Thursday, February 23, 2012

Plain Swiss (Suet) Pudding

Things A Lady Would Like To Know [1876]

True love, like the eye, can bear no flaw. --Laveter.

Once again showing a lamentable taste in quotations, we proceed, at last, to the long-awaited suet pudding. Queen Victoria, like most Victorians, had a basic distrust of vegetables. Her Majesty in particular lived on a diet made up almost entirely of beef and puddings.

In the absence of a pudding mold, I ended up smooshing it into a metal bowl and setting it on top of a coil of aluminum foil inside a pot of boiling water. I took great care with the smooshing, so that it would detach from the bowl easily and lie there in a beautiful, smooth hemisphere.

Not so much.

Plain Swiss Pudding
Chop very fine 6 oz. of beef suet, and mix it well with 8 oz. of breadcrumbs, 1/2 lb. of apples, pared, cored, and minced fine; add 8 oz. of powdered white sugar*, the juice of 1 lemon, and the peel grated, with a pinch of salt. Well mix all the above ingredients, and put it into a buttered mold; boil it, and when done, turn it out and serve.

From the White House Cook Book [1887] "Sauces for Puddings" section:

Milk or Cream Sauce:
Cream or rich milk, simply sweetened with plenty of white sugar and flavored, answers the purpose of some kinds of pudding, and can be made very quickly.

Verdict: Um. Mixed. The flavor was really, really, really good. Rich and sweet and buttery tasting and fruity and luscious. Really, it is one of the best things my tongue has ever had the pleasure of tasting. That is saying something, considering what I used for breadcrumbs was failed whole wheat bread that was as dense as a brick. Not a bit like beef. But. Every bite leaves a heavy, waxy coating all around the inside of the mouth. It coats the back of the teeth and doesn't leave. It is awful. The bits from the bottom of the bowl were the worst, I think the suet kind of pooled there. The bits from the top were much better. Husband ate all of his portion and only noticed the fattiness after I pointed it out. I ate a few bites, then couldn't stand the wax build-up any more.

I am unsure whether this result is just because that is how suet puddings are, or because this particular recipe or cookbook has a particularly high ratio of suet to other stuff.

*"Powdered" here means "Smashed up from the brick or cone it came in."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In which I stab my finger

Today, after taking out suet to thaw, I had an unfortunate incident involving a knife, some treacherously slippery mangos, and my thumb. After besmearing my kitchen and bathroom with gore, followed by a brief unconscious constitutional on the bathmat, I am now resting comfortably with a stomach full of pizza; but free of both suet puddings and mangos.

My mother, my angel of sympathy who laughed at me when I sprained my ankle trying to reproduce a heel-clicking incident performed by Donald O'Connor in "Singin' In The Rain" while emptying the dishwasher, suggested I use this opportunity to try out some historical first aid recipes on my poor mangled finger. "You know, make lemons into lemonade!" "Pink lemonade."

To this end, I give you a short list of home remedies you (yes you! I like my fingers too much.) can try on your cuts and scrapes.

1. Spider webs: Honestly, I've only ever seen this in fantasy novels. Anyone have a source? Also, no. I am not touching spider webs. SPIDERS LIVE IN THOSE.

2. Packed herbs: Again, I think I've mainly seen this in fantasy novels. Characters are always going on quests through the woods in lands that never fail to boast the botanical equivalent of ibuprofen/neosporin/Band-Aids.

3. Pads: The lady kind. This technology was used during WWI for the staunching the injuries of our boys at the front. Eventually, a nurse noticed that WE HAD HAD THIS TECHNOLOGY FOR AGES and decided this might have applications for ladies. Before that, women had to either clamp rags between their legs or stay pregnant for their entire reproductive life. In conclusion, this is why we need more girls in the sciences. Men just can't be trusted to think of these things.

4. Moldy bread: The forerunner of penicillin. Unfortunately, I am allergic to penicillin so I do not think a full-body rash would help very much.

5. Turpentine: My mom suggested this one. I am beginning to suspect she is not taking the mango-related almost-severance of my finger seriously OR sympathetically.

6. Toasted Cheese: "Things A Lady Would Like To Know"* suggests binding toasted cheese on a cut. That is not only unhelpful, but also cruel. As is commonly known, crispy cheese is impossible not to eat. Even if it has one's own blood on it. And that is gross. On the other hand, I may now have a business idea for a bandage, made of renewable materials, that does not fill up the garbage dump. And is delicious. If a little bit metallic tasting.

