Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rose Water

Gather the damask rose leaves; have a tin pan that will fit under your warm-pan; wring a thin towel out of water, spread it over the pan, and put rose leaves on this about two inches thick, put another wet towel on top of the leaves, and three or four thicknesses of paper on it; put hot embers in the warming-pan, and set it on top of the paper, propped up so as not to fall, when you renew the coals, sprinkle the towel that is at the top of the rose leaves; when all the strength is out of the leaves, they will be in a cake; dry this, and put in your drawers to scent the clothes; put another set of leaves in, sprinkle the towels, and so on till you have used up all your rose leaves. Rose water is a very nice seasoning for cake or pudding; it should be kept corked tightly.
Domestic Cookery, by Elizabeth Ellicott Lea, page 148, Baltimore: Cushings and Bailey, 1869

Modern note: Make sure if you make rose water, the roses are organic or aren't sprayed with any pesticides. You can purchase rose water in ethnic sections of some stores.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Season's Greetings

by Roxe Anne Peacock

October 12, 2006

A roaring fire
Cinnamon, hot cocoa,
Friends and family,

Snowflakes falling
Singing, laughter, stories
of long ago,

The smells of Christmas
Sharing gifts,

Love of all countries
Embrace of all faiths,

Soldiers coming home
Peace on Earth,

Season greetings,
From our family to yours!

Fruit Cake

Take one pound of butter and one pound of sugar rubbed to a cream, yolks of twelve eggs, one tablespoonful of cinnamon, one teaspoonful of allspice, half teaspoonful of mace, half teaspoonful of cloves, one-fourth of a pound of almonds (pounded), two pounds of raisins, (seeded and chopped), three pounds of currants (carefully cleaned), one pound of citron (shredded very fine), and one-quarter of a pound of orange peel (chopped very fine). Soak all this prepared fruit in one pint of brandy over night. Add all to the dough and put in the stiff-beaten whites last. Bake in a very slow oven for several hours and line your cake-pans with buttered paper. When cold, wrap in cloths dipped in brandy and put in earthen jars. If you wet these cloths every month you may keep this cake moist for years.
Aunt Babette's Cook Book, by Aunt Babette, pages 288-289, Cincinnati: Block Pub. and Print Co., 1889

Note: This recipe leaves out the flour. The Fruit Cake No. 2 by Aunt Babette uses one pound flour.
Modern Version:
Many people dislike Fruit Cake today due to its inferior flavor. Nothing beats a cake made from scratch using natural dried fruits and the best spices. Fruit cake is as healthy as most fruit bars. Why not make this special cake with your children and serve as snacks all year round. The unsalted butter cannot be substituted.

1 pound unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 pound granulated sugar
1 pound all purpose flour (sifted with spices)
12 large eggs, separated and room temperature
1 pint good brandy or liquor of your choice
1/4 pound blanched almonds, chopped (4 ounces)

1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cloves

2 pounds seeded raisins, chopped ( I prefer golden)
3 pounds currants (carefully looked over for stems)
1 pound of citron, chopped
1/4 pound orange peel, chopped

The fruit: Always use the best quality of dried fruits. You may use "organic" fruit, but make sure it is not discolored or over-dry.

If you use candied fruit, rinse the fruit in cold water to get rid of some of the sticky glaze. Dried fruits will absorb alcohol, but candied fruit does not readily soak up the liqueur.

To make fruit and nut recipe substitutions, add up the total amounts in the recipe and then use your preference.

Cut up your fruit with a knife or kitchen shears. If your fruit is too sticky, you can dust the fruit lightly with powdered sugar. Place the chopped fruit in a very large bowl or roasting pan to mix.

Pour the pint of brandy over the fruit and mix well with a wooden spoon. Place in a very large airtight container and macerate for up to 72 hours.

Some fruit alternatives are: dried apples, pineapple, coconuts, cranberries, peaches, bananas, pears, blueberries, date bits, mango, papayas, cherries, figs and apricots. Be sure to use only a small amount of apricots or they will over-power the rest of the fruit.

The spices: Whole spices ground in a coffee grinder or spice grinder are best. Due to the intense flavor of fresh spices, you may want to decrease the amount of spices. If you prefer the store-bought ground spices, make sure they haven't been sitting in your cupboard for years. Always use fresh.

Nuts: When you chop your nuts, be careful not to make the pieces too small. Use only fresh nuts. You may substitute the almonds for pecans, English walnuts, filberts and hazelnuts. If you have the time, crack the nuts yourself. Store extra nuts in an airtight container in your freezer.

