a delicious recipe to wake up to this morning! I absolutely ADORE lamb in almost any shape or form, and this is one of my favorites.

Beth said...

Sounds like you are doing wonderfully in your challenge! I could never sacrifice taste either.

I can appreciate the pull of vintage shops. My daughter loves them, and I think it's all about the treasures that she might unearth.

Lyndas recipe box said...

I don't know which vintage recipe to try first Claudia, they all look delish.
I love your stories, maybe because I too love vintage things, and I am vintage according to my children. :)

Lori Lynn said...

The vintage lamb chop for one is calling this one! Perfect, simple, bet it hit the spot!

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious food
with shrimp looks good we make similar with noodles

art is in the kitchen said...

Love your vintage cooking! Antique recipes but still really delicious! Thanks for bringing them out from the past to share! Complimenti davvero!

Unknown said...

All of these "vintage" dishes sound great. Lamb for dinner is such a nice change. I enjoyed the story of vintage Greenwich Village too!

My dad got stracciatella from a restaurant the other day and it made me crinkle my nose. Yours does the complete opposite--definitely would like a taste!

Kita said...

I never get to have lamb here! That looks amazing with the vinegar and rosemary. That pasta sounds pretty amazing too!

Kate @ said...

I'm a keeper of things, too! I don't like to get rid of it until it breaks. You should see my stand-mixer's a Sunbeam from only God knows when. :)

Now I need to copy that Lamb recipe - sounds delicious!

Wanda..... said...

Red pepper flakes are a staple at our house...good on everything! Your pasta with shrimp is similar to how we make it.

Juliana said...

Oh Claudia, everything looks so yummie...I still have to try to cook lamb...yours look fabulous...nice photos :-)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I'd have a hard time choosing between the lamb chops or the shrimp course after eating the delicious Stracciatella, Claudia. They are all my favorites!

Calabrians(husband)also like the bite of red pepper in their dishes...I love it too!

Losing Baldaccis from 6th Ave was a real loss for the village. The old charm is still there in places but it is constantly shrinking.

chow and chatter said...

wow love your recipes and connection with the past I just got my Great grandmas tea cups !

Reeni said...

You have me cracking up over here Claudia (boring alert)! Your vintage eats look insanely good - hearty and warming - especially the soup - can you believe it's one I've never had? I love how you connected them to the past. And when you said life in NYC was actually easier a little bell rang in my head. Once my Great Grandma came here she never went back - not even to visit her family still there - when my Great Grandpa went - he went alone and when my great aunts went they went alone. I never understood why but I'm starting to.

Anonymous said...

We are certainly also in a "vintage" mood - were just showing our daughter the very first personal apple computer that we have in our storage :) Also, making some old time recipes soon to be posted.

The vintage lamb, pasta, and soup all look terrific! Delicious eats! said...

Hi Claudia! That soup is amazing! What an easy and delicious soup - I just adore fresh spinach and chard and love them even more with a hint of Parmigian-Reggiano - and I would add more too! Thank you for bringing such a neat recipe to my attention -
be well! xoxo megan

Heather S-G said...

I am all about the vintage. My record player is probably not actually vintage...but I still love it! Vintage has has sets an example for all the newbies ;) All three recipes sound amazing, Claudia... I think you're right on track with your challenge. Thank you for sharing the lovely shrimp pasta w/ PPN this week, too :)

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

My goodness my mouth is watering seeing of these lamb-dishes! Well the pasta more shrimp worth to try soon at home too :)



That Girl said...

I feel like we're always behind the times too, but not far enough to be considered vintage.

theUngourmet said...

I've been thinking about how Americans are so quick to throw out the old and purchase the new. I can remember visiting my grandparents home each summer and I can recall how they always had the same clocks, jelly jar glasses, glass grapes, magazine rack, rotary phones... We need to get back to this mindset. Good for you for living with what works. You are very smart...and frugal.

I am loving your shrimp and pasta dish. Delicious!

Mister Meatball said...

I know you put it last here, but the Stracciatella is numero uno for me. Looks tasty.

And I'd give a bunch to be able to stroll the aisle of the old Balducci's again.

FOODESSA said...

Some would say that my middle name is vintage. We are marked by the past whether good or bad and the future will always have accents from the memories we cherish from what was so dear to us...especially memories and not harsh words at the table. LOL

Don't replace what's not broken...dido...even though my generation is certainly not with me on that one. Even Hubby has been after me to change my stove ;o)I'll be done on our next move.

Your meals are just what I love coming home to Claudia...lots of love in those dishes.

Ciao for now and have yourself a great week,

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

What a wonderful post! Such great food and such great stories. I must be vintage myself . . the other day I complained to my husband that "I just must be too old for that!" He replied, "You're not. You're a relic." After seeing the look on my face, he said, "Yeah, a relic . . . a real treasure." Wow!
(I'm saving all these recipes.)

