Birds’ Nests–Mrs. Fryer’s Loose Leaf Cook Book

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Newspaper articles will scream at you again and again to fear eggs–They’ll give you high cholesterol! They’ll give you salmonella! Type 2 diabetes is in your future should you consume! Don’t eat more than one per week or you’ll get heart disease!  Except that I’ve never eaten a raw egg, I rarely pay attention to it. I mean, I’m not a big time egg consumer. I don’t have one every morning. I treat the media scare stories pretty much like a fireside ghost tale—they’re meant to give you frisson of doubt and fear but they shouldn’t rule your life. They’re theories and theories are not proven truths.

I’ve yet to find too much in the way of oogy-boogy scare tactics about eggs in older cook books. Eggs seem to be everywhere, actually. The only thing that seems to stand out as warning about eggs is to not eat so many egg-based foods if you are trying to trim your weight. And that seems perfectly reasonable given how often eggs show up in older cook books, especially desserts. Since they aren’t shy about egg recipe, I surely don’t know why I shouldn’t have more egg-based recipes promoted here.

I don’t mean this blog to be simply about recreating recipes from the White House Cook Book, although it certainly has its share of egg dishes. I do mean to delve into other cookbooks mostly from before the Depression. One awesome little book I found during my summer vacation was “Mrs. Fryer’s Loose Leaf Cook Book”, circa 1922.

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I’ve been playing around with a few recipes from there including an egg dish that intrigued me as simple but not something I was used to—Birds’ Nests. I found nearly the same recipe in another cook book I picked up called the “Blue Ribbon Cook Book” from 1906 under the name “Egg-In-Nest”, the temperature and seasoning being the only difference. I figured I’d give it a try as it is a pretty easy recipe to recreate (since my fight with the Bavarian Cream continues, so far with less success than I’d like).  The result was delicious but startling. Because the eggs are whipped up to a froth but it is seasoned with salt, you get the feeling of eating a dessert that has the wrong taste. Well, at first it does but you do quickly get used to it. It might be a different approach for people who aren’t so keen on the sensation of poached or fried egg whites.

BIRDS’ NESTS

Original Recipe:

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Modern Form version:

4 slices bread, home-made preferably

Salted butter

4 eggs, separated (For ease, place each yolk in its own small dish)

salt

pepper, freshly ground

Set oven to 390°F. Toast the slices of bread. While bread is toasting, whip the whites of the four eggs in a bowl until they are stiff. Set aside.

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Butter the hot toast to your taste.

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Take the whipped whites and place equal amounts on each of the four slices of toast. With a spoon, shape the whites in a bird’s nest shape—rounded with a deep depression in the center.

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Place the bread with nests on a cooking sheet, tin-foiled if you prefer. Gently take each yolk in a small spoon, or from each dish, and place it in the center depression of the nest of whites.

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Season each egg yolk to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place about a ¼ of a teaspoon of butter gently by each yolk.

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Place birds’ nests in oven for about 15 minutes, longer if you prefer harder yolks. Take care to watch the whites if they are cooking longer than 15 minutes so they don’t over-colour.

Serves 4

Categories: eggs and omelets | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

What Did Grandma Teach You About Food?

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General Rules for Feeding Children, circa 1922 (Mrs. Fryer’s Loose Leaf Cook Book)

1.  Meals should be given at regular times.

2.  No “nibbling” between meals. If a child is really  hungry, a slice of bread and butter will satisfy the craving for food. Never give candy at such times. It will not only spoil the normal appetite , but will encourage a bad habit. Oftentimes a glass of water, and not food, is what the little one really craves.

3.  Teach the child to drink plenty of water between meals–several glasses a day.

4.  Happiness while eating is essential to good digestion.

5.  Do not force a child to eat. If after a day or two the appetite does not return, consult a physician

6.  Teach a child to wash face and hands before eating. Explain that dirt is dangerous. Explain that flies are dangerous.

     Teach a child to demand fresh air and sunshine, for they are the great cleansers of nature.

7.  Children may generally be taught to like all kinds of foods that are good for them. By giving a little of a new food at first, the taste can be cultivated.

