Let the water be boiling fast when the eggs are put in, that it may not be checked. They should have lain in warm water a few minutes before boiling, to prevent the shells cracking. Allow three minutes for a soft-boiled egg; four, to have the white firmly set; and ten, for a hard-boiled egg. Another method is to pour boiling water on the eggs, and let them stand for ten minutes where they will be nearly at boiling-point, though not boiling. The white and yolk are then perfectly cooked, and of jelly-like consistency.
Have a deep frying-pan full of boiling water,—simmering, not boiling furiously. Put in two teaspoonfuls of vinegar and a teaspoonful of salt. Break each egg into a cup or saucer, allowing one for each person; slide gently into the water, and let them stand five minutes, but without boiling. Have ready small slices of buttered toast which have been previously dipped quickly into hot water. Take up the eggs on a skimmer; trim the edges evenly, and slip off upon the toast, serving at once. For fried eggs, see Ham and Eggs, p. 158.
Break half a dozen eggs into a bowl, and beat for a minute. Have the frying-pan hot. Melt a tablespoonful of butter, with an even teaspoonful of salt and a saltspoonful of pepper, and turn in the eggs. Stir them constantly as they harden, until they are a firm yet delicate mixture of white and yellow, and turn into a hot dish, serving at once. A cup of milk may be added if liked. The whole operation should not exceed five minutes.
Break the eggs into a buttered pudding-dish. Salt and pepper them very lightly, and bake in a quick oven till set. Or turn over them a cupful of good gravy, that of veal or poultry being especially nice, and bake in the same way. Serve in the dish they were baked in.
Boil eggs for twenty minutes. Drop them in cold water, and when cold, take off the shells, and cut the egg in two lengthwise. Take out the yolks carefully; rub them fine on a plate, and add an equal amount of deviled ham, or of cold tongue or chicken, minced very fine. If chicken is used, add a saltspoonful of salt and a pinch of cayenne. Roll the mixture into little balls the size of the yolk; fill each white with it; arrange on a dish with sprigs of parsley, and use cold as a lunch dish. They can also be served hot by laying them in a deep buttered pie-plate, covering with a cream roux, dusting thickly with bread-crumbs, and browning in a quick oven.
The pan for frying an omelet should be clean and very smooth. Break the eggs one by one into a cup, to avoid the risk of a spoiled one. Allow from three to five, but never over five, for a single omelet. Turn them into a bowl, and give them twelve beats with whisk or fork. Put butter the size of an egg into the frying-pan, and let it run over the entire surface. As it begins to boil, turn in the eggs. Hold the handle of the pan in one hand, and with the other draw the egg constantly up from the edges as it sets, passing a knife underneath to let the butter run under. Shake the pan now and then to keep the omelet from scorching. It should be firm at the edges, and creamy in the middle. When done, either fold over one-half on the other, and turn on to a hot platter to serve at once, or set in the oven a minute to brown the top, turning it out in a round. A little chopped ham or parsley may be added. The myriad forms of omelet to be found in large cook-books are simply this plain one, with a spoonful or so of chopped mushrooms or tomatoes or green pease laid in the middle of it just before folding and serving. A variation is also made by beating whites and yolks separately, then adding half a cup of cream or milk; doubling the seasoning given above, and then following the directions for frying. Quarter of an onion and a sprig or two of parsley minced fine are a very nice addition. A cupful of finely minced fish, either fresh or salt, makes a fish omlet. Chopped oysters may also be used; and many persons like a large spoonful of grated cheese, though this is a French rather than American taste.
One large cup of milk; five eggs; a saltspoonful of salt; and half a one of white pepper mixed with the last. Beat the eggs well, a Dover egg-beater being the best possible one where yolks and whites are not separated; add the salt and pepper, and then the milk. Melt a piece of butter the size of an egg in a frying-pan, and when it boils, pour in the egg. Let it stand two minutes, or long enough to harden a little, but do not stir at all. When a little firm, put into a quick oven, and bake till brown. It will rise very high, but falls almost immediately. Serve at once on a very hot platter. This omelet can also be varied with chopped ham or parsley. The old-fashioned iron spider with short handle is best for baking it, as a long-handled pan cannot be shut up in the oven. This omelet can also be fried in large spoonfuls, like pancakes, rolling each one as done.
