- Transcriber's note: In the text [oe] represents an "oe" ligature. Discrepancies between chapter names in CONTENTS and in chapter headings have been retained as shown in the original book. -
CULTURE AND COOKING;
ART IN THE KITCHEN.
"Le Createur, en obligeant l'homme a manger pour vivre, l'y invite par l'appetit et l'en recompense par le plaisir."
CASSELL, PETTER, GALPIN & CO., NEW YORK, LONDON, AND PARIS. 1881
COPYRIGHT, 1881, BY O. M. DUNHAM.
PRESS OF J. J. LITTLE & CO., NOS. 10 TO 20 ASTOR PLACE, NEW YORK.
THIS is not a cookery book. It makes no attempt to replace a good one; it is rather an effort to fill up the gap between you and your household oracle, whether she be one of those exasperating old friends who maddened our mother with their vagueness, or the newer and better lights of our own generation, the latest and best of all being a lady as well known for her novels as for her works on domestic economy—one more proof, if proof were needed, of the truth I endeavor to set forth—if somewhat tediously forgive me—in this little book: that cooking and cultivation are by no means antagonistic. Who does not remember with affectionate admiration Charlotte Bronte taking the eyes out of the potatoes stealthily, for fear of hurting the feelings of her purblind old servant; or Margaret Fuller shelling peas?
The chief difficulty, I fancy, with women trying recipes is, that they fail and know not why they fail, and so become discouraged, and this is where I hope to step in. But although this is not a cookery book, insomuch as it does not deal chiefly with recipes, I shall yet give a few; but only when they are, or I believe them to be, better than those in general use, or good things little known, or supposed to belong to the domain of a French chef, of which I have introduced a good many. Should I succeed in making things that were obscure before clear to a few women, I shall be as proud as was Mme. de Genlis when she boasts in her Memoirs that she has taught six new dishes to a German housewife. Six new dishes! When Brillat-Savarin says: "He who has invented one new dish has done more for the pleasure of mankind than he who has discovered a star."
PRELIMINARY REMARKS 1
Sponge for bread.—One cause of failure.—Why home-made bread often has a hard crust.—On baking.—Ovens.—More reasons why bread may fail to be good.—Light rolls.—Rusks.—Kreuznach horns.—Kringles.—Brioche (Paris Jockey Club recipe).—Soufflee bread.—A novelty 12
Why you fail in making good puff paste.—How to succeed.—How to handle it.—To put fruit pies together so that the syrup does not boil out.—Ornamenting fruit pies.—Rissolettes.—Pastry tablets.—Frangipane tartlets.—Rules for ascertaining the heat of your oven 22
WHAT TO HAVE IN YOUR STORE-ROOM.
Mushroom powder (recipe).—Stock to keep, or glaze (recipe).—Uses of glaze.—Glazing meats, hams, tongues, etc.—Maitre d'hotel butter (recipe).—Uses of it.—Ravigotte or Montpellier butter (recipe).—Uses of it.—Roux.—Blanc (recipes).—Uses of both.—Brown flour, its uses 28
Remarks on what to have for luncheons.—English meat pies.—Windsor pie.—Veal and ham pie.—Chicken pie.—Raised pork pie.—(Recipes).—Ornamenting meat pies.—Galantine (recipe).—Fish in jelly.—Jellied oysters.—A new mayonnaise luncheon for small families.—Potted meats (recipes).—Anchovy butter.—A new omelet.—Potato snow.—Lyonnaise potatoes 35
A CHAPTER ON GENERAL MANAGEMENT IN VERY SMALL FAMILIES.
How to have little dinners.—Hints for bills of fare, etc.—Filet de b[oe]uf Chateaubriand (recipe).—What to do with the odds and ends.—Various recipes.—Salads.—Recipes 47
Why you fail.—Panure or bread-crumbs, to prepare.—How to prepare flounders as filets de sole.—Fried oysters.—To clarify dripping for frying.—Remarks.—Pate a frire a la Careme.—Same, a la Provencale.—Broiling 55
BOILING AND SOUPS.
Boiling meat.—Rules for knowing exactly the degrees of boiling.—Vegetables.—Remarks on making soup.—To clear soup.—Why it is not clear.—Coloring pot-au-feu.—Consomme.—Creme de celeri, a little known soup.—Recipes 65
Remarks on making and flavoring sauces.—Espagnole or brown sauce as it should be.—How to make fine white sauce 70
Remarks.—Salmi of cold meats.—B[oe]uf a la jardiniere.—B[oe]uf au gratin.—Pseudo-beefsteak. —Cutlets a la jardiniere.—Cromesquis of lamb.—Sauce piquant.—Miroton of beef.—Simple way of warming a joint.—Breakfast dish.—Stuffed beef.—Beef olives.—Chops a la poulette.—Devils.—Mephistophelian sauce.—Fritadella, twenty recipes in one 72
Biscuit glacee at home (recipes).—Iced souffles (recipes).—Baba and syrups for it (recipe).—Savarin and syrup (recipes).—Bouchees de dames.—How to make Curacoa.—Maraschino.—Noyeau 84
FRENCH CANDIES AT HOME.
How to make them.—Fondants.—Vanilla.—Almond cream.—Walnut cream.—Tutti frutti.—Various candies dipped in cream.—Chocolate creams.—Fondant panache.—Punch drops 91
FOR PEOPLE OF VERY SMALL MEANS.
Remarks.—What may be made of a soup bone.—Several very economical dishes.—Pot roasts.—Dishes requiring no meat 96
A FEW THINGS IT IS WELL TO REMEMBER 105
ON SOME TABLE PREJUDICES 108
A CHAPTER OF ODDS AND ENDS.
Altering recipes.—How to have tarragon, burnet, etc.—Remarks on obtaining ingredients not in common use.—An impromptu salamander.—Larding needle.—How to have parsley fresh all winter without expense.—On having kitchen conveniences.—Anecdote related by Jules Gouffee.—On servants in America.—A little advice by way of valedictory 111
CULTURE AND COOKING.
A FEW PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
ALEXANDRE DUMAS, pere, after writing five hundred novels, says, "I wish to close my literary career with a book on cooking."
And in the hundred pages or so of preface—or perhaps overture would be the better word, since in it a group of literary men, while contributing recondite recipes, flourish trumpets in every key—to his huge volume he says, "I wish to be read by people of the world, and practiced by people of the art" (gens de l'art); and although I wish, like every one who writes, to be read by all the world, I wish to aid the practice, not of the professors of the culinary art, but those whose aspirations point to an enjoyment of the good things of life, but whose means of attaining them are limited.
There is a great deal of talk just now about cooking; in a lesser degree it takes its place as a popular topic with ceramics, modern antiques, and household art. The fact of it being in a mild way fashionable may do a little good to the eating world in general. And it may make it more easy to convince young women of refined proclivities that the art of cooking is not beneath their attention, to know that the Queen of England's daughters—and of course the cream of the London fair—have attended the lectures on the subject delivered at South Kensington, and that a young lady of rank, Sir James Coles's daughter, has been recording angel to the association, is in fact the R. C. C. who edits the "Official Handbook of Cookery."
But, notwithstanding all that has been done by South Kensington lectures in London and Miss Corson's Cooking School in New York to popularize the culinary art, one may go into a dozen houses, and find the ladies of the family with sticky fingers, scissors, and gum pot, busily porcelainizing clay jars, and not find one where they are as zealously trying to work out the problems of the "Official Handbook of Cookery."
I have nothing to say against the artistic distractions of the day. Anything that will induce love of the beautiful, and remove from us the possibility of a return to the horrors of hair-cloth and brocatel and crochet tidies, will be a stride in the right direction. But what I do protest against, is the fact, that the same refined girls and matrons, who so love to adorn their houses that they will spend hours improving a pickle jar, mediaevalizing their furniture, or decorating the dinner service, will shirk everything that pertains to the preparation of food as dirty, disagreeable drudgery, and sit down to a commonplace, ill-prepared meal, served on those artistic plates, as complacently as if dainty food were not a refinement; as if heavy rolls and poor bread, burnt or greasy steak, and wilted potatoes did not smack of the shanty, just as loudly as coarse crockery or rag carpet—indeed far more so; the carpet and crockery may be due to poverty, but a dainty meal or its reverse will speak volumes for innate refinement or its lack in the woman who serves it. You see by my speaking of rag carpets and dainty meals in one breath, that I do not consider good things to be the privilege of the rich alone.
There are a great many dainty things the household of small or moderate means can have just as easily as the most wealthy. Beautiful bread—light, white, crisp—costs no more than the tough, thick-crusted boulder, with cavities like eye-sockets, that one so frequently meets with as home-made bread. As Hood says:
"Who has not met with home-made bread, A heavy compound of putty and lead?"