~*~

About fifty or sixty years ago, North Americans seem to have strayed away from rules like these for children, let alone adults. You will still see rules like these being applied in some European countries. But even they, too, are starting to fall little by little to The Kingdom of Snack. It is a hard thing to battle the advertising force that are the snacking, junk food, fast food industries and the food ideas promoted by tv and movies (emotional eating, food as rewards, food as escapes from boredom). But, it can be done. I remember rules I was taught by my elders for healthiness. I was always told that if I must eat between meals, I must eat something from the fruit bowl or the garden. One can of pop was all we were allowed per week when I was growing up. Too much bread or potatoes will expand your waist.  Never EVER eat while grocery shopping. Can you tell me some of the food rules your elders taught you when you were young? Did they stick?

Categories: Food History, Old School Health, Rethinking Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More Retro Red Currants–testing in progress

What does one do with extra red currants? That was on my mind this past week before I had to hit the road again. I ended up getting way more red currants than I needed for the fritter experiment but it would be a shame not to use them for something else of the same time period. I looked through the White House Cookbook once more for a recipe or two. The book is delightfully vague when distinguishing between fresh currants and dried currants. Two recipes where freshness didn’t seem in doubt was “Currant Ice” and using ‘seasonal fruit’ in the recipe for “Bavarian Cream”. Both these recipes still need some tweaking but since I don’t have the time or fruit to spare at this moment I will leave you with Round One for each item and some pictures. Neither needed a whole lot of tweaking but I’d like to perfect either one so I can write out a copyable recipe.

Currant Ice–Round One

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To be frank, I was a little scared of this one and did have to alter the recipe structure a little because none of my research for similar recipes came up with the bold-as-brass instructions from the original. The recipe is pretty straightforward in the beginning–press out fruit juice, add water and sugar, heat it all up, whip up egg whites…  And then you see the request to add your cool, frothy egg whites to the boiling hot liquid and mix it in. Every fibre in my being said, ‘You’re going to cook those whites and have scrambled whites floating in juice”. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I searched around and decided to, instead, whisk a little bit of the hot liquid into the egg whites, tablespoon by tablespoon and then quarter cup by quarter cup until the whites had heated up sufficiently. Then I added the mix back into the sauce pan. In the end it made flavoured whites floating on liquid but with cooling and sufficient time in the freezer, it was okay to break up the ice crystals and stir the whole lot together. After freezing it again, it made a completely edible frozen dessert. Two things that will change in Round Two are the quantities of sugar and the huge likelihood that, unlike the first round, round two will be purely raspberry. In round one I didn’t have quite enough red currant juice to make it purely currant ice, but, like the original recipe said, you can make a mixture of currant and raspberry. I made 1/3 raspberry, 2/3 red currant juice.  The sugar asked for was way, way too much. I’ll research that again for quantities but I doubt it will be the two cups asked for. Almost set one’s teeth on edge but still very refreshing on the hot night when it was tried.

Bavarian Cream–Round One

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Like the currant ice, this one doesn’t need a whole lot of fixing but there were certain quantities to fix which would have made this dessert survive heat. To be honest, this test was a roaring success in terms of taste and texture. It just couldn’t survive room temperature (or slightly above, actually). Given my reviews of other bavarian cream recipes out there in Internet-land, I am pretty sure my gelatin quantities were insufficient. I would warn that this recipe does take a number of steps and that, like many older recipes, requires some time to prepare and set. Is it worth it? Oh me, oh my… there are no words to describe how much my extended family and friends think it is ‘worth it’. Some are still worried that adding extra gelatin will take away from the experience. Round two will tell.  Oh. And this is NOT for the dieter. Egg yolks, cups and cups of whipped cream fill up this recipe but let me tell you this– this round of Bavarian Cream broke somebody’s willpower. Swore up and down they did that they’d not eat sugars and eat fattening things. One finger licked led to a second fingerful and then a high pursuit chase by her husband to get some bavarian for himself. I think that story alone sells this dessert.

Round two, again, will not likely have currants in it since I doubt we’ll find any one the way back home but I’ll work that into the recipe write-up anyways since they tasted ever so good with the cream. A perfect sour-sweet counterpoint to the rich sweetness of the cream.

