"Roundheads and Ramblings"
Food does not play a major role in “Yankee Reconstructed,” but here a a couple of recipes from the period that Sarah and the other women from her church might have prepared for sale in Eddie and Gretchen’s Country Store.
PICKLED BEETS AND EGGS
- 6 medium to large fresh beets, scrubbed and tops cut off
- i large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups cider vinegar (real--not cider flavored)
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
- 3 Tablespoons pickling spice
Put beets in a large saucepan or stockpot and add enough cold water to cover them with 3 inches over the top. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to maintain a slow boil. Cook until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.
Pour water off and let beets cool. Slip skins off once the beets are cool enough to handle. Slice and set aside.
Place the sugar, cider vinegar, water, salt, and spices in a smaller saucpan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour this pickling liquid into a large glass jar (1.5 liter or 1/2 gallon), add the sliced beets, cover with a lid and refrigerate. Let the beets sit at least a week before tasting.
Add shelled hard boiled eggs to the mixture once the beets are ready. Try to use the eggs in 2 to 3 days. If left in the pickling liquid too long, they turn rubbery.
Keep adding more cooked beets (and eggs) as needed. May keep in the refrigerator up to 6 months.
- 4 pounds green bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 pounds red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 pounds green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 pounds sweet onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- One 3 1/4-pound head of green cabbage, cored and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 6 cups sugar
- 4 cups cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
In a very large bowl, toss the bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cabbage with the salt; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Drain the vegetables, discarding the liquid. In a large, heavy pot, bring the sugar, vinegar and water to a boil. Add the mustard seeds, dry mustard, crushed red pepper, celery seeds, ginger and turmeric and stir well. Add the drained vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the relish is thick and saucy, about 1 hour.
Pack the chowchow into 6 hot 1-quart canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top, and close with the lids and rings.To process, simmer the jars at 180 degrees for 30 minutes and monitor the water temperature with a thermometer.
Store the jars in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks before serving, to allow the flavors to meld; store unopened for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening. Serve with any meat or sausage. Particularly good on hot dogs.
Yankee Reconstructed will feature a 76% price reduction starting July 4 and running until 8:00 AM (PDT) on Saturday, July 8. Get your Kindle copy for only $0.99 at:
Here's Jonathan's recipe for peach brandy. It still works!
- 1 qt. jar with lid.
- 20 peach pits and skins
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 cups hot water
- 4 to 6 months of patience
1 Wash peaches, peel and pit them.
2. Go off and bake a nice peach pie. Forget about the brandy!
But if you still crave alcohol:
1. Put pits and skins into your quart jar.
2 Boil the water and sugar into a medium syrup,, Fill quart jar to within one inch of top.
3 Seal quart jar and store in a cool, dry place for about 4-6 months. If you can bury it about a foot down, even better.
And Sarah's recipe for 14-day sweet pickles:
- 4 lbs of 2- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers. They can be whole, in strips, or in slices. (If packed whole, use cucumbers of uniform size)
- 3/4 cup canning or pickling salt (Separated – 1/4 cup on each of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th days)
- 2 tsp celery seed
- 2 tbsp mixed pickling spices
- 5-1/2 cups sugar
- 4 cups vinegar (5 percent)
Yield: About 5 to 9 pints
Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard, but leave 1/4-inch of stem attached. Place whole cucumbers in suitable 1-gallon container. Add 1/4 cup canning or pickling salt to 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers. Add suitable cover and weight. Place clean towel over container and keep the temperature at about 70ºF.
On the third and fifth days, drain salt water and discard. Rinse cucumbers and rescald the cover and weight. Return cucumbers to container. Add 1/4 cup salt to 2 quarts fresh water and boil. Pour over cucumbers. Replace cover and weight, and re-cover with clean towel. On the seventh day, drain salt water and discard. Rinse cucumbers and rescald containers, cover, and weight. Slice or strip cucumbers, if desired, and return to container. Place celery seed and pickling spices in small cheesecloth bag. Combine 2 cups sugar and 4 cups vinegar in a saucepan. Add spice bag, bring to a boil and pour pickling solution over cucumbers. Add cover and weight, and re-cover with clean towel.
On each of the next six days, drain syrup and spice bag and save. Add 1/2 cup sugar each day and bring to a boil in a saucepan. Remove cucumbers and rinse. Scald container, cover, and weight daily. Return cucumbers to container, add boiled syrup, cover, weight, and re-cover with towel.
On the 14th day, drain syrup into saucepan. Fill sterile pint jars, or clean quart jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add 1/2 cup sugar to syrup and bring to boil. Remove spice bag. Pour hot syrup over cucumbers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.
This is the last day to get a free copy of Damned Yankee for your Kindle:
This little volume does not talk much about food, but here's a recipe that does honor to both the Roudheads (many of whom were Huguenots) and the Gideonite missionaries. It also happens to be Charleston's favorite dessert.