Pans and equipment:
Always use a "wooden" spoon to mix Fruit Cake.

A fruit cake is best baked in a decorative ring mold, bundtpan, or tube pans. Other pans used are round cake pans, bread pans, and cupcake pans. Whatever pans you choose, you'll need to line them. Fruit Cake is very sticky and hard to get to release from the pan if you skip over this step.
Non-stick is no exception to the rule. Baking parchment paper is the ideal choice.

Make templates for the bottom and sides of your pans out of the parchment paper, or brown paper. Next, butter the insides and bottoms of your pans. Butter the front and back of your templates. Attach the templates to the buttered pans as you would wallpaper a room; leaving no bubbles.

Use two very clean bowls. Have a very clean whisk and egg separator ready. Make sure your equipment is dry. Eggs need to be room temperature. Separate the eggs using the egg separator. Be very careful not to get any egg yolk in the egg whites. Don't whisk the egg whites yet.
Cream the sugar and butter together with a "wooden" spoon. Add the egg "yolks" to the sugar mixture.

Sift the flour and spices together two to three times. Sprinkle a small amount of the flour spice mix over the fruit to keep the fruit from sticking. If your fruit still has too much liquid, you can add a little extra flour.

Add the spiced flour to your creamed sugar and butter a little at a time.

Stir the batter into the fruit mixture using a large "wooden" spoon or your hands. Next, add the chopped nuts.

Last, fold in your egg whites; which have been whisked or beaten until they are stiff.

Whisking Egg Whites:
First, make sure your whisk and bowl are absolutely clean and dry. Your egg whites need to be room temperature. If there is any residue or hint of egg yolk, it will interfere with this process. Egg whites are particular especially without cream of tartar. Make sure you have time for this very important procedure. Once you begin the process, "don't" stop. The eggs are best whisked if they are at least seven days old or more.

Start with a pinch of salt in the egg whites, which will help firm up the eggs. About a fourth of the way of whisking the egg whites, you can add a drop or two of lemon juice.

If your whites are not stable toward the end, or you have over beaten them, whisk 1 tablespoon of sugar into the egg whites for about 15 seconds. This will stabilize the foam. Immediately fold the egg whites into the fruit and nut mixture.

If after the egg whites have been whipped, if any water has developed in the bottom of your bowl and the egg whites are floating over it, don't put the water into your fruit cake batter. Drain the liquid off. This will not produce a good cake.

Fill your selected pans 2/3 full, pressing the batter into corners of the pans and leveling.

Make a cover for your fruit cakes out of brown paper bags. Don't use the part of the bags with writing. Butter both sides of the brown paper. Cover the top of your fruit cake and pans with the buttered paper. Leave the brown paper on for the first two hours or longer if the tops of your cake are turning too brown. This step helps keep the tops of the fruit cake from burning.

Have ready a pan with hot water. Place on the bottom rack of your oven. This step will keep the tops of the cake moist. Remove the pan of hot water the last hour or the cakes will become too moist.

Place the covered pans in a cool oven. Turn the oven on to 250 degrees. The length of time for baking depends on the size of our pans.

A small pan takes approximately 1 1/2 hours.
10" tube pan takes from 3 hours and 15 minutes to 3 1/2 hours.
10" round cake pan takes about 3 hours to 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Baking time for other pans can vary from 1 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Testing cakes:
When your cakes looks done and springs back when you touch it, or the side are beginning to come away from the pan, test your cake with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done.

Immediately remove the cakes from the oven to a wire rack. Spritz the top of the hot cakes with more brandy.

To remove cakes from pans:
When the cakes have completely cooled, use a plate larger than the pan the cake is in and carefully invert. Repeat then process once more to get the cake upright. If you have buttered and lined your pans properly, the cakes will slide out. If any areas of cake look even slightly stuck, use a thin sharp knife and run it carefully down the sides and edges of the pan.

For a short-term storage, cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to fit around the fruit cake. Soak the cheesecloth in brandy. Muslin is better for long-term storage. Natural cheesecloth and muslin can be found at most bed and bath stores.

Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on your counter larger than the fruit cake or pan it is in. Place the "soaked" not drenched, cheesecloth around the entire fruit cake. Next, wrap the plastic wrap around the wrapped fruit cake; sealing it completely. Last, cover the wrapped fruit cake lightly with aluminum foil. Place all in a large sealable freezer bag or an airtight container.