I hope to try both Round Twos out soon but it won’t be for at least a few days.

Categories: creams and desserts, custards, ice cream and ices, still testing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Currant Fritters are Educational–Currant Fritters, White House Cookbook

Currant fritters are educational. Did you know that? When I started my adventure into fritter land, I never expected to learn so many valuable lessons.

Lesson number 1 – the internet and the phone are your friend when you want to source less common fruits, no matter how “in season” they are

I spent no less than three hours going from supermarkets to farmer’s markets to ethnic stores to organic markets trying to find red currants. Red currants are still very much in season here but you’d think I’d asked the fruit and veg people if they carried Martian snow berries for the odd looks I often got. Or the “We have dried ones over there…”  Would I be asking for fresh currants if I wanted dried? Come on, people! Only one place out of about fifteen said, “Oh sorry. We ran out three days ago.” Bugger! Just my luck. Disgruntled and overheated from the warm day, I plopped in front of the computer, googled a few words and voila! There was a farm a few kilometres from the antique store I’d just patronized that specialized in berries including –you guessed it—red currants. Count me relieved when I phoned and they still had some. And good thing I phoned, too, because if I’d delayed too much, they might have been out. I just got to the stand with the red currants when a European woman reached the same stand. Seemed like a gun fight at high noon when we both started reaching for the punnets, daring each other with barely-there glances to be the one to grab the lot and run.

Lesson number 2—Cold is your friend when using beaten egg whites.

I don’t seem to have a whole lot of luck when it comes to cooking. I say, “Hey, currants are in season. I’ll make those fritters” and Mother Nature says, “Ah, time for a heat wave then”. It was a bit warm on Friday when I started Round 1. I made a few errors in the recipe—the fritters were too big to cook right through (great spoonfuls, my aunt fannie) and the temperature needed tweaking—but the road looked pretty clear ahead for the next round. Okay. I can handle that. Can’t cook the next day but I’ll book Sunday for Round 2. Sunday ends up being a 35°C torture fest in a house with no air conditioning and me hanging over a hot pan of boiling lard. I was stubborn and plowed on anyways, despite the heat. The batter sulked and refused to cooperate, burning on the outside and staying raw in the middle. Thankfully, my sis was around to help me through my crying jag and suggested the fridge and new lard (the first lot got all gummy with scum and burnt bits). The temperature change definitely made the difference. You either have to cook your batter quick time while the whites are cold, refrigerate before you start frying, use an air conditioned house or keep the batter bowl in a bigger bowl filled with ice if you’re crazy like me and fry fritters on a hot day.

Lesson number 3—Always check your camera lens (and other parts) before starting an extensive photo shoot.

Yeah. You read correctly. I went blithely through round 1 shooting all kinds of “in process” photos and some attempts at finished photos for a ‘round one’ post. I downloaded them and then saw picture after picture with a smudge on it. I don’t know how I didn’t see the smudge on the LED screen but there it was, bold as brass, telling me that my work was far from over. When I finished round one and knew I had to take some more photos of the finished product but I though the mixing and cooking would be much faster since I didn’t need to take photos. Surprise! And since Round 2 was on such a hot, muggy day, I think even my camera was pouting and not wanting to cooperate but thankfully things went somewhat better even if it took way longer to finish the shoot.

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I don’t know who came up with such a complicated fritter recipe that was bound to be fussy on hot days and then use a fruit in it that ripens only when hot days usually occur. Don’t get me wrong. It has had many rave reviews from humans to gluten-crazy cockatiels but, ye gods, it seems a lot of work for a high summer’s dessert. I am starting to wonder if the fruit and veg guys were right and it really was dried currants in these babies. I still totally recommend the red currants but I’m wondering if a different version will be tried down the road to see if dried currants makes more sense.

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CURRANT FRITTERS. (Original Recipe)

Two cupfuls dry, fine bread crumbs, two tablespoonfuls of prepared flour, two cups of milk, one-half pound currants, washed and well dried, five eggs whipped very light, one-half cup powdered sugar, one tablespoonful butter, one-half teaspoonful mixed cinnamon and [Pg 267]nutmeg. Boil the milk and pour over the bread. Mix and put in the butter. Let it get cold. Beat in next the yolks and sugar, the seasoning, flour and stiff whites; finally, the currants dredged whitely with flour. The batter should be thick. Drop in great spoonfuls into the hot lard and fry. Drain them and send hot to table. Eat with a mixture of wine and powdered sugar.

