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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Poultry


TO CLEAN POULTRY.

First be very careful to singe off all down by holding over a blazing paper, or a little alcohol burning in a saucer. Cut off the feet and ends of the wings, and the neck as far as it is dark. If the fowl is killed at home, be sure that the head is chopped off, and never allow the neck to be wrung as is often done. It is not only an unmerciful way of killing, but the blood has thus no escape, and settles about all the vital organs. The head should be cut off, and the body hang and bleed thoroughly before using.

Pick out all the pin-feathers with the blade of a small knife. Turn back the skin of the neck, loosening it with the finger and thumb, and draw out the windpipe and crop, which can be done without making any cut. Now cut a slit in the lower part of the fowl, the best place being close to the thigh. By working the fingers in slowly, keeping them close to the body, the whole intestines can be removed in a mass. Be especially careful not to break the gall-bag, which is near the upper part of the breastbone, and attached to the liver. If this operation is carefully performed, it will be by no means so disagreeable as it seems. A French cook simply wipes out the inside, considering that much flavor is lost by washing. I prefer to wash in one water, and dry quickly, though in the case of an old fowl, which often has a strong smell, it is better to dissolve a teaspoonful of soda in the first water, which should be warm, and wash again in cold, then wiping dry as possible. Split and wash the gizzard, reserving it for gravy.

DRESSING FOR POULTRY.

One pint of bread or cracker crumbs, into which mix dry one teaspoonful of pepper, one of thyme or summer savory, one even tablespoonful of salt, and, if in season, a little chopped parsley. Melt a piece of butter the size of an egg in one cup of boiling water, and mix with the crumbs, adding one or two well-beaten eggs. A slice of salt pork chopped fine is often substituted for the butter.

For ducks two onions are chopped fine, and added to the above; or a potato dressing is made, as for geese, using six large boiled potatoes, mashed hot, and seasoned with an even tablespoonful of salt, a teaspoonful each of sage and pepper, and two chopped onions.

Game is usually roasted unstuffed; but grouse and prairie-chickens may have the same dressing as chickens and turkeys, this being used also for boiled fowls.

ROAST TURKEY.

Prepare by cleaning, as in general directions above, and, when dry, rub the inside with a teaspoonful of salt. Put the gizzard, heart, and liver on the fire in a small saucepan, with one quart of boiling water and one teaspoonful of salt, and boil two hours. Put a little stuffing in the breast, and fold back the skin of the neck, holding it with a stitch or with a small skewer. Put the remainder in the body, and sew it up with darning-cotton. Cross and tie the legs down tight, and run a skewer through the wings to fasten them to the body. Lay it in the roasting-pan, and for an eight-pound turkey allow not less than three hours' time, a ten or twelve pound one needing four. Put a pint of boiling water with one teaspoonful of salt in the pan, and add to it as it dries away. Melt a heaping tablespoonful of butter in the water, and baste very often. The secret of a handsomely-browned turkey, lies in this frequent basting. Dredge over the flour two or three times, as in general roasting directions, and turn the turkey so that all sides will be reached. When done, take up on a hot platter. Put the baking-pan on the stove, having before this chopped the gizzard and heart fine, and mashed the liver, and put them in the gravy-tureen. Stir a tablespoonful of brown flour into the gravy in the pan, scraping up all the brown, and add slowly the water in which the giblets were boiled, which should be about a pint. Strain on to the chopped giblets, and taste to see if salt enough. The gravy for all roast poultry is made in this way. Serve with cranberry sauce or jelly.

ROAST OR BOILED CHICKENS.

Stuff and truss as with turkeys, and to a pair of chickens weighing two and a half pounds each, allow one hour to roast, basting often, and making a gravy as in preceding receipt.

Boil as in rule for turkeys.

ROAST DUCK.

After cleaning, stuff as in rule given for poultry dressing, and roast,—if game, half an hour; if tame, one hour, making gravy as in directions given, and serving with currant jelly.

ROAST GOOSE.

No fat save its own is needed in basting a goose, which, if large, requires two hours to roast. Skim off as much fat as possible before making the gravy, as it has a strong taste.

BIRDS.

Small birds may simply be washed and wiped dry, tied firmly, and roasted twenty minutes, dredging with flour, basting with butter and water, and adding a little currant jelly or wine to the gravy. They may be served on toast.

FRIED CHICKEN.

Cut the chicken into nice pieces for serving. Roll in flour, or, if preferred, in beaten egg and crumbs. Heat a cupful of nice dripping or lard; add a teaspoonful of salt and a saltspoonful of pepper; lay in the pieces, and fry brown on each side, allowing not less than twenty minutes for the thickest pieces and ten for the thin ones. Lay on a hot platter, and make a gravy by adding one tablespoonful of flour to the fat, stirring smooth, and adding slowly one cupful of boiling water or stock. Strain over the chicken. Milk or cream is often used instead of water.

BROWN FRICASSEE.

Fry one or two chickens as above, using only flour to roll them in. Three or four slices of salt pork may be used, cutting them in bits, and frying brown, before putting in the chicken. When fried, lay the pieces in a saucepan, and cover with warm water, adding one teaspoonful of salt and a saltspoonful of pepper. Cover closely, and stew one hour, or longer if the chickens are old. Take up the pieces, and thicken the gravy with one tablespoonful of flour, first stirred smooth in a little cold water. Or the flour may be added to the fat in the pan after frying, and water enough for a thin gravy, which can all be poured into the saucepan, though with this method there is more danger of burning. If not dark enough, color with a teaspoonful of caramel. By adding a chopped onion fried in the fat, and a teaspoonful of curry-powder, this becomes a curry, to be served with boiled rice.

WHITE FRICASSEE.

Cut up the chicken as in brown fricassee, and stew without frying for an hour and a half, reducing the water to about one pint. Take up the chicken on a hot platter. Melt one tablespoonful of butter in a saucepan, and add a heaping tablespoonful of flour, stirring constantly till smooth. Pour in slowly one cup of milk, and, as it boils and thickens, add the chicken broth, and serve. This becomes a pot-pie by adding biscuit-crust as in rule for veal pot-pie, p. 150, and serving in the same way. The same crust may also be used with a brown fricassee, but is most customary with a white.

CHICKEN PIE.

Make a fricassee, as above directed, either brown or white, as best liked, and a nice pie-crust, as on p. 224, or a biscuit-crust if pie-crust is considered too rich. Line a deep baking-dish with the crust; a good way being to use a plain biscuit-crust for the lining, and pie-crust for the lid. Lay in the cooked chicken; fill up with the gravy, and cover with pastry, cutting a round hole in the centre; and bake about three-quarters of an hour. The top can be decorated with leaves made from pastry, and in this case will need to have a buttered paper laid over it for the first twenty minutes, that they need not burn. Eat either cold or hot. Game pies can be made in the same way, and veal is a very good substitute for chicken. Where veal is used, a small slice of ham may be added, and a little less salt; both veal and ham being cut very small before filling the pie.

BOILED TURKEY.

Clean, stuff, and truss the fowl selected, as for a roasted turkey. The body is sometimes filled with oysters. To truss in the tightest and most compact way, run a skewer under the leg-joint between the leg and the thigh, then through the body and under the opposite leg-joint in the same way; push the thighs up firmly close to the sides; wind a string about the ends of the skewer, and tie it tight. Treat the wings in the same way, though in boiled fowls the points are sometimes drawn under the back, and tied there. The turkey may be boiled with or without cloth around it. In either case use boiling water, salted as for stock, and allow twenty minutes to the pound. It is usually served with oyster sauce, but parsley or capers may be used instead.

CHICKEN CROQUETTES.

Take all the meat from a cold roast or boiled chicken, and chop moderately fine. Mince an onion very small, and fry brown in a piece of butter the size of an egg. Add one small cup of stock or water; one saltspoonful each of pepper and mace; one teaspoonful of salt; the juice of half a lemon; two well-beaten eggs; and, if liked, a glass of wine. Make into small rolls like corks, or mold in a pear shape, sticking in a clove for the stem when fried. Roll in sifted cracker-crumbs; dip in an egg beaten with a spoonful of water, and again in crumbs; put in the frying-basket, and fry in boiling lard. Drain on brown paper, and pile on a napkin in serving.

A more delicate croquette is made by using simply the white meat, and adding a set of calf's brains which have been boiled in salted water. A cupful of boiled rice mashed fine is sometimes substituted for the brains. Use same seasoning as above, adding quarter of a saltspoonful of cayenne, omitting the wine, and using instead half a cup of cream or milk. Fry as directed. Veal croquettes can hardly be distinguished from those of chicken.

PHILADELPHIA CHICKEN CROQUETTES.

The croquette first given is dry when fried, and even the second form is somewhat so, many preferring them so. For the creamy delicious veal, sweetbread, or chicken croquette one finds in Philadelphia, the following materials are necessary: one pint of hot cream; two even tablespoonfuls of butter; four heaping tablespoonfuls of sifted flour; half a teaspoonful of salt; half a saltspoonful of white pepper; a dust of cayenne; half a teaspoonful of celery salt; and one teaspoonful of onion juice. Scald the cream in a double boiler. Melt the butter in an enameled or granite saucepan, and as it boils, stir in the flour, stirring till perfectly smooth. Add the cream very slowly, stirring constantly as it thickens, adding the seasoning at the last. An egg may also be added, but the croquettes are more creamy without it. To half a pound of chicken chopped fine, add one teaspoonful of lemon juice and one of minced parsley, one beaten egg and the pint of cream sauce. Spread on a platter to cool, and when cool make into shapes, either corks or like pears; dip in egg and crumbs, and fry in boiling fat. Oyster, sweetbread, and veal croquettes are made by the same form, using a pint of chopped oysters. To the sweetbreads a small can of mushrooms may be added cut in bits.

SALMI OF DUCKS OR GAME.

Cut the meat from cold roast ducks or game into small bits. Break the bones and trimmings, and cover with stock or cold water, adding two cloves, two pepper-corns, and a bay-leaf or pinch of sweet herbs. Boil till reduced to a cupful for a pint of meat. Mince two small onions fine, and fry brown in two tablespoonfuls of butter; then add two tablespoonfuls of flour and stir till deep brown, adding to it the strained broth from the bones. Put in the bits of meat with one tablespoonful of lemon juice and one of Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for fifteen minutes, and at the last add, if liked, six or eight mushrooms and a glass of claret. Serve on slices of fried bread, and garnish with fried bread and parsley.

CASSEROLE OF RICE AND MEAT.

This can be made of any kind of meat, but is nicest of veal or poultry. Boil a large cup of rice till tender, and let it cool. Chop fine half a pound of meat, and season with half a teaspoonful of salt, a small grated onion, and a teaspoonful of minced parsley and a pinch of cayenne. Add a teacupful of cracker crumbs and a beaten egg, and wet with stock or hot water enough to make it pack easily. Butter a tin mould, quart size best, and line the bottom and sides with rice about half an inch thick. Pack in the meat; cover with rice, and steam one hour. Loosen at edges; turn out on hot platter, and pour tomato sauce around it.

