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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Passover & Days of Unleavened Bread

Raspal's painting of a Provençal wearing a Huguenot cross
'Portrait de Jeune Fille en Costume d'Arles' by Antoine Raspal, 1779

Although the official position of the Roman Church in New France did not allow non-Catholics to remain within its territories, the British colonies did allow dissenters. Adherents of the French Protestant Church, commonly known as Huguenots, established colonies at New Rochelle and New Paltz in the Hudson Valley, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Charleston, South Carolina.

A weeklong Passover celebration, similar to the first century Church's Festival of Unleavened Bread, was kept by the Charleston congregation of the French Protestant Church in addition to Easter, as evidenced by its Liturgy, written down in 1713 and republished in 1737 and 1772. Several other Christian denominations have continued the Reformation journey by keeping Passover and the commemoration of the Ascension in the Wave Sheaf Offering, while dropping the observance of Easter.

The practices of the French Reformed Church in France are not available here in the colonies for study, but in the paintings of Raspal from the region of Arles in Provence, the prominent display of the Huguenot cross by his models suggests that the French Reformed Church was still alive and dynamic in the 18thC within Provence. Some French officers' journals state that the habitantes' costumes of New France reminded them of Provençals--this should have been doubly true of French Huguenots in the British colonies, suggesting that there should have been a similarity of religious practice. Now stretching the inference, it might be said that the French Reformed Church had a similar liturgy in Provence as in Charleston. Although the evidence of this is lacking, it can be clearly stated that the French Reformed Church in Charleston, SC, kept the Passover as a week-long festival and kept an eight-day festival observance in the seventh month (be sure and click the arrow for the next page to see the continuation), an observance similar to Succoth (or Feast of Tabernacles as kept by modern Christian fellowships that also keep the Passover).

Because the French Reformed Church in 18thC South Carolina kept a Passover festival, recipes intended for Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread have a place in French Huguenot cuisine.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Oranges Glazed with Caramel

Oranges de Portugal au caramel

Remove the peel from oranges and reserve for another use. Scrape away white pith and section oranges.

Make a caramel with 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vinegar (I used balsamic--not sure if available to a habitante, but I couldn't resist and I was thinking of Pascale's caramel with Strawberries) and 1/2 cup water, boiling for about five minutes in a covered pan until just beginning to color. Dip orange segments individually and insert a small skewer in the end. Serve with chocolate or strong coffee.

Oranges de Portugal au caramel from Le Dictionnaire de cuisine (1767), 2:101.

Foodgoat chose oranges for this month's Is My Blog Burning.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Molasses Toffee

Molasses Chocolate Toffee
Molasses and chocolate toffee cooling before cutting

Today is Sugar High Friday and Derrick chose Molasses.

Here is a recipe for the most delicious, chewy candy you'll ever eat. Stir together 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon molasses, and 1 stick butter (4 oz) over a medium flame until a small amount dropped into cold water forms a hard, chewy ball. Pour immediately onto a buttered marble slab and allow to cool. Cut into pieces and if you can restrain yourself from not eating them all in one fell swoop, wrap them in waxed paper and store in an airtight tin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

petits pois & agneau

petits pois & agneau
cliquez sur la photo pour des restes comme ragoût d'agneau

"La nourriture dont les classes meilleures des Français ont mangée était comme suit : pour le dîner, le potage clair avec des morceaux de pain de blé et les divers goûts ; puis un plat de viande cuite, parfois frit après avoir été fait cuire. . . Souvent les pois composés troisième par cours." Voyages de Peter Kalm en Amérique du nord, la version anglaise de 1770. Douvres, New York, 1987, p. 383.

J'ai combiné ces deux cours d'agneau cuit avec des légumes pour ce mois blog appétit.

Prenez les règlages et les cubes d'agneau et de brun en un peu d'huile et de beurre d'olive. Quand tous les morceaux sont bruns, enlevez sur le marmite et le sauté plusieurs clous de girofle d'ail écrasé et de marjolaine écrasée part en huile. Deglaze la casserole avec une tasse de la Madère et fermentent pendant une minute pour mélanger les saveurs, puis versent partout l'agneau, ajoutent l'eau à la couverture juste et ont placé pour fermenter en charbons lents.

Au sujet d'une demi-heure avant que l'agneau soit fini, écossez les pois, épluchez et coupez dedans les eighths quelques navets et pommes de terre et coupez en tranches quelques carottes. Placez dans un poêle, couvrez avec de l'eau et fermentez jusqu'à ce qu'offre. Vidangez et ajoutez à l'agneau dans le marmite aux saveurs de mélange pendant environ 5 minutes ; sel et poivre à goûter. Vous pouvez servir des légumes séparément ou remuer ensemble comme en ragoût. Bon de goût très réchauffé. Servez un pain semé de seigle et beurre avec l'agneau et un fruit au goût âpre dans la saison pour le dessert.

Vin : Le Bordeaux 1982 de Calon-Segur Saint Estèphe de chateau - robuste et à vie longue, retenu, mais la société, un manque de jamminess avec une finition au goût âpre - juste juste avec de la sauce à agneau et à ail.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"The food which the better classes of Frenchmen ate was as follows: for dinner, clear soup with pieces of wheat bread and various relishes; then a dish of cooked meat, sometimes fried after being cooked. . . . Often the third course consisted of green peas." Peter Kalm's Travels in North America, the English Version of 1770. Dover, New York, 1987, p. 383.