CURRANT FRITTERS (modernized recipe)

Fritters

½ pound (227 g) red currants

2 Tbsp white flour

2 cups fine bread crumbs

2 cups milk (1% or higher)

1 Tbsp butter

5 eggs, separated

½ cup sifted icing sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp white flour

1 lb (454g) block of lard

Icing sugar for decoration

Glaze

1 cup sifted icing sugar

4 Tbsp Raspberry wine (or any dessert wine)

Glaze Instructions:

  1. Add sugar and wine together. Stir until completely mixed
  2. Place bowl in fridge until needed.
  3. Just before serving fritters, allow 5 minutes for glaze to warm up, mix to break up sugar crystals

Fritter Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, place 2 cups of bread crumbs. Add butter to the crumbs but do not mix.
  2. In a medium saucepan, place 2 cups of milk over medium high heat. Allow milk to heat until very gently bubbling and steamy but not boiling.
  3. Pour hot milk over bread crumbs slowly and mix until well-blended. This will produce a very firm mixture. Set aside to cool, covered with a tea towel.
  4. Pick currants off stems. Discard any stems, withered berries and leaves.
  5. Gently wash currants in a colander. Spread out currants to dry on clean paper towel.
  6. When the currants are mostly dry, place them and the 2 Tbsp flour into a plastic bag. Gently shake bag until all berries are completely covered with flour.
  7. Dump currants into dry sieve and allow excess flour to fall through, carefully shaking so as not to crush the berries. Set floured currants aside until needed.
  8. Take the 5 egg whites and whip in a bowl until stiff peaks are formed. Set aside in fridge until needed.
  9. Take a new bowl and add 5 yolks and ½ cup of sifted icing sugar. Beat until completely blended. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and flour to yolk mixture. Beat until completely blended.
  10. Spatula the yolk mixture into the bread mix bowl. Mix well until completely blended.
  11. Add beaten whites to the bread mixture and fold in until whites are completely incorporated into batter.
  12. Add floured currants to batter and gently fold in, trying to avoid too much berry breakage.
  13. In a cast iron pan, heat pound of lard over medium high heat.   When a piece of sandwich bread can brown in half a minute or less in the oil, it is ready for cooking.  Place 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of batter into hot lard.  Do not crowd the pan with fritters. Three or four is best at one time. Make sure a platter with paper towel is ready to receive hot fritters and absorb some of the grease.
  14. Place fritters on a clean platter. Serve hot with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar over the fritters. Glaze can be dribble over top or served on the side in small dishes

Makes about 30 -36 fritters, depending on the size

Notes:

1. I always rub fresh lemon over my mixing bowl and whisk before doing egg whites to ensure any fat/grease is not present or they will not beat properly

2. The original recipe just said “fine bread crumbs” but to ensure they were fine, I ran the crumbs through a sieve. Not necessary, I believe, but I did it for even absorption of the hot milk

3. You may need more lard on hand just in case of the temperature of the day. Round One did just fine with a pound but Round Two needed two pounds on a much hotter day

Categories: biscuits rolls muffins etc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Yesteryum on Facebook

~ Fort Langley Heritage Site display~

You can now find Yesteryum on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Yesteryumwordpresscom

You can go there right now to see a picture of my loot from antiquing in Fort Langley. I hope to be using them all soon and you’ve seen one of them already in the rhubarb post.

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Rhubarb Time Machine: Rhubarb or Pie plant Pudding — White House Cookbook

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I was surprised at how nostalgic I got testing rhubarb pudding from the White House Cookbook. My mind swam with memories of grandfatherly teasing, vast forests of rhubarb’s elephant ear leaves in my great grandparent’s victory garden, mom’s stabbed toe, a pleasantly shocked Spanish face, regular begging from friends for this or that rhubarb recipe. I just don’t know if I ever knew life could exist without it. It was so ubiquitous in my life. My Beloved claims the same–no remembered introduction. It was, well, just… there. It was always there in the garden and on the plate. Discussing it around the dinner table provoked a lot of memories for everybody. Perhaps rhubarb is the time machine we’ve all searched for. Maybe every forkful is another spin backwards on the decade dial. Felt like it tonight.