This preparation of grated cheese and eggs can be made in a large dish for several people, or in "portions" for one, each in a small earthen dish. For one portion allow two eggs; half a saltspoonful of salt; a heaping tablespoonful of grated cheese; two of milk; and a few grains of cayenne. Melt a teaspoonful of butter in the dish, and when it boils, pour in the cheese and egg, and cook slowly till it is well set. It is served in the dish in which it is cooked, and should be eaten at once.
An adaptation of this has been made by Mattieu Williams, the author of the "Chemistry of Cookery." It is as follows:—
Soak enough slices of bread to fill a quart pudding-dish, in a pint of milk, to which half a teaspoonful of salt and two beaten eggs have been added. Butter the pudding-dish and lay in the bread, putting a thick coating of grated cheese on each slice. Pour what milk may remain over the top, and bake slowly about half an hour.
Melt in a saucepan two tablespoonfuls of butter, and add to it half a teaspoonful of dry mustard; a grain of cayenne; a saltspoonful of white pepper; a grate of nutmeg; two tablespoonfuls of flour; and stir all smooth, adding a gill of milk and a large cupful of grated cheese. Stir into this as much powdered bi-carbonate of potash as will stand on a three-cent piece, and then beat in three eggs, yolks and whites beaten separately. Pour this into a buttered earthen dish; bake in a quick oven, and serve at once. In all cases where cheese disagrees it will be found that the bi-carbonate of potash renders it harmless.
TO BOIL OATMEAL OR CRUSHED WHEAT.
Have ready a quart of boiling water in a farina-boiler, or use a small pail set in a saucepan of boiling water. If oatmeal or any grain is boiled in a single saucepan, it forms, no matter how often it is stirred, a thick crust on the bottom; and, as never to stir is a cardinal rule for all these preparations, let the next one be, a double boiler.
Add a teaspoonful of salt to the quart of water in the inside boiler. Be sure it is boiling, and then throw in one even cup of oatmeal or crushed wheat. Now let it alone for two hours, only being sure that the water in the outside saucepan does not dry away, but boils steadily. When done, each grain should be distinct, yet jelly-like. Stirring makes a mere mush, neither very attractive nor palatable. If there is not time for this long boiling in the morning, let it be done the afternoon before. Do not turn out the oatmeal, but fill the outer boiler next morning, and let it boil half an hour, or till heated through.
Allow a cupful to a quart of boiling, salted water. Wash it in two or three waters, put over, and boil steadily for half an hour, or till it will pour out easily. If too thin, boil uncovered for a short time. Stir in a tablespoonful of butter before sending to table. Any of these preparations may be cut in slices when cold, floured on each side, and fried brown like mush.
FINE HOMINY CAKES.
One pint of cold boiled hominy; two eggs; a saltspoonful of salt; and a tablespoonful of butter melted. Break up the hominy fine with a fork, and add salt and butter. Beat the eggs,—whites and yolks separately; add the yolks first, and last the whites; and either fry brown in a little butter or drop by spoonfuls on buttered plates, and bake brown in a quick oven. This is a nice side-dish at dinner. Oatmeal and wheat can be used in the same way at breakfast.
HASTY PUDDING, OR MUSH.
One cup of sifted Indian meal, stirred smooth in a bowl with a little cold water. Have ready a quart of boiling water, with a teaspoonful of salt, and pour in the meal. Boil half an hour, or till it will just pour, stirring often. To be eaten hot with butter and sirup. Rye or graham flour can be used in the same way. If intended to fry, pour the hot mush into a shallow pan which has been wet with cold water to prevent its sticking. A spoonful of butter may be added while hot, but is not necessary. Cut in thin slices when cold; flour each side; and fry brown in a little butter or nice drippings, serving hot.
WHAT TO DO WITH COLD POTATOES.
