Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category
1 c. cold boiled hominy (small)
1 tbs. butter, melted
1 c. milk
1 tsp. sugar, white
1 egg, beaten
1 egg, beaten (for dipping)
To a cupful of cold boiled hominy (small-grained), add a tablespoonful melted butter and stir hard, moistening, by degrees, with a cupful of milk, beating to a soft light paste. Put in a teaspoonful of white sugar, and lastly, a well-beaten egg. Roll into oval balls with floured hands, dip in beaten egg, then cracker-crumbs, and fry in hot lard.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Mrs. Harland devotes several paragraphs in her book to the distinction between “small” and “large” hominy, which can be pretty safely ignored nowadays when finding hominy of any sort or dimensions is difficult enough. Hominy is simply whole-kernel corn (as opposed to cracked or ground forms of the vegetable) which has been preserved by a lengthy process that in the 19th century home version including soaking in lye. As this custom is no longer followed, hominy today is usually found in canned form. This is a whole-kernel form of hush puppy.
A croquette is a small patty or cylinder, usually made of grain and some sort of binder to allow it to be formed, and then deep fried. It is not to be confused with croquet, a yard game involving the knocking of large wooden balls through metal hoops with a large wooden mallet. Attempting to play croquet with croquettes would be interesting if sufficient quantities of Ardent Spirits were involved, but somewhat messy.
1 qt. corn meal
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. butter OR 2 tbs. suet, chopped fine
2 eggs, beaten
Wheat flour to coat dumplings
Sift a quart of fine Indian [corn] meal, mix with it a salt-spoonful of salt, a spoonful of butter, or two of finely chopped suet, two well beaten eggs and enough sweet milk to make it into good bread dough. Work it well with your hands, make it into dumplings the size of a large biscuit, flour them well, drop them into a pot of boiling water, and boil them briskly till done. Be very careful in serving them, lest you break them. Eat them warm with molasses. Indian dumplings are sometimes eaten with corned pork or bacon. In such cases they should be boiled with the meat with which they are served.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: These items were not made by Indians either North American nor south Asian. The name derives from the fact that what is now universally known as “corn meal” was called “Indian meal” or just “Indian” in the 19th century. We suspect a certain amount of practice was needed before a cook mastered the art of getting these to the table in a whole, rather than broken if not completely crumbled, condition. If they were made a bit smaller than Mrs. Bryan calls for, and boiled in oil rather than water, they would be instantly recognizable as hushpuppies.
Food to be pickled (see recipe for details)
1 gal. strong vinegar
4 oz. curry powder
4 oz. dry mustard
1/2 pint salad (olive) oil
3 oz. ginger root, bruised
2 oz. tumeric
1/2 lb. shallots, peeled and lightly baked
2 oz. garlic cloves, peeled & baked
1/4 lb. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
The flavoring ingredients of Indian pickles are a compound of curry powder, with a large proportion of mustard and garlic.
The following will be found something like the real mango pickle, especially if the garlic be used plentifully. To each gallon of the strongest vinegar put four ounces of curry powder, same of flour of mustard (some rub these together, with half a pint of salad oil), three of ginger bruised, and two of turmeric, half a pound (when skinned) of eschalots slightly baked in a Dutch oven, two ounces of garlic prepared in like manner, a quarter of a pound of salt, and two drachms of Cayenne pepper.
Put these ingredients into a stone jar; cover it with a bladder wetted with the pickle, and set it on a trivet by the side of the fire during three days, shaking it up three times a day; it will then be ready to receive gherkins, sliced cucumbers, sliced onions, button onions, cauliflowers, celery, broccoli, French beans, nasturtiums, capsicums, and small green melons. The latter must be slit in the middle sufficiently to admit a marrow-spoon, with which take out all the seeds; then parboil the melons in a brine that will bear an egg; dry them, and fill them with mustard-seed, and two cloves of garlic, and bind the melon round with pack-thread.
Large cucumbers may be prepared in like manner.
The other articles are to be separately parboiled (excepting the capsicums) in a brine of salt and water strong enough to bear an egg; taken out and drained, and spread out, and thoroughly dried in the sun, or before a fire, for a couple of days, then put into the pickle.
Any thing may be put into this pickle, except red cabbage and walnuts.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: Pickle, as this recipe clearly shows, meant in the 19th century the preservative solution into which foods were packed, not the products practical people prudently pickled (sorry). The range of possibilities is amply described in the recipe, and we trust our readers are all entirely familiar with, for instance, the dimensions of a marrow-spoon so as to carry out the instructions given.