ITALIA'S PRIDE.

This is a favorite dish in the writer's family, having been sent many years ago from Italy by a friend who had learned its composition from her Italian cook. Its name was bestowed by the children of the house. One large cup of chopped meat; two onions minced and fried brown in butter; a pint of cold boiled macaroni or spaghetti; a pint of fresh or cold stewed tomatoes; one teaspoonful of salt; half a teaspoonful of white pepper. Butter a pudding dish, and put first a layer of macaroni, then tomato, then meat and some onion and seasoning, continuing this till the dish is full. Cover with fine bread crumbs, dot with bits of butter, and bake for half an hour. Serve very hot.

DEVILED HAM.

For this purpose use either the knuckle or any odds and ends remaining. Cut off all dark or hard bits, and see that at least a quarter of the amount is fat. Chop as finely as possible, reducing it almost to a paste. For a pint-bowl of this, make a dressing as follows:—

One even tablespoonful of sugar; one even teaspoonful of ground mustard; one saltspoonful of cayenne pepper; one spoonful of butter; one teacupful of boiling vinegar. Mix the sugar, mustard, and pepper thoroughly, and add the vinegar little by little. Stir it into the chopped ham, and pack it in small molds, if it is to be served as a lunch or supper relish, turning out upon a small platter and garnishing with parsley.

For sandwiches, cut the bread very thin; butter lightly, and spread with about a teaspoonful of the deviled ham. The root of a boiled tongue can be prepared in the same way. If it is to be kept some time, pack in little jars, and pour melted butter over the top.

BONED TURKEY.

This is a delicate dish, and is usually regarded as an impossibility for any ordinary housekeeper; and unless one is getting up a supper or other entertainment, it is hardly worth while to undertake it. If the legs and wings are left on, the boning becomes much more difficult. The best plan is to cut off both them and the neck, boiling all with the turkey, and using the meat for croquettes or hash.

Draw only the crop and windpipe, as the turkey is more easily handled before dressing. Choose a fat hen turkey of some six or seven pounds weight, and cut off legs up to second joint, with half the wings and the neck. Now, with a very sharp knife, make a clean cut down the entire back, and holding the knife close to the body, cut away the flesh, first on one side and then another, making a clean cut around the pope's nose. Be very careful, in cutting down the breastbone, not to break through the skin. The entire meat will now be free from the bones, save the pieces remaining in legs and wings. Cut out these, and remove all sinews. Spread the turkey skin-side down on the board. Cut out the breasts, and cut them up in long, narrow pieces, or as you like. Chop fine a pound and a half of veal or fresh pork, and a slice of fat ham also. Season with one teaspoonful of salt, a saltspoonful each of mace and pepper, half a saltspoonful of cayenne, and the juice of lemon. Cut half a pound of cold boiled smoked tongue into dice. Make layers of this force-meat, putting half of it on the turkey and then the dice of tongue, with strips of the breast between, using force meat for the last layer. Roll up the turkey in a tight roll, and sew the skin together. Now roll it firmly in a napkin, tying at the ends and across in two places to preserve the shape. Cover it with boiling water, salted as for stock, putting in all the bones and giblets, and two onions stuck with three cloves each. Boil four hours. Let it cool in the liquor. Take up in a pan, lay a tin sheet on it, and press with a heavy weight. Strain the water in which it was boiled, and put in a cold place.

Next day take off the napkin, and set the turkey in the oven a moment to melt off any fat. It can be sliced and eaten in this way, but makes a handsomer dish served as follows:

Remove the fat from the stock, and heat three pints of it to boiling-point, adding two-thirds of a package of gelatine which has been soaked in a little cold water. Strain a cupful of this into some pretty mold,—an ear of corn is a good shape,—and the remainder in two pans or deep plates, coloring each with caramel,—a teaspoonful in one, and two in the other. Lay the turkey on a small platter turned face down in a larger one, and when the jelly is cold and firm, put the molded form on top of it. Now cut part of the jelly into rounds with a pepper-box top or a small star-cutter, and arrange around the mold, chopping the rest and piling about the edge, so that the inner platter or stand is completely concealed. The outer row of jelly can have been colored red by cutting up, and boiling in the stock for it, half of a red beet. Sprigs of parsley or delicate celery-tops may be used as garnish, and it is a very elegant-looking as well as savory dish. The legs and wings can be left on and trussed outside, if liked, making it as much as possible in the original shape; but it is no better, and much more trouble.

JELLIED CHICKEN.

Tenderness is no object here, the most ancient dweller in the barnyard answering equally well, and even better than "broilers."

Draw carefully, and if the fowl is old, wash it in water in which a spoonful of soda has been dissolved, rinsing in cold. Put on in cold water, and season with a tablespoonful of salt and a half teaspoonful of pepper. Boil till the meat slips easily from the bones, reducing the broth to about a quart. Strain, and when cold, take off the fat. Where any floating particles remain, they can always be removed by laying a piece of soft paper on the broth for a moment. Cut the breast in long strips, and the rest of the meat in small pieces. Boil two or three eggs hard, and when cold, cut in thin slices. Slice a lemon very thin. Dissolve half a package of gelatine in a little cold water; heat the broth to boiling-point, and add a saltspoonful of mace, and if liked, a glass of sherry, though it is not necessary, pouring it on the gelatine. Choose a pretty mold, and lay in strips of the breast; then a layer of egg-slices, putting them close against the mold. Nearly fill with chicken, laid in lightly; then strain on the broth till it is nearly full, and set in a cold place. Dip for an instant in hot water before turning out. It is nice as a supper or lunch dish, and very pretty in effect.


Taken from:

THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes

BY
HELEN CAMPBELL,
Copyright 1903

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Meats


The qualities and characteristics of meats have already been spoken of in Part I., and it is necessary here to give only a few simple rules for marketing.

The best BEEF is of a clear red color, slightly marbled with fat, and the fat itself of a clear white. Where the beef is dark red or bluish, and the fat yellow, it is too old, or too poorly fed, to be good. The sirloin and ribs, especially the sixth, seventh, and eighth, make the best roasting-pieces. The ribs can be removed and used for stock, and the beef rolled or skewered firmly, making a piece very easily carved, and almost as presentable the second day as the first. For steaks sirloin is nearly as good, and much more economical, than porter-house, which gives only a small eatable portion, the remainder being only fit for the stock-pot. If the beef be very young and tender, steaks from the round may be used; but these are usually best stewed. Other pieces and modes of cooking are given under their respective heads.

MUTTON should be a light, clear red, and the fat very white and firm. It is always improved by keeping, and in cold weather can be hung for a month, if carefully watched to see that it has not become tainted. Treated in this way, well-fed mutton is equal to venison. If the fat is deep yellow, and the lean dark red, the animal is too old; and no keeping will make it really good eating. Four years is considered the best age for prime mutton.

VEAL also must have clear white fat, and should be fine in grain. If the kidney is covered with firm white fat, it indicates health, and the meat is good; if yellow, it is unwholesome, and should not be eaten. The loin and fillet are used in roasting, and are the choice pieces, the breast coming next, and the neck and ribs being good for stewing and fricassees.

PORK should have fine, white fat, and the meat should be white and smooth. Only country-fed pork should ever be eaten, the pig even then being liable to diseases unknown to other animals, and the meat, even when carefully fed, being at all times less digestible than any sort. Bacon, carefully cured and smoked, is considered its most wholesome form.

POULTRY come last. The best Turkeys have black legs; and, if young, the toes and bill are soft and pliable. The combs of fowls should be bright colored, and the legs smooth.

Geese, if young and fine, are plump in the breast, have white soft fat, and yellow feet.

Ducks are chosen by the same rule as geese, and are firm and thick on the breast.

Pigeons should be fresh, the breast plump, and the feet elastic. Only experience can make one familiar with other signs; and a good butcher can usually be trusted to tide one over the season of inexperience, though the sooner it ends the better for all parties concerned.

BOILED MEATS AND STEWS.

All meats intended to be boiled and served whole at table must be put into boiling water, thus following an entirely opposite rule from those intended for soups. In the latter, the object being to extract all the juice, cold water must always be used first, and then heated with the meat in. In the former, all the juice is to be kept in; and, by putting into boiling water, the albumen of the meat hardens on the surface and makes a case or coating for the meat, which accomplishes this end. Where something between a soup and plain boiled meat is desired, as in beef bouilli, the meat is put on in cold water, which is brought to a boil very quickly, thus securing good gravy, yet not robbing the meat of all its juices. With corned or salted meats, tongue, &c., cold water must be used, and half an hour to the pound allowed. If to be eaten cold, such meats should always be allowed to cool in the water in which they were boiled; and this water, if not too salt, can be used for dried bean or pea soups.

BEEF À LA MODE.

Six or eight pounds of beef from the round, cut thick. Take out the bone, trim off all rough bits carefully, and rub the meat well with the following spicing: One teaspoonful each of pepper and ground clove, quarter of a cup of brown sugar, and three teaspoonfuls of salt. Mix these all together, and rub thoroughly into the beef, which must stand over-night.

Next morning make a stuffing of one pint of bread or cracker crumbs; one large onion chopped fine; a tablespoonful of sweet marjoram or thyme; half a teaspoonful each of pepper and ground clove, and a heaping teaspoonful of salt. Add a large cup of hot water, in which has been melted a heaping tablespoonful of butter, and stir into the crumbs. Beat an egg light, and mix with it. If there is more than needed to fill the hole, make gashes in the meat, and stuff with the remainder. Now bind into shape with a strip of cotton cloth, sewing or tying it firmly. Put a trivet or small iron stand into a soup-pot, and lay the beef upon it. Half cover it with cold water; put in two onions stuck with three cloves each, a large tablespoonful of salt, and a half teaspoonful of pepper; and stew very slowly, allowing half an hour to the pound, and turning the meat twice while cooking. At the end of this time take off the cloth, and put the meat, which must remain on the trivet, in a roasting-pan. Dredge it quickly with flour, set into a hot oven, and brown thoroughly. Baste once with the gravy, and dredge again, the whole operation requiring about half an hour. The water in the pot should have been reduced to about a pint. Pour this into the roasting-pan after the meat is taken up, skimming off every particle of fat. Thicken with a heaping tablespoonful of browned flour, stirred smooth in a little cold water, and add a tablespoonful of catchup and two of wine, if desired, though neither is necessary. Taste, as a little more salt may be required.

The thick part of a leg of veal may be treated in the same manner, both being good either hot or cold; and a round of beef may be also used without spicing or stuffing, and browned in the same way, the remains being either warmed in the gravy or used for hashes or croquettes.

BEEF À LA MODE (Virginia fashion).

