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!

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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

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

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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Adjusting to Post-surgery Limits #writerslife #amwriting #planningfortheworst #hopingforthebest #IARTG

I promised I’d be back, and here I am. The shoulder surgery went well but ended up being more extensive than hoped. The rotator cuff was torn like an onion, one layer at a time, until only 10% of it was intact. The surgeon grafted it back together and otherwise cleaned up the shoulder. I have staples in the outside area of the top of the shoulder and widespread greenish-yellow bruising. Pain was pretty intense to begin with, but has lessened day by day. So instead of wearing a shoulder immobilizer for 1 day I need to wear it for 4-5 weeks. Of course, it’s on my right shoulder/arm, which is my dominant hand. Challenges abound as a result but I’m determined to make some progress with my writing despite the limitations.

It’s amazing how much we use each body part without thinking twice about it. Until it’s injured or unavailable to use, that is. I’ve been on Percocet pain killer and a muscle relaxant since the surgery, but as of today am switching to using Aleve instead to manage the discomfort. I want and need a clear head to write and revise. I think it was Hemingway who once said, “write drunk, revise sober.” I’d rather be sober for both, personally!

I’m going to keep today’s post short so I’m not overdoing my arm and thus my shoulder. I merely wanted to let you all know that I came through the operation without any complications.

One last thing. Thanks for being there and reading my stories as well as my blog. I appreciate it!

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.

Like I said, Evelyn’s Promise is on sale through 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.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SCcwTJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nW5AEd

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1UVyy1p

Google: http://bit.ly/1XbQsyc

Tasty Tuesday: Fish Types and Cooking Techniques #colonial #dinner #cooking #fish #shellfish #IARTG

Tasty Tuesday time! Today we’re talking about the kinds of fish and shellfish colonial cooks had access to and what they did with them. Let’s start with some general observations about the kinds of fish and shellfish Hannah Glasse talked about preparing. We need to keep in mind that The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, while printed in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1805 by Applewood Books of Bedford, Massachusetts, is based upon earlier cookbooks from England, so not everything we read from Mrs. Glasse will be available to the colonial cook. They had to wing it at times based on the available foods in their region.

Art of CookeryThe Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy includes the following fish and shellfish receipts by title, which gives us a good overview of both the kinds of fish she had access to and how she prepared them:

  • To Dress Fish
  • Lobster Sauce
  • Shrimp Sauce
  • To make Anchovy Sauce
  • To dress a Brace of Carp
  • To stew a Brace of Carp
  • To fry Carp
  • To bake Carp – I think she really likes this kind of fish…
  • To fry Tenchwhich includes instructions on how to clean and skin the fish, but this fish is not found in America as far as I can tell
  • To boil a Cod’s Head
  • To bake a Cod’s Head
  • To broil Crimp, Cod, Salmon, Whiting or Haddock
  • Oyster Sauce is made thus
  • To dress Little Fish – she notes little fish such as “smelts, roach, &c.” which are not widely available in America
  • To broil Mackerel
  • To boil a Turbot
  • To bake a Turbot
  • To broil Salmon
  • Baked Salmon – I’ll share my take on this next week
  • To broil Mackerel whole
  • To broil Herrings
  • To stew Eels with broth
  • To dress a Pike
  • To broil Haddocks when they are in high Season
  • To broil Cods-Sounds – I had to look this one up. It’s an English dish that features the bladder of the cod fish. Yum?
  • To dress Salmon au Court-Bouillon – Watch for this one on July 25
  • To dress Flat Fish

The list goes on and on! Other kinds of fish dishes she includes use Lampreys, Sturgeon, Cod, Scate (i.e., Skate), Soals (i.e., soles), Lobsters, Crab, Prawns, Craw-Fish (i.e., Crayfish), Oysters, Mussels, and Scollops (i.e., scallops).

Of the kinds of fish she includes, only the following would have been readily available to an American colonial cook: Carp, cod, sole, haddock, pike, eel, mackerel, salmon, etc.

The deep sea fish would have been ordered from afar, either overseas or from the New England fishermen, as would anchovies and flat fish I’d think. I’m not an excerpt on the history and distribution of the various kinds of fish. I tried to figure out what “crimp” are but came up short, for example, so I don’t know what kind of fish it is or whether that species would have been available in the colonies and early America. Any ideas?

