Thursday, January 28, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #2 - Culinary Vices

Time for another Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge!  This one is #2 - Culinary Vices. 

2.  Culinary Vices (January 15 - January 28)  Some foods are really, really naughty.  Globs of butter, lashings of sugar and syrup, decadent chocolate and wine.  Bring out your naughty, indecorous side with foods associated with all the bad things, in the best ways.
Butter and sugar, syrup, chocolate and wine - all necessary food groups, I'm certain!  Staying with the 1916 Twenty Lessons in Domestic Science by Marian Cole Fisher, I find wonderful recipes for many sweet items as the book itself is compiled and printed for the Calumet Baking Powder Company and presented with its compliments.
Lesson Number Two is entitled Leavening Agents.  It describes the common leavening agents in the home as yeast and baking powder.  Where yeast is a microscopic plant which during the process breaks sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxid gas, baking powder produces the same gas by chemical action.  William Monroe Wright established the Calumet Baking Powder Company in Chicago, Illinois in 1889 and sold it to General Foods in 1929.  He used his wealth to build a breeding and training horse operation in Lexington, Kentucky which he named Calumet Farm.
Page 31, Twenty Lessons in Domestic Science
In Lesson Two a recipe for Maple Rolls catches my eye as our family loves anything with maple flavor.
The one ingredient I don't have is maple sugar and it sends me into research on how to make/obtain maple sugar.  I find this wonderful blog post and decide to give it a try.
A dark pure maple syrup.  8.5 oz approximately $5.00.

Over med-high heat.

The syrup begin to foam and release moisture quickly.

The color darkens and if the foam rises too high in the pot, just stop stirring and the foam will subside.

Getting closer.

Getting darker.

256 degrees and ready!

Poured into the bowl and ready to stir.

As the syrup cools it releases more moisture and the stirring gets more difficult.

Very thick and difficult to stir.

Right at the point where it starts to turn to sugar but I can't stir any longer.

Turned out onto a sheet....

....and then beat into sugary submission.

The 8.5 oz jar of syrup yields 5 oz of varied sized sugar.
Fortunately I had also ordered some maple sugar online and used it to add to my home-made sugar to meet the recipe requirements.
Now I'm finally ready to make Maple Rolls.
Ingredients.  I'm adding a little butter to the fat free milk.

Measured flour, salt, and baking powder ready for sifting.

Sifted flour, salt, and baking powder.

Shortening measured and cut into dry ingredients.

Milk added.

Dough ready.

Dough rolled square.

Home-made and purchased maple sugars spread on dough.
Insert big sad face here.  Why?  Because the dough was too warm to hold the roll, my hands were too messy to take a photo, and I was ready to toss everything in the sink.  But the house smelled so maple-y wonderful and I had gotten this far, so I decided to cut my messy roll and bake my Maple Kind-of-Rolls anyway.

So sad looking.  But they still smell wonderful with the maple sugar!
The center of the roll was even more of a mess than the ends, so I just formed it into a maple loaf-kind-of-thing.
The recipe calls for a "moderate" oven which I find described on another page of this 1916 book.
Half way through baking I rotate the pan.

The sugar/syrup bubbles as the rolls brown.

The recipe gives an option for cutting dough rounds and placing the rolls on top to seal in the goodness.  It does melt out during baking and the rolls should be removed from the pan immediately out of the oven.
Now comes the real test of any recipe - the flavor!  Thumbs up from everyone!!!  Yay!!  Moist, sweet, and oh-so-maple-y!!
Warm Maple Rolls and hot coffee!

Part sugar, part syrup, all goodness.

Even the little Maple Loaf is yummy!

 It's a keeper!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Patrick's EZ-PZ Lemon Pie

What a day!  Sleet, snow, freezing rain, cold, windy...reminds me of when Jeanette and I lived in Northern Illinois!  Knowing that this storm was blowing our way, Jeanette and I went shopping yesterday for emergency rations that would survive if we lost power.  Along with canned soups, hot dogs and other grill-able delights, I decided that we needed a cold lemon pie that could be set on our screen porch if the refrigerator went out and it is the easiest recipe you've ever seen.  Give it a try!

You need:

2-14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand or whatever Wal-Mart has)
3/4 cup lemon juice...about 3 fresh lemons.  Don't forget to zest them and freeze the zest for future recipes!
1 Graham cracker pie crust (or you can use that other plain, tasteless pie crust if you wish...just sayin').
A pinch of the lemon zest

Pour the milk in a medium mixing bowl.  Pour in the lemon juice.  Add a pinch of zest!  Stir till mixed well.  Pour it all into the Graham Cracker crust and refrigerate a couple hours.

Sit in front of the picture window with a hot cup of coffee and your EZ-PZ Lemon Pie and watch the snow come down!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #1 - Meat-and-Potatoes

The Historical Food Fortnightly Challenges in the second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015 were educational, interesting, fun, and tasty!  My husband, Patrick, and I met the Challenges from cookbooks from 1950 and 1951, the years we were born.  The 27 Challenges became a blog and book that our family will cherish for years to come.

This blog, A Place Setting In Time, will hold our adventures in food for whatever strikes our fancy.  We are starting with the first Challenge of the Historical Food Fortnightly:  Meat-and-Potatoes.  For all of the 2016 Challenges we will turn to a book I found over 10 years ago at a shop in Illinois in a little town next to the Mississippi River.
The book is entitled Twenty Lessons in Domestic Science.  It is by Marion Cole Fisher formerly of the St. Paul Institute of Arts and Science.

It is a condensed home study course.
Copyright 1916.  Choosing recipes from this book in 2016, 100 years later, should be an interesting and educational journey.  How have ingredients and techniques changed in these 100 years?  What have we learned about nutrition?  What progress have we made in preparation?
Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #1 - Meat-and-Potatoes (January 1 - January 14)  They're a staple for the tables in the most rustic cottages as well as the fanciest banquet tables - and it's also an idiom meaning a staple or the most basic parts of something.  Make a historic "meat-and-potatoes" recipe - however you interpret it.
For the first Challenge we take the Challenge literally selecting a recipe from Lesson VIII - Meats.

There on page 66 is a recipe for Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas).  I'm not familiar with the word Gulyas and find that it is the Hungarian word for a sheep- or cattle-herder.  I've been served Hungarian Goulash all my life at many potluck dinners, church suppers, and family get-togethers.  I always remember the base recipe being a ground beef and tomato with a macaroni.  So this recipe is completely different and sounds heavenly.

Using veal chuck as there wasn't any mutton available.  Yes, I would have tried it!

A yellow pepper in place of green.  A sign at the market stated that due to some severe weather, green peppers were in short supply.  No matter the century there will be shortages and necessary substitutions.

Pepper and onions sliced.

Drippings heated and onions and pepper added.

Cooked for 10 minutes.

Veal prepared.

Veal seared for 15 minutes and then water added to just cover meat.  Covered and simmered until veal was tender adding water to cover as necessary.

Potatoes diced. 

Potatoes added on top of meat mixture where they will steam until soft.

Recipe calls for a generous addition of paprika.  I used 2 tablespoons.  Evaporated milk added, stirred until heated through.
A hearty, aromatic, and satisfying meal!  Not quite a stew, not quite a soup, served with a crusty bread, it's a meal for a cold day whether you are indoors or out on the sheep ranch cooking over an open fire.