 

The recipe for rhubarb pudding in the White House Cookbook was so vague that when I realized how much research it might take, I wondered if it would be a multi-trial recipe like Orange Float. I panicked a little. I admit it. But I’m too stubborn to give up that easily. I decided to do this recipe because I’m spending a little time with the home folks and thought I’d raid Mom’s garden. It was bound to be flush with rhubarb. It always is every summer. I’ve never known rhubarb to fail her. Ever.

At first glance, the rhubarb pudding looked like a cobbler but so many online or book recipes didn’t seem to share the same quantities of eggs, butter or milk. There was no sugar to be added and the flour was a guessing game. I tried googling the basic ingredients and kept coming up with hits for pancake or waffle recipes. Somehow the idea of pancake and sweetened rhubarb didn’t seem bad but I wasn’t convinced until my mother popped open a book with the pancake recipe she’s always used. There, in front of me, was a near exact copy of almost every element except the little bit of sugar. I was worried but I plunged ahead and made a mix of rhubarb with cobbler quantities of sugar added to it. I mixed up all the ingredients until the flour and added it quarter cup by quarter cup only to find that my original estimate had been bang on. When I put the two parts in the glass dish, I wasn’t convinced anything great would happen. I really didn’t think it looked promising since I didn’t even know what temperature to use in the oven. I decided on 375 degrees. I now think it might have been better lower but it wasn’t that bad of a guess. Even the doubtfulness on inverting the pudding on a plate was unnecessary. It popped out perfectly after some cooling.

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The results were pronounce by all my guinea pigs to be quite edible, some preferring to add the proffered cream and some ate without any enhancements. It’s pretty much all eaten up now. I guess, if anything, how much food left is a sign of its success or failure. Success it is, then, with some minor adjustments. I’ll update you on those later.

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RHUBARB OR PIE-PLANT PUDDING.–Original Recipe

Chop rhubarb pretty fine, put in a pudding dish and sprinkle sugar over it; make a batter of one cupful of sour milk, two eggs, a piece of butter the size of an egg, half a teaspoonful of soda and enough flour to make batter about as thick as for cake. Spread it over the rhubarb and bake till done. Turn out on a platter upside down, so that the rhubarb will be on top. Serve with sugar and cream.

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RHUBARB OR PIE-PLANT PUDDING.– based on original recipe

2 cups rhubarb, finely chopped

1 cup white sugar

1 cup sour milk (this can be made with a near cup of milk and Tbsp of lemon juice)

2 eggs

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups white flour

1. Mix rhubarb and white sugar together in a bowl. Set aside*

2. Mix baking soda and flour together into bowl.

3. Make a well in the center. Add sour milk, eggs and melted butter; mix together until smooth.

4. In a lightly buttered round glass casserole dish, put sugared rhubarb on bottom and cover completely with batter.

5. Place dish into an oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or when golden around the edges and a toothpick comes clean from the center.

6. Allow to cool to room temperature. Slide a butter knife around the edges of the batter to detach from glass. Quickly invert pudding over a waiting dish. With the cooling, it should come out in once piece. This can be served with cream and sugar (white or powdered).

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Categories: dumplings and puddings, still testing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Summer in a Cup–Orange Float (White House Cookbook)

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I know a lot of people who talk about eating oranges in the winter to get a little taste of the sun during the long, grey days but sometimes, I think, it is important to remember how wonderful oranges are for a light dessert in the summer. Citrus hits all the right notes for a dessert on a scorching hot day—subtly sweet, just a punch of tang, gushing in the mouth. Yesterday, while we were Canada’s hot spot, and especially humid, my French Beloved and I completed our dinner with the results of my Orange Float kitchen tests. The trials took longer than expected but the final product pleased me not only in taste but managed to produce a small miracle. The Beloved doesn’t usually care for fruit desserts but pronounced it especially good and just right for the kind of sweltering weather. ‘Very light yet full of flavour,’ I think he said.

