Tasty Tuesday: Making Brown Gravy & Force-meat Balls #colonial #recipe #howtomake #gravy #meatballs

I’ve starting to really get into some interesting historical “receipts” to convert for Tasty Tuesday! Today we’ll look at how we can use the broth I shared here to make brown gravy and force-meat balls to use in other “made dishes” I’ll talk about in upcoming weeks. Ready?

The next step is to make the brown gravy. First, you need to realize that in my house my hubby has always made the gravy. So that’s my first challenge with this recipe. Second, I needed to translate the original recipe into something not only understandable but also to a manageable quantity. Let’s look at Mrs. Hannah Glasse’s 1802 recipe:

Art of CookeryWhen you want very strong gravy, take a slice of bacon, lay it in a stew-pan; take a pound of beef, cut it thin, lay it on the bacon, slice a good peace of carrot in, an onion sliced, a good crust of bread, a few sweet herbs, a little mace, cloves, nutmeg, and whole pepper, an anchovy; cover it, and set it on a slow fire five or six minutes, and pour in a quart of the above gravy; cover it close and let it boil softly till half is wasted. This will be a rich, high brown sauce for fish, fowl, or ragoo.

Her instructions are actually the second half of the broth recipe. Since I reduced the quantity of broth, I also reduced the quantity of gravy by using smaller quantities of meat. Instead of a pound of beef, I used several pieces of stew beef that I sliced thinner. I used four baby carrots whole, and added basil and thyme as my sweet herbs. I did not use any anchovy, and used 2 cups of broth (“above gravy”) instead of one quart. For some reason, I forgot to take pictures but it was a simple simmering of ingredients and then removing the bits and pieces. My pups were happy with their treat, too!

Betty’s Brown Gravy

Ingredients:

1 slice bacon

¼ lb. stew beef, cut thin

4 baby carrots

1 small onion, sliced

1 bread crust (end slice)

Basil, to taste

Thyme, to taste

Mace, to taste

Nutmeg, to taste

Cloves, to taste

2 cups soup broth

Instructions:

In a large saucepan, lay the bacon on the bottom. Layer the beef, carrots, onion, bread, and herbs and spices.

Cook on medium heat until the bacon sizzles and the beef begins to brown.

Add broth. Cover and simmer until cooked down by half.

Remove the meat, bread, and vegetables.

Store gravy tightly covered in the refrigerator or divide into containers to freeze.

Now I have brown gravy to use to make the other dishes I’ll be adapting. See, there is an order to the progression of the recipes I’ve chosen!

Another ingredient I needed to make to have on hand for the made dishes is force-meat balls. Essentially, these are small meatballs used as filler and seasoning in dishes that are similar to what we call casseroles and pot pies.

Here’s what Mrs. Glasse would have me do:

To make Force-meat Balls.

Now you are to observe, that force-meat balls are a great addition to all made dishes; made thus: take half a pound of veal, and half a pound of suet, cut fine, and beat in a marble mortar or wooden bowl; have a few sweet herbs shred fine, a little mace dried and beat fine, a small nutmeg grated, or half a large one, a little lemon-peel cut very fine, a little pepper and salt, and the yolks of two eggs; mix all these well together, then roll them in little round balls, and some in little long balls; roll them in flour, and fry them brown. If they are for any thing of white sauce, put a little water in a sauce-pan, and when the water boils put them in, and let them boil for a few minutes, but never fry them for white sauce.

Ground TurkeySo the first thing I’ll say is that I didn’t want to use veal due to the expense. Instead, I chose another lean meat, ground turkey. I think it most likely has a similar consistency as ground veal. Note that when she says “cut fine” that would end up being very similar I would think to ground meats today. At least, I think it’s close enough.

Shaved butterLast year I made Martha Washington’s sausage and in doing so had done research as to a proper substitute for suet, which is difficult to find in my area. The result proved interesting. Frozen stick butter that you grate/shred and blend in. So that’s what I used in this recipe as well. However, there are other substitutes you may prefer to use.

All IngredientsMy intent with these adaptations is to make new doable recipes from the historic ones. Therefore, when she calls for sweet herbs I’m choosing from what I have in my spices and seasonings collection. So this time I thought Italian seasoning would taste good with the turkey and other ingredients. Other possibilities that come to mind are thyme, basil, dill weed, and rosemary.

Mace, cloves, and nutmeg are strong spices, so I used only a sprinkle of each. (We’ve determined that mace is a bit overpowering for us, so less is definitely more.) For lemon peel, I used lemon zest (grated lemon rind). I omitted the pepper and salt, but feel free to use them if you’d like.

For egg yolks, I put one in and then decided to use two to have the proper consistency. If you make these, then you can decide whether you want to use both or just one, depending on the quantity you’re making.

Betty’s Force-meat Balls

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey

1 stick unsalted butter, frozen then shredded

½ T Italian seasoning

Sprinkle of mace and nutmeg

½ tsp lemon zest

2 egg yolks

Rolled into BallsInstructions

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, breaking up any lumps of butter to evenly spread it in the mixture.

