Saturday Night Treats!

Hi Everyone!!

Tonight I’m going to share some traditional New England recipes from some of Boston’s oldest restaurants. New England cooking is pretty basic, real comfort food. And of course, since we’re near the ocean, we eat lots of seafood.

I’ll start out with a couple of recipes from Boston’s oldest restaurant, the Union Oyster House. The building itself dates to sometime in the 1600’s; it became a restaurant in 1826.

The new owners installed the fabled semi-circular Oyster Bar — where the greats of Boston paused for refreshment. It was at the Oyster Bar that Daniel Webster, a constant customer, daily drank his tall tumbler of brandy and water with each half-dozen oysters, seldom having less than six plates.

The toothpick was first used in the United States at the Union Oyster House. Enterprising Charles Forster of Maine first imported the picks from South America. To promote his new business he hired Harvard boys to dine at the Union Oyster House and ask for toothpicks….

The Kennedy Clan has patronized the Union Oyster House for years. J.F.K. loved to feast in privacy in the upstairs dining room. His favorite booth “The Kennedy Booth” has since been dedicated in his memory.

Here are a couple of popular Union Oyster House recipes

Lobster Stew.

1 lb Cooked lobster meat
4 oz Unsalted butter
2 c Half-and-half
Chopped fresh chives

1. Cut lobster meat into 1/2 inch chunks.
2. Melt the butter, and stew the lobster meat in it until the lobster is heated through.
3. Place the mixture in a warmed casserole dish.
4. Heat the half-and-half until piping hot, almost scalded.
5. Pour it over the butter and lobster in the casserole.
6. Garnish with chopped chives and serve at once.

Union Oyster House Gingerbread

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup hot water (160 degrees F)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan, knocking out excess flour.
2. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
3. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together oil and sugar until combined and beat in egg and molasses until combined well. Gradually beat in flour mixture until combined and add water, beating until smooth.
4. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool gingerbread in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of pan and invert gingerbread onto rack to cool completely.
5. Serve gingerbread with whipped cream.

Durgin Park is almost as old as the Union Oyster House. A Boston landmark since 1827, it is located near Faneuil Hall in the old market district. There is a huge shopping area there now, but when I first lived in Boston none of that was built yet. I’m going to share a some really old Yankee recipes from Durgin Park.

Boston Baked Beans

1 lb dried navy beans
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 lb salt pork
1/2 medium onion (peeled and uncut)
4 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Soak beans overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 325°F Place the baking soda in a Dutch oven and fill half way with water.
2. Bring to a boil, add the beans & boil for 10 minutes. Drain beans in a colander and run cold water through them. Set aside.
3. Dice the salt pork into 1-inch squares. Put half of the salt pork on the bottom of the bean pot, along with the onion. Put beans in the pot. Put the remaining salt pork on top of the beans.
4. Mix the sugar, molasses, mustard, salt and pepper with 3 cups of hot water and pour over the beans.
5. Cover pot with lid and place the pot into the preheated oven. Bake for 6 hours. Check pot periodically to make sure the amount of liquid is okay. Add water to the beans slowly as needed to keep them moist; DO NOT FLOOD THEM. Just “top them up.”

Indian Pudding

3 cups milk
1/4 cup black molasses
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
Vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Mix together 1-1/2 cups of the milk with the molasses, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, egg, and cornmeal. Pour the mixture into a stone crock that has been well greased and bake until it boils.
3. Heat the remaining 1-1/2 cups of milk and stir it in.
4. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake 5-7 hours.
5. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Legal Seafoods was orginally a just a fish market. The restaurant started up in 1950. It has lots of locations nowadays, but at first it was just a little restaurant in Inman Square Cambridge. Seating was communal, with everyone sitting at long wooden tables. There was sawdust on the floor to soak up spills. Here are a couple of my old Legal favorites.

Legal Seafood Clam Chowder

4 quarts littleneck clams (about
1 2/3 cups cooked and chopped)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup water
2 ounces salt pork, finely chopped
2 cups chopped onions
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, and diced
into 1/2-inch cubes
4 1/2 cups clam broth
3 cups fish stock
2 cups light cream
Oyster crackers

Clean the clams and place them in a large pot along with the garlic and water. Steam the clams just until opened, about 6 to 10 minutes, depending
upon their size. Drain and shell the clams, reserving the broth. Mince the clam flesh, and set aside.

Filter the clam broth either through coffee filters or cheesecloth and set aside.