I have spent more time on this recipe than others because there really seemed to be a snag in the instructions. The sauce repeatedly didn’t turn out the way I believed it should. It called for four—yes, four—tablespoons of cornstarch. In my past experience that usually points to a sauce with at least some thickness. Yet, test after test seemed to squelch that notion if I tried following the instructions just as printed. I had to take matters into my own hands.

I googled the main ingredients and almost immediately came up with a lemon sauce recipe. Of course the quantities were different but it was the steps I was interested in. I took the same ingredients—sugar, water, cornstarch, lemon juice and pulp–and ended up with a very different creature. The original recipe calls for the sugar, water and lemon to be brought to a boil, corn starch added and then the whole thing boiled for fifteen minutes. Based on the tests, this just wasn’t going to happen. The outcome always resulted in a sauce that begged the question ‘Why bother adding cornstarch’ since it was so thin. I took the new googled recipe and used it as the basis. I took the same quantities but used their procedure rather than the original. The cornstarch and sugar were mixed together, the boiling water added to it, the mix gently brought to a boil and then the lemon and lemon pulp mixed in. It took less time than the original, too. The result was thicker and tangier.

Since I am going to quibble, in this recipe, with methods, I will also quibble with quantities. I don’t know how big Victorian oranges were but, if you supreme the oranges like I did, the four or five suggested isn’t enough. Eight or nine seems to be the better choice if you are using the Valencia oranges I used. I suppose it might be accurate for navel oranges but the juicy Valencias are smaller.

I can’t say for sure if I totally changed the dessert as it would have been eaten by the Victorians but the recipe provided the basis for one smashing dessert that I am bound to make many times in the future.

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ORANGE FLOAT.– Original recipe

To make orange float, take one quart of water, the juice and pulp of two lemons, one coffeecupful of sugar. When boiling hot, add four tablespoonfuls of cornstarch. Let it boil fifteen minutes, stirring all the time. When cold, pour it over four or five oranges that have been sliced into a glass dish and over the top spread the beaten whites of three eggs, sweetened and flavored with vanilla. A nice dessert.

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ORANGE FLOAT–based on original recipe

8-9 Valencia oranges

Lemon Sauce:

2 lemons

1 scant cup of white sugar

4 tbsp cornstarch

4 cups water

Meringue Topping:

3 eggs whites

6 tablespoon white sugar

¾ tsp vanilla flavouring

1)      Supreme the oranges—cut off the ends of the oranges right into the pulp. Cut off the peel, pith and outer membrane of the entire orange. You will see sections of orange. Slice your knife beside the membrane sections and pull out just the slice of inner flesh. You can see it pictorially here at Baking Bites.

2)      Set aside supremed orange sections in a glass or ceramic container along with the juice from the cutting board. Put in the fridge to chill until needed.

3)      Supreme the 2 lemons. Squish out a lot of the lemon juice from the sections into a glass or ceramic container but leave the pulp in the juice after squeezing. It will go into the sauce as well. Set aside.

4)      Put sugar and cornstarch into sauce pan. Stir until completely blended.

5)      Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a kettle. With kettle in one hand and spoon in the other, mix the hot water slowly into the sugar mix until all the water is in the sauce pan and the sugar and cornstarch are completely dissolved. Place sauce pan on stove element

6)      Put stove on medium heat and stir the liquid constantly. Gradually the liquid will thicken and then start to come to a boil, about 8 minutes.

7)      As soon as the liquid begins to boil, add the lemon pulp and juice. Turn down the heat to low. Mix the liquid until completely blended.

8)      Take sauce off the stove. Set aside and allow to cool. When cool enough, place sauce in the fridge until needed.

9)      Place egg whites into a metal bowl that has been completely washed of any fat or grease spots (a lemon juice wash helps). Begin to beat eggs until they start to froth thickly. Add one tablespoon of sugar and continue beating. Continue in this fashion until all the sugar is used up and the egg whites have at least reached the soft peak stage. Add vanilla and continue to beat for another minute.

10)  Set oven on low broil.

