25 April 2013

Pig Curing & Cooking

We are big fans of Ambrose Heath and pigs.  The End. 

No, there is more.  We love cookbooks and food because, like so many things, everything old is new again.  Really, who hasn't dislocated a shoulder patting themselves on the back for serving pig ears?  Don't get me wrong, we love Fergus Henderson but he did not "invent" nose-to-tail eating.  Poor folks did.  If H.G. Wells traveled back in time and asked those poor folks whether they would rather be eating pig ears or steak, they would probably chosen the latter.  If you told them that you paid $12 for a pig ear sandwich, they would laugh at you.   Truthfully, they would probably rob you.  And feed you to the pigs.

In 1952, a full decade before Fergus Henderson was even conceived, Ambrose Heath wrote a quintessential nose-to-tail book on the pig: Pig Cooking & Curing.  There are recipes for Deviled Pig's Liver, Pig Ear Soup(and you thought they were only for sandwiches), Baked Pig Cheek, Pig Tail in Lentils, and so much more.  Heath includes all the meaty middle of the pig as well, loins, legs, chops, hams, and sausage. 

By now you know that cookbooks of this era have only vague directions for recipes.  But here is a favorite.  It has the date 1806 in parentheses, so my guess is Heath found this recipe and passed it on.  I love it for the title: Loin of Pork to Goosify.  I can honestly say we have have never seen the word "goosify" before.  At first I thought it was a way to make one's pork more like goose.  But that doesn't seem to be the case.   In modern parlance, "goosify" means to have an old lady grab your ass.  By "old" one would need to be over 30, 25 in some video arcades.  But we can find no reference as to why this leg of pork is being "goosified" or whether "goosified" is the past tense for "goosify" as we are sure it has nothing to do with grabassing pork (or whether "grabassing" is a word).   We are in uncharted territory.  Here is the recipe so you too, can gossify your leg o'pork.

Leg of Pork, to Goosify (1806)

Score your pork; stuff it with sage, onions, pepper and salt, a few crumbs and a little butter; stuff it at the shank end.  It will take two hours roasting as a good fire.  Serve it with apple sauce.
Calling all Lexicographers out there -- what did "goosify" mean in 1806?

In the meantime, we saw this on Facebook and while we rarely  never share puppy pix, quotes, blessings from any Deity, or school day photos, we did find this amusing and a bit apropos.

Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs.  
Now we have no Cash, no Hope, and no Jobs
Don't let Kevin Bacon die

22 April 2013

Cookery From Experience

It has been so cold this week I have actually been thinking of making a fruit cake.   So I started pulling out some really old books to check out long ago and far away recipes.   I have a rather beaten up copy of Sara Paul's Cookery from Experience.  Written in 1875, Mrs. Paul book bears all the marks of the early cookbooks, including a good bit of information on housekeeping as well as tried and true methods for such things as removing tar and storing meat in hot weather. 

Removing tar required "soaking" it in lard, which begs the question, how then does one get the lard stain out?  Well that is another day...

I lust love flipping through these cookbooks from the late 1800's.  While there are seriously dated offerings, one can find recipes that seem to have been written by today's most innovative chefs.  

Mrs. Paul offered up several fruit cake recipes, but this one sounded the most promising. 

Fruit Cake, No. 1

One pound of butter, the same of sugar and flour, ten eggs, one pound of raisins seeded, one of currants washed and dried, and half a pound of citron cut in little strips. Stir the butter and sugar to a cream, add to them half a small nutmeg grated, a pinch of cinnamon and the rind of half a lemon grated; stir well; then add the yolks of the eggs beaten light; stir these well together, and then add the flour alternately with the whites of the eggs beaten to a froth; mix the fruit altogether, and stir in it two heaping tablespoons of flour, and stir it in the cake. Bake slowly nearly two hours; if browning too much, cover with thick paper. When the cake shrinks from the sides of the pan, and a broom splint run down the centre of the cake comes out clean and dry, the cake is done; and this is the test for all kinds of cake.

I have all of the ingredients and believe I shall go home, build a fire, and make cake.   Who would think it is just a week away from May...

16 April 2013

Not a Cookbook -- Eat a Cicada

The Smithsonian has an idea for facing the coming cicada invasion.

A deep fryer and hot sauce.

Read about it here.


Where There's Smoke

D.C. chef  and sustainability advocate, Barton Seaver has published a grilling book entitled, Where There's Smoke. He brings his usual take on sustainability and applies it to everyone's favorite summer past time -- the barbecue. While most barbecue books concentrate on giant slabs of meat Seaver applies his sustainability ethics to what he puts on the grill. He includes a lot of vegetables and a lot of fresh seafood. Seaver is a firm believer in barbecuing with wood -- he loves the smoke. He believes in cutting his own wood.

He offered up one piece of advice that is different from many a barbecue book. He opts one the side of not soaking the wood before you put on the fire. After doing several studies where he soaked the wood, then cut through it to test the water absorption, he found that the soaking didn't actually get moisture into the wood and was probably more trouble than it was worth.
There are great sauces, sides, and desserts all infused with the power of smoke. This grilled broccoli rabe should be on every summer menu.
Grilled Broccoli Rabe with Walnut Anchovy Dressing and Egg
1 bunch broccoli rabe
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One 2-ounce can oil- packed anchovies
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled, yolks remove for another use
Trim off and discard about 1/2 inch from the stem end of the broccoli rabe. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 7 minutes, then drain it and lay the pieces on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Heat the anchovies and their oil with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Gently mash them into the oil with a spatula, then add the walnuts. Cook until the anchovies have melted into the oil and the walnuts are lightly toasted, about five minutes. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and reserve.
Grill the broccoli rabe over the coals of the medium fire until it begins to char, 5 to 8 minutes. Do not turn or otherwise move the rabe until done.
Transfer the broccoli rabe to a platter and toss with dressing. Grate the egg whites onto the broccoli rabe with a box grader or by pushing them through the holes of the colander. Serve hot off the grill or at room temperature.
If you are looking for a great new addition to your summer cookbook list, Where There's Smoke is a must have.