Chop, as for hash; melt a tablespoonful of either butter or nice drippings in a frying-pan; add, for six or eight good-sized potatoes, one even teaspoonful of salt and a saltspoonful of pepper. When the fat boils, put in the potatoes, and fry for about ten minutes, or until well browned. As soon as they are done, if not ready to use, move to the back of the stove, that they may not burn.
Or cut each potato in lengthwise slices; dredge on a little flour; and fry brown on each side, watching carefully that they do not burn. The fat from two or three slices of fried salt pork may be used for these.
Slice six cold boiled potatoes. Mince very fine an onion and two or three sprigs of parsley,—enough to fill a teaspoon. Melt in a frying-pan a tablespoonful of butter; put in the onion, and fry light brown; then add the potatoes, and fry to a light brown also, turning them often. Put into a hot dish, stirring in the minced parsley, and pouring over them any butter that may be left in the pan.
One pint of cold boiled potatoes cut in bits; one cup of milk; butter the size of an egg; a heaping teaspoonful of flour. Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the flour, and cook a moment; and pour in the milk, an even teaspoonful of salt, and a saltspoonful of white pepper. When it boils, add the potatoes. Boil a minute, and serve.
Pare potatoes, and slice thin as wafers, either with a potato-slicer or a thin-bladed, very sharp knife. Lay in very cold water at least an hour before using. If for breakfast, over-night is better. Have boiling lard at least three inches deep in a frying kettle or pan. Dry the potatoes thoroughly in a towel, and drop in a few slices at a time, frying to a golden brown. Take out with a skimmer, and lay on a double brown paper in the oven to dry, salting them lightly. They may be eaten either hot or cold. Three medium-sized potatoes will make a large dishful; or, as they keep perfectly well, enough may be done at once for several meals, heating them a few minutes in the oven before using.
One pint of cold salt fish, prepared as on page 136, and chopped very fine. Eight good-sized, freshly-boiled potatoes, or enough to make a quart when mashed. Mash with half a teaspoonful of salt, and a heaping tablespoonful of butter, and, if liked, a teaspoonful of made mustard. Mix in the chopped fish, blending both thoroughly. Make into small, round cakes; flour on each side; and fry brown in a little drippings or fat of fried pork. A nicer way is to make into round balls, allowing a large tablespoonful to each. Roll in flour; or they can be egged and crumbed like croquettes. Drop into boiling lard; drain on brown paper, and serve hot. Fresh fish can be used in the same way, and is very nice. Breadcrumbs, softened in milk, can be used instead of potato, but are not so good.
Use either fresh fish or salt. If the former, double the measure of salt will be needed. Prepare and mix as in fish balls, allowing always double the amount of fresh mashed potato that you have of fish. Melt a large spoonful of butter or drippings in a frying-pan. When hot, put in the fish. Let it stand till brown on the bottom, and then stir. Do this two or three times, letting it brown at the last, pressing it into omelet form, and turning out on a hot platter, or piling it lightly.
FISH WITH CREAM.
One pint of cold minced fish, either salt cod or fresh fish; always doubling the amount of seasoning given if fresh is used. Melt in a frying-pan a tablespoonful of butter; stir in a heaping one of flour, and cook a minute; then add a pint of milk and a saltspoonful each of salt and pepper. When it boils, stir in the fish, and add two well-beaten eggs. Cook for a minute, and serve very hot.
Cold salmon, or that put up unspiced, is nice done in this way. The eggs can be omitted, but it is not as good. If cream is plenty, use part cream. Any cold boiled fresh fish can be used in this way.
SALT MACKEREL OR ROE HERRING.
Salted shad are treated in the same way. All are better broiled.
If in skins, prick them all over with a large darning-needle or fork; throw them into a saucepan of boiling water and boil for one minute. Take out, wipe dry, and lay in a hot frying-pan, in which has been melted a tablespoonful of hot lard or drippings. Turn often. As soon as brown they are done. If gravy is wanted, stir a tablespoonful of flour into the fat in the pan; add a cup of boiling water, and salt to taste,—about a saltspoonful,—and pour, not over, but around the sausages. Serve hot.
