Tasty Tuesday: Bacon and Eggs #colonial #bacon #eggs #breakfast #cooking #recipes

For a change of pace, here’s a breakfast recipe for today’s Tasty Tuesday post. At least, that’s when we enjoyed it, for a Sunday morning breakfast. I’ll let Mrs. Glasse introduce this new-to-me concept of fixing breakfast…

Collops and Eggs

Cut either bacon, pickled beef, or hung mutton, into thin slices, broil them nicely, lay them in a dish before the fire, have ready a stew-pan of water boiling, break as many eggs as you have collops, break them one by one in a cup, and pour them into the stew-pan. When the whites of the eggs begin to harden, and all look of a clear white, take them up one by one in an egg-slice, and lay them on the collops.

So my obvious choice was bacon, because I’m not a fan of beef or lamb for breakfast. If I were to make this as a dinner, then perhaps that would work. But feel free to choose whichever meet you’d like to broil.

It took me a little while to understand why she wants me to put all the eggs into one cup. That way all the eggs cook at the same time, so they’re all done at the same time and ready to serve. By the way, an “egg-slice” is simply a slotted spatula or turner. Because the eggs are rather slick from the boiled water, I think a slotted spoon makes it easier to lift them out without having them end up on the floor. But perhaps that’s just me…

The other thing “new” to me, besides boiling eggs in water without their shells on, was broiling bacon. Only after hubby and I were eating the results did I remember that my family also used a broiler to cook bacon for larger groups. Just like those 18th-century cooks with their large families and frequent visitors, my parents had five children and often we had friends or other family members visiting. Hubby’s aunt also used a broiler to do bacon when she needed to feed a family gathering after a funeral. So it’s really not new, just overlooked on my part. But I don’t have such a large group to feed, and hubby typically cooks the bacon on a flat griddle. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

Anyway, here’s my adaptation of this recipe…

Betty’s Bacon Collops and Eggs

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, cut into halves or quarters

4 eggs

Instructions

Heat broiler on high. Arrange bacon on broiler pan and broil until desired crispness, turning occasionally.

IMG_0003Meanwhile, start a pot of water boiling.

Remove bacon from broiler pan to a serving platter and keep warm.

Crack each egg into a small to medium mixing bowl.

Add all eggs at once to boiling water, stirring gently to separate whites as they cook.

When the whites are bright white and the yolks done enough, carefully use a slotted spoon to remove each from the water and arrange on the bacon. Serve hot.

IMG_0005When I made this, I left the slices whole but I discovered it made it rather tricky to serve the bacon and eggs. So next time I’d cut the slices into halves or better into quarters so you have an easier time choosing one egg instead of multiples at one time.

I served this with toasted English muffins and orange juice since I had both on hand. It made for a nice Sunday morning breakfast.

What do you enjoy for breakfast? What meat would you use if you were to make this recipe?

Betty

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In 1782, the fight for independence becomes personal…

Amy's ChoiceWhen Amy Abernathy’s childhood sweetheart, Benjamin Hanson, leaves to fight in the American War for Independence without a word of goodbye, Amy picks up the pieces of her heart and chooses independence. When Benjamin returns unexpectedly, Amy flees to the country to help her pregnant sister and protect her heart.

Benjamin Hanson knows he hurt Amy, but he also knows he can make it up to her after he completes his mission. Then he learns that Amy has been captured by renegade soldiers. Now Benjamin faces his own choice: free the sassy yet obstinate woman he’s never stopped loving or protect Charles Town from the vengeful British occupation.

 

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Tasty Tuesday: Duck dressed with Peas #colonial #dinner #cooking #duckling #vegetables #whatsfordinner

This week’s Tasty Tuesday recipe was a delicious challenge to make. I’ve only ever roasted a duckling once before and that was a long time ago. Which is why I added it to my schedule of recipes to adapt. This one ended up being done very differently from the method used by Hannah Glasse. Here’s what she recommended as a method of cooking duckling dressed with green peas.

Art of CookeryTo dress a Duck with green peas

Put a deep stew-pan over the fire, with a piece of fresh butter; singe your duck and flour it, turn it in the pan two or three minutes, then pour out all the fat, but let the duck remain in the pan: put to it a pint of good gravy, a pint of peas, two lettuces cut small, a small bundle of sweet herbs, a little pepper and salt, cover them close, and let them stew for half an hour, now and then give the pan a shake; when they are just done, grate in a little nutmeg, and put in a very little beaten mace, and thicken it either with apiece of butter rolled in flour, or the yolk of an egg beat up with two or three spoonfuls of cream; shake it all together for three or four minutes, take out the sweet herbs lay the duck in the dish, and pour the sauce over it. You may garnish with boiled mint chopped, or let it alone.

Let’s look at the steps and ingredients involved here and bring them into the 21st century. First, the deep stew-pan over the fire. I don’t have a pot big enough to hold a 6-pound duckling, so that was my first stumbling point with this recipe. And I’m not using an open flame to cook anything, so I had to decide what to use. I considered using my crock pot, thinking it would be good for ensuring the bird was done through and stayed moist and tender. I could add the ingredients for the peas sauce to the pot and let it simmer.