Roll the meat mixture into balls. I placed them on waxed paper for easy handling. (See note below)

Note: Uncooked balls can be divided into containers (I used quart-sized freezer bags) and frozen until needed.

I’ll talk about how I cooked these for use when I share the recipes I used them in. I kept out 17 to use in the Scotch Collops recipe for next week’s post but froze the rest in 3 batches of 12.

Take a moment to consider the large amount of food the 18th-century cook must have been making. Then think about how long it would take to fix just one meal. I imagine she was pretty relieved that the evening meal was usually cold meats and lighter fare. Keep in mind the cook would not have ready-made seasoning to sprinkle on like I did, nor already ground meat to use. I know how long it took me to figure out the recipe, let alone prepare it for use. Of course, she might have some things ready to use from making different foods, but still, I think it was quite a feat to send dinner to the table.

Next week I’ll share how to put together a made dish using these ingredients and many others! 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. 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 and upcoming events.

I thought I’d share a little about Elizabeth’s Hope, so you know what the serialized novella is all about. And remember, it’s not on sale yet, only available for my newsletter subscribers. In each newsletter, I also include a link to the novella as released up until that point, so you won’t miss out on any of the previous chapters. Enjoy!

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….

Tasty Tuesday: Oyster Sauce #colonial #recipe #howtomake #seafood #sauce

Oyster SauceToday’s Tasty Tuesday post is about making oyster sauce from scratch. I’ve never had this kind of sauce before, so it was an interesting challenge to make it. Unlike the broth recipe that required a good deal of adjustments, this one proved remarkably simple to tweak into an easier version. Let’s start with the original recipe…

Art of CookeryOyster Sauce is made thus.

Take half a pint of oysters, and simmer them till they are plump, strain the liquor from them through a sieve, wash the oysters very clean, and beard them; put them in a stew-pan, and pour the liquor over them, but mind you do not pour the sediment with the liquor; then add a blade of mace, a quarter of a lemon, a spoonful of anchovy liquor, and a little bit of horse-radish, a little butter rolled in flour, half a pound of butter nicely melted, boil it up gently for ten minutes; then take out the horse-radish, the mace, and lemon, squeeze the juice of the lemon into the sauce, toss it up a little, then put it into your boats or basons.

So the first consideration was the oysters themselves. I’ve seen how oysters are shucked (opened and shells removed) and knew that was not something I wanted to include in making this sauce. Nope. So I went to my grocery store and bought a pint of oysters shucked and ready to use. That way I didn’t need to figure out how you beard an oyster…

Then the equivalencies for a “blade” of mace and “anchovy liquor.” Both easy enough to deduce. A blade is a small piece of the spice, but since the original recipe called for removing it and I’m using ground, I reduced the amount from the approximate equivalence of one-half teaspoon ground mace equals a blade, to one-quarter teaspoon. The anchovy liquor is created by simmering anchovies in water and salt, which Fish Sauce lists as the only 3 ingredients. So I used a tablespoon full of that.

The horseradish is subjective, a “little” is a matter of taste after all. I found where one tablespoon fresh horseradish is the same as two tablespoons prepared. Again, since it’s supposed to be removed, I reduced the amount to one-half tablespoon.

I love the idea of rolling butter in flour. It seems to be a fine way to measure the right proportion needed. I chose to use one tablespoon stick butter (unsalted) and rolled it in flour until covered and then added it to the saucepan.

Simmering SauceThe resulting sauce was good and I’m likely to do it again but with a few minor changes. First, we tried it with grilled steak but didn’t like the combination of flavors. The next night we had the remainder over baked salmon and we enjoyed that much more. Second, I think after simmering the oysters the first time, cutting them up a bit would make a more balanced sauce instead of having the whole oysters in it.

So here’s what I ended up with.

Betty’s Oyster Sauce

Ingredients:

8 oz. raw oysters, shucked and cleaned, ready to use

¼ tsp ground mace

¼ fresh lemon

1 T Fish Sauce

½ T creamy horseradish sauce

1 T butter rolled in flour

¼ lb butter, melted

Directions:

Simmering OystersSimmer 8 oz oysters in their juices on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Strain and reserve the liquor.

Place oysters in a saucepan and add remaining ingredients.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the lemon, squeeze the juice into the sauce.

So what do you think? Does this sound like something you’d like to try? Do you know how to shuck oysters?

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 and upcoming events.

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.

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Tasty Tuesday: Historical Cooking Techniques for Meat #colonial #recipe #howtomake #dinner

 

Wmbrg Kitchen
A working kitchen in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Imagine preparing a meal using the tools and vessels available.

Today for Tasty Tuesday we’re going to talk about how meats were prepared back in the 18th century. We need to remember that the cooking utensils and heat sources were very primitive and basic. A kettle over an open flame, to be exact. Or a spit turned by hand, usually by one of the children, to evenly roast meats. Thankfully, we have much better tools and utensils as well as cooking apparatuses. But for a moment, let’s pause and consider what an 18th-century cook had to work with and how she’d prepare the family’s dinner.

