Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Vin Brûlé

During this holiday season as the weather outside is cold and drear, I promise you this wonderful beverage will warm you and bring feelings of contentment. Dim the lights, cuddle in that cozy chair by the fire, and sip away. Enjoy!

Il faut prendre une pinte du meilleru Vin de Bourgogne. Les Vins de Champagne ne valent rein pour cela. Mettez ce Vin dans une Chocolatiere, avec demi-livre de sucre, une feüille de Macis, deux clous de girofle, & un petit baton de canella, deux dousaines de grains de coriander, & deux ou trios zests de citron, & deux feüilles de laurier franc: mettez ensuite vôtre chocolatiere devant un bon feu, & du charbon allumé tour autour; & quand vôtre vin fera bien chaud, ce que vous connoîtrez à la vapeur ou fume, vous y mettrez le feu avec du papier allumé, & la laisserz brûler jusqu’a ce qu’il s’éreigne tout seul: ensuite moûillez une serviette blanche, & le passez au travers dans une éguiere. Le server tout chaud.

Page 340, Nouvelle Instruction Pour Les Confitures, Les Liqueurs et Les Fruits de Massialot


• It is necessary to take one pint of the best wine of Burgundy. The Champagne wines are not the best for this.

• Put this wine in a chocolatiere or pipkin [ceramic, non-reactive oven-proof vessel], with a half-pound of sugar, a blade of mace, two cloves, a small stick of cinnamon, two dozen grains of coriander, two or three zests of lemon [I sometimes use orange], & two leaves of French bay-laurel [I find any other laurel to be too strong]:

• then put your chocolatiere in front of a good fire; as it sets in the coals, turn it around until it’s quite hot, which you will know from the steaming vapor;

• you will set the vapors on fire with lit paper, & allow it to burn until it dies out:

• then strain it through a wet, white cloth napkin into a ewer [tin, pewter, silver, vermeil, crystal were all used]. Serve very hot.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Dried Mushroom Gravy



Quand j'avais 7 ans, un voisin est venu courant plus de pour dire que le pré au-dessus de la colline brûlait-un le bûcheron était allé dormir, se reposant contre un arbre, alors que le tabagisme d'une pipe et des braises de la cuvette avait attrapé le pin moche sur le feu. Une pluie de trempage de début de l'été avait fortuitement eteint le feu. Le matin prochain tôt le même voisin est venu courant encore, cette fois avec des nouvelles merveilleuses. La pluie avait fait jaillir des champignons des cendre-acres de morelles maintenant froides tenues poussantes leurs têtes au-dessus de la dévastation tout autour de elles. Mon grand-mère et mère ont rapidement recueilli autant de sacs et paniers car nous pourrions trouver et la famille entière pénible au-dessus de la colline et dans le pré noirci. Nous avons traîné la maison beaucoup de boisseaux de morelles, que nous avons ficelées dans des fils et avons accrochées les des combles. Quand le processus de séchage avait accompli, nous avons eu quatre boisseaux de la rançon du roi sec de morelles-un dans manger fin. Tout l'hiver long, avec chaque morceau de viande-élans, des cerfs communs, volaille sauvage et volaille-nous avons pris la sauce au jus succulente de champignon. Quand je pense de nouveau aux odeurs et le goût et les combles lourds avec la générosité de cette année, je désire pour ce goût merveilleux. Depuis ce jour, en ressort en retard et début de l'été quand les mayapples apparaissent sur le plancher de forêt, j'ose dedans aux bois, poussant par le moule de feuille, espérant ces couronnes de morelle pour apparaître. Mais en toutes années où j'ai recherchées, j'ont seulement trouvé uns. Maintenant, avec chaque type de champignon je parviens à moissonner, I sèche toujours uns dans les tranches sur une corde pour s'ajouter à mon [garde manger] pour me rappeler ce jour glorieux il y a beaucoup d'années.

Dried le champignon Gravy
Une corde de huit pouces des champignons secs (rudement une poignée)
Eau bouillante à couvrir à peine
1 tranche d'un petit clou de girofle d'ail, haché
1 petite échalote, hachée
Graisse ou beurre ou huile d'olive
vin rouge pour les viandes rouges, vin blanc pour les viandes blanches
sel et poivre

Prenez les champignons outre de la corde et les placez dans une petite cuvette. À peine couverture avec l'eau bouillante. Mis de côté pour tremper reconstituez.