Use the round, as in the foregoing receipt, and remove the bone; and for eight pounds allow half a pint of good vinegar; one large onion minced fine; half a teaspoonful each of mustard, black pepper, clove, and allspice; and two tablespoonfuls of brown sugar. Cut half a pound of fat salt pork into lardoons, or strips, two or three inches long and about half an inch square. Boil the vinegar with the onion and seasoning, and pour over the strips of pork, and let them stand till cold. Then pour off the liquor, and thicken it with bread or cracker crumbs. Make incisions in the beef at regular intervals,—a carving-steel being very good for this purpose,—and push in the strips of pork. Fill the hole from which the bone was taken with the rest of the pork and the dressing, and tie the beef firmly into shape. Put two tablespoonfuls of dripping or lard in a frying-pan, and brown the meat on all sides. This will take about half an hour. Now put the meat on a trivet in the kettle; half cover with boiling water; and add a tablespoonful of salt, a teaspoonful of pepper, an onion and a small carrot cut fine, and two or three sprigs of parsley. Cook very slowly, allowing half an hour to a pound, and make gravy by the directions given for it in the preceding receipt.

Braised beef is prepared by either method given here for à la mode beef, but cooked in a covered iron pan, which comes for the purpose, and which is good also for beef à la mode, or for any tough meat which requires long cooking, and is made tenderer by keeping in all the steam.

BOILED MUTTON.

A shoulder, or fore-quarter, of mutton, weighing five or six pounds, will boil in an hour, as it is so thin. The leg, or hind-quarter, requires twenty minutes to the pound; though, if very young and tender, it will do in less. It can be tried with a knitting-needle to see if it is tender. It is made whiter and more delicate by boiling in a cloth, but should be served without it. Boil in well-salted water according to the rule already given. Boiled or mashed turnips are usually served with it, and either drawn butter or caper sauce as on p. 169.

Lamb may be boiled in the same manner, but is better roasted; and so also with veal.

BOILED CORNED BEEF.

If to be eaten hot, the round is the best piece. If cold and pressed, what are called "plate pieces"—that is, the brisket, the flank, and the thin part of the ribs—may be used. Wash, and put into cold water, allowing half an hour to a pound after it begins to boil. If to be eaten cold, let it stand in the water till nearly cold, as this makes it richer. Take out all bones from a thin piece; wrap in a cloth, and put upon a large platter. Lay a tin sheet over it, and set on a heavy weight,—flat-irons will do,—and let it stand over-night. Or the meat may be picked apart with a knife and fork; the fat and lean evenly mixed and packed into a pan, into which a smaller pan is set on top of the meat, and the weight in this. Thus marbled slices may be had. All corned beef is improved by pressing, and all trimmings from it can be used in hash or croquettes.

BOILED TONGUE.

Smoked tongue will be found much better than either fresh or pickled tongues.

Soak it over night, after washing it. Put on in cold water, and boil steadily four hours. Then take out; peel off the skin, and return to the water to cool. Cut in lengthwise slices, as this makes it tenderer. The root of the tongue may be chopped very fine, and seasoned like deviled ham (p. 265).

BOILED HAM.

Small hams are better in flavor and quality than large ones. A brush should be kept to scrub them with, as it is impossible to get them clean without it. Soak over-night in plenty of cold water. Next morning, scrape, and trim off all the hard black parts, scrubbing it well. Put on to boil in cold water. Let it heat very gradually. Allow half an hour to the pound. When done, take from the water, skin, and return, letting it remain till cold. Dot with spots of black pepper, and cover the knuckle with a frill of white paper. It is much nicer, whether eaten hot or cold, if covered with bread or cracker crumbs and browned in the oven. The fat is useless, save for soap-grease. In carving, cut down in thin slices through the middle. The knuckle can always be deviled (p. 265). A leg of pork which has simply been corned is boiled in the same way as ham, soaking over-night, and browning in the oven or not, as liked.

IRISH STEW.

This may be made of either beef or mutton, though mutton is generally used. Reject all bones, and trim off all fat and gristle, reserving these for the stock-pot. Cut the meat in small pieces, not over an inch square, and cover with cold water. Skim carefully as it boils up, and see that the water is kept at the same level by adding as it boils away. For two pounds of meat allow two sliced onions, eight good-sized potatoes, two teaspoonfuls of salt, and half a teaspoonful of pepper. Cover closely, and cook for two hours. Thicken the gravy with one tablespoonful of flour stirred smooth in a little cold water, and serve very hot. The trimmings from a fore-quarter of mutton will be enough for a stew, leaving a well-shaped roast besides. If beef is used, add one medium-sized carrot cut fine, and some sprigs of parsley. Such a stew would be called by a French cook a ragoût, and can be made of any pieces of meat or poultry.

WHITE STEW, OR FRICASSEE.

Use veal for this stew, allowing an hour to a pound of meat, and the same proportions of salt and pepper as in the preceding receipt, adding a saltspoonful of mace. Thicken, when done, with one heaping tablespoonful of flour rubbed smooth with a piece of butter the size of an egg, and one cup of hot milk added just at the last. A cauliflower nicely boiled, cut up, and stewed with it a moment, is very nice.

This stew becomes a pot-pie by making a nice biscuit-crust, as on p. 164; cutting it out in rounds, and laying in the kettle half an hour before the stew is done. Cover closely, and do not turn them. Lay them, when done, around the edge of the platter; pile the meat in the centre, and pour over it the thickened gravy. Two beaten eggs are sometimes added, and it is then called a blanquette of veal.

BROWN STEW OR FRICASSEE.

To make these stews the meat is cut in small pieces, and browned on each side in a little hot dripping; or, if preferred, quarter of a pound of pork is cut in thin slices and fried crisp, the fat from it being used for browning. Cover the meat with warm water when done. If a stew, any vegetables liked can be added; a fricassee never containing them, having only meat and a gravy, thickened with browned flour and seasoned in the proportions already given. Part of a can of mushrooms may be used with a beef stew, and a glass of wine added; this making a ragoût with mushrooms. The countless receipts one sees in large cook-books for ragoûts and fricassees are merely variations in the flavoring of simple stews; and, after a little experimenting, any one can improvise her own, remembering that the strongly-flavored vegetables (as carrots) belong especially to dark meats, and the more delicate ones to light. Fresh pork is sometimes used in a white fricassee, in which case a little powdered sage is better than mace as a seasoning.

Curries can be made by adding a heaping teaspoonful of curry-powder to a brown fricassee, and serving with boiled rice; put the rice around the edge of the platter, and pour the curry in the middle. Chicken makes the best curry; but veal is very good. In a genuine East-Indian curry, lemon-juice and grated cocoa-nut are added; but it is an unwholesome combination.

BEEF ROLLS.

Two pounds of steak from the round, cut in very thin slices. Trim off all fat and gristle, and cut into pieces about four inches square. Now cut very thin as many slices of salt pork as you have slices of steak, making them a little smaller. Mix together one teaspoonful of salt and one of thyme or summer savory, and one saltspoonful of pepper. Lay the pork on a square of steak; sprinkle with the seasoning; roll up tightly, and tie. When all are tied, put the bits of fat and trimmings into a hot frying-pan, and add a tablespoonful of drippings. Lay in the rolls, and brown on all sides, which will require about ten minutes; then put them in a saucepan. Add to the fat in the pan a heaping tablespoonful of flour, and stir till a bright brown. Pour in gradually one quart of boiling water, and then strain it over the beef rolls. Cover closely, and cook two hours, or less if the steak is tender, stirring now and then to prevent scorching. Take off the strings before serving. These rolls can be prepared without the pork, and are very nice; or a whole beefsteak can be used, covering it with a dressing made as for stuffed veal, and then rolling; tying at each end, browning, and stewing in the same way. This can be eaten cold or hot; while the small rolls are much better hot. If wanted as a breakfast dish, they can be cooked the day beforehand, left in the gravy, and simply heated through next morning.

BRUNSWICK STEW.

Two squirrels or small chickens; one quart of sliced tomatoes; one pint of sweet corn; one pint of lima or butter beans; one quart of sliced potatoes; two onions; half a pound of fat salt pork.

Cut the pork in slices, and fry brown; cut the squirrels or chickens in pieces, and brown a little, adding the onion cut fine. Now put all the materials in a soup-pot; cover with two quarts of boiling water, and season with one tablespoonful of salt, one of sugar, and half a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper. Stew slowly for four hours. Just before serving, cream a large spoonful of butter with a heaping tablespoonful of flour; thin with the broth, and pour in, letting all cook five minutes longer. To be eaten in soup-plates.

ROASTED MEATS.

Our roasted meats are really baked meats; but ovens are now so well made and ventilated, that there is little difference of flavor in the two processes.

Allow ten minutes to the pound if the meat is liked rare, and from twelve to fifteen, if well done. It is always better to place the meat on a trivet or stand made to fit easily in the roasting-pan, so that it may not become sodden in the water used for gravy. Put into a hot oven, that the surface may soon sear over and hold in the juices, enough of which will escape for the gravy. All rough bits should have been trimmed off, and a joint of eight or ten pounds rubbed with a tablespoonful of salt. Dredge thickly with flour, and let it brown on the meat before basting it, which must be done as often as once in fifteen minutes. Pepper lightly. If the water in the pan dries away, add enough to have a pint for gravy in the end. Dredge with flour at least twice, as this makes a crisp and relishable outer crust. Take up the meat, when done, on a hot platter. Make the gravy in the roasting-pan, by setting it on top of the stove, and first scraping up all the browning from the corners and bottom. If there is much fat, pour it carefully off. If the dredging has been well managed while roasting, the gravy will be thick enough. If not, stir a teaspoonful of browned flour smooth in cold water, and add. Should the gravy be too light, color with a teaspoonful of caramel, and taste to see that the seasoning is right.

Mutton requires fifteen minutes to the pound, unless preferred rare, in which case ten will be sufficient. If a tin kitchen is used, fifteen minutes for beef, and twenty for mutton, will be needed.

STUFFED LEG OF MUTTON.

Have the butcher take out the first joint in a leg of mutton; or it can be done at home by using a very sharp, narrow-bladed knife, and holding it close to the bone. Rub in a tablespoonful of salt, and then fill with a dressing made as follows: One pint of fine bread or cracker crumbs, in which have been mixed dry one even tablespoonful of salt and one of summer savory or thyme, and one teaspoonful of pepper. Chop one onion very fine, and add to it, with one egg well beaten. Melt a piece of butter the size of an egg in a cup of hot water, and pour on the crumbs. If not enough to thoroughly moisten them, add a little more. Either fasten with a skewer, or sew up, and roast as in previous directions. Skim all the fat from the gravy, as the flavor of mutton-fat is never pleasant. A tablespoonful of currant jelly may be put into the gravy-tureen, and the gravy strained upon it. The meat must be basted, and dredged with flour, as carefully as beef. Both the shoulder and saddle are roasted in the same way, but without stuffing; and the leg may be also, though used to more advantage with one.

