Archive for the ‘sauces & gravy’ Category
2 oz. garlic, peeled and chopped
1 qt. white wine vinegar
Garlic is ready for this purpose from midsummer to Michaelmas [Sept. 29].
Peel and chop two ounces of garlic, pour on them a quart of white wine vinegar, stop the jar close, and let it steep ten days, shaking it well every day; then pour off the clear liquor into small bottles.
Obs: The cook must be careful not to use too much of this; a few drops of it will give a pint of gravy a sufficient smack of the garlic, the flavor of which, when slight and well blended, is one of the finest we have; when used in excess, it is the most offensive. The best way to use garlic, is to send up some of this vinegar in a cruet, and let the company flavor their own sauce as they like.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1832
Comment: Dr. Kitchiner’s precise notes on timing remind us that our ancestors were far more in tune with the rhythms of the seasons and the growing cycles of plants than we are today. We expect, reasonably enough, to be able to walk into any store at any time and buy fresh garlic regardless of whether it is before or after Michaelmas.
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs. butter, softened
1/2 pint liquid: either melted butter OR beef stock OR garlic vinegar
Pound two cloves of garlic with a piece of fresh butter, about as big as a nutmeg; rub it through a double-hair sieve, and stir it into half a pint of melted butter, or beef gravy, or make it with garlic vinegar.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, New York, 1832
Comment: This is a triple-threat sauce depending on which of Dr. Kitchiner’s options you use to finish it. The butter-butter option would seem intended for seafood; the garlic-beef gravy choice for a steak or a dish made with the previous day’s leftover meat; and the garlic-vinegar would go well in a salad dressing. We like Dr. K’s work largely because he confirms our belief that one can never have too much garlic, nor too many uses to which it can be applied. Except ice cream. That would probably not be good. Put that into the exception-to-every-rule file.
4 anchovies, chopped
2 c. white wine
1 plus 2 tbs. vinegar
3 whole cloves
1/4 lb. (1 stick) butter
1 tbs. flour
1/2 pint cream
Four anchovies chopped, two glasses of white wine, a large one of vinegar, an onion stuck with three cloves, and cut into quarters; let all these simmer till the anchovies dissolve; strain it, and add a quarter of a pound of butter kneaded in a table-spoonful of flour. When it has melted, stir in gradually, one way, half a pint of cream, taking care that it do not boil. When thoroughly heated, serve in a sauce-tureen.
From: The Cook’s Own Book by “A Boston Housekeeper” [Mrs. N. K. M. Lee], Boston, 1832
Comment: This recipe really ought to be called “Anchovy Butter,” although those of a medical persuasion would probably prefer that it be called “Prescription for Cardiac Arrest Or At the Very Least A Horrible Case of Gout.” The directive to “stir [the cream] in one way” means that you can stir either clockwise or counter-clockwise but must pick one or the other and stick to it, not reversing direction halfway through. The idea is to blend the cream into the mixture as gently as possible so as to decrease the chances of it suddenly curdling up as it will be inclined to do in the presence of vinegar and wine.
1 gal. Madeira wine
Black mustard seed
Take a common sized pot of anchovies, bruise and strain them; add a quart of mushroom catsup, a quart of walnut pickle, a gallon of Madeira wine, and a little black mustardseed; boil half an hour, bottle, and cork tight; seal with wax, and in ten days the soy will be fit for use.
From The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, Charleston S.C. 1847
Comment: The briefest glance at the ingredients here will tell you that the word “soy” has undergone a pretty massive shift in meaning from the 19th century to today. If you were expecting a black fluid based on the soybean, go scarf a few packets at your local Chinese takeout. This “soy” is a different thing altogether, much more closely related to the “catsups” of the period, as indeed “mushroom catsup” is one of the ingredients above.
The quantities called for here would make enough sauce to last for many months or even years unless the household was a very large one indeed. Recipes which call for soy as an ingredient rarely ask for more than a tablespoon or two. This was probably stored in the large crock mentioned above, then a pint or so would be tapped off periodically into a smaller vessel for kitchen or table use.
1 qt. juices from roasting beef
1 tbs. butter-and-flour roux OR 1-2 tbs. flour
To a quart of gravy, put a table-spoonful of thickening [roux] or from one to two table-spoonfuls of flour, according to the thickness you wish for the gravy; stir it quick; add the rest by degrees, till it is all well mixed; then pour it back into a stew-pan, and leave it by the side of the fire to simmer for half an hour longer, that the thickening may thoroughly incorporate with the gravy, the stew-pan being only half covered, stirring it every now and then; a sort of scum will gather on the top, which it is best not to take off till you are ready to strain it through a tamis [cheesecloth strainer or colander].
Take care it is neither of too pale nor too dark a color; if it is not thick enough, let it stew longer, till it is reduced to the desired thickness; or add a bit of glaze, or portable soup to it; if it is too thick, you can easily thin it with a spoonful or two of warm broth, or water. When your sauce is done, stir it in the basin you put it into once or twice, while it is cooling.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: Words change over time. This recipe calls for starting out with “a quart of gravy,” then describes how to turn this into….gravy, at least as we know it today. The beginning fluid we would call stock, or broth, or cooking juices. And the further thickening agents he calls “glaze” and “portable soup” are known as glacé or double-condensed broth respectively. Where he came up with “cullis” is equally puzzling as this term is normally used in books of the period to refer to the thickened scum which forms on the top of the broth, which Kitchiner says should be strained off and thrown away. If this doesn’t sound good as a food product at least it may come in handy in your next Scrabble game.
Apples with small defects, such as bruises, with the bad parts cut off
1 pint brown sugar
Tartaric acid (optional)
Let your stock of apples be picked over several times in the course of the winter, and all the defective ones taken out. Let the good parts of these be pared, and if not used for pies, be made into apple-sauce. Boil it in a preserving kettle. After it is tender, add a pint bowl of brown sugar, and boil it gently fifteen minutes longer. Towards spring, when apples become tasteless, a teaspoonful of tartaric acid, dissolved in a little water, should be added to a gallon of apple
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, 1863
Comment: Apples were a popular and valued fruit in part because they are sturdy enough to keep without expensive, time-consuming processing such as canning. They will wither from loss of moisture but remain otherwise sound. Unless of course you get “one bad apple” with rot in it. To avoid this disaster we follow Mrs. Cornelius’ directions. Even those bad apples can be salvaged if caught in time and the rotted parts cut off. The tartaric acid called for can be found at shops stocking winemaking supplies. This is not the same product as cream of tartar so get the real thing or skip this step altogether.