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"The first Mrs. Astor, the Mrs. Astor, was a true eccentric. . . Mrs. Astor
made herself famous in social circles and infamous in culinary circles by
putting down that great masterpiece of the dining art - soup. Mrs. Astor didn't
serve soup at her famous dinners. . . she even said, 'Why would anyone want to
put their dinner on top of a lake?' Well, all I can say about Mrs. Astor is,
what did she know about
love, having married for money? Soup is a mainstay of
civilization. It is a creative synthesis of flavors and textures, served in a
comforting, back-to-childhood style;
or as a precise and perfectly elegant
beginning to the shape of things to come. . . free-lancers of every stripe
cannot live without it. By that I mean writers, artists, inventors and confined
housewives. Lives have been saved by soup..."
~ Liz Smith, from the foreword to
'Lee Bailey's Soup Meals'
and Mushroom Soup Dinner
Lee Bailey’s Soup Meals
Main Event Soups in Year-Round Menus
Copyright © 1989 by Lee Bailey (Clarkson N. Potter)
Buy new, used, and
hard-to-find books at Alibris!
“Now here is a menu for the meat and potatoes crowd – in a slightly glamorized
version. It begins with a baked potato, but not just an ordinary baked potato,
rather one dressed with a generous dollop of caviar. And the soup has cubes
of marinated steak and plenty of fresh mushrooms in it, accompanied by old-
fashioned drop buttermilk biscuits.
For dessert is an equally old-fashioned pear pudding cake.”
Baked Potatoes with Caviar
Steak and Mushroom Soup
Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
Pear Pudding Cake
Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
my old standbys. Easy to make, they only have to be the proper consistency for
success. And even if they are not, they will simply flatten
out a little too much, but will still taste good."
2 cups all-purpose
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450
degrees F. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and soda together into a large bowl.
Cut butter into chunks and then cut into flour
with a pastry blender or 2 knives until butter is the size of large peas. Add
buttermilk all at once, and stir just enough to mix. Drop by tablespoons
onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between. Bake until golden
brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 18 biscuits.
Pear Pudding Cake
“Delicious, and as easy as the biscuits to make.”
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon coarsely grated lemon rind [zest]
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup peeled and coarsely diced firm pear
Vanilla Sauce [recipe included in cookbook]
or vanilla ice cream
[Or use this Crème Anglaise,
sweetened whipped cream…]
Lemon rind or strips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees [F]. Generously butter an 8-inch
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs and beat for
several minutes, until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the bourbon and lemon rind
[zest], mixing well again. Fold in nuts and pear. Pour into baking dish and bake
until puffy and brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Serve with Vanilla Sauce or vanilla ice cream, garnished with a few slices
of fresh pear bathed in fresh lemon juice and topped with a bit of lemon
rind or a few lemon strips if you like.
“This menu is not particularly ‘do-aheadable,’ but even so it is comparatively
uncomplicated to prepare and shouldn’t be a problem if you can get started
several hours before you want to serve the meal.
Set the steak to marinating, then prepare the vegetables and mushrooms for the
soup. Set aside. Sift the dry ingredients for the biscuits and cut in the
Cover and stash in the refrigerator. The biscuits will then only take a minute
later to stir up with the buttermilk and can go into the oven as you start
the first course. (Do not add the buttermilk until you are ready to bake the
biscuits.) And speaking of that, timing is more or less geared to when the
potatoes are due to come out of the oven, since they should be served hot.
Make the dessert to bake along with the potatoes if you have 2 ovens, or earlier
in the afternoon if you don’t. Ideally, it is served warm, but this is not
Back to Steak and
Mushroom Soup Dinner, page 1
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