Thursday, January 21, 2016

HFF 2: Culinary Vices

2. Culinary Vices (January 15 - January 28) Some foods are really, really naughty. Globs of butter, lashings of sugar and syrup, decadent chocolate and wine. Bring out your naughty, indecorous side with foods associated with all the bad things, in the best ways.

We had every intention of having our culinary vice meal involve foie gras, because what's more decadent than feeding a goose to death and then eating only it's liver? But I couldn't find a single recipe involving it in any of the cookbooks I read, French or otherwise. I did come across one mention of fattening geese for dinner, and that many hundreds of such geese are prepared every year in France, but that was it.

So I did something else. Part of my personal naughty, indecorous side is obsessed with china, dishes and fancy settings. I had gotten as a gift, a soup tureen that I had never used. It sat in my cupboard and taunted me. I also have salad tongs (the kind that look like hnads!) that I never use, because it's just as easy to use your own fork to get a handful of salad. I also have a cake stand that I never use because they're really impractical when you have no space. The only thing I didn't bother getting out was nice china (it's in storage) or silver (it's really hard to get to). My culinary vices use up my very very limited cupboards, and don't actually involve food. :-P But here is my meal from yesterday using my fancy serving dishes.

Squash Soup
Spice Cake

The soup is from Marion Harland's Complete Cookbook, a very very useful turn-of-the-century work full of adorable "familiar talk" with the help, or how to clean kid gloves and old lace. She's opinionated and very knowledgeable.

Squash Soup: one cupful of cold boiled squash, run through a colander, one quart of milk, heated, with a pinch of soda, one teaspoonful, each, of salt and sugar, a quarter as much pepper, and a pinch of mace, two tablespoonfuls of butter and one of flour, one tablespoonful of onion juice, and two of minced celery.

Make a roux of butter and flour, and stir into the hot milk. Beat together the squash, celery and seasoning until light; heat quickly in a saucepan, stirring all the while. When very hot, put into the tureen, turn in the milk, stirring all well together, and serve.

Notes: I had cooked two squash the day before, so just used what squash there was. It wound up looking closer to 2 or 3 cups of squash. I heated a whole half gallon of whole milk, and didn't bother with a roux -- just tossing all those ingredients into the milk. I mixed the minced celery and MORE spices into the squash, and heated it. I was concerned that it would burn before it actually heated, but it turned out fine. I then put the squash in the tureen and ladled as much milk in as it took to make a consistency I liked. I have about a pint left of flavored milk. Oh, and instead of onion juice I used chopped garlic and some of the juice from the garlic jar. I served it in a pre-warmed tureen and with roasted squash seeds on top.

The salad was mixed greens with dried cranberries, walnuts, cheddar cheese, chopped apple and a vinaigrette.

The cake was from a box -- I had had every intention of making one, but every recipe called for eggs and we had none in the house and time was a factor. So I made boxed spice cake, using applesauce instead of the 3 eggs. Between the layers I put applesauce cooked down with basil sugar and I put powdered sugar on top because I don't like frosting. I served it on my cake stand. Y'know, it's been years since I had a cake bx cake, and it was really fluffy! The cakes I've made in recent years have all been denser than that and it was a surreal feeling to be eating and not even really feel the food in my mouth.

The Challenge:Culinary Vices
The Recipe: Marion Harland's Complete Cookbook
The Date/Year and Region:original copyright 1903, this edition 1906, published in Indianapololis, Indiana, USA
How Did You Make It: see above
Time to Complete:Not counting the cooking of squash, under an hour. It took a while for the milk to come up to temp.
Total Cost:I bought a half gallon of organic whole milk for $4.79 and that was the only cost of the entire meal. Everything else was already in storage.
How Successful Was It?:It was delicious! It was really quite tasty, and very easy to make. And I'm in love with using my soup tureen. Honestly, I FELT quite decadent, eating this creamy delicious soup with my gorgeous tureen full of even more tasty soup. I would make this again. I think it also would have done well with the addition of corn or something, as it tasted quite chowder-like.
How Accurate Is It?:I think I doubled the spices, by heating the milk with seasonings AND the squash. So this was probably more flavorful than the original recipe intended. I also did a garlic substitution for the onion. But other than that, I think this was very accurate. This isn't that old of a recipe, and cooking was very similar to today.

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