Delicious coffee is only a matter of care, not expense—and indeed in America the cause of poor food, even in a boarding-house, is seldom in the quality of the articles so much as in the preparation and selection of them—yet an epicure can breakfast well with fine bread and butter and good coffee. And this leads me to another thing: many people think that to give too much attention to food shows gluttony. I have heard a lady say with a tone of virtuous rebuke, when the conversation turned from fashions to cooking, "I give very little time to cooking, we eat to live only"—which is exactly what an animal does. Eating to live is mere feeding. Brillat-Savarin, an abstemious eater himself, among other witty things on the same topic says, "L'animal se repait, l'homme mange, l'homme d'esprit seul sait manger."
Nine people out of ten, when they call a man an epicure, mean it as a sort of reproach, a man who is averse to every-day food, one whom plain fare would fail to satisfy; but Grimod de la Reyniere, the most celebrated gourmet of his day, author of "Almanach des Gourmands," and authority on all matters culinary of the last century, said, "A true epicure can dine well on one dish, provided it is excellent of its kind." Excellent, that is it. A little care will generally secure to us the refinement of having only on the table what is excellent of its kind. If it is but potatoes and salt, let the salt be ground fine, and the potatoes white and mealy. Thackeray says, an epicure is one who never tires of brown bread and fresh butter, and in this sense every New Yorker who has his rolls from the Brevoort House, and uses Darlington butter, is an epicure. There seems to me, more mere animalism in wading through a long bill of fare, eating three or four indifferently cooked vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, each second-rate in quality, or made so by bad cooking, and declaring that you have dined well, and are easy to please, than there is in taking pains to have a perfectly broiled chop, a fine potato, and a salad, on which any true epicure could dine well, while on the former fare he would leave the table hungry.
Spenser points a moral for me when he says, speaking of the Irish in 1580, "That wherever they found a plot of shamrocks or water-cresses they had a feast;" but there were gourmets even among them, for "some gobbled the green food as it came, and some picked the faultless stalks, and looked for the bloom on the leaf."
Thus it is, when I speak of "good living," I do not mean expensive living or high living, but living so that the table may be as elegant as the dishes on which it is served.
I believe there exists a feeling, not often expressed perhaps, but prevalent among young people, that for a lady to cook with her own hands is vulgar; to love to do it shows that she is of low intellectual caliber, a sort of drawing-room Bridget. When or how this idea arose it would be difficult to say, for in the middle ages cooks were often noble; a Montmorency was chef de cuisine to Philip of Valois; Montesquieu descended, and was not ashamed of his descent, from the second cook of the Connetable de Bourbon, who ennobled him. And from Lord Bacon, "brightest, greatest, meanest of mankind," who took, it is said, great interest in cooking, to Talleyrand, the Machiavelli of France, who spent an hour every day with his cook, we find great men delighting in the art as a recreation.
It is surprising that such an essentially artistic people as Americans should so neglect an art which a great French writer calls the "science mignonne of all distinguished men of the world." Napoleon the Great so fully recognized the social value of keeping a good table that, although no gourmet himself, he wished all his chief functionaries to be so. "Keep a good table," he told them; "if you get into debt for it I will pay." And later, one of his most devoted adherents, the Marquis de Cussy, out of favor with Louis XVIII. on account of that very devotion, found his reputation as a gourmet very serviceable to him. A friend applied for a place at court for him, which Louis refused, till he heard that M. de Cussy had invented the mixture of cream, strawberries, and champagne, when he granted the petition at once. Nor is this a solitary instance in history where culinary skill has been a passport to fortune to its possessor. Savarin relates that the Chevalier d'Aubigny, exiled from France, was in London, in utter poverty, notwithstanding which, by chance, he was invited to dine at a tavern frequented by the young bucks of that day.
After he had finished his dinner, a party of young gentlemen, who had been observing him from their table, sent one of their number with many apologies and excuses to beg of him, as a son of a nation renowned for their salads, to be kind enough to mix theirs for them. He complied, and while occupied in making the salad, told them frankly his story, and did not hide his poverty. One of the gentlemen, as they parted, slipped a five-pound note into his hand, and his need of it was so great that he did not obey the prompting of his pride, but accepted it.
A few days later he was sent for to a great house, and learned on his arrival that the young gentleman he had obliged at the tavern had spoken so highly of his salad that they begged him to do the same thing again. A very handsome sum was tendered him on his departure, and afterwards he had frequent calls on his skill, until it became the fashion to have salads prepared by d'Aubigny, who became a well-known character in London, and was called "the fashionable salad-maker." In a few years he amassed a large fortune by this means, and was in such request that his carriage would drive from house to house, carrying him and his various condiments—for he took with him everything that could give variety to his concoctions—from one place, where his services were needed, to another.
The contempt for this art of cooking is confined to this country, and to the lower middle classes in England. By the "lower middle classes" I mean, what Carlyle terms the gigocracy—i.e., people sufficiently well-to-do to keep a gig or phaeton—well-to-do tradesmen, small professional men, the class whose womenkind would call themselves "genteel," and many absurd stories are told of the determined ignorance and pretense of these would-be ladies. But in no class above this is a knowledge of cooking a thing to be ashamed of; in England, indeed, so far from that being the case, indifference to the subject, or lack of understanding and taste for certain dishes is looked upon as a sort of proof of want of breeding. Not to like curry, macaroni, or parmesan, pate de foie gras, mushrooms, and such like, is a sign that you have not been all your life accustomed to good living. Mr. Hardy, in his "Pair of Blue Eyes," cleverly hits this prejudice when he makes Mr. Swancourt say, "I knew the fellow wasn't a gentleman; he had no acquired tastes, never took Worcestershire sauce."
Abroad many women of high rank and culture devote a good deal of time to a thorough understanding of the subject. We have a lady of the "lordly line of proud St. Clair" writing for us "Dainty Dishes," and doing it with a zest that shows she enjoys her work, although she does once in a while forget something she ought to have mentioned, and later still we have Miss Rose Coles writing the "Official Handbook of Cookery."
But it is in graceful, refined France that cookery is and has been, a pet art. Any bill of fare or French cookery book will betray to a thoughtful reader the attention given to the subject by the wittiest, gayest, and most beautiful women, and the greatest men. The high-sounding names attached to French standard dishes are no mere caprice or homage of a French cook to the great in the land, but actually point out their inventor. Thus Bechamel was invented by the Marquis de Bechamel, as a sauce for codfish; while Filets de Lapereau a la Berry were invented by the Duchess de Berry, daughter of the regent Orleans, who himself invented Pain a la d'Orleans, while to Richelieu we are indebted for hundreds of dishes besides the renowned mayonnaise.
Cailles a la Mirepois, Chartreuse a la Mauconseil, Poulets a la Villeroy, betray the tastes of the three great ladies whose name they bear.
But not in courts alone has the art had its devotees. Almost every great name in French literature brings to mind something its owner said or did about cooking. Dumas, who was a prince of cooks, and of whom it is related that in 1860, when living at Varennes, St. Maur, dividing his time, as usual, between cooking and literature (Lorsqu'il ne faisait pas sauter un roman, il faisait sauter des petits oignons), on Mountjoye, a young artist friend and neighbor, going to see him, he cooked dinner for him. Going into the poultry yard, after donning a white apron, he wrung the neck of a chicken; then to the kitchen garden for vegetables, which he peeled and washed himself; lit the fire, got butter and flour ready, put on his saucepans, then cooked, stirred, tasted, seasoned until dinner time. Then he entered in triumph, and announced, "Le diner est servi." For six months he passed three or four days a week cooking for Mountjoye. This novelist's book says, in connection with the fact that great cooks in France have been men of literary culture, and literary men often fine cooks, "It is not surprising that literary men have always formed the entourage of a great chef, for, to appreciate thoroughly all there is in the culinary art, none are so well able as men of letters; accustomed as they are to all refinements, they can appreciate better than others those of the table," thus paying himself and confreres a delicate little compliment at the expense of the non-literary world; but, notwithstanding the naive self-glorification, he states a fact that helps to point my moral, that indifference to cooking does not indicate refinement, intellect, or social pre-eminence.
Brillat-Savarin, grave judge as he was, and abstemious eater, yet has written the book of books on the art of eating. It was he who said, "Tell me what you eat, I will tell you what you are," as pregnant with truth as the better-known proverb it paraphrases.
Malherbe loved to watch his cook at work. I think it was he who said, "A coarse-minded man could never be a cook," and Charles Baudelaire, the Poe of France, takes a poet's view of our daily wants, when he says, "that an ideal cook must have a great deal of the poet's nature, combining something of the voluptuary with the man of science learned in the chemical principles of matter;" although he goes further than we care to follow when he says, that the question of sauces and seasoning requires "a chapter as grave as a feuilleton de science."
It has been said by foreigners that Americans care nothing for the refinements of the table, but I think they do care. I have known many a woman in comfortable circumstances long to have a good table, many a man aspire to better things, and if he could only get them at home would pay any money. But the getting them at home is the difficulty; on a table covered with exquisite linen, glass, and silver, whose presiding queen is more likely than not a type of the American lady—graceful, refined, and witty—on such a table, with such surroundings, will come the plentiful, coarse, commonplace dinner.