Lamb requires less time; a leg weighing six pounds needing but one hour, or an hour and a quarter if roasted before an open fire.

ROAST VEAL.

Veal is so dry a meat, that a moist dressing is almost essential. This dressing may be made as in the previous receipt; or, instead of butter, quarter of a pound of salt pork can be chopped fine, and mixed with it. If the loin is used,—and this is always best,—take out the bone to the first joint, and fill the hole with dressing, as in the leg of mutton. In using the breast, bone also, reserving the bones for stock; lay the dressing on it; roll, and tie securely. Baste often. Three or four thin slices of salt pork may be laid on the top; or, if this is not liked, melt a tablespoonful of butter in a cup of hot water, and baste with that. Treat it as in directions for roasted meats, but allow a full half-hour to the pound, and make the gravy as for beef. Cold veal makes so many nice dishes, that a large piece can always be used satisfactorily.

ROAST PORK.

Bone the leg as in mutton, and stuff; substituting sage for the sweet marjoram, and using two onions instead of one. Allow half an hour to the pound, and make gravy as for roast beef. Spare-ribs are considered most delicate; and both are best eaten cold, the hot pork being rather gross, and, whether hot or cold, less digestible than any other meat.

ROAST VENISON.

In winter venison can be kept a month; and, in all cases, it should hang in a cold place at least a month before using. Allow half an hour to a pound in roasting, and baste very often. Small squares of salt pork are sometimes inserted in incisions made here and there, and help to enrich the gravy. In roasting a haunch it is usually covered with a thick paste of flour and water, and a paper tied over this, not less than four hours being required to roast it. At the end of three, remove the paper and paste, dredge and baste till well browned. The last basting is with a glass of claret; and this, and half a small glass of currant jelly are added to the gravy. Venison steaks are treated as in directions for broiled meats.

BAKED PORK AND BEANS.

Pick over one quart of dried beans, what is known as "navy beans" being the best, and soak over-night in plenty of cold water.

Turn off the water in the morning, and put on to boil in cold water till tender,—at least one hour. An earthen pot is always best for this, as a shallow dish does not allow enough water to keep them from drying. Drain off the water. Put the beans in the pot. Take half a pound of salt pork, fat and lean together being best. Score the skin in small squares with a knife, and bury it, all but the surface of this rind, in the beans. Cover them completely with boiling water. Stir in one tablespoonful of salt, and two of good molasses. Cover, and bake slowly,—not less than five hours,—renewing the water if it bakes away. Take off the cover an hour before they are done, that the pork may brown a little. If pork is disliked, use a large spoonful of butter instead. Cold baked beans can be warmed in a frying-pan with a little water, and are even better than at first, or they can be used in a soup as in directions given. A teaspoonful of made mustard is sometimes stirred in, and gives an excellent flavor to a pot of baked beans. Double the quality if the family is large, as they keep perfectly well in winter, the only season at which so hearty a dish is required, save for laborers.

BROILED AND FRIED MEATS.

If the steak is tender, never pound or chop it. If there is much fat, trim it off, or it will drop on the coals and smoke. If tough, as in the country is very likely to be the case, pounding becomes necessary, but a better method is to use the chopping-knife; not chopping through, but going lightly over the whole surface. Broken as it may seem, it closes at once on the application of a quick heat.

The best broiler is by all means a light wire one, which can be held in the hand and turned quickly. The fire should be quick and hot. Place the steak in the centre of the broiler, and hold it close to the coals an instant on each side, letting both sear over before broiling really begins.

Where a steak has been cut three-quarters of an inch thick, ten minutes will be sufficient to cook it rare, and fifteen will make it well done. Turn almost constantly, and, when done, serve at once on a hot dish. Never salt broiled meats beforehand, as it extracts the juices. Cut up a tablespoonful of butter, and let it melt on the hot dish, turning the steak in it once or twice. Salt and pepper lightly, and, if necessary to have it stand at all, cover with an earthen dish, or stand in the open oven. Chops and cutlets are broiled in the same way. Veal is so dry a meat that it is better fried.

Where broiling for any reason cannot be conveniently done, the next best method is to heat a frying-pan very hot; grease it with a bit of fat cut from the steak, just enough to prevent it from sticking. Turn almost as constantly as in broiling, and season in the same way when done. Venison steaks are treated in the same manner.

VEAL CUTLETS.

Fry four or five slices of salt pork till brown, or use drippings instead, if this fat is disliked. Let the cutlets, which are best cut from the leg, be made as nearly of a size as possible; dip them in well-beaten egg and then in cracker-crumbs, and fry to a golden brown. Where the veal is tough, it is better to parboil it for ten or fifteen minutes before frying.

PORK STEAK.

Pork steaks or chops should be cut quite thin, and sprinkled with pepper and salt and a little powdered sage. Have the pan hot; put in a tablespoonful of dripping, and fry the pork slowly for twenty minutes, turning often. A gravy can be made for these, and for veal cutlets also, by mixing a tablespoonful of flour with the fat left in the pan, and stirring it till a bright brown, then adding a large cup of boiling water, and salt to taste; a saltspoonful being sufficient, with half the amount of pepper.

Pigs' liver, which many consider very nice, is treated in precisely the same way, using a teaspoonful of powdered sage to two pounds of liver.

FRIED HAM OR BACON.

Cut the ham in very thin slices. Take off the rind, and, if the ham is old or hard, parboil it for five minutes. Have the pan hot, and, unless the ham is quite fat, use a teaspoonful of drippings. Turn the slices often, and cook from five to eight minutes. They can be served dry, or, if gravy is liked, add a tablespoonful of flour to the fat, stir till smooth, and pour in slowly a large cup of milk or water. Salt pork can be fried in the same way. If eggs are to be fried with the ham, take up the slices, break in the eggs, and dip the boiling fat over them as they fry. If there is not fat enough, add half a cup of lard. To make each egg round, put muffin-rings into the frying-pan, and break an egg into each, pouring the boiling fat over them from a spoon till done, which will be in from three to five minutes. Serve one on each slice of ham, and make no gravy. The fat can be strained, and used in frying potatoes.

FRIED TRIPE.

The tripe can be merely cut in squares, rolled in flour, salted and peppered, and fried brown in drippings, or the pieces may be dipped in a batter made as for clam fritters, or egged and crumbed like oysters, and fried. In cities it can be bought already prepared. In the country it must first be cleaned, and then boiled till tender.

TO WARM COLD MEATS.

Cold roast beef should be cut in slices, the gravy brought to boiling-point, and each slice dipped in just long enough to heat, as stewing in the gravy toughens it. Rare mutton is treated in the same way, but is nicer warmed in a chafing-dish at table, adding a tablespoonful of currant jelly and one of wine to the gravy. Venison is served in the same manner. Veal and pork can cook in the gravy without toughening, and so with turkey and chicken. Cold duck or game is very nice warmed in the same way as mutton, the bones in all cases being reserved for stock.



Taken from:

THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes

BY
HELEN CAMPBELL,
Copyright 1903

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fish


The most essential point in choosing fish is their freshness, and this is determined as follows: if the gills are red, the eyes prominent and full, and the whole fish stiff, they are good; but if the eyes are sunken, the gills pale, and the fish flabby, they are stale and unwholesome, and, though often eaten in this condition, lack all the fine flavor of a freshly-caught fish.

The fish being chosen, the greatest care is necessary in cleaning. If this is properly done, one washing will be sufficient: the custom of allowing fresh fish to lie in water after cleaning, destroys much of their flavor.

Fresh-water fish, especially the cat-fish, have often a muddy taste and smell. To get rid of this, soak in water strongly salted; say, a cupful of salt to a gallon of water, letting it heat gradually in this, and boiling it for one minute; then drying it thoroughly before cooking.

All fish for boiling should be put into cold water, with the exception of salmon, which loses its color unless put into boiling water. A tablespoonful each of salt and vinegar to every two quarts of water improves the flavor of all boiled fish, and also makes the flesh firmer. Allow ten minutes to the pound after the fish begins to boil, and test with a knitting-needle or sharp skewer. If it runs in easily, the fish can be taken off. If a fish-kettle with strainer is used, the fish can be lifted out without danger of breaking. If not, it should be thoroughly dredged with flour, and served in a cloth kept for the purpose. In all cases drain it perfectly, and send to table on a folded napkin laid upon the platter.

In frying, fish should, like all fried articles, be immersed in the hot lard or drippings. Small fish can be fried whole; larger ones boned, and cut in small pieces. If they are egged and crumbed, the egg will form a covering, hardening at once, and absolutely impervious to fat.

Pan-fish, as they are called,—flounders and small fish generally,—can also be fried by rolling in Indian meal or flour, and browning in the fat of salt pork.

Baking and broiling preserve the flavor most thoroughly.

Cold boiled fish can always be used, either by spicing as in the rule to be given, or by warming again in a little butter and water. Cold fried or broiled fish, can be put in a pan, and set in the oven till hot, this requiring not over ten minutes; a longer time giving a strong, oily taste, which spoils it. Plain boiled or mashed potatoes are always served with fish where used as a dinner-course. If fish is boiled whole, do not cut off either tail or head. The tail can be skewered in the mouth if liked; or a large fish may be boiled in the shape of the letter S by threading a trussing-needle, fastening a string around the head, then passing the needle through the middle of the body, drawing the string tight and fastening it around the tail.

BAKED FISH.

Bass, fresh shad, blue-fish, pickerel, &c., can be cooked in this way:—

See that the fish has been properly cleaned. Wash in salted water, and wipe dry. For stuffing for a fish weighing from four to six pounds, take four large crackers, or four ounces of bread-crumbs; quarter of a pound of salt pork; one teaspoonful of salt, and half a teaspoonful of pepper; a tablespoonful of chopped parsley, or a teaspoonful of thyme. Chop half the pork fine, and mix with the crumbs and seasoning, using half a cup of hot water to mix them, or, if preferred, a beaten egg. Put this dressing into the body of the fish, which is then to be fastened together with a skewer. Cut the remainder of the pork in narrow strips, and lay it in gashes cut across the back of the fish about two inches apart. Dredge thickly with flour, using about two tablespoonfuls. Put a tin baking-sheet in the bottom of a pan, as without it the fish can not be easily taken up. Lay the fish on this; pour a cup of boiling water into the pan, and bake in a hot oven for one hour, basting it very often that the skin may not crack; and, at the end of half an hour, dredging again with flour, repeating this every ten minutes till the fish is done. If the water dries away, add enough to preserve the original quantity. When the fish is done, slide it carefully from the tin sheet on to a hot platter. Set the baking-pan on top of the stove. Mix a teaspoonful of flour with quarter of a cup of cold water, and stir into the boiling gravy. A tablespoonful of walnut or mushroom catchup, or of Worcestershire sauce, may be added if liked. Serve very hot.

