January 8, 2008
Nan's favorite Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe-
3 Quarts Cucumbers
1 Quart Sweet Peppers
6 Onions [peeled]
20 Whole Cloves of Garlic
1/2 cup Pickling Salt
Slice the cucumbers [not peeled], peppers and onions into thin slices. mix with salt and garlic. Cover with ice and let stand for 3 hours under a cloth.
Then make pickling solution as follows
Bring to boil-
3 cups cider vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 tsp. Tumeric
2 tsp. Celery Seeds
2 Tbsp. Mustard Seeds
Drain the water and ice from cucumber mixture and add to the boiling pickling solution. Heat to Scalding point. Stir while heating for even cooking. Avoid over cooking [do not bring back to a full boil] Pack into sterilized hot pint jars and cover with hot new lids. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes using safe canning methods.
NEW ENGLAND BAKED BEANS
Rinse the dry beans, and soak in 2 quarts of water overnight.
Add 1/2 tsp salt and simmer on top of the stove until they are as soft as you like them. This could be 1 or 2 hours depending on the variety of bean as well as your preference.
Drain off the cooking water and save. Measure 2 cups of it, and add the seasonings. Later, if the beans dry out while cooking in an oven, add some of the rest of the soaking water.
Prepare the salt pork or other meat by grinding or dicing most of it, but leave a slab to set on top.
Combine the beans, chopped onion, and finely cut meat in a 2 quart pot. Pour the liquid seasoning over it, and place the slab of meat on top.
Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 5 to 7 hours, or use a crock pot set on high for 3 to 4 hours, or on low for 6 to 12 hours.
1 pound of dry Beans [2 cups]
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1 tsp. Dry Mustard
1 medium Onion
1/4 lb. Salt Pork [you may substitute ham or bacon]
There are some recipes which claim beans will soften while being baked or cooked in a crock pot. No matter how I tried, I could not get around boiling them for hours. You may see one or two such recipes in the links here. I included those links because of other valuable information.
BOSTON BROWN BREAD
This recipe if for a small loaf of brown bread, It is served often at Thanksgiving, with the Dinner, and it makes a fairly sweet snack as well. It may be baked in a tin can, with both ends removed, standing upright in a shallow pan of water. The steam keeps the bread moist as it bakes. My recipe here is for cooking in a one pint crock pot, a size used for hot dips and sauces. When baking in crock pots, they need to be 3/4 full, so if you have a one or one and a half quart size pot, you need to double the recipe. Larger pots do not bake breads well.
1 cup whole corn, ground into meal
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup Molasses
1 tsp. Baking Powder
First, cover the raisins in the measuring cup with hot water, and allow to soak while grinding the corn meal, and mixing the dry ingredients in a bowl. Grease the crock pot. Soft butter would taste best. Mix the raisins and water into the bowl so there are no dry spots. Add enough more hot water to make a batter you can almost pour and quickly put it into the crock pot. Mine took about two hours to cook, but times will vary. Allow the pot to cool, and turn out onto a cooling rack while still a little warm.
COOKING WITH BEAN FLOUR
Beans can be ground in any mill which will grind whole corn. One of our normally very reliable links, claims that such bean flour can be boiled for only a few minutes, and used as a base for soup. It also claims that it will cook in a crock pot. I wish I could tell you that this is true. One thing about eating foods made from grains or beans is they require long cooking times and quite a bit of fuel to make them digestible. This is the reason I built my extremely thrifty Kero Cooker. [see links below].
I have been experimenting with freshly ground bean flour, and a little goes a long way. Keep in mind that the ratio of beans to grains needed for a good balance nutritionally is only one part beans to four or five parts grain. Adding such small amounts of bean flour to bread recipes will greatly fortify them. I choose the mildest tasting dry beans. As a rule of thumb, the more white on the bean, the milder the flavor. The dark kidney and black beans have the strongest taste to me.
BEAN SOUP BASE
Grind 1/2 cup of dry beans into flour. Choose a pan or pot with a tight lid and thick bottom, or any kind you have which is less likely to have food stick to it on your stove. [ like what you cook rice in]. Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil, and stir in the bean flour. Continue to stir, as you reduce the heat to a slow boil, with the cover on. A little oil will help keep it from boiling up too much. Cooking times vary widely by the variety of beans, as well as by how old they are. One or two hours will be needed. The bean soup base should be fully cooked, before you start adding the other ingredients, because many will interfere with cooking the beans. We really like a Ham and bean soup made with white beans like Navy, or Great Northern. I season with onion or garlic, and add salt and pepper near the end of the cooking time.