 

Art of CookeryIn The Art of Cookery, Mrs. Glasse discusses how to prepare various kinds of meat. Most of the time she says to boil the piece of meat, but she also talks about frying things at times. The kinds of meat she would have worked with are also different from a typical American dinner table. Ox palates and ox heads being two that come to mind. Also, rabbits make an appearance now and again in addition to the typical shank (or shin) of beef. Also the “scrag of mutton” which I’ll talk more about next week, being part of the neck of the sheep. In fact, many of the meat dishes require boiling like what is done for soups and stews, the topic of next week’s Tasty Tuesday post. You can find the complete schedule of recipes I’m planning to try – unless I chicken out and choose a different one… – by going to this post.

I wonder about what is not written in the cookbook as to techniques used and the assumed knowledge of the 18th and early 19th century cooks. I enjoy reading the language of the book, with its use of “enough” as in “when they’re enough take them out and lay them in a dish” – which means when they are finished/done put them in a dish. But what kind of dish would they have used? A flat one? A bowl of some sort? What kind of presentation did they aim for when laying out the food?

She also talks about “force-meat” which is a way of making something similar to meatballs that you stuff into larger cuts of meat. I’ll be making my version of this to share with you for the June 20 post. Many of the dishes in the book are ones we wouldn’t want to try. Sometimes because of the current cost of a particular item (veal for one!) or because it’s a cut or part that doesn’t appeal to our tastes. For example:

To dress a Fillet of Veal with Collops

For an alteration, take a small fillet of veal, cut what collops you want, then take the udder and fill it with force-meat, roll it round, tie it with a packthread across, and roast it; lay your collops in the dish, and lay your udder in the middle. Garnish your dishes with lemon.

Notice that she doesn’t say to cook the veal, in this recipe which follows another one similar on how to fix veal. In the one for how “To dress White Scotch Collops,” she says to throw the collops of veal into a stew-pan and put some boiling water over them, stir them about, then strain it off, then add some broth and seasonings to it. So here’s an example of assumed knowledge that you need to look back at earlier entries for how to prepare the meat as well as know how long to cook them or know when they are done. Collops, by the way, are small rounds of meat. I’ve never tried udder and do not care to. But you must give them credit for not wasting any parts of the animal!

Another recipe she talks about is how to stew ox palates. I know some people enjoy tongue of various animals but have you tried the palate? Here’s what she says to do with it, in case you’d like to…

To stew Ox Palates

Stew them very tender; which must be done by putting them into cold water, and let them stew very softly over a slow fire till they are tender, then take off the two skins, cut them in pieces, and put them either into your made-dish or soup; and cock’s-combs and artichoke-bottoms, cut small, and put into the made dish. Garnish your dishes with lemon, sweet-breads stewed, or white dishes, and fried for brown ones, and cut in little pieces.

A made-dish is one that combines meats and vegetables into one dish. Sweet-breads are the thymus of the calf or perhaps the pancreas which is apparently pretty tasty, but again it’s not something I’m interested in trying. And I know my loving, supportive, patient hubby would not want me to serve it to him, so that’s another reason to pick different recipes to adapt. Also, I think she means to use stewed sweetbreads for “for” white dishes and fried for brown ones.

What kind of meats have you tried that are not typical fare? Did you like it? Would you want to have it again?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions! 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. 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 and upcoming events.

The second story in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series is one of my favorite ones. Poor Amy has some tough decisions to make…

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: Potato Pudding #colonial #American #history #recipe #sidedish #whatsfordinner

Art of CookeryTasty Tuesday brings us to my adaptation of Potato Pudding from The Art of Cookery. The original recipe seems fairly straightforward until you consider the methods of cooking available then versus today. So let’s start with what Mrs. Glasse would have us do, shall we?

Boil two pounds of potatoes, and beat them in a mortar fine, beat in half a pound of melted butter, boil it half an hour, pour melted butter over it, with a glass of white wine, or the juice of a Seville orange, and throw sugar all over the pudding and dish.

The first stumbling block for me is that I do not own a mortar. But I do own an electric mixer that I use to make mashed potatoes for special occasions like holidays.

IMG_2150I’m going to guess that I used about one pound of potatoes, but to be honest, I did not weigh them. I used these four because I thought it would be enough for two to four servings, which it ended up being.

The second boiling of the potatoes would have been done in a tightly woven cloth placed in a kettle of boiling water over a fire. After thinking about the options, I decided to spoon the whipped potatoes IMG_2152into a casserole dish and then I could bake the final casserole instead of boiling it again.

Notice that she also blended butter, wine or the juice of a Seville orange, then threw sugar over everything, which was intended to counter the bitterness of the wine or orange. I chose to use butter and sweet orange juice to approximate the blend of flavors she was aiming for. My hubby is not fond of wine in sauces, so I didn’t choose to use it but feel free to try some if you’d prefer.

IMG_2154Be careful when you go to melt the butter! I put it in the microwave for what I thought was a short amount of time, but the butter ended up exploding. I had to clean up the mess and try again to achieve the desired result.

The resulting casserole was indeed a hit around here. It was fairly easy to make and again included only whole, fresh ingredients readily available at my local grocery store. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.