Methods of cooking the fish include frying, baking, broiling, and stewing. The number of recipes that call for breading or battering and then frying the fish I found curious, given the inherent risk of fire of such a cooking method. But I guess if you like your fish fried, it’s worth the risk. Also by adding a hot sauce to the fish, the dish would stay hot longer for getting the entrée to table and still being warm for serving. Surely the cooks knew this and that is why so many of the recipes include a heavy sauce? After all, I don’t think they’d want to serve cold fish after it was cooked.

The term “dress” according to the Oxford English Dictionary means the following:

  1. Specific and technical uses. a. To prepare for use as food, by making ready to cook, or by cooking (also intr. = passive); also, to season (food, esp. a salad).

To Mrs. Glasse this may mean frying the fish or adding a sauce. I’ve come to find that all of the sauces tend to be very rich and heavy, and thus complicated to make. I’ll try some of the sauces going forward, but hubby and I have found we’re not such big fans of them so watch for me to simplify and lighten the sauces when I do use them. Since I’m only cooking for two, I needn’t worry about how long the dish needs to stay warm. That’s one of the main advantages we have over the cooking methods and locations of the 18th century. Plus we have microwaves…

Next week I’ll share a salmon recipe with you. I’ve included two on my plan because it’s one of my favorite foods. Trying new ways of preparing an old favorite sounded like a fine idea. We shall see what we think!

Also, 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.

What kind of fish is your favorite? How do you prepare it? Talk to me! I love to hear from you!

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.

Like I said, Evelyn’s Promise is on sale for the next week or so. 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!

The 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.

Evelyn's PromiseDetermined 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.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SCcwTJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nW5AEd

Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1UVyy1p

Google: http://bit.ly/1XbQsyc

Planning Ahead – Surgically Speaking #writerslife #amwriting #planningfortheworst #hopingforthebest #IARTG

I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal. People who know me well – or probably even casually – know that I look on the bright side as much as possible. But that by no means should suggest that I do not see the other viewpoint and make plans accordingly. Detailed plans at times. I’ve talked before about my business plan and the detailed schedule I have for what I’ll write when, looking years into the future. Plans are not set in stone but on “paper” or computer file, both of which are changeable.

Today, July 17, 2017, I’m having shoulder surgery to remove a bone spur and clean up the bits and pieces it broke or rubbed off the surrounding tissues, like the rotator cuff. The surgeon has performed this procedure many, many times and is highly regarded for his skill. I’ve also had many operations myself and thus know the way it usually works. So I’m really not worried about the surgery and recovery. In fact, I’m anxious to be on the recovery side!

That said, I’ve been working on a 130,000+ word historical women’s fiction story, the first in a series my agent is shopping. One of my goals this week was to finish all revisions to it. I’ve been reading through the main character’s papers (she is a real, well-known, and beloved American woman) and taking notes from her letters as to what she was concerned about when and any other insights her own words might reveal as well as those gleaned from the historical footnotes. Then weaving the relevant tidbits into the story. I’ve finished the major revisions but not all the fine tuning. I’ve printed out the manuscript for a final scrub and assessment but not quite finished like I would have liked. But close.

Why was that my primary goal this week? Because stuff happens. Bad reactions to anesthesia can lead to complications that lead to things I refuse to focus on. But I know it might happen. I wanted to have my story complete enough that an editor could polish it up and it could be published. I haven’t spent years working on it to languish on my laptop unread by my fans!

I fully expect to back at work by Wednesday this week. Tuesday I know I’ll be in an arm sling, and start physical therapy the next day. I’m expecting two sessions of PT each week for 4-6 weeks. Plus the at-home exercise. That’s all I know about my recovery process. Until the surgeon gets in and looks around, he won’t know either.

But just like my hubby and I have set up a trust and wills and such for our personal property and finances, I wanted a plan for when things don’t go as expected for my writing. But stay positive! That’s my focus. I’ll be back in my chair working on my stories very, very soon.

In the meantime, tomorrow’s Tasty Tuesday post is already scheduled to post, so you all won’t miss out on the next adapted and tweaked colonial recipe.

Also, 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, folks! Thanks for following and supporting me in my writing career. And like Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said, “I’ll be back!”

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.

Like I said, Evelyn’s Promise is on sale for the next week or so. 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! The 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.

Evelyn's PromiseDetermined 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.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SCcwTJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nW5AEd

Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1UVyy1p

Google: http://bit.ly/1XbQsyc

Tasty Tuesday: Lamb Pie #colonial #recipe #howtomake #lamb #dinner #entree

I must admit my adaptations of colonial recipes for Tasty Tuesday are becoming more aggressive. At least for this recipe. I’ll explain as we go.

First, as always, comes Hannah Glasse’s receipt from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy:

Art of CookeryTo make a savory Lamb or Veal Pie.