Hachez l'ail et l'échalote et le sauté dans votre choix de graisse jusqu'à commencer caramelize. Casserole de Deglze avec du jus de trempage de champignon. Fermentez jusqu'à la moitié en volume. Ajoutez votre choix de vin, au sujet de tasse de ½, et les champignons reconstitués coupés ou coupés en tranches à la casserole. Fermentez doucement jusqu'à ce que les champignons soient faits à votre tendresse désirée ; réduisez probablement le mélange plus loin pour intensifier la saveur. Ajoutez le sel et le poivre au goût. Servez très chaud avec des viandes grillées, rôties ou bouillies. Appréciez.
* * * * *

When I was 7, a neighbor came running over to say the meadow over the hill was burning—a woodcutter had gone to sleep, sitting against a tree, while smoking a pipe and the embers from the bowl had caught the pine duff on fire. A soaking early summer rain had fortuitously put the fire out. Early next morning the same neighbor came running again, this time with wonderful news. The rain had caused mushrooms to spring from the now cold ashes—acres of morels stood poking their heads above the devastation all around them. My grandmother and mother quickly gathered as many sacks and baskets as we could find and the whole family trudged over the hill and into the blackened meadow. We dragged home many bushels of morels, which we strung on threads and hung them from the rafters. When the drying process had completed, we had four bushels of dried morels—a king’s ransom in fine eating. All winter long, with each piece of meat—elk, deer, wild fowl and poultry—we had luscious mushroom gravy. When I think back to the smells and tastes and rafters heavy with the bounty of that year, I hanker for that wonderful taste. Since that day, in late spring and early summer when the mayapples appear on the forest floor, I venture in to the woods, poking through the leaf mould, hoping for those morel crowns to appear. But in all the years I’ve searched, I’ve only found a few. Now, with each type of mushroom I do manage to harvest, I always dry a few in slices on a string [to add to my garde manger] to remind me of that glorious day many years ago.

Dried Mushroom Gravy
An eight inch string of dried mushrooms (roughly a handful)
Boiling water to barely cover
1 slice of one small clove of garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
Graisse or butter or olive oil
red wine for red meats, white wine for white meats
salt and pepper

Take mushrooms off the string and place in a small bowl. Barely cover with boiling water. Set aside to steep reconstitute.

Mince garlic and shallot and sauté in your choice of fat until beginning to caramelize. Deglze pan with mushroom soaking juice. Simmer until half in volume. Add your choice of wine, about ½ cup, and either chopped or sliced reconstituted mushrooms to the pan. Simmer gently until the mushrooms are done to your desired tenderness; possibly reduce the mixture further to intensify the flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot with grilled, roasted or boiled meats. Enjoy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Graisse Normande

Many habitantes here in Nouvelle France came from Normandy. Before butter became one of the flavors associated with Norman cuisine, “graisse normande” was the chief cooking medium. Each farm would have added its own signature vegetables/herbs in its preparation, giving graisse characteristic flavor and imparting the unctiousness associated with goose and duck fat in Southwest France. The Norman Table: the traditional cooking of Normandy, by Claude Guermont, gives a particularly great recipe for graisse, which I will share with you. It will keep, frozen as “ice cubes,” indefinitely; up to four months in the refrigerator. This is one of the secrets in my garde manger.

GRAISSE NORMANDE
8 oz very firm beef fat and 4 oz pork fat (I use a mixture of duck, chicken, and/or goose fat for these fats as I don’t eat pork products)
½ cup coarsely chopped onions
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
1 leek (green part only), cut into ½ inch lengths
1 small bouquet garni (parsley stems, sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf in a cheesecloth bag)
Salt and pepper

• Chop fat into small pieces and place them in a heavy pot. Add 1 cup water.
• Place the pot over a low fire for 2 hours and stir occasionally. The fat will melt and begin to clarify.
• After 2 hours, add the vegetables and the bouquet garni. Stir, then simmer for about 2 hours more, or until the fat is clear and the vegetables have released all their flavor.
• Remove the pot from the fire and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This will allow the particles to settle to the bottom of the pot. Strain the fat mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth once or twice if necessary to remove all the particles.
• Season the graisse with about 1 ½ teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place in a tightly closed jar in a cool place.

Use graisse to season soups; as the fat for frying dry meats, such as venison, or left overs and to flavor farces.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Garde-manger



Behind the doors and hidden in the drawers of my garde-manger (larder, also known as a pie-safe) are many basic necessities of my kitchen. Peer behind the doors and into the drawers and I will share with you some of the secrets of great flavor and incredible variety found in the 18th Century . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Reminder: Cooking the Old-Fashioned Way II

Cooking the Old-Fashioned Way's next edition will be January 29, 2006. Winter has the northern hemisphere firmly in its grip. How might you southern hemisphere dwellers cook to warm us up?
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