Before I did, I pulled out my trusty Joy of Cooking cookbook and consulted it on how they recommended roasting duckling. They mentioned that duckling has a high fat content and thus should be roasted on a rack and pricked to release the fat into the roasting pan. I finally decided to do that and make the sauce separately. Unlike Hannah, I seasoned the duckling itself and put it into the oven.

For the sauce then, I waited until the duckling was nearly done before I gathered the ingredients. I did not use the “pint of good gravy” she recommended. Instead, I dissolved some low-sodium chicken bouillon cubes into hot water and used that as my “gravy.” I’ve mentioned before my dislike of mace, so I used seasonings that I know we like.

When I started analyzing the original recipe I questioned using lettuce in the sauce. This was another new concept to me. I did a quick online search and found not only a discussion on why you’d want to cook lettuce but also a cool list of 10 ways to eat lettuce, some of which I hadn’t considered so thought I’d share that with you too. I cut up one small head of Italian lettuce I picked up at my local grocery store, making the pieces fairly small – perhaps one inch squares, give or take. Given that I was not sure we’d like the peas with lettuce mixed together, I decided to serve the sauce on the side so my hubby and son could add as much or as little as they’d like.

 

Veggies Mixed
Peas and lettuce cooking

Note also that Hannah called for a “bundle of sweet herbs” which I assume means fresh herbs from the garden tied together and dropped into the pot and then taken out. Instead, I used dried herbs from bottles in my pantry, but I can’t remove them, so I didn’t use a lot.

 

Here’s my recipe then for duckling with peas.

Betty’s Roasted Duck with Peas

Ingredients

1 6-pound duck, thawed completely

1 T minced garlic

½ T thyme leaves

½ T rosemary leaves, crushed

1 cup hot water

2 chicken bouillon cubes (I used low sodium cubes)

1 small lettuce, cut up into small pieces

1 10-ounce bag of frozen green peas

1 T Italian seasoning

½ tsp black pepper

1 T butter rolled in flour

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Place thawed duck on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Be sure to remove all giblets from neck cavity.

Combine garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Spread over duck.

Put the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350°F. Roast the duck for 20-25 minutes per pound, or 2-2½ hours, or until internal temperature measured with a thermometer at the thigh reaches 185°F. Be sure the thermometer doesn’t touch the bone though.

As the duck nears being done, combine the hot water and bouillon cubes in a saucepan and stir until the cubes are dissolved completely.

Add the peas, lettuce, Italian seasoning and pepper, stirring to combine well.

Cook on medium heat until the lettuce reduces and the peas are tender. Add the butter rolled in flour and simmer until the sauce thickens.

Remove the duck from the oven when done and carve it into slices and pieces. Serve hot with the sauce on the side or you can pour the sauce over the meat if you’d prefer.

I thawed my duckling in the refrigerator. The package says to do so “overnight” which I did for two days. But apparently, that wasn’t quite long enough. When I pulled it out to cook it, there were still ice crystals on it. I had to run hot water over it and inside it to thaw it enough to remove the packet of orange sauce it came with. I didn’t see that there were giblets inside, too, so those got cooked along with the duck. I don’t think it hurt anything, though. But be sure to allow plenty of time for the bird to thaw completely and double-check for giblets.

I think if I were to make the peas sauce again, I might use fresh spinach leaves (not the stalks) instead of lettuce to boost the nutritional value. The sauce wasn’t as thick as I expected, so I might also tinker with the fluid quantity to make it saucier.

Overall, we really enjoyed the duckling alone and with the sauce. The meat was tender and flavorful, and the sweetness of the green peas complemented it well and made it look pretty, too. I was glad that the sauce wasn’t a heavy, rich one as I’m not a fan, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Next week I’m going to do what I think of as a breakfast receipt but I imagine it could be used for brunch or even supper. Until next time, I hope you have good meals and good reads, too!

Betty

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SamanthsSecretCOVERIn 1782, the fight for independence becomes personal in the port city Charles Town, South Carolina.

Midwife and healer, Samantha McAlester returns from the front lines to find Charles Town under British siege and the town’s new doctor at war with its citizens.

Dr. Trent Cunningham intends to build a hospital staffed solely with educated doctors. What he doesn’t need is a raven-haired charlatan spooning out herbs and false promises to his patients, while tempting him at every turn.

Then a mutual friend develops a mysterious infection. Trenton is stumped. Samantha suspects the cure but knows treatment will expose her long-guarded secret, risking all she holds dear… including Trenton.

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Tasty Tuesday: Stewed Cornish Hens #colonial #chicken #dinner #cooking #whatsfordinner #recipes

I have a funny story along with a foolproof recipe for Tasty Tuesday! Today we’re going to find out about how to stew chickens for dinner. Not chicken stew, but stewed chicken. As usual, I’ll let Hannah Glasse tell us in a bit more detail what we’re aiming for.

