Posts Tagged With: eggs

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

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

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

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