Do not apply more alcohol than the cake can absorb. You may spritz the cake every two to three days or for longer storage once a week. Fruit cake is better as it matures. It takes four to six weeks to fully ripen. Store in a cool, dark place.

When you serve your fruit cake, use a thin sharp knife dipped in hot water.

Sounds of War

by Roxe Anne Peacock
October 5, 2006

Drums beating in the distance
Soldiers galore,

Pounding of hearts,
Sounds of War,

The smell of gunpowder,
Shots being fired,

Fighting the enemy
Whoever they may be,

Notifying the families,
Funerals and sorrow,

Knowing without war,
There would be no tomorrow!

Peanut Candy

To every half pint of shelled and blanched peanuts, use one cupful each of molasses and sugar. Boil the molasses ad sugar together until the mixture is brittle when dropped in cold water. Then stir in the half pint of peanuts before taking from the fire. Pour into buttered pans and mark off into squares or lengths before it cools. Hickory nuts, English walnuts or almonds may be used in place of peanuts.
The Los Angeles Times, page 103, Los Angeles: Times-Mirror Co. 1905

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Bells

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)

"I Heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

The pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Roast Turkey

Select a nice young turkey with a plump breast (a hen turkey is best) and dress and prepare same as any other poultry. Use a plain bread chestnut or oyster dressing, and fill the body of the turkey, and sew up the slit in the vent with strong white cotton. Turn the wings back so they will rest against the back of the turkey, and tie the legs together, forcing them up a little against the lower breast bone. Butter the breast well (strips of bacon may be used instead) put a little water in the bottom of the roasting pan, add salt and pepper, and place in well heated oven, basting every ten minutes. Allow fifteen minutes to every pound. When done, remove string, place on hot platter and garnish. Thicken gravy in the pan, add finely chopped giblet that have been previously boiled, and serve with turkey.
The Neighborhood Cook, by The Council of Jewish Women, page 147, Portland, OR [Press of Bushong & Co., 1914]

Modernized version: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Remove the giblets and neck stuffed in the cavities of the turkey. Wash the turkey with cold water and pat dry. Brush lightly with olive oil. Place on a bed of sliced carrots and celery in a roasting pan. For a 12 to 14 pound turkey, roast breast side up for approximatley 2-3/4 hours to 3- 1/4 hours. You can baste your turkey with the pan drippings. The breast gets done before the dark meat, make a tent out of aluminum foil and place over the breast if the bird begins to brown too quickly.

In the meantime, make a glaze with 1 cup apple cider and 1/4 cup mild flavor molasses. Combine the two ingredients in a saucepan and bring mixture to boil over high heat; lower your temperature to a medium heat and simmer the glaze for 5 minutes.

Raise your oven temperature to 375 degrees. Insert a meat thermometer approximately 2 inches into the thickest part of the meat to check the temperature. When your turkey reaches 160 degrees, brush it with the glaze; repeating every ten minutes.

Place the turkey back into the oven. Watch the turkey carefully at this point. When the thermometer reads 165 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven. Cover the turkey and let it rest for 20 minutes on the counter.

Prior to roasting your turkey, you can also stuff the turkey cavity with 3 slices of lemon, 2 large shallots, a small bunch of thyme sprigs, sage and parsley.

To serve, remove the ingredients in the cavity, place on a platter and garnish with fresh parsley, fresh cranberries, grapes, or any other items which makes the presentation festive. Enjoy.

Note: It is best if dressing is made in a separate pan.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Stew pumpkin cut into small pieces, in a half pint water; when soft, mash with potato masher very fine, let the water dry away, watching closely to prevent burning or scorching; for each pie take one egg, half cup sugar, two tablespoons pumpkin, half pint rich milk, (a little cream will improve it), a little salt, stir well together, and season with cinnamon or nutmeg; bake with under crust in a hot oven. -Mrs. . A. B. Morey. Buckeye Cookery, by Estelle Woods Wilcox, page 191, Minneapolis, Minn: Buckeye Pub. Co., 1877

Plain Paste

Beat the white of one egg with one tablespoonful of lard. Work it into one quart of flour with the hands till fine as meal. Add about one cup of ice water. Roll out, and put half a pound of butter in the paste in little pieces, either all at once or half of it at a time. Dredge lightly with flour. Fold the edges over, roll up, pat, and roll out. (Mrs. Tilton)-Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book, by Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln, page 324, Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1884