I have combined these two courses in stewed lamb with vegetables for this month's blog appétit.

Take trimmings and cubes of lamb and brown in a bit of olive oil and butter. When all pieces are brown, remove to marmite and sauté several cloves of crushed garlic and crushed marjoram leaves in oil. Deglaze the pan with a cup of madeira and simmer for a minute to blend the flavors, then pour all over lamb, add water to just cover and set to simmer in slow coals.

About half an hour before lamb is finished, shell peas, pare and cut in eighths some turnips and potatoes and slice some carrots. Place in a poêle, cover with water and simmer until tender. Drain and add to lamb in marmite to blend flavors for about 5 minutes; salt and pepper to taste. You can serve vegetables separately or stir together as in stew. Tastes very good reheated. Serve a seeded rye bread and butter with the lamb and a fruit tart in season for dessert.

Wine: Chateau Calon-Segur Saint Estèphe Bordeaux 1982 - Robust and long lived, restrained, but firm, a lack of jamminess with a tart finish - just right with the lamb and garlic sauce.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Metroactive Dining Online Magazine



Just in: a press clipping regarding an interview on verjus occurred in Metroactive Dining online magazine from the Bay Area of California. Click here for a recipe for verjus.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Menues espices

Menues espices and dried, powdered salt

Prenes z iiij de Gingembre z iiii de canelle z ii de poyure rond z i poyure long ij de noix de muscade z i de cloux Giroffle z i de Graine de paradis z i de muscade z i Garingal et i le tout mis en pouldre et passes par lesset.

Livre fort excellent de cuysine (1555), 27vº.

A Spice Mixture

7 tablespoons powdered ginger
1/4 cup ground pepper
7 1/4 teaspoons grated nutmeg
5 teaspoons ground cardamom (if grains of paradise unavailable)
5 3/4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons long pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 tablespoons powdered galingale (laos)

Sift all the ingredients together and store in a cool place in a tightly covered container.

Faites secher du sel, puis vous le mettrez en poudre, et vous en mettrez autant pesant qu'il y aura d'épisse, gardez-la dans un lieu qui ne soit pas humide.

Le Pâtissier françois
(1652)

Salted Spice

Dry some salt, beat it to a powder, and add an equal quantity by weight to the spice mixture. Store in a dry place.

Uses for theses mixtures:

I do not use pork or pork fat when I make pâté and pyes so I was looking for a spice mixture that would unite the others meats I use into that well-remembered taste and smell of charcuterie. This mixture, even though very old, produces an incredible taste, and some of the ingredients will later be known as French "four spice" or Quatre-épice. You will be able to find long pepper and grains of paradise and galingale in out of the way spice shops or online. Do give this a try, especially if you're looking to have an indefinable "taste" in a contest or new recipe. The salted spice works very well in stews. Bon appétit!


Wheaton, Barbara. Savoring the Past: The French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789, p 247 & 253.


Check out New Orleans Cuisine's Creole Seasoning for a modern American French taste.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Faïence Brune

A curious peddler, by the name of ebay, came by the other day with some beautiful plates for sale at an outrageous price. I had several plates that had been broken and patched with lead rivets, and I had my heart set on getting a few more to place on the shelves of my vaisselier (dresser or hutch) to use for guests.

Faience Brune: Rouen Polychrome
Photo from ebay peddler

The plates were the familiar Faïence brune, a Rouen blue-on-white front with a brown glazed back that I'd brought with me from home, but I couldn't bring myself to pay the exorbitant price he was asking.

Faience shard from Alabama Sample 088 FBR Rouen Polychrome 1MB32 http://www.usouthal.edu/archaeology/study/rouen_polychrome.htm
Photo from Mobile Archaeology

Some of my cousins down in Mobile threw their plates out when the pieces couldn't be mended anymore. If the peddlers cannot supply us with more reasonably priced wares, we'll have to resort to using Native ceramics or woodware, or hope the next ship's hold has some barrels of dishes among the sugar and rum.

Archaeological information:
Historical Ceramics
Mobile Pottery Shards

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Carrot Marmelade

Carrot Marmelade Simmering in the fireplace.
copper preserving pan with marmelade

A parishioner's knock at the door brought a small basketful of scraggly carrots, some of the last from her cellar. After thanking her for her contribution, I set them on the table, wondering what to do with them, as several other baskets had arrived in a similar manner recently. I now had plenty for soups and stews and an occasional pie. Aha! I had an orange and a lemon--I would make marmelade.

I scrubbed and peeled the carrots, removing any core, and then finely grated them into my large copper preserving pan. I sliced the orange and lemon into very fine slices and then cut the slices into eighths, adding them and their juice to the carrots, along with some sugar. A quick stir to help in dissolving the sugar and then I set the pan on the trivet in the fireplace, adding coals underneath to start the pan simmering. After the carrots began to soften, I checked the set of my preserves by dropping a bit of the syrup onto a cold plate. When I counted to 25, I tilted the plate and since the syrup stayed where it was and didn't run, I took the pan off the heat and immediately ladled the marmelade into pots, set them to cool, then sealed them with circles of white paper dipped in brandy. A square of cloth tied over the rim of the pot and into the jam cupboard they went, ready to use for breakfast, dessert or to cheer someone on my next visiting round.
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