Archive for the ‘Vegetable dishes’ Category
Green bell peppers
The bell pepper is the best for pickling, and should be gathered when quite young. Slit one side, and carefully take out the core, so as not to injure the shell of the pepper. Then put them into boiling salt and water, changing the water every day for one week, and keeping them closely covered in a warm place near the fire. Stir them several times a day. They will first become yellow, and then green. When they are a fine green put them into a jar, and pour cold vinegar over them, adding a small piece of alum. They require no spice. You may stuff the peppers as you do mangoes.
From Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie, 1851
Comment: The coring procedure called for here seems both unexpected and unnecessarily complicated. Since the core runs directly from the underside of the stem to the bottom, it would seem more logical to cut carefully around the stem end and just pull outward–any core left inside can be reached, snapped off, and shaken out with ease. The matter is of course a decision of the pickling person, and all we ask is that all parties refrain from “Peter Piper” jokes.
Fresh parsley (or other herb, see Comment)
Gather fresh sprigs, and after washing them, chop them fine, and work them into as much butter as will be needed for boiled poultry, lamb, and fish, before the next summer. Put the butter into a stone jar, and cover it with a brine made with nice salt.
The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, Boston, 1863
Comment: This same technique will work perfectly well for just about any herb, and the resulting butters can provide a vivid enhancement to any recipe in which they are used. If stone jars are in short supply the butters can be sealed tightly in plastic wrap (to keep out air and competing aromas, which is the function served by the salt water Mrs. Cornelius recommends) and refrigerated or frozen.
Mushrooms (see recipe for tips on gathering)
There are many varieties of mushrooms, some of which are very poisonous; therefore you should be careful in selecting them, that you do not mistake the poisonous for the esculent ones. Those that are proper for food are only found in open ground, where the air is pure. They may be found in abundance during the months of August and September, more particularly after a misty night or heavy morning dew. The esculent mushrooms may be told by the color, if carefully examined before or soon after they are gathered. They are then of a dull pearl-colored white on the outside or top, while the under part is tinged with pink. Reject all other colors, and even the white ones, if they grow in low marshy ground, where the air is very much confined. The color of all will change very soon after they are gathered.
Take either the large mushrooms that are young and tender, or the small button ones, which you chose; wash them clean, removing the skins and stalks, put them into a stew-pan, with a little salt, but no water, cover the pan, and stew them slowly till tender; then season them with a small piece of butter rolled in flour, a very little sweet cream, and serve them with the gravy.
The Kentucky Housewife by Mrs. Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: As always, we print these recipes exactly as the authors originally wrote them. While we have the highest regards for Mrs. Bryant’s talents as a recipe compiler, we do NOT know anything about her abilities at identifying poisonous mushrooms. Please take that part of the recipe as being of historical interest only, and use store-bought mushrooms for this recipe.
Several cucumbers, sliced thick
chopped onion (optional)
1/2 c. vinegar
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. flour
Cut your cucumbers into thick slices, add some chopped onions, if liked, and some salt; let them simmer over a slow fire, till done enough; then pour off a large portion of the liquor [water in which vegetables cooked], and add a little vinegar, pepper, butter and flour; let them stew a few minutes longer, and serve them up with the sauce.
From The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, 1847
Comment: Rare indeed today is the notion of cooking a cucumber. The vast majority, of course, are made into pickles, and the remainder doomed to decorate restaurant salads from which they are quietly picked off and ignored or pushed down to drown under the dressing.
Boiled or stewed cucumbers were recommended to those who suffered digestive upset upon eating the vegetable in its raw state. Considering what else people ate in those days we doubt that cucumbers were the main culprit in the epidemic of “dyspepsia” which ravaged the populace, but it couldn’t have helped either.
Soak them in cold water, wash them well, then put them into plenty of boiling water, with a handful of salt, and let them boil gently till they are tender, which will take an hour and a half, or two hours; the surest way to know when they are done enough, is to draw out a leaf; trim them and drain them on a sieve; and set up melted butter with them, which some put into small cups, so that each guest may have one.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: The cooking of artichokes is a delicate subject, depending on such variables as the way the vegetable has been trimmed before putting on to heat and of course on the preferences of the diners. Dr. Kitchiner gives excellent advice on matters of presentation as well as cooking itself–take to heart the suggestion about separate melted-butter cups for each diner whether the artichokes are being served at a fancy party or a regular family meal. It is not a substance you want to have being passed back and forth around the table if you value your linens, or your guests their clothing.
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Shallot, minced fine
Backfat or fat bacon, minced fine
Fresh ripe corn
This is made as above [Scalloped Tomatoes], substituting for the bread-crumbs in the force-meat, green corn cut from the cob, and seasoned with some fat pork chopped very fine, a minced shallot, pepper, salt and sugar. Let the top layer be tomatoes, butter and season, and sift grated bread-crumbs over it to brown the scallop. Bake covered half an hour; uncover and leave in the oven as much longer. This time is for a large dishful.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: “Green corn” did not mean corn which was unripe, which would be disgusting and cause digestive problems besides. It simply meant corn which had just become ripe, whose husks were bright green in color. Most corn was not intended to be eaten as a fresh table vegetable, but rather to be dried and then ground into corn (“Indian”) meal for use in bread products. The development of different strains of “sweet corn” versus “field corn” lay in the future. The notion of growing corn as feed for livestock, aside from very minor amounts for horses undergoing heavy labor such as in military service, was entirely unknown. Anyone proposing such a notion would most likely have been put away in an asylum by his family for his own protection until the balance of his mind was restored.