The chief reason for this is lack of knowledge on the part of our ladies: know how to do a thing yourself, and you will get it well done by others. But how are many of them to know? The daughters of the wealthy in this country often marry struggling men, and they know less about domestic economy than ladies of the higher ranks abroad; not because English or French ladies take more part in housekeeping, but because they are at home all their lives. Ladies of the highest rank never go to a boarding or any other school, and these are the women who, with some few exceptions, know best how things should be done. They are at home listening to criticisms from papa, who is an epicure perhaps, on the shortcomings of his own table, or his neighbors'; from mamma, as to what the soup lacks, why cook is not a "cordon bleu," etc., while our girls are at school, far away from domestic comments, deep in the agonies of algebra perhaps; and directly they leave school, in many cases they marry. As a preparation for the state of matrimony most of them learn how to make cake and preserves, and the very excellence of their attainments in that way proves how easy it would be for them, with their dainty fingers and good taste, to far excel their European cousins in that art which a French writer says is based on "reason, health, common sense, and sound taste."
Here let me say, I do not by any means advocate a woman, who can afford to pay a first-rate cook, avoiding the expense by cooking herself; on the contrary, I think no woman is justified in doing work herself that she has the means given her to get done by employing others. I have no praise for the economical woman, who, from a desire to save, does her own work without necessity for economy. It is not her work; the moment she can afford to employ others it is the work of some less fortunate person. But in this country, it often happens that a good cook is not to be found for money, although the raw material of which one might be made is much oftener at hand. And if ladies would only practice the culinary art with as much, nay, half as much assiduity as they give to a new pattern in crochet; devote as much time to attaining perfection in one dish or article of food, be it perfect bread, or some French dish which father, brother, or husband goes to Delmonico's to enjoy, as they do to the crochet tidies or embroidered rugs with which they decorate their drawing-rooms, they could then take the material, in the shape of any ambitious girl they may meet with, and make her a fine cook. In the time they take to make a dozen tidies, they would have a dozen dishes at their fingers' ends; and let me tell you, the woman who can cook a dozen things, outside of preserves, in a perfect manner is a rarity here, and a good cook anywhere, for, by the time the dozen are accomplished, she will have learned so much of the art of cooking that all else will come easy. One good soup, bouillon, and you have the foundation of all others; two good sauces, white sauce and brown, "les sauces meres" as the French call them (mothers of all other sauces), and all others are matters of detail. Learn to make one kind of roll perfectly, as light, plump, and crisp as Delmonico's, and all varieties are at your fingers' ends; you can have kringles, Vienna rolls, Kreuznach horns, Yorkshire tea cakes, English Sally Lunns and Bath buns; all are then as easy to make as common soda biscuit. In fact, in cooking, as in many other things, "ce n'est que le premier pas que coute;" failures are almost certain at the beginning, but a failure is often a step toward success—if we only know the reason of the failure.
OF all articles of food, bread is perhaps the one about which most has been written, most instruction given, and most failures made. Yet what adds more to the elegance of a table than exquisite bread or breads, and—unless you live in a large city and depend on the baker—what so rare? A lady who is very proud of her table, and justly so, said to me quite lately, "I cannot understand how it is we never have really fine home-made bread. I have tried many recipes, following them closely, and I can't achieve anything but a commonplace loaf with a thick, hard crust; and as for rolls, they are my despair. I have wasted eggs, butter, and patience so often that I have determined to give them up, but a fine loaf I will try for."
"And when you achieve the fine loaf, you may revel in home-made rolls," I answered.
And so I advise every one first to make perfect bread, light, white, crisp, and thin-crusted, that rarest thing in home-made bread.
I have read over many recipes for bread, and am convinced that when the time allowed for rising is specified, it is invariably too short. One standard book directs you to leave your sponge two hours, and the bread when made up a quarter of an hour. This recipe strictly followed must result in heavy, tough bread. As bread is so important, and so many fail, I will give my own method from beginning to end; not that there are not numberless good recipes, but simply because they frequently need adapting to circumstances, and altering a recipe is one of the things a tyro fears to do.
I make a sponge over night, using a dried yeast-cake soaked in a pint of warm water, to which I add a spoonful of salt, and, if the weather is warm, as much soda as will lie on a dime; make this into a stiff batter with flour—it may take a quart or less, flour varies so much, to give a rule is impossible; but if, after standing, the sponge has a watery appearance, make it thicker by sprinkling in more flour, beat hard a few minutes, and cover with a cloth—in winter keep a piece of thick flannel for the purpose, as a chill is fatal to your sponge—and set in a warm place free from draughts.
The next morning, when the sponge is quite light—that is to say, at least twice the bulk it was, and like a honeycomb—take two quarts of flour, more or less, as you require, but I recommend at first a small baking, and this will make three small loaves; in winter, flour should be dried and warmed; put it in your mixing bowl, and turn the sponge into a hole in the center. Have ready some water, rather more than lukewarm, but not hot. Add it gradually, stirring your flour into the sponge at the same time. The great fault in making bread is getting the dough too stiff; it should be as soft as possible, without being at all sticky or wet. Now knead it with both hands from all sides into the center; keep this motion, occasionally dipping your hands into the flour if the dough sticks, but do not add more flour unless the paste sticks very much; if you have the right consistency it will be a smooth mass, very soft to the touch, yet not sticky, but this may not be attained at a first mixing without adding flour by degrees. When you have kneaded the dough until it leaves the bowl all round, set it in a warm place to rise. When it is well risen, feels very soft and warm to the touch, and is twice its bulk, knead it once more thoroughly, then put it in tins either floured, and the flour not adhering shaken out, or buttered, putting in each a piece of dough half the size you intend your loaf to be. Now everything depends on your oven. Many people bake their bread slowly, leaving it in the oven a long time, and this causes a thick, hard crust. When baked in the modern iron oven, quick baking is necessary. Let the oven be quite hot, then put a little ball of paste in, and if it browns palely in seven to ten minutes it is about right; if it burns, it is too hot; open the damper ten minutes. Your bread, after it is in the tins, will rise much more quickly than the first time. Let it get light, but not too light—twice its bulk is a good rule; but if it is light before your oven is ready, and thus in danger of getting too porous, work it down with your hand, it will not harm it, although it is better so to manage that the oven waits for the bread rather than the bread for the oven. A small loaf—and by all means make them small until you have gained experience—will not take more than three quarters of an hour to bake; when a nice yellow brown, take it out, turn it out of the tin into a cloth, and tap the bottom; if it is crisp and smells cooked, the loaf is done. Once the bottom is brown it need remain no longer. Should that, however, from fault of your oven, be not brown, but soft and white, you must put it back in the oven, the bottom upwards. An oven that does not bake at the bottom will, however, be likely to spoil your bread. It is sometimes caused by a careless servant leaving a collection of ashes underneath it; satisfy yourself that all the flues are perfectly clean and clear before beginning to bake, and if it still refuses to do its duty, change it, for you will have nothing but loss and vexation of spirit while you have it in use. I think you will find this bread white, evenly porous (not with small holes in one part and caverns in another; if it is so you have made your dough too stiff, and it is not sufficiently kneaded), and with a thin, crisp crust. Bread will surely fail to rise at all if you have scalded the yeast; the water must never be too hot. In winter, if it gets chilled, it will only rise slowly, or not at all, and in using baker's or German yeast take care that it is not stale, which will cause heavy, irregular bread.
In making bread with compressed yeast proceed in exactly the same way, excepting that the sponge will not need to be set over night, unless you want to bake very early.
If you have once produced bread to your satisfaction you will find no difficulty in making rolls. Proceed as follows:
Take a piece of the dough from your baking after it has risen once. To a piece as large as a man's fist take a large tablespoonful of butter and a little powdered sugar; work them into the dough, put it in a bowl, cover it, and set it in a warm place to rise—a shelf behind the stove is best; if you make this at the same time as your bread, you will find it takes longer to rise; the butter causes that difference; when very light, much lighter than your bread should be, take your hand and push it down till it is not larger than when you put it in the bowl; let it rise again, and again push it down, but not so thoroughly; do this once or twice more, and you have the secret of light rolls. You will find them rise very quickly, after once or twice pushing down. When they have risen the third or fourth time, take a little butter on your hands, and break off small pieces about the size of a walnut and roll them round. Either put them on a tin close together, to be broken apart, or an inch or two from each other, in which case work in a little more flour, and cut a cleft on the top, and once more set to rise; half an hour will be long enough generally, but in this case you must judge for yourself, they sometimes take an hour; if they look swelled very much and smooth they will be ready. Have a nice hot oven, and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes.
Add a little more sugar to your dough and an egg, go through the same process, brush them over with sugar dissolved in milk, and you will have delicious rusks.
The above is my own method of making rolls, and the simplest I know of; but there are numbers of other recipes given in cookery books which would be just as good if the exact directions for letting them rise were given. As a test—and every experiment you try will be so much gained in your experience—follow the recipe given for rolls in any good cookery book, take part of the dough and let it rise as therein directed, and bake, set the other part to rise as I direct, and notice the difference.