Art of CookeryA pretty Way of stewing Chickens

Take two fine chickens, half boil them, then take them up in a pewter or silver dish, if you have one, cut up your fowls, and separate all the joint bones one from another, and then take out the breast-bones. If there is not liquor enough from the fowls, add a few spoonfuls of the water they were boiled in, put in a blade of mace, and a little salt; cover it close with another dish, set it over a stove or chafing dish of coals, let it stew till the chickens are enough, and then send them hot to the table in the same dish they were stewed in.

Note, This is a very pretty dish for any sick person, or for a lying in lady. For change, it is better than butter, and the sauce is very agreeable and pretty.

N.B. You may do rabbits, partridges, or moor-game, this way.

So, essentially she wants us to cook the chickens twice: once in boiling water, and then over coals. She’s wise, let me tell you. In fact, my funny story is about making Cornish hens for New Year’s Eve dinner one year. I stuffed their little chest cavities with long grain and wild rice and put them in the oven. Their skin turned all golden brown, but the flesh would not cook. Not even in the microwave, which I finally grew desperate enough to try. I think we ended up eating pizza… And my family will never let me forget it, either. So I was overjoyed to find this method of cooking them!

I didn’t have to make many adjustments to this recipe. After all, there are not many ingredients to begin with. Instead of using two whole chickens, since again I’m adapting these to dinner for two as much as possible, I used Cornish hens. If you were feeding a larger crowd though, you might want to adjust up to two whole chickens. And instead of mace and salt, I used my old standbys of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.

I also had to have my hubby do the separation of the hens’ joints because while I’m recovering from my shoulder surgery, I’m not strong enough to do that yet. Even he had a bit of difficulty with locating the joint to cut through it on the small-boned birds.

So here’s my take on making stewed chicken…

Betty’s Stewed Cornish Hens

Ingredients

2 Cornish hens, thawed

Garlic powder, to taste

Italian seasoning, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Boiling hensPreheat oven to 350°F.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the hens. Carefully remove them (as their skin/flesh is very tender) to a large cutting board.

Separate the joints and lay the breasts and pieces in a covered casserole dish.

Sprinkle with seasonings; cover and place in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until done.

Ready to serveI steamed some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, and boiled up some small honey gold potatoes to add to the dish before serving it. It did make a nice presentation and tasted even better than it looked. We had enough for two meals out of it. The best part is that they were cooked through without any snide remarks…

I’ve also had success with cooking Cornish hens in my crockpot. That’s easier than having to cut up the birds, too. Have you found a fool-proof way to stew chicken or hens?

Betty

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Emily's Vow Finalist SealEmily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Then she’s thrown in a loyalist prison for her privateering father’s raids on the British, and her accuser–a former beau–promises to recant if she will marry him.

Frank Thomson always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns of Emily’s plight, he challenges her accuser to a duel.

Freed from prison, Emily ponders returning the affections of her rescuer–the only man she’s ever loved and who married her twin to save the Sullivan family’s reputation. But Frank cannot afford to be discovered. For the sake of young America, he must deliver his secrets.

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Tasty Tuesday: Roasted #Chicken with Almonds #colonial #dinner #cooking #whatsfordinner #recipes

One thing I’m enjoying about my adventure with colonial recipes is facing new challenges and new ways of cooking. This week’s recipe is for roasted chicken, something I do not do often. Turkey, yes. Chicken, not so much. So it was good to brush up on my chicken roasting skills! But not without a few hiccups. Let’s look at what Mrs. Glasse would have us do and then I’ll share what I did and didn’t agree with.

Art of CookeryTo roast a Fowl with Chesnuts

First take some chesnuts, roast them very carefully, so as not to burn them, take off the skin, and peel them, take about a dozen of them cut small, and bruise them in a mortar; par-boil the liver of the fowl, bruise it, cut about a quarter of a pound of ham or bacon, and pound it; them all together, with a good deal of parsley chopped small, a little sweet herbs, some mace, pepper, salt, and nutmeg; mix these together, and put into your fowl, and roast it. The best way of doing it is to tie the neck, and hang it up by the legs to roast with a string and baste it with butter. For sauce take the rest of the chesnuts peeled and skinned, put them into some good gravy, with a little white wine and thicken it with a piece of butter rolled in flour; then take up your fowl, lay it in the dish, and pour in the sauce. Garnish with lemon.

The very first hiccup was the chestnuts. In my area they are hard to find and when you do they are expensive. So I needed a substitute. A quick online search yielded the information I needed to make an informed choice, based on taste and texture. So I used almonds, which I had on hand and are also good for us.

Almonds toastedMy roasting chicken did not come with all of its parts, so I didn’t have nor want to use the liver. You may decide you’d like to have the liver in your stuffing, and that’s fine! My stuffing probably ended up a little skimpier than intended, but the flavors were there nonetheless.

Again, I omitted the mace and substituted nutmeg with ground ginger. I like the lighter flavor of the ginger even as it lends a slight bite to the taste of the chicken.

The other change I made was to add a bit of seasoning to the butter I used for basting the chicken. I use some form of garlic in almost everything I cook, so it was natural to add some garlic powder and Italian seasoning (which is mostly herbs) to the butter to brush over the chicken before popping it into the oven.