Some products–onions for instance–were pickled only to give them distinctive flavors, since they would preserve perfectly well on their own if kept in a dry cool place. Others, such as cucumbers, would perish and become pathetically putrid unless pickled for preservative purposes. We will stop now lest we P again.
Feet of calves or oxen
Slit them in two, and take away the fat between the claws. The proportion of water to each heel is about a quart; let it simmer gently for eight hours (keeping it clean skimmed); it will make a pint and a half of strong jelly, which is frequently used to make calves’ feet jelly or to add to mock turtle and other soups. This jelly evaporated will give about three ounces and a half of strong glaze.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: This recipe is not merely a tribute to the days when no part of a butchered animal was allowed to go to waste, it was an important source of jelling material in the days before the advent of the modern chemical industry. The best was isinglass, made from the air bladder of the Russian sturgeon; the more common rennet (used in cheesemaking) comes from the lining of the “abomasum” (fourth stomach) of a newborn calf or lamb–but we may be wandering into Too Much Information territory. At any rate, now you know how mock turtle soup is made, and what to do with ox heels should any ever come into your possession.
1/2 c. cream
2-3 macaroons, pounded
Lemon peel, grated
Yolks of 8 eggs
Whites of 3 eggs
Put a glass of thick cream, some sugar, two or three macaroons pounded, with a few almonds, a little grated lemon; give them a boil; then add the yolks of eight and the whites of three eggs, beat the whole up over a slow fire; and lay on very thin slices of fried bread; sprinkle sugar over, and serve.
From The Cook’s Own Book by “A Boston Housewife” (Mrs. N. K. M. Lee) Boston 1832
Comment: We are honestly not sure if this was intended as a dessert, a breakfast item, or perhaps a light course for a supper or tea. It almost resembles a fancy French toast, or perhaps scrambled eggs on toast, but then again the use of sugar and crushed cookies tilts us the other way. We suggest you try it whenever you think it might be appropriate, while we go lie down as we are dizzy from all the tilting.
t is very important to those who are not in the constant habit of attending the markets to know when the various seasons are for purchasing sweet herbs.
Take care that they are gathered on a dry day, by which means they will have a better color when dried. Cleanse your herbs well from dirt and dust;* cut off the roots; separate the bunches into smaller ones and dry them by the heat of a stove, or a Dutch oven before a common fire, in such quantities at a time, that the process may be speedily finished. ‘Kill ‘em quick,’ says a great botanist; by this means their flavor will be best preserved. There can be no doubt of the propriety of drying herbs, &c., hastily by the aid of artificial heat, rather than by the heat of the sun. In the application of artificial heat, the only caution requisite is to avoid burning; and of this a sufficient test is afforded by the preservation of the color. The common custom is, when they are perfectly dried, to put them in bags, and lay them in a dry place; but the best way to preserve the flavor of aromatic plants is to pick off the leaves as soon as they are dried, and to pound them, and put them through a hair-sieve, and keep them in well-stopped bottles.**
*This is sadly neglected by those who dry herbs for sale. If you buy them ready dried, before you pound them, cleanse them of dirt and dust by stripping the leaves from the stalks, and rub them between your hands over a hair-sieve; put them into the sieve, and shake them well, and the dust will go through.
** The common custom is to put them into paper bags, and lay them on a shelf in the kitchen, exposed to all the fumes, steam and smoke, &c.; thus they soon lose their flavor.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: Dr. Kitchiner’s writing style frequently involves footnotes, addenda, memoranda, “N.B”s and so many other items tacked on at the end that the additions are sometimes longer than the basic recipe itself. We approach that status here. That said, we include it all because it’s all perfectly true and correct, today as it was then and ever shall be. While he refers to herbs intended for use in cooking, as increasing numbers of people grow and gather herbs for medicinal purposes the same rules apply to that practice.
A “hair sieve” is not a strainer made of hair (ugh!) but simply a very fine mesh similar in size to that which is used in a common flour sifter. Kitchens were presumed to include a range of straining utensils from the very coarse (colander, or “cullender” as it was frequently spelled in the period) to the very fine.
Besides “hair sieve,” another term for a very fine strainer was a “tamis” although we have not been able to determine if there is any real difference in structure or composition of the two or if they are just different words for the same thing. Research is a never-ending process in the culinary history biz.