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.