Thursday, March 21, 2019

Vin Brûlé and Hygge

Although the calendar says it's the first day of Spring, here on Adak winter is still hanging on with new snow and cold breezes. As I look out my window, I am reminded of how comforting the Danish/Norwegian concept of Hygge is.

As the weather outside is cold and drear, I promise you this wonderful 18thC 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.

Friday, November 23, 2018

French Food Friday - Beignets


Pronounced "ben-YAYS", these are the rectangular doughnuts (no holes) served fresh and hot around the clock at Cafe du Monde in the French Market. (Another former French Market coffeehouse, Morning Call, moved to ... Metairie. Ugh.) When you hear people talking about "goin' fo' coffee an' doughnuts", this is what they mean. Cafe du Monde is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is usually quite busy at all hours. These aren't terribly difficult to prepare at home. Even though there's a CDM Beignet Mix (just add water, and it's as "easy as un-deux-trois-quatre", as the box says), it's not available out of New Orleans, and making this from scratch is fun. The yeast dough must be prepared in advance and refrigerated overnight. It seems that for home preparation the dough works better in the large quantity given here, enough for about 5 dozen beignets. Don't worry, though ... the dough keeps well under refrigeration for about a week. Just cut off some dough when you want to make beignets -- roll it out, cut it up, and fry for about 3 minutes per batch. Don't forget the powdered sugar, lots of it. Or, just invite enough people over to eat all 5 dozen.

Serve, of course, with piping hot café au lait.

1 package active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (100-115 degrees F)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups flour
1/4 cup vegetable shortening oil for deep frying confectioner's sugar for dusting (or burying, depending on taste)

Put the warm water into a large bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast and a couple teaspoons of the sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Let proof for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk. Gradually stir in 4 cups of the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and thoroughly blended. Beat in the shortening, then add the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, beating it in with a spoon until it becomes too stiff to stir, then working in the rest with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight in a greased bowl.

Roll the dough out onto a floured board or marble pastry surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch, then cut it into rectangles 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches with a sharp knife. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 360 degrees F. Fry the beignets about 3 or 4 at a time until they are puffed out and golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per batch. Turn them over in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown, since they rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff out. Drain each batch, place on a platter lined with several layers of paper towels, and keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until they're all done.

Serve 3 beignets per person, sprinkling heavily with powdered sugar, and serve hot with cafe au lait. Recipe source

Friday, November 16, 2018

French Food Friday - Chicken Galantine


The nature of an Intermess of Galantine shall be hereafter explain'd in the Article of Suckling-Pigs, under the Letter P. and there also shall be shew'd the Manner of Garnishing it and Serving it up to Table: We shall only intimate here, that it may also be garnish'd with its Skin well breaded and brought to a fine colour, by means of the red-hot Fire-shovel; for the rest, the Reader is referr'd to the Place even now mentioned. P. 128.

I have discovered that any fowl can be deboned and stuffed, then rolled and placed seam-side down in a close-fitting casserole dish and baked with its lid--this will approximate the Stew-pan named in the following recipe. Once the bird is baked [350°F 1 1/2 hours or so], remove the lid and place a weighted board on the top of the galantine and cool overnight. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and broil [red hot Fire-shovel]. Slice and serve.

The close-fitting casserole takes the place of the napkin and the broth in which modern galantines are normally poached. Although this recipe is for suckling pig and includes Gammon [Old French for jambon--ham] & Bacon, this works very well for stuffed poultry or game birds. I used ground beef [with a spoon of brandy, 1/4 teaspoon curing salt and a teaspoon of Menues Epice] along with an egg yolk, the strong herb liquor and cream pounded until smooth to Farce the chicken and strips of turkey ham along with harden'd Yolks and Pistachoes; otherwise the recipe is the same. I cannot believe how easy this dish is to prepare. There is even lots of gelatin surrounding the cooled galantine to serve in little cubes.

Here is a video of Jacques Pepin deboning a chicken.

An Intermess of a Suckling Pig in Galantine.
After having caus'd your Pig to be well scalded and drawn, cut off the Head and the four Legs: Then let the Skin be slipt off, beginning at the Belly; but care must be taken that it be not cut, especially on the Back: Let this Skin be neatly spread upon the Dresser, whilst a Farce is preparing, with the Flesh of the Pig, a piece of very tender Veal, a little raw Gammon, and Bacon; also, a little Parsly, chopt Chibbol, and all sorts of fine Herbs, except Rosemary and Sage. In the mean while, a Strong Liquor is to be made, with a Quart of Water, two Bay-leaves, some Thyme, sweet Basil, Savoury, three Cloves of Garlick, and two or three shalots; this Liquor when half boil'd away, will serve to moisten your Farce. Let some Pistachoes and Almonds be also scalded according to discretion, and let six Eggs be harden'd to get their Yolks: Afterwards let some of your Bacon and Gammon be cut into thick Slices, taking only the lean part of the Gammon: When they are all well season'd, let a slice of Gammon, another of Bacon; as also, a Lay[er] of Almonds, another of Pistachoes, and a third of hard Yolks be set in order. Besides, you must put into the Farce, some Truffles and Mushrooms cut small, with a little Milk-cream, and soak them in your strong Liquor, adding afterwards the Yolk of one Egg. The Bacon and the other Things being thus order'd, this Farce is to be spread over them, beginning at one of the ends of the Skin, and then roll'd up; drawing the two Swards on both Sides close together, so as the Farce my not fall out: When it is well roll'd up of a convenient length, let it be tied, or sow'd up on all Sides, and put into a Napkin; which must be bound at both Ends and in the middle, to keep it very firm and compact. At last, it must be bak'd in a Stew-pan between two Fires, viz. one upon the Lid and the other underneath, for the space of ten or twelve Hours, with some Slices of Bacon and Beef_stakes, both on the Bottom and Top of the Pan: Let your farced Pig cool in the same Pan, and as soon as it is taken out of the Napkin, let it be untied, and cut into Slices, which are to laid in a Dish, upon a clean Napkin, and so serv'd up cold, with Slices of Lemmon and Flowers. P. 191-2.

The court & country cook, faithfully translated out of French into English by J. K. A. J. Churchill, London, 1702.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Adak Island Thanks SVS-Woldstad for Meat


A shoutout of thanks to the crew of Woldstad, part of the Support Vessels of Alaska fleet, for the caribou and sea ducks shared by hunters on the vessel. Our larders and freezers are full!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Fireweed for Wine


Eight cups of Fireweed Epilobium augustifolium blossoms drying for use in fireweed wine. I plan to include a pinch of hibiscus for color and red rose petals for an indefinable extra taste using this recipe.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Adak Hunting and Fishing Lodge

Roughing It On the Rock My new hunting and fishing lodge will open just in time for the upcoming Fall 2018 hunting season on Adak.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Arnica unalaschcensis for the medicine chest ...

I was so happy to find Arnica here on Adak--I will be making infused oil for making salves and massage oil for sore muscles and contusions.
Arnica unalaschcensis flowers and sepals
Arnica unalaschcensis after sepals have beenremoved prior to drying.

Several ounces of dried Arnica.