The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, continuously published since 1897, is the leading scholarly journal for Texas history and also features content relating to the history of the Greater Southwest. It is offered as a benefit of membership in the Texas State Historical Association.
Coverage: 1912-2014 (Vol. 16, No. 1 - Vol. 118, No. 2)
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Subjects: History, American Studies, History, Area Studies
Collections: Arts & Sciences VIII Collection
Years later, when I launched a fresh round of cooking for compliments in earnest, I had dozens of ''praise-provoking'' recipes under my belt. This time, I was inspired by a courtship, a long one, almost 10 years off and on, during which I probably did rack up at least 1,000 hours in front of the stove. But I didn't drive myself crazy with coulibiacs of salmon. Instead I fried hundreds of chickens and made quarts of potato salad; I grilled thick rib eyes marinated Roman style in olive oil and rosemary and garlic; I did what I hate to do and baked bread. I begged hunters for wild ducks for gumbo and made roquefort gougères as canapés with drinks. I've often wondered if I would have kept up this performance had we actually ended up together. And though I loved doing it, it was definitely a performance. The beneficiary rather meanly called it my ''geisha act,'' but I remember him complaining bitterly one day after his own culinary efforts had gone unremarked upon. He and a friend had cooked for two other guests who got too drunk to appreciate their artful presentation of the shrimp rémoulade with hearts of palm and the care that had gone into the quail with dirty rice. He had been cooking for compliments, too. We all do.
My most successful meal of that era was a meltingly delicious barbecued veal shoulder from Lee Bailey, green beans and new potatoes cooked with ham hocks and served warm in a lemony vinaigrette, cornbread and the best squash casserole on the planet Earth (from my good friend, the fabulous Houston hostess Nancy Peterkin, who has no fewer than four kitchens in her house). It worked so well on the man in question that he came for cocktails and stayed not just for dinner, but for the next four or five meals in a row. I made it again for a Sunday lunch during a literary festival in New Orleans, and the writer Edmund White pronounced it the best meal he'd eaten during his stay, a high compliment indeed, since he'd already eaten in the city's finest restaurants.
It is hardly a fancy menu, but if I had been Martha Deane, I would have included it among my ''Fame-Makers,'' the title of her last chapter, which does not, inexplicably, include a recipe for stuffed eggs. Whenever I serve them, people are speechless in the face of their lusciousness, especially people who are used to being passed trays of things like blanched snow peas piped with tasteless fish paste or skewers of dried chicken saté. The food stylist and culinary historian Rick Ellis is responsible for this particular fame-maker. Rick executed and styled the Edith Wharton-era feasts in Martin Scorsese's ''Age of Innocence,'' replete with fancy molded jellies and roast game, but when he entertains at home (at least when he's making these unbelievably good eggs), he cooks with the rule of another friend of mine in mind, that compliments generally increase according to the cream/butter/mayonnaise quotient.
He also cooks according to Deane's dictum that ''excellence is often found in simple things.'' It just takes a while to figure that out. And now that I have, I've got to call Susan Mary and find out how to make that mouth-watering sugared bacon.
(Adapted from Lee Bailey's
1 boneless veal shoulder
(about 5 pounds)
2 bunches green onions, trimmed, some tops included, cut in half
1 large yellow onion, cut into chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
8 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce.
1. Unroll the veal shoulder. Place it in a deep baking dish. Set aside.
2. Place the onions, green pepper, parsley and garlic in a food processor and pulse until mixture is cut to medium-size bits.
3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet and add the contents of the food processor. Simmer for 5 minutes and stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and cool.
4. Completely cover the veal with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight, turning the meat once or twice.
5. About an hour before cooking, remove the meat from the refrigerator. Prepare coals for a barbecue or heat a gas grill. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the grill is ready, remove the meat from the marinade and grill each side 15 minutes, turning frequently to keep the meat from burning.
6. Meanwhile, heat the marinade. Place the meat in a deep casserole, pour the sauce around it and cover. Bake for 1 hour. If still tough, bake up to 30 minutes longer. Spoon sauce over each serving and serve the rest on the side.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
2 pounds yellow summer squash
7 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
4 slices plain white bread, toasted
24 Ritz crackers, crumbed in food processor
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 21/2-quart baking dish. Cut the squash into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cook in boiling, salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Purée in a food processor.
2. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and peppers and cook until just tender. Meanwhile, crumb the toast in a food processor, melt remaining butter and toss together.
3. Mix the squash purée, cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir in the eggs, cream, sugar and seasonings. Blend well. Pour into the baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake until browned, about 40 minutes.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
1 dozen medium eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Finely snipped chives for garnish.
1. Place the eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let eggs sit 15 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until eggs are completely cool.
2. Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and rub through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and butter; mix until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, cayenne, salt and white pepper to taste. Place in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a cut-off corner.
3. Fill the egg whites neatly by pressing bag. Sprinkle with chives.
Yield: 24 deviled eggs.Continue reading the main story