Baked Pumpkin or Squash for Pies

Cut up in several pieces, do not pare it. Place them on baking-tins and set them in the oven; bake slowly until soft, then take them out, scrape all the pumpkin from the shell, rub it through a colander. It will be fine and light and free from lumps. White House Cook Book, by Fannie Lemira Gillette, page 299, Chicago: R. S. Peale & Co., 1887

Cranberry Sauce

Pick over and wash three cups cranberries. Put in a stewpan, add one and one-fourth cups sugar and one cup boiling water. Cover ad boil ten minutes. Care must be taken that they do not boil over. Skim and cool. Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, page 476, Boston, Little, Brown and Company (1896)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quince Marmalade

Rub the quince with a cloth, cut them in quarters. Put them on the fire with a little water, and stew them till they are sufficiently tender to rub them through a sieve. When strained, put a pound of brown sugar to a pound of the pulp. Set it on the fire, and let it cook slowly. To ascertain when it is done, take out a little and let it get cold, and if it cuts smoothly it is done.
Crab-apple marmalade is made in the same way.
Crab-apple jelly is made like quice jelly.
Most other fruits are preserved so much like the preceding, that it is needless to give ay more particular directions, than to say that a pound of sugar to a pound of fruit is the general rule for all preserves that are to be kept through warm weather, and a long time.
Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, by Catharine Esther Beecher, page 159, New York: Harper, 1850, c 1846

Tidbit: The quince is a member of the apple family and can be found in some ethnic produce stores.

Chicken Salad

Cut the white meat of chickens into small bits, the size of peas. Chop the white part of celery nearly as small. Prepare the dressing thus:--Rub the yolks of hard-boiled eggs smooth to each yolk put half a teaspoonful of mustard, the same quantity of salt, a tablespoonful of oil, and a wine-glass of vinegar. Mix the chicken and celery in a large bowl, and pour over this dressing. The dressing must not be put on till just before it is used. Bread and butter and crackers are served with it.
Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, by Catherine Esther Beecher, page 172, New York: Harper, 1850, c 1846

Modern version note: A wine-glass equals 1/4 cup, half a teaspoonful is measured by dividing through the middle lengthwise. When divided across the width, the tip is smaller than the lower half.

Ham Sandwiches

Cut some slices of bread in a neat shape, and trim off the crust, unless it is very tender. Butter them and lay between every two some thin slices of cold boiled ham. Spread the meat with a little mustard if you like.

Ground ham makes delicious sandwiches. Cut the bread very thick, and butter well. Put in a good layer of ham, and press the two sides of sandwiches firmly but gently, together. Then roll lengthwise, and pile in a plate or basket.
Common Sense in the Household, by Marion Harland, page 151, New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1873

Tidbit: London correspondent, William H. Russell for "The Times", made a container of tea, packed sandwiches wrapped in brown paper, filled a flask with brandy, and then grabbed a bottle of light Bordeaux for his trip to cover the first battle of the Civil War.

Pheasant, Partridges, Quails, Grouse, Etc.

The real pheasant is never sold in American markets. The bird known as such at the South is called a partridge, and at the North, and is properly speaking, the ruffled grouse. The Northern quail is the English and Southern partridge. The wild fowls brought by the hundred dozen from the far west to Eastern cities, and generally styled prairie-fowls, are a species of grouse. The mode of cooking all these is substantially the same.
Common Sense in the Household, by Marion Harland, (pen name), Mary Virginia Terhune, page 174, New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1873

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


"If God had meant for cornbread to have sugar in it, he'd have called it cake" Mark Twain

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
10" cast-iron skillet

2 cups stoneground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 medium eggs (well-beaten)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoonful salt
2 tablespoonsful unsalted melted butter (slightly cooled)
1 level teaspoonful baking soda (dissolved in 2 teaspoonsful of whole milk)
1 tablespoonful of unsalted butter for skillet

Mix the cornmeal and flour together in a large bowl with a whisk, gradually add the buttermilk, then 2 tablespoonsful slightly cooled melted butter.

Next, whisk the sugar and salt together in a small bowl, add this to the mixture. Then add the beaten eggs. And lastly, add one level teaspoonful of baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoonsful of whole milk. Whisk all ingredients together quickly.

Place 1 tablespoonful of unsalted butter in the bottom of the cast-iron skillet. Place the skillet in the 450 degree preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully tilt the skillet to coat the sides and bottom of the pan with the melted butter.

Pour the cornbread mixture immediately into the hot pan. Level the mixture carefully.

Bake at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cornbread. Serve warm with a dollop of fresh butter.

