Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hot Buttered Rum a la Wayne Curtis

This doesn't even belong in this blog, because it's not in the NYTHB, but if you are like me, and were at one time fascinated with the idea of Hot Buttered Rum, I thought you might like this recipe. We had this at the tree trimming party. The idea is, you make the mix and every time you want hot buttered rum, you take it out of the freezer. It didn't quite work out that way. Some of us ended up eating the mix. We did not make the whole thing, so it wasn't as bad as it sounds. I think, because of the ice cream, that this recipe is better than Hewlett's. The question is, whether or not you like sweet stuff.
Wayne Curtis is the author of And a Bottle of Rum, a History of the New World in Ten Cocktails.

Hot Buttered Rum a la Wayne Curtis

1 pound butter
1 pound brown sugar
1 pound granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
one quart vanilla ice cream

Bring the butter to room temperature and mix all the ingredients except the ice cream. Add slightly softened ice cream and mix well. Store mixture in freezer. To make drinks by the mug, add 1 1/2 ounce rum, one tablespoon of ice cream mix, then, fill mug with boiling water.

Hot Buttered Rum a la Hewlett

This represents the end of one entire section--the drinks section. Now, it only has four recipes, but there is still a sense of accomplishment. We had cookbook Hot Buttered Rum on Christmas Day, when we sat ten people down to dinner, and served Hot Buttered Rum to everyone, including one of my Girl Scouts, who dropped in because she happened to be a few blocks away. Disclosure. My Girl Scouts graduated from high school in 2003 and have an average age of 25.
There was a lot of vibrant conversation to go with the steamed up windows in the kitchen. This recipe isn't the easiest thing for a group, although it seemed to be just the ticket on a cold day. You have to mix each cup individually, and having to stop, locate the brown sugar and the rum, and pour a glass for whoever wanted it was somewhat time-consuming.

Hot Buttered Rum

1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon minced lemon rind
3 shakes cinnamon
1 shake nutmeg
1 jigger light rum ( a jigger is about 4 tablespoons)
Boiling water
Sweet butter

1. Combine the brown sugar, lemon rind, cinnamon, nutmeg and rum in a warmed ten-ounce glass.
2. Fill with boiling water and rop in a generous teaspoon of sweet butter.
One serving.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Baked Wild Rice with Carrots

To me, game, which I did not particularly like as a child, goes with wild rice, another grown-ups delicacy that I did not particularly like. Wild rice comes from Minnesota, so, another non New England recipe. Wild rice takes a long time to cook. I did not find that the amount of time given in the book was sufficient to cook it. The recipe says boil vigorously for ten minutes and then let it stand for twenty minutes so absorb the water. I would say, make it three cups of water, and boil for half an hour. Check the tenderness of the rice and the amount of water. The wild rice I remember burst open its kernels to reveal a whitish interior. Our rice was tender and good, but did not burst open much.
This recipe calls for bacon, but I left it out to accommodate vegetarian members of the family. It was great.

Baked Wild Rice with Carrots

1 1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed well in cold water
2 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
4 slices bacon cut into tiny cubes
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup light cream
1 egg

1. Combine the rice, water and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook vigorously ten minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover. Let stand twenty minutes, or until water, has been absorbed.
2. Cook the bacon. With a slotted spoon, remove the cubes to drain on paper towels. Reserve the drippings.
3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
4. Cook the onion and mushrooms in the bacon drippings until onion is wilted. Add the reserved bacon cubes, wild rice and carrots. Stir to blend.
5. beat the cream and egg together and stir into the wild rice mixture. Cover and bake in a buttered one-and-one-half quart casserole for one-half hour. Stir with a fork and bake fifteen minutes longer.
6. Remove the cover and stir once more. Bake fifteen minutes longer.
Makes 6 servings.