In a large, heavy pot slowly render the salt pork. Remove the cracklings and set them aside. Slowly cook the onions in the fat for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until cooked through but not browned. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the reserved clam broth and fish stock, and whisk to remove any flour lumps. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the potatoes, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the reserved clams, salt-pork cracklings and light cream. Heat the chowder until it is the temperature you prefer. Serve in large soup bowls with oyster crackers on the side.

Baked Scrod

3/4 cup oyster crackers
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 tsp fine-chopped onions
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme or Herbes de Provence

4 x (7 to 8 oz.) scrod fillets, each about 1 inch thick
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
2 tsp fresh-grated parmesan cheese

crumb mixture: In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process crackers.
You want a crumb somewhere between medium coarse and medium fine; set aside.
In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.
Saute onions about 2 minutes, or until translucent.
Do not brown. Add remaining butter, and when melted remove from heat and stir in reserved crumbs, parsley and thyme or Herbes de Provence.
Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.
(Crumbs will need some stirring before use as butter will have solidified mixture a bit.)

Scrod: Preheat oven to 425 F.
Lightly oil a baking dish just large enough to hold fillets in a single layer and place fillets in it.
Stir mayonnaise and parmesan cheese together well.
Spread 1/4 of mayonnaise mixture evenly over top of each fillet.
Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons crumb mixture over each and press tops lightly so crumbs adhere to mayonnaise.
Bake in center of oven 12 to 14 minutes, or until fillets are just cooked through and topping is golden brown.

Legal used to sell a T-shirt that said “I got scrod at Legal Seafoods.”

Finally, here is a variation on bread pudding that is very popular in New England.

Grape Nuts Pudding

1 quart milk, scalded
1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
4 large eggs
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (approx.)
Whole nutmeg
Water

Heat oven to 350°. In a medium-size bowl, pour scalded milk over Grape-Nuts and let sit 5 minutes. In a second medium-size bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add egg mixture to milk and Grape-Nuts and stir well. Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Generously grate nutmeg over the top. Place the casserole into a deep roasting pan. Place in the oven and pour water into the roasting pan, enough to reach halfway up the side of the casserole. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, until almost set in the center (very slight jiggle).

Grape Nuts are really popular in New England for some reason. People even put them on ice cream.

So that’s my offering of vintage Yankee New England recipes–all great for a chilly fall day. Enjoy! You are invited to share your own recipes in the comments.


98 Comments on “Saturday Night Treats!”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Oh, wow! the pictures alone have me!!!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s contributions!

  3. Delphyne says:

    Oh, yay – food, glorious food!

    I made the Indian Pudding a couple of years ago for Thanksgiving – lots of work, but fun – tasty but it had a weird texture to me. I always like to imagine how people cooked back in those days – and being so new to a new world, how they adapted recipes from the “old country” with new ingredients. And imagine doing that without such modern conveniences as a food processor, a standing mixer and an oven that works. I admire the women who cooked back then – real Iron Chefs!

    • dakinikat says:

      I’ve never heard of Indian Pudding before!!! I’m going to have to try it!!

      • bostonboomer says:

        It’s good. It’s a little bit strange, but since you like grits you might like Indian Pudding too.

    • dakinikat says:

      They have a lot of pioneer type days down here at the old historic plantation homes and one of the things they do is to make cane syrup, cook, and do things like they used to do. I’ve watched them cook with those big pots and ovens. You’d have to have really strong arms to handle those things on their hooks!!! They’re huge!!

    • Boo Radly says:

      – Oh, yay – food, glorious food! –

      This entire post and thread is a keeper. I live to eat! It’s gotta be real butter, cream and animal fats. Love the rich seafood – the grainy recipes. Ceasar salad…sigh. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Delphyne says:

    Oh, we can contribute to this? I have a Thanksgiving favorite of mine – I don’t eat sweet potatoes unless they’re baked in a pie, but like the orange color for the traditional meal.

    Take equal parts of carrots (not those baby things, but the “real” carrots) and parsnips. Boil in salted water until tender then mash with butter, cream and a bit of nutmeg. Serve in a contrasting color bowl and enjoy! It’s pretty rich and decadent, but that’s the nature of Thanksgiving dinner, imo!

  5. Delphyne says:

    That same Thanksgiving, I made a pumpkin bread pudding – I’ll see if I can find the recipe and post it.

