Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Molded Chicken and Grape Salad

Sigh. People of the 70's. This is your fault. What made you people decide that encasing vegetables and meats in fruit jello was a super-de-duper idea? Shame on you.

Out of all the molded dinners, I chose this one because it sounded sort of like that yummy chicken salad on croissants you get at church dinners.

It was not.

IMG_2916.jpg picture by seshet27

Molded Chicken and Grape Salad
1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O brand gelatin, lemon or lime flavor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1/8 teaspoon tarragon
3/4 cup cold water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup diced cooked chicken or turkey
1/4 pound green or purple grapes, halved and seeded (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup diced celery

Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water, add tarragon. Add cold water and lemon juice and chill until thickened. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon into 4-cup mold or individual molds. Chill until firm, about 4 hours. Unmold and serve with mayonnaise. Makes about 3 1/2 cups or 4 entree servings.

IMG_2917.jpg picture by seshet27

This is an abomination. The bits with grapes and celery were sort of fine, but the chicken was... well, it was coated in lemon Jello. What more can you say? I ate a few bites, then chucked the rest in the trash. If someone served this to me at their house, I would be able to eat it so I wouldn't offend them. I would just never, ever make this again. Or anything like it. Ever. I tried a bit with mayonnaise, as per instructions. Awful. So bad. So bad. Hubby ate all of his and said he'd had worse, but then accused me of trying to make recipes until finally he would not be able to say this. He claimed that I was doomed to failure.


I do love my Jello mold though. It is plastic and had interchangable designs that snap onto it to fill with mayonnaise or whipped cream, for festive occasions. When you pop it off, it also breaks the seal so the Jello slides right out. So look out! Now that I'm super good at using it, we're having lime jello with green beans and pimentos and a mayo-filled Christmas tree next Christmas!

Oh, did you think I made up the green beans and pimentos bit? No.


French Bean Basket
2 packages (3 oz. each) or 1 package (6 oz.) Jell-O brand gelatin, lemon flavor
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups boiling water
1 package (9 oz.) Birds Eye 5 minute French style green beans
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped pimento

Dissolve gelatin and bouillon cubes in boiling water. Add frozen beans and stir until beans separate and gelatin begins to thicken. Stir in cold water, lemon juice and pimento. Pour into 4- or 5-cup ring mold or individual molds. Chill until firm, about 2 hours. Unmold and garnish with crisp greens, if desired. makes about 4 cups or 8 servings.


Gazpacho Salad
1 can (7 oz.) pimientoes, drained and diced
1 1/2 cups diced unpeeled cucumber
3/4 cup diced green pepper
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, sliced
1 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1 small clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons salad oil
1/3 vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) consomme
2 packages (3 oz. each) Jell-O brand gelatin, lemon flavor
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Combine pimentos, vegetables, olives, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Mix well and stir in consomme. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Chill until thickened. Fold in vegetable mixture. Pour into 8-cup mold. Chill until firm, about 4 hours. Unmold and garnish with tomato, lemon and cucumber slices, if desired. Makes 14 servings.

Silly husbands.

The eyes. The eyes. Don't look her in the eyes. Don't blink. Don't turn your back. Don't look away and don't blink.

She'll be waiting.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pound Cake

good001.gif picture by seshet27

Why is pound cake called pound cake? Because the traditional recipe for pound cake is very, very simple. This is one such recipe in its entirety.

Pound Cakes

One pound of flour, one of sugar, one of butter, ten eggs.

Simple. A pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. Yes, a full pound of eggs. Modern pound cake only contains a couple eggs and usually less butter. Wussy.

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Here is the recipe I followed, from The Good Housekeeping Woman's Home Cook Book [1909].

Pound Cake as Our Mothers Made It
One pound of flour, one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, ten large eggs and about one-fourth of a nutmeg. Cream the butter and sugar together well (our mothers' rolled and sifted loaf sugar is better, but granulated sugar will answer the purpose), then add the well-beaten yolks of the eggs, and add the flour, a little at a time, beating very thoroughly all the while, lastly add the whites of the eggs which have been beaten to a stiff froth that can be cut with a knife, or that will adhere to the vessel in which it has been beaten, being careful not to beat the cake after the whites have been added, but merely to fold in the puff. Flavor with one-fourth of a grated nutmeg, which should be put in before the whites of eggs. Bake in a very moderate oven for one hour. The only improvement that could be made on this recipe would be to use pastry flour (which was not used in mother's time). The best authorities on cake baking declare that good results cannot be obtained without the use of pastry flour.--Mrs P. L. Sherman, Chicago.