Island Vittles said...

If all of us were succinct, the world would be a very quiet place -- and I think there are too many of us that enjoy your warming stories filled with food and family to actually wish for you to meet your self-challenge for brevity.

I have everything I need for Stracciatella in the fridge, so we'll be having a little vintage soup for dinner! Thanks for the recipe...Theresa

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

Aaahh lamb, I've already been thinking about Easter and the lamb. I really only eat it then, but I should squeeze it in before then. How funny, you are vintage, well then my husband is vintage for sure, I can't get him to part with anything. Hope you have a great week!

Mary Bergfeld said...

"I still seek the answers to the future from the whispers of the past." That line spoke volumes to me. I'd love to explore the village with you one day. On to food. I've carefully read your recipes and think you've placed them in the wrong category. They are not vintage. Heirloom is a much better descriptor. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

UrMomCooks said...

Nothing like a family recipe to take you right back... I hope my children will feel the same... These recipes look wonderful for winter evenings, but the lamb is especially calling to me!!!

ann said...

All of these vintage meals are wonderful. Reminds me of times with my relatives.

Jeannie said...

I have some vintage items hogging a place in my home too and i m not about to throw them away. I told my boys they will become great treasures in the future:) unfortunately they think i am kidding them sigh! Lovely post Claudia and i love your pasta with those succulent shrimps!

Dimah said...

wow! those all look amazing and delicious!

Unknown said...

Those look excellent! I absolutely love lamb and the combination of it and rosemary sounds heavenly.

Magic of Spice said...

What a wonderful group of recipes...The weather has just gotten a bit chilly here again after our lovely heat wave. I am really loving that pasta dish :)
I love many vintage things :)

Unknown said...

Yep, I with you - why throw it away if it's not broken? We still have our 23 year old TV and it's working very well! We detest the throw away society it has become. And I love all things vintage particularly you Pasta with Shrimps! Mmmmmm!

La Bella Cooks said...

Ever single meal here looks divine and I too share your mom's fondness of red pepper flakes.

joe@italyville said...

there is nothing better than vintage... when in doubt turn to the basics!

Joanne said...

I love that you've married the old and the new in this post! It's definitely important to remember both...especially when it comes to food!

Barbara GF said...

Stracciatella — oh, Mommy! That is one of my favorites Mom used to make. Great post about vintage thoughts and goods, Claudia. We still have a red land-line phone hanging on the wall in the kitchen with a ginormous long cord (to go from room to room in the old days). I get a kick out of it when kids come over and ask, "What is that?" And, "Does it work?" Some of them have never used a rotary dial in their short lifetimes!

Catherine said...

Mmmmm, this lamb looks splendid! Very juicy and delicious!
The shrimp and pasta also looks mouthwatering. It all looks very yummy!
Cheers, Catherine~

Kim - Liv Life said...

I love vintage meals! They always seem to mean more when they have a history. I'm voting for the lamb dish, myself! Love them all though. Nicely done, Claudia!

Chef Dennis Littley said...

they may be vintage recipes, but the flavors sure aren't old!! What great meals!
I don't think there is anything wrong to hanging onto to things as long as they still work....its just good sense!
Have a happy weekend

Jen_from_NJ said...

I have crushed red pepper fiends in my house too! I make a similar shrimp and pasta dish and I can't wait to try yours.

Velva said...

I am smiling as I read your post! A vintage state of mind is excellent.
All the meals look wonderful.


Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

I LOVED your dishes, mainly all the story behind them...What you say about vintage, and your Italian family...I recognize myself in many of those gestures: my children say I always exaggerate, speak too loud (for French standards) and I move my hands too much while talking...but I'm not planning to change! I'm proud of that! I see you also talk with pride! In a world, where feelings are sometimes so underestimated...long live the Italian culture!


ciao io sono siciliana
e anche qui da noi la pasta aglio .olio e peperoncino
viene fatta spesso
a me piace tantissimo
complimenti le tue ricette sono molto belle
ciao katya

Liz from SimpleItalianCooking said...

I love the simplicity of this dish - the flavors and ingredients. Olive oil, rosemary and garlic. A great combo for just about any meat dish.

OysterCulture said...

Wow, what a wonderful recollection and that recipe for the lamb chops sounds amazing. I guarantee that they would not last long enough to cool down let along be called old or vintage.


Great post Claudia! I love it when old stuff turns "vintage!" I've got a couple pair of boots that are suddenly back in style.

What superb dishes you've supplied us. I'm especially fond of the lamb chops!

Maria said...

These vintage recipes look superb. A sense of the past and holding onto cultural traditions, family memories, recipes, etc., etc. are crucial.

Table Talk said...

Keeping vintage recipes alive is how we stay connected with our roots, family, and memories of the past. I'm all for keeping nostalgia alive.