IMG_2157Ingredients

4 medium-large baking potatoes

4 T butter, melted

1 T butter, melted

¼ cup OJ

Instructions

Wash, peel and cut up the potatoes into large pieces

Cover with water in a saucepan and boil until just tender

Drain the water from the potatoes.

Add 4 T melted butter.

Beat with mixer until creamy but sticky

Put in a casserole dish and bake at 300 deg for 15 minutes.

Combine 1 T melted butter and ¼ cup OJ. Pour over casserole and warm through.

I think this may become a new favorite dish to make. What do you think about wine in the sauce? Should I have tried it anyway?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

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 and upcoming events.

The second book in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series, Amy’s Choice, continues the saga of women seeking personal independence during the American Revolution.

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: Spinach & Eggs #vegetable #recipe #historical #American #whatsfordinner

Time for Tasty Tuesday and the first of my adapted recipes from The Art of Cookery! The original recipe was called Stewed Spinach and Eggs. But it’s more than just those two ingredients. Here’s the complete recipe from the 1802 edition:

Art of CookeryPick and wash your spinach very clean, put it into a saucepan, with a little salt; cover it close, shake the pan often; when it is just tender, and whilst it is green, throw it into a sieve to drain. Lay it in your dish. In the mean time have a stew pan of water boiling. Break as many eggs into cups as you would poach. When the water boils put in the eggs, have an egg-slice ready to take them out with, lay them on the spinach, and garnish the dish with Seville orange cut into quarters, with melted butter in a cup.

So the first thing I had to do was interpret the intent behind the cooking and figure out what exactly the finished dish would look like.

IMG_2147It’s obvious what “pick and wash” the greens means, and then to put them in a saucepan – it would have to be a big pot by our standards with a lid. I chose a large soup pot with a lid.

Then to drain it in a “sieve” or colander before putting it in a “dish” of some kind. I imagined the finished dish to present nicest on a small platter but any kind of bowl or casserole dish would suit.

IMG_2145Then in a “stew pan” break eggs into cups to poach them, or boil them until done to your liking. Hmm, I thought. Hubby and I are not fond of poached eggs, so that had to change. Hard boiled eggs would also serve the purpose, and allow for slicing to provide even more color and thus improve the presentation while staying close to the taste combinations.

IMG_2148Then lay the cooked eggs on the spinach and add quartered “Seville” oranges, which I discovered are known for being bitter/sour. I can’t get Seville oranges easily in my area, anyway, so I’d have to adapt that as well. I chose a lovely navel orange and used it to provide a contrast to the other flavors.

IMG_2146I also do not cook with salt due to previous health concerns (diabetes and heart disease for my dad, and kidney stones for my hubby), so that would also need to go. Then the bit of melted butter to dip the green into. I wasn’t sure about the butter being needed either, but I could see some kind of moisture was needed to cook the spinach greens. So instead of butter and salt, I used some extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic. By cooking the greens this way, the need to drain the spinach was eliminated. I simply spooned the cooked greens onto the platter and garnished with the eggs and orange.

Here’s my adapted recipe for Spinach and Eggs. We really enjoyed it, and I hope you will also!

IMG_2149Ingredients:

2 pkgs 6 oz each baby spinach leaves

1 T olive oil

Minced garlic to taste

2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

1 naval orange, segmented

Instructions:

Heat the first three ingredients in a large covered pot until the spinach is tender.

Arrange spinach on a platter. Add sliced eggs and orange segments. Enjoy!

While I don’t always add the orange and eggs, I have found I really enjoy cooking the spinach this way every time. The greens taste so fresh and yummy with all natural ingredients that are easy to purchase at my local grocery.

What do you think? Sound good to you? Do you think any other greens would also work in this kind of recipe?

Next week, Potato Pudding, which isn’t what you’re probably thinking it is… Until then!

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 and upcoming events.

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: Historical Cooking Techniques and Dressing Veggies #colonial #recipe #sidedish #whatsfordinner

It’s Tasty Tuesday once again. Time to dive into the ins and outs of cooking techniques and the preparation of various vegetables available on typical dinner tables of the colonial and Early American period.

We’ve all seen campfires and open hearth cooking fires, if not in person then in a movie or documentary, right? Have you ever thought about how you’d cook dinner or breakfast? I think maybe one day I’ll enroll in one of those colonial or primitive cooking classes to find out exactly how they managed over an open flame.

For now, I will rely upon the guidance of Virginia Elverson and Mary Ann McLanahan who wrote Revolutionary Cooking. They note that:

Revolutionary CookingMost cooking was done in large iron pots; in the fireplace the pots were suspended over the fire or raised above the embers by means of little legs. Lug poles of wood or iron were built into the fireplace wall, providing a rack on which to suspend the cooking pots. These poles were later replaced by a more practical swinging crane. The distance from the fire was adjusted by S-shaped hooks, adjustable trammels and chains. Though utensils had long handles, the cook in her long full skirt had to be extremely careful to avoid live coals and spitting grease. The floor was swept constantly and scrubbed around the hearth to prevent the house catching fire. (p9-10)

Apparently, most foods were cooked by stewing, slow boiling, or roasting. A dish that combined both meat and vegetables was known as a “made dish,” which was easier to make. Frying was avoided due to the inherent danger of fire from spitting grease. Roasting was done on a spit which was turned by hand, most often the job of one of the children in the family. A pan beneath the skewered meat caught drippings to be used in making other dishes.