11)  If you are making individual bowls or glasses of the dessert, place parchment paper on a baking sheet and draw around the circumference of the bowl/glass on the paper with a pencil. Your meringues should be placed within those circles to fit the bowl/glass properly. If you are using a large container, you can do the same with the larger container on the parchment paper.

12)  Place small piles of meringue within the drawn circles on the parchment paper.

13)  Place baking sheet with meringues on a middle rack under the low broiler for 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted golden-brown.

14)  You can use the meringue at this stage or you can take out the meringues, turn the oven to 185 degrees and let them gently bake for about a half hour or until firmer.

15)  To put together as if in bowls or dessert glasses– place about 12 to 15 pieces of orange in the dessert cup, pour sauce over top orange sections, top with meringue cap.

16)  Enjoy.

Categories: creams and desserts | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Not So Lucky After All? — The ongoing saga of the Orange Float

I mentioned before that I was making Orange Float along with the Chicken Hash. Orange Float is a seemingly simple dessert but there are blips that seem to make this test a bit bumpier than other recipes so far.

The principle seems straightforward– cut oranges covered with a thick lemon-sugar sauce and topped by a meringue. The meringue has been easy to prepare although toasted for modern cooking standards. Two attempts on the oranges shows that supreming (cutting off pith and membranes) was better than the original slices I tried. The taste was far better in combination with the meringue and the sauce.

The sauce, however, appears to be a bit of a puzzle. The fact that a lot of cornstarch is to be added suggests a thick sauce but twice the sauce has cooled off to a thin syrupy liquid. On the first attempt I tried to follow what was asked, adding the corn starch, mixed with some of the hot liquid, into the sugar water and boiling the fifteen minutes.  Result… a whole lot of thin liquid that tasted lemony sweet and quite nice but seems too much for the amount of oranges. On the second attempt, I mix the cornstarch with some liquid held back from the lemon, sugar, water mixture adding it when it comes to a boil. It seems thickened but, following the directions, I let it boil the fifteen minutes. Again the result, when cooled, is thin and syrupy, only slightly thicker than the last try.  Frustrated, I think that maybe I’ll take the same liquid, make a corn starch slurry, add it to the cold sauce and let it heat up gradually, stirring all the time.  Oh, I got it thickened up all right but despite the lower heat and the constant stirring, the liquid began to burn on the bottom. I found that more upsetting than the thin liquid.

I will pursue on because, having eaten the result of the first try, it is a VERY nice summer dessert.

Categories: creams and desserts, still testing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Luck returned on Friday the 13th: Chicken Hash on Rice Toast — Whitehouse Cookbook

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My oven is scared of organic chicken. That’s certainly what I thought since it was the last thing that my oven cooked before conking out. Yet, in some ways, the stars must have been aligned better than I hoped. When it first happened , I ran through all the griping in my head– Man, I just started this blog, too; Only YOU would be mad your oven isn’t working during a heat wave; I live five hours away from any kind of big town… where will the part come from;  It’s just an element but now I have no stove at all because the connecting wire disappeared; Can I manage another no-cook drink?  As opportunity would have it, the repairman found the odd type of element I needed from a happenstance encounter with another repairman in our valley who said ‘Oh, that? I have what you’re looking for here in my truck’.  !!!   Since it was apparently an uncommon element, the odds of my oven getting fixed this quickly (along with the really fast sourcing of the elusive wire) was somewhat remote but — I am back in business! Somebody up there wanted to see my next dish, methinks.

I made two dishes today– Chicken Hash on Rice Toast and Orange Float.  Both of them need to be fiddled with but the chicken less so. I’ll tell you about the chicken today. I’ll save up the Orange Float for tomorrow. Maybe I’ll even do round two tomorrow morning.

Firstly, it was important to me, despite the greater expense, to use an organic chicken for this recipe since that was closer to what would have been used  for the original recipe. On the first eating, my French Beloved pronounced it properly chicken because, paraphrasing his father, ‘A good chicken tastes just a little like chicken poop’.  Apparently it did. I’m not quite sure what he’s talking about as I am not in the habit of consuming chicken dirties. I’ll have to take his word for it. All I know is that it definitely tasted more real than the factory chickens so prevelent at any average store.

