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Archive for February, 2014

In addition to the Cheese Puddings mentioned in the previous
post, the menu for the hearth cooking class held on February 8
at The Israel Crane House also included Stewed Chickens and
Mashed Turnips. The plan was then to close our meal with some
refreshing sweetmeats known as Lemon Bomboons. I say “plan”
because…well, let me explain.

First, I made a batch of Nut Bomboons (aka chocolate) at home.
I did so for several reasons, including re-acquainting myself
with the receipt, its contents and its processes, and to show

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what they should look like when finished (albeit in a different
color). And by making the chocolate variety, and not the lemon,
we’d then have two different flavors. Of course, they were a hit,
and soon disappeared!

For both sets of Bomboons, receipts from Mr. Borella’s cookbook,
The Court and Country Confectioner (1772) were used. Here’s
the one for the Lemon (the chocolate is at the end):

Lemon or Orange Bomboons.
Take a piece of loaf sugar, rasp
the oranges or lemons with it,
what of them sticks to the sugar
you brush off upon a paper; then
you pound in a mortar that same
piece of sugar, and put it in a pan
with that which is upon the paper,
and which tastes of the lemon or
orange; you set it upon a gentle
fire, in melting it slowly; after
which you pour it upon a tin
plate, which you must before
have rubbed with a little butter,
or it will stick to the plate; then
you spread it with the rolling-pin
as you did for the nuts;* (observe
the rolling-pin must likewise be
rubbed with butter, for fear it
should stick) when all that is
done, and it is perfectly cold,
then you cut it in what shapes
you please and send it up.

Although nearly everyone helped along the way, particularly
with rasping (grating) the lemons on chunks of the sugar loaf,
one intrepid class member dove right in and took charge of
making our Bomboons:

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A most lovely pile of lemon raspings:

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The sugary-lemony-concoction ready to be set over the fire:

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Now, remember I said previously that the “plan” was to make
these? Well, we ended up NOT! The mixture just wouldn’t set
up properly. We got nothing but lemon soup. Even though it
was cooked and stirred, stirred and cooked, the end result
was…zilch, nada, nothing. For whatever reason, it didn’t
work. Sadly, there were no Bomboons for us. dagnabit

So, I took the vat of juice home, put it in a saucepan on top
of my mo-dern stove, and tried again. I re-heated it to just
below the boiling stage, and cooked it, stirring constantly,
for quite some time (unfortunately, no, I didn’t check my
start and stop times). I also added more sugar, probably
about half to three quarters of a cup or so. Then, it began
to thicken, slowly but surely, and eventually, with even more
stirring, it FINALLY reached the correct stage. I poured it out,
let it set up, and HUZZAH! I had a most-awesome, glorious
batch of refreshingly-sweet Lemon Bomboons!

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Most definitely, I’ll have to try these again at the hearth. If
for no other reason than the fact that I’ll be able to use my
new favorite word, “Bomboons,” again!

Here’s the receipt for the Nut (or Spanish nuts or cacao
beans aka chocolate) Bomboons, also from The Court and
Country Confectioner
(1772), by Mr. no-first-name Borella.
Oh, and not having any cacao beans, I used a bar of 100%
cacao (however, I have done the entire chocolate making
process, from roasting the cacao beans to shelling them
to grinding them into a smooth liquid)
:

Nut Bomboons.
Take a pound of Spanish nuts [cacao],
and boil them in an iron pan; when
they are well boiled rub off their
skin with a napkin, if some stick
too hard, pare it off with a knife;
take a tin grater and grate your
nuts very fine on a sheet of paper;
then you take a pound of powdered
sugar, to a pound of nuts, put it
in a pan over a slow fire, when
your sugar is all melted in stirring
it perpetually with a wooden spoon,
pour your nuts in and work them
well till all is well mixed, and pour
it upon a tin plate; you have
a wooden rolling-pin to spread
it, which you must be very quick
in doing, for it cools very fast;
and when it is cold you cut it
in what form you please; you
must take care the sugar should
not be too much melted, for it is
very apt to soften when the nuts
are joined to it.

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“A Cheese Pudding” was one of the dishes on the menu
for our recent hearth cooking class at The Israel Crane
House.
In fact, we made two of them. And I must say,
they were mighty tasty! HUZZAH!

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We followed the instructions found in Mrs. Lettice Bryan’s
receipt from her book, The Kentucky Housewife (1839):

A Cheese Pudding.
Cut slices of cold Indian mush
about half an inch thick. Grate
some nice kind of cheese thickly
over them, and lay on each a thin
slice of butter. Put them in a deep
dish, stratifying them till the dish
is full; then incrustate the top
with a little finely grated bread,
and broken bits of butter; bake
it a few minutes in a moderate
oven, and send it warm to table
with white wine and sugar.

Don’t you just love that word, “incrustate”?! I’m going
to have to find ways to use it often. What fun!

But I digress. Back to our puddings!

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Now, as I mentioned, two were made, one (first, above)
with Parmesan cheese and the other (second photo)
with Cheddar. Both cheeses would’ve had to’ve been
imported to this country during the years the Crane
Family lived in the area. Mr. Crane most likely offered
them for sale in his store. At the very least, he would’ve
known how to acquire them.

We used two different types of “cold Indian mush” in our
puddings, as well. The Parmesan contained what I’d made
earlier at home. It was easy and fun, as all I needed to do
was make some Hasty Pudding (yum! me like!) and then
let it set up, or solidify, at which point it became mush:

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Store-bought mush, or polenta, as it’s known in Italy, was
used in the pudding with the Cheddar cheese:

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Interestingly, there’s a receipt for the exact same dish
in Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife (1824). It IS
a tad different, however. First, it’s entitled “To Make
Polenta,” and then it provides details on the entire
process, from the making of the Hasty Pudding to its
formation into mush to the layering with the cheese.

But hey, she doesn’t use the word “incrustate.” LOL

When all was said and done (and eaten!), it was clear
that it’s a most marvelous dish. I mean, really? Cornmeal
and cheese? Together?! Whodathunk it’d be so fantastically,
awesomely good?! HUZZAH!

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Back in November 2013, I was interviewed on the radio when
I was the sole guest on “A Taste of the Past,” a weekly show
on the Heritage Radio Network that’s hosted by fellow CHNY*
member, Linda Pelaccio. At the time, Thanksgiving was just
around the corner, and so we discussed cooking such a meal
(in fact, EVERY meal), at an open hearth.

You can listen to my episode here.

Now, THIS month, The Montclair Times featured me in a nice
little article wherein I was interviewed about open fire cooking,
in general, and my hearth cooking classes** at The Israel Crane
House
, in particular.

Read all about it here.

What fun! HUZZAH!

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_________________________

*CHNY = Culinary Historians of New York
**This article specifically mentions the class that was held February 8.
However, another class will be offered on Sunday, March 2. Space is
limited, so register now! See the “Carolina’s Calendar” page for details.

[This post has been brought to you by the Shameless Self-Promotion Department!]

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