Art of CookeryI was amazed by the variety of vegetables that were available to American cooks in the 18th century and beyond. The Art of Cookery gives specific directions on how best to prepare spinach, cabbage and “young sprouts,” carrots, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, potatoes, “cauliflowers,” French beans, artichokes, and asparagus.

The overall directions from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy for how to dress “greens, roots, etc.” I think is good advice yet today:

ALWAYS be very careful that your greens be nicely picked and washed. You should lay them in a clean pan, for fear of sand or dust which is apt to hang round wooden vessels. Boil all your greens in a copper or sauce-pan by themselves, with a great quantity of water. Boil no meat with them, for that discolours them. Use no iron pans, &c. for they are not proper, but let them be copper, brass or silver.

The techniques used in the 18th century really were similar but at the same time very different from our options today. The directions for “dressing” the vegetables all steer the cook toward boiling them, greens in a “great deal of water” and potatoes in “as little water as you can, without burning the sauce-pan.” Interestingly, for both broccoli and asparagus Mrs. Glasse recommends the following presentation:

Broccoli-MorgueFileWhen the stalks are tender it is enough [they are ready to eat], then send it to table with a piece of toasted bread soaked in the water the broccoli is boiled in under it, the same way as asparagus, with butter in a cup.

It took me a little while to figure out why the butter is put in a cup. The melted butter is to be used for dipping the stalks with your fingers before eating them. Keep in mind that forks weren’t a common utensil in America until the second half of the 18th century. (More on the history of forks can be found here.) Then they would have been more frequently used by the upper echelons of society. The Art of Cookery is geared more toward the middle and upper class since the cook needed some education in order to read and understand the instructions. Literacy was not necessarily a priority when building a new society, at least not for the working men and women laboring to literally build farms and towns.

Next time I’ll share the first adapted recipe, Stewed Spinach and Eggs. For the complete schedule of what I’ll be sharing in the weeks and months ahead, check out this post.

Do you find it interesting to think about how our abilities, habits, and things we take for granted have evolved along with the new technologies? What else do we take for granted as having been around forever, like forks, but actually have not been around all that long? I can think of hot pads, since the early cooks used their long skirts often times to pick up hot vessels. What else?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

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 and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Cajun Shrimp Étouffée by #romance #author Linda Joyce #recipe #dinner #whatsfordinner

Tasty Tuesday brings a delicious Cajun dish, Shrimp Étouffée, by romance author Linda Joyce. Boy, does this sound delicious! I know her stories are tantalizing. Take it away, Linda!


By way of introduction, let me begin by saying I’m a southern gal and my heritage is Asian-Cajun-Irish. I love food as much as I love books. My husband and I have organic raised beds and grow vegetables—he supplies the green thumb. I supply the cooking. I have one bed dedicated solely to herbs. I make enough pesto with my organic basil to freeze and last me through the winter. I love farm-to-table restaurants, trying new food combinations, and discovering new flavor profiles. Let’s face it, if you watch any cooking shows, even cupcakes are getting into the act with daring combinations.

etouffeeWhen it comes to my books, my characters usually eat what I eat. For example, in Behind the Mask, Chalise Boudreau’s favorite food is Shrimp Étouffée. In Bayou Bound, Biloxi Dutrey can’t get enough of Red Beans and Rice. I haven’t written a character yet who craves sushi, but it’s coming. The Irish part of me blends well with the Japanese and Cajun—Irish seafood, I’m told, is exceptional. All parts of me love oysters and prawns.

But you might be wondering, just exactly how I chose which food to mention in my books. It’s a closely guarded secret—not. It’s simple: my stomach is in charge of the picking. In Behind the Mask, Chalise’s Shrimp Étouffée was served to her at her first romantic dinner date with Chaz Riboucheaux because it’s what I had for supper. In the book, Chaz remembers from years ago that it was her favorite, and he has the chef make it just for Chalise.

In my recipe for Shrimp Étouffée, I’ve included a few notes to help the preparation go smoothly. When reading over the instructions, if you have questions, please let me know.

As you can see from the list of ingredients, though this is a Cajun dish, there’s a nod to my heritage in the shrimp—Irish (and Cajun of course), and the short grain rice—Japanese.

Gluten Free FlourOne last little note about the ingredients: flour for the roux. I use gluten-free flour. In my family, I’m known for my gravy. It always begins with a roux. My husband will tell you he could eat my gravy like soup. (My secret is I add a bit of cream sherry and cook off the alcohol, leaving just the richness of flavor.) When I make it, he puts it on everything. Yep, even vegetables like carrots and peas. I’ve tried many types of gluten-free flours to make roux with varying degrees of success (okay, most of them were failures), however, this is the one that most closely gives me the consistency and flavor I seek—Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour by Bob’s Red Mill. And if gluten isn’t an issue for you, then any all-purpose flour will work.