Here’s what I ended up with…

Betty’s Roasted Chicken with Almonds

Ingredients

1 whole, fresh roasting chicken

¼ cup fresh almonds, toasted and ground

2 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

¼ cup parsley

¼ cup Italian seasoning

Black pepper

½ Tablespoon Ginger, ground

2 T melted butter

Italian seasoning and garlic powder to taste

¼ cup gravy

2 oz. white winte

1 T butter rolled in flour

1 lemon, cut up for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

StuffingPlace chicken in shallow roasting pan.

Toast and grind the almonds.

In a medium size bowl, combine bacon, half of ground nuts, parsley, Italian seasoning, pepper, and ginger. Put mixture into breast cavity of the chicken.

Combine melted butter with Italian seasoning and garlic powder and baste the chicken.

Put chicken in hot oven for 1½ hours or until done.

For the sauce, combine the gravy, wine, remaining nuts, and butter rolled in flour. Heat through until sauce is thickened.

Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and put on a serving dish. Garnish with lemon.

Pour sauce into a gravy boat or other serving dish and serve.

Chicken ready to serveYou’ll notice I did not pour the sauce over the chicken. I have two reasons for not following orders… First, the sauce is very rich. Second, I knew my hubby and I wouldn’t eat the entire chicken in one sitting, so reheating the chicken with the sauce would prove challenging. Leaving them separate allowed for us to control how much sauce we put on the chicken once it was on our plates. I liked the chicken roasted in this fashion, but I don’t think I’d do the sauce again.

While the dish looked pretty with the lemon garnish, a better use of the lemon might be to use the juice in the sauce to help cut some of the thick richness. I’m discovering that I’m finding most of the sauces too rich for my taste. I realize my preferences may not be yours, so feel free to play around with the recipes I’m sharing with you. That’s part of the fun of cooking, right? Making it your own?

What do you think about sauces? Fan or not?

Betty

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Have you ordered your copy of my new novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, yet? Elizabeth’s story will release on November 3, 2017. Here’s what it’s about in a nutshell…

Elizabeth's HopeCAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND LOVE

Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

Currently available only at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xuGoNB

Tasty Tuesday: Brown Fricassee of #Chicken #colonial #dinner #cooking #whatsfordinner #recipes

Today’s Tasty Tuesday recipe is pretty easy and pretty good! Fricasseed chicken doesn’t take too long and is quite a nice dish to serve up. At least the way I made it. Let’s first take a look at the original recipe and then I’ll talk about my adaptations and what I’d do differently next time.

Art of CookeryTo make a Brown Fricasey.

You must take your rabbits or chickens and skin them, then cut them into small pieces, and rub them over with yolks of eggs. Have ready some grated bread, a little beaten mace, and a little grated nutmeg mixed together, and then roll them in it: put a little butter into a stew-pan, and when it is melted put in your meat. Fry it of a fine brown, take care they do not stick to the bottom of the pan, then pour the butter from them, and pour in half a pint of brown gravy, a glass of white-wine, a few mushrooms, or two spoonfuls of the pickle, a little salt, (if wanted), and a piece of butter rolled in flour. When it is of a fine thickness dish it up, and send it to table.

Thankfully, I could buy boneless and skinless chicken breasts and simply cut them into bite-sized pieces. If you’d prefer to do your own hunting and skinning, then be sure to include that step in your prep time. <grin> I do recall one time decades ago when my dad, who lived with me and my family, returned from a trip carrying three dead rabbits for me to skin and cook. That was a one-time thing for me, let me tell ya! The rabbit stew I made wasn’t too bad, but the prep was not pleasant since I really had no idea of the proper method for skinning rabbits and cutting them up.

Back to our chicken dish. I didn’t change much to this recipe, and the steps are fairly easy to follow. I didn’t know what “the pickle” meant, but I had some mushrooms so used them.

For the “grated bread” I had some hot dog buns hanging around, so I toasted some and crumbled them. Obviously, you can make your own like I did, or buy them at the store ready to use. If you have seasoned bread crumbs you wouldn’t need to add other seasonings unless you wanted something specific, so that might save you some time and effort as well.

Okay, so here’s the recipe from what I made:

Betty’s Chicken Fricassee

Ingredients

Chicken mixed with egg and bread1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into pieces

1 egg, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs/pieces

1/8 tsp mace

1/8 tsp nutmeg

2 T butter

½ cup brown gravy

½ cup white wine

6 mushrooms, sliced or diced

1 T butter rolled in flour

Instructions

Put cut up chicken breasts into a mixing bowl.

Pour egg over chicken and stir to coat evenly.

Chicken simmeringIn a separate bowl, mix bread and seasonings. Add to chicken and stir to coat evenly.

Melt butter in a deep skillet.

Brown chicken, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

Add remaining ingredients.

Simmer until sauce thickens and serve.

I’ve mentioned this before but just to be clear, I’ve decided to not use mace so much as they did back then. It’s a very strong spice, to my taste, and so I know that if/when I make this again I will use milder herbs and spices instead of the mace and nutmeg. Also, instead of the brown gravy I used this time, I’ll likely use a cup of beef bouillon to simmer the chicken and flavor the sauce.

What do you think? Sound like something you’d like to try?