Wild Duck Country Captain

For Christmas Eve dinner itself, I was forced by ingredients to branch out of New England. Last Sunday, we all went out to Mount Airy, Maryland to cut down our Christmas tree. We take this pilgrimage most years. One year, we were on our way up Connecticut Avenue to get the tree when we were rear ended by a woman who wasn't paying attention. That year, we got our tree at John Eaton School. Last year, we didn't get a tree at all because we were going to London. But most years, we drive up 270, get off at the exit for Damascus, and argue about whether we turn right or left at the pond.
After we got back from cutting down the tree, and having lunch at the Italian deli in Mount Airy and shopping at Retro Metro, the quirky gift shop, we had a modest tree trimming party. Jake, a friend of my son's, drove up and conferred with son on the phone.
"Mom, does the cookbook have any recipes for wild duck?" Son inquired.
"Yes. Why do you ask?'
"Because Jake went duck hunting and he has some extra ducks. Do you want them?"
"Have they been plucked?" I asked, suspiciously.
They had in fact been plucked, and gutted, for which I was grateful. My father, the farmer, was a hunter. He had springer spaniels and went after duck and pheasant. I remember my mother yanking the feathers out of his catch, and removing various innards. I'm not so citified I couldn't do it, but I didn't think I was going to enjoy it.
But these ducks came frozen in plastic bags, with those neat little paper diapers that come under packaged meat and soak up the blood. I learned two more important things about cooking wild duck a couple of days later in a text message from my son. A. They must attain an internal temperature of 185 degrees. B. Watch out for the buckshot. This was one of a whole series of text messages on what must have been a slow day in the federal government. The rest of us went on a holiday expedition to a vineyard in Clifton, Va. As we were coming back along I-66 about 3:00, the west bound lanes were swollen with early rush hour traffic. I joked, "There go the federal employees, after a hard day of texting their mothers."
Anyhow, the recipe was amazing. It has curry powder, which made me go, uh oh, they won't be happy with this. My family likes curry, sort of. But it turned out wonderfully. One thing about duck. It has a much different structure than chicken. The bones are bigger and tougher. It's harder to cut it up. A pair of really good shears would be a gift.

Wild Duck Country Captain (Alabama)

1/2 cup flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 two and a half pound wild duck or two smaller birds, cut into serving pieces.
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cut finely chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups Italian plum tomatoes
3 teaspoons dried currants
1/4 cup toasted almonds

1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper and coat the duck pieces with the mixture.
2. Heat the b utter in the large skillet and brown the duck pieces in it. Remove duck pieces and reserve.
3. Add the onion, green pepper, garlic, curry powder and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring, until onion is golden brown. Add the tomatoes and duck pieces. Cover and cook forty minutes or until duck is tender. Stir in the currants and almonds and serve with buttered rice tossed with chopped parsley.
With two ducks, four servings.

Brownie Drops

These are excellent cookies, and not hard to make. They are like their name, like Brownies. The instructions, also are well written, telling the cook how long to beat the eggs, so he/she will have some vague idea when things are thick enough. After about five minutes, the beaters start to leave tracks though the batter, although it's just eggs and sugar. The cookies started out an afternoon of cooking. When the kids were younger, I initiated a tradition of making some sort of baked item for the fire fighters at the local fire house who had to work on Christmas. It was a minor way of urging them to think of others.
We had let the tradition lapse, but at my husband's urging, I reinstated it. I planned to knock off five recipes, but stopped at four. We were having our usual Christmas Eve dinner with both children-adults but not son the lawyer's fiance, since she was at her mom's house. My brother was there from Anchorage as well.

Brownie Drops

2 four square packages German sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees .
2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in top of a double boiler over hot watter, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar, two tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until the mixture is very thick. (This takes at least five minutes with an electric mixture at high speed. It is egg, not flour that thickens this mixture.)
4. Blend cooled chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pecan and vanilla.
5. Drop from a teaspoon onto greased baking sheets. Bake ten to twelve minutes or until the cookies feel set when lightly touched. Cool on a rack. Store in a tightly covered container.
Makes about three dozen cookies.