Before sending a baked fish to table, take out the skewer. When done, it should have a handsome brown crust. If pork is disliked, it may be omitted altogether, and a tablespoonful of butter substituted in the stuffing. Basting should be done as often as once in ten minutes, else the skin will blister and crack. Where the fish is large, it will be better to sew the body together after stuffing, rather than to use a skewer. The string can be cut and removed before serving.

If any is left, it can be warmed in the remains of the gravy, or, if this has been used, make a gravy of one cup of hot water, thickened with one teaspoonful of flour or corn-starch stirred smooth first in a little cold water. Add a tablespoonful of butter and any catchup or sauce desired. Take all bones from the fish; break it up in small pieces, and stew not over five minutes in the gravy. Or it can be mixed with an equal amount of mashed potato or bread-crumbs, a cup of milk and an egg added, with a teaspoonful of salt and a saltspoonful of pepper, and baked until brown—about fifteen minutes—in a hot oven.

TO BOIL FISH.

General directions have already been given. All fish must boil very gently, or the outside will break before the inside is done. In all cases salt and a little vinegar, a teaspoonful each, are allowed to each quart of water. Where the fish has very little flavor, Dubois' receipt for boiling will be found exceedingly nice, and much less trouble than the name applied by professional cooks to this method—au court bouillon—would indicate. It is as follows:—

Mince a carrot, an onion, and one stalk of celery, and fry them in a little butter. Add two or three sprigs of parsley, two tablespoonfuls of salt, six pepper-corns, and three cloves. Pour on two quarts of boiling water and one pint of vinegar, and boil for fifteen minutes. Skim as it boils, and use, when cold, for boiling the fish. Wine can be used instead of vinegar; and, by straining carefully and keeping in a cold place, the same mixture can be used several times.

TO BROIL FISH.

If the fish is large, it should be split, in order to insure its being cooked through; though notches may be cut at equal distances, so that the heat can penetrate. Small fish may be broiled whole. The gridiron should be well greased with dripping or olive oil. If a double-wire gridiron is used, there will be no trouble in turning either large or small fish. If a single-wire or old-fashioned iron one, the best way is to first loosen with a knife any part that sticks; then, holding a platter over the fish with one hand, turn the gridiron with the other, and the fish can then be returned to it without breaking.

Small fish require a hot, clear fire; large ones, a more moderate one, that the outside may not be burned before the inside is done. Cook always with the skin-side down at first, and broil to a golden brown,—this requiring, for small fish, ten minutes; for large ones, from ten to twenty, according to size. When done, pepper and salt lightly; and to a two-pound fish allow a tablespoonful of butter spread over it. Set the fish in the oven a moment, that the butter may soak in, and then serve. A teaspoonful of chopped parsley, and half a lemon squeezed over shad or any fresh fish, is a very nice addition. Where butter, lemon, and parsley are blended beforehand, it makes the sauce known as maître d'hôtel sauce, which is especially good for broiled shad.

In broiling steaks or cutlets of large fish,—say, salmon, halibut, fresh cod, &c.,—the same general directions apply. Where very delicate broiling is desired, the pieces of fish can be wrapped in buttered paper before laying on the gridiron; this applying particularly to salmon.

TO FRY FISH.

Small fish—such as trout, perch, smelts, &c.—may simply be rolled in Indian meal or flour, and fried either in the fat of salt pork, or in boiling lard or drippings. A nicer method, however, with fish, whether small or in slices, is to dip them first in flour or fine crumbs, then in beaten egg,—one egg, with two tablespoonfuls of cold water and half a teaspoonful of salt, being enough for two dozen smelts; then rolling again in crumbs or meal, and dropping into hot lard. The egg hardens instantly, and not a drop of fat can penetrate the inside. Fry to a golden brown. Take out with a skimmer; lay in the oven on a double brown paper for a moment, and then serve.

Filets of fish are merely flounders, or any flat fish with few bones, boned, skinned, and cut in small pieces; then egged and fried.

To bone a fish of this sort, use a very sharp knife. The fish should have been scaled, but not cleaned or cut open. Make a cut down the back from head to tail. Now, holding the knife pressed close to the bone, cut carefully till the fish is free on one side; then turn, and cut away the other. To skin, take half the fish at a time firmly in one hand; hold the blade of the knife flat as in boning, and run it slowly between skin and flesh. Cut the fish in small diamond-shaped pieces; egg, crumb, and put into shape with the knife; and then fry. The operation is less troublesome than it sounds, and the result most satisfactory.

The bones and trimmings remaining can either be stewed in a pint of water till done, adding half a teaspoonful of salt, a saltspoonful of pepper, and a tablespoonful of catchup; straining the gravy off, and thickening with one heaping teaspoonful of flour dissolved in a little cold water: or they can be broiled. For broiled bones, mix one saltspoonful of mustard, as much cayenne as could be taken up on the point of a penknife, a saltspoonful of salt, and a tablespoonful of vinegar. A tablespoonful of olive-oil may be added, if liked. Lay the bone in this, turning it till all is absorbed; broil over a quick fire; and serve very hot.

Fish may also be fried in batter (p. 182), or these pieces, or filets, may be laid on a buttered dish; a simple drawn butter or cream sauce (p. 182) poured over them; the whole covered with rolled bread or cracker-crumbs, dotted with bits of butter, and baked half an hour. A cup of canned mushrooms is often added.

TO STEW FISH.

Any fresh-water fish is good, cooked in this way; cat-fish which have been soaked in salted water, to take away the muddy taste, being especially nice. Cut the fish in small pieces. Boil two sliced onions in a cup of water. Pour off this water; add another cup, and two tablespoonfuls of wine, a saltspoonful of pepper, and salt to taste (about half a teaspoonful). Put in the fish, and cook for twenty minutes. Thicken the gravy with a heaping teaspoonful of flour, rubbed to a cream with a teaspoonful of butter. If wine is not used, add a sprig of chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon.

These methods will be found sufficient for all fresh fish, no other special rules being necessary. Experience and individual taste will guide their application. If the fish is oily, as in the case of mackerel or herring, broiling will always be better than frying. If fried, let it be with very little fat, as their own oil will furnish part.

TO BOIL SALT CODFISH.

The large, white cod, which cuts into firm, solid slices, should be used. If properly prepared, there is no need of the strong smell, which makes it so offensive to many, and which comes only in boiling. The fish is now to be had boned, and put up in small boxes, and this is by far the most desirable form. In either case, lay in tepid water skin-side up, and soak all night. If the skin is down, the salt, instead of soaking out, settles against it, and is retained. Change the water in the morning, and soak two or three hours longer; then, after scraping and cleaning thoroughly, put in a kettle with tepid water enough to well cover it, and set it where it will heat to the scalding-point, but not boil. Keep it at this point, but never let it boil a moment. Let it cook in this way an hour: two will do no harm. Remove every particle of bone and dark skin before serving, sending it to table in delicate pieces, none of which need be rejected. With egg sauce (p. 169), mashed or mealy boiled potatoes, and sugar-beets, this makes the New-England "fish dinner" a thing of terror when poorly prepared, but both savory and delicate where the above rule is closely followed.

Fish-balls, and all the various modes of using salted cod, require this preparation beforehand.

SALT COD WITH CREAM.

Flake two pounds of cold boiled salt cod very fine. Boil one pint of milk. Mix butter the size of a small egg with two tablespoonfuls of flour, and stir into it. Add a few sprigs of parsley or half an onion minced very fine, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and half a teaspoonful of salt. Butter a quart pudding-dish. Put in alternate layers of dressing and fish till nearly full. Cover the top with sifted bread or cracker crumbs, dot with bits of butter, and brown in a quick oven about twenty minutes. The fish may be mixed with an equal part of mashed potato, and baked; and not only codfish, but any boiled fresh fish, can be used, in which case double the measure of salt given will be required.

SPICED FISH.

Any remains of cold fresh fish may be used. Take out all bones or bits of skin. Lay in a deep dish, and barely cover with hot vinegar in which a few cloves and allspice have been boiled. It is ready for use as soon as cold.

POTTED FISH.

Fresh herring or mackerel or shad may be used. Skin the fish, and cut in small pieces, packing them in a small stone jar. Just cover with vinegar. For six pounds of fish allow one tablespoonful of salt, and a dozen each of whole allspice, cloves, and pepper-corns. Tie a thick paper over the top of the cover, and bake five hours. The vinegar dissolves the bones perfectly, and the fish is an excellent relish at supper.

FISH CHOWDER.

Three pounds of any sort of fresh fish may be taken; but fresh cod is always best. Six large potatoes and two onions, with half a pound of salt pork.

Cut the pork into dice, and fry to a light brown. Add the onions, and brown them also. Pour the remaining fat into a large saucepan, or butter it, as preferred. Put in a layer of potatoes, a little onion and pork, and a layer of the fish cut in small pieces, salting and peppering each layer. A tablespoonful of salt and one teaspoonful of pepper will be a mild seasoning. A pinch of cayenne may be added, if liked. Barely cover with boiling water, and boil for half an hour. In the meantime boil a pint of milk, and, when at boiling-point, break into it three ship biscuit or half a dozen large crackers; add a heaping tablespoonful of butter. Put the chowder in a platter, and pile the softened crackers on top, pouring the milk over all. Or the milk may be poured directly into the chowder; the crackers laid in, and softened in the steam; and the whole served in a tureen. Three or four tomatoes are sometimes added. In clam chowder the same rule would be followed, substituting one hundred clams for the fish, and using a small can of tomatoes if fresh ones were not in season.

STEWED OYSTERS.

The rule already given for oyster soup is an excellent one, omitting the thickening. A simpler one is to strain the juice from a quart of oysters, and add an equal amount of water. Bring it to boiling-point; skim carefully; season with salt to taste, this depending on the saltness of the oysters, half a teaspoonful being probably enough. Add a saltspoonful of pepper, a tablespoonful of butter, and a cup of milk. The milk may be omitted, if preferred. Add the oysters. Boil till the edges curl, and no longer. Serve at once, as they toughen by standing.

FRIED OYSTERS.

Choose large oysters, and drain thoroughly in a colander. Dry in a towel. Dip first in sifted cracker-crumbs; then in egg, one egg beaten with a large spoonful of cold water, half a teaspoonful of salt, and a saltspoonful of pepper, being enough for two dozen oysters. Roll again in crumbs, and drop into boiling lard. If a wire frying-basket is used, lay them in this. Fry to a light brown. Lay them on brown paper a moment to drain, and serve at once on a hot platter. As they require hardly more than a minute to cook, it is better to wait till all are at the table before beginning to fry. Oysters are very good, merely fried in a little hot butter; but the first method preserves their flavor best.

SCALLOPED OYSTERS.