KREUZNACH HORNS.—Either take a third of the dough made for bread with three quarts of flour, or set a sponge with a pint of flour and a yeast-cake soaked in half a pint of warm water or milk, making it into a stiffish dough with another pint of flour; then add four ounces of butter, a little sugar, and two eggs; work well. If you use the bread dough, you will need to dredge in a little more flour on account of the eggs, but not very much; then set to rise as for rolls, work it down twice or thrice, then turn the dough out on the molding board lightly floured, roll it as you would pie-crust into pieces six inches square, and quarter of an inch thick, make two sharp, quick cuts across it from corner to corner, and you will have from each square four three-cornered pieces of paste; spread each thinly with soft butter, flour lightly, and roll up very lightly from the wide side, taking care that it is not squeezed together in any way; lay them on a tin with the side on which the point comes uppermost, and bend round in the form of a horseshoe; these will take some time to rise; when they have swollen much and look light, brush them over with white of egg (not beaten) or milk and butter, and bake in a good oven.
KRINGLES are made from the same recipe, but with another egg and two ounces of sugar (powdered) added to the dough when first set to rise; then, when well risen two or three times, instead of rolling with a pin as for horns, break off pieces, roll between your hands as thick as your finger, and form into figure eights, rings, fingers; or take three strips, flour and roll them as thick as your finger, tapering at each end; lay them on the board, fasten the three together at one end, and then lay one over the other in a plait, fasten the other end, and set to rise, bake; when done, brush over with sugar dissolved in milk, and sprinkle with sugar.
All these breads are delicious for breakfast, and may easily be had without excessive early rising if the sponge is set in the morning, dough made in the afternoon, and the rising and working done in the evening; when, instead of making up into rolls, horns, or kringles, push the dough down thoroughly, cover with a damp folded cloth, and put in a very cold place if in summer—not on ice of course—then next morning, as soon as the fire is alight, mold, but do not push down any more, put in a very warm spot, and when light, bake.
In summer, as I have said, I think it safest, to prevent danger of souring, to put a little soda in the sponge for bread; and for rolls, or anything requiring to rise several times, it is an essential precaution.
BRIOCHE.—I suppose the very name of this delectable French dainty will call up in the mind's eye of many who read this book that great "little" shop, Au Grand Brioche, on the Boulevarde Poissoniere, where, on Sunday afternoons, scores of boys from the Lycees form en queue with the general public, waiting the hour when the piles of golden brioche shall be ready to exchange for their eager sous. But I venture to say, a really fine brioche is rarely eaten on this side the Atlantic. They being a luxury welcome to all, and especially aromatic of Paris, I tried many times to make them, obtaining for that purpose recipes from French friends, and from standard French books, but never succeeded in producing the ideal brioche until I met with Gouffe's great book, the "Livre de Cuisine," after reading which, I may here say, all secrets of the French kitchen are laid bare; no effort is spared to make everything plain, from the humble pot-au-feu to the most gorgeous monumental plat. And I would refer any one who wants to become proficient in any French dish, to that book, feeling sure that, in following strictly the directions, there will be no failure. It is the one book I have met with on the subject in which no margin is left for your own knowledge, if you have it, to fill up. But to the brioche.
PARIS JOCKEY-CLUB RECIPE FOR BRIOCHE.
Sift one pound of flour, take one fourth of it, and add rather more than half a cake of compressed yeast, dissolved in half a gill of warm water, make into a sponge with a very little more water, put it in a warm place; when it is double its volume take the rest of the flour, make a hole in the center, and put in it an equal quantity of salt and sugar, about a teaspoonful, and two tablespoonfuls of water to dissolve them. Three quarters of a pound of butter and four eggs, beat well, then add another egg, beat again, and add another, and so on until seven have been used; the paste must be soft, but not spread; if too firm, add another egg. Now mix this paste with the sponge thoroughly, beating until the paste leaves the sides of the bowl, then put it in a crock and cover; let it stand four hours in a warm place, then turn it out on a board, spread it and double it four times, return it to the crock, and let it rise again two hours; repeat the former process of doubling and spreading, and put it in a very cold place for two hours, or until you want to use it. Mold in any form you like, but the true brioche is two pieces, one as large again as the other; form the large one into a ball, make a deep depression in the center, on which place the smaller ball, pressing it gently in; cut two or three gashes round it with a sharp knife, and bake a beautiful golden brown. These brioche are such a luxury, and so sure to come out right, that the trouble of making them is well worth the taking, and for another reason: every one knows the great difficulty of making puff paste in summer, and a short paste is never handsome; but take a piece of brioche paste, roll it out thin, dredge with flour, fold and roll again, then use as you would puff paste; if for sweet pastry, a little powdered sugar may be sprinkled through it instead of dredging with flour. This makes a very handsome and delicious crust. Or, another use to which it may be put is to roll it out, cut it in rounds, lay on them mince-meat, orange marmalade, jam, or merely sprinkle with currants, chopped citron, and spices, fold, press the edges, and bake.
Before quitting the subject of breads I must introduce a novelty which I will call "soufflee bread." It is quickly made, possible even when the fire is poor, and so delicious that I know you will thank me for making you acquainted with it.
Use two or three eggs according to size you wish, and to each egg a tablespoonful of flour. Mix the yolks with the flour and with them a dessert-spoonful of butter melted, and enough milk to make a very thick batter, work, add a pinch of salt and a teaspoonful of sugar, work till quite smooth, then add the whites of the eggs in a firm froth, stir them in gently, and add a quarter teaspoonful of soda and half a one of cream of tartar. Have ready an iron frying-pan (or an earthen one that will stand heat is better), made hot with a tablespoonful of butter in it, also hot, but not so hot as for frying. Pour the batter (which should be of the consistency of sponge cake batter) into the pan, cover it with a lid or tin plate, and set it back of the stove if the fire is hot—if very slow it may be forward; when well risen and near done, put it in the oven, or if the oven is cold you may turn it gently, not to deaden it. Serve when done (try with a twig), the under side uppermost; it should be of a fine golden brown and look like an omelet. This soufflee bread is equally good baked in a tin in which is rather more butter than enough to grease it; the oven must be very hot indeed. Cover it for the few minutes with a tin plate or lid, to prevent it scorching before it has risen; when it has puffed up remove the lid, and allow it to brown, ten to fifteen minutes should bake it; turn it out as you would sponge cake—very carefully, not to deaden it. To succeed with bread you must use the very best flour.
TO MAKE good puff paste is a thing many ladies are anxious to do, and in which they generally fail, and this not so much because they do not make it properly, as because they handle it badly. A lady who was very anxious to excel in pastry once asked me to allow her to watch me make paste. I did so, and explained that there was more in the manner of using than in the making up. I then gave her a piece of my paste when completed, and asked her to cover some patty pans while I covered others, cautioning her as to the way she must cover them; yet, when those covered by her came out of the oven they had not risen at all, they were like rich short paste; while my own, made from the same paste, were toppling over with lightness. I had, without saying anything, pressed my thumb slightly on one spot of one of mine; in that spot the paste had not risen at all, and I think this practical demonstration of what I had tried to explain was more useful than an hour's talk would have been.
I will first give my method of making, which is the usual French way of making "feuilletonage." Take one pound of butter, or half of it lard; press all the water out by squeezing it in a cloth; this is important, as the liquid in it would wet your paste; take a third of the butter, or butter and lard, and rub it into one pound of fine flour; add no salt if your butter is salted; then take enough water (to which you may add the well-beaten white of an egg, but it is not absolutely necessary) to make the flour into a smooth, firm dough; it must not be too stiff, or it will be hard to roll out, or too soft, or it will never make good paste; it should roll easily, yet not stick; work it till it is very smooth, then roll it out till it is half an inch thick; now lay the whole of the butter in the center, fold one-third the paste over, then the other third; it is now folded in three, with the butter completely hidden; now turn the ends toward you, and roll it till it is half an inch thick, taking care, by rolling very evenly, that the butter is not pressed out at the other end; now you have a piece of paste about two feet long, and not half that width; flour it lightly, and fold over one third and under one third, which will almost bring it to a square again; turn it round so that what was the side is now the end, and roll. Most likely now the butter will begin to break through, in which case fold it, after flouring lightly, in three, as before, and put it on a dish on the ice, covering it with a damp cloth. You may now either leave it for an hour or two, or till next day. Paste made the day before it is used is much better and easier to manage, and in winter it may be kept for four or five days in a cold place, using from it as required.
When ready to use your paste finish the making by rolling it out, dredging a little flour, and doubling it in three as before, and roll it out thin; do this until from first to last it has been so doubled and rolled seven times.
