Friday, September 30, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - #17 Dorothy Hamilton - Maple Syrup + Thai Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Lime

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Dorothy Hamilton is an educator and entrepreneur who many consider to be a gastronomic visionary. She attended Newcastle University in England in the late 60's, and following graduation joined the Peace Corp. She spent the next three years in Thailand where she was first introduced to French and Thai cuisine. She returned to New York City during the recession of 1974 and her English major and volunteer experience made it difficult for her to find employment. By default, she went to work for her father who ran a trade school in the city, and learned she loved working with students. She also loved cooking, and following visits to European culinary schools, convinced her father to open a culinary trade school. In 1984 she started a small cooking school called The French Culinary Institute. It, along with The School of Italian Studies, came to be housed under the umbrella of The International Culinary Centers which she also founded. As CEO of this prestigious institution, she became one of the most influential forces in the American culinary scene. The awards she has won while in that position are simply too numerous to mention here. She has been recognized by Gourmet Live and holds position #17 on their list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food.

She has, however, presented a problem for those of us who participate in the weekly challenge that recognizes these women. While she writes with authority about food, she does not write cookbooks. After considerable searching, I found only one recipe that came from her hand. It is for maple syrup that she made with her daughter, Olivia. I found the recipe buried in an article she had written for her own blog, "Love What You Do!" which you can be found here. I'm including a snippet that actually has instruction for cooking down the sap. Here it is.

Maple Syrup

"Cooking down the sap is the easy part until the end. It takes approximately 10 gallons of sap to make one pint of syrup. I start my syrup outside because of all the steam. The only other technique you need to employ other than boiling is filtering. As I said, insects love the sap too, so before your initial boil run the sap through 4 layers of cheesecloth. I pour the sap through a large colander into a huge lobster pot and let it boil most of the day over a propane flame outside. Once it boils down to a size that will fit in a stock pot in the house I filter it again through 4 layers of cheesecloth and bring it inside to the stove. Syrup boils at 7 degrees above the boiling point of water (212 degrees). I use a candy thermometer to watch how it goes. The syrup starts off either clear or cloudy white. As it boils down it gets a rusty hue. In the pot on the stove the color deepens and deepens. Then all at once it bubbles like crazy into a caramel color and you smell the syrup almost on the point of burning. Fast,fast, fast get it off the heat. Filter again while it is at least 160 degrees and put in sterilized glass, tin or heavy plastic containers. Seal and then turn upside down to lock the seal."

Now, I am uncomfortable leaving you with a non-recipe recipe, so I did some more digging. I was able to find a series of recipes that were developed for Dorothy Hamilton by Chef Bobo, the public persona of Robert Surless, who I believe is an instructor at the ICC. She apparently cooks for her family several times a week and wanted recipes that were fast and easy to prepare. Because she was dieting, the recipes also had to be low in calories. I found his recipe and accompanying photo on the Food and Wine site, which you can find here. The dish has the sweet, salty, sour and spicy flavors we've come to associate with good Thai Cooking.

Thai Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Lime


1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped basil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
lime wedges, for serving

1) Season chicken with pepper. In a bowl, mix garlic with 2 tablespoons of cilantro, fish sauce, brown sugar and chili powder. Rub over chicken and let stand for up to 1 hour.
2) In a small bowl, toss remaining cilantro with basil and mint.
3) In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil until simmering. Add chicken and cook over high heat, turning once until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Cut each thigh into 3 or 4 pieces. Transfer the chicken to a platter and scatter the herbs all over. Serve with the lime wedges and brown rice. Makes 4 servings.

The following bloggers are also featuring the work of Dorothy Hamilton today. I hope you'll visit all of them. They are all great cooks who have wonderful blogs.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A - There and Back Again
Martha - Lines from Linderhof
Nancy - Picadillo

Next week we will highlight the career and recipes of Clotilde Dusoulier. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information no later than Saturday, October 1st.


Ginny Hartzler said...

Gosh, I didn't even know you made maple syrup, I thought people just ate it the way it comes from the tree! I didn't know anything had to be done to it.

mia xara said...

Thanks for posting the information on how to make maple syrup,Mary,I've only seen part of the process while visiting a sugar shack..My family loves Thai dishes, so there's one more for me to try! XO

That Girl said...

It's always nice to hear someone who loves teaching as much as learning.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This Thai chicken thigh dish sounds so tasty!

Diane said...

Interesting post and I love Thai flavours so this is for me. Diane

Priya Suresh said...

Beautiful post, thanks for sharing how to make Maplesyrup, a page to be thai dishes very much..

Red Nomad OZ said...

HHHMMMmmm... finally I'm defeated by a recipe! There's one hell of a dearth of maple sap downunder here in OZ!! Never mind, that's why god gave us supermarkets with international sections ...

Sue/the view from great island said...

Mary you are so thorough! You never let us down. I just love the Maple syrup story. The chicken sounds wonderful, and I like that I can find all the ingredients at my store. Hope you're having fun!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Dorothy has influenced us all in more ways than one with some prestigious chefs graduating from her schoo. When we first moved to British Colmbia we planted a sugar maple in our front yard. It would be 50 years before we would be able to tap it and get 2 tablespoons of luscious syrup.

Heather S-G said...

Such an enigma this Dorothy is in the kitchen ;) Lovely feature, though!

Clint said...

I am pleased that Ms Hamilton does not write cookbooks. Not that I have anything against cookbooks; but this, to me, makes her stand out as her own woman---someone who does what she wants to do and is not influenced by the expectations of others. I like that very much.

Unknown said...

You make maple syrup? Goodness, Mary, just when I think you can't get more super hero like.. you prove to me that you are so much more :)

What's Baking?? said...

Is that how you make maple syrup? The color of your syrup is perfect. I don't have patience for it, so I'll just get it off the It's interesting to know how you did it...hat's off to you, Mary!

Ruth said...

Wow. I never even dreaned of making maple syrup! What a great post!

Unknown said...

Yum, I love all these flavors, what a delicious sounding dish!

Nina Timm said...

I read about this event over on Val's blog. What a stunning idea. It is so inspirational to me, thank you!

Kim said...

There is never enough chicken recipes. This one look flavorful and good! Have a good week end, Mary!

Jeannie said...

I love the look of that Thai chicken dish! so delicious looking!

Beverly said...

Mary, I've been so busy at work that I haven't had time to visit in a while.

And, here I find that you are off on a wonderful trip. I'll be thinking of you on your latest adventure with a smile.

Barbara said...

What fun that you found a recipe of hers! And what super investigative powers! :)

We used to live in Michigan and made maple syrup all my young life.

Joanne said...

I love thai flavors and I wish I had found this recipe! It sounds amazing!

Susan Lindquist said...

What a wonderful post, Mary! Making maple syrup is an investment of time and attention ... I never realized!

Your Thai chicken dish is a nice tribute to DH's time in Peace Corps - I love Thai food - lime and spicy chilis together are so very good!

Jeanette said...

Isn't it interesting that so few recipes for Dorothy Hamilton can be found. I actually made the same dish, modified. Thanks again for hosting this fun event!

Taryn said...

Thanks for the bit about the maple syrup - I always love imagining families doing this together! said...

Maple syrup...can't wait to try it and the dish is really something to sink your teeth into it.

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