Slemp is described on the Internet as a Dutch children's beverage. It's made up of hot milk, saffron, cloves, cinnamon, mace, sugar and a little bit of loose tea. It has a subtle flavor. It was variously described by the assembled multitudes as "not my thing," "okay--like chai," and "an acquired taste." It wasn't horrible, but I probably won't make it again. Even though the recipe says to simmer the milk for an hour, and I did, the milk doesn't have much taste.
I made it on Christmas Eve, when I was making the cookies for the fire fighters.


1 one inch piece cinnamon stick
pinch saffron
2 whole cloves
small piece blade mace or one-half teaspoon ground mace
4 cups milk
peel of half a lemon in strip
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspooon loose tea
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Tie the cinnamon stick, saffron, cloves and mace in a muslin bag. Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan. Add the lemon peel, salt, tea and the spice bag. Simmer one hour.
2. Remove the spice bag and add the sugar.
Makes four servings.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pate Maison

This recipe was a real triumph for Safeway, the temple of culinary experimentation. The first ingredient is gizzards and hearts from six to eight chickens, ducks or geese. Well, where to buy these? My daughter suggested I special order them. We happened to be in Middleburg, Va., heart of the chichi horse country, and home of a incredibly high end butcher emporium. Ah, ha, thought I, the perfect place for an ingredient that only people making pates would want. Wrong. Although they had all manner of sumptuous looking meats, they would have to order chicken hearts and gizzards "from their farm." The Middleburg Safeway didn't have them either. By this time, all this talk of gizzards had us punchy, and talking about "chicken lizards," My daughter then broke into a chorus of a children's song that goes "Chicken lips and lizard hips and alligator eyes..."
Then, last night, on my way home from the airport, I stopped at my local Safeway, having basically given up hope of making the Heritage Cookbook recipe and happening to glance into the poultry case I saw...chicken gizzards!!! They were presented in a neat package from Perdue, and labeled Chicken Gizzards and Hearts, (mostly gizzards.) It was not clear to me if the gizzards were packaged whole, so eight hearts and gizzards seemed to be about half a package. When it came to the livers, I counted out eight, then dumped the whole container into the frying pan and fed two to the dog.
This is one of those recipes that should not be undertaken without a food processor.
When we got home, although I had my husband and my brother, newly arrived from Alaska, waiting for dinner, I leapt into action, simmering gizzards and chopping onions. The result is a mildly flavored chicken liver mousse type thing,. I ended up adding salt and pepper a couple of times to give it more flavor.

Pate Maison

Gizzards and hearts from six to eight chickens, ducks or geese
Water or chicken broth
2 onions finely chopped
1/3 cup butter
6 to eight chicken, duck or goose livers
2 tablespoons cognac
2 hard cooked eggs finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Toast triangles

1. Cover the gizzards and hearts with water or broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until tender, about twenty-five minutes. Drain. Chop finely or grind.
2. Saute the onions in one-third cup butter in a heavy skillet until golden and add to the ground giblets. Fry the livers quickly in the skillet, adding more butter if necessary.
3. Chop finely and add to the giblet mixture.
4. Add the cognac, eggs, salt, pepper, thyme, and marjoram. Mix well. Pile into a crock and chill well. Serve with toast triangles.
Makes ten servings.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yankee Pine Nut Pie

Thursday my son invited some friends over to celebrate being admitted to the Maryland Bar. I must say, if one has to choose among all the 50, or 51 if you count DC, bars in the country, Maryland seems pretty good, just for the show they put on for the new lawyers and their parents. It has history. I like history. The Maryland Bar dates back to something like 1667. It figures that no sooner did the colonists get to these shores than they immediately began suing each other. The entire Court of Appeals, all 7 of them in their cranberry colored robes, sat patiently through the whole thing, which is saying a lot, since they swore in 15 groups of 90 over two days. My son also liked the fact that they gave out what he called swag, which included a copy of the Maryland Legal Yellow Pages. Hmm.
We bought the food from Mangiano's since it was a school night, but my daughter and I elected to make the deserts. Actually, she made both the deserts, when one of us was summarily ordered out the door to shovel the inch and a half of snow off the walk.
The other desert, which was a much bigger hit than Yankee Pine Nut Pie, was called Candyland Peppermint Pie, and it came from a website called .
Hungrygirl has a cookbook that features lower fat recipes for lethal deserts, main courses and snacks.
Yankee Pine Nut Pie, which I had intended to make if it hadn't been for an impromptu date with a snow shovel, is really easy. Think pecan pie, only substitute pine nuts. I posted the recipe on to see why pine nuts, and how did Yankees come to get them, so there may be more info in this regard. I suspect myself it was the Italian influence in Massachusetts. However, we shall see.