Verdict: Yum. Another example of simple ingredients yielding tasty results. It helps if one of the simple ingredients is butter. I also added a li'l orange blossom water, which was very nice. I actually quartered the recipe, so technically I suppose it is Quarter Pound Cake. Nonetheless.

If you ever find yourself with a desperate need for cake, but with absolutely no access to recipes, this is the cake for you!

For funsies, let us compare this traditional cake recipe to a recipe list of one of Martha Stewart's.

Cardamom Pound Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek
1 tablespoon sanding sugar

Yikes. So needlessly fussy! Butter, flour, sugar, eggs. Done. You do not have to live under the tyranny of needless complication!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gentle readers

There will be no meal this week. We had family visiting, 2/3 of which were kids. I didn't think it would be kind to inflict No. 3 Pot Liquor Soup or whathaveyou on them. Next week I'll be back though! And it will be entertaining.

With gelatin.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aunt Jenny makes cookies

I'm sure Elmer's mother will be just thrilled to have Aunt Jenny tell her aaaaaaaaaall about her Spry cookies. Elmer's lip curls into a sneer as he reveals to Aunt Jenny Mother's secret shameful sub-standard cookie-making. Why can't Mother be more like Aunt Jenny? Aunt Jenny's grin widens over her glistening, oddly sharp teeth at this news. She will tell Mother. Oh yes. And one more soul will be saved by the power of Spry.

Brown Rim Cookies
A pretty brown edge around each cookie just takes my eye!
1 cup Spry
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups sifted flour

Combine Spry, salt, and vanilla. Add sugar, then beaten eggs, and beat thoroughly. . . . Add flour and mix well. . . . Drop from teaspoon on Spry-coated baking sheets. (Or press though pastry bag.) Let stand a few minutes, then flatten cookies by stamping with a glass covered with a damp cloth. . . . Bake in a moderately hot oven (375 degrees F.) 8 to 10 minutes, or until delicately browned. . . . Makes 4 1/2 dozen.

These have got to be like the most boring cookies ever.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yorkshire Pie-Clates

Remember No. 3 Economical Pot Liquor Soup? This is from the same cookbook, A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes [1852], by Charles Elme Francatelli. i111.png picture by seshet27

He looks sad. Maybe he's been living on No. 3 Economical Pot Liquor Soup for a while. Anyway, this recipe is a lot better.

Yorkshire Pie-clates [pikelets] for Tea.
Ingredients, one pound of flour, two ounces of grocer's currants, three gills* of milk, and a pinch of baking-powder. Mix the above ingredients together in a pan into a firm, smooth, compact paste. Divide this into eight equal parts, roll each into a ball with the hand previously dipped in flour, then roll them out with a rolling-pin, with a little flour shaken on the table to prevent the paste from sticking, to the size of a tea-saucer, and bake the pie-clates upon a griddle-iron fixed over a clear fire to the upper bar of the grate. In about two or three minutes' time they will be done on the underside; they must then be turned over that they may be also baked on the other side, then taken off the griddle-iron, placed on a plate, and a little butter spread upon each as they are done out of hand.

IMG_2896.jpg picture by seshet27

Revised Yorkshire Pie-Clates [pikelets] for Tea
4 C. flour
1/2 C. currants (or raisins)
1 t. baking powder
15 oz. milk

Mix flour, currants, and baking powder together, then stir in milk until it is a doughy ball. Divide into eight pieces and roll out to... well, the size of a very small plate. Don't get fussy with me, precision is not called for. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with oil and fry on both sides, like a pancake. Rub or spread with butter. Sprinkle with sugar if you like as well, it is tasty.

These are much like Navajo tacos, only with raisins. It was fast, easy, cheap, didn't require very many ingredients, and tasted like fry bread. I call this one a victory. Mr. Francatelli has redeemed himself a little, although the soup wasn't that bad either. I made half a recipe, and we ate all of them right away. I imagine this would be smashing with jam as well.

i105.png picture by seshet27

*1 gill = 5 oz.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Savoury Tosted or Melted Cheese

image01.jpg picture by seshet27

Behold, Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight. He does not hold with Mr. Alcott's views on food, no! About 95% of his recipes are booze or booze-related. But who is this man?

