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I'll get you drunk without giving you a drop to drink - Food,Cooking and Gardening - The Lounge - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Mon Nov 25th, 2013 05:56 am
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Hellcat
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Ok, been experimenting once again with recipes out of Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Goder's Lady's Book. Last year around this time I did the Deviled Turkey recipe and gave you my opinion on that. This time it's the Mincemeat Without Meat recipe.

MINCEMEAT WITHOUT MEAT

One pound hard apples cut small, one pond currants, half a pound shred raisins, half a pound beef suet, quarter of a pound moist sugar, one once lemon and citron-peel, quarter of an ounce cinnamon, one drachm* mace, the rind of a lemon grated, one glass of brandy, and two glasses of sherry. Double the above for large families.

*A drachm (dram) is a metric fluid measure.


Ok, this is the one that prompted that question thread from me. I do believe I've figured out the moist sugar question as I said in that thread (see the thread for that answer). The shred raisins is still in question whether that's an instruction or the name of a type of raisin.

Some of the measurements are easy enough for today's cook to get, some I needed to do a little research on. One I wish I'd pulled out another of my books to get, but I'll get to that later.

I started off with the beef suet on the 12th of this month. I'd been saying I wanted to try making mincemeat from scratch and my mother had a beef roast with quite a bit of fat on it that she used to make a beef stew out of. She trimmed the suet off the roast and gave it to me, It still had a bit of lean, but not terribly much. That I threw into the freezer until this past Friday. On Friday I really got happy about making the mincemeat and bought a couple good sized Cortlands (the came to about 1 1/4 lbs. in the store), a 10 oz. package dried currants, 18 oz. crasins, a package candied citron peel, a package of candied lemon peel, a couple of lemons, and mace. Had the rest here.

Now a couple points on the ingredients I picked up. First off I'd spent time on Friday going over the recipe before I went shopping. Took the book with me but I went out with the attitude of "Hey, I've read this over and over again so I know what the ingredients are." Now before any of you ladies say "typical male" I need to point out that I've known several of the women in my family who have said they knew a recipe only to discover that they got an ingredient or two wrong by not bringing the book with them. In particular my mother has done this. So this may not have just been typical male, it may be typical to my family as well as to males. Or maybe to all of us. But in this case I went into the store saying "Ok, go some raisins at home along with the suet, brandy, sherry, sugar, and cinnamon. What's moist sugar? Ah, I'll use white sugar, it should still work. So need to get apples, a lemon, candied citron, candied lemon, craisins, and mace. Oh, and some storage containers." So I picked up the apples, the candied citron, craisins, and storage containers. Since I couldn't find candied lemon there I figured I'd pick up a couple of lemons and try candying the peel of one lemon. Thankfully I couldn't find mace there and had to go elsewhere to find it, which meant I also found the candied lemon peel there. But once back to the car I decided to check the recipe that I'd been so certain I knew and discovered my error of thinking craisins in place of currants. Also realized that I didn't have enough raisins here and since I already had the craisins decided to substitute them for the raisins. Ended up picking up a box of currants when the lemon peel and mace were picked up. Discovered at the house my mistake there, needed six ounces more than I'd gotten to get the pound of currants needed (though they probably meant fresh currants instead of dried).

So getting down to actually making the mincemeat. I peeled the apples, chopped them into quarters, cored them, and then threw them into the food processor to get a fine chop and threw them into a bowl. Then I threw the suet into the food processor and chopped that as fine as I could and threw it into the bowl. Threw in the craisins two, which is about when I realized I'd gotten the wrong size bowl to mix in. Dumped these ingredients into one of the two largest bowl salad bowls here and then threw about half the container of craisins into the food processor.

Again I'm not sure if shred raisins is an instruction to shred raisins or if it is a type of raisin. I decided to take it as instructions and tried shredding the craisins. Either I had the wrong blade in or raisins are much easier to shred. Either way, after about a minute or two of attempted shredding it looked like nothing was happening so I just dumped the craisins into the mixture. And thus ended what I considered the more obvious measurements.

Next I looked up an ounce on my weights and measures chart and determined it to be 2 Tbs. so I put in 2 Tbs. each of candied lemon peel and candied citron peel. Maybe I'm wrong and it meant an ounce total of both, not an ounce of each, but I read it as an ounce each. A quarter of an ounce is about 1 1/2 tps. but I ended up running it up to2 tps. cinnamon. Then having already done a little research online after posting my questions I found the thing on moist sugar may mean a particular type of brown sugar. Having some dark brown on hand I did a 1/2 cup dark brown sugar mixed with a tablespoon of molasses. All the non-alcoholic ingredients were mixed as well as possible.