If you are not going to eat your cornbread immediately, let it cool on a wire rack in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto the rack. This keeps the bread from becoming soggy.

Wild Blackberry Tea

When you want to make tea, just crumble 2 teaspoons of leaves in one cup of boiling water. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes and you will have blackberry tea.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grant, Lee, Custer, & Co.

Click on the brochure to enlarge.

You can contact Tom Peacock at oldcurly@msn.com for details about upcoming events, questions about hiring the group, or General George Armstrong Custer.

Homemade Buttermilk

Are you tired of purchasing buttermilk? Everytime I plan to make a recipe with buttermilk, to my dismay, it has expired.

Mix 1 cup whole milk with either 1 tablespoonful of white vinegar or 1 tablespoonful of lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. The milk should have begun to curdle. Stir and enjoy your next buttermilk recipe with ease.

Homemade Brown Sugar

From the deep robust flavor of molasses in gingerbread to the mild flavor in an apple cake, adjusting the intensity of your brown sugar is an easy task.

For dark brown sugar, mix 2 tablespoonsful of molasses to 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix with a fork until the molasses is incorporated.

If a recipe calls for a light brown sugar, add 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoonsful of molasses.

Your brown sugar flavor will also vary with the use of blackstrap or various strengths of molasses.

You can store your homemade brown sugar in an air-tight container for up to one month, but if moisture gets in the container, the sugar will become hard. Save space and money, make your own brown sugar to suit your taste.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Artwork and Roxe Anne

Prior to my writing, drawing and painting had been an important part of my life. As far back as I can remember, I always had a crayon, pencil, or paintbrush in my hand.

I never wanted to paint someone else's idea. I wanted to remain a free-spirit. Experimentation, imagination and research were and still are a vital part of my life. I no longer dabble in the fine arts, but let my imagination sore in writing poetry and mysteries.

At the present, I am working on a historical Civil War cookbook with my husband, Tom. Researching Civil War generals, battles, and nineteenth century cooking take up a major part of my day. Now my canvas is a completed recipe ready to be photographed.
I hope you enjoy some of my artwork.

Thank you for visiting our blog. Comments are always welcome. Stop back soon and see what's new. If you would like to contact Roxe Anne, send her an email at peacockroxeanne@yahoo.com

Click on any of the photos in the blog to enlarge.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Deviled Eggs

Boil 6 eggs hard, drop them into cold water for a minute, and then carefully remove the shells; cut them in half with a sharp knife, and gently remove the yolks; mash and mix them with a dash of pepper, salt, a tablespoonful of olive oil, a teaspoonful of vinegar and a little chopped pickle and parsley.Mold this into the whites.Put the two halves of the egg together and tie with baby ribbon Los Angeles Times Cook Book, No. 2, by the Los Angeles Times, page 99, Los Angeles: Times-Mirror Co., 1905

Note: The most predominant size of egg for the nineteenth century was a medium egg. This is a great recipe for picnics, teas, Easter, and baby showers.

Delicious Milk Lemonade

Pour a pint of boiing water on to six ounces of loaf sugar, add a quarter of a pint of lemon juice, and half the quantity of good sherry wine. Then add three quarters of a pint of cold milk, and strain the whole to make it nice and clear. Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, by Catherine Beecher, page 190, New York: Harper 1850-1846

Blackberry Cordial

Mash and strain blackberries. Put the juice on to boil in a glass or enameled pot. Skim it well, and to each gallon of juice, put three pounds of sugar and a quart of brandy. Press cloves in mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a frying pan to release essential oils and add to taste along with 1 cinnamon stick. Domestic Cookery, by Elizabeth Ellicott Lea, page 148, Baltimore: Cushigs and Bailey,1869

Note: This was valuable as a medicine for children in summer and was often used because of its binding qualities.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fried Apples- Extra Nice

Take any nice sour cooking apples, and after wiping them, cut into slices about one-fourth of an inch thick; have a frying-pan ready, in which there is a small amount of lard, say 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch in depth. The lard must be hot before the slices of apples are put in. Let one side of them fry until brown; then turn, and put a small quantity of sugar on the browned side of each slice By the time the other side is browned, the sugar will be melted and spread over the whole surface.