With the waning of Sir Kenelm Digby's philosophic reputation his name has not become obscure. It stands, vaguely perhaps, but permanently, for something versatile and brilliant and romantic. He remains a perpetual type of the hero of romance, the double hero, in the field of action and the realm of the spirit. Had he lived in an earlier age he would now be a mythological personage; and even without the looming exaggeration and glamour of myth he still imposes. The men of to-day seem all of little stature, and less consequence, beside the gigantic creature who made his way with equal address and audacity in courts and councils, laboratories and ladies' bowers.-THE CLOSET OF SIR KENELM DIGBY KNIGHT OPENED [1669, reprinted with foreward in 1910]

Following that is an account of his various dalliances with Spanish and English ladies after he was not allowed to marry his True Love, Venetia, who then became the mistress of a string of men. When he returned, he fought a duel for her honor and married her.

"To read nearly all his Memoirs is to receive the impression that he looked on his wife as a wronged innocent. To read the whole is to feel he knew the truth and took the risk, which was not very great after all; for the lady of the many suitors and several adventures settled down to the mildest domesticity. They say he was jealous; but no one has said she gave him cause. The tale runs that Dorset [her former employer] visited them once a year, and 'only kissed her hand, Sir Kenelm being by.' But Digby was a good lover. All the absurd rhodomontade of his strange Memoirs notwithstanding, there are gleams of rare beauty in the story of his passion, which raise him to the level of the great lovers. His Memoirs were designed to tell "the beginning, progress, and consummation of that excellent love, which only makes me believe that our pilgrimage in this world is not indifferently laid upon all persons for a curse."

"On his tour among Italian courts, one of the grandees said that, 'having no children, he was very willing his wife should bring him a Prince by Sir Kenelme, whom he imagined the just measure of perfection.'"

Oh, Sir Digby! So, other than booze, booze, more booze, and things soaked in booze, what recipes can we find?
Cut pieces of quick, fat, rich, well tasted cheese, (as the best of Brye, Cheshire, &c. or sharp thick Cream-Cheese) into a dish of thick beaten melted Butter, that hath served for Sparages or the like, or pease, or other boiled Sallet, or ragout of meat, or gravy of Mutton:
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and, if you will, Chop some of the Asparages among it, or slices of Gambon of Bacon, or fresh-collops, or Onions, or Sibboulets, or Anchovis, and set all this to melt upon a Chafing-dish of Coals, and stir all well together, to Incorporate them; and when all is of an equal consistence, strew some gross White-Pepper on it, and eat it with tosts or crusts of White-bread. You may scorch it at the top with a hot Fire-Shovel.

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Hello, lover. Purrrrrr
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Revised Savoury Tosted or Melted Cheese
I fried up some pieces of bacon, drained off most of the grease, then melted in a half-tablespoon of butter. Then I dropped slices of Monterey Jack in and stirred it around until it was melted.

Bacon grease, crispy bacon, butter, and cheese. Most perfect food ever? Almost, but not quite. The butter didn't melt into the cheese, so too bad there. But other than that... ahhh. Nice. Ron could not finish, he said it was too rich. I generously finished it off. Crispy bacon bits trapped in melted cheese floating in buttery bacon grease. Oh, Sir Kenelm Digby. You naughty thing you.

Cold potato and unfermented wheat cake

I... I can't... why can't I... I... I can't... Why can't I... I... I... ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream.

THE YOUNG-HOUSE-KEEPER, OR THOUGHTS ON FOOD AND COOKERY. BY WM. A. ALCOTT, Author of the Young Husband, Young Wife, Young Woman's Guide, House I Live in, &c. &c. [1846]. All right. Okay. This guy has some pretty good ideas. For instance, one should not consume one's body weight in meat every day, and vegetables and whole grains are good. After that, things get a little... different.

*All food must be eaten at room temperature.
Food should not be of a high temperature. I will not say, indeed, that it should be as cold as ice; but it should be cool...Above 60 or 70°, they are, as a general rule, more or less injurious; and they would probably be better at a much lower temperature still... What, then, must be the effect of hot tea, hot coffee, hot soups, hot bread, &c.
*No condiments. Including salt.
*No oils or fats.
*Only water shall be drunk, and it must not be drunk during your meal.
*Bread must be aged at least 24 hours, preferably a few days to let it dry out, as fresh bread is heating and injurious to the system.
*Only one food item must be eaten in a meal. At most, if you must, you can eat two kinds of things.
*Vast pots of gruel or potatoes must be made every week or two weeks, so as you can eat them without having to wait hours for them to cool down to room temperature.
*No meat
*Only white fruits and vegetables

Let this be a sample:
There is a great variety of forms of cookery, into which Indian meal [cornmeal], notwithstanding its supposed vulgarity, sometimes enters, but I forbear to mention them here. The very name of pancakes or fritters, whether with or without apples or other fruits, and whether with or without oysters, is enough, almost, to give one an attack of dyspepsia; and fried hasty pudding is still worse. There is no special, or at least serious, evil in warming over a mass of cold hasty pudding; but when we add the frying process, it is too much; and if I ever wish for sumptuary laws at all, it is when I think of that parent of a thousand evils, fried hasty pudding.