And then came my real problem. WHAT THE HECK IS A GLASS I didn't know if they meant something like a shot glass, a teacup, a wine glass, an 8 oz. glass, what. I decided I'd go with 1 cup = a glass. This is the big mistake I made with this stuff, not trying to look up a glass. But the stuff sure smelled great (keep in mind I don't drink, but I sure will get you drunk off my French toast or my strawberry shortcake; I more use alcohol for cooking though I do use a little brandy, honey, and lemon juice to make a cough syrup). I put the mincemeat mixture into the two, 1 quart containers I'd picked up and still had enough to fill 3/4 of a 10 oz. jar and then put it away to marinade and develop it's flavor. Great thing about here, it's so cold that my porch is a natural fridge at this time of year. I put the two quart containers out on the porch and the glass jar in my fridge. Little jars in the fridge are great for checking out the rich smells of homemade mincemeat, I've decided. Personally it smells better and better the longer it sits. But don't know how long the suet in the mixture can go before it goes bad so you can bet I'm not going to be waiting a month to use it all.

Then on Sunday I tried making my first mincemeat pie ever. And I mean ever, I've never even tried making it from store bought mincemeat (not to say I've never had it before, considering my mom makes it at least once a year), though I do have a jar of store bought in the house. Decided to use store bought crust for this, but a bit of a problem. As you can see the book doesn't say whether you should make the pie immediately after making the filling or how long you should wait to make the pie up. It also doesn't say anything about the temperature of the oven (it has a chart in the front of the book that describes things like a hot oven, a moderate oven, extremely hot oven, and the temps, though it doesn't explain things like quick ovens) or how long to bake the pie for. So I looked up the temp and time for the store bought and baked it at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. For the first 20 I had aluminum foil wrapped around the edge of the crust then took the foil off for the last ten minutes.

The consensus, the pie needed to bake longer to try and bake the alcohol out of the mixture. Or need to reduce the amount of alcohol. Or cut back on the amount put into the pie crust (put in a quart, maybe half a quart would work). The flavor isn't bad, but you'll get drunk off a slice of the mincemeat as it is. Ultimately the idea was to maybe go with a quarter of a cup brandy and half a cup sherry next time I try making it.

Ironically the decision to back off on the alcohol looks to be the right one for the future. As I said, I wish I had pulled out some of my other books and looked in them for measurements concerning what a glass is. I pulled my copy of Sarah Josepha Hale's The Good Housekeepr after desert and in the front there is a measurements chart. It says a common sized wine glass is equal to half a gill. Checking my weights and measures chart it says a gill is about 4.8 oz., so half a gill is about 2.4 oz. About 1/4 cup, actually slightly more than a quarter of a cup but for future attempts a 1/4 cup should do for the equivalent of a glass. Still there is the question of time and temp to bake at.

But the pie so far is worth trying again. As I have left over mincemeat I may first try scaling back the amount of filling and adding more time before I trying making up a new batch. You know, maybe try 1 pint of filling and doing 45 to 60 minutes and see how that comes out.

Last edited on Wed Nov 27th, 2013 05:28 pm by Hellcat



 Posted: Mon Dec 9th, 2013 12:50 am
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Hellcat
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Ok, trying something a bit different here with the Mincemeat without Meat recipe. I'm going to try making a mincemeat cake with mincemeat frosting. I'll let folks know how this turns out.



 Posted: Mon Dec 9th, 2013 03:22 am
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Hellcat
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So the cake part was a failure but the frosting has potential.

Now I need to clarify the cake and frosting. The cake itself was a frozen pre-made yellow cake. I sliced this in half and put some of the mincemeat as a layer between the two halves then baked at 200F for thirty minutes as I didn't want to burn the cake, just thaw it and heat the mincemeat up. Unfortunately this was the mincemeat I discussed above (it does look to still be good, probably thanks to the high alcohol content). To be more precise I used the 10 oz. glass jar I filled three quarters full. I've had this cake thawed out before and it's not a terrible cake. Maybe the mincemeat could have used a higher temp, scratch that, it could have used a higher temp and to be baked for longer. But it at least was warmed up so it wasn't really greasy tasting. But unfortunately the problem was the alcohol content. Had this been a fruit cake that might not have been bad. But a plain yellow cake that if lit could probably serve as a makeshift tiki torch, let's just say the taste was less than pleasant.

But on the frosting. I took the remains of the 10oz jar and put them into a sauce pan then brought them to a boil on the stove for a few minutes. This may have boiled off the alcohol content, though I kinda doubt it. However I let it cool for about two or three minutes before adding about 8 oz. of Pilsbury Cream Cheese Frosting and mixing the two together. This liquidly substance was then poured into the frosting container (I had already used half the container in a recipe for pumpkin biscotti) and let it cool it the fridge. Once the cake was out and was cool enough to apply the frosting (only a few minutes as I wasn't that hot to begin with) I applied the still liquid frosting. I'd say it was about consistency of somewhere between maple syrup and molasses. With the cake covered I stuck it out on my nice, cold porch for about an hour before I tried it. The frosting was set by then. And the cream cheese and mincemeat combined flavor wasn't that bad.