One more thing! I’m thrilled to share that my new novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, is now up for pre-order! Elizabeth’s story will release on November 3, 2017. This prequel novella for the A More Perfect Union historical romance series shares the longed-for story of how Emily and Frank find themselves at 6’s and 9’s at the beginning of Emily’s Vow. I’ve been sharing it with my newsletter subscribers all year, one chapter at a time. But finally her story will be available to a larger audience! Here’s what it’s about in a nutshell…

Elizabeth's HopeCAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND LOVE

Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

Currently available only at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xuGoNB

That’s my news for this week! Until next time!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Fowl and Other Birds #colonial #dinner #cooking #chicken #duckling #poultry #whatsfordinner #recipes

This week’s Tasty Tuesday discussion is going to the birds… literally! I was just a little surprised at the many ways Hannah Glasse suggests for preparing a range of birds.

Art of CookeryShe has recipes for roasting a turkey, with three variations. The first includes loosening the breast skin and using force-meat balls as a kind of stuffing. She has recipes for mushroom sauce for white fowls of all sorts and for boiled fowl. Even a recipe for celery sauce or egg sauce for roasted or boiled “Fowls, Turkies, Patridges, or any other Game.” Want to know how to “force a Fowl”? She provides instructions for broiling and stewing chickens – I’ll try the stewing recipe in a couple of weeks.

There’s also a recipe for “Chickens with tongues” and instructions for how “To boil a Duck or a Rabbit with Onions.” I’ll also be trying to learn how “To dress a Duck with green peas” before too long. I say “try” because I think I’ve only ever made duckling once in my life and I have no recollection of how I cooked it or what we thought of the result!

I could have chosen to roast a goose, or boil, jug, or stew pigeons. Then there are the more extravagant birds, at least in our day and age: roasting partridges, pheasant, snipes, woodcocks, larks, and plovers, “Ruffs and Reiss.” These last two are what Mrs. Glasse calls “Lincolnshire birds” but I couldn’t find any information on the Reiss at the Audubon Society or through a Google search. If you happen to know what they are, I’d love to know!

The various ways of handling the birds are similar to today, but the birds themselves have changed. At least in my little world! That’s one reason I chose to make the duck with peas recipe, to expand my repertoire of poultry recipes. But my first fowl recipe will be the “Brown Fricasey with chicken” that should be interesting to try. So stop by next week and see how my efforts turn out.

Have you cooked any of the more exotic birds, like plover or snipe? (And here I thought snipes were mythical!)

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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Evelyn is a fantastic cook, and even makes tempting hot cross buns as a treat in Evelyn’s Promise

Evelyn's PromiseIn 1782, the fight for independence becomes personal in the port city Charles Town, South Carolina.

Determined to make her own way in the newly independent America and live free of the dictates and demands of another husband, widow Evelyn Hamilton faces soaring post-war inflation as she struggles to provide for herself and her infant son.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams visits Charlestown, where his heart is ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow, forcing Nathaniel to make the hardest decision of his life.

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Tasty Tuesday: Dressed Crab #colonial #dinner #cooking #seafood #crab #whatsfordinner #IARTG

My Tasty Tuesday recipe today is the last one for any kind of fish or seafood. But it’s definitely not least in my book! I love crab, so I’ve been looking forward to sampling this one on how “To dress a Crab.” I do believe Mrs. Glasse was on to something…

Art of CookeryTo dress a Crab.

Having taken out the meat, and cleansed it from the skin, put it into a stew-pan, with half a pint of white-wine, a little nutmeg, pepper, and salt, over a slow fire. Throw in a few crumbs of bread, beat up one yolk of an egg with one spoonful of vinegar, throw it in, then shake the sauce pan round a minute, and serve it up on a plate.

Simple and straightforward recipe for crab, right? Really, it pretty much is with a few nuances that I needed to consider.

First, how much crab meat? Second, lump or claw or both? Knowing that in the 18th and even 19th centuries nothing was ever wasted, I can answer the second question first: both kinds of crab would have been thrown into the pot. But how much? Given the other measurements in the recipe, and how much I thought would be appropriate, I decided on one pound. Specifically, eight ounces of claw and eight of lump crab already picked and prepared from my local grocery store. After all, I live in northern Alabama and there is not much opportunity to get fresh crab around here except packed and shipped in from the Philippines (apparently).

Next the nutmeg and pepper seasonings made me pause. Both are spices, obviously, but wouldn’t the nutmeg overpower the delicate crab flavor? I love crab, so I wouldn’t want to overshadow its taste. I’d rather enhance it. So I decided to stick with my trusty seafood seasoning and only use a small amount to bolster the crab. As I’ve said before, I don’t cook with salt, so that was an easy item to cross off.

The crumbs of bread isn’t specified as to how much either. But after some thought, I chose to not use any because I don’t much enjoy breading in my crab cakes so I reasoned I’d enjoy the crab more without the crumbs. Turns out I was right to leave them out. Here’s what I ended up with…

Betty’s Dressed Crab

 

Ingredients
Ingredients ready to use

Ingredients 

8 oz. lump crab meat

8 oz. claw crab meat

4 oz. white wine

½ T seafood seasoning

1 egg

1 T white vinegar

 

Simmering Crab
Crab meat ready to cook

Instructions 

Put crab meat into a sauce pan.

