Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hot Dog Cheesies and Vegetable Soup

Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library [1971]

70's. We meet again.

Hot Dog Cheesies
Drop into a saucepan of boiling water (2 cups).....8 frankfurters
Lower heat; cover and simmer 5 to 8 minutes.
Spread 1 side of.................................................8 slices bread
with..................................................................soft butter
....................................................................prepared mustard
Place bread slices on baking sheet.
Top each slice with............1 slice process American cheese

Place a frankfurter on top of each cheese slice. Fold over to make a triangle shape. Fasten with wooden picks. Melt in small pan over low heat
.............................................1/4 cup butter

Brush each triangle with the melted butter.

Set oven control at broil and/or 550 degrees F.
Broil sandwiches with tops 4 to 5 inches from heat about 2 minutes or until golden brown. 8 servings.

Serve with mugs of piping hot vegetable soup.

Verdict: I made this right after the cocky leeky, because we were hungry and sad. I like hot dogs, I like cheese, I like bread, I like melted butter, what could go wrong? Answer: really not very much. They are absolutely fine. The melted butter soaked into the bread and made it delicious, and the hot dogs got a little burned (as hot dogs should properly be). The only fly in the ointment was the cheese. I remember liking American cheese as a child, but it is kind of awful. Husband said it was the worst thing I had asked him to eat as part of this project, and that is saying something! Feels kind of plastic-y in the mouth. While eating it, I also recalled that we called it Barbie doll cheese, because of its resemblance to melted fashion dolls. Were the cheese to be replaced with, you know, cheese, these would be really good, actually. The serving size is accurate, though. One of these is enough. After eating two of them, one feels slightly wrong.

Also, canned vegetable soup is terrible.

After cocky leeky, hot dog cheesies, and canned vegetable soup, we felt we deserved ice cream. Later that night, I felt ill. The next day, I ate American cheese straight, because it sounded delicious at the time. And it was. Weird.

Feel free to comment on how nice Husband is. Because he is.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Betty Crocker's Prize Sheep

Last installment of Betty Crocker's New Cooking for Two Cookbook [1972]! I hope you have enjoyed them.

Children, I'm sorry to say that your pet prize sheep, Ramsey, got a little sick while you were at school. We tried everything, but we just couldn't save him. We had to take off the fleece so we could see what the problem was better, then your mother spent minutes and minutes rubbing an herbal salve onto every inch of him. Finally, we had to amputate his legs. Because of the illness. Didn't work, so we had to keep amputating. In the end, I'm afraid he just didn't make it.

Lucky for us, and for him, we have this home cremating machine, so we could send him off in honor. He should be just about done now.... oh, look at that. Terrible! Just didn't get hot enough. He's not burned at all! Just a little... crispy... Tell you what though, we can put him here and make it like a Viking funeral! We'll just place some of his favorite things around him so he can have them in the happy sheep afterlife, where he eats tasty grass and frolics in daisies all day long. You know how much he loved cabbage. And... noodles. And mother's spicy raisin cupcakes and pineapple-cheese salad.

Barbecued Lamb Riblets
Hot Buttered Noodles
Panned Cabbage
Pineapple-Cheese Salad
Spicy Raisin Cupcakes

***Thanks to Mitchell and Webb. :D (warning: mild language)***

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cocky Leeky... soup?

A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Poor [1852]

Ah, Charles Elme Francatelli, LATE MAÎTRE D'HÔTEL AND CHIEF COOK TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN. He had such good intentions. He was so concerned for the welfare of the poor people, he wrote them a whole cookbook. His Yorkshire Pie-Clates were quite tasty. His No. 3 Economical Pot Liquor Soup, less so. Which dish shall break the tie, perhaps redeeming his cookbook for the deserving poor on this, Christmas Day?

Oh. Oh dear.

Cocky Leeky.
I hope that at some odd times you may afford yourselves an old hen or cock; and when this occurs, this is the way in which I recommend that it be cooked, viz.:—First pluck, draw, singe off the hairs, and tie the fowl up in a plump shape; next, put it into a boiling-pot with a gallon of water, and a pound of Patna rice, a dozen leeks cut in pieces, some peppercorns and salt to season; boil the whole very gently for three hours, and divide the fowl to be eaten with the soup, which will prove not only nourishing but invigorating to the system.

Verdict: Just... just give me a moment. Okay. All right. Don't make this. Really, really don't make this. Rice... was not meant to be boiled for 3 hours. It is an abomination. There was too much stuff for it to be a soup, so instead it is a mucusy sludge. It is a strange, squiggly feeling, watching it slither off one's flatware. The rice/leek mucus does not taste very much like chicken, more of faintly onioned watery rice.