Great cooks differ on one or two points in making pastry; for instance, Soyer directs you to put the yolk of an egg instead of the white, and a squeeze of lemon juice into the flour, and expressly forbids you to work it before adding the mass of butter, while Jules Gouffe says, "work it until smooth and shining." I cannot pretend to decide between these differing doctors, but I pursue the method I have given and always have light pastry. And now to the handling of it: It must only be touched by the lightest fingers, every cut must be made with a sharp knife, and done with one quick stroke so that the paste is not dragged at all; in covering a pie dish or patty pan, you are commonly directed to mold the paste over it as thin as possible, which conveys the idea that the paste is to be pressed over and so made thin; this would destroy the finest paste in the world; roll it thin, say for small tartlets, less than a quarter of an inch thick, for a pie a trifle thicker, then lay the dish or tin to be covered on the paste, and cut out with a knife, dipped in hot water or flour, a piece a little larger than the mold, then line with the piece you have cut, touching it as little as possible; press only enough to make the paste adhere to the bottom, but on no account press the border; to test the necessity of avoiding this, gently press one spot on a tart, before putting it in the oven, only so much as many people always do in making pie, and watch the result. When your tartlets or pies are made, take each up on your left hand, and with a sharp knife dipped in flour trim it round quickly. To make the cover of a pie adhere to the under crust, lay the forefinger of your right hand lengthwise round the border, but as far from the edge as you can, thus forming a groove for the syrups, and pressing the cover on at the same time. A word here about fruit pies: Pile the fruit high in the center, leaving a space all round the sides almost bare of fruit, when the cover is on press gently the paste, as I have explained, into this groove, then make two or three deep holes in the groove; the juice will boil out of these holes and run round this groove, instead of boiling out through the edges and wasting.
This is the pastry-cook's way of making pies, and makes a much handsomer one than the usual flat method, besides saving your syrup. To ornament fruit pies or tartlets, whip the white of an egg, and stir in as much powdered sugar as will make a thin meringue—a large tablespoonful is usually enough—then when your pies or tartlets are baked, take them from the oven, glaze with the egg and sugar, and return to the oven, leaving the door open; when it has set into a frosty icing they are ready to serve.
It is worth while to accomplish puff paste, for so many dainty trifles may be made with it, which, attempted with the ordinary short paste, would be unsightly. Some of these that seem to me novel I will describe.
Rissolettes are made with trimmings of puff paste; if you have about a quarter of a pound left, roll it out very thin, about as thick as a fifty-cent piece; put about half a spoonful of marmalade or jam on it, in places about an inch apart, wet lightly round each, and place a piece of paste over all; take a small round cutter as large as a dollar, and press round the part where the marmalade or jam is with the thick part of the cutter; then cut them out with a cutter a size larger, lay them on a baking tin, brush over with white of egg; then cut some little rings the size of a quarter dollar, put one on each, egg over again, and bake twenty minutes in a nice hot oven; then sift white sugar all over, put them back in the oven to glaze; a little red currant jelly in each ring looks pretty; serve in the form of a pyramid.
PASTRY TABLETS.—Cut strips of paste three inches and a half long, and an inch and a half wide, and as thick as a twenty-five cent piece; lay on half of them a thin filmy layer of jam or marmalade, not jelly; then on each lay a strip without jam, and bake in a quick oven. When the paste is well risen and brown, take them out, glaze them with white of egg and sugar, and sprinkle chopped almonds over them; return to the oven till the glazing is set and the almonds just colored; serve them hot or cold on a napkin piled log-cabin fashion.
FRANGIPANE TARTLETS.—One quarter pint of cream, four yolks of eggs, two ounces of flour, three macaroons, four tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar, the peel of a grated lemon, and a little citron cut very fine, a little brandy and orange-flower water. Put all the ingredients, except the eggs, in a saucepan—of course you will mix the flour smooth in the cream first—let them come to a boil slowly, stirring to prevent lumps; when the flour smells cooked, take it off the fire for a minute, then stir the beaten yolks of eggs into it. Stand the saucepan in another of boiling water and return to the stove, stirring till the eggs seem done—about five minutes, if the water boils all the time. Line patty pans with puff paste, and fill with frangipane and bake. Ornament with chopped almonds and meringue, or not, as you please.
It is very difficult to make fine puff paste in warm weather, and almost impossible without ice; for this reason I think the brioche paste preferable; but if it is necessary to have it for any purpose, you must take the following precautions:
Have your water iced; have your butter as firm as possible by being kept on ice till the last moment; make the paste in the coolest place you have, and under the breeze of an open window, if possible; make it the day before you use it, and put it on the ice between every "turn," as each rolling out is technically called; then leave it on the ice, as you use it, taking pieces from it as you need them, so that the warmth cannot soften the whole at once, when it would become quite unmanageable. The condition of the oven is a very important matter, and I cannot do better than transcribe the rules given by Gouffe, by which you may test its fitness for any purpose:
Put half a sheet of writing paper in the oven; if it catches fire it is too hot; open the dampers and wait ten minutes, when put in another piece of paper; if it blackens it is still too hot. Ten minutes later put in a third piece; if it gets dark brown the oven is right for all small pastry. Called "dark brown paper heat." Light brown paper heat is suitable for vol-au-vents or fruit pies. Dark yellow paper heat for large pieces of pastry or meat pies, pound cake, bread, etc. Light yellow paper heat for sponge cake, meringues, etc.
To obtain these various degrees of heat, you try paper every ten minutes till the heat required for your purpose is attained. But remember that "light yellow" means the paper only tinged; "dark yellow," the paper the color of ordinary pine wood; "light brown" is only a shade darker, about the color of nice pie-crust, and dark brown a shade darker, by no means coffee color.
WHAT TO HAVE IN YOUR STORE-ROOM.
ONE great trouble with many young housekeepers is betrayed by the common remark, "Cookery books always require so many things that one never has in the house, and they coolly order you to 'moisten with gravy,' 'take a little gravy,' as if you had only to go to the pump and get it." It is very true that economy in cooking is much aided by having a supply of various condiments; warmed-over meat may then be converted into a delicious little entree with little trouble. I would recommend, therefore, any one who is in earnest about reforming her dinner table to begin by expending a few dollars in the following articles:
1 bottle of capers, 1 " olives, 1 " gherkins, 1 " soy, 1 " anchovies, 1 " tarragon vinegar, 1 " claret, 1 " white wine, 1 " sherry for cooking, 1 " brandy, 1 " Harvey sauce, 1 " walnut ketchup.
And a package of compressed vegetables and a few bay leaves.
Ten dollars thus spent may seem a good deal of money to a young housewife trying to make her husband's salary go as far as it will; but I assure her it is in the end an economy, especially in a small family, who are so apt to get tired of seeing the same thing, that it has to be thrown or given away. With these condiments and others I have yet to mention you will have no trouble in using every scrap; not using it and eating it from a sense of duty, and wishing it was something better, but enjoying it. With your store-room well provided, you can indeed go for gravy "as if to the pump."
Besides the foregoing list of articles to be bought of any good grocer, there are others which can be made at home to advantage, and once made are always ready. Mushroom powder I prefer for any use to mushroom catsup; it is easily made and its uses are infinite. Sprinkled over steak (when it must be sifted) or chops, it is delicious. For ordinary purposes, such as flavoring soup or gravy, it need not be sifted. To prepare it, take a peck of large and very fresh mushrooms, look them over carefully that they are not wormy, then cleanse them with a piece of flannel from sand or grit, then peel them and put them in the sun or a cool oven to dry; they require long, slow drying, and must become in a state to crumble. Your peck will have diminished by the process into half a pint or less of mushroom powder, but you have the means with it of making a rich gravy at a few minutes' notice.
Apropos of gravies—that much-vexed question in small households—for without gravies on hand you cannot make good hash, or many other things that are miserable without, and excellent with it. Yet how difficult it is to have gravy always on hand every mistress of a small family knows, in spite of the constant advice to "save your trimming to make stock." Do by all means save your bones, gristle, odds and ends of meat of all kinds, and convert them into broth; but even if you do, it often happens that the days you have done so no gravy is required, and then it sours quickly in summer, although it may be arrested by reboiling. In no family of three or four are there odds and ends enough, unless there is a very extravagant table kept, to insure stock for every day. My remedy for this, then, is to make a stock that will keep for months or years—in other words, glaze. So very rarely forming part of a housewife's stores, yet so valuable that the fact is simply astonishing; with a piece of glaze, you have a dish of soup on an emergency, rich gravy for any purpose, and all with the expenditure of less time than would make a pot of sweetmeats.
Take six pounds of a knuckle of veal or leg of beef, cut it in pieces the size of an egg, as also half a pound of lean ham; then rub a quarter of a pound of butter on the bottom of your pot, which should hold two gallons; then put in the meat with half a pint of water, three middle-sized onions, with two cloves in each, a turnip, a carrot, and a small head of celery; then place over a quick fire, occasionally stirring it round, until the bottom of the pot is covered with a thick glaze, which will adhere lightly to the spoon; then fill up the pot with cold water, and when on the boiling point, draw it to the back of the stove, where it may gently simmer three hours, if veal, six if beef, carefully skimming it to remove scum. This stock, as it is, will make a delicious foundation, with the addition of salt, for all kinds of clear soup or gravies. To reduce it to glaze proceed as follows: Pass the stock through a fine hair sieve or cloth into a pan; then fill up the pot again with hot water, and let it boil four hours longer to obtain all the glutinous part from the meat; strain, and pour both stocks in a large pot or stew-pan together; set it over the fire, and let it boil as fast as possible with the lid off, leaving a large spoon in it to prevent it boiling over, and to stir occasionally. When reduced to about three pints, pour it into a small stew-pan or saucepan, set again to boil, but more slowly, skimming it if necessary; when it is reduced to a quart, set it where it will again boil quickly, stirring it well with a wooden spoon until it begins to get thick and of a fine yellowish-brown color; at this point be careful it does not burn.