Parent of a thousand evils. Wow. Okay! Well. I chose to make potatoes and unfermented wheat cake.

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To the pure appetite, there is a richness of the potatoe roasted in hot embers, for which we look in vain elsewhere. Perhaps it is owing to the fact, that all its properties are preserved unimpaired; whereas, in boiling, if none of its properties are actually lost, some of them may be impaired...This method is also preferable for those who eat the skins. The latter I do not recommend; but like the skins of apples, as well as many other vegetables, if not too much changed by cookery, and if well masticated, the skins cannot be particularly objectionable...It is commonly said that a potatoe is most agreeable immediately after it is [cooked]; and to those who cannot eat anything which is not hot enough to endanger their mouths, it may be so. But it is more wholesome and scarcely less mealy a short time after boiling, when it has had time to cool a little; and to an unperverted taste and good appetite, quite as agreeable. It is even pleasant and wholesome for twenty-four hours or more after boiling, to those who are accustomed to its use.

Unfermented Cakes
My opinion is, that the best bread in the world is that which is made of recently and coarsely ground wheat meal, mixed with water, and baked in thin cakes, not unlike the unfermented cakes so common in many parts of the east, and so much used by the ancient Israelites. My preference for unleavened bread arises, in part, from the consideration that leaven is a foreign and partially decayed substance, which it were better to avoid unless some essential point is to be gained by its use.


Cold potato: As the recipe is written it is okay, but with the simple addition of butter, overpriced boutique seasoning, salt, and heat, it was great!

IMG_2890.jpg picture by seshet27

Unfermented wheat cake: Whole wheat flour... plus water. Yeah. The absence of leavening and oil made the inside gummy. Much like library paste. In fact, now that I think on it, precisely like library paste. The first bite balled up in my mouth like rubbery mud. I felt sorry for all the pioneers that trekked across the plains that had to live on this stuff.

However, with the simple addition of a solid quarter inch of butter and syrup, it was fine!
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I don't know why those pioneers were so whiny.

I will only add a few thoughts on shell fish. How strange it is that people in a civilized community will perpetuate, by their example, such an uncivilized--I was going to say disgusting--practice as that of eating, on all occasions when they can get them, oysters, clams, lobsters, &c. We are disgusted with the Arab and the South Sea Islander for eating locusts and snails; yet, in what respect is eating whole oysters or clams a whit more decent?

This last is the state in which we ought to eat eggs, if we eat them at all. Some suppose they are best raw; but this is going to the other extreme. They should be boiled just long enough to coagulate slightly part of the white.

Next time: The Hyde to William A. Alcott's Jekyll. Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aunt Jenny's shortening steak

I know how you've missed Aunt Jenny and her love of Spry shortening. She just loves Spry SO MUCH.

Pennywise Steak
You'd never guess this steak is hamburg all dressed up!

1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds hamburg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion juice

Combine crumbs and milk. . . . Combine hamburg, salt, pepper, onion juice, and crumb mixture and mix well. . . . Shape meat in form of a steak, pressing firmly together, and spread surfaces with Spry (see picture above). Place steak on rack under broiler. Broil until browned (6 to 10 minutes). Turn and brown on other side. . . . Serves 6.

Yes. I'm sure no one will notice that their steak is really made of hamburger if you shape it like... a comma? With a thick frosting of sweet, creamy Spry shortening! Mmmmmmm.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Melon or Fruit, Graham Cakes, Maple Syrup, New Pickles, Broiled Steak, Corn Oysters, and Cocoa

There can never be too many helps for those who, three times a day, must meet and answer the imperative question, "What shall we eat?" -Recipes Tried and True, by the Presbyterian Ladies' Aid [1894].

The first meal of the day is breakfast. And what a breakfast this is! After eating all of this, I felt ready to go work in the fields for several hours. Unfortunately, I have no fields. Alas. The cookbook was also short on the recipes for the menu items, so I drew from our old friend Fannie Farmer, whose cookbook came out two years later.

I visited my parents and made this meal there, and was granted access to Great-Grandma's Really Sweet China.

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The plate is not part of Great-Grandma's Really Sweet China. It is part of Mom's Adequate Correlle.

