Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Did you know that trussing your bird can add roasting time and dry out the breast? The dark meat doesn't get as much of an even roasting temperature. And to keep the breast from drying out, cover the breast with aluminum foil the last third of the cooking time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It turns out that some canned pumpkin is actually – squash. Some manufacturers make "pumpkin" puree from one or more kinds of winter squashes such as butternut, Hubbard, and Boston Marrow, which can be less stringy and richer in sweetness and color.

The color for my Homemade Pumpkin Pie is different than the pie you make from a can. Typically, Hubbard is a great squash to use for its sweetness instead of pumpkin. Try it the next time you make a pie.

Homemade Croutons

cookie sheet

6 slices stale white bread; crust removed
3 tablespoons butter; melted
salt and pepper to taste

Remove crust from bread slices. Brush tops only with melted butter; season with salt and pepper. Slice the bread vertically into one-half inch strips. Next, cut the strips horizontally into one-half inch cubes.

Spread the cubes evenly in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake approximately in a preheated 300 degree oven for 35 minutes or until the cubes are dry and crisp. Cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cucumbers Sliced

large bowl

2 medium cucumbers; thinly sliced
1 medium onion; thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

Wash your cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers thin. Lay them neatly in a large bowl or canning jar. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Next, add a layer of thin sliced onions. Repeat the process until all the cucumbers and onions have been used. Mix the vinegar and water together and gently poor over the cucumber mix. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Good for up to three days.

Tidbit: General Ulysses S. Grant ate cucumbers every morning with his breakfast.

Homemade Apple Sauce

Large saucepan
8 cups good cooking apples, washed, pared and cored
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons homemade brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg

Wash, pare, core and slice apples. Place them in a large saucepan with 1/2 cup water to keep them from burning. Add the grated lemon peel. Stew the apples until quite soft and tender. Mash the apple mixture. Add the brown sugar, butter and nutmeg. Mash the apple-sauce one more time. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters
Large Dutch-oven
small saucepan
1 large bowl, 1 medium bowl, 2 small bowls
slotted spoon

1 cup whole milk, warmed slightly
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon homemade baking powder
2 large eggs separated; whites and yolks slightly beaten in separate bowls
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sour apples, washed, peeled, cored and chopped
maple syrup

Heat approximately 3 inches deep of good sweet lard in the Dutch-oven until it reaches 370 degrees.

In the meantime, heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is luke warm. Have ready a large bowl with the beaten egg yolks and sugar creamed together. Add the warm milk.

Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Slowly add this to the milk mixture. Next, add the beaten egg whites. Fold in the chopped apples until they are incorporated.

Golden Spice Cake

Golden Spice Cake

(2) 8x8 round or square baking pans
preheat oven to 350 degrees
egg separator

7 egg yolks from large eggs, beaten and room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 cups homemade brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon soda
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups raisins

Beat eggs, sugar and butter to a light batter; then add the molasses and buttermilk.

Whisk the soda and seasonings into the flour well. Add a small amount of the flour mixture at a time to the batter. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and then fold in the raisins.

Bake in a two 8 x 8 buttered and floured pans in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Confederate Soldiers Cooking Salt Pork and Beans

Photos by Roxe Anne Peacock
Photoshop editing by Heather Peacock Land

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flaxseed Lemonade

Pour one quart of boiling water over four tablespoonfuls of whole flaxseed and steep three hours. Strain and sweeten to taste, and add the juice of two lemons. Add a little more water if the liquid seems too thick. This is soothing in colds.

Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book, by Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln, Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1884

Pie Crust Glaze

In making any pie which has a juicy mixture, the juice soaks unto the crust making it soggy and unfit to eat, to prevent this:

Beat an egg well and with a brush or bit of cloth, wet the crust of the pie with the beaten egg, just before you put in the pie mixture.

For pies which have a top crust also, wet the top with the same before baking, which gives it a beautiful yellow brown. It gives beauty also to biscuit, ginger cakes, and is just the thing for rusk by putting in a little sugar.

Dr. Chase's Recipes by Alvin Wood Chase, M.D., Ann Arbor, MI 1864

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Boiled Peanuts in the Civil War

The peanut was known in Peru around 1200 to 1500 B.C. Well preserved peanut plants have been found in Inca mummy bundles and burial sites.

Before the Civil War (1861-1865), peanuts were called groundnuts, goober peas, Monkey nuts, Pindars and goobers. The names "pindars" and "goober" are African tribal words.

The peanut is really a legume like a pea. Dealers of other edible nuts thought the peanuts only fit for the poor.

Union General William T. Sherman led his troops on their march through Georgia in 1865. The Confederacy was split in two and deprived of supplies.

Confederate soldiers roasted and boiled the freshly pulled (raw-green) peanuts over campfires. The peanuts were also used as a cheap form of coffee. No one knows who came up with the idea of adding salt, but it has been used as a preservative since ancient times.