You may either pour it into a pot for use, or, what is more convenient for making gravies, get a sausage skin from your butcher, cut a yard of it, tie one end very tightly, then pour into it by means of a large funnel the glaze; from this cut slices for use. A thick slice dissolved in hot water makes a cup of nutritious soup, into which you may put any cooked vegetables, or rice, or barley. A piece is very useful to take on a journey, especially for an invalid who does not want to depend on wayside hotel food, or is tired of beef-tea.
The foregoing is the orthodox recipe for glaze, and if you have to buy meat for the purpose the very best way in which you can make it; but if it happen that you have some strong meat soup or jelly, for which you have no use while fresh, then boil it down till it is thick and brown (not burnt); it will be excellent glaze; not so fine in flavor, perhaps, but it preserves to good use what would otherwise be lost. Very many people do not know the value of pork for making jelly. If you live in the country and kill a pig, use his hocks for making glaze instead of beef.
Glaze also adds much to the beauty of many dishes. If roast beef is not quite brown enough on any one spot set your jar of glaze—for this purpose it is well to have some put in a jar as well as in the skin—in boiling water. Keep a small stiff brush; such as are sold for the purpose at house-furnishing stores, called a glazing brush, are best; but you may manage with any other or even a stiff feather. When the glaze softens, as glue would do, brush over your meat with it, it will give the lacking brown; or, if you have a ham or tongue you wish to decorate you may "varnish" it, as it were, with the melted glaze; then when cold beat some fresh butter to a white cream, and with a kitchen syringe, if you have one, a stiff paper funnel if you have not, trace any design you please on the glazed surface; this makes a very handsome dish, and if your ham has been properly boiled will be very satisfactory to the palate. Of the boiling of ham I will speak in another chapter.
I have a few more articles to recommend for your store-room, and then I think you will find yourself equal to the emergency of providing an elegant little meal if called upon unexpectedly, provided you have any cold scraps at all in the house, and maitre d'hotel butter.
To make the latter, take half a pound of fine butter, one tablespoonful of very fresh parsley, chopped not too fine, salt, pepper, and a small tablespoonful of lemon juice; mix together, but do not work more than sufficient for that purpose, and pack in a jar, keeping it in a cool place. A tablespoonful of this laid in a hot dish on which you serve beefsteak, chops, or any kind of fish, is a great addition, and turns plain boiled potatoes into pomme de terre a la maitre d'hotel. It is excellent with stewed potatoes, or added to anything for which parsley is needed, and not always at hand; a spoonful with half the quantity of flour stirred into a gill of milk or water makes the renowned maitre d'hotel sauce (or English parsley butter) for boiled fish, mutton, or veal. In short, it is one of the most valuable things to have in the house. Equally valuable, even, and more elegant is the preparation known as "Ravigotte" or Montpellier butter.
Take one pound in equal quantities of chervil, tarragon, burnet (pimpernel), chives, and garden cress (peppergrass); scald two minutes, drain quite dry; pound in a mortar three hard eggs, three anchovies, and one scant ounce of pickled cucumbers, and same quantity of capers well pressed to extract the vinegar; add salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic half as large as a pea, rub all through a sieve; then put a pound of fine butter into the mortar, which must be well cleansed from the herbs, add the herbs, with two tablespoonfuls of oil and one of tarragon vinegar, mix perfectly, and if not of a fine green, add the juice of some pounded spinach.
This is the celebrated "beurre de Montpellier" sold in Paris in tiny jars at a high price. Ravigotte is the same thing, only in place of the eggs, anchovies, pickles, and capers, put half a pound more butter; it is good, but less piquant.
Pack in a jar, and keep cool. This butter is excellent for many purposes. For salad, beaten with oil, vinegar, and yolks of eggs, as for mayonnaise, it makes a delicious dressing. For cold meat or fish it is excellent, and also for chops.
Two or three other articles serve to simplify the art of cooking in its especially difficult branches, and in the branches a lady finds difficult to attend to herself without remaining in the kitchen until the last minute before dinner; but with the aid of blanc and roux a fairly intelligent girl can make excellent sauces.
For roux melt slowly half a pound of butter over the fire, skim it, let it settle, then dredge in eight ounces of fine flour, stir it till it is of a bright brown, then put away in a jar for use.
Blanc is the same thing, only it is not allowed to brown; it should be stirred only enough to make all hot through, then put away in a jar.
If you need thickening for a white sauce and do not wish to stand over it yourself, having taught your cook the simple fact that a piece of blanc put into the milk before it boils (or it will harden instead of melt) and allowed to dissolve, stirring constantly, will make the sauce you wish, she will be able at all times to produce a white sauce that you need not be ashamed of. When the sauce is nearly ready to serve, stir in a good piece of butter—a large spoonful to half a pint; when mixed, the sauce is ready. Brown sauce can always be made by taking a cup of broth or soup and dissolving in the same way a piece of the roux; and also, if desired, a piece of Montpellier butter. If there is no soup of course you make it with a piece of glaze.
Brown flour is also a convenient thing to have ready; it is simply cooking flour in the oven until it is a pale brown; if it is allowed to get dark it will be bitter, and, that it may brown evenly, it requires to be laid on a large flat baking pan and stirred often. Useful for thickening stews, hash, etc.
LUNCHEON is usually, in this country, either a forlorn meal of cold meat or hash, or else a sort of early dinner, both of which are a mistake. If it is veritably luncheon, and not early dinner, it should be as unlike that later meal as possible for variety's sake, and, in any but very small families, there are so many dishes more suitable for luncheon than any other meal, that it is easy to have great variety with very little trouble.
I wish it were more the fashion here to have many of the cold dishes which are popular on the other side the Atlantic; and, in spite of the fact that table prejudices are very difficult to get over, I will append a few recipes in the hope that some lady, more progressive than prejudiced, may give them a trial, convinced that their excellence, appearance, and convenience will win them favor.
By having most dishes cold at luncheon, it makes it a distinct meal from the hot breakfast and dinner. In summer, the cold food and a salad is especially refreshing; in winter, a nice hot soup or puree—thick soup is preferable at luncheon to clear, which is well fitted to precede a heavy meal—and some savory entree are very desirable, while cold raised pie, galantine, jellied fish, and potted meats may ever, at that season, find their appropriate place on the luncheon table. The potatoes, which are the only vegetable introduced at strict lunch, should be prepared in some fancy manner, as croquettes, mashed and browned, a la maitre d'hotel, or in snow. The latter mode is pretty and novel; I will, therefore, include it in my recipes for luncheon dishes. Omelets, too, are excellent at luncheon.
In these remarks I am thinking especially of large families, whose luncheon table might be provided with a dish of galantine, one of collared fish, and a meat pie, besides the steak, cutlets, or warmed-over meat, without anything going to waste. In winter most cold jellied articles will keep a fortnight, and in summer three or four days.
WINDSOR PIE.—Take slices of veal cutlet, half an inch thick, and very thin slices of lean boiled ham; put at the bottom of one of these veal-pie dishes or "bakers," about two to three inches deep, a layer of the veal, seasoned, then one of ham, then one of force-meat, made as follows: Take a little veal, or if you have sausage-meat ready-made, it will do, as much fine dry bread-crumbs, a dessert-spoonful of finely chopped parsley, in which is a salt-spoonful of powdered thyme, savory, and marjoram, if you have them, with salt and pepper, and mix with enough butter to make it a crumbling paste; lay a thin layer of this on the ham, then another of veal, then ham and force-meat again, until the dish is quite full. Lay something flat upon it, and then a weight for an hour. You must have prepared, from bones and scraps of veal, about a pint of stiff veal jelly; pour this over the meat, and then take strips of rich puff paste (the brioche paste would be excellent in hot weather), wet the edge of the dish, and lay the strips round, pressing them lightly to the dish; roll the cover a little larger than the top of the dish, and lay it on, first wetting the surface, not the edge, of the strips round the lips of the dish; press the two together, then make a hole in the center and ornament as you please; but I never ornament the edge of a pie, as it is apt to prevent the paste from rising. An appropriate and simple ornament for meat pies is to roll a piece of paste very thin, cut it in four diamond-shaped pieces, put one point of each to the hole in the center so that you have one on each end, and one each side, then roll another little piece of paste as thin as possible, flour it and double it, then double it again, bring all the corners together in your hand, like a little bundle, then with a sharp knife give a quick cut over the top of the ball of paste, cutting quite deeply, then another across; if your cut has been clean and quick, you will now be able to turn half back the leaves of paste as if it were a half-blown rose. The ends which you have gathered together in your hand are to be inserted in the hole in the center of the pie. Then brush over with yolk of egg beaten very well in a little milk or water, and bake an hour and a half.