Melon or Fruit
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Graham Cakes/Entire Wheat Griddle-Cakes
1/2 cup entire wheat flour.
1 cup flour.
3 teaspoons baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
3 tablespoons sugar.
1 egg.
1 1/4 cups milk.
1 tablespoon melted butter.

Prepare and cook as Sweet Milk Griddle-Cakes.*

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*Sweet Milk Griddle-Cakes ...Mix and sift dry ingredients; beat egg, add milk, and pour slowly on first mixture. Beat thoroughly, and add butter. Cook as Sour Milk Griddle-Cakes.**

**Sour Milk Griddle-Cakes ...Drop by spoonfuls on a greased hot griddle; cook on one side. When puffed, full of bubbles, and cooked on edges, turn, and cook other side. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

New Pickles
No recipe for this one in either cookbook, so I went with the one in my family for fresh pickles. It is as follows:

Fresh Cucumber Pickles
sliced cucumber
sliced onion
white vinegar

Make a solution of one part vinegar, one part water. Add a couple teaspoons of sugar and one of salt. Do not worry. More or less will be fine. Put in the cucumbers and onions and refrigerate for an hour or two. Or 15 minutes. I don't care. Eat them.

IMG_2859.jpg picture by seshet27

If you want to be fancy, score the sides of the cucumber with a fork before you cut it. Then when you slice it, the slices will have an attractive edge like these ones. If you use red onions, after a couple days the solution will turn an attractive pink. You can also reuse the vinegar/water stuff, just throw in more cucumbers.

Broiled Steak
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Corn Oysters
Grate raw corn from cobs. To one cup pulp add one well beaten egg, one-fourth cup flour, and season highly with salt and pepper. Drop by spoonfuls and fry in deep fat, or cook on a hot, well greased griddle. They should be made about the size of large oyster.

IMG_2863.jpg picture by seshet27

Breakfast Cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared cocoa.
2 tablespoons sugar.
2 cups boiling water.
2 cups milk.
Few grains salt.

Scald milk. Mix cocoa, sugar, and salt, dilute with one-half cup boiling water to make smooth paste, add remaining water and boil one minute; turn into scalded milk and beat two minutes, using Dover egg-beater.

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Melon or Fruit: It is cantaloupe. And cherries. These and the new pickles really went well with the other, heavier items. This meal had a good contrast of flavors and textures.

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Graham Cakes: The batter for these was reeeeeeeeeeaaaally thick. We had to add more milk so it would come off the spoon. Much like partially set concrete. We didn't add too much though, so as to be true to the recipe. As a result, these turned out medium-rare, with a seared outside and raw middle. The middle bite of mine oozed onto the plate. My dad said he liked them...

New Pickles: These are always good. They're a good old-fashioned recipe that is easy and refreshing. Try it out this summer!

Broiled Steak: You may notice the timing of steak being on the menu this week happens to coincide with the day I have access to my parent's freezer. Take no notice.

Corn Oysters: I thought these actually were oddly fishy. Which is weird, because there is no fish. Perhaps I was thinking too hard about the name as I was eating them. My mom liked them, and might make them again, although she likes regular corn better. She also hates seafood and doesn't think these taste anything like fish, so go figure.

Cocoa: I believe "prepared cocoa" here means baking cocoa. This was a lot less sweet and chocolaty than modern hot chocolate. It is more a light chocolate flavored beverage than liquid chocolate. Once you get past the fact that it is different, it is good. I think this would be less cloying in the morning than Swiss Miss.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

White lemon cream

Do you remember "ENGLISH HOUSEWIFRY EXEMPLIFIED, In above FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY RECEIPTS, Giving DIRECTIONS in most PARTS of COOKERY; And how to prepare various SORTS of SOOPS, CAKES, MADE-DISHES, CREAMS, PASTES, JELLIES, PICKLES, MADE-WINES, &c." by Elizabeth Moxon [1764]? She who gave us Common Cheese Cakes? Yeah, those were not so good.

This is pretty good though!

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To make white LEMON CREAM.

Take a jill of spring water and a pound of fine sugar, and set it over a fire till the sugar and water be dissolv'd, then put the juice of four good lemons to your sugar and water, the whites of four eggs well beat, set it on the fire again, and keep it stirring one way till it just simmers and does not boil, strain it thro' a fine cloth, then put it on the fire again, adding to it a spoonful of orange-flower water, stir it till it thickens on a slow fire, then strain into basons or glasses for your use; do not let it boil, if you do it will curdle.

