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The Entrées

We do fantasize quite a lot at WIJW about a time in the not so distant past when people dressed for every occasion, lived in beautifully decorated homes, entertained luxuriously, and traveled in great style. And so, as you might imagine, we were absolutely beyond thrilled to receive Gail Monaghan’s latest book, The Entrées – a rich presentation of acclaimed dishes served by the renowned restaurants and homes of those aforementioned days of yore.

Incidentally, if you are feeling a bit intimidated by these recipes, sign up for Monaghan’s fantastic cooking classes — we have — and she’ll quickly have you confidently astounding your friends and relatives with your new found culinary prowess. (subscribe conveniently online as well and she’ll apprise you of her upcoming classes).

Offering a peek at the delights you’ll find within the pages of her book, Monaghan has very generously agreed to share with us three particularly classic menus – and just in time to inspire us all to create that truly spectacular holiday meal!

Duck a L'Orange from Gail Monaghan's, The Entrees.

I’ve modernized and lightened this roast duck restaurant favorite from the 1950’s by exaggerating the flavoring components while at the same time, making sure the duck skin is super crispy, most of it’s fat having been carefully rendered and discarded during the cooking process. Equally important, this delicious, moist, and meltingly tender bird can be roasted in advance and reheated last minute without compromising its just-cooked flavor. The salad is light and lovely with its red and green color scheme just right for the holidays. Celery Root Puree adds a comfort food note to an otherwise completely elegant meal with a lusciousness in perfect contrast to the bright and slightly crunchy green veggies. And who in their right mind can resist a dark chocolate cake with pastry layers and lots of rich ganache.

– Gail Monaghan

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington descends from recipes for beef encased in a decorative, flaky crust so common in 18th and 19th century Britain. Named after Arthur, First Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, this en croute classic–consisting of beef fillet slathered with foie gras, topped with mushroom duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry and then baked till the outside is beautifully golden while the meat inside remeans pink, juicy and delicious—was the party dish of the e1960’s on both sides of the Atlantic. If you prefer something lighter and more modern, substitute slices of prosciutto for the foie gras and/or add a layer of sauteed red peppers or fresh fennel before wrapping and baking.

I like to precede this multi-flavored and complex main course with a comfortingly simple oyster stew. And for dessert, a the lusciousness of cold creamy lemon custard ice cream enclosed in toasty meringue and warm cake is ideal and won’t be forgotten any time soon.

– Gail Monaghan

Shrimp and Corn Pie from Gail Monaghan's, The Entrees.

Wallis Simpson picked up Low Country cooking early on in the kitchen of her mother’s Baltimore boarding house. This Shrimp and Corn Pie was a favorite with both Wallis and the Duke of Windsor and in their early days together, she made it often. It’s a winning combination of cooked shrimp, milk, and eggs, thickened with corn and seasoned with cayenne pepper, nutmeg, Worcestershire Sauce, and mustard. The duchess placed raw biscuits on top and baked them along with the pie. In other versions, halved cooked biscuits are toasted and buttered and used to line the baking dish.

A combination of fried oysters, fried okra, and chunks of tasty country ham with ramekins of Remoulade sauce for dipping makes a perfect casual starter. However, if frying taxes the kitchen, just serve the ham with the remoulade alongside and no one will be the wiser.

Pecan Balls with lots of hot fudge sauce take me back to my childhood when for a time they were my favorite dessert. If you want to gild the lily, serve caramel sauce in addition. Melted ice cream and toasted nuts merge with the chewiness of the hardened sauces to send you straight to dessert heaven.

– Gail Monaghan

The Entrées is a celebration, as Monaghan puts it, of a “lost luxurious world…” – well, we at WIJW are very happy to say, perhaps this is not an entirely “lost world” now that we have this superb culinary volume!

I can’t wait to serve these divine dinners in my own home!


  1. Christian Fuchs says:

    OMG, everything sounds delicious, please invite my for dinner when you cook these divine dinners!



  2. Mara Helmrich von Elgott says:

    Ich muss dieses Buch kaufen mein lieber James! Die Fotos sind unendlich schön…….und die Geschichten die Du erzählst…….sehr interessant!


    Deine Mara

  3. Lil´Lilly says:

    Would liove to have a slice of this delicious corn and shrimp pie!

  4. Christiane von Könemann says:

    Hallo mein Lieber!

    Das ist sehr sehr schön, ich werde The Entrees auf jeden Fall kaufen, alles sieht wunderbar aus!

    Hab einen schönen Tag,

    Herzliche Grüsse,


  5. Lola Montes says:

    Vaya James que lindo Volumen, no puedo esperar para tenerlo y preparar todos esos maravillosos platillos! Sobre todo el pato a la naranja!



  6. Calú says:

    Estoy fascinada con las fotografías, todo luce delicioso!

  7. Edie B. says:

    I remember those wonderful times when mother made amazing parties and the most exquisite dishes…….



  8. Freiin von Spiering says:

    Hey Darling,

    It´s been a while…….this is a wonderful post, I absolutely love it. This reminds me the dinners at my grandparents house!


    Marie FvS

  9. Pearl Hammond says:

    Beef Wellington was my mother´s favorite…….

  10. The aristocratic Ones says:

    Let´s make a very aristocratic dinner soon!

  11. Dagmar von Schwarzenberg says:

    So ein Luxus…….

  12. Jane Ellenborough says:

    Gail Monaghan is a genius!

  13. Francois says:

    Hm, you get hungry if you look at these pics, the bad things about cook books is, you always buy them, but never achieve the same result alas.

  14. DeanFarris says:

    Scrumptious! I believe you posted earlier about attending one of her classes?
    What would a good life be without glorious cuisine!
    Not such a good one…
    Thanks James for sharing this warm and wonderful new presentation.


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