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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Plum Tarte

A little crackling crust and a custard of eggs, sugar and cream to bake the few plums I could find this year … miam, miam.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pets de Putain, de Nonne & Old Farts

Since mostly men wrote cookbooks of old, I assume the scandalous names of Pets de Putain [farts of a whore 17thC] or Pets de Nonne [farts of a Nun 18thC] can be chalked up to little boy humor, AKA old farts. They've even titled a lovely jacket or demi-robe as Pet-en-l'air [fart in the air]. Bad jokes aside, these tender and crusty pastries are a real treat.

Farts of whore.
Make your fritter paste stronger than usual [thicker than one would use for including items such as apples, vegetables, marrow, etc.], by the means of an increase in flour & eggs, then stretch [drop from a spoon or use a syringe] the dough [into] large or thin [pieces], & as soon as they will be cooked [deep-fried] serve hot with sugar, & water of scent [flower water–orange, violet, etc.].
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40. Pets de putain.
Faites votre paste de beignets plus forte qu'à l'ordinaire, par le moyen d'augmentation de farine & d'œufs, puis les tirez fort menus, & lors qu'ils seront cuits servez les chauds avec sucre, & eau de senteur.
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Le Cuisiner François, La Varenne. Chez Pierre David, Paris, 1651, p. 103.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Butterflied Chickens - Poulets en chauvres-souris

I can understand how one could see these flattened whole chickens as Bats--today we call it butterflied, spatchcock [if the breast bone is removed, not just flattened].

Butterflied Chickens. You have hen chickens which you draw [disembowel] and clean [pluck and singe], the head above the stomach, the legs on the inside, you beat them & break the large [breast] bone, put them in a pan with oil, sweet herbs, season with salt and pepper, lemon section, & you roast them; when they are white [flesh is set and no pink juices exude when pierced with a skewer], being cooked, serve with a sauce of your imagination, or green [without sauce as it comes from the pan with its own juices]. Young partridges, Quails, Pheasants, & the Pigeons are done in the same way.
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Poulets en chauvres-souris. Vous avez des poulets que vous appropriez, vous les troussez en poules, les pates dessus l'estomac, les jambes en dedans, vous les battez & cassez les gros os, les mettez dans une casserolle avec huile, fines herbes, assaisonnez, tranche de citron, & vous les faites griller, qu'ils soient blancs, étant cuits, une sauce à votre fantaisie, ou verte, servez. Les Perdreaux, Cailles, Faisandeaux, & les Pigeons se font de même.
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Le Cuisinier Gascon. A Amsterdam, 1740, p. 64.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Campain-oven or Tourtière

The Campain-oven is a portable Oven made of red Copper, three or four Inches high, of a convenient length, and raised a little upon Feet, so that a Fire may be kindled underneath, as occasion requires: The Cover or Lid of it ought to have Ledges, to hold Fire likewise, when it is necessary to put some on the top, or on both sides: This Cover must be taken off from time to time, to see whether that which is contain'd in the Oven be sufficiently bak'd or brought to a good Colour. For want of such an Instrument, the Kitchen-oven of Masons-work, or some other may be us'd, accordingly as a convenient opportunity may be found; or else a Silver-dish and certain large Baking-pans that are order'd almost in the same manner.

The Court & Country Cook, Massialot. 1702, p. 9 [New Instructions for Confectioners].

Some tourtières were lined with tin and could be used as a baking pan itself. Others were not lined and were used with an inserted baking pan of ceramic or metal.These little ovens could be used in the fireplace off to the side with some coals both under and on top to control the cooking temperature and even browning of the item inside. They would work equally as well in a campfire setting.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Asperges confites. Pickled Asparagus

Hors d'œuvre were such a popular appetizer in the 18thC that special faïence plates were created for their service. Here you see an interpretation of the plate[*] from Diderot's Encyclopaedie, 1762-1777.

Pickled asparaguses. Take smallest; cut the white; & cut them in several pieces. Have coarsely crushed salt & cloves; make a layer in a well glazed pot. Make various layers of asparaguses, & the same seasoning, until the pot is full; pour good vinegar above: cover your pot well; & to draw them, when you need some, serve with a silver spoon, & never touch there [the pickle brine] with the hand, for fear of making the brine spoil; what happens inevitably without this attention.

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Asperges confites. Prenez les plus petites; coupez le blanc; & coupez-les ensuite en plusieurs morceaux. Ayez du sel & du girofle grossiérement concassé; faites-en une couche dans un pot bien vernissé. Faites divers lits d'asperges, & du même assaisonnement, jusqu'à ce que le pot soit plein; versez dessus de bon vinaigre: tenez votre pot bien fermé; & pour les tirer, quand vous en aurez besoin, servez-vous d'une cuiller d'argent, & n'y touchez jamais avec la main, de peur de faire fermenter le mêlange & de le gâter; ce qui arriveroit immanquablément sans cette attention.

Dictionnaire Portatif de Cuisine, d'Office, et de Distillation. Chez Vincent, Paris 1767, p. 55-56.

[*]55. A dish of hors-d'oeuvre for use at tables, furnished internally with roots or other artificial similar things, among which one serves some natural items.

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55. Un plat de hors - d'oeuvre à l'usage des tables, garni intérieurement de racines ou autres choses semblables artificielles, parmi lesquelles on en mêle de naturelles.

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