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Steak Diane

From: Bill
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 8:26 PM
To: Phaedrus 
Subject: couple recipes

Hi, long time no talk.  Hope you are still doing this?  Do you have a classic recipe for Steak Diane and what is the classic meat in Steak Diane.  
I know it's beef but is it filet mignon, boneless ribeye, or beef tenderloin?

Thanks in advance for your help.  

Regards, Bill 

Hello Bill,

The earliest origins of steak Diane appear to have been in a method of serving venison. The term “diane” in its name comes from Diana, the goddess of the hunt. The steak Diane that we know today appears to have developed independently in several American Restaurants in the 1950s. As a result of the independent development of the dish, recipes for it vary in the exact nature of the sauce, and in the cut of beef used. Generally, it’s a pan-fried steak with a buttery peppery cognac sauce.

There’s some history and two older recipes here: Food Timeline

“The steak is seasoned by rubbing garlic and ground black pepper into it and frying quickly in butter. A sauce is prepared from the pan juices, using butter, shallots, cream, beef stock, mustard and Worcestershire sauce, and flambéed with brandy. This sauce is then poured over the steak prior to serving.”

The cut of meat is usually tenderloin or filet mignon (which is just a cut from the small end of the tenderloin), but older recipes specify other cuts. Craig Claiborne’s 1961 recipe calls for sirloin. You can use any cut you want, but if you want to go with recent tradition, use the filet or tenderloin.

The sauce varies from recipe to recipe.There is a New York style recipe here that's representative of recent tradition: Food Reference


Beef with Two Winter Delights

From: Bill
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 8:26 PM
To: Phaedrus 
Subject: couple recipes

Have you heard of a Chinese dish called Beef with 2 Winter delights?  Do you know what style Chinese region it comes from?  It is not stir-fried 
but simmered.  The two winter delights are bamboo shoots and an unusual mushroom but don't know what it is called.  I also know it is not Mandarin, 
Cantonese, Szechuan, or Hunan, but not sure about Hunan.

Thanks in advance for your help.  

Regards, Bill 

Hello Bill,

I found this dish listed more often on Hunan menus than any other, but the only reference that I found (also a menu) that gave any origin said that it is Mandarin. The mushroom is called “black mushroom” or “winter black mushroom”. You say that the dish is not stir-fried, but every menu I found it listed on, that gave a description, said that it was stir-fried. Example:

“Sliced beef tenderloin stir fried with winter black mushrooms and winter bamboo shoots in Brown Sauce.”

I was not able to find an actual recipe. For more info, you might try asking the guide of this site:

Brown sauce recipes here:

Brown Sauce

Authentic Chinese Brown Sauce

Chinese Brown Sauce Recipe


Scatatti Cookies

From: Jennifer
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 7:38 PM
Subject: almond cookie

My father used to buy an almond cookie for my mom that she loved. My father passed away 4 years ago and the bakery he used to buy the cookies from 
closed over ten years ago. I would love to get the recipe so I can bake the cookies for my mom. I know she would smile and think fondly of my dad. 
The cookie was called Scatatti. I am not sure about the spelling, but I know it is it is an Italian almond cookie. Would you happen to have a recipe 
for this Italian cookie, or know of another name it might be called?

Attached is a link from a person who sells this cookie online.  I believe this is a home business, and I am not comfortable ordering from someone 
who bakes from home and sells their items online.  I have attached the link, so you can see what the cookie looks like.  Thank you.


Hello Jennifer,

I cannot find any mention of a cookie with that name except on etsy and in a few posts on message boards such as Chowhound (which may be your posts). I cannot find any mention of a cookie called “scatatti” in any of our Italian food dictionaries or cookbooks. Checking online Italian-English dictionaries, I cannot find the word “scatatti” in any of them. I did find the word “scatatti” used on a few websites in the Italian language, but translators that I tried did not translate the word, leaving it as “scatatti”. However, from the context of its use on those pages, they were not using it to refer to cookies.

Since I don’t know anything about the cookie, other than that it is an Italian almond cookie, I cannot tell you much about what else it might be called. The most common Italian almond cookies, other than biscotti, are “amaretti”. “Amaretti” come in all sizes and shapes, so that would be my best guess for an alternate name. There are 15 pages of photos and names of Italian cookies with nuts on the Italy Revisited website. Perhaps you can find them there. Look particularly at the amaretti cookies, but check all 15 pages. See: Italy Revisited - Cookies with Nuts You may have to actually make some of these cookies to determine which, if any of them, is correct or even close. Your information is too sketchy to determine correctness just from looking at a photo or a recipe. Don’t rely too much on just how the cookie looks. That’s often dependent on the individual baker.

