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      La Belle Cuisine

In Memory of Craig Claiborne

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."


"Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of
the arts, but to cook well, one must love and respect food."

~ Craig Claiborne

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Craig Claiborne, in his New York apartment in 1990
(courtesy AP)

A Tribute to Craig Claiborne


La Belle Cuisine


Craig Claiborne's Eggplant au Gratin

Craig Claiborne's
Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne, 1987, Times Books/
2007 Univ. of Georgia Press

1 eggplant (about 1 pound)
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Tabasco to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Peel eggplant and cut flesh into 1-inch
cubes, more or less. Drop cubes into boiling salted water and cook about
5 minutes, just until cooked. Drain well.
Meanwhile slice mushrooms. There should be about 2 cups. Heat 1
tablespoon butter in skillet and add mushroom slices. Sprinkle with salt
and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Cook, stirring and tossing, until mushrooms
give up their juice. Continue cooking until liquid evaporates. Set aside.
Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan and add flour, stirring with
a wire whisk. Add milk and cream, stirring rapidly with whisk. When
blended and smooth, add salt and pepper, remaining lemon juice, nut-
meg and Tabasco. Stir in mushrooms and eggplant. Stir in egg. Spoon
into baking dish (8-inch pie plate). Sprinkle with mixture of crumbs
and Parmesan, dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Bake 30 to 40 minutes.

  The latest edition (1990) of Craig Claiborne's renowned
New York Times Cookbook, published by HarperCollins:

New York Times Cookbook 

from the introduction to Southern Cooking:

"Nothing rekindles my spirits, gives comfort to my heart and mind,
more than a visit to Mississippi... and to be regaled as I often have
been, with a platter of fried chicken, field peas, collard greens, fresh
corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes with French dressing... and to top it
all off with a wedge of freshly baked pecan pie."

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