This is a multi-stage recipe so don’t expect to make it in a night. A full day, perhaps or, better yet, a two day deal. The rice for the rice toast needs its time to form into a little loaf and cool off. You need time to pick all the meat off the chicken bones and chop it up small. But it’s worth it. It is what I would call a ‘plain dish’. It’s a dish that’s easy to imagine my great-grandmother cooking up for lunch on the farm back east, maybe tut-tutting about ‘waste not, want not’.

The chicken part of the dish is pretty much perfect for our tastes at home here but the rice needs a little working. First error was not to salt the water at all for the rice. Believe me, it’ll make a difference. I guess it was just understood to add salt to the water since it was never mentioned in the actual recipe. You obviously don’t have to but the contrast with the seasoned chicken made the rice seem all the plainer, despite the toasting. The timing in my recipe for the toasting may be a bit off and I’ll need to try it again to be quite certain on timing since I broiled on low for one side and high on the other. It would probably change the texture of the rice just a little. I think, despite the suggestion the original recipe gives of waiting for a light browning, just test the top for crispness. I found the brown bits a bit too crunchy for my taste although The Beloved was fine with it.

ORIGINAL RECIPE:

CHICKEN HASH WITH RICE TOAST.

Boil a cup of rice the night before; put it into a square, narrow bread-pan, set it in the ice-box. Next morning cut it in half inch slices, rub over each slice a little warm butter and toast them on a broiler to a delicate brown. Arrange the toast on a warm platter and turn over the whole a chicken hash made from the remains of cold fowl, the meat picked from the bones, chopped fine, put into the frying pan with butter and a little water to moisten it, adding pepper and salt. Heat hot all through. Serve immediately.

MODERNIZED RECIPE:

CHICKEN HASH WITH RICE TOAST.

1 cup rice

2 cups water (salted to taste)

2 tbsp soft butter*

4 cups cold cooked chicken, pulled from the bone and chopped fine

4 tbsp butter*

¼ tsp of ground pepper, or to taste

¼ tsp of sea salt, or to taste

¼ cup of water

1) The night before you wish to make this dish, begin rice cake. Bring salted water to a boil. Add rice, stir and turn heat down to minimum, covering the pot with a lid. Let steam 15 minutes. Without removing the lid, pull the rice off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes to continue steaming

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2) In a narrow bread pan (8 x 3 ¾ in.) immediately begin spooning some of the hot rice. When a quarter of the rice is in the pan, press downwards into the pan to make the rice compact. Spoon more rice in and continue packing the rice downwards until all the rice is used up and the rice is completely packed down. Cover the pan with tin foil and put into the fridge over night.

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3) The next day, bring the rice pan out of the fridge and empty out on to a cutting board. It should come out like one brick if the rice has been pressed tightly. Cut into ½ inch slices. It should make about ten slices.

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4) Slather a thin layer of butter on both sides of each slice of rice. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with tin foil.

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5) Place broiler and toast until the butter is melted and the rice begins to feel crisp to the touch. Flip pieces and continue broiling on the other side until the other side feels crisp to the touch, around 3-8 minutes each side, depending on the broiler.

6) Meanwhile, in a cast iron pan, melt 4 tbsp of butter over a medium heat and add the chicken hash. Stir regularly until chicken is hot and a bit coloured, around 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add more to taste, if needed. Stir in ¼ cup of water to chicken for moisture. Lower temperature and stir occasionally while rice toasts are finishing.

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7) On a warm platter, place rice toasts around the edges, Pour hot chicken over the center of the rice toasts. Serve at once.

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Serves 5, 3 generously.

* Butter I used was President’s Choice Normandy Style cultured butter, salted.

Categories: Bread--Toast | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

An Unexpected Interlude

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Halfway through my recipe for Chicken Hash on Rice Toast my oven element decides to pack it in. I’m currently without stove or oven as the repair man is coming back in the morning. One of the wires that attaches the element to the electrical system has decided to go on a vacation somewhere inside the back panel. If the repairman can find the elusive wire tomorrow, it’ll be back to the recipes without any baking. just stove top and broiling. The part might have to be ordered after all. And around here, I don’t even know how long that’ll take. Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll at least be able to finish the Chicken Hash and then go on to Orange Float.

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