Add the wine and seafood seasoning; stir to combine.

Heat through on medium heat.

Beat together the egg and vinegar. Stir into the crab meat.

Cook until the egg is done. Serve hot.

DinnerThis was excellent and we’ll definitely enjoy this one again! It’s easy to make and healthy to boot. I served it with spinach cooked like I did for the Spinach and Eggs recipe and corn on the cob. It was a light and delicious supper for a warm Saturday evening.

Have you been enjoying these forays into old but new recipes? Next week we’ll move into a series of poultry recipes, including one for duck (should I be worried about that one since I’ve only ever cooked one in my life?). I’ve been enjoying the challenge and the insights I’ve gained from analyzing each of them. I’ve also learned more about my likes and dislikes, and just how patient my husband is with my wild ideas. Until next week… happy eating!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

SamanthsSecretCOVERIn 1782, the fight for independence becomes personal in the port city Charles Town, South Carolina.

Midwife and healer, Samantha McAlester returns from the front lines to find Charles Town under British siege and the town’s new doctor at war with its citizens.

Dr. Trent Cunningham intends to build a hospital staffed solely with educated doctors. What he doesn’t need is a raven-haired charlatan spooning out herbs and false promises to his patients, while tempting him at every turn.

Then a mutual friend develops a mysterious infection. Trenton is stumped. Samantha suspects the cure but knows treatment will expose her long-guarded secret, risking all she holds dear… including Trenton.

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Tasty Tuesday: Fried Fish w/ Shrimp Sauce #colonial #dinner #cooking #fish #shrimp #whatsfordinner #IARTG

Today’s Tasty Tuesday post is all about frying fish, with a bonus shrimp recipe thrown in for good measure. There are a couple of things you should know going into today’s recipe.

The first is that I don’t fry much of anything. I’ve never had very good success with frying, no matter what it is. I don’t know why but it’s been a consistent thing for me since I was in 4-H way back in high school. For a pitch-in dinner I decided to make fried chicken like my mom and grandmom made. Boy did it look pretty, all glistening and golden brown. I took it to the dinner, feeling pretty good about my contribution, until the first bite revealed it wasn’t done inside. Talk about embarrassed and upset! That was my first ever attempt at frying, and it hasn’t gotten much better with age and experience.

When I made the schedule of recipes to try, I deliberately added this one to see if a different approach would help me make a decent dish. I even chose the simplest batter recipes rather than breading and such, figuring it would be easy and still yummy. But again I was wrong.

I’ll get into why after we look at the specific recipe that Hannah Glasse recommends:

Art of CookeryTo Dress Fish

Observe always in the frying of any sort of fish: first, that you dry your fish very well in a clean cloth, then do your fish in this manner: beat up the yolks of two or three eggs, according to your quantity of fish; take a small pastry brush and put the egg on, shake some crumbs of bread and flour mixt over the fish, and then fry it. Let the stew-pan you fry them in be very nice and clean, and put in as much beef dripping, or hog’s lard, as will almost cover your fish: and be sure it boils before you put in your fish. Let it fry quick, and let it be of a fine light brown, but not too dark a colour. Have your fish-slice ready, and if there is occasion turn it: when it is enough, take it up, and lay a coarse cloth on a dish on which lay your fish, to drain all the grease from it….

Some love fish in batter; then you must beat an egg fine, and dip your fish in just as you are going to put it in the pan; or as good a batter as any, is a little ale and flour beat up, just as you are ready for it, and dip the fish, to fry it.

Sounds simple enough, right? Really, it does. Only for me it has remained out of my abilities to pull off. In order to better understand what was expected, I delved into my ever handy Joy of Cooking cookbook to see how they recommended frying fish. After all, Ms. Glasse left a few things rather vague in her recipe. Like, what exactly is a fish-slice anyway? And how much beef/hog fat is required, or rather what is a present day substitute?

A fish slice is essentially what I know as a spatula, which is what I used to lift and drain off most of the grease before placing it on a plate to serve. As for the cooking fat, the cookbook recommended using a mix of cooking oil and butter, especially for thicker/larger fish fillets. My catfish fillets were of good size, so I did add a tablespoon or so of butter to the pan, but it’s not required apparently.

Now, another thing you should consider is that I have never been fond of the taste of catfish. So that may be playing into my less than enthusiastic response to this endeavor. But the man at the seafood/fish counter said it was the best for frying that he had fresh, so I went with it. I hoped that cooking it differently might help me like it.

As I mentioned, I decided to try the batter techniques instead of breading. She didn’t say it, but I think adding some seasoning to the batter would make the fish taste better. I may be wrong about that though! Do follow her directions to whip the ale and flour together just as you’re ready to dip your fish because the flour settles out quickly! (Lesson learned, that!)

Another thing I figured out is that I probably should have cut up the fillets into smaller slices to make it easier and quicker to fry them brown and done. Like I said, this is not something I normally do. Perhaps I should have sought out guidance from several friends I know who are better cooks than I am before attempting this one. Another lesson learned, right?

