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Bert Greene's Kitchen

Treats From a Dedicated Culinary Daredevil

January 23, 1986|BERT GREENE

I have known several glamorous women who are at home in the kitchen. Dionne Lucas (my first formal cooking teacher) was such a culinary marvel. To the manor born, she could still scrub a pot or peel a pound of potatoes faster and better than an Army mess sergeant. Years later, I met another of these distaff daredevils of the skillet: Marilyn Harris, director of L.S. Ayre's Cooking School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I agreed to teach classes for Harris last fall. In my opinion, Ayre's is one of America's top emporiums. However, the cooking school, in the center of a busy main floor, has two obvious drawbacks: small space and low voltage.

Harris is one of those dedicated cooks who scouts the globe for good recipes. Cincinnati folks are lucky to have her on home turf for a while, particularly demonstrating the gilded onion tart she recently brought back from the Black Forest.


Pate Brisee

6 slices thick bacon, diced

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 pound onions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds

2 tablespoons flour

5 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups whipping cream or half and half

Roll out Pate Brisee to 1/8-inch thickness and line 11-inch loose-bottom tart pan. Line pastry with foil or parchment paper. Weight with rice or beans. Bake in lower third of oven at 400 degrees 10 minutes. Remove foil and rice and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer. Cool. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.

Saute bacon in heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Pour off excess drippings from skillet.

Melt butter in same skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until tender, about 12 minutes. Add salt, caraway seeds and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes longer. Allow to cool slightly.

Beat eggs with cream in large bowl. Add bacon and onion mixture. Mix well. Pour mixture into prepared Pate Brisee shell. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Pate Brisee

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits

5 tablespoons cold water

Place flour, salt, egg yolk and butter in food processor container fitted with steel blade. Process until texture of coarse crumbs. Add water. Continue to process until mixture forms ball. Remove, wrap and refrigerate 2 hours before using. Makes 1 (10-inch) tart shell.

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The Harris cooking style is very personal. Mississippi liberally mixed with European is how I'd describe it. For better evidence, try out the next dazzling Harris side dish. The recipe is in my book "Greene On Greens" (Workman: $13.95).


1 1/4 pounds small new potatoes, red or white

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup dry white wine

Salt, pepper

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped dill

Cut away small strip of peel around each potato with vegetable peeler. Potatoes should look candy-striped. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and roll in skillet until light crust forms, but do not let potatoes brown. Add wine and remaining butter. Increase heat and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is reduced and sauce is fairly thick, about 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add parsley and dill. Stir gently to coat potatoes. Makes 4 servings.

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