Flour and cornstarch are more popular ways to thicken soups and sauces, but beans add far more nutrition.
1/2 cup of dry [baking] beans
1 Quart of water
Seasonings, and meat or vegetables to taste.
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This is a recipe for a small cornbread, baked in an uncovered, preheated skillet.
It could also be cooked on top of a stove, in a preheated cast iron dutch oven or covered frying pan. Preheat the cover even hotter to help brown the top crust, if you choose to cook it on top of a stove or over an open fire.
Grind 2 cups of corn into meal. I used 25% Millet, for a multi grain cornbread. Rice works well too.
2Tsp. Baking Powder
Mix the dry ingredients well, before adding liquids
2 TBSP. Molasses
Mix with enough very warm water to make a thick batter, or a thin dough. [about 1/2 to 3/4 cup]
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Get the cast iron pan hot, and grease it. Scoop in the batter, and spread evenly in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and remove from the pan, and allow to cool on a rack.
CAST IRON COBBLER
This Cobbler is very easy to make. I found the recipe in an email from Agri-Supply. It looks great made in a large cast iron skillet, but it also cooks up nice in a 9X9 inch square glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt one stick of butter in the baking pan on top of the stove. Measure 1 cup of self rising flour and 1 cup of sugar into a mixing bowl, then stir in 1 cup of milk. Pour the batter into the heated pan with the butter, and arrange 1 cup or even a bit more fruit on top. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees and enjoy!
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STEWED [DRY] CORN
Measure and put whole dry kernels of corn in a cooking pot, cover with water an inch over the corn, and soak overnight. The next day, boil until the corn is softened, and the water is gone. [similar to cooking brown rice] This should take between 40 minutes and an hour. In a separate bowl, mix the seasoning ingredients you choose from the list below. Once the corn is finished boiling, remove from heat, and add the seasoning, and it is ready to serve.
For each cup of dry corn you started with, add-
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cream
2 Tbsp butter
This seasoning recipe will make a fairly sweet and creamy tasting dish. You may want to cut back on the sugar or salt. Also fat from the cream and butter can be reduced by replacing some or all of it with milk.
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INDIAN CORN AND PUMPKIN [DRY]
This simple corn and pumpkin recipe dates back at least to the 1700's, and probably centuries longer. Equal amounts of dried pumpkin and dry corn are pounded together into a powder. Water is added to form a dough to bake as corn bread, or more water is used and it is boiled to be served as a hot cereal or Indian pudding.
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While most all Sauerkraut recipes use salt to preserve the cabbage, while it ferments to form it's own vinegar, this simple recipe from the 1830's just uses vinegar, so it is salt free. I tried this back in the Fall, and it is keeping just fine.
Shred cabbage, and place in a crock. Pour scalding [almost boiling] vinegar so it covers the cabbage. Put the lid on, and it will be ready to eat in about ten days, but will keep for months. It does have a strong vinegar taste, so I rinse it. No refrigeration is required for this at all, Mine is keeping in a corner of our kitchen. I did find similar recipes which make vinegar kraut in canning jars, and keep it in the refrigerator. With that recipe, a half water and half vinegar solution is used. That may work in a cold cellar which stays at refrigerator temperatures.
Grind the corn, and mix all the dry ingredients together. Blend the liquids in a separate bowl, and then stir them into the dry. Pour into a well greased 2 quart baking dish. Cook uncovered in an oven at 350 degrees for an hour. Stir once about half way through the baking time. In a crock pot, stir about once an hour, and it will take about 3 hours on high.
1 cup whole dry corn
2 Tbsp. Sugar or Molasses
1/2 tsp. Salt
1Quart of milk
2 Tbsp. melted butter
BAKED STUFFED SUGAR PUMPKIN
Cut the lid off the Sugar Pumpkin, and save it. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Rub the inside cavity with a mixture of 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp. of dry mustard.
In a frying pan, lightly brown the onion and ground meat, add the dry pepper, rice, and slightly beaten eggs.
Fill the pumpkin with the prepared stuffing, and put the lid back on. Place in a shallow pan with 1/2 cup of water, and bake at 350 degrees for 1&1/2 hours, or until the pumpkin is done. Maintain some water in the pan while it cooks.
1 Sugar Pumpkin [3 or 4 lbs.]
1 Tbsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Dry Mustard
1 diced medium Onion
1 lb. Ground Meat
3 Eggs [mixed together]
1 cup of cooked Rice
3/4 tsp. Pepper
You may substitute a bread poultry stuffing, or ground sausage instead of plain ground meat.