This way of covering and ornamenting a pie is appropriate for all meat pies; pigeon pie should, however, have the little red feet skinned by dipping in boiling water, then rubbed in a cloth, when skin and nails peel off; if allowed to lie in the water, the flesh comes too; then one pair is put at each end of the pie, a hole being cut to insert them, or four are put in the center instead of the rose.
The Windsor pie is intended to be eaten cold, as are all veal and ham pies, the beauty of the jelly being lost in a hot pie. Do not fail to try it on that account, for cold pies are excellent things.
ANOTHER VEAL AND HAM PIE, more usual, and probably the "weal and hammer" that "mellered the organ" of Silas Wegg, was manufactured by Mrs. Boffin from this recipe; it is as follows:
Take the thick part of breast of veal, removing all the bones, which put on for gravy, stewing them long and slowly; put a layer of veal, pepper and salt, then a thin sprinkling of ham; if boiled, cut in slices; if raw, cut a slice in dice, which scald before using, then more veal and again ham. If force-meat balls are liked, make some force-meat as for Windsor pie, using if you prefer it chopped hard-boiled eggs in place of chopped meat, and binding into a paste with a raw egg; then make into balls, which drop into the crevices of the pie; boil two or three eggs quite hard, cut each in four and lay them round the sides and over the top, pour in about a gill of gravy, and cover the same as the Windsor pie. In either of these pies the force-meat may be left out, a sweetbread cut up, or mushrooms put in.
A chicken pie to eat cold is very fine made in this way.
RAISED PORK PIES are so familiar to every one who has visited England, and, in spite of the greasy idea, are so very good, that I introduce a well-tried recipe, feeling sure any one who eats pork at all will find it worth while to give them a trial; they will follow it with many another.
The paste for them is made as follows:
Rub into two pounds of flour a liberal half pound of butter, then melt in half a pint of hot, but not boiling milk, another half pound—or it may be lard; pour this into the flour, and knead it into a smooth, firm paste. Properly raised pies should be molded by hand, and I will endeavor to describe the method in case any persevering lady would like to try and have the orthodox thing. But pie molds of tin, opening at the side, are to be bought, and save much trouble; the mold, if used, should be well buttered, and the pie taken out when done, and returned to the oven for the sides to brown.
To "raise" a pie, proceed thus: While the paste is warm, form a ball of paste into a cone; then with the fist work inside it, till it forms an oval cup; continue to knead till you have the walls of an even thickness, then pinch a fold all around the bottom. If properly done, you have an oval, flat-bottomed crust, with sides about two inches high; fill this with pork, fat and lean together, well peppered and salted; then work an oval cover, as near the size of the bottom cover as you can, and wet the edges of the wall, lay the cover on, and pinch to match the bottom; ornament as directed for Windsor pie, wash with egg, and bake a pale brown in a moderate oven; they must be well cooked, or the meat will not be good. One containing a pound of meat may be cooked an hour and a quarter. All these pies are served in slices, cut through to the bottom.
Galantines are very handsome dishes, not very difficult to make, and generally popular. I give a recipe for a very simple and delicious one:
Take a fine breast of veal, remove all gristle, tendons, bones, and trim to fifteen inches in length and eight wide; use the trimmings and bones to help make the jelly, then put on the meat a layer of force-meat made thus: Take one pound of sausage meat, or lean veal, to which add half a pound of bread-crumbs, parsley and thyme to taste; grate a little nutmeg, pepper, salt, and the juice of half a lemon; have also some long strips an inch thick of fat bacon or pork, and lean of veal, and lean ham, well seasoned with pepper, salt, and finely chopped shallots. Lay on the meat a layer of force-meat an inch thick, leaving an inch and a half on each side uncovered; then lay on your strips of ham, veal, and bacon fat, alternately; then another of force-meat, but only half an inch thick, as too much force-meat will spoil the appearance of the dish; if you have any cold tongue, lay some strips in, also a few blanched pistachio nuts (to be obtained of a confectioner) will give the appearance of true French galantine. Roll up the veal, and sew it with a packing or coarse needle and fine twine, tie it firmly up in a piece of linen. Observe that you do not put your pistachio nuts amid the force-meat, where, being green, their appearance would be lost; put them in crevices of the meats.
Cook this in sufficient water to cover, in which you must have the trimmings of the breast and a knuckle of veal, or hock of pork, two onions, a carrot, half a head of celery, two cloves, a blade of mace, and a good bunch of parsley, thyme and bay leaf, two ounces of salt. Set the pot on the fire till it is at boiling point, then draw it to the back and let it simmer three hours, skimming carefully; then take it from the fire, leaving it in the stock till nearly cold; then take it out, remove the string from the napkin, and roll the galantine up tighter—if too tight at first it will be hard—tying the napkin at each end only; then place it on a dish, set another dish on it, on which place a fourteen-pound weight; this will cause it to cut firm. When quite cold, remove strings and cloth, and it is ready to be ornamented with jelly. When the stock in which the galantine was cooked is cold take off the fat and clarify it, first trying, however, if it is in right condition, by putting a little on ice. If it is not stiff enough to cut firm, you must reduce it by boiling; if too stiff, that is approaching glaze, add a little water, then clarify by adding whites of eggs, as directed to clarify soup (see soups). A glass of sherry and two spoonfuls of tarragon or common vinegar are a great improvement. Some people like this jelly cut in dice, to ornament the galantine, part of it may then also serve to ornament other dishes at the table. But I prefer to have the galantine enveloped in jelly, which may be done by putting it in an oblong soup tureen or other vessel that will contain it, leaving an inch space all round, then pouring the jelly over it.
Jellied fish is a favorite dish with many, and is very simple to prepare; it is also very ornamental. Take flounders or almost any flat fish that is cheapest at the time you require them. Clean and scrape them, cut them in small pieces, but do not cut off the fins; put them in a stew-pan with a few small button onions or one large one, a half teaspoonful of sugar, a glass of sherry, a dessert-spoonful of lemon juice, and a small bunch of parsley. To one large flounder put a quart of water, and if you are going to jelly oysters put in their liquor and a little salt. Stew long and slowly, skimming well; then strain, and if not perfectly clear clarify as elsewhere directed. (See if your stock jellies, by trying it on ice before you clarify.) Now take a mold, put in it pieces of cold salmon, eels that have been cooked, or oysters, the latter only just cooked enough in the stock to plump them; pour a little of the jelly in the mold, then three or four half slices of lemon, then oysters or the cold fish, until the mold is near full, disposing the lemon so that it will be near the sides and decorate the jelly; then pour the rest of the jelly over all and stand in boiling water for a few minutes, then put it in a cold place, on ice is best, for some hours. When about to serve, dip the mold in hot water, turn out on a dish, garnish with lettuce leaves or parsley and hard-boiled eggs. The latter may be introduced into the jelly cut in quarters if it is desired; very ornamental force-meat balls made bright green with spinach juice are also an improvement in appearance.
A NEW MAYONNAISE (Soyer's).—Put a quarter of a pint of stiff veal jelly (that has been nicely flavored with vegetables) on ice in a bowl, whisking it till it is a white froth; then add half a pint of salad oil and six spoonfuls of tarragon vinegar, by degrees, first oil, then vinegar, continually whisking till it forms a white, smooth, sauce-like cream; season with half a teaspoonful of salt, a quarter ditto of white pepper, and a very little sugar, whisk it a little more and it is ready. It should be dressed pyramidically over the article it is served with. The advantage of this sauce is that (although more delicate than any other) you may dress it to any height you like, and it will remain so any length of time; if the temperature is cool, it will remain hours without appearing greasy or melting. It is absolutely necessary, however, that it should be prepared on ice.
All these dishes, however, are only adapted for large families, but there are several ways of improving on the ordinary lunch table of very small ones. And nothing is more pleasant for the mistress of one of these very small families than to have a friend drop in to lunch, and have a recherche lunch to offer with little trouble. Warming over will aid her in this, and to that chapter I refer her; but there are one or two ways of having cold relishes always ready, which help out an impromptu meal wonderfully.
Potted meats are a great resource to English housekeepers; this side the Atlantic they are chiefly known through the medium of Cross & Blackwell, though latterly one or two American firms have introduced some very admirable articles of the sort. Home-made potted meats are, however, better and less expensive than those bought; they should be packed away in jars, Liebig's extract of meat jars not being too small for the purpose, as, while covered with the fat they keep well; once opened, they require eating within a week or ten days, except in very cold weather.
Potted bloater is one of the least expensive and appetizing of all potted meats. To make it, take two or three or more bloaters, cut off the heads and cleanse them, put them in the oven long enough to cook them through; take them out, take off the skin, and remove the meat from the bones carefully; put the meat of the fish in a jar with half its weight of butter, leave it to slowly cook in a cool oven for an hour, then take it out, put the fish into a mortar or strong dish, pour the butter on it carefully, but don't let the gravy pass too, unless the fish is to be eaten very quickly, as it would prevent it keeping. Beat both butter and fish till they form a paste, add a little cayenne, and press it into small pots, pouring on each melted butter, or mutton suet. Either should be the third of an inch thick on the bloater. This makes excellent sandwiches.