One quart of oysters; one large breakfast cup of cracker or bread crumbs, the crackers being nicer if freshly toasted and rolled hot; two large spoonfuls of butter; one teaspoonful of salt; half a teaspoonful of pepper; one saltspoonful of mace. Mix the salt, pepper, and mace together. Butter a pudding-dish; heat the juice with the seasoning and butter, adding a teacup of milk or cream if it can be had, though water will answer. Put alternate layers of crumbs and oysters, filling the dish in this way. Pour the juice over, and bake in a quick oven twenty minutes. If not well browned, heat a shovel red-hot, and brown the top with that; longer baking toughening the oysters.

OYSTERS FOR PIE OR PATTIES.

One quart of oysters put on to boil in their own liquor. Turn them while boiling into a colander to drain. Melt a piece of butter the size of an egg in the saucepan, add a tablespoonful of sifted flour, and stir one minute. Pour in the oyster liquor slowly, which must be not less than a large cupful. Beat the yolks of two eggs thoroughly with a saltspoonful of salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and one of mace. Add to the boiling liquor, but do not let it boil. Put in the oysters, and either use them to fill a pie, the form for which is already baked, for patties for dinner, or serve them on thin slices of buttered toast for breakfast or tea.

SPICED OR PICKLED OYSTERS.

To a gallon of large, fine oysters, allow one pint of cider or white-wine vinegar; one tablespoonful of salt; one grated nutmeg; eight blades of mace; three dozen cloves, and as many whole allspice; and a saltspoon even full of cayenne pepper. Strain the oyster juice, and bring to the boiling-point in a porcelain-lined kettle. Skim carefully as it boils up. Add the vinegar, and skim also, throwing in the spices and salt when it has boiled a moment. Boil all together for five minutes, and then pour over the oysters, adding a lemon cut in very thin slices. They are ready for the table next day, but will keep a fortnight or more in a cold place. If a sharp pickle is desired, use a quart instead of a pint of vinegar.

SMOTHERED OYSTERS (Maryland fashion).

Drain all the juice from a quart of oysters. Melt in a frying-pan a piece of butter the size of an egg, with as much cayenne pepper as can be taken up on the point of a penknife, and a saltspoonful of salt. Put in the oysters, and cover closely. They are done as soon as the edges ruffle. Serve on thin slices of buttered toast as a breakfast or supper dish. A glass of sherry is often added.

OYSTER OR CLAM FRITTERS.

Chop twenty-five clams or oysters fine, and mix them with a batter made as follows: One pint of flour, in which has been sifted one heaping teaspoonful of baking-powder and half a teaspoonful of salt; one large cup of milk, and two eggs well beaten. Stir eggs and milk together; add the flour slowly; and, last, the clams or oysters. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling lard. Fry to a golden brown, and serve at once; or they may be fried like pancakes in a little hot fat. Whole clams or oysters may be used instead of chopped ones, and fried singly.

TO BOIL LOBSTERS OR CRABS.

Be sure that the lobster is alive, as, if dead, it will not be fit to use. Have water boiling in a large kettle, and, holding the lobster or crab by the back, drop it in head foremost; the reason for this being, that the animal dies instantly when put in in this way. An hour is required for a medium-sized lobster, the shell turning red when done. When cold, the meat can be used either plain or in salad, or cooked in various ways. A can-opener will be found very convenient in opening a lobster.

STEWED OR CURRIED LOBSTER.

Cut the meat into small bits, and add the green fat, and the coral which is found only in the hen-lobster. Melt in a saucepan one tablespoonful of butter and a heaping tablespoonful of flour. Stir smoothly together, adding slowly one large cup of either stock or milk, a saltspoonful of mace, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and half a teaspoonful of salt. Put in the lobster, and cook for ten minutes. For curry, simply add one teaspoonful of curry-powder. This stewed lobster may also be put in the shell of the back, which has been cleaned and washed, bread or cracker crumbs sprinkled over it, and browned in the oven; or it may be treated as a scallop, buttering a dish, and putting in alternate layers of crumbs and lobster, ending with crumbs. Crabs, though more troublesome to extract from the shell, are almost equally good, treated in any of the ways given.


Taken from:

THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes

BY
HELEN CAMPBELL,
Copyright 1903

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Soups




BEEP SOUP WITH VEGETABLES.

For this very excellent soup take two quarts of stock prepared beforehand, as already directed. If the stock is a jelly, as will usually be the case in winter, an amount sufficient to fill a quart-measure can be diluted with a pint of water, and will then be rich enough. Add to this one small carrot, a turnip, a small parsnip, and two onions, all chopped fine; a cupful of chopped cabbage; two tablespoonfuls of barley or rice; and either six fresh tomatoes sliced, or a small can of sealed ones. Boil gently at least one hour; then add one saltspoonful each of pepper, curry-powder, and clove. If the stock has been salted properly, no more will be needed; but tasting is essential to secure just the right flavors. Boil a few minutes longer, and serve without straining.

This is an especially savory and hearty soup, and the combinations of vegetables may be varied indefinitely. A cup of chopped celery is an exceedingly nice addition, or, if this is not to be had, a teaspoonful of celery salt, or a saltspoonful of celery-seed. A lemon may also be sliced thin, and added at the last. Where tomatoes are used, a little sugar is always an improvement; in this case an even tablespoonful being sufficient. If a thicker broth is desired, one heaped tablespoonful of corn-starch or flour may be first dissolved in a little cold water; then a cup of the hot broth gradually mixed with it, and the whole added to the soup and boiled for five minutes.

CLEAR OR AMBER SOUP.

This soup needs careful attention. It may be made of beef alone, but, if desired very rich for a special dinner, requires the addition of either a chicken or a knuckle of veal. Allow, then, for the best soup, a soup-bone,—the shin of beef being most desirable,—weighing from two to three pounds; a chicken; a slice of fat ham; two onions, each stuck with three cloves; one small carrot and parsnip; one stalk of celery; one tablespoonful of salt; half a saltspoonful of pepper; and four quarts of cold water.

Cut all the meat from the beef bone in small pieces; slice the onions; fry the ham (or, if preferred, a thick slice of salt pork weighing not less than two ounces); fry the onions a bright brown in this fat; add the pieces of beef, and brown them also. Now put all the materials, bones included, into the soup-kettle; add the cold water, and let it very gradually come to a boil. Skim with the utmost care, and then boil slowly and steadily for not less than five hours, six or even seven being preferable. Strain, and set in a cold place. Next day remove the fat, and put the soup on the fire one hour before it will be wanted. Break the white and shell of an egg into a bowl; add a spoonful of cold water, and beat a moment; add a little of the hot soup, that the white may mix more thoroughly with the soup, and then pour it into the kettle. Let all boil slowly for ten minutes; then strain, either through a jelly-bag, or through a thick cloth laid in a sieve or colander. Do not stir, as this would cloud the soup; and, if not clear and sparkling, strain again. Return to the fire, and heat to boiling-point, putting a lemon cut in thin slices, and, if liked, a glass of sherry, into the tureen before serving. A poached egg, or a boiled egg from which the shell has been peeled, is often served with each plate of this soup, which must be clear to deserve its name.

WHITE SOUP.

Veal or chicken must be used for this soup; and the stock must always be prepared the day beforehand, having been flavored with two chopped onions and a cup of cut celery, or celery-seed and other seasoning, in the proportions already given. On the day it is to be used, heat a quart of milk; stir one tablespoonful of butter to a cream; add a heaping tablespoonful of flour or corn-starch, a saltspoonful of mace, and the same amount of white pepper. Stir into the boiling milk, and add to the soup. Let all boil a moment, and then pour into the tureen. Three eggs, beaten very light and stirred into the hot milk without boiling, make a still richer soup. The bones of cold roast chicken or turkey may be used in this way; and the broth of any meat, if perfectly clear, can serve as foundation, though veal or chicken is most delicate.

MOCK TURTLE SOUP.

A calf's head is usually taken for this soup; but a set of calf's feet and a pound of lean veal answer equally well. In either case, boil the meat in four quarts of water for five hours, reducing the amount to two quarts, and treating as stock for clear soup.

Remove all fat, and put on the fire next day, half an hour before dinner, seasoning it with a saltspoonful each of mace, powdered thyme, or sweet marjoram and clove. Melt a piece of butter the size of a walnut in a small saucepan; add a heaping tablespoonful of flour, and stir both till a bright brown. Add soup till a smooth thickening is made, and pour it into the soup-kettle. Cut about half a pound of the cold meat into small square pieces,—dice they are called,—and put into the tureen. Make forcemeat balls by chopping a large cup of meat very fine; season with a saltspoonful each of pepper and thyme; mix in the yolk of a raw egg; make into little balls the size of a hickory-nut, and fry brown in a little butter. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the tureen with (or without) a wine-glass of sherry. Pour in the soup, and serve. If egg-balls are desired, make them of the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs rubbed fine. Add the yolk of a raw egg, a tablespoonful of melted butter, a saltspoon of salt and half a one of pepper, and flour enough to make a dough which can be easily handled. Roll out; cut into little dice, and make each into a ball by rolling between the palms of the hands. Boil five minutes in the soup.

MUTTON BROTH.

Prepare and boil as directed for stock. The broth from a boiled leg of mutton can be used, or any cheap pieces and trimmings from chops. One small turnip and an onion will give flavoring enough. On the day it is to be used, add to two quarts of broth half a cup of rice, and boil for half an hour.

CHICKEN BROTH.

Even an old fowl which is unusable in any other way makes excellent broth. Prepare as in any stock, and, when used, add a tablespoonful of rice to each quart of broth, boiling till tender. A white soup will be found the most savory mode of preparation, the plain broth with rice being best for children and invalids.

TOMATO SOUP WITHOUT MEAT.

Materials for this soup are: one large can, or twelve fresh tomatoes; one quart of boiling water; two onions; a small carrot; half a small turnip; two or three sprigs of parsley, or a stalk of celery,—all cut fine, and boiled one hour. As the water boils away, add more to it, so that the quantity may remain the same. Season with one even tablespoonful each of salt and sugar, and half a teaspoonful of pepper. Cream a tablespoonful of butter with two heaping ones of flour, and add hot soup till it will pour easily. Pour into the soup; boil all together for five minutes; then strain through a sieve, and serve with toasted crackers or bread.

HASTY TOMATO SOUP.

Simple but excellent. One large can of tomatoes and one pint of water brought to the boiling-point, and rubbed through a sieve. Return to the fire. Add half a teaspoonful of soda, and stir till it stops foaming. Season with one even tablespoonful of salt, two of sugar, one saltspoonful of cayenne. Thicken with two heaping tablespoonfuls of flour, and one of butter rubbed to a cream, with hot soup added till it pours easily. Boil a pint of milk separately, and, when ready to use, pour into the boiling tomato, and serve at once, as standing long makes the milk liable to curdle.

OYSTER SOUP.