SUN DRIED TOMATOES
Thinly slice tomatoes and arrange in a single layer on cookie sheets. You may need a light coating of olive oil, to prevent sticking to your pan. Bake at 200 degrees overnight, or until dry. Pack into clean jars 1/3 full of olive oil, and top off the oil to cover the fruit. These should keep for a few months. For longer storage, use clean jars and lids which were also just sterilized in boiling water for 20 minutes, or baked in the oven for the last hour with the tomatoes. Preheat the oil in a pan to about the same temperature, and pack and seal them as quickly as possible.
ANTIQUE HAM MAKING
My Great Grandfather grew up on an isolated farm in the Berkshires in the late 1800's. The kind of ham and bacon his father used to make kept with out refrigeration. When I was young, old fashion hams needed to be soaked, and the water discarded before cooking. But they still needed to be frozen in order to keep for weeks. In the mid 1900's, most ham was cured by soaking in a brine in a cold storage room for weeks, and then actually being smoked for days. Modern methods inject a smoke flavored brine into the meat, and then put them in a tight stainless steel cabinet. I am not sure if they are partly cooked with steam under pressure in the cabinet. The modern methods allow less salt to be in the meat, and are probably safer. What I am interested in is long term storage, WITHOUT a freezer, and I have recently found some antique recipes for that.
This recipe is from 1796, and many things have changed since then. Homes were heated only near fireplaces, and not much at all. Large meat animals were butchered only during months cold enough to keep the meat, since there were no refrigerators or freezers.
A paste is made from the the ingredients, and the whole surface of the meat is covered carefully. This needs to be done daily for 6 or 8 weeks, so you can place it inside a container such as a bucket or small barrel, and tumble it every day. It is best stored a bit above freezing during this part of the curing process, but it can be in a root cellar or unheated room which is cold enough. Next it is smoked for three weeks. When it is done, it will be very dry, very salty, and have a thick coating of black crust to keep the meat. Another book says ham prepared like this should keep for at least two years.
1ounce of Saltpeter [ this gives a nice red color, but can be omitted, but the meat will be Grey]
1pint of Canning or Pickling Salt. [this is coarse, and not Iodized table salt]
1pint of Molasses [Black strap molasses would probably be closest to the original]
To cook hams prepared this way, they need to be soaked in water overnight. In the morning, change the water, and boil until noontime. Drain, and bake in a moderate oven all afternoon.
TREATING CORN WITH LYE
I knew grits and many Mexican and Native American corn recipes use whole corn treated to remove the skin on the kernels. The treatment improves our bodies ability to absorb the nutrients from whole corn, and changes the texture as well. You can't make a soft, flexible taco out plain corn meal. Here is a simple recipe from my friend Tom in Iowa.
1 pint of wood ash
3 pints of water
Combine and heat to boiling. Let it sit and cool for 24 hours. The ashes will settle, and the lye water will clear. Boil or simmer whole corn in the lye water for 20 minutes. Turn it off and let it set overnight. Most of the skins will float to the top, the rest will be easy to remove with your fingers. It is very important to rinse the hulless corn several times with fresh water.
As a child, we sometimes made extra oatmeal for breakfast, and put some in a buttered flat cake pan. It was allowed to cool during the day, and cut in strips to fry for supper when we were out of bread or potatoes. We served it like pancakes with syrup. Maybe some leftover ham or smoked shoulder was heated up in the frying pan too. I just received some tips from a reader who has been experimenting with fried cornmeal mush. There are lots of new seasoning ideas in this list-
1- Mix cornmeal in cold water before adding the boiling water. Avoids lumps.
2- Onion powder goes in well with mush.
3- Fry the congealed cooled slices of mush in Ghee (clarified butter).
4- Garlic and cheese make wonderful additions. Especially diced cheese curds. Drained cottage cheese works too, although it is not as rich in flavor. Parmesan cheese works well too.
5- For a exotic flavor, try adding the yellow Madras curry powder and fresh curry leaves.
6- Add to your mush the same ingredients you would use in hush puppies. Then fry the cooled congealed mush. The food will absorb less grease and be just as tasty.
7- A dash of MSG will give you that savory flavor and allow you to cut back on salt and butter for the same taste.
8- If you make your mush a bit watery, after it congeals and cools down, it will not dry out so much when frying.
9- Green chilies make a nice addition to the mix.
Thanks to B.M. for the tips!