    The parsnip carrot puree is delicious – some people add one small rutabaga to the recipe, but I don’t like the taste of that root vegetable and omitted it.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Okay, this is my gumbo recipe. I use frozen okra because it works just as good and the real stuff takes hours to boil to get the goo out of it. Most folks fail because they don’t do the okra right, so cheat and use frozen okra. The recipe comes from a friend from the BIG Mamou.

    Seafood Gumbo

    3 lbs. shrimp
    1 1/2 pints of oysters
    1 bell pepper chopped
    About six tomatoes chopped and a can of tomato paste
    2 large onions chopped
    1/1/2 cups flour
    1 cup of shortening
    2 quarts more or less of water
    1/2 cup green onions chopped
    1/4 cup parsley chopped
    3 ribs celery chopped
    3 pods garlic, minced
    2 boxes of 10 oz frozen okra
    If you can find them, about 6 gumbo crabs, if not you can use a can of crab meat
    salt, pepper and of course, hot sauce to taste

    cooked rice … This soup recipe feeds about 10 people so you probably want to make a cup of rice per person

    The roux can be a little tricky, but you want to make sure the flour and shortening turn gold then brown a little. No lumps and no burning so this takes some finesse!

    you gotta take a real hot black iron skillet and melt the shortening, remove it from the heat a bit to stir in the flour, then brown it back on the heat and let it thicken. You gotta slowly stir that flour in and you gotta slowly add the water to it … if you remove it from the heat you’ll have better control at first. once the flours got no chance of getting any lumps you can put it back on the flame, but keep it low. Then you add in the tomatoes with the juice and the paste. Let that settle in on a low flame for about five minutes until you know it’s nice and smooth. Then you’re going to add your trinity (celery, green pepper and yellow or white onion) plus the okra and the garlic. That takes about another 10 minutes to cook it. Keep it over a medium heat, don’t let it boil too hard. Then you add the parsley, the green onions, and the seafood. Put a top on it and let it cook about 30 minutes. Don’t let it get too thick. Add more water if you need it. Serve it up in a bowl. You’ll need to put a measuring cup full of rice in the middle like a mountain. Let every one do their thing with the hot sauce and salt and pepper. If you want to, you can use the same recipe and but instead of seafood, you can put in sausage and chicken or some other meat. When it’s done community style, the hunters will bring all kinds of things to put in it.

    If you want to add your file … be sure to do that right after you take it off the heat. I let folks add it. Usually a teaspoon per soup bowl is about right.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Sounds wonderful! I might ask my mom to try making it with me.

      • dakinikat says:

        It’s a really hearty soup. I like using a little bacon fat instead of straight up shortening or a little lard. You can also mix it with a little butter in it to make the roux.

    • grayslady says:

      Does the size of the shrimp matter? Can they be pre-cooked? Is that a small (6-oz) can of tomato paste? Sounds awesome.

      • dakinikat says:

        yup, a small can is all you need and the size of the shrimp doesn’t really matter. You can pre cook them but just don’t add them until the last minute. Same if you have to use canned crab meat. We have gumbo crabs in the grocery stores down here and you just drop them in the pot whole and let people crack them like you do with a new England seafood boil.

  7. grayslady says:

    BB, those are wonderful recipes–classic New England. Thanks for all the work.

    I’m going to offer something much simpler–my two favorite microwave recipes. Normally, I use the microwave for melting butter, warming beverages, pre-cooking fresh squash or baked potatoes, but I’ve found two recipes that turn out better in the microwave than with any other method of preparation: white rice and corn on the cob. Caveat: I have a 1000 watt microwave with a rotating turntable, and I live approximately 780′ above sea level. You may need to adjust your cooking times to compensate for differences.

    1) Perfect White Rice (works for long grain, basmati or jasmine)

    Into a microwave-safe 2-qt. covered casserole dish add 1 cup rice and 1 2/3 cup water. (Optional: add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 pat butter) Microwave on full power for 5 minutes then on power level 4 for 13-14 minutes. Remove cover, fluff rice and serve. Foolproof rice every single time.

    2) Corn on the Cob (serves 2–one ear each)

    Into a microwave-safe 2-qt covered casserole dish add 1/4 cup water and 2 ears of corn (peeled, shucked and broken in half). Microwave on full power for 6 minutes and serve immediately.

    • dakinikat says:

      You know the sea level really does make a difference. It took me awhile to figure out how to make rice down here.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’ve done the corn on the cob in the microwave, and it turned out great. Of course you can’t beat Indiana corn. But the very best thing in the world is Indiana tomatoes.

