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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

New England

Once You Have a Fish out of the Water . . . .

SALT COD DINNER
Buy a pound piece of salt fish for 3 or 4 servings. Cover fish with cold water and bring to a simmer on lowest burner on stove. If water tastes very salty pour off and start over again. Never boil, just simmer until tender. While cod is cooking, try out bits of salt pork and drain 2 tablespoons fat from pork and add 2 heaping tablespoons flour. Blend well and use to thicken 2 cups hot milk for cream sauce. Serve the cod on your prettiest platter. Cover with cream sauce and sprinkle with  . Surround with new boiled potatoes and you can really taste New England!




PICKLED HERRING
•                1 or 2 herrings (fresh)
•                Onions, sliced or chopped
•                2 teaspoons mixed pickling spices (generous)
•                generous ½ cup sugar
•                Add white vinegar to make 2 cups total of sugar and vinegar.
 
Soak herrings overnight in cold water in cool place. Fillet fish by removing small bones and skin. Rinse and drain. Cut fillets into thin slices. Place in layers with onion and spices. Mix vinegar and sugar and pour over. (This should cover fish pieces.) Remove red peppers from spices.
Fish will be completely pickled in about 2 weeks. Place in refrigerator for storing.

New Englanders Boil their Dinners

NEW ENGLAND BOILED DINNER



If making boiled dinner with corned beef, just use it as is and don't add any more seasoning or salt. If the broth ends up being too salty, you can serve just the meat and vegetables, without the broth, or add water to the broth to dilute it.


•                3 ½ pounds corned beef brisket or plain beef brisket
•                15 peppercorn
•                8 whole cloves
•                1 bay leaf
•                Salt, if using plain brisket
•                2 medium sized turnips, peeled and quartered
•                4 red new potatoes, peeled and quartered
•                3 large carrots, cut into thirds and the thickest pieces quartered lengthwise
•                1 small head cabbage, cut into fourths
 
Put the brisket in Dutch oven and cover with an inch of water. Add peppercorns, cloves, and a bay leaf to the pot. If using plain brisket, add a teaspoon of salt for every quart of water. Bring to a simmer and then cover, lowering the heat until it is barely simmering. Keep at a low simmer for four hours or until the meat is tender (a fork goes through easily).

Remove the meat and set aside, keeping the meat warm. Add the vegetables to the pot. Check the broth for taste. If it is too salty, add a little more water to taste. Cook at a high simmer until done, about 15-30 minutes longer, depending on the size of the cut of your vegetables.

Slice the meat in thin slices. Serve in bowls, a few pieces of meat in each, add some of the vegetables and some broth.

What Was the Greatest Thing BEFORE Sliced Bread?

Welcome to a new week, I hope. I'm finished with Jury Duty, but it wasn't finished with me. Now I'm fighting a stomach bug that I must have picked up in the crowded, dank, teeming, seething halls of justice. I haven't wanted to think about food, lately, but here are a couple of innocuous bread recipes that helped the Yankee armies survive. Maybe they would be good for me, too.



In the Army, flour was always scarce, so bread became a rare treat.  Instead the camp cooks tried one of these New England substitutes.


NEW ENGLAND CORN CAKE
•                1 quart milk
•                1 pint corn meal
•                1 cup wheat flour
•                1 teaspoon salt
•                2 tablespoons melted butter
•                2 eggs, well beaten
•                ½ teaspoon soda, dissolved in spoonful of water
•                ½ cup yeast
 
Scald milk and gradually pour it on the meal. When cool, add butter and salt and yeast. Do this at night. In the morning beat the eggs and mix with soda water. Pour batter into cooking vessel and bake from 20-30 minutes.




BOSTON BROWN BREAD
•                One cup of sweet milk
•                One cup of sour milk
•                One cup of corn meal
•                One cup of flour
•                Teaspoon of soda
•                Molasses one cup
 
Steam for three hours in an old coffee can. (The original recipe called for washing the can first. That's probably a good idea!)

And Fish Weren't the Only Food Found on the Bay

This tough old duck is happy to announce that I have successfully completed my jury duty responsibility for the next ten years.  By the time the trial was over, I felt as if I, too, had been chopped up as if being prepared for fricassee. But like the old duck in the following recipe, a little spice, a little sugar, and a long period of being tended to will improve my mood.



STEWED DUCK

This is a good way to treat an old and tough fowl.

•                1 old duck
•                Minced ham or salt pork
•                1 large onion, chopped
•                Sage
•                Parsley
•                1 tablespoon catsup (type not specified)
•                Black pepper
•                1 teaspoon brown sugar
•                1 tablespoon browned flour
 
Clean and divide, as you would a chicken for fricassee.

Put into a saucepan, with several (minced) slices of cold ham or salt pork which is not too fat, and stew slowly for at least an hour--keeping the lid on all the while.

Stew another half-hour, or until the duck is tender, and add a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a tablespoon of browned flour, previously wet with cold water. Boil up once, and serve in a deep covered dish, with green peas and prunes as an accompaniment.

Oysters Weren't the Only "Fish" in the Sea

Jury Duty, Day 4.

Long days, hard on emotions, sympathies, conscience-searching, consensus-building, and tough decisions. On the first day,  I told my husband that it was probably good for me to crawl out of the comfort-zone of my cozy little writing nook. By today, I long to get back to it.  In the meantime, here's a recipe you might be able to duplicate.



SCALLOPED CLAMS
 
•                Clams, chopped fine
•                Pepper (black, white or red)
•                Salt
•                Cracker crumbs, finely crushed
•                Warm milk
•                Liquid from clams
•                1 or 2 eggs, beaten
•                Butter, melted
 
Chop the clams fine, and season with pepper and salt. Cayenne pepper is thought to give a finer flavor than black or white; but to some palates it is insufferable.

Mix in another dish some powdered cracker, moistened first with warm milk, then with the clam liquor, a beaten egg or two, and some melted butter. Stir in with this the chopped clams.

Wash as many clam-shells as the mixture will fill; wipe and butter them; fill, heaping up and smoothing over with a silver knife or teaspoon.

Range in rows in your baking-pan, and cook until nicely browned. Or, if you do not care to be troubled with the shells, bake in patty-pans, sending to table hot in the tins, as you would the scallop-shells.