 Posted: Sun Dec 29th, 2013 12:24 am
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Hellcat
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It's now been over a month since I made the mincemeat and the second quart has been sitting out in often below freezing temps. Finally got around trying to make a pie with it again, this time correcting some of my previous mistakes. I used half the quart instead of the full quart like I did the first time for starters. I also realized after I'd made the first one that I'd screwed up and not baked the crust before filling it like you're supposed to. Sue me, I don't make pies often enough that I stop and think about that with a store bought crust like I really should (but why do I think of it for homemade pie crust when I haven't once made a pie crust from scratch?). So I did bake the crust an let it cool before filling it. Because of how much alcohol was in the filling I tried boiling it off a little before baking the pie.

Last time I took a pairing knife and made four oval vent holes in the top crust then placed the cuttings as leafs on top of the crust in a cross pattern. It looked nice. My leaves didn't turn out quite so nice this time, the holes look more circular and only four of the eight I cut kept any kind of oval form. The bad ones I used in other places on the crust to deal with cracks.

Like last time I wrapped aluminum foil around the outer edge of the crust. I baked this time at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, 30 with the foil on and an 15 with it off. For the last 15 minutes I sprinkled on a little white sugar.

Unlike last time I decided to take some pics of the pie after it cooled to show folks.





Not a pretty pie. And you can see where some of those cracks were. But this time it's less likely to get you drunk off a slice. The alcohol wasn't completely boiled out so you still taste it, but it's not as powerful as before.



 Posted: Fri Feb 21st, 2014 08:09 pm
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If the keg runs dry count me in (looks good). Your cooking forays are inspirational, sir!



 Posted: Sat Feb 22nd, 2014 12:22 am
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Hellcat
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Don't think I'd call them inspirational. These are just my attempts at these historical recipes and my opinions of these attempts turned out. That's why I post the recipe as it appears in the book and then what I've done. Folks can look and shake their heads at my stupidity as they may see it or they can look and try following what I've done on their own. I guess it's more blogging on my part than it is anything else.



 Posted: Sat Feb 22nd, 2014 04:40 pm
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Cooking is inspirational; still remember a wood-burning stove, bread oven, table in the yard for dozens. Old-timers treasured good food. These days I can barely boil the staples to stay alive, eat like a Yukon goldrusher. Hats off for historical recipes, taste buds don't lie.



 Posted: Sat Feb 22nd, 2014 07:02 pm
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Hellcat
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Had one of the girls in my class in high school who admitted she couldn't boil water in a microwave, she somehow burned it. Though as I recall she could at least cook on the stovetop. But to say you can burn water in the microwave, you know I think most of us think of that as nothing but a means of heating or reheating meals. Though there are, or at least were, cookbooks that actually tell how to make dishes yet it seems most folks don't see it as that. Maybe I'm wrong there, but with all these microwavable dishes you can pick up in the store that you just throw in and a few minutes later you're eating Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes with spiced apples for dessert, or what ever TV dinner or multiple dish meal you want, that it seems folks are more likely to see it as I said. Just for heating or reheating already prepared foods. Or thawing things or melting butter.

Although I do make mistakes at times, I do know how to cook. And not in a microwave. Have a gas stove and cook on that. Fish chowder, fried fish, mac and cheese (and I don't mean from a box Kraft either, either Velveeta type for a faster mac and cheese or using various cheeses, and making a proper cheese sauce), country fried schnitzel (was looking for a different way to use cube steak rather than just making a typical chicken/country fried steak and came up with the idea of using it in place of veal in a wiener schnitzel recipe), potato soup, clam chowder, scrambled eggs, stir fry, meatballs, etc. The closest I can remember myself coming to using a wood stove is cooking on the grill over wood coals. As a kid we did live in a house that had a wood stove (was 11 and 12 at the time and my mother had already been giving us kids cooking lessons for several years by then) but I don't recall myself actually cooking on the stove and I certainly don't remember using the oven then.



 Posted: Tue Feb 25th, 2014 06:25 am
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Hellcat, your Mom's a good woman; I'd cherish a seat at her table. Mine also taught me to cook, just never figured I'd be stubborn as a dang mule. I still tell her, Ma, three out of four ain't bad.



 Posted: Wed Feb 26th, 2014 04:09 am
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Hellcat
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In my mom's case it's two out of three. One of us never really paid attention and their cooking isn't exactly what you'd look forward to. In my case folks can praise my cooking but I'll tend to question if their just being kind. I more find problems with it when it's not just for me. Too much salt, too little salt, wasn't cooked long enough, was cooked too long, too much alcohol, too little alcohol, not enough sugar, it's missing something but I can't put my finger on it, too much spice, etc. And then there are times I will be quite proud of what I made and surprise myself at how I comes out.

On that alcohol bit it's usually too much alcohol, like to use brandy in my French toast and strawberry shortcake (there's something else, and not this recipe, but I can't remember at this time what it is). It's one of those things I actually grew up with, you add a little for flavor but be careful how much. This recipe was, as I said, one where I didn't yet have an understanding of what the measurements were so I got to much brandy and sherry in, the others are more about a splash rather than actual measurements. Which usually ends up with me adding by the capful until I think it's enough. Then it's about cooking it long enough to cook it out. Unfortunately, when I add too much there is no long enough to cook it out without burning it.



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