Here’s what I ended up with as a recipe:

Cooked filletsBetty’s Fried Fish

Ingredients:

Egg batter: 1 egg, beaten, seasoned to taste

Beer batter: ½ cup flour (seasoned); enough beer/ale to make a light batter.

Fish fillets, cut into manageable pieces

Instructions:

Heat cooking oil in a heavy skillet, enough to half cover your fillets.

When the oil is hot, dip fillets in desired batter and add to pan. Let fry until bottom half is light brown and turn over to cook the other side. This usually only takes a few minutes per side, but watch for the fish to be “enough.”

Remove fish to paper towel lined plate or platter, depending on quantity being cooked, to absorb the grease from the fillets. (Note: You may want to transfer the fillets to a serving dish and keep it warm and covered if you’re cooking a larger quantity of fish than the two fillets I did.)

Serve hot.

The other recipe I made to accompany the fish was some shrimp sauce. It’s a really easy recipe but it needed some tweaking too. Here’s Mrs. Glasse’s recipe:

Shrimp Sauce

Take half a pint of shrimps, wash them very clean, put them in a stew-pan with a spoonful of fish-lear, or anchovy-liquor, a pound of butter melted thick, boil it up for five minutes, and squeeze in half a lemon; toss it up, and then put it in your cups or boats.

Now, half a pint of shrimp and one pound of butter? I could almost hear my arteries hardening. I’ve made shrimp many times, usually steaming it but sometimes sautéing it in a stir-fry dish. I also felt like it needed a bit of spice to perk up the flavors. I did not use the fish sauce she recommends, mainly because I have developed an aversion to the smell of it let alone the taste. So here’s what I went with, and it did make a nice accompaniment to the fish:

Sauteing Shrimp for Shrimp SauceBetty’s Shrimp Sauce

Ingredients:

½ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 T olive oil

2 T butter

1 T Old Bay seasoning

Splash of lemon juice

Instructions:

Melt butter in small sauce pan.

Add olive oil and seasoning, stirring to combine.

Add shrimp and sauté until shrimp are pink.

Add lemon juice and heat through before serving.

I’m thinking the next time I want some fried fish, I’ll head to a restaurant. Hubby and I agreed we didn’t much enjoy the results of my attempt so the fish won’t be repeated in my kitchen. The shrimp sauce more likely will be, since it’s easy and fairly healthy, too. So tell me if you enjoy fried fish and if so do you prepare it for yourself? Or head to the nearest seafood house like me?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Amy's ChoiceWhen Amy Abernathy’s childhood sweetheart, Benjamin Hanson, leaves to fight in the American War for Independence without a word of goodbye, Amy picks up the pieces of her heart and chooses independence. When Benjamin returns unexpectedly, Amy flees to the country to help her pregnant sister and protect her heart.

Benjamin Hanson knows he hurt Amy, but he also knows he can make it up to her after he completes his mission. Then he learns that Amy has been captured by renegade soldiers. Now Benjamin faces his own choice: free the sassy yet obstinate woman he’s never stopped loving or protect Charles Town from the vengeful British occupation.

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Tasty Tuesday: Baked Salmon #colonial #dinner #cooking #fish #oysters #whatsfordinner #IARTG

Have you missed Tasty Tuesdays? I have! I’m nearly recovered from my shoulder surgery but still have some limitations on my movement and endurance. But I am very happy to be back to some semblance of my normal self.

Today we’re going to update the plan of attack since it got sidetracked during the weeks of wearing a sling and regaining strength and mobility. Then I’ll share a really good recipe for baked salmon. I was a bit surprised at how much hubby and I enjoyed it, to be honest. First, let’s take a gander at the revised schedule with a few changes to the recipes I’ll share.

After reviewing what I had originally intended adapting, I realized that a couple of them needed to change. I didn’t need to do two salmon recipes, for instance. So instead, I’ll try frying up some catfish and making some shrimp sauce to go with it. I looked more closely at the lobster recipe and found that it was basically boil them and then arrange them on a plate with a bowl of melted butter. Somehow I didn’t think that would be challenging enough or different enough to be interesting to me or you guys. So instead, I’ll try one with crab. Other than those two recipe changes, the only other change is the dates. So here’s the revised plan:

Aug 22 Salmon – broiled, and baked
Aug 29 Salmon au Court-Bouillon Fried Fish; Shrimp Sauce
Sep 5 Lobsters To Dress A Crab
Sep 12 Fowl and other birds
Sep 19 Brown Fricasey with chicken
Sep 26 Roast chicken with chestnuts
Oct 3 Stewing chickens
Oct 10 Duck with green peas
Oct 17 Collops and eggs
Oct 24 Salmagundy
Oct 31 Apple pudding
Nov 7 Apricot pudding
Nov 14 Stewed pears
Nov 21 Pound cake

So now let’s look at how The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy suggests preparing some baked salmon:

Art of CookeryBaked Salmon.