*This book also suggests curing deafness by being electrified through the ear, and then taking a cold bath. This source may not be a trustworthy source of medical advice.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Suet pudding

HA HA! Just kidding, I have not made suet pudding yet. I bet you were all, OH MAN. TODAY IS THE DAY. But no. It is a cruel joke.

I have got a recipe for Delicate Suet Pudding with jelly sauce all ready to go. I started to assemble the ingredients before realizing I had no pudding mold. And I was sad. How did I get this far into my adult life without having a pudding mold? It is disgraceful.

Almost as bad as the first time I bought grapefruits when I left home, and cut the first one open before realizing I honestly had no idea what to do with it because I did not yet own grapefruit spoons.

Anywhoodle, what I need from you all are Good Ideas ( or Entertainingly Terrible Ideas) about how to proceed. Internet, how am I to steam my beef-fat laden pudding?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pot Roast Stroganoff, Confetti Dressing, Mocha Roll

Better Homes and Gardens Blender Cookbook [1971]

This book is special for its insistence that everything, everything, can be made in a blender. Of particular note is the chapter entitled "Timesaving Breads." I also like the title of "Jam and Relish Jamboree"; but that may just be because I feel that jamboree is an excellent and underused word, as well as my love of weak puns.

I have never been more thankful for this important blender tip: if you squeeze some dish soap in after use, then fill halfway up with hot water and blend, you will have a clean blender. This is useful when one is using a blender four times in the same meal.

Pot Roast Stroganoff
Hot Noodles
Confetti Dressing
Mocha Roll

Pot Roast Stroganoff
2- to 2 1/2 pound beef chuck roast
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed tomato soup
1 cup cream-style cottage cheese
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small onion, but into pieces
1 clove garlic
1 3-ounce can mushrooms, drained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water
Hot cooked noodles

Trim meat; season. Brown in oil in Dutch oven. Put next 5 ingredients in blender; blend smooth. Add mushrooms; pour over meat. Cover; cook at 325 degrees about 2 hours. Place meat on platter. Skim fat from sauce. Combine flour and water; add to sauce. Cook and stir till thick; season. Serve on noodles. Serves 6.

Confetti Dressing
Stir dressing before serving so tiny bits of onion, olive, green pepper, and celery are dispersed throughout the zippy dressing--
1 cup salad oil
3/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sald
2 green onions with tops, sliced
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/2 small green pepper, cut in pieces
1 stalk celery, sliced

Put all of the ingredients into the blender container; blend till vegetables are finely chopped. Chill mixture. Stir the mixture before using. Spoon mixture over salad greens. Makes approximately 2 1/3 cups dressing.

Mocha Roll
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup packaged pancake mix
Confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 4 1/2 ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder [I left this out]
Sifted confectioners' sugar
Shaved chocolate

Place eggs and salt in blender container; blend till frothy. Add sugar and vanilla; blend till smooth and thick. Add pancake mix; blend to combine. Spread in greased and floured 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Loosen sides; turn out onto towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Starting at narrow end, roll cake and towel; cool.

Place milk; instant chocolate pudding mix, and coffee powder in blender container; blend till ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Unroll cooled cake; spread with mocha filling. Reroll and chill. At serving time sprinkle with sifted confectioners' sugar and top with shaved chocolate. Makes 10 servings.


Pot Roast Stroganoff: Fine. It was nice and tender, and the sauce was fine. Not great, but within the bounds of reason.

Confetti Dressing: Sort of watery and bland. It is canola oil, white vinegar, and some bits, really. I suppose it looks kind of festive. The name leads one to expect more joy and celebration, though. It is the 70's, so maybe this would be better with a high degree of inebriation. There IS a cocktails section of the book. Anyone want a go? Only one of them has sauerkraut juice!

Mocha Roll: I was most skeptical of this one. Pancake mix and instant pudding? Really? I like pancakes and pudding, so I figured it couldn't be too bad. And it wasn't. It was really tasty. Nice and smooth and filled with pudding. Pudding! I didn't have any chocolate to shave, but I found some chocolate covered raisins in the back of the cupboard and proclaimed it Good Enough. Four of us polished off the whole thing in short order. It was actually better than a lot of real cake rolls I've had, not counting my sister's pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese filling. All of us would eat it again, and one person said that lemon pudding would be fantastic in it. Ooh, maybe with a raspberry sauce over the top...

I will confess though, I did not make the pudding in the blender. Why would I, when I have this?