IMG_2856.jpg picture by seshet27
1 jill = 1/4 imperial pint
1 imperial pint = 20 oz.
1 lb. sugar = 2 1/4 cups

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This makes enough for four glasses. It would serve 6-8 just fine. This stuff is stroooong. I wasn't sure what "well beat" egg whites meant, so I went for soft peaks. I suspect now she meant to beat just until it was foamy. This is pretty good stuff though! It turns out surprisingly thick, and is sort of like thick lemonade with foam.

To dress OX LIPS.
Take three or four ox lips, boil them as tender as possible, dress them
clean the day before they are used; then make a rich forc'd-meat* of
chicken or half-roasted rabbits, and stuff the lips with it; they will
naturally turn round; tie them up with pack-thread and put them into
gravy to stew; they must stew while the forc'd-meat be enough. Serve
them up with truffles, morels, mushrooms, cockscombs**, forc'd-meat
balls, and a little lemon to your taste.

Forced meat is meat which has been forced through a sieve. Think pureed.
**Don't worry. That is a type of mushroom. I hope that is the kind she means.

cow_800-1.jpg picture by seshet27
I'm a cow!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Apple Soup, Macaroni met Ham un Kaas, Rozijen

This week's menu comes from the Prudence Penny Regional Cookbook [1954]. These regions include New England, the South, Pennsylvania Dutch, Creole, Michigan Dutch, Mississippi Valley, Wisconsin Dutch, Minnesota Scandinavian, Southwestern, Western, and Cosmopolitan. I sense a theme in the nationalities present in this list.

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Roode Krentenbrig (Red Currant Soup)
Michigan Dutch housewives are famous for beautiful rose-colored fruit soups.

2 tablespoons barley
1 quart red currants
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 stick cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Soak barley overnight in 1 cup water. Wash and stem the currants, add sugar, water, and stick cinnamon. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Drain and put through a coarse sieve. Add barley with water and salt and simmer until barley is soft and juice thickened. Chill. Serves 4 to 6. Grape juice may be substituted for red currant puree.
BERRY SOUP--Red or black raspberries, huckleberries or blackberries may be used instead of red currants.
APPLE SOUP--Prepare as above using 1 quart diced tart apples instead of currants. Add red food coloring if desired.

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Macaroni Met Ham En Kaas (Macaroni with Ham and Cheese)
Macaroni "met ham en kaas" is a great favorite in the Michigan Dutch Country.

1 (8-ounce) package macaroni
1/2 pound boiled ham, chopped
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon peel

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water 12 minutes. Drain and arrange in layers in a greased baking dish with ham and cream cheese, dotting each layer of macaroni with butter. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Beat eggs, add milk, 1 teaspoon melted butter, lemon peel and pour over macaroni. Place in a pan of hot water and bake in a 350 degree F. oven 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

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Rozijen (raisins)
2 cups seeded raisins
2 cups water
Few grains salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar

Wash raisins, add water and cook 10 minutes. Mix salt and cornstarch with 3 tablespoons cold water, combine with cooked raisins and cook until thickened. Add cinnamon and brown sugar. Continue heating until sugar is melted. Serves 6.

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This was on the menu too, but I did not make it. We just had regular green beans.

Snijboonen (Cut Beans)
1 1/2 pounds string beans
1/2 cup salt (about)
Wash long, tender green beans well. Cut in thin slices diagonally. Place in an earthen jar in layers with 2 tablespoons salt sprinkled over each layer. When brine comes over beans they can be packed in fruit jars and covered with the brine. To prepare for serving, soak in cold water for a few hours and drain. If necessary, soak and drain a second time. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender. Makes 1 quart.


Apple soup: This was basically homemade applesauce with barley. Pretty good, actually. The barley added a little something to chew on. If I ever get my hands on currants, I might try this one out again for funsies.

Macaroni met Ham un Kaas: Macaroni met lemon-flavored scrambled eggs un chunks of cream cheese. Also with ham and a moat of melted butter floating gently around the rim. As it goes, it wasn't too bad. Besides the lemon, the flavor was pretty good, it just could have been constructed a lot better. The lemon was so strong that every time I accidentally got a little sugar syrup from the raisins on my fork, it instantly tasted like lemon custard with ham and macaroni in it. Odd.