      • jerztomato says:

        I beg to differ on those tomatoes 🙂

        • bostonboomer says:

          LOL! Have you tried a real home grown Indiana tomato? I’ve had both and Indiana tomatoes are better IMNSHO.

          • dakinikat says:

            Creole tomatoes would give any tomato a run for their money. Something in the soil down here makes the fruit and vegetables so sweet! Vidalia onions, satsuma oranges, watermelon and strawberries from around here are the sweetest things I’ve ever tasted. I come from farm country (Iowa/Nebraska) so fresh produce is something I’ve always had access to luckily. Maybe it’s the soil ph or that flooding Mississippi, but stuff down here is sweeter than anything!

  8. Dario says:

    Great recipes. Thanks.

  9. Delphyne says:

    That seafood gumbo sounds terrific, Kat! – and I also like the way you put the recipe into words!

    Right now, I can’t find the pumpkin bread pudding recipe, but the one from Whole Foods (I know, I know) sounds pretty good. I love cardamom – my original recipe had raisins soaked in warmed bourbon and I think the addition of cardamom would be terrific.

    Grayslady – I’ve had the corn in the microwave and it was really good.

  10. grayslady says:

    Legal used to sell a T-shirt that said “I got scrod at Legal Seafoods.”

    I’ve always been suspicious of any fish called “scrod”. It sounds like the pluperfect of “screwed” to me. However, Wikipedia assures me that scrod is a junior-sized cod.

    • Seriously says:

      Supposedly, the Parker House hotel restaurant in Boston invented the term scrod to refer to whatever whitefish was fresh caught that day, it could be halibut, haddock, or cod. These days it’s usually cod because it tends to be cheaper, but sometimes it’s spelled schrod (h for haddock) instead, to signify. In practice though, the two spellings tend to be used interchangeably these days so our haddock fans are always asking. 🙂

      • Pips says:

        Lol! Reminds me of whenever I’ve been served an “unidentified fish” course in Israel – maybe they just don’t know the English word – it’s always called “Queen of the Nile”. 😀

      • bostonboomer says:

        I didn’t know that, Seriously. But halibut and haddock are both wonderful. Actually, I think I’d recognize the taste of halibut. I wouldn’t confuse it with cod.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, it is just very young cod–not a separate kind of fish.

  11. Seriously says:

    This is from New England. I don’t really like brownies too much, but these are really good.

    Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies

    Ingredients:
    2 oz Unsweetened chocolate
    1/4lb Unsalted butter
    1 c Sugar
    2 Eggs
    1/2ts Vanilla extract
    1/4c All-purpose flour
    1/4ts Salt
    1 c Coarsely chopped walnuts
    $3.93
    est. savings
    Find sale ingredients at Sprouts in Austin!
    Directions:
    Preheat the oven to 325 F.
    Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
    In a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate with the butter over low heat, stirring until completely melted.
    Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.
    Add the eggs and vanilla and “beat it all like mad”.
    Stir in the flour, salt and walnuts and mix well.
    Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
    “Take it out; let it cool; cut into squares

    • Seriously says:

      Sorry, I copied that off a website and some weird extraneous stuff made its way in there. 🙂

      • bostonboomer says:

        I fixed it for you!

        • Seriously says:

          Thanks! Ooh, what about JFK’s fave, the Locke Ober lobster stew?

          http://lockeoberblog.com/2009/12/30/our-recipe-for-jfks-lobster-stew/

          I keep seeing people in Yale gear so there must be a Harvard Yale game on, back in the day when they were a private club I think Locke Ober used to have some portrait
          they drape in black when Harvard loses to Yale. Lol

          • dakinikat says:

            Oh, I am getting hungry!!!

          • bostonboomer says:

            That’s a lot richer than the recipe I posted. Two cups of heavy cream! Two sticks of butter!!

            6 1-lb. live Maine Lobsters, rinsed

            Salt

            2 sticks butter, softened

            1 ½ cups medium-dry or cream sherry

            6 cups milk

            2 cups heavy cream

            Pinch cayenne

            1-2 pinches paprika

            Freshly ground black pepper

            ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice

            Leaves from 2 sprigs of parsley, cut into thin strips

            Boil a large pot of salted water. Place the lobsters into the boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lobsters from the boiling water and quickly transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice water to cool. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the tail and claw meat, and coarsely chop. Hold on to the shells. Tightly cover the meat and refrigerate.