The chicken was just fine, but had the distressing tendency to sink beneath the surface of the rice/leek mucus like an alligator in a swamp. Every time I tried to get a good bite of chicken, it was sucked into the mucus and slimed.

Now that that's over with, hey! Look at this cool leek!

It's curly inside! Neato! Have you ever seen a leek do this?

Now go. Enjoy Christmas! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, celebrate the 25th of December by not making this.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sourdough Pancakes

I know, I know, you're thinking "Hey, those are just pancakes. I know about pancakes." But wait! Hold on to your phaeton, because I am about to lay down for you some knowledge. Knowledge about sourdough.

*Sourdough has been used for ages by many world cultures to raise bread.
*It is basically slow-acting liquid yeast.
*Not all sourdough tastes the same. Each culture has its own unique taste. You have probably tasted the San Francisco strain, which is sort of tangy. There's a Bahrain strain that tastes of almost nothing. I don't get the point, but people who hate the taste of sourdough like it.
*It is like having a pet [or, technically, billions of pets] that isn't messy, smells nice, and periodically gives you fresh bread.
*It self-replicates if you feed it. After you take some out for a recipe, stir in some flour and water. Result: infinite sourdough starter. It is basically like owning a tribble.
*You can buy starters online, get some from a friend, order it for free from here, or grow your own. I got mine from the Pioneer Foodie.

In the 70's, as part of the get-back-to-nature Mother Earth sort of movement, sourdough got a little spike of popularity. And for good reason.

Sourdough Pancakes
2 cups sourdough starter
2 T. sugar
4 T. oil
1 egg
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda

Mix sourdough starter, sugar, egg, and oil. Dilute baking soda in a little bit of warm water, and stir in gently just before you are ready to cook the pancakes. Cook the pancakes.

Husband said these are his new favorite pancakes. I had to add chopped blackberries so they would not float away, so light and fluffy were they.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas to mothers!

This is from a recipe booklet from Coldspot Freezers from 1952.

Click to enbiggen

Now Mother Can join in the Christmas Morning Fun
Thanks to her Coldspot Freezer, mother is no longer shackled to the kitchen while the rest of the family enjoys Christmas fun. The day-long labor of preparing holiday feasts--long taken for granted as woman's lot in life--is now a thing of the past. Mother can have any holiday meal prepared, by simple easy tasks spaced out as suggested by the typical schedule at the left. On Christmas morning--with Christmas dinner store away in her Coldspot Freezer, all ready to cook and serve--a worry-free mother can join whole-heartedly in the gay celebration around the tree.

Summary of Aforementioned Schedule:
*July: Freeze peas and carrots
*August: Freeze melon ball salad
*September: Make and freeze candied sweet potatoes
*October: Make and freeze mince pies
*November: Freeze turkey
*December: Make and freeze rolls

All right, I know, I should wax cynical about who on earth starts cooking Christmas dinner in July, and about what poor mother starts prepping Christmas dinner at the crack of dawn Christmas morning instead of enjoying with the kids, but honestly... this just sounds like a fantastic idea. I mean, sure, 5-6 months ahead of time is excessive, but on the whole, this is genius.

Plus, look at that family. My heart is all soft and syrupy just looking at them. Aren't they adorable? Golly gosh. Also, I want that dressing gown. It is fancy.

In the Christmas spirit, as my gift to you... Melon Ball Salad.

Melon Ball Salad.
Freeze watermelon and honeydew melon in balls. Arrange on lettuce leaf when partly thawed. Red and green melon balls make an attractive holiday salad.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Venyson Y-bake A-nother manere

This is the final part in my three-part Medieval Venison series. Hurrah and huzzah! This week's recipe is Venyson Y-bake A-nother manere, from somewhere in the 1400's. This is also known as a pie with venison in it. Be sure to visit Gode Cookery, it is a great site for medieval cooking.

Now, there is a great deal of debate as to whether medieval pie crust was simply a hard, inedible container for cooking foods inside, which one would discard or give to poor people after one had scooped out the good stuff, or was delicious and edible as today's pie crusts are. The problem arises from there being no pastry recipes from the time, as it was assumed that cooks already knew how to make it.

However, since I am a time traveler, I can now settle this once and for all. The answer is: it depends. On some occasions it is one, and on some occasions it is the other. There. Done.

For this recipe, I combined two recipes. I also decided to use a non-delicious pie crust recipe that consisted of 1.) flour and 2.) water.

