Nile Rodgers first introduced me to Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr. while covering Feast for Peace for the We Are Family Foundation last year. We finally met in person last week to talk food, cooking together, and television.
Jewels filming in Elizabeth Emmanuel period costume

Jewels filming in Elizabeth Emmanuel period costume

My taste buds are still dancing with joy over cooking with Joe and his food-loving co host Marc Gomes Saturday, then sitting down to enjoy a historical feast with friends and fascinating anthropological experts for their mind-blowingly original new show.
Julie Anne Rhodes and Normandie Keith

Julie Anne Rhodes and Normandie Keith

Rather than give the whole kit and caboodle away prematurely, here’s a sneak peek at the amazing menu we prepared, but first let me thank the drop-dead gorgeous Normandie Keith for very kindly letting us film in her resplendent home…
Wickedly good "Eggs in Pergatory"

Wickedly good “Eggs in Pergatory”

… and to Joe for introducing me to “Eggs in Pergatory”. Eggs poached in his heavenly marinara sauce (that he managed to whip up quicker than I could blink) topped with Italian parsley, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr. at work

Sicilian Citrus Salad

Most pleasantly satiated, it was time to get down to business. Chef instructed me as to how he wanted the ingredients chopped for this simple, yet exquisite, 400 year old Sicilian Citrus Salad of oranges, red onion, Italian parsley, oregano, and unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil – my new favorite ingredient for the peppery bite that grows as you savor it.

Apples for Apple, Cheese, and Chive Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

After mentioning my unfortunate mishap with the mandolin preparing for Ultimate Recipe Showdown, the chivalrous chef took over making this Green Apple, Manchego cheese, and Chive Salad that also originated 400 years ago, with the Iroquois Tribe.

Grandma’s Sicilian Eggplant

Marc got the lovely task of frying endless slices of eggplant that I later assembled into the beautiful Sicilian Eggplant antpasti comprised of fried eggplant, marinara sauce, mint, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The mint makes the dish distinctively Sicilian since basil would be the more obvious herb for an Italian dish. The recipe has been passed down through the generations in Joe’s family, and is currently on the menu at his newest restaurant, Sa Za in Montgomery, Alabama. Also on the menu is…

Seven Grain Crusted Salmon with Lemon & Tarragon Beurre Blanc

Napoleon Bonaparte’s personal favorite, this Seven Grain Crusted Salmon with a Tarragon infused Chardonnay Beurre Blanc Sauce and Caramelized Peas with Onions. Again scintillating simplicity that consists of salmon, Dijon mustard, and the seven grains laced with chopped tarragon. You might say I lost my beurre blanc virginity as it was the first one I’d ever made (with chef’s tutelage), and so yummy I wanted to bathe in it!

Onions, raisins, dates, capers, pine nuts, almonds, olives, and mint

Twelve hundred year old recipe for chicken pie

Then the big guns, or in this case pumpernickel bread, came out when Joe made this amazing 1200 year old Chicken Pie dating back to the Saracen rule of Sicily circa 810 AD. The sweet and savory ingredients included onions, dates, raisins, capers, olives, pine nuts, almonds, roasted peppers, mushrooms, wine, chicken, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and eggs that set off a chain reaction bursting with flavor in my mouth, with every taste bud firing away, while the aroma alone, was enough to make me go weak at the knees.

The dinner crew

We sat down to an unprecedented feast with a lively discussion about how most of these dishes came into existence before the first known recorded recipe in the late 1800’s. They simply consisted of lists (without specific instructions) of indigenous ingredients with flavors influenced by whatever culture happened to be in power at the time. How the occupations of a country left subtle, yet indelible marks upon the national cuisine, plus so much more you will have to wait to see.
Marc Gomes, Julie Anne Rhodes, and Joe DiMaggio Jr.

Marc Gomes, Julie Anne Rhodes, and Joe DiMaggio Jr.

The evening ended with very happy taste buds, full tummies, and smiles all round, plus this lovely message the next day…

Jewels,


You Landed the Plane for us!!! You were an amazing Warrior Sous Chef who brought Grace & Elegance to the kitchen. I would be proud to cook with you again & again. Thank You for helping make all of it possible, the setting, the generous Normandie giving up her Outstanding Home for the shoot. We appreciate you going out of your way. And, we’re doing it again…Grazia Mille!¬†

 

Bon Appetit,
Chef Joe DiMaggio, Jr.

 

Stay tuned for more information about where and when you can view this fascinating show. Have you ever thought about the evolution or provenance of the meal on your table?

This post was first published August 9, 2010

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  • August 9, 2010
    7:41 pm

    Okay … FORGET the "Jessica Rabbit" dress!! That one above with its push out over the top clevage would make ANY man a happy one!!You teaser has made me VERY hungry, which is a good thing since my surgery made me lose it for a good little while.Thanks, Julie Anne!