Make a good puff paste crust, cut your meat into pieces, season it to your palate with pepper, salt, mace, cloves, and nutmegs finely beat; lay it into your crust with a few lamb-stones and sweetbreads seasoned as your meat; also some oysters and force-meat balls, hard yolks of eggs, and the tops of asparagus two inches long, first boiled green; put butter all over the pie, put on the lid, and set it in a quick oven an hour and a half, and then have ready the liquor, made thus: take a pint of gravy, the oyster liquor, a gill of red wine, and a little grated nutmeg; mix all together with the yolks of two or three eggs beat, and keep it stirring one way all the time. When it boils, pour it into your pie; put on the lid again. Send it hot to table. You must make liquor according to your pie.

I know many people who make their pie crust from scratch. That’s not something I’ve mastered and I find it simpler to buy ready-made crust from the store. But by all means, if you enjoy making your own, you’ll not hear anything but praise from me. More power to you!

The mystery in this recipe for me is with regards to the pie lid. I didn’t take the time (sorry, my bad) to research into what a “good puff paste crust” might be, figuring I needed to keep my final recipe as easy to make as possible or I’d probably never make it again. Thus my choice to use ready-made crusts. But in writing this post, I did take the time to dig a little deeper and found out that there are three distinct kinds of pastry crust: puff paste, standing, and short crust. The puff paste does take quite a bit of time to prepare, so I’m glad I didn’t worry too much about using that kind of crust for my adaptation of this receipt. If you’re curious, you can find out more over at Savoring the Past. For me, the store crust tasted good and was easy, too.

Two ingredients that I either don’t know where I’d find, if in fact I wanted to, or just didn’t bother looking: lamb-stones (i.e., testicles) and sweetbreads (i.e., pancreas). Here again, if you’re more adventurous than I am, go for it!

This is yet another recipe that calls for brown gravy made from the first recipe I adapted, the broth. I made a good quantity and then froze it in individual Ziploc bags to use as needed. Same with the broth, for that matter, as I didn’t want to have to make it frequently. Here’s one of the things hubby and I have discovered: we’re not as big a fan of so many dishes with rich sauces. Especially ones that use so much heavy spices like mace, cloves, and nutmeg. I think a decent substitute for this recipe instead of using the gravy would be to use a small amount of both the oyster liquor and the asparagus water and add the remaining ingredients into that. It would be a lighter taste, not quite as rich but still tasty. And fewer calories, too.

As I’ve said before for other recipes, I’m not a huge red wine fan and don’t typically have any on hand or open. So I used chardonnay instead. If you prefer red, though, that’s fine as well.

So here’s my recipe, which I may make a different version of later. I’m not sure I’ll make force-meat balls again, for instance. But only time will tell. Here goes:

Betty’s Lamb Pie

 

Sauteeing Force-meat balls
Force-meat balls

Ingredients: 

Pie crust for two-crust pie

½ pound lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces

Ground black pepper, to taste

Ground mace, to taste

Ground cloves, to taste

Ground nutmeg, to taste

2-3 oysters, chopped

16 force-meat balls, browned and drained

2 yolks of hard-boiled eggs

Asparagus-canned1 14.5-oz can asparagus spears, drained (I used 50% reduced sodium)

1 cup gravy

¼ cup oyster liquor

2 oz. white wine

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Lay one pie crust into 9” pie pan

Combine meat and seasonings in a small bowl; layer in pie pan

 

Lamb Pie ready to top
Lamb Pie ready to top

Add chopped oysters and browned meat balls, egg yolks, and asparagus 

In a saucepan, combine the gravy, oyster liquor, wine, and egg. Stir well and heat until boiling.

Pour gravy into pie pan.

Add top crust and crimp edges as for any two-crust pie.

Place in a preheated 350 deg F oven for 45-60 minutes, until the crust is brown.

Note that I didn’t use butter “all over the pie” since I had poured the gravy mixture in which I figured would keep everything moist enough.

Lamb Pie interiorThe resulting pie was very good if rich for our tastes. The overall concept is a good one, and one I can tinker with another time. So how adventurous are you with your recipes? Do you make your own crusts? Eat organ meats?

Starting next week we’ll be talking about fish and cooking techniques. Looking forward to trying to make lobster and salmon!

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 series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books (including excerpts) and upcoming events.

Here’s the first book in the A More Perfect Union series, Emily’s Vow:

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.

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1wZML3a

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1obL3tT

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1FCoy5L

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1t75sMh

Google: http://bit.ly/13Bll94