Rozijen: I like raisins. These were tasty, actually, but only for about two bites. After that, it was reeeeeeeeaally sweet. Raisins are pretty sweet by themselves, and with half their weight added in sugar, it was overwhelming. I ate a few bites and then had to stop. It would probably be better over cake or something.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Raspberry sugar and lemon shrub

Ladies, I do here present you (yet)
That which sure will well content
A Queen-like Closet rich and brave
(Such) not many Ladies have:
Or Cabinet, in which doth set
Jems richer than in Karkanet;
(They) only Eies and Fancies please,
These keep your Bodies in good ease;
They please the Taste, also the Eye;
Would I might be a stander by:
Yet rather I would wish to eat,
Since 'bout them I my Brains do beat:
And 'tis but reason you may say,
If that I come within your way;
I sit here sad while you are merry,
Eating Dainties, drinking Perry;
But I'm content you should so feed,
So I may have to serve my deed.
-Hanna Wolley, author of THE QUEENE-LIKE CLOSET Or RICH CABINET: Stored with all manner of RARE RECEIPTS For Preserving, Candying and Cookery. Very Pleasant and Beneficial to all Ingenious Persons of the FEMALE SEX [1692]

I, being a modern girl, believe that gentlemen, too, would enjoy dainties and perry*. Well, the dainties. I'm a teetotaler, so perry is right out.

To make Rasberry Sugar.
Take the Juice of Rasberries and wet your Sugar with it, and dry it in a
Stove in little Cakes; this will keep all the year, a little of it being
put into a Glass of Wine, will give it as good a taste, as you can
desire, and as good a colour; in this manner you may make Sugar of any
Fruit, Flower, or Herb.

IMG_2835.jpg picture by seshet27

Raspberries were not on sale. Strawberries were. So I used strawberries. I chopped them up and sprinkled a goodly amount of sugar on them to draw out the juice, then smashed some through a sieve to get out more juice. If I had a food processor, I would have chopped them in large pieces, left sugar on them for a while, then chopped them into smaller bits. That would have been easier. What would be really easy that only occurred to me right now would be to use frozen berries. Sigh. After that, I poured in sugar until it was the consistency of wet sand and packed it into tartlet tins. They worked great, but I bet silicone molds like these would be awesome. They air-dried for a couple hours, then I popped them out easily with a knife.

But what can you DO with this sugar, if you are not a wine-bibber? Put it in oatmeal, serve it at a tea party, lick it, or make a shrub. A shrub is a beverage that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, consisting of flavored vinegar, sugar, and water. Or rum. There were few teetotalers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

How about you, what would you do with these sugars?

IMG_2839.jpg picture by seshet27

Lemon Shrub
1 T. lemon vinegar
app. 2 T. sugar
ice water

Pour the vinegar into your glass, then add the sugar and stir around until dissolved. Fill up the rest of the glass with ice water.

Lemon Vinegar (from recipezaar)
35 oz. white vinegar
2 lemons
4 bay leaves

1. Pour the vinegar into a stainless steel pan.
2. Wash the lemons and pare the rind from them with a potato peeler.
3. Add the peel to the pan with the bay leaves and boil for 5 minutes.
4. Cover and leave to go cold.
5. Bottle, including the peel and the bay.
6. Leave for 4 weeks.
7. The vinegar can then either be strained and bottled or used as it is, depending on the strength you require.

Try these. I think the sugar is really pretty, and would look gorgeous at a party, wedding reception, baby shower, etc. The lemon shrub was fantastic as well. At first you think, "Yuck! Vinegar!" But give it a chance! Just that little splash of flavored vinegar in ice water is really refreshing.

The vinegar makes it sparkle in your mouth like a really mild soda pop, and the flavor is just like lemonade. Think of it, lemonade on tap in your fridge all year round! Just add sugar and water. Yum. With the strawberry sugar, it was like strawberry lemonade. Not terribly strawberry-y, I think it could stand to have a few slices of strawberry floating in it next time. Try it, try it, try it.

The Snail water excellent for Consumptions.

Take a Peck of Snails with the Shells on their Backs, have in a
readiness a good fire of Charcoal well kindled, make a hole in the midst
of the fire, and cast your Snails into the fire, renew your fire till
the Snails are well rosted, then rub them with a clean Cloth, till you
have rubbed off all the green which will come off.

Then bruise them in a Mortar, shells and all, then take Clary,
Celandine, Burrage, Scabious, Bugloss, five leav'd Grass, and if you
find your self hot, put in some Wood-Sorrel, of every one of these one
handful, with five tops of Angelica.

Snail-WA_edit02.jpg picture by seshet27

These Herbs being all bruised in a Mortar, put them in a sweet earthen
Pot with five quarts of white Wine, and two quarts of Ale, steep them
all night; then put them into an Alembeck, let the herbs be in the
bottom of the Pot, and the Snails upon the Herbs, and upon the Snails
put a Pint of Earth-worms slit and clean washed in white Wine, and put
upon them four ounces of Anniseeds or Fennel-seeds well bruised, and
five great handfuls of Rosemary Flowers well picked, two or three Races
of Turmerick thin sliced, Harts-horn and Ivory, of each four ounces,
well steeped in a quart of white Wine till it be like a Jelly, then draw
it forth with care.