Happy Reading and Bon Appetite!

Shrimp Étouffée

By Linda Joyce

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4-6 servings of cooked rice (Since I’m Asian-Cajun-Irish, I use Japanese short grain rice, but please use what you prefer.)

2 pounds shrimp already shelled and deveined (I do buy frozen large shrimp in the bag when I am unable to get them fresh.)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup of butter for roux

(Another 1/4 cup at end of dish. See instructions)

1/2 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1-2 stalks of celery, chopped (equal amount of onion)

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika – optional

1 pint seafood stock (or add bottled or canned clam juice)

1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes

Salt (only as needed because Cajun Seasoning usually contains it.)

3 green onions chopped

Crystal SauceHot sauce (Crystal is my choice) to taste

Directions:

1) Cook your rice as you normally would now so it will be ready when Étouffée is ready.

2) Make roux – melt butter with oil, then add flour in heavy frying pan. I use cast iron. Don’t let the flour burn. Cook low and slow. Whisk continuously. There are videos on YouTube about how to make a roux if a visual helps. Cooking takes about 15 minutes. You want a nutty aroma.

3) Add onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic to roux. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. You want vegetables to be limp. Add the black and white pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, and parsley. Stir together.

4) Add seafood stock and tomatoes with juice to the mixture above. Stir together.

5) Bring the mixture just to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. You’re looking for the consistency of gravy.

6) Taste for salt. Add if needed.

7) Add shrimp. It will take 3-6 minutes to cook. Don’t overcook! Then remove from heat.

8) Stir in final 1/4 cup of butter and mix well.

9)  Serve over warm rice.

Behind_The_Mask_AdjustedFormer model Chalise Boudreau returns to Louisiana after ten years and faces an uncertain future. Watching her budget, she’s living with her mother and plans to open a luxury salon, but she fears the community sees her homecoming as a failing, and she knows any malicious gossip will jeopardize her success.

Once bad-boy, now entrepreneur Chaz Riboucheaux is home and trying to rebuild his old reputation. He believes one of his companies, the Magnolia May, a pirate ship, can make Ascension a tourist destination, but the mayor refuses to grant him a lease at the city’s dock.

Chalise and Chaz come face to face at a Twelfth Night party. Years ago, he stood her up and left her brokenhearted. Now her brain is at war with her heart, but her body has a mind of its own. As Chaz leads her across the dance floor, he knows when the music stops it won’t be the end of their waltz. He has questions only she can answer, and he won’t stop until he gets what he wants.

Linda_Joyce_0342Amazon Best Selling author and 4-time RONE Award Finalist, Linda Joyce writes about assertive females and the men who can’t resist them. She has penned the Fleur de Lis series, Fleur de Lis Brides series, and the first book in her Sunflower series. Her other books include Behind the Mask and Christmas Bells. She has more books in the works.

A big fan of jazz and blues, Linda attributes her love of music to her southern roots, which run deep in Louisiana. Courtesy of her father’s Air Force career, she has lived coast to coast in the U.S. and wrote her first manuscript when she was twelve while living in Japan. In addition to being a book addict, Linda’s a foodie, an RVer, loves to kayak, and binge watch movies. Now she lives in Atlanta with her husband and General Beauregard, their four-legged boy who thinks Linda is his pet.

You can find Linda at http://www.linda-joyce.com/


Awesome and tempting recipe! I really enjoyed Behind the Mask when it came out last year. Linda’s stories have an exotic feel to them because of the locations where they are set and the intriguing characters she’s brought to the page. I hope you enjoy both.

Linda is the last guest author for a few months as I transition to a new Tasty Tuesday series of recipes. Look for the introduction of my new cooking related series next week. I think you’ll find it interesting and maybe even inspiring!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

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 and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Steak Marinade #recipe by #contemporary #romance #author Lesia Flynn #whatsfordinner #grilling

Tasty Tuesday time! How about a delicious marinade for some grilled ribeye steaks by the fabulous romance author Lesia Flynn! You’ll love her recipe almost as much as her light-hearted romances. This lady can really cook. Help me welcome my dear friend, Lesia!


Thank you, Betty, for allowing me to visit your Tasty Tuesday Blog again. What a treat to be with y’all!

Due to a series of unexpected events, I recently discovered several stories that I thought were long gone, out the door, lost inside a computer no longer in my possession. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across them! WooHoo! (Yes, I danced like a little girl!)

I’m super excited to announce that Cash & Lila, the first of these lost short romances, is scheduled to release in June. Here’s a little bit about their predicament . . .

Cash and Lila Coverart for KDPThey say a picture is worth a thousand words. Lila Joone should have taken that to heart when she watched the love of her life drive away with his hand waving high above his sporty convertible, headed to his new post-graduate job in Atlanta. Nope. Gullible, naive Lila didn’t pay one mind to that gesture. That was five years ago. With her own career now secure, all she wants is a happily ever after. But how can she, when the only man she ever wanted was Cash Bonner?