Two quarts of perfectly fresh oysters. Strain off the juice, and add an equal amount of water, or, if they are solid, add one pint of water, and then strain and boil. Skim carefully. Add to one quart of milk one tablespoonful of salt, and half a teaspoonful of pepper, and, if thickening is liked, use same proportions as in hasty tomato soup, and set to boil. When the milk boils, put in the oysters. The moment the edges curl a little, which will be when they have boiled one minute, they are done, and should be served at once. Longer boiling toughens and spoils them. This rule may be used also for stewed oysters, omitting the thickening; or they may be put simply into the boiling juice, with the same proportions of butter, salt, and pepper, and cooked the same length of time.

CLAM SOUP.

Fifty clams (hard or soft), boiled in a quart of water one hour. Take out, and chop fine. Add one quart of milk, half a teaspoonful of pepper, and one teaspoonful of salt. It will be necessary to taste, however, as some clams are salter than others. Rub one tablespoonful of butter to a cream with two of flour, and use as thickening. Add the chopped clams, and boil five minutes. If the clams are disliked, simply strain through a sieve, or cut off the hard part and use the soft only.

PURÉE, OF FISH, VEGETABLES, ETC.

One pound of fresh boiled salmon, or one small can of the sealed.

Pick out all bone and skin, and, if the canned is used, pour off every drop of oil. Shred it as fine as possible. Boil one quart of milk, seasoning with one teaspoonful of salt, and one saltspoonful each of mace and white pepper, increasing the amount slightly if more is liked. Thicken with two tablespoonfuls of flour, and one of butter rubbed to a cream, with a cup of boiling water; add thickening and salmon, and boil two minutes. Strain into the tureen through a purée sieve, rubbing as much as possible of the salmon through with a potato-masher, and serve very hot. All that will not go through can be mixed with an equal amount of cracker-crumbs or mashed potato, made into small cakes or rolls, and fried in a little butter for breakfast, or treated as croquettes, and served at dinner.

This thickened milk is the foundation for many forms of fish and vegetable purées. A pint of green pease, boiled, mashed, and added; or asparagus or spinach in the same proportions can be used. Lobster makes a purée as delicious as that of salmon. Dry the "coral" in the oven; pound it fine, and add to the milk before straining, thus giving a clear pink color. Cut all the meat and green fat into dice, and put into the tureen, pouring the hot milk upon it. Boiled cod or halibut can be used; but nothing is so nice as the salmon, either fresh or canned. For a Purée of Celery boil one pint of cut celery in water till tender; then add to boiling milk, and rub through the sieve. For Potato Purée use six large or ten medium sized potatoes, boiled and mashed fine; then stirred into the milk, and strained; a large tablespoonful of chopped parsley being put in the tureen. For a Green-Corn Soup use the milk without straining; adding a can of corn, or the corn cut from six ears of fresh boiled corn, and an even tablespoonful of sugar, and boiling ten minutes. Salsify can also be used, the combinations being numberless, and one's own taste a safe guide in making new ones.

TURTLE-BEAN SOUP.

Wash and soak over-night, in cold water, one pint of the black or turtle beans. In the morning put on the fire in three quarts of cold water, which, as it boils away, must be added to, to preserve the original quantity. Add quarter of a pound of salt pork and half a pound of lean beef; one carrot and two onions cut fine; one tablespoonful of salt; one saltspoonful of cayenne. Cover closely, and boil four or five hours. Rub through a colander, having first put in the tureen three hard-boiled eggs cut in slices, one lemon sliced thin, and half a glass of wine. This soup is often served with small sausages which have been boiled in it for ten minutes, and then skinned, and used either whole or cut in bits. Cold baked beans can also be used, in which case the meat, eggs, and wine are omitted.

PEA SOUP.

One quart of dried pease, washed and soaked over-night; split pease are best. In the morning put them on the fire with six quarts of cold water; half a pound of salt pork; one even tablespoonful of salt; one saltspoonful of cayenne; and one teaspoonful of celery-seed. Fry till a bright brown three onions cut small, and add to the pease; cover closely, and boil four or five hours. Strain through a colander, and, if not perfectly smooth, return to fire, and add a thickening made of one heaping teaspoonful of flour and an even one of butter, stirred together with a little hot water and boiled five minutes. Beans can be used in precisely the same way; and both bean and pea soups are nicer served with croutons, or a thick slice of bread cut in dice, and fried brown and crisp, or simply browned in the oven, and put into the tureen at the moment of serving.

ONION SOUP.

Take three large onions, slice them very thin, and then fry to a bright brown in a large spoonful of either butter or stock-fat, the latter answering equally well. When brown, add half a teacupful of flour, and stir constantly until red. Then pour in slowly one pint of boiling water, stirring steadily till it is all in. Boil and mash fine four large potatoes, and stir into one quart of boiling milk, taking care that there are no lumps. Add this to the fried onions, with one teaspoonful of salt and half a teaspoonful of white pepper. Let all boil for five minutes, and then serve with toasted or fried bread. Simple as this seems, it is one of the best of the vegetable soups, though it is made richer by the use of stock instead of water.

BROWNED FLOUR FOR SOUPS.

Put a pint of sifted flour into a perfectly clean frying-pan, and stir and turn constantly as it darkens, till the whole is an even dark brown. If scorched at all, it is ruined, and should not be used for any purpose. As a coloring for soups and gravies it is by no means as good as caramel or burned sugar.

CARAMEL.

Half a pound of brown sugar; one tablespoonful of water. Put into a frying-pan, and stir steadily over the fire till it becomes a deep dark brown in color. Then add one cup of boiling water and one teaspoonful of salt. Boil a minute longer, bottle, and keep corked. One tablespoonful will color a clear soup, and it can be used for many jellies, gravies, and sauces.



Taken from:

THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes

BY
HELEN CAMPBELL,
Copyright 1903

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stocks and Seasonings


The preparation called STOCK is for some inscrutable reason a stumbling-block to average cooks, and even by experienced housekeepers is often looked upon as troublesome and expensive. Where large amounts of fresh meat are used in its preparation, the latter adjective might be appropriate; but stock in reality is the only mode by which every scrap of bone or meat, whether cooked or uncooked, can be made to yield the last particle of nourishment contained in it. Properly prepared and strained into a stone jar, it will keep a week, and is as useful in the making of hashes and gravies as in soup itself.

The first essential is a tightly-covered kettle, either tinned iron or porcelain-lined, holding not less than two gallons; three being a preferable size. Whether cooked or uncooked meat is used, it should be cut into small bits, and all bones broken or sawn into short pieces, that the marrow may be easily extracted.

To every pound of meat and bone allow one quart of cold water, one even teaspoon of salt, and half a saltspoon of pepper. Let the meat stand till the water is slightly colored with its juice; then put upon the fire, and let it come slowly to a boil, skimming off every particle of scum as it rises. The least neglect of this point will give a broth in which bits of dark slime float about, unpleasant to sight and taste. A cup of cold water, thrown in as the kettle boils, will make the scum rise more freely. Let it boil steadily, but very slowly, allowing an hour to each pound of meat. The water will boil away, leaving, at the end of the time specified, not more than half or one-third the original amount. In winter this will become a firm jelly, which can be used by simply melting it, thus obtaining a strong, clear broth; or can be diluted with an equal quantity of water, and vegetables added for a vegetable soup.

The meat used in stock, if boiled the full length of time given, has parted with all its juices, and is therefore useless as food. If wanted for hashes or croquettes, the portion needed should be taken out as soon as tender, and a pint of the stock with it, to use as gravy. Strain, when done, into a stone pot or crock kept for the purpose, and, when cold, remove the cake of fat which will rise to the top. This fat, melted and strained, serves for many purposes better than lard. If the stock is to be kept several days, leave the fat on till ready to use it.

Fresh and cooked meat may be used together, and all remains of poultry or game, and trimmings of chops and steaks, may be added, mutton being the only meat which can not as well be used in combination; though even this, by trimming off all the fat, may also be added. If it is intended to keep the stock for some days, no vegetables should be added, as vegetable juices ferment very easily. For clear soups they must be cooked with the meat; and directions will be given under that head for amounts and seasonings.

The secret of a savory soup lies in many flavors, none of which are allowed to predominate; and, minutely as rules for such flavoring may be given, only careful and frequent tasting will insure success. Every vegetable, spice, and sweet herb, curry-powders, catchups, sauces, dried or fresh lemon-peel, can be used; and the simple stock, by the addition of these various ingredients, becomes the myriad number of soups to be found in the pages of great cooking manuals like Gouffée's or Francatelli's.

Brown soups are made by frying the meat or game used in them till thoroughly brown on all sides, and using dark spices or sauces in their seasoning.

White soups are made with light meats, and often with the addition of milk or cream.

Purées are merely thick soups strained carefully before serving, and made usually of some vegetable which thickens in boiling, as beans, pease, &c, though there are several forms of fish purées in which the foundation is thickened milk, to which the fish is added, and the whole then rubbed through a common sieve, if a regular purée-sieve is not to be had.

Browned flour is often used for coloring, but does not thicken a soup, as, in browning it, the starchy portion has been destroyed; and it will not therefore mix, but settles at the bottom. Burned sugar or caramel makes a better coloring, and also adds flavor. With clear soups grated cheese is often served, either Parmesan or any rich cheese being used. Onions give a better flavor if they are fried in a little butter or dripping before using, and many professional cooks fry all soup vegetables lightly. Cabbage and potatoes should be parboiled in a separate water before adding to a soup. In using wine or catchup, add only at the last moment, as boiling dissipates the flavor. Unless a thick vegetable soup is desired, always strain into the tureen. Rice, sago, macaroni, or any cereal may be used as thickening; the amounts required being found under the different headings. Careful skimming, long boiling, and as careful removing of fat, will secure a broth especially desirable as a food for children and the old, but almost equally so for any age; while many fragments, otherwise entirely useless, discover themselves as savory and nutritious parts of the day's supply of food.



Taken from:

THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes

BY
HELEN CAMPBELL,
Copyright 1903

Monday, May 18, 2009

Condiments and Beverages


Condiments are simply seasoning or flavoring agents, and, though hardly coming under the head of food, yet have an important part to play. As food by their use is rendered more tempting, a larger amount is consumed, and thus a delicate or uncertain appetite is often aided. In some cases they have the power of correcting the injurious character of some foods.

Salt stands foremost. Vinegar, lemon-juice, and pickles owe their value to acidity; while mustard, pepper black and red, ginger, curry-powder, and horse-radish all depend chiefly upon pungency. Under the head of aromatic condiments are ranged cinnamon, nutmegs, cloves, allspice, mint, thyme, fennel, sage, parsley, vanilla, leeks, onions, shallots, garlic, and others, all of them entering into the composition of various sauces in general use.