Serve them up hot and you will have a dish good enough for kings and queens, or any poorman's breakfast, and I think that even the President would not refuse a few slices, properly cooked. There is but little choice between frying and baking by these plans; either one is very nice. Dr. Chase's Recipes, pages 298-299, by Alvin Wood Chase, M.D., Ann Arbor, Michigan, Chase: 1864
Note: Wash a combination of five medium granny Smith and McIntosh apples. Core the apples and slice about one-quarter of an inch thick. In the meantime, get ready two-thirds cup brown sugar and one-quarter teaspoonful of freshly grated nutmeg. Heat four tablespoonsful of unsalted butter over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet; being careful not to burn the butter. Heat the apple slices on one side for about five minutes; turn and sprinkle with brown sugar and nutmeg. Cook for about six more minutes or until desired tenderness. You can turn the apples gently twice to coat with the sugar and nutmeg. Serve immediately.
This is a delightful dish by itself, or over ice cream. If you do not like skin on your apples, you may peel your apples before cooking. The presentation won't be the same.
Try this recipe at your next Civil War event and let the wonderful apple aroma bring spectators to your camp.

Monday, October 12, 2009

West Point and Eight Illustrious Civil War Generals

In the nineteenth century, West Point had become the epitamy of military professionalism. A place where bonding sculpted boys into men. And where the cadets often braved demerits to frequent the infamous Benny Haven's Tavern; some to partake in hot flips, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Other cadets braved the journey to enjoy home cooked meals while unwinding for a few hours without the demands of the West Point Academy.

Eight of these illustrious men eventually became Generals in the Civil War; some served the Union, some served the Confederacy.

Robert E. Lee became superintendent of West Point in 1852 and graduated with Joseph Eggleston Johnston in 1829. William Tecumsah Sherman and George Henry Thomas graduated in 1840, Ulysses Simpson Grant graduated in 1843, Thomas Jonathan Jackson in 1846, James Ewell Brown Stuart in 1854, and the last in his class of 1861, George Armstrong Custer.

George Armstrong Custer surrendered many a demerit to Benny Haven's and Flirtation walk; where kisses were shared. But the antic which almost lost Custer his military career was the confiscated rooster cooked on a gas burner in his dorm.

Tidbit: George Armstrong Custer was fond of Apple Jack. He always carried a Bible. General Ulysses Simpson Grant's favorite wine was Norton; a dry red wine.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fried Catfish

Cast-iron frying pan
This recipe may be cooked over an open-fire or on a stove

melted lard or peanut oil
4 medium catfish fillets
1 cup buttermilk (to presoak the catfish in)
1 cup sweet milk (whole milk)
1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoonsful salt
1 teaspoonful pepper
Lemon wedges

Soak the catfish fillets in buttermilk for one hour or overnight in a cooler or refrigerator to remove the mudd flavor or fishy taste.

Rinse your catfish in cold water and then pat dry. Place the fish in a pie plate or shallow pan and pour the 1 cup cold sweet milk (whole milk) over the fish.

Mix the cornmeal, salt, and pepper together in another pie plate. Place the catfish fillets soaked in milk one at a time in the cornmeal mixture; coating them evenly. Lay them separately on a large plate for 5 minutes to let the batter dry out a little.

Heat enough lard or oil in a cast-iron skillet to fry. Don't overcrowd the oil with fillets or the temperature will decrease. Be careful not to let the oil spill over the pan. Cook the catfish fillets for approximately 6 9r 7 minutes on each side or until fork tender. Remove the fillets from the pan and drain. Serve with Lemon wedges and hushpuppies.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Doughnuts II

4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons soda
1 3/4 teaspoons cream tartar
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour milk
1 egg

Put flour in shallow pan; add salt, soda, cream tartar, and spices. Work in butter with tips of fingers; add sugar, egg well beaten, and sour milk. Stir thoroughly and toss on board thickly dredged with flour, knead slightly, using more flour if necessary. Pat and roll out to one fourth inch thickness; shape, fry, and drain. Sour milk doughnuts may be turned as soon as they come to the top of the fat, and frequently afterwards.
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, page 82, Boston, Little, Brown and Company (1896)

Note: Sour milk is buttermilk and the size of the egg was usually a medium. Deep fry in a Dutch-oven or heavy skillet at 370 degrees. You may sprinkle with a mix of sugar and cinnamon after the doughnuts are drained.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Homemade Baking Powder

1 teaspoonful baking soda
2 teaspoonsful cream of tartar
1 teaspoonful cornstarch (optional)

Whisk baking soda and cream of tartar together. If adding cornstarch, whisk it together with the previous two ingredients.

Use immediately or store in an air-tight container. If you plan to store homemade baking powder, you need to add the cornstarch to absorb moisture. Makes one tablespoonful.