Friday, July 16, 2010

Cracker-ball Soup, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Creamed Potatoes, Celery, Mince Pie, Apricot Ice Cream, Cheese

The Presbyterian ladies of Recipes Tried and True, [1894], they certainly knew how to put on a spread. Lands! This is the second meal outline of theirs that I have followed, and I am again over-full and satisfied.

I felt like Husband deserved a cracking good meal for putting up with some of the things I have put on the table recently *cough*chicken Jello*cough*, and every time we pass the meat bins in the grocery store, he tries to get roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on the menu. I felt like a super virtuous wife when he came home and exclaimed, "Wow! It smells great in here! Like... like..." "Beef?" "YES." "I'm making Yorkshire pudding." "Really? Sweet! But it also smells like something else... something desserty..." "I also made a pie." "....!!!!"

Then I nudged the laptop upon which I had been watching for the last three hours under the couch with my foot. Shhhh.

IMG_3056.jpg picture by seshet27

A Ms. Ozella Seffner gives us a list of "Plain Family Dinners for a Week in Winter", one of which is as follows:

Cracker-ball Soup
Roast Beef
Yorkshire Pudding
Creamed Potatoes
Celery [didn't have any, used a green apple instead]
Mince Pie
Apricot Ice Cream
Coffee or chocolate [We don't drink coffee, drew the line at hot chocolate today. You know. In July.]

Please keep the word "plain" at the forefront of your mind while you peruse the rest of this post.

IMG_3050.jpg picture by seshet27

A FINE SOUP. MRS. W. H. ECKHART. [Cracker-ball soup, presumably]

Take good soup stock and strain it. When it boils add cracker balls, made thus: To one pint of cracker crumbs [I used saltines] add a pinch of salt [omitted because of the SALTines] and pepper, one teaspoonful parsley, cut fine, one teaspoonful baking powder, mixed with the crumbs, one small dessert spoon of butter, one egg; stir all together;
IMG_3048.jpg picture by seshet27
make into balls size of a marble; place on platter to dry for about two hours; when ready to serve your soup put them into the stock; boil five minutes.
IMG_3049.jpg picture by seshet27

100_2980.jpg picture by seshet27

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
The cookbook with the menu did not provide recipes for all the foods listed, so here is one from my family. For the rest, I used The Boston Cooking School Cook Book [1896].

4 eggs
3 C. milk
1 1/2 t. salt
2 C. flour

Partially cook roast in large dripper pan. A 9x13 also works fine. Standing rib roast is traditional, but other roasts are good too. Beat eggs really well. They should be lemon-colored and foamy. Pour in milk and salt and mix together. Add in flour gradually until it is a smooth batter. Refrigerate until the roast is as partially cooked as you want it to be. Pour pudding mixture over roast. Right over, not around the sides. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. and then 50 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serve with beef broth. You can either pour the broth over the pudding and beef, or put it in a little cup and dip bites in for maximum broth absorption.

IMG_3055.jpg picture by seshet27

Creamed Potatoes.
Reheat two cups cold boiled potatoes, cut in dice, in one and one-fourth cups White Sauce I.

White Sauce I.
2 tablespoons butter.
2 tablespoons flour.
1 cup milk.
1/4 teaspoon salt.
Few grains pepper.

Put butter in saucepan, stir until melted and bubbling; add flour mixed with seasonings, and stir until thoroughly blended. Pour on gradually the milk, adding about one-third at a time, stirring until well mixed, then beating until smooth and glossy. If a wire whisk is used, all the milk may be added at once; and although more quickly made if milk is scalded, it is not necessary.

IMG_3062.jpg picture by seshet27

Mock Mince Pie.
4 common crackers rolled. [I used 8 saltines]
1 1/2 cups sugar.
1 cup molasses.
1/3 cup lemon juice or vinegar.
1 cup raisins seeded and chopped.
1/2 cup butter.
2 eggs well beaten.
Spices. [cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. A little clove would be nice.]