Take a little piece cut into slices about an inch thick, butter the dish that you would serve it to table on, lay the slices in the dish, take off the skin, make a force-meat thus: take the flesh of an eel, the flesh of a salmon an equal quantity, beat in a mortar, season it with beaten pepper, salt, nutmeg, two or three cloves, some parsley, a few mushrooms, a piece of butter, and ten or a dozen coriander-seeds, beat fine. Beat all together; boil the crumbs of a penny-roll in milk, beat up four eggs, stir it together till is thick, let it cool, and mix it well together with the rest; then mix all together with four raw eggs; on every slice lay this force-meat all over, pour a very little melted butter over them, and a few crumbs of bread, lay a crust round the edge of the dish, and stick oysters round upon it. Bake it in an oven, and when it is of a very fine brown serve it up; pour a little plain butter (with a little red-wine in it) into the dish, and the juice of a lemon; or you may bake it in any dish, and when it is enough lay the slices into another dish. Pour the butter and wine into the dish it was baked in, give it a boil, and pour it into the dish. Garnish with lemon. This is a fine dish. Squeeze the juice of a lemon in.

Looking closely at this recipe made it seem complicated and included several ingredients I’ve learned hubby and I aren’t fond of. The other thing I noticed is that it likely was meant for when you’re cooking a whole salmon based on the quantity of sauce – check the number of eggs for example – the recipe yields. Obviously, some adjustments were needed to suit a meal for two instead of twenty! In fact, I played more with this recipe to shape it into something we’d enjoy.

Let’s start with the force-meat she would have us make. I don’t know about you, but using the flesh of an eel isn’t a common ingredient. At least not in my house… Instead of force-meat, then, I chose to make up a sauce to pour over the salmon fillets.

Instead of using butter to grease the dish, I used cooking spray, wiping it around with a paper towel to evenly grease the baking dish.

Instead of nutmeg and cloves, I used different lighter herbs and seasonings as you’ll see in the recipe below. My thinking is that the heavier spices would overpower the more delicate flavor of the fish.

Penny-rolls were small loaves of bread that cost a penny. I took that to mean there would be a bit more crust relative to the softer bread. Thus, I used a bit of hot dog bun and diced it up which seemed to work just fine.

I chose to not include a crust made from bread and oysters on the baked dish, but chopped up the oysters and added them to the sauce to cook. Using my motto of keeping it simple if I want to have a recipe I’ll use again, the resulting dish was good. See what you think…

 

Finished salmon with lemon garnish
Baked salmon with lemon garnish

Betty’s Baked Salmon 

Ingredients:

2 fresh salmon fillets

1 cup milk

¼ cup diced bread

2 slices onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

4-5 mushrooms, diced

2 eggs, beaten

1 T melted butter

2 oysters, chopped

3 T lemon juice

4 oz. white wine

½ T garlic powder

¼ tsp oregano leaves

¼ tsp dill leaves

¼ tsp ginger, ground

 

Sauce
Sauce simmering

Instructions: 

Grease a baking dish large enough to hold the salmon fillets.

Lay the fillets in the dish.

In a saucepan, combine milk and bread and bring to a boil.

Add remaining ingredients and stir, cooking over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until hot through.

Pour over fillets and cover tightly.

Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

This combination I’ll make again. It’s nice enough to serve to guests as well. Do you enjoy salmon? How do you normally fix it? Does this sound tempting?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Emily’s Vow is the first book in my American Revolution era historical romance series, A More Perfect Union. Her story touches my heart and I hope you enjoy it!

Emily's Vow Finalist SealEmily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Despite her half-hearted protests, her father insists Frank Thomson is the perfect man for both her protection from the vengeful British and as a husband. Frank always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns Emily’s been imprisoned for her father’s privateering, he risks his own neck to free his love.

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Tasty Tuesday: On Hold for a While #colonial #recipes #hiatus #IARTG

Tasty Tuesdays are a highlight of my week, and I hope they are for you too. After my recent surgery, it’s become necessary to scale back on my writing and all activities actually. Turns out the damage done to my rotator cuff was more extensive than the MRI revealed. The surgeon did a fantastic job of fixing it, but now my right arm is in a sling that immobilizes the arm. For 4-5 weeks! So I’m sadly going to have to pause in posting my cooking blogs for one month. But never fear! I’ll pick up again the end of August right where we left off: various ways to cook fish, especially salmon, duck, and lobster as soon as I’m physically capable of whipping up something delicious, both figuratively and literally!

One last thought. Evelyn’s Promise, A More Perfect Union book 4, is on sale through the end of July, so it’s the perfect time to grab your ebook copy for only 99 pennies! Blurb and links below.

Happy reading and I hope your summer has been fantastic!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Evelyn’s Promise is on sale until July 31. Grab your copy today and feel free to share with your friends and family. Evelyn’s story is one of my favorite in the series!

Evelyn's PromiseThe fourth and final story in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series follows the trials and decisions of Evelyn and Nathaniel as they try to adjust to life after the British occupation of Charleston.

Determined to make her own way in the newly independent America and live free of the dictates and demands of another husband, widow Evelyn Hamilton faces soaring post-war inflation as she struggles to provide for herself and her infant son.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams visits Charlestown, where his heart is ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow, forcing Nathaniel to make the hardest decision of his life.

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