*Like hard cider. But made with pears instead of apples. Thus, perry. Give you three guesses on what you call cider made from peaches.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nutty Pups, Pineapple-carrot Toss, Potato Chips, Popcorn Pops, Milk

Guest-posting today is my sister, Bethany, captain of The Good Ship Lollipop.

My sister came to visit me this weekend and while she was here, I showed her a cookbook I have, that used to belong to our grandma. Checking the date inside the cover, we discovered it is a sixth printing of a 1968 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. You know - the red and white checked cookbook that everyone in the country has on their bookshelf. I compared it to a more recent version done in the 1990's and discovered that other than the cover, there was very little that was the same about these books!

I told Jana that she needed to borrow my book for this blog and instead, she invited me to do a guest blog post. It was really fun going through the book. It had a great section in the back for meal planning and entertaining. I finally settled on a menu called "Children's Lunch"

Nutty Pups, Pineapple-carrot Toss, Potato Chips, Popcorn Pops, Milk

Nutty Pups
Broil Frankfurters over hot coals. Serve in a hot toasted buns spread with chunk-style peanut butter. Pass pickle relish

"Frank"ly I was very skeptical about this one. I had no hot coals, so I cooked the hot dogs under the broiler and since my daughter is allergic to peanutbutter, I used sunflower seed butter instead (which tastes very similar). This is what she thought:

She ate every single bite of this hot dog! My three year old ate just the hot dog and half the bun. My 2 year old just ate the bun. Then again - I didn't even give her a hot dog because she doesn't eat them when I serve them normally.
I found it to be edible. It wasn't disgusting like you would think it would be - it had a bit of that sweet/salty thing going actually. I wouldn't serve it again on purpose but if somebody served it to me for dinner I would eat it politely.

Pineapple-carrot Toss
Drain one 8 3/4 ounce can pineapple tidbits well. Mix with 2 cups shredded carrots and 1/2 cup plumped raisins. Chill. Just before serving, add mayonnaise to moisten.

The only change I made to this is that I used Vegannaise (soy mayo) instead of mayo. My daughter is also allergic to egg so the substitution was necessary.

This is my 3 year old smiling at the camera and nodding that she likes this salad:

However, when the meal was over, this cup was still just as full as you see it. In fact my 5 year old, who also liked it on first bite, didn't eat hers either. My 2 year old picked out the pineapple pieces and ate those. I thought for sure this would be the hit of the meal but it was definitely the miss instead! I thought it tasted a whole lot like a jello salad my grandma used to make - minus the jello. In my opinion, the mayo didn't ruin it at all like you would think it would but clearly my kids (who the meal was designed for according to the cookbook!) didn't like it.

Potato Chips - I served these straight out of the Lays bag. The cookbook didn't include a recipe so I assumed they didn't want them homemade. My kids ate every single chip. Shocking.

Milk - I thought it was weird that they listed milk as part of the menu, but I guess they were thorough in including a drink as well! Milk in a cup is a rare "treat" for my younger kids since my 5 year old is allergic to dairy as well. My 3 year old said, "MMMM! I like milk!"

Popcorn Pops
4 quarts popped corn (2/3 cup unpopped)

1 cup peanuts
1 cup light molasses
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt

Combine popped corn and peanuts in a large bowl or pan. In 2-quart saucepan, combine molasses, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat to hard ball stage (260*) Pour syrup slowly over popped corn and nuts, stirring till mixture is well coated. press into 5 ouce cold-drink cups. Insert a wooden skewer in each. let cool. Push on bottoms of cups to remove. Makes 16

I have owned a candy thermometer for 10 years and have never used it until today. I actually had to test it first because I live at a high altitude and adjust the temperature accordingly. Also I deleted the peanuts due to the peanut allergy. Basically these tasted like Cracker Jacks. I didn't have sticks or the right sized cups, so you can see in the picture at the top, that I made them into popcorn balls instead.

I'll close this up with a few words from the editors at the beginning of the cookbook:

"A homemaker's kitchen is a personal, creative world of her own where convenience and proficiency in food preparation are supreme. The Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen helps provide inspiration and ideas for homemakers who want the best in creative food preparation."

I'll give them that - these recipes certainly were ... creative.

Spry makes super-de-duper biscuits!

She just hates those jokes. She hates those jokes SO MUCH.

She also appears to be wearing curtain tassels around her neck. Poor girl.