That was after it was baked. Fat is important to browning.

Venyson Y-bake.
Take hoghes of Venyson, & parboyle hem in fayre Water an Salt; & whan þe Fleyssche is fayre y-boylid, make fayre past, & cast þin Venyson þer-on: & caste a-boue an be-neþe, pouder Pepir, Gyngere, & Salt, & þan sette it on þe ouyn, & lat bake, & serue forth.

Venison Bake- Revised
Take hocks of venison and parboil them in fair water and salt; and when the flesh is fair boiled, make fair paste, and cast the venison thereon; and cast above and beneath, powder pepper, ginger, and salt, and then set it on the oven, and let bake, and serve forth.

Venison Bake- Further Revised
Take hocks of venison and parboil them in water and salt, and when it is boiled, make pastry dough, put the venison in it. Sprinkle with pepper, ginger, and salt, cover with more pastry, bake it, and serve it.

A-nother manere.
Take fayre porke y-broylid, & grind it smal with yolks of Eyroun; þan take Pepir, Gyngere, & grynd it smal, & melle it with-al, & a lytel hony, & floryssche þin cofns with-ynne & with-owte, & hele hem with þin ledys, & late hem bake, & serue forth.

Another Manner- Revised
Take fair pork broiled, and grind it small with yolks of eggs; then take pepper, ginger, and grind it small, and mix it withal, and a little honey, and flourish the coffins within and without, and [?] then with the lids, and let them bake, and serve forth.

Another Manner- Further Revised
Take nice pork, broiled, and chop it up with egg yolks, then mix in pepper, ginger, and a little honey and put in a pie crust, cover it with more pie crust, bake it, and serve it.

It was okay. The spices and honey were actually the best thing about it, the meat was incredibly dry and chewy. The crust was not delicious, but the serfs seem happy to have meat-flavored baked library paste rather than non-meat flavored baked library paste. I can't recommend this one. It's just dry and boring.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dreamsicle Trifle

Just this once, I will tell you some things about the future. Usually I would not do so because of the terrible, horrifying consequences that could result from disrupting the time line, but this dessert is really good. So keep it under your hats, but right after the cupcake phase has waned, puddings will rise. The recent history of above-average cakes and puddings will then lead naturally into a resurgence of the trifle.

I will let you in on this particular trifle recipe both because it is fantastically delicious, and because it seems to date back to right now. So that's all right!

Dreamsicle Trifle
2 large cans mandarin oranges
1 small pkg. orange gelatin powder
1 pint orange sherbet
1 cup whipping cream, whipped (no sugar or vanilla, just whipped.)
1 angel food cake, cubed
whipped topping

Drain 1 cup liquid from mandarin oranges. Bring to a boil in the microwave. Add gelatin, and stir to dissolve. Cool until just warm. Add orange sherbet, and mix until melted. Gently fold in whipped cream. It is okay if there are uneven streaks, just don't smash those fluffy whipped cream bubbles. Put half the cake cubes in the trifle dish (or other dish that is not as fancy), cramming them together so they will stay in a tight layer. Pour half the orange mixture over the top, cover with a thin layer of whipped topping, and top with half the oranges. On top of the oranges, put the remaining of the cake cubes in, pour over the remaining orange mixture, cover with the remaining oranges, and cover with whipped topping. Refrigerate.

Bonus Garnish Tip:
For attractive orange curls, use a tool like the one shown below (or skill with a knife) to make a long strip of orange peel.

Wind it around a drinking straw, secure the ends with tape, and freeze overnight.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Delights of Christmas Time

This is from A Woman's Favorite Cook Book [1890's-1900's] , which I have made food from before. Isn't this gorgeous?

Click to enbiggen

I mean, I never thought I'd want to dig into a whole pig, but suddenly it looks so festive and enticing! I also love the little boy's sailor suit, the long baby dress, the candles on the tree... although that little girl should probably watch where that baby's hands are reaching. This could end in tears.

Look at that selection of gorgeous, beautiful food though!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Devonshire Junket II

Do you remember Attempt #1 at Devonshire Junket? I failed miserably. But I shall not be defeated! Upon careful reading of the directions, I discovered that it doesn't work if you use canned milk. Which I was, oddly enough. It was on sale. Please do not judge me.

From A New System of Domestic Cookery, Formed Upon Principles of Economy, and Adapted to the Use of Private Families [1807].

Devonshire Junket.
Put warm milk into a bowl; turn it with rennet; then put some scalded cream, sugar, and cinnamon, on the top, without breaking the curd.

Not actually very hard to find at the grocery store.

