Katie Barney, author of the new The Enchanting World of Food, took a diplomatic approach to what’s for dinner. She solicited authentic recipes from many ambassadors and their chefs, until she amassed an international collection from almost every country in the world. Her exhaustive research took 9 years, and resulted in this 635-page book of worldwide cuisine, dining etiquette and recipes, published in May. The recipes range from salads, soups and stews, to meat courses and vegetarian dishes, to desserts and nibbles.
Katie, who lives in Easton, was born in Maryland. (She has a killer crab recipe to show her bona fides.) The Enchanting World of Food is her sixth book. She counts herself among Commodore Joshua Barney’s descendants, as well as a long line of distinguished New Englanders who arrived on the Mayflower. Barney has traveled extensively, learning cultures and cuisines from all over the world. An earlier post at The Meridian House provided her entrée to the diplomatic corps.
Her food education began at home, where early on, she learned to “lick the beaters” in her mother’s kitchen. Barney is an expert on Early American herbs and edible flowers, and lectures and teaches cooking classes at the Institute for Adult Learning at Chesapeake College, which doubled as a test kitchen for her latest book.
Here are a couple of summary recipes contained in The Enchanting World of Food:
Asparagus, Flemish Style
3 pounds white asparagus
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 hard-cooked and peeled large eggs
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Trim the white asparagus with a vegetable peeler, from just under tip to stem end, to remove woody skin.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Bundle asparagus up and tie with kitchen twine. Trim ends evenly. Gently place in boiling water and immediately lower heat to simmer. Cover pot. Simmer for approximately 15-30 minutes, depending on thickness of stems. When tender, remove bundle and carefully drain on kitchen towel, being careful of tender tips.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. If the hard-cooked eggs are completely cold, plunge into hot asparagus water for 1 minute. Remove, dry and peel.
In a small bowl, mash the complete egg with a fork. Add the melted butter, lemon juice, parsley, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Arrange the asparagus on individual plates. Pour Flemish sauce to cover the middle of the asparagus. Serve immediately while everything is still warm.
Recipe courtesy of Dr. Michelle Loewinger, U.S. Embassy, Brussels
From the United States
Maryland Crab Cakes
Makes four crab cakes
1 pound lump crab
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Dash of Old Bay Seasoning
2 or more tablespoons butter
With a fork carefully combine the crab, breadcrumbs, egg, mustard, mayonnaise and Old Bay in a bowl. Make into 4 cakes.
Heat the butter in a skillet. Brown the crab cakes, about 5 minutes on each side. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon.
Recipe courtesy of the Katie Barney
Look for The Enchanting World of Food at Piazza in Easton, Sunnyside in Cambridge, and Twigs & Teacups in Chestertown.
The Enchanting World of Food
By Katie Barney
635 pp. Conduit Press. $34.95