Mix ingredients in order given, adding spices to taste. Bake between crusts. This quantity will make two pies. [Wrong, it will make one. Unless you have one of those really petite antique pie pans that actually hold exactly one can of pie filling.]

Lattice-top leaf-wreathed sparkle-top pie crust close up!
IMG_3059.jpg picture by seshet27
I like making pie crusts.


Cracker-ball soup: Really nice! Like a lovely dumpling/noodle type thing, with good flavor and texture. I liked these a lot.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding: Not my best Yorkshire pudding, but I have picky standards regarding Yorkshire pudding. Maybe by the time I'm 80, I'll have accomplished Yorkshire pudding as crusty and delicious as my grandma's. Still tasty though! Yorkshire pudding is, for most people in my experience, much like bagpipes or cats. They either love it or hate it. Most imports to my family think it is nasty. When Husband and I were dating, I was worried the first time it appeared at a family dinner. I was pretty sure he'd hate it. He ate about half of a pan of it in one go, claiming it was the perfect combination of two of his favorite foods: beef and bread. And I knew it was meant to be.

Creamed Potatoes: A darn sight better than the Spry ones! Mainly because they were a.) made with butter and b.) did not involve the curious addition of horseradish. They begged for some shredded cheddar added to the sauce, but I resisted. I did eat them with the pieces of Monterey Jack that filled the "cheese" slot in the menu though.

Mince Pie: Surprisingly good! I was worried it would be overwhelming, but the lemon juice cut the sweetness pretty well. I also used sorghum molasses, which is much smoother than sugar cane molasses. I talked about sorghum back here. I liked it better than any mince pie I've ever had. It was kind of like a liquid melty gooey gingersnap.

Apricot Ice Cream: I used leftover Apricot Ice.

Note about mincemeat pie: Some people will tell you that mincemeat does not have meat in it, despite the name. Traditional mincemeat pies really do have meat and/or suet chopped up alongside the dried fruit. And it is fine. Honestly.


Astrid said...

My mother makes a green tomato "mincemeat" and it's delicious.

I want to try that Cracker Ball soup. When it's not 90 degrees outside. :D

Jana said...

Yeah... not sure what I was thinking there.

Diamond said...

That is a really pretty pie crust edge. How much time does that take?

Jana said...

Thanks! Hmmm... probably under 10 minutes.

Betsy said...

Did you really seed the raisins?

Jana said...

Nope! Thank goodness for seedless raisins. Man, that would be a pain and a half.

Heavenly said...

The soup sounds like a Presbyterian version of Matzah ball soup.

I really need to learn how to make Yorkshire pudding--every time somebody in your family mentions it...I drool. Pavlov would have loved me.

Jana said...

Oh man, it totally does! It's Matzah ball soup all... gentiled? Goy'd? Hm. You do need to try Yorkshire pudding. It is tasty times, my friend, tasty times.

Nonna said...

Wow, another very impressive meal and you made your Hubs happy to boot !

I'm in the don't like it column on Yorkshire Pudding and don't like very much (mincemeat/meat laden pies)although that might be because of "Sweeney Todd" Your pie crust looks perfect !

I'm going to make the potatoes sometime...I needed a good old fashioned white sauce recipe. I have a son who loves creamed peas and I'm wondering if that white sauce recipe would work for that dish ???

BTW, I was giggling a bit as I read the post too...Just came home from Physical therapy and needed a good chuckle...thanks !

Jana said...

Aw, thanks! See, the thing about mock-mincemeat pie is that there is no danger of there being meat of indeterminate origin. Hurrah!

The white sauce would absolutely work for peas. You might want to thin it down with a little more milk at the end though. Or not. Or you could have the best of both worlds and make new potatoes and peas! Mmmmmmmmmm.

Glad it gave you a giggle. :D

Nonna said...

Thanks're the best !