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups toasted, chopped pecans, divided
- 1 cup peeled and chopped tart apples (such as Granny Smith apples)
- Prepared whipped cream
* To toast pecans, spread shelled, whole pecans in a shallow pan and toast in a 275 degree F. oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until very frothy and lemon colored. Add sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt; stir until well combined. Fold in 1 cup toasted pecans and the apples.
Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is brown and crusty; remove from oven.
Serve warm or at room temperature. To serve, scoop up into serving bowls (keeping crusty part on top) and garnish with whipped cream and chopped pecans.
Makes 8 servings.
The Kindle edition of Left by the Side of the Road
has been FREE all this week, but today, Friday, is the last day.
Get it here:
A lot of eating goes on in this book, but of all the dishes mentioned, this one recipe has had the longest life span. It is still the iconic dish served on St. Helena Island for almost every celebration.
- 1 1/2 gallons water
- Juice of one (1) lemon
- Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning, The general rule is 2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning per gallon water (or more to taste)*
- Redskin new potatoes (depending on size, 3 or more per person)
- 2 pounds spicy sausage (like andouille or kielbasa, etc.), cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 10 to 12 ears of shucked corn on the cob, broken into 3-inch pieces
- 4 pounds uncooked shrimp in shell, preferably jumbo-size shrimp**
Some people like to substitute fresh crab for the shrimp. Others add chicken pieces or other vegetables and seafoods. There are no frogs in it, although i suspect you could add frog legs instead of the chicken, if you were so inclined. The recipe is believed to have been developed at community suppers when the neighbors brought whatever they had on hand, and everything was dumped into a huge pot of water and boiled together.
- In a very large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the water, lemon, salt, and Old Bay Seasoning; bring to a boil.
- When the seasoned water comes to a boil, add redskin potatoes and boil for 20 minutes. When done, the potatoes should be easily pierced with a knife but not mushy.
- Add sausage and gently boil, uncovered, 5 minutes.
- Add corn and cook and continue cooking an additional 5 minutes (begin timing immediately, do not wait until water is boiling).
- Add shrimp and cook and additional 3 to 5 minutes longer. Do not overcook the shrimp. Remove from heat and drain immediately.
Scoop meats and vegetables out of the broth and dump on a picnic table covered in old newspapers.
Serve with lots of paper towels or napkins and ice-cold beverages, plus melted butter for the corn, cocktail sauce for the shrimp, and sour cream or ketchup for the potatoes. This is a messy dish; you’ll need a whole handful of napkins or paper towels.
The Kindle version is on sale for just $.99 all this week.
1861 the Roundheads Regiment moved to Annapolis in preparation for an
as-yet-undefined mission. The men were anxious to get into the war, but at the
same time they were anxious about what was to come. They needed distraction.
In Chapter 2, you’ll read this passage:
If there was one attraction that
outweighed all the others, it was the taste of oysters taken fresh from
Chesapeake Bay. Most had never sampled this common seafood, but it took only
once to make dedicated oyster connoisseurs out of landlocked farm boys. Shucked
oysters were available all over town for six cents a pint, and hungry soldiers
could down a quart or two without spoiling their appetites a bit. Once in a
while, someone sold them a bad oyster, leading Nellie, who had grown up among
oyster-rakers, to encourage the men to go out and gather their own. When she
could escape her sick call duties, she walked with her volunteers down to the
shoreline and showed the men how and where to gather them.
“Just don’t ever eat an oyster whose
shell is already opened,” she cautioned. “It may look like you’re taking the
easy way out, but chances are the little creature inside is sick enough—or dead
enough—to make you wish you’d never met him.” When several of her pupils became
skilled enough to rake in a real harvest, Nellie took them all back to the mess
kitchen and gave the cooks a lesson in how to make an oyster stew. The respite
from the sick room and the appreciation of the diners did much to bolster
her recipe for Oyster Stew:
tablespoons milk or cream
chopped fine (optional)
lemon peel (optional)
cut strips of bread
oysters will do for stewing, and by some are preferred; but we love the plump,
juicy natives. Stew a couple of dozen of these in their own liquor; when they are
coming to a boil, skim well, take them up and beard them; strain the liquor
through a tamis-sieve, and lay the oysters on a dish.
Put an ounce of butter into a stew-pan; when it is melted, put to
it as much flour as will dry it up, the liquor of the oysters, and three
tablespoons of milk or cream, and a little white pepper and salt; to this
some cooks add a little catsup, or finely-chopped parsley, grated lemon-peel, and
juice; let it boil up for a couple of minutes, till it is smooth, then take it
off the fire, put in the oysters, and let them get warm (they must not
themselves be boiled, or they will become hard); line the bottom and sides of a
hash-dish with bread-sippets, and pour your oysters and sauce into it.
This book is available in paperback, Kindle, and Audible formats.