            In a large Dutch oven, melt a stick of butter over medium-high heat. Add the shells and cook, stirring, until they turn bright red (usually in 2 to 3 minutes). Add 1 cup of the Sherry and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (usually about 3 minutes). Add the milk, cream, paprika, salt, and pepper, and return to a boil. Once the mixture has reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until it is slightly thickened (usually15 to 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and let it cool. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight for the flavors to fully develop.

            Remove the milk and shell mixture from the refrigerator and strain it into a container through a fine mesh strainer, setting aside the portion caught in the strainer. In a large, pot, melt the remaining stick of butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped lobster meat and cook, stirring, until the meat is lightly colored (usually 2 to 3 minutes). Add the remaining 1/2 cup of Sherry and turn the heat up to high. Cook while stirring, to deglaze the pan, until the mixture is reduced by half. Add the strained milk mixture and bring to a low boil. Simmer and stir until the stew is heated through.

            Remove the stew from the heat and season to taste. Spoon into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

          • Seriously says:

            They both sound so good, I’ve never had lobster stew. Or oyster stew, another traditional holiday favorite.

    • bostonboomer says:

      How can anyone not like brownies?

      • Seriously says:

        I’ve only ever had the boxed kind until I tried these, it seems like the boxed ones don’t have much taste and the texture is weirdish. Maybe I screw up the directions.

      • Sima says:

        How indeed?

        Partner is making sticky buns tomorrow. I’m already drooling.

      • Seriously says:

        Well, someone just brought me a caramel brownie cupcake from Sweet in Harvard Square (next to Curious George goes to Wordsmith) and I have to say, it was tasty. Very chocolately.

  12. Outis says:

    Oh bostonboomer, thank you so much for these recipes. Clam Chowder is one of my absolute favorites, and I’ve driven hours for a good bowl, but I admit to not making it at home as much. This recipe is a must try right after Thanksgiving.

    And the Indian Pudding, I’ve never heard of that before. I too have been very interested in pioneer recipes as I studied the Mormon immigration into Utah for a project and I learned a whole new respect for those women. I just rendered a huge batch of tallow from the beef we picked up from the farmer and some stock which felt very pioneerish.

    Gingerbread might be on the menu for Christmastime. Warm gingerbread with whipped cream is one of my favorite winter memories.

    Thank you thank you. You are so lucky to have such abundant great seafood. Trust me, if I lived near that oyster bar, I would make that my office!

    And thanks for the gumbo recipe DK, I could eat some of that right now. I have yet to find a great recipe for red beans and rice (hint hint) but I love those big pots of something you can make and eat for a few days.

    • dakinikat says:

      Emeril’s recipe for Red Beans and Rice is pretty authentic … I actually make mine without a recipe but his is pretty much what I use.

      I use hamhocks when I use white beans (like great northerns) and I use andouille sausage when I use red beans.

      If you can get the sausage from cajungrocer.com that’s the first step to red beans … the trick to making them creamy is that after they cook, you gotta strain some of them through a strainer to mash them up a bit then use them as a thickener. The bay leaves are important too. Every one has them growing in their back yard.

      • Outis says:

        Thanks very much! I didn’t know about the secret of mashing them. I will have to try that. And I’ve got to make an order of some andouille and tasso and maybe some boudin very shortly. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find ham hocks around here. I have to wait til I find some in an ethnic market to get them. Frozen okra a lot of times too.

        I’m not truly a bean loving person, but I do love red beans and rice. I recently tried feijoada, a Brazilian bean stew, for the first time and it was very similar, lots of meat and sausages and black beans. It was spectacular. And I agree about the bay leaves, I use them a lot when I cook.

        • dakinikat says:

          I used to work at the FED with a guy from Belize. He told me about straining the beans. It’s a trick from his mom. Most of all of our bean recipes are from the West Indies or Africa so there are similar recipes in parts of the Caribbean.

    • bostonboomer says:

      How about giving us some of those Utah recipes? Sounds interesting!

      • Outis says:

        Hmm, I’ll have to dig some out and see what I can find. That Indian Pudding recipe reminded me of fried corn mush with butter and syrup. Oh my, I haven’t had that in years.