POTTED HAM.—Take any remains of ham you have, even fried, if of a nice quality, is good for the purpose; take away all stringy parts, sinew, or gristle, put it in a slow oven with its weight of butter, let it stay macerating in the butter till very tender, then beat it in a mortar, add cayenne, and pack in pots in the same way as the bloater. Thus you may pot odds and ends of any meat or fish you have, and as a little potted meat goes a long way, when you have a little lobster, a bit of chicken breast, or even cold veal, I advise you to use it in this way; you will then have a little stock of dainties in the house to fall back on at any time for unexpected calls—a very important thing in the country.
Potted chicken or veal requires either a little tongue or lean ham to give flavor; but failing these, a little ravigotte butter, beaten in after the meat is well pounded, is by no means a bad substitute.
Many people like the flavor of anchovies, but do not like the idea of eating raw fish; for these anchovy butter is very acceptable.
Take the anchovies out of the liquor in which they are packed, but do not wash them, put them in twice their weight of butter in a jar, which stand in boiling water; set all back of the stove for an hour, then pound, add cayenne, and pack in glasses.
Unexpected company to luncheon with a lady who has to eat that meal alone generally, and (as is the unwise way of such ladies) makes it a very slender meal, is one of the ordeals of a young housekeeper; company to lunch and nothing in the house. But there is generally a dainty luncheon in every house if you know how to prepare it; there certainly always will be if you keep your store-room supplied with the things I have named. Let the table be prettily laid at all times, then if you have potted meat and preserves, have them put on the table. Are there cold potatoes? If so cut them up into potato salad, if they are whole; if broken, warm them in a wineglass of milk, a teaspoonful of flour, and a piece as large as an egg of maitre d'hotel butter. Have you such scraps of cold meat as could not come to table? Toss them up with a half cup of water, a slice of glaze (oh, blessed ever-ready glaze!) a teaspoonful of ravigotte, or maitre d'hotel, and a teaspoonful of roux or blanc, according as your meat is light or dark, season, and serve. Or you have no meat, then you have eggs, and what better than an omelet and such an omelet as the following? Take the crumb of a slice of bread, soak it in hot milk (cold will do, but hot is better), beat up whites of four eggs to a high froth; mix the bread with all the milk it will absorb, no more, into a paste, add the yolks of eggs with a little salt, set the pan on the fire with an ounce of butter. Let it get very hot, then mix the whites of eggs with the yolks and bread lightly, pour in the pan, and move about for a minute; if the oven is hot, when the omelet is brown underneath, set the pan in the oven for five minutes, or until the top is set; then double half over, and serve. If your guests have a liking for sweets, and your potted meats supply the savory part of your luncheon, then have a brown gravy ready to serve with it. Put into a half cup of boiling water a slice of glaze, a spoonful of roux, and enough Harvey sauce, or mushroom powder, to flavor. If your omelet is to be sweet, before you fold it put in a layer of preserves.
The advantage of the omelet I have here given is that it keeps plump and tender till cold, so that five minutes of waiting does not turn it into leather, the great objection with omelets generally.
Potatoes for luncheon, as I have said, should always be prepared in some fancy way, and snow is a very pretty one. Have some fine mealy potatoes boiled, carefully poured off, and set back of the stove with a cloth over them till they are quite dry and fall apart; then have a colander, or coarse wire sieve made hot and a hot dish in which to serve them, pass the floury potatoes through the sieve, taking care not to crush the snow as it falls. You require a large dish heaping full, and be careful it is kept hot.
This mode of preparing potatoes, although very pretty and novel, must never be attempted with any but the whitest and mealiest kind.
The remains of cold potatoes may be prepared thus: Put three ounces of butter in a frying-pan in which fry three onions sliced till tender, but not very brown, then put on the potatoes cut in slices, and shake them till they are of a nice brown color, put a spoonful of chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and juice of a lemon, shake well that all may mix together, dish, and serve very hot.
A CHAPTER ON GENERAL MANAGEMENT IN VERY SMALL FAMILIES.
A VERY small family, "a young menage," for instance, is very much more difficult to cater for without waste than a larger one; two people are so apt to get tired of anything, be it ever so good eating, when it has been on the table once or twice; therefore it would be useless to make galantine or the large pies I have indicated, except for occasions when guests are expected; but, as I hope to aid young housekeepers to have nice dishes when alone, I will devote this chapter to their needs.
The chapter on "Warming Over" will be very useful also to this large class.
In the first place it is well to have regard, when part of a dish leaves the table, as to whether it, or any particular part of it, will make a nice little cold dish, or a rechauffe; in that case have it saved, unless it is required for the servants' dinner (it is well to manage so that it is not needed for that purpose); for instance, if there is the wing and a slice or two of the breast of a chicken left, it will make a dainty little breakfast dish, or cold, in jelly, be nice for lunch. There is always jelly if you have roast chicken, if you manage properly, and this is how you do it:
Carefully save the feet, throat, gizzard, and liver of your chickens; scald the feet by pouring boiling water over them; leave them just a minute, and pull off the outer skin and nails; they come away very readily, leaving the feet delicately white; put these with the other giblets, properly cleansed, into a small saucepan with an onion, a slice of carrot, a sprig of parsley, and a pint of water (if you have the giblets of one chicken), if of two, put a quart; let this slowly simmer for two hours and a half; it will be reduced to about half, and form a stiff jelly when cold; a glass of sherry, and squeeze of lemon, or teaspoonful of tarragon vinegar, makes this into a delicious aspic, and should be added if to be eaten cold. The jelly must of course be strained.
In roasting chickens, if you follow the rule for meat, that is, put no water in the pan, but a piece of butter, and dredge a very little flour over the chicken, you will have a nice brown glaze at the bottom of the pan, provided it has been cooked in a quick oven; if in a cool oven there will be nothing brown at all; but we will suppose the bird is browned to a turn; pour your gravy from the giblets into the pan, take off every bit of the glaze or osma-zone that adheres, and let it dissolve, rubbing it with the back of the spoon; then, if you are likely to have any chicken left cold, pour off a little gravy in a cup through a fine strainer, leaving in your pan sufficient for the dinner; in this mash up the liver till it is a smooth paste which thickens the gravy, and serve. Some object to liver, therefore the use of it is a matter of taste. If you dress the chickens English fashion, you will need the liver and gizzard to tuck under the wings; in this case, stew only the feet and throat, using a little meat of any kind, if you have it, to take their place; but on no account fail to use the feet, as they are as rich in jelly as calves' feet in proportion to their size.
The jelly laid aside will be enough to ornament and give relish to a little dish of cold chicken, and changes it from a dry and commonplace thing to a recherche one. If two chickens are cooked it is more economical than one; there is, then, double the amount of gravy, generally sufficient, if you lay some very nice pieces of cold chicken in a bowl, to pour over it and leave it enveloped in jelly; you still then, if from dinner for two people, have perhaps joints enough to make a dish of curry or fricassee, or any of the many ways in which cold chicken may be used, for which see chapter on "Warming Over."
For small households large joints are to be avoided, but even a small roast is a large joint when there are but two or three to eat it. For this reason it is a good plan to buy such joints as divide well. A sirloin of beef is better made into two fine dishes than into one roast, and then warmed over twice. Every one knows that "Filet de b[oe]uf Chateaubriand" is one of the classical dishes of the French table, that to a Frenchman luxury can go no further; but every one does not know how entirely within his power it is to have that dish as often as he has roast beef; how convenient it would be to so have it. Here it is: When your sirloin roast comes from the butcher, take out the tenderloin or fillets, which you must always choose thick; cut it across into steaks an inch thick, trim them, cover them with a coat of butter (or oil, which is much better), and broil them ten minutes, turning them often; garnish with fried potatoes, and serve with sauce Chateaubriand, as follows: Put a gill of white wine (or claret will do if you have no white) into a saucepan, with a piece of glaze, weighing an ounce and a half; add three quarters of a pint of espagnole, and simmer fifteen minutes; when ready to serve, thicken with two ounces of maitre d'hotel butter in which a dessert-spoonful of flour has been worked. That is how Jules Gouffe's recipe runs; but, as no small family will keep espagnole ready made, allow a little more glaze (of course the recipe as given may be divided to half or quarter, provided the correct proportions are retained), and use a tablespoonful of roux and the maitre d'hotel butter, both of which you have probably in your store-room; if not, brown a little flour, chop some parsley, and add to two ounces of butter; work them together, then let them dissolve in the sauce, for which purpose let it go off the boil; let the sauce simmer a minute, skim, and serve.
The sirloin of beef, denuded of its fillet, is still a good roast; and as you can't have your cake and eat it too, and hot fresh roast beef is better than the same warmed over, warm ye never so wisely, I think this plan may commend itself to those who like nice little dinners.