  • August 9, 2010
    7:54 pm

    Jewels, Everything on that page looks absolutely "SCRUMPTIOUS". (smiles) Have a fantastic week, Doll…. :-)Bj Nelson

  • August 10, 2010
    4:37 pm

    Last week I made Chicken Taglitelle with Sultanas, Rosemary and Toasted Pine Nuts. I first saw it on a Nigella show and was dying to try it. It's a Venetian dish and she explained that she had it when she got married there, so it had special memories for her. I can see a tiny resemblence to the Chicken Pie in your blog so maybe they are from a similar era? The simplicity of it astounded me and I have to admit a bit of trepidation that Fusspot Fiancé would turn his nose up, but he was completely amazed by it ! :D

  • August 10, 2010
    6:41 pm

    beautiful, amazing dishesCarly Guerrero

  • August 10, 2010
    6:45 pm

    Hope you are feeling better Tin! These dishes are off the charts delicious. Making the salmon dish for a friend tonight.

  • August 11, 2010
    7:40 am

    I have to drop a book off a book at your place the next time I am on your side of the hill. It is about the history of food in western civ. You can have it, it has a corner chewed off but is totally readable and a lot of fun, especially about spices! btw, guess who chewed the corner off? Daisy Duchess, on my first visit! I never mentioned it because, well why bother….funny huh?Cat Lincoln

  • August 11, 2010
    7:42 am

    Fantastic picture. Love the period costume.m By the way, 12 hundred year old recipe?? WOW!Nique Quesada

  • August 11, 2010
    7:48 am

    Hey Cat – Daisy has good taste – the only other thing Daisy has chewed up are my Prada glasses, I replaced them, and she did it again, so I gave up. Would LOVE to see the book and you, so let me know when you are over here next.Yes Nique, and it was fabulous! So cool.

  • August 11, 2010
    7:54 am

    Oh, great! Thanks, Jewels!I had narrowed my decision down to a choice between two appetizers and two entrees when I go to SaZa, but the photos and descriptions just put me back to the start! *sigh*I may just have to go with an empty tummy and let my taste buds lead me in the moment… :)My daughter had to make a dish for a history class several years ago. I pulled out my trusty Larousse Gastronomique and we found a lovely chicken dish that could have graced any ancient Roman table. If I remember correctly, it had plums or raisins in it. I'll have to ask her, as it escapes me at the moment.Can't wait to see this show!

  • August 11, 2010
    2:00 pm

    Hope I can watch this online, Eggs in Pergatory, yum yum!!

  • August 11, 2010
    10:27 pm

    OMG…..what more can one say.I am absolutely salivating on every dish mentioned. They look sooooo amazing and they must have tasted that way too. I am so loving the look of the Chicken Pie. Wow! 1200yr old recipe, now that is something.The 'Eggs in Pergatory', well……what can I say except I could just dive into that one right now with some lovely fresh bread. As a matter of fact, I may attempt to make it…..mmmmm…YUMMY!Aussie MumP.S. My own recipe hunt for the 1910 theme dinner party (I mentioned some time ago) is going slowly. Have found some interesting recipes and will advise once it all comes together. Some testing has been done on them (some good dishes, others not so good at all….absolute disasters), however I will get there eventually. Cannot wait for the finale menu results.

  • August 12, 2010
    1:46 am

    Our new friend Julie Anne Rhodes chronicles the details of Joe and Marc's latest culinary adventure. Julie Anne your generosity is rivaled only by your beauty…many thanks, xoxoMarc Gomes

  • August 12, 2010
    4:44 pm

    Sounds like you were really busy, but in the best of ways. The Sicilian eggplant dish has me enticed. That, with a green salad and foccacia bread would be my ideal summer meal. Going to try that one soon! BTW, our supermarket finally carries Gardein products and I tried the "chicken" strips in a stir fry. Really enjoyed it and love that the store is caring more about vegetarians!

  • August 12, 2010
    7:43 pm

    Good Morning Julie, What a great blog, thank you for the kind words and we all appreciated your tenacity. In Arizona with Marc filming on the Navajo Reservation, what amazing beauty here, we had a archeological dig yesterday and found some amazing fossils. Will keep you informed, look forward to chatting soon.Joe DiMaggio Jr.

  • August 12, 2010
    7:58 pm

    Moragn – where does your daughter go to school? I LOVE the project, and what fun you must have had doing it together! Hey Aussie Mum – not sure how many Joe tested before he found these recipes, but they were all stupendously delicious. You're a great cook – and I have faith in your coming up with a knockout 1910 menu. Such a fabulous idea – throwing a 100 year old birthday party for your 100 year old house. Lots of photos of both home and food please!Marc and Joe – you are both so charming and fun to work with, but the subject matter is what motivated and fascinates me beyond belief. I love history, and I love food, but I never thought about the impact they had on one and other until meeting you. Thank you!

  • August 23, 2010
    9:52 pm

    Julie Anne, I would love to see you make the 1200 year old chicken pie in one of my BreadPots, perhaps a special order large cloche. www.breadbakers.blogspot.comwww.motzkin.comJudith Motzkin