        I read some great books by women in those early days. One of the great traditions of Mormonism (I’m not Mormon at all by the way) was that people were encouraged to keep diaries. So you had women writing about their everyday experiences which is pretty rare. That’s when I learned so much respect for them. These women built farms and ran families while the men were away, or if they were one of multiple wives, their husbands traveled to their other families for half the year. It was a hard life as Utah was basically a desert, but they made something out of it. I even drove out there to see some of the historic places for the play I was writing. That’s also why now I try to have respect for the meat I eat by ensuring the animal is raised humanely and using the whole animal as much as I can. It’s not some hippie Cali thing. And where I discovered that all the recipes called for animal fats such as lard and tallow instead of that new-fangled vegetable oil. Once I changed just that in my recipes, the flavor shot up a million fold (plus once you learn that fat is your friend it makes life grand). Just like your lobster recipe, simple with lots of fat so lots of flavor.

        Also, cooking then was done over wood-burning stoves and so you had a real difference in heat from the front to the back burners. Eggs were always cooked on the back burners, meaning LOW, as the protein is very delicate. So now I treat any egg dish like a delicate custard, low heat, water bath, etc.

        I just keep rambling. I’ve never talked this much on a blog. But cooking is so fascinating, especially when it overlaps with history.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Keep on rambling. Its very interesting.

        • Sima says:

          I’ve always tried to use animals fats in cooking as I can. I could never understand the margarine thing. Substitute something made naturally from an animal product for a petroleum by-product? (not that margarine is made that way anymore) Not me! But I didn’t take to lard until quite recently.

          Lard is used to wrap cheddar cheese to make a traditional cheddar. I got myself some lard to do just that, and now am using it in cooking. I have to wait another couple months to see how the cheese turned out.

  13. Outis says:

    I’ve been trying to think of what to share as you all are such wonderful cooks in whose presence I am humbled, so I thought maybe my famous Caesar Salad dressing. I do it all by eye so I’ll try to put it into recipe form. This can be made in a blender, but for the purists, a mortar and pestle works the best.

    1-2 cloves of garlic (I use 4-5 because we love garlic) put through a press into a mortar
    Smash with 1/2 can of drained anchovies into a paste
    Mix in:
    1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    Boil 2 eggs for 1 minute, whisk into mixture
    Slowly whisk in up to 1/4 c. olive oil until it makes a thick sauce (I use less)
    Then add in 1/2 c of the very finest grated parmesan you can afford (but never canned)
    Toss with romaine and croutons
    Sprinkle with more parmesan and pepper

    This sounds very slipshod, but you can taste and adjust as you go. Beats bottled dressing any day.

    • dakinikat says:

      sounds great!!!! I love it!

    • grayslady says:

      Thanks, Outis. Caesar Salad is my favorite, but I’ve been reluctant to try the homemade recipes for dressing because they all call for raw egg. Your recipe, with the slightly cooked egg seems to solve the risks.

      • Outis says:

        As Sima might agree, I don’t worry about salmonella from fresh eggs from a small farm which is where I try to get mine–it’s usually factory farms that create that problem. I’m pretty serious about the quality of my food, so I have to work pretty hard to get it in Hollywood. But yes, these are slightly cooked. It’s pretty easy to make once you get the hang of it and some people have never had freshly made. We used to go to this old school posh restaurant in the Hotel del Coronado where the waiter would make it in a chilled bowl right in front of you. It was the best we’d ever had, so one night my mother asked for the recipe as the waiter was making it and I’ve been in charge of making it ever since.

        • Sima says:

          Amen on the egg sourcing.

          Eggs come with a natural defense against salmonella, the egg shell. However, in these modern egg ‘factories’ the chickens can have salmonella themselves, inside them, and therefore the disease is in the egg as they lay it.

          I’d guess near 100% of backyard or small farm layers are salmonella free. No, no statistics to back it up, just a guess based on the conditions the birds are kept in and so on.

          My partner and I get eggs in trade for goat milk. I swear my friend’s chickens live in a house that’s cleaner than mine!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I love anchovies!

  14. grayslady says:

    As a follow-up to last week’s cajun recipes, I found this web site in my recipe file that has some of the complete cajun classic recipes: http://www.gumbopages.com/recipe-page.html#table.

    This site also has the Bon Ton Cafe recipe for Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, although I think it may be slightly different than the recipe I was given.

    • dakinikat says:

      kewl!!! I think it’s important to share heritage recipes. It’s an important part of US culture and I’m so fed up with box store restaurants.