11 April 2013

A Time To Cook

We have always loved Lee Bailey and have long lamented his passing.  At a time when "Southern" seems all the rage, one just needs to look back at Bailey's lovely collection of books to find the deep roots of the South.  Recently, however, we have found someone that just may be a likely successor to Bailey's easy style and Southern charm in the person of James Farmer III.

His new book is a cookbook, A Time To Cook.  In a market swamped with cookbooks claiming to be authentic Southern cookbooks, Farmer's roots reach deep in the red clay of the South.   We were delighted over at Lucindaville, to find the Church had elected a Southern pope since he chose Francis I as his name.  Jame Farmer can spot Francis I at a hundred paces.  He knows that cornbread cannot be made without an iron skillet.  And he tells a wonderful story about his grandparents having a contest to see who made the best cornbread using almost identical ingredients.   It is a wounder of cornbread that given the exact same ingredients, no two cornbreads would be alike.  A Southerner knows these things.

Every recipe has a story behind it.  Every woman that ever offered up a recipe is graciously thanked and given full credit, even if Farmer has tweaked them a bit.  We love our collards here, but we tend to like cooked down for several hours.   As a raw coleslaw ingredient?  Why not.

Collard Green Coleslaw

A small bunch (8-10 leaves without ribs) or ½ bag (8 oz.) washed and cut collard greens
½ medium head green cabbage
2 green onions
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, process collard greens, cabbage, onions and parsley in batches until finely chopped, being careful not to over process.  Move each batch to a large bowl.

Dissolve sugar in vinegar in the microwave. Add  the greens and toss to mix well.

Add mayonnaise to suite your taste, and mix and moisten.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

When browsing his websites, we found this picture.  We have a similar flat whisk.

It  is a cherished possession.   My great-aunt Ruth used it to whip cream.  It was one of the most effective tools in the kitchen and seeing this bowl of whipped cream brought back memories from our Alabama porch.  You, too, can follow James Farmer III at his website

This boy can cook.  He can also garden, mix drinks and make lovely wreaths.   He is one to watch.  We are already waiting for the next cookbook!

09 April 2013

Not a Cookbook -- Requiescat in Pace

In the past week obituary writers have been working overtime.  Iron Lady and Mouseketeer, Movie Critic and Educator, even the son of a preacherman.   But here at Cookbook Of The Day, we are deeply saddened at the passing of Peter Workman.   Workman may not be a household name, but in our household, Workman was a giant.  Every bookshelf in our vast collection contains a title that Peter Workman laid hands on.   Ask anyone who worked for him -- he was a hands-on guy.

He published books about preppies and cats and what to expect when you were expecting and he published some of the most stunning cookbooks of all time: The French Laundry, The Silver Palate, and Hot,Sour, Salty, Sweet, to name just a few.

Peter Workman was a gentleman and a scholar and he will be missed.

New York Time Obituary.

Remembering Workman in Eater.

08 April 2013

Home Made Summer

It has been colder in April than it was in December.   I have had it with winter and if the weather will not cooperate, then my cookbook selections will!!

Home Made Summer by Yvette van Boven is the eagerly anticipated companion to her book Home Made Winter, which followed the ever popular Home Made. All of van Boven's books have that "nextdoorneighbor"  feel to them and perhaps that is why they are so popular.  She makes you feel that you can do exactly what she does.   And, of course, you want to divide your time between Paris and Amsterdam, cooking and working with your  husband, the photographer.

There is a lot of "lifestyle" tucked into these cookbooks, but hey, we love a good lifestyle.   (Currently, I am freezing and dressed like the unibomber and not a single publisher is interested in my cookbook on how to cook great food while freezing and dressing like the unibomber, but I digress...)

My problem with this book is from a publisher's standpoint.  They perused the photos looking for a bright and sunny summer photo that was generic enough to say summer without linking the book to a particular genre.  But really, every third cookbook published has a "recipe" for preserved lemons.  Salt lemons ant throw them in a jar! Really?  Am I wrong?  Well, I just got in a new "grilling" cookbook and checked the index -- sure enough a "recipe" for preserved lemon.  Again, lemons, salt, jar.

I am complaining about this because there are great recipes that you probably never thought of that would have been a much better showcase for this book.   Like this one.

Negroni Fig Pops

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) red vermouth
2 ½ tablespoons (40 ml) gin
½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
3 fresh figs
1/3 cup (75 ml) golden syrup or clover honey

1. Put everything in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour through a sieve into a bowl with a spout and then pour into 4 to 6 ice pop molds.
2. Place in the freezer and push wooden sticks in after 2 hours. Freeze for at least another 4 hours, but ideally for 1 day.
4. Run the ice pops under hot running water for 3 seconds to unmold them. 

 Yes, not a summer goes by that we don't make boozy ice pops, but the figs are a great touch and I haven't had a cookbook cross my desk this year that had a recipe for Negroni Fig Pops.

The Weather Channel says that sometime this week, the temperature will hit 80, followed by huge rains and a plummeting thermometer!   We are making ice pops so we will be ready!
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