Salt is the one thing indispensable. The old Dutch law condemned criminals to a diet of unsalted food, the effects being said to be those of the severest physical torture. Years ago an experiment tried near Paris demonstrated the necessity of its use. A number of cattle were fed without the ration of salt; an equal number received it regularly. At the end of a specified time, the unsalted animals were found rough of coat, the hair falling off in spots, the eyes wild, and the flesh hardly half the amount of those naturally fed.

A class of extreme Grahamites in this country decry the use of salt, as well as of any form of animal food; and I may add that the expression of their thought in both written and spoken speech is as savorless as their diet.

Salt exists, as we have already found, in the blood: the craving for it is a universal instinct, even buffaloes making long journeys across the plains to the salt-licks; and its use not only gives character to insipid food, but increases the flow of the gastric juice.

Black pepper, if used profusely as is often done in American cooking, becomes an irritant, and produces indigestion. Red pepper, or cayenne, on the contrary, is a useful stimulant at times; but, as with mustard, any over-use irritates the lining of the stomach.

So with spices and sweet herbs. There should be only such use of them as will flavor well, delicately, and almost imperceptibly. No one flavor should predominate, and only a sense of general savoriness rule. Extracts, as of vanilla, lemon, bitter almond, &c., should be used with the greatest care, and if possible always be added to an article after it cools, as the heat wastes the strength.

BEVERAGES.

Tea and coffee are the most universal drinks, after water. The flavor of both is due to a principle, theine in tea, caffeine in coffee, in which both the good and the ill effects of these drinks are bound up. It is hardly necessary the principles should have different names, as they have been found by chemists to be identical; the essential spirit of cocoa and chocolate,—theobromine,—though not identical, having many of the same properties.

Tea is valuable chiefly for its warming and comforting qualities. Taken in moderation, it acts partly as a sedative, partly as a stimulant, arresting the destruction of tissue, and seeming to invigorate the whole nervous system. The water in it, even if impure, is made wholesome by boiling, and the milk and sugar give a certain amount of real nourishment. Nervous headaches are often cured by it, and it has, like coffee, been used as an antidote in opium-poisoning.

Pass beyond the point of moderation, and it becomes an irritant, precisely in the same way that an overdose of morphine will, instead of putting to sleep, for just so much longer time prevent any sleep at all. The woman who can not eat, and who braces her nerves with a cup of green tea,—the most powerful form of the herb,—is doing a deeper wrong than she may be able to believe. The immediate effect is delightful. Lightness, exhilaration, and sense of energy are all there; but the re-action comes surely, and only a stronger dose next time accomplishes the end desired. Nervous headaches, hysteria in its thousand forms, palpitations, and the long train of nervous symptoms, own inordinate tea and coffee drinking as their parent. Taken in reasonable amounts, tea can not be said to be hurtful; and the medium qualities, carefully prepared, often make a more wholesome tea than that of the highest price, the harmful properties being strongest in the best. If the water is soft, it should be used as soon as boiled, boiling causing all the gases which give flavor to water to escape. In hard water, boiling softens it. In all cases the water must be fresh, and poured boiling upon the proper portion of tea,—the teapot having first been well scalded with boiling water. Never boil any tea but English-breakfast tea; for all others, simple steeping gives the drink in perfection.

A disregard of these rules gives one the rank, black, unpleasant infusion too often offered as tea; while, if boiled in tin, it becomes a species of slow poison,—the tannic acid in the tea acting upon the metal, and producing a chemical compound whose character it is hard to determine. Various other plants possess the essential principle of tea, and are used as such; as in Paraguay, where the Brazilian holly is dried, and makes a tea very exhilarating in quality, but much more astringent.

The use of Coffee dates back even farther than that of tea. Of the many varieties, Mocha and Java are finest in flavor, and a mixture of one-third Mocha with two-thirds Java gives the drink at its best. As in tea, there are three chief constituents: (1) A volatile oil, giving the aroma it possesses, but less in amount than that in tea. (2) Astringent matter,—a modification of tannin, but also less than in tea. (3) Caffeine, now found identical with theine, but varying in amount in different varieties of coffee,—being in some three or four per cent, in others less.

The most valuable property of coffee is its power of relieving the sensation of hunger and fatigue. To the soldier on active service, nothing can take its place; and in our own army it became the custom often, not only to drink the infusion, but, if on a hard march, to eat the grounds also. In all cases it diminishes the waste of tissue. In hot weather it is too heating and stimulating, acting powerfully upon the liver, and, by producing over-activity of that organ, bringing about a general disturbance.

So many adulterations are found in ground coffee, that it is safest for the real coffee-lover to buy the bean whole. Roasting is usually more perfectly done at the grocers', in their rotary roasters, which give every grain its turn; but, by care and constant stirring, it can be accomplished at home. Too much boiling dissipates the delicious aroma we all know; and the best methods are considered to be those which allow no boiling, after boiling water has been poured upon it, but merely a standing, to infuse and settle. The old fashion, however, of mixing with an egg, and boiling a few minutes, makes a coffee hardly inferior in flavor. In fact, the methods are many, but results, under given conditions, much the same; and we may choose urn, or old-fashioned tin pot, or a French biggin, with the certainty that good coffee, well roasted, boiling water, and good judgment as to time, will give always a delicious drink. Make a note of the fact that long boiling sets free tannic acid, powerful enough to literally tan the coats of the stomach, and bring on incurable dyspepsia. Often coffee without milk can be taken, where, with milk, it proves harmful; but, in all cases, moderation must rule. Taken too strong, palpitation of the heart, vertigo, and fainting are the usual consequences.

Cocoa, or, literally, cacao, from the cacao-tree, comes in the form of a thick seed, twenty or thirty of which make up the contents of a gourd-like fruit, the spaces between being filled with a somewhat acid pulp. The seeds, when freed from this pulp by various processes, are first dried in the sun, and then roasted; and from these roasted seeds come various forms of cocoa.

Cocoa-shells are the outer husk, and by long boiling yield a pleasant and rather nutritious drink. Cocoa itself is the nut ground to powder, and sometimes mixed with sugar, the husk being sometimes ground with it.

In Chocolate—a preparation of cocoa—the cocoa is carefully dried and roasted, and then ground to a smooth paste, the nuts being placed on a hot iron plate, and so keeping the oily matter to aid in forming a paste. Sugar and flavorings, as vanilla, are often added, and the whole pressed into cakes. The whole substance of the nut being used, it is exceedingly nutritious, and made more so by the milk and sugar added. Eaten with bread it forms not only a nourishing but a hearty meal; and so condensed is its form, that a small cake carried in traveling, and eaten with a cracker or two, will give temporarily the effect of a full meal.

In a hundred parts of chocolate are found forty-eight of fatty matter or cocoa-butter, twenty-one of nitrogenous matter, four of theobromine, eleven of starch, three of cellulose, three of mineral matter, and ten of water; there being also traces of coloring matter, aromatic essence, and sugar. Twice as much nitrogenous, and twenty-five times as much fatty matter as wheaten flour, make it a valuable food, though the excess of fat will make it disagree with a very delicate stomach.

Alcohol is last upon our list, and scientific men are still uncertain whether or not it can in any degree be considered as a food; but we have no room for the various arguments for and against. You all know, in part at least, the effects of intemperance; and even the moderate daily drinker suffers from clouded mind, irritable nerves, and ruined digestion.

This is not meant as an argument for total abstinence; but there are cases where such abstinence is the only rule. In an inherited tendency to drink, there is no other safe road; but to the man or woman who lives by law, and whose body is in the best condition, wine in its many forms is a permissible occasional luxury, and so with beer and cider and the wide range of domestic drinks. In old age its use is almost essential, but always in moderation, individual temperament modifying every rule, and making the best knowledge an imperative need. A little alcoholic drink increases a delicate appetite: a great deal diminishes or takes it away entirely, and also hinders and in many cases stops digestion altogether. In its constant over-use the membranes of the stomach are gradually destroyed, and every organ in the body suffers. In ales and beers there is not only alcohol, but much nitrogenous and sugary matter, very fattening in its nature. A light beer, well flavored with hops, is an aid to digestion, but taken in excess produces biliousness. The long list of alcoholic products it is not necessary to give, nor is it possible to enter into much detail regarding alcohol itself; but there are one or two points so important that they can not be passed by.

You will recall in a preceding chapter the description of the circulation of the blood, and of its first passage through veins and arteries for cleansing, before a second round could make it food for the whole complex nervous system. Alcohol taken in excess, it has been proved in countless experiments by scientific men, possesses the power of coagulating the blood. The little corpuscles adhere in masses, and cannot force themselves through the smaller vessels, and circulation is at once hindered. This, however, is the secondary stage. At first, as many of you have had occasion to notice, the face flushes, the eyes grow brighter, and thought and word both come more freely. The heart beats far more rapidly, and the speed increases in proportion to the amount of alcohol absorbed. The average number of beats of the heart, allowing for its slower action during sleep, is 100,000 beats per day. Under a small supply of alcohol this rose to 127,000, and in actual intoxication to 131,000.

The flush upon the cheek is only a token of the same fact within; every organ is congested. The brain has been examined under such circumstances, and "looked as if injected with vermilion ... the membrane covering both brains resembling a delicate web of coagulated red blood, so tensely were its fine vessels engorged."

At a later stage the muscular power is paralyzed, the rule of mind over body suspended, and a heavy, brutal sleep comes, long or short according to the amount taken. This is the extreme of alcoholism, and death the only ending to it, as a habitual condition. Alcohol seems a necessary evil; for that its occasional beneficence can modify or neutralize the long list of woe and crime and brutality following in its train, is more than doubtful.

"Whatever good can come from alcohol, or whatever evil, is all included in that primary physiological and luxurious action of the agent upon the nervous supply of the circulation.... If it be really a luxury for the heart to be lifted up by alcohol, for the blood to course more swiftly through the brain, for the thoughts to flow more vehemently, for words to come more fluently, for emotions to rise ecstatically, and for life to rush on beyond the pace set by nature; then those who enjoy the luxury must enjoy it—with the consequences."

And now, at the end of our talks together, friends, there is yet another word. Much must remain unsaid in these narrow limits; but they are wide enough, I hope, to have given the key by which you may find easy entrance to the mysteries we all may know, indeed must, if our lives are truly lived. If through intemperance, in meat or drink, in feeling or thought, you lessen bodily or mental power, you alone are accountable, whether ignorant or not. Only in a never-failing self-control can safety ever be. Temperance is the foundation of high living; and here is its definition, by one whose own life holds it day by day:—

"Temperance is personal cleanliness; is modesty; is quietness; is reverence for one's elders and betters; is deference to one's mother and sisters; is gentleness; is courage; is the withholding from all which leads to excess in daily living; is the eating and drinking only of that which will insure the best body which the best soul is to inhabit: nay, temperance is all these, and more."



Taken from:

THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes

BY
HELEN CAMPBELL,
Copyright 1903