    • Outis says:

      Yes, that guy is very funny. I’ve tried making sausage (the aforementioned boudin and andouille) with his recipes when I was very enthusiastic and thought I could become a master at home curing, but mine didn’t turn out right. So now I order. I also was going to try to make my own prosciutto, but alas, no cellar. I would love to learn to make cheese though. I’d love to learn how to can as well. I swear, I’m the only homesteader in my zip code.

      But mmmm, bread pudding. I avoid wheat as much as possible due to allergies, but bread pudding does me in every time.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s a recipe for Indiana-style corn chowder.

    4 slices bacon
    1/2 c. onion, chopped
    1/2 c. celery, chopped
    1/2 c. carrots, chopped
    1 c. water
    1 tsp. chicken fat
    2 c. kernel corn
    1 (10 oz.) pkg. lima beans
    1/2 tsp. soy sauce
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1/4 tsp. paprika
    1/4 c. all-purpose flour
    1/3 c. water
    3 c. milk

    In large saucepan, over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp, drain. Crumble and set aside. Add onion, celery and carrots to saucepan. Cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes. Add next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes until corn is tender. Combine flour and water. Stir in saucepan. Stir in milk. Cook and stir till thickened and hot.

    • grayslady says:

      I like the idea of the chicken fat–adds character. Corn chowder has always been one of my favorites so I’ll try this after the holiday.

    • Seriously says:

      I’m going to have to try that. Corn chowder is my sister’s favorite, but I make it for her using this awful recipe with canned soup. It’s cheap and she likes it, but that sounds sooo much better.

    • Outis says:

      I do make a version of this. Never thought to put soy sauce in it. Got to try this one. But I have to say, the lima beans are out 😉

  16. Outis says:

    I’ve got to go for a while and you’ll probably all be asleep by the time I come back. Just wanted to say thank you all for the wonderful recipes and discussion. It’s been great!

  17. NW Luna says:

    We had Grape-Nuts a lot growing up; I still like that cereal because it’s not sugary. My mom was from Massachusetts, so it was interesting to hear BB say that they’re popular in New England. On ice cream? Of course!

    And I was just thinking about making something bread-pudding-ish today….

  18. Sophie says:

    Wow! Lots of great recipes here. Very sorry to have missed New England recipe night–I’ll share the Yankee pot roast at the next one.

  19. catarina says:

    Boomer, you’re killing me. Lobster stew…chowda..

    I’m taking my husband out to Legal Seafood for lunch-he owes you big time 🙂

  20. Delphyne says:

    I turned the TV on at 4pm to watch, what I thought was a Mexican cooking program by Rick Bayless. Instead, PBS is showing Fannie’s Last Meal – and it is just wonderful! It’s about Fannie Farmer and her life in Boston in the 1800s – the history of food from that area and Victorian cooking/dining is absolutely fascinating. They had 12 course meals back then and you really don’t want to know what went into “mock” turtle soup.

    Chris Kimball and his team have done a great job with this period of food history – highly recommended!

    • dakinikat says:

      Interesting!!! I’ll have to watch that. I watched a PBS special about the British woman that was the first one to put out a household’s tip book and worked on standardizing and printing up a cookbook. That was fascinating!!

  21. Delphyne says:

    Definitely watch that PBS program – it is not only interesting, but a real look into what Victorian America looked like – and cooked like. Those women, truly, were like Iron Chefs. I don’t think any of the current Iron Chefs could do what they did with a 12 course menu – on equipment that is nothing like it is today. Wood burning stoves with different temps for different courses? They really cooked with their senses – all of them along with comment sense and intuitive sense.

    And isn’t it wonderful that we can talk about food without malice, bullying, condescension, or any of the other things that politics brings – of course, that might be different with a vegan.

    Terrific post – can’t wait until next week. And maybe the cookbooks – SkyDancers cook on Planet Earth? Or what put the yum into Yabyum? Ok – that last one should be deleted.

  22. Delphyne says:

    Hehehe – thanks, Kat!

  23. soupcity says:

    Great recipes in here, thanks! Been looking for something different to put on table on Thanksgiving this year.

    Something simple, tasty and pretty bad for you (but so what, it’s the holidays) Courtesy of Miss Paula Deen: Corn bread casserole… I always add xtra cheddar or motz cheese in batter and on top and 1/2 stick butter instead of whole. I can’t block quote but here’s link:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/corn-casserole-recipe/index.html

  24. Moko Jono says:

    0M&!!! this is the best food fan porn evah!