Remembering friends, and celebrating the season
This past month, we lost a good friend. Now, a lot of people in town would probably not recognize his name, but I know a lot of people ate meals prepared by Paul Eskew. He worked at the Ormsby House for about seven years then at the Carson Station for most of the last 18 years.
Paul made most of the hot entrées for the buffet at the Ormsby House for lunch and dinner. And when word got around that his chicken was on the buffet line, all the employees seemed to want an early lunch break. His chicken was just the best.
He made all of his soups from scratch and kept most of his recipes in his head, which really isn’t a good thing. I told his wife, Clara, that I wanted to put the recipe for his Korean barbecue sauce in the paper. Ralph said it’s the best sauce he’s ever tasted, but no one seems to know exactly what goes in it.
Paul trained more than his fair share of cooks and imparted a lot of his knowledge with them, which is what good cooks do. When we were novices in the restaurant business, I made a lot of frantic phone calls to Paul, asking how to cook this or that. He always made the time to give me advice over the phone in the early mornings, when cooks are normally busiest.
Clara cooked for us at Marrone’s when we opened and served breakfast and dinner. They have been our good friends for many years. He will be missed, and I hope Clara will find comfort in her memories.
I also went to the estate sale at Bob McFadden’s house and managed to pick up a few treasures. I asked his daughter if she felt bad about selling his stuff. She said she did a little.
I told her that I had been to the estate sale of the Carringtons, who lived in the house before her dad bought it. I think Bob would have approved of recycling his possessions.
Bob’s recipe for life was to have a good time, and I think all of us who went to the sale did just that.
This recipe that I’m going to share with you comes from this month’s issue of Country Living. It caught my eye, and I’ve made them twice.
This recipe is a keeper. The pretty cake stand in the picture was loaned to me by my friend Rosemary, who owns La-Tea-Da Tea Shoppe on Telegraph Square. If you need a unique gift, stop in and see her.
CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES
2 1/2 cups plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 T. good-quality cocoa
1 T. baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the batter: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light.
Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.
Place cupcake liners in standard tins and fill with 1/4 cup of batter, or half full. Bake 20-22 minutes. Makes 36 cupcakes.
ORANGE CREAM-CHEESE FROSTING
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
1 T. fresh orange juice*
1 tsp. grated orange zest*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring
* You can substitute a tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate for the freshly squeezed juice and grated orange zest.
Blend the cream cheese, butter, juice, zest and vanilla in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium speed, until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy – about 3 more minutes. Add the food coloring and gently stir until color is uniform. Makes 3 1/2 cups.
n Linda Marrone has lived in Carson City since 1973, and with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone’s Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin’s Cookin’ Catering.