Half a pound of smoked beef cut very thin. This can be just heated in a tablespoonful of hot butter, and then served, or prepared as follows:—
Pour boiling water on the beef, and let it stand five minutes. In the meantime melt in a frying-pan one tablespoonful of butter; stir in a tablespoonful of flour, and add slowly half a pint of milk or water. Put in the beef which has been taken from the water; cook a few minutes, and add two or three well-beaten eggs, cooking only a minute longer. It can be prepared without eggs, or they may be added to the beef just heated in butter; but the last method is best.
Three pounds of lean veal and quarter of a pound of salt pork chopped very fine. Mince an onion as fine as possible. Grate a nutmeg, or use half a teaspoonful of powdered mace, mixing it with an even tablespoonful of salt, and an even saltspoonful of cayenne pepper. Add three well-beaten eggs, a teacupful of milk, and a large spoonful of melted butter. Mix the ingredients very thoroughly; form into a loaf; cover thickly with sifted bread or cracker crumbs, and bake three hours, basting now and then with a little butter and water. When cold, cut in thin slices, and use for breakfast or tea. It is good for breakfast with baked potatoes, and slices of it are sometimes served around a salad. A glass of wine is sometimes added before baking.
The English hash is meat cut either in slices or mouthfuls, and warmed in the gravy; and the Southern hash is the same. A genuine hash, however, requires potato, and may be made of any sort of meat; cold roast beef being excellent, and cold corned beef best of all. Mutton is good; but veal should always be used as a mince, and served on toast as in the rule to be given.
Chop the meat fine, and allow one-third meat to two-thirds potato. For corned-beef hash the potatoes should be freshly boiled and mashed. For other cold meats finely-chopped cold potatoes will answer. To a quart of the mixture allow a teaspoonful of salt and half a teaspoonful of pepper mixed together, and sprinkled on the meat before chopping. Heat a tablespoonful of butter or nice drippings in a frying-pan; moisten the hash with a little cold gravy or water; and heat slowly, stirring often. It may be served on buttered toast when hot, without browning, but is better browned. To accomplish this, first heat through, then set on the back of the stove, and let it stand twenty minutes. Fold like an omelet, or turn out in a round, and serve hot.
Chop cold veal fine, picking out all bits of gristle. To a pint-bowlful allow a large cup of boiling water; a tablespoonful of butter and one of flour; a teaspoonful of salt; and a saltspoonful each of pepper and mace. Make a roux with the butter and flour, and add the seasoning; put in the veal, and cook five minutes, serving it on buttered toast, made as in directions given for water toast.
TOAST, DRY OR BUTTERED.
Not one person in a hundred makes good toast; yet nothing can be simpler. Cut the slices of bread evenly, and rather thin. If a wire toaster is used, several can be done at once. Hold just far enough from the fire to brown nicely; and turn often, that there may be no scorching. Toast to an even, golden brown. No rule will secure this, and only experience and care will teach one just what degree of heat will do it. If to be buttered dry, butter each slice evenly as taken from the fire, and pile on a hot plate. If served without butter, either send to table in a toast-rack, or, if on a plate, do not pile together, but let the slices touch as little as possible, that they may not steam and lose crispness.
Have a pan of boiling hot, well-salted water; a teaspoonful to a quart being the invariable rule. Dip each slice of toast quickly into this. It must not be wet, but only moistened. Butter, and pile on a hot plate. Poached eggs and minces are served on this form of toast, which is also nice with fricasseed chicken.
Scald a quart of milk in a double boiler, and thicken it with two even tablespoonfuls of corn-starch dissolved in a little cold water, or the same amount of flour. Add a teaspoonful of salt, and a heaping tablespoonful of butter. Have ready a dozen slices of water toast, which, unless wanted quite rich, needs no butter. Pour the thickened milk into a pan, that each slice may be easily dipped into it, and pile them when dipped in a deep dish, pouring the rest of the milk over them. Serve very hot. Cream is sometimes used instead of milk, in which case no thickening is put in, and only a pint heated with a saltspoonful of salt.
THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes