Posts Tagged With: butter

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

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

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