Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sumac Syrup

Now is the time to begin thinking about gathering sumac to dry for winter. I plan to dry some for use as a spice and as lemonade, as well as to make vinegar syrup now. Vinegar syrup can be made from just about any fruit and makes a delicious drink either hot or cold. Store corked in a cool place.

500 mL [2 cups] fruit or berries
500 mL [2 cups] vinegar I use white wine or distilled
1.1 L [4 1/2 cups] sugar

Steep the fruit and vinegar in a non-reactive pot for 8 days; the level of the vinegar should not submerge the fruit. Strain through a silk strainer [or a stocking]. Set aside 500 mL [2 cups] syrup.

In a bain marie [double boiler], dissolve the sugar and the syrup until there are no crystals left. Remove from the heat and let cool. Bottle. To serve, pour one part syrup for three parts water, cold or hot. Be ready for an amazing taste!

Recipe: A Taste of history: the origins of Quebec's gastronomy, Marc Lafrance & Yvon Deslonges. Canadian Parks Service, 1989, p.68.

See also: Sumac Lemonade

Friday, September 22, 2006

Asparagus Ice Cream, or how to get your kids to eat their vegetables!

For this month's Sugar High Friday, I offer a delightful taste and color combination, vegetables in ice cream--whoever heard of such a thing! Officers [cold kitchen cooks] in the 17th and 18th centuries, made ices from everything imaginable, including asparagus. As this recipe's creator found recipe here, Asparagus Ice Cream does taste a little like pistachio, so it's odd green color can be forgiven. Pairing it with strawberry coulis with a touch of balsamic vinegar is pure genius.

Strawberry Coulis with Balsamic Vinegar
300 g fresh strawberries
150 ml water
100 g icing sugar
15 ml lemon juice
25 ml balsamic vinegar

Wash the strawberries and place them in a blender;
add the water, icing sugar and lemon juice and blend everything together thoroughly;
place the coulis in a sauté pan and cook for a few minutes;
let cool for 5 minutes;
add balsamic vinegar to taste.

NB: This ice cream previously appeared as an entry in blog appetit!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

To Eat Before I Die . . .

Detail from 18thC Cahokia, Pays Illinois

Pascal stopped by on his way to market and we talked about many things over the fence—especially the types of food we would recommend to someone to eat before we die. My list included:

—Horseradish & crème fraîche eaten with the end cut from a roast of beef [with all the meat juices carmelized on the crispy edges] or with a slice of boiled tongue, either cold or hot.

—Ice cream with rum-soaked fruit mixed in [spumoni], eaten with a small cup of very strong black coffee.

—A slice of charentais melon, fresh from the garden and sprinkled lightly with sea salt.

—A place in the shade after you’ve been working hard on a hot day and a cold glass of beer to quaff while eating a few salty tidbits.

—A group of friends with whom to sip a bit of your own homemade liqueur. My favorite is vin noix, green walnut wine.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Gizzard Salad - Cold or Hot

Home-style cooking, always frugal, sometimes adventuresome!

Out of Africa, this month's Paper Chef competition.

Prepare your ingredients: black bean paste, eggs, gizzards and something African.

Let your giblets [I used just gizzards, hearts and the neck] boil in good broth season’d with a bunch of fine herbs and salt: Then cut them into pieces and fry them in lard [I used Graisse Normande] , with parsly, chervil and a little white pepper: Lastly, having stew’d all with yolks of eggs, a little verjuice and the juice of a lemmon [I used black bean paste to deglaze the pan], dress your pottage upon the soaked crusts [bread soaked in broth--I used couscous from North African cuisine]. The same thing may do also done with the beatils [“small blessed objects” – meaning delicacies like cocks’ combs, lambstones, etc.] or tid-bits of other sorts of fowl.

The court & country cook, faithfully translated out of French into English by J. K. A. J. Churchill, London, 1702, p. 131-2

Cook couscous in broth left from gizzards. When done, arrange in a bowl or platter. Sieve several boiled eggs and arrange on top of couscous around the edges of the bowl. Place gizzards over remaining couscous in the center. Can be eaten cold as salad in Summer, or hot in the Winter.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Eggs with Gravy or à la Huguenotte

In honor of the Holy Days of September, an 8-day festival once kept by Huguenots in 1713 beginning on the first Friday evening in September [as evidenced by their liturgy], I give you eggs [poached] in gravy, known as Oeufs à la Huguenote. This is a perfect dish to celebrate EOMEOTE, end-of-the-month-egg-on-toast-eggstravaganza.

Eggs with Gravy or à la Huguenotte
Let some mutton-gravy or any other sort be put into a hollow dish, and when 'tis hot,; break your eggs into it either au Miroir [To break egg on a mixture of moderately hot butter and oil {otherwise, gravy}. To finish with the furnace so that a film is formed on the yellows.] or mingled together [scrambled]: season them with salt, nutmeg and lemmon-juice, and pass the red-hot fire-shovel [salamander] over them, to give them a good color.

Use toast or bread to sop up every unctious drop--a truly decadent dish of soul food!

The court & country cook, faithfully translated out of French into English by J. K. A. J. Churchill, London, 1702, p. 117.

Oeufs au jus, ou à la Huguenote
Mettez jus de mouton ou autre, sur une assiette creuse; & étant chaud, cassez-y vos oeufs, ou au miroir, ou broüillez; assaisonnez de sel, muscade, jus de citron; & passez la péle rouge par-dessus pour leur donner couleur.

Le cuisinier royal et bourgeois, Massialot. Paris, 1691, p. 451-2.
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