Fast living under the big city lights of Atlanta wasn’t Cash Bonner’s plan and living large damned sure wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. He had a front row seat to witness that fact and a few hard-earned scars to boot. It was high time he made a U-turn and got back to where he took a wrong turn, leaving Lila in the rearview mirror. He’s confident he can find her, but will she have anything to do with him after all this time?

Can life offer Cash and Lila a unique encounter, a second chance, the possibility of…

A happily-ever-after?

Why do I love this sexy short story? Maybe I’m a weirdo, but there’s nothing sexier than a man willing to admit when he’s wrong and make it right!

grilled meatThe backdrop of the story is set around cooking dinner for two on the back porch grill. What better to cook than a juicy steak? Yum! And while my easiest recipe is for wine (Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon. Find it. Buy it. Drink it. Tehehe…), I give to you a recipe for the steak marinade I’ve used most of my adult life. I was told it originated at a restaurant in my hometown. My husband taught me their trick and we’ve used it ever since. It’s fool-proof and easy-peasy, too!

Marinade for the Perfect Ribeye

Ribeye Steaks (with beautiful marble)

Adolf’s No MSG tenderizer (Indo Tenderizer [by the same people that make Spike] is my favorite, but I have difficulty finding these days.)

Freshly Minced Garlic

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Kitchen Bouquet (a browning sauce, usually found near the steak sauce at the grocery store)

Place steaks in a large Ziploc bag. Sprinkle with tenderizer and cracked pepper. (Note of caution: tenderizers are usually pretty salty.)  Add as much minced garlic as you like and cover ingredients with enough Kitchen Bouquet to coat the steaks. Seal the bag, removing any extra air. Massage the bag to cover every side of the steaks with your marinade. Set aside for at least 20 minutes; overnight is fine, too.

Grill to your liking or broil in the oven. If you’re throwing it on the grill, I’m not the grill master of this family, so you’ll have to take it from here. If broiling? I have an electric stove. I usually broil on high for about 2-4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the cut) for a medium cooked steak. An iron skillet steak is probably delicious, too!

Remove the steaks from the fire and let them rest for a few minutes to render their perfect drippings. Drizzle the steak drippings onto a loaded baked potato for a little extra yum! Toss a salad and your meal is complete!

Lagniappe

There’s nothing more frustrating than shopping for steaks only to find that Ribeyes are a gazillion dollars per pound. My response? Improvise! So, if you find yourself in a pickle, New York Strip and Pork Tenderloin Steaks are great substitutes.

Also, if you want to take it south of the border, squeeze a wedge of lime over your Ribeye. That, my friends, is delicioso!

Happy grilling, y’all!

Lesia Flynn first fell for romance when her mother gave her a paperback novel. One book later and she was hooked on love. It wasn’t until she had children that she realized she wanted to write stories of love, romance, and happily ever afters.

Lesia Flynn BioLesia was born and raised in Louisiana. She studied Graphic Design at Louisiana Tech University. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband, children, and a rescue cat who believes his mission in life is to keep Lesia safe and out of harm’s way. She loves libraries, gardening, travel, art of all kinds, and playing some really bad guitar for her neighbor’s cows.

Lesia is an active member of the Heart of Dixie Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She writes fun, contemporary romance. Connect with Lesia Flynn at www.LesiaFlynn.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and @LesiaFlynn.


See, what did I tell you? If you’ve haven’t read any of Lesia’s stories, take a moment and pop over here and pick one up. You won’t regret it! It’s grilling season around here, so I hope you enjoy this marinade recipe frequently!

Thanks for visiting with us today, and I hope you have a tasty day ahead!

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 and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Mauby #cocktail #recipe from #romance #author Sandra Masters

Tasty Tuesday has arrived along with a refreshing adult beverage recipe from Barbados by author Sandra Masters. Tell us more about it, Sandra!


Mauby cocktailOn a hot day (and there are many of those in Barbados), many Bajans reach for a refreshing glass of mauby to quench their thirst and cool down.

Mauby is made from the bark of the Mauby tree, boiled with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg and cloves, and sweetened to taste.

It is rather a unique flavour, with a bitter aftertaste, and some people really dislike it! But of course it’s a favourite of many others. So it’s worth at least trying… you might find yourself adding it to rum punch, coconut water and Banks beer as your go-to drinks in Barbados!

Mauby was traditionally sold by vendors who walked around the towns & villages dispensing the delicious drink from buckets expertly balanced on their heads. Today mauby is on the menu at many local cafes and even at the Chefette chain of fast food restaurants.

TheDukesMagnificentBastard_w11254_100The Duke’s Magnificent Bastard

A Regency Romance with an Element of Suspense

After three years in England, Thorn Wick, the duke’s bastard son, perfectly flawed, still fights for acceptance in his father’s world as a renowned Argamak Turk horse trainer. Just when he starts to believe in fairy tales, another obstacle looms to thwart his plans: on a dangerous mission to Barbados, Thorn is stunned when secrets are revealed about his mother. Will he exact revenge for the foul deed?

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the duke, is in love with Thorn. Strong willed and adventurous, she determines she can convince him to admit his feelings. But the reality of loving Thorn too much almost destroys her.