More Helpful Directions:
2 cups milk
1 Junket Rennet tablet
1 T. cold water

1. Have 4 individual dessert dishes ready.
2. Heat milk to lukewarm while stirring (110 degrees F.). Dissolve rennet tablet in water by crushing. Add to warm milk and stir for a FEW SECONDS ONLY. Pour at once, while still liquid, into dessert dishes.
3. Let stand UNDISTURBED for 10 minutes. Chill.
4. Drizzle cream over and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Don't stir it in, leave it alone and eat it by spoonfuls. The more the curd is broken, the more the structure breaks down and releases whey, looking unsightly.

Verdict: This is totally easy! Really, about the same difficulty level as Jello. As long as you don't use canned milk. And it is pretty delicious, too! It is sort of like a cross between Jello and custard. I did this a couple times more, once with vanilla mixed into the milk, which was delicious, and and once with orange flavoring. And yet, my favorite is still brown sugar and cream. Yum. An accurate flavoring for the time period would be rosewater or orange blossom water*, which I think would be delightful, and intend to try.

If you're having a Regency party, or just in the mood for a unique dessert, you should try this. It is super easy and unique.

*Which, I have discovered, can be found near the drink mixers at the grocery store.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Potage of Venison

The English and French Cook [1674]

Now for the second part of my venison series!

This would probably make poor Mrs. Kellogg cry.

Potage of Venison.
Take a Haunch of Venison, and cut it into six pieces, and place them in the bottom of a Pan or Pot, then put in no more Water than will cover it, let it boil, then scum it, after that add to it a good quantity of whole Pepper; when it is half boiled, put in four whole Onions, Cloves, and large Mace, some sliced Ginger, Nutmeg, three or four faggots of sweet Herbs,

I had no faggots of sweet herbs. :'(

let it boil till the Venison be very tender, and a good part of the broth be wasted; after this pour out the broth from the meat into a Pipkin, keep your Venison hot in the same Pot by adding other hot broth unto it; then take a couple of red-Beet roots, having very well parboil'd them before, cut them into square pieces as big as a shilling, and put them into the broth which is in your Pipkin, and let them boil till they are very tender, add unto the boiling four Anchovies minced,

Yes, I really did. For science.

then dish up your Venison on Sippets of French-bread, then pour on your broth, so much as will near-upon fill the Dish, then take your roots by themselves, and toss them in a little drawn Butter, and lay them all over the Venison; if the Beets be good, it will make the broth red enough, which you must have visible round about the Dish sides, but if it prove pale, put to it some Saunders: This is a very savory Potage.


The peculiar blend of flavors (to modern taste buds) makes it taste oddly of pickled beets with red meat. I could taste the anchovies not at all, which was actually kind of a let-down after being brave enough to throw them in. It was so very dry and tough, but that is not necessarily the recipe's fault. When simmering meat, the longer you simmer it, the tougher it gets until a certain point, when it gets more and more tender. Unfortunately, I was impatient and impetuous, qualities which lead to the ruination of many dishes. If you are an impatient and impetuous type who wishes to recreate this dish, I highly recommend the use of a slow cooker.

The quality of this dish which occasioned the most comment was the color. The beets turned the sauce a deep, rich, gorgeous red. Disturbingly, however, it was also precisely the color of fresh blood. When poured over the meat, the color made it seem like it was almost raw. The speedy absorption caused by the dryness of the meat made it look like it was oozing blood, a quality you cannot fully appreciate in the pictures. In person, it looks almost precisely like very very rare meat swimming in coagulating blood.

Not bad though, in the end, if you like pickled beets. Which I do. I can recommend it as long as you 1.) take the time (or the slow cooker) to cook the meat until it is tender, ignoring my bad example and 2.) are not a person turned off by the description above.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Betty Crocker's Gelatin Foolishness

More from Betty Crocker's New Cooking for Two Cookbook! [1972]

Ah, an arrangement of complementary foods nestling together harmoniously. Gelatin, pears, tomatoes, radishes, and peas, all melded together in a jellied loaf.

Wait a second, back that truck up.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

To roest Veneson/To bake Veneson

A Propre New Book of Cookery [1545]

Readers, both gentle and common, I have for you today roasted venison with sauce, the first in a three-part series about medieval venison, which you can read about in this informative article. "But Jana!" I hear you say. "Where can get venison in case I want to replicate this recipe?" Never fear. I have a list of options:

*Get a hunting license
*Find a friend who hunts
*Buy it from specialty shops for large amounts of cash
*Find a butcher that processes wild game for people. Sometimes people do not come back to pick up their meat, because they no longer want to pay for the service.
*Time travel to medieval England for authentic venison (only recommended if you are a smooth talker, the medieval penalty for poaching the King's deer is a hand or your life).