Your best option might be to actually write to the person who sells those cookies on etsy and ask them. I seriously doubt that they will give you their recipe, so hold off asking for the recipe itself. Begin by just asking them if they know of another name for the cookies.

Does your Mom know what the word “scatatti” means? Does she know another name for the cookies? Does she know where in Italy these cookies originated? Does she remember the name of the bakery? Where it was located?

I will post this on my site in case a reader can help, but since there was no success on Chowhound, I wouldn’t have much hope. See: Chowhound


Hi Phaed, 

Thank you for your response, and the link to Italy revisited.   My mom does not know the meaning of the word Scatatti.  The bakery was located in 
Phoenix, Arizona and the bakery was called the New Jersey Deli. 
The main thing about this cookie is that it seems to be a lighter tan cookie than any of the other cookies I have seen on websites or in cookbooks.  
The quest for this cookie, has been both disappointing and wonderful.  I become disappointed that I have not yet found the cookie to replicate for my mom.  
However, I have found many great cookies recipes trying to duplicate the “elusive” Scatatti.  
I would love it, if you would post this on your site, in hopes that one of your readers have heard of this cookie.  
Additionally, I have written to the person selling the cookie on Etsy and she said, her family is from Sicily.  She also stated that the Scatatti is a 
very crunchy cookie with cinnamon and lemon accents.
Thank you!
-----Original Message----- 
From: margaret 
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2012 5:37 PM
Subject: Scattati cookies

I'm wondering if "scattati" means something like "crunchy," as there are
some websites in Italian that talk about "scattati un foto" as in "snap
a photo" and there is a recipe for "pomodori scattati" which translates
on Google as "snappy tomatoes."

Hi Margaret,

Well, I checked into this. The Italian word for "crunchy" is usually "croccante". However, the Italian word "scattare" is sometimes used to mean "snap" as in "snap back". When I found that, I thought that perhaps "scattati", in this instance, might be used for "snap" as in "lemon snaps" or "ginger snaps" or "almond snaps", which are all cookies. However, I was not able to find any Italian recipes for "snaps" of any kind, so I was not able to find any connection.

I also found at that "scattati is a past tense form of "scattare" :

scattare = to spring, to jump off a spring) as an adjective means fast, ready, full of vigour. sono scattati in piedi = "they sprang to their feet" The form "scattante" = quick off the mark , (agile) agile

I was not able to find any connection between any sort of Italian cookies and the usages as "spring" or "quick off the mark" or "agile" or "snap". The "spring" usage made me think of German "springerle" cookies, but those are not anything like the scattati cookie description. "Quick Italian Cookies" brings up, of course, dozens of Google "hits", but none are like the scattati cookies. "Scattati" probably is a Sicilian colloquial usage for the cookies in a similar way that "snap" is used for ginger snaps.


Virgin Islands Cuisine

From: Lisa 
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2012 7:52 AM
Subject: USVI


My DH and I are moving to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. What can you tell us about the Cuisine in the islands. I'm interested in origins, 
classics etc with the cuisine. Does it fall under the 'Caribbean' umbrella? Or does it have it''s own flavors and histories.


Hi Lisa,

Columbus named the Virgin Islands on his second voyage in 1493. They were originally inhabited by Caribbean Indians such as the Arawak, but were held by several different European nations over the next 200 years. No one appeared to have much interest in them until the Danish West India Company settled on Saint Thomas in 1672. They were purchased from them by the Danish Government in about 1733 and the islands became royal Danish colonies in 1754. The Danes held them until 1917, apparently without making a great deal of impact on their culture or cuisine. In 1917, the U.S., concerned about German encroachment into the Caribbean, bought the islands from Denmark. The official language of the islands is English, but the natives commonly speak “French Creole” to each other. They call the islands by their own names. St. Thomas is called "Rock City".

The cuisine of the U.S. Virgin Islands is not particularly distinct from Caribbean or “West Indian” cuisine, which is an amalgam of French, Spanish, West African, and American cuisine that’s related to the “Creole” cuisine of the American South. These sites give some idea of the popular local dishes:



Virgin Islands This Week

Best Virgin Islands Guide


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