After Appomattox (April 1865), soldiers returning home brought back peanuts to places where they were unknown. Within the next five years, peanut production increased by two hundred percent.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some 19th Century Weights, Measurements & Substitutions Conversions

1 penny weight = 1/20 ounce
1 drachm = 1/8 ounce
1 salt spoon = 1/4 teaspoon
4 salt spoons = 1 teaspoon
1 dessert spoon = 2 teaspoons
1 gill = 1/2 cup
1 jigger = 3 tablespoons
1 pony = 2 tablespoons
1 wineglass = 1/4 cup
The Size of Butter
hen's egg = 2 ounces
walnut = 1 tablespoon
butternut = 1 dessertspoon rounded
filbert = 1 teaspoon rounded
1 oz. grated chocolate 1/4 cup
Oven Temperatures
Slow 300-325 degrees
Moderate 350-375 degrees
Moderately Hot 375-400 degrees
Hot 400-450 degrees
Very Hot 450 -500 degrees

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Candied Orange Slices

1 large navel orange sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise with a sharp knife (approximately 6 to 8 slices)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Combine the water and sugar in a medium bowl. Pour into a very clean large skillet and bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the orange slices in a single layer and cook over a medium-low heat; gently turning the orange slices occasionally. Heat the sugar liquid and orange slices until the orange skin and whites are are translucent; about 40 minutes.

When the orange slices are translucent, remove the pan from the heat and let the orange slices cool in the pan.

Place parchment paper under a wire rack. Transfer the orange slices from the pan to the rack with a spatula and cool completely. You can also place the orange slices on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake in a 200 degree oven for about an hour until the slices are dried.

Decorate the top of your Orange Cake with the cooled slices or place them in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Tidbit: Lemon slices can be done in this manner.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Morel Mushroom Hunting Tips

In the Midwest, Morel mushrooms can be found in late April to mid-May. Morels are known as an early spring mushroom.

May 12, 1990 in Oregon, Illinois, a man found a giant Morel weighing two pounds, measuring 11 and one-half inches and had a circumference of seven and one-half inches.

They say that a heavy snow fall will produce a great season. Most likely due to all the moisture the snow brings. Morels like a cold-snap after it has been warm for a few days. You need a few 70 degree days with a low in the 50's at night; followed by a cold-snap and then warm weather again.

The Morel mushrooms tend to grow around old Apple orchards and dead Elm trees and logs. Old stumps and fallen trees are a popular growing spot along with living White Ash and Maple trees.

When you see Redbud trees beginning to bloom, the Oak leaves just opening, and May Apple plants popping up in the woods, it is time to put on your hiking boots, get out the Deep Woods Off, put on long pants and long sleeved shirts to protect you from the poison ivy and prickly bushes.

Make sure you bring a compass or your GPS, a walking-stick to move the twigs, a drink and snack, and a mesh or cloth bag for your treasured Morels. Don't use a plastic bag.

For the beginner, know your trees before you take your trek in the woods and always go with an experienced hunter. There are dangerous plants and fungi that can be lethal.

When you spot your morels, be gentle and clip or break them off so they will continue to grow for years.

Now go back to your campsite and prepare your favorite Pheasant with Wild Rice and Morel Mushroom recipe from this blog. Or if you must, fry it in butter with a steak. Enjoy.

Tidbit: This article is dedicated to my mother, Dorothy and my Aunt Viola who taught me how to hunt mushrooms at an early age.

Roxe Anne Peacock

Friday, January 29, 2010

Double Pie Crust

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick ice cold unsalted butter; slice the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces and freeze for about 10 minutes
1/2 cup ice cold lard; cut into 1/2 inch pieces and freeze for about 10 minutes
1/2 cup ice cold water

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Toss by hand to mix. Place the butter pieces over dry ingredients and toss to mix. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles small peas. Add the lard and continue to cut into all the fat until it is in small pieces. Sprinkle half of the ice water over the mixture. Toss the ingredients well with a fork to dampen the ingredients. Add the remaining water; 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue to mix ; pulling the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl in an upstroke manner gently pressing in the down stroke. When making pastry dough by hand, you sometimes absorb some of the liquid and need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water into the pastry until the pastry can be packed.

Using your hands, form pastry into two balls. One ball should be about 1 1/2 inches larger than the other for the under crust. Knead each ball once or twice and place each ball between two large sheets of plastic wrap dusted with flour. Flatten each ball into a 3/4 inch disk and refrigerate one hour to overnight.

Roll the larger disk out 1/8 inch thick to fit your baking dish. You should have about an inch of dough hanging over the top of your dish. Make the top crust 1/4 inch thick and place over the fruit filling. Either by using an egg mixture or cold water, attach the top crust to the extra bottom crust. You may also use an egg wash for the top of the crust. Some even sprinkle a Little sugar over the egg wash on the top crust. Bake as directed.