To bake Veneson.
Take nothing but pepper and salte, but let it have inough, and if the Veneson be lene lard it through with bakon.

To bake Venison- Revised
Take nothing but pepper and salt, but let it have enough, and if the venison be lean, lard it through with bacon.

To bake Venison- Further revised
Sprinkle healthy amounts of salt and pepper on the roast. Lay strips of bacon over the top, and bake until it is done to your liking.

To roest Veneson
Rosted Veneson must have vinegre suger and sinamon and butter boyled upon a chafyng disshe with coles, but the sauce maie not be to tarte and then laie the veneson upon the sauce.

To roest Veneson- Revised
Roasted venison must have vinegar, sugar and cinnamon and butter boiled, upon a chafing dish with coals, but the sauce may not be too tarte, and then lay the venison upon the sauce.

To roest Veneson- Further revised
For a lovely sauce for the baked venison, melt 1/2 cup butter in a pan over low heat. Stir in about 1 t. cinnamon and 1 T. sugar. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar until it is tangy, but not sour. I found about 1 T. worked well. Heat until bubby and hot. Pour into a dish, then serve the venison on top. An even better idea would be to put the venison on a dish and then pour the sauce over the top.

Verdict: I will admit that before making this recipe, I was really disparaging about medieval people's love of sugar and meat together. It sounds wrong. It sounds stupid. But in this recipe, it is soooooooooo right. It's... it's really good. Now that I've had it, I understand why it works so perfectly when it doesn't sound as if it should.

First of all, the bacon. Wild game is very very lean. If you lay bacon across the top before cooking, the fat from the bacon will slooooooooowly melt and be absorbed into the meat, making it more tender and delicious. It is like an automatic basting device.

Second of all, the sauce. It's sort of the same principle as sweet and sour sauce, but better. Instead of a sticky pink goo (which I like, by the way), it is a smooth buttery sauce that absorbs into the meat, which desperately needs a little extra fat. Yes, fat. Don't look at me like that, this is not a cow that has been standing in a field and napping for all its life, this is a wild deer. The vinegar (I used a strawberry infused apple cider vinegar) adds just a little bit of tang. You will have to trust me on this, the sauce was really delicious. Husband said he would very happily eat it on steak, and I think it would go fabulously on pork. Pork goes well with a little bit of sweet, and 21st century pigs are ridiculously lean compared to the pig breeds of the past.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Syrup of Pippins

Remember Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight? Maker of the incomparable Savory Tosted or Melted Cheese, as detailed in his cookbook The closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened [1669]? So cool that men wanted him to impregnate their wives?

Well. Another of his rare recipes that is not comprised mainly of booze is his "Syrup of Pippins."

IMG_4722.jpg picture by seshet27

Quarter and Core your Pippins; then stamp them in a Mortar, and strain out the Juyce. Let it settle, that the thick dregs may go to the bottom; then pour off the clear; and to have it more clear and pure, filter it through sucking Paper in a glass funnel. To one pound of this take one pound and an half of pure double refined Sugar, and boil it very gently (scarce simpringly, and but a very little while) till you have scummed away all the froth and foulness (which will be but little) and that it be of the consistence of Syrup. If you put two pound of Sugar to one pound of juyce, you must boil it more & stronglier. This will keep longer, but the colour is not so fine. It is of a deeper yellow. If you put but equal parts of juyce and Sugar, you must not boil it, but set it in a Cucurbite in bulliente Balneo, till all the scum be taken away, and the Sugar well dissolved. This will be very pale and pleasant, but will not keep long.

You may make your Syrup with a strong decoction of Apples in water (as when you make gelly of Pippins) when they are green; but when they are old and mellow, the substance of the Apple will dissolve into pap, by boiling in water.

IMG_4713.jpg picture by seshet27
Look I made a swan!

Take three or four spoonfuls of this Syrup in a large draught of fountain water, or small posset-Ale, pro ardore urinæ to cool and smoothen, two or three times a day.

Verdict: So nice! Instead of stamping pippins [apples] in a mortar, straining them, etc., I bought some apple cider. If you wish to try stamping pippins, you may do it with my blessing. The resulting syrup is delicious, and is exactly like apple-flavored honey. Think of the delightful applications! It is delicious on oatmeal and drizzled on fresh fruit. The beverage is really nice too. Sweet, cold, and appley. Yum. Those that drink ale should try this and report.