Can Alicia quell Thorn’s demons and prove love can pave the way to their happiness to fulfill their destiny?

sandra-masters-author-picFall in love with Romance all over again with author Sandra Masters

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, N.J. at the age of fourteen, Sandra Masters retired from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, and settled in the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park with her husband, Ron, and two dogs, Silky and Sophie. She traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency Era and never looked back.

She wrote her first book at the age of thirteen and since then she’s always traveled with pen and notebook for her writing experiences. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She deemed it a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.

Nothing she expected, but everything she desired. Her business card lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

Get to know her and her stories at www.authorsandramasters.com


Sounds good to me! Did you find that idea as tempting as I do? Thanks again, Sandra, for sharing with us!

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: Easy as Pie Crust #recipe from #romance #author Michele Stegman #dessert #pies

Tasty Tuesday is all about a pie crust recipe by author Michele Stegman. Tell us more, Michele!


All the way home, and while she peeled apples for a pie, Katie wondered just what she had gotten herself into. Adrian seemed to want more than to just pay her back for her help. He wanted a relationship. But did she?

It had been almost three years since Brent died. She had grieved. She missed him, but she was ready to get on with life. But was Adrian the man she wanted to get on with life with?

Well, wasn’t that what the dating process was for? To find out about each other? And no matter how it had come about or how he had phrased it, this was a date.

She had wanted to find out more about Carly’s teacher. Now she had the perfect opportunity. It wasn’t like she was going to walk down the aisle with him next week.

She took two of the frozen balls of pie dough she kept on hand and thawed them in the microwave while she finished cutting up the apples, added flour, sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and nutmeg.

She had wondered about Mr. Adrian Wright. He was attractive enough to be a model for one of those catalogs selling sport clothes. He was lean, black-haired, and had a look in his dark eyes that told every woman who gazed into them they hid some secret only she could unearth.

Adrian’s smile was infectious, especially now that he had quit scowling at her. He was kind to children, and he put himself whole-heartedly into whatever he was doing. But he was old enough to be established in a steady job. Why was he substitute teaching? How could he even live on a substitute teacher’s pay?

Could he really afford to take her out? Maybe that was why he seemed so tense when he asked her.

She rolled out one of the balls of dough and put it into her biggest pie pan, a deep ten inch one, and dumped in the apples. She eyed the second ball of dough wondering what kind of top to put on the pie. Lattice? Cut out leaves and layer them all over the top? A design of an apple tree branch with leaves?

The door bell rang and she heard Carly banging the blinds to look out the window. “It’s Mr. Wright, Mom,” Carly called.

“Open the door for him, Honey.” So much for fancy. Plain would have to do. She was rolling out the crust when Carly shepherded Adrian into the kitchen, hanging onto his hand and bouncing along in her yellow Winnie the Pooh swimsuit.

Adrian smiled and started to say something when he saw what she was doing. “A pie? From scratch? You didn’t have to go to so much trouble,” he said. But the gleam in his eyes told her he was glad.

MrRightsBabyCover-ebookAdrian, the hero of Mr. Right’s Baby, obviously loves pie. So does my own hero, my husband, Ron. When we first got married I made a pie. And it was good. But it was when I tasted one of my new mother-in-law’s pies that I knew I could do better. She graciously gave me her pie crust recipe and I’ve been using it ever since. I have to admit, I make a great pie.

Katie, the heroine of Mr. Right’s Baby, is a lot like me, except for the way she looks! We both love to bake and cook. We both made our kids lunches with homemade bread and cookies and sometimes tucked little love notes in the lunchbox. Her adopted daughter, Carly, is based on my daughter, Shana. Both of them are little balls of sunshine.

 

 

Shana holding pieI included the excerpt from Mr. Right’s Baby because she is baking a pie with my mother-in-law’s recipe. Now I’m going to share that recipe with you. I love it not only because it is so good, but because I can make it into flattened balls and store it in the freezer. Then, like Katie, when I need to make a pie in a hurry, all I have to do is take out a ball of dough, thaw it, and make my pie!

Ginny’s Pie Crust

Mix: 4 ½ cups flour, 1 T sugar, 1 t salt.

Add:  1 ¾ cup Crisco (I use butter flavor)

Mix these together. It is easier if you use a stand mixer.

Separately mix together ½ cup water, 1 T vinegar, 1 egg. Whip together and add to the flour/Crisco mixture.

Chill for 15-30 minutes before using.

This makes 2½ double crust 9 inch pie shells. It will keep for 3 days in the fridge, or you can make it into flattened balls and freeze for later.

10151971_633987283679_4716031159509436_n (2)Thank you so much, Betty, for letting me blog on your site. I love sharing recipes and talking about baking.

Mr. Right’s Baby is available as an ebook or in paperback. Visit www.MicheleStegman.com for information on my other books and to read excerpts. Or connect with me on Twitter or on Facebook.

 


I’ll fess up. I’ve never made a pie crust from scratch. In fact, I usually buy them ready to fill at the grocery store. But I may have to give this recipe a try. What do you think? Do you like to bake pies? How do you make your crust? I’m curious!

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.