Yankee Pine Nut Pie
1/2 cup sugar
salt to taste
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup dark corn syrup
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup pine nuts
1 unbaked nine-inch pie shell

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Sift the sugar, salt and flour into a mixing bowl. Stir in the syrup and eggs. Add the vanilla, butter and pine nuts.
3. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake one hour. Let cool.
Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

Caramel popcorn is a terrific, inexpensive gift for people to whom you want to give a little something to recognize the season and their intrinsic goodness. It's cheap, not a lot of work, and it tastes delicious. Basically, it amounts to 1. Pop corn. 2. Boil sugar and light corn syrup. 3. Pour over popcorn. 4. Bake for an hour.
However, one needs to be careful with step four, noting that you bake it at 250 degrees, not 350. I first tried to make this Wednesday night but, without my glasses, I set the oven for 350 degrees Fahrenheit. My husband came charging downstairs about 45 minutes later to tell me that the whole mess was burning. And indeed it was.
So I scraped off and ate what little was not burnt and tried again on Thursday evening as my daughter and I were getting ready for a dinner party held in celebration of son the lawyer being admitted to the Maryland Bar. This time, it was a success. My husband quickly hid it on his desk chair to get it away from the celebrating hordes. (The celebrating hordes, average age 28, and primarily lawyers are actually much better behaved than they were at 15, and should be given credit. They probably wouldn't have eaten it.)
The next day, I passed it out to my colleagues. One colleague opened it and tried it and was very impressed. The others thanked me and took it home.

Caramel Popcorn

3 tablespoons corn oil
1/2 cup yellow hull-less popcorn
1/2 butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Pour the oil into a four-quart to fie-quart heavy deep skillet or kettle. Place over medium high heat and add a kernel of popcorn. When the kernel pops, remove it and add the one-half cup popcorn. Place cover on kettle, leaving a small air space at the edge of the cover. Shake pot frequently until popping stops. Remove from heat.
3. Measure two and one-half quarts of the popcorn (the remainder can be eaten plain.) and place in a large bowl. Place in oven and keep warm.
4. Melt the butter in a two-quart saucepan. Stir in the sugar, syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil and boil five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Pour over the warm popcorn, mixing in well to coat each piece.
5. Separate pieces of popcorn and place one layer only on two large baking sheets. Bake one hour. Cool popcorn completely (it crisps on standing. ) Store in airtight containers. Makes two and one half quarts.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wassail Bowl

So far, we're batting 1.000 on the beverages in the New England section. Fisherman's Swizzle was a huge success, and now my son the lawyer's friends have put their stamp of approval on Wassail Bowl, aptly named for the season. This is mulled cider with rum in it, basically. It's good. Just the thing to drink when the weather is hovering around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which it has been for the last week.

He and his fiancee had a party on Sunday. We were recruited to make deviled eggs, and I offered to make the cider. Even though they live on the same block we live on, we, or rather I, elected to drive, because I didn't want to go striding down the street in the pouring rain, carrying a tray of deviled eggs, or a crockpot containing the Wassail Bowl.

It's really easy to make, except for the blade of mace, which does not seem to exist in that temple of culinary experimentation, Safeway. But I did discover, on a website called WiseGeek, that mace is the outside covering of nutmeg. It comes in red bands around the nutmeg. WiseGeek says it should be added at the end because cooking tends to make it bitter.
However,I just left it out. When I make Wassail Bowl again, I'm going to cut the amount of sugar in half.

Wassail Bowl

1 gallon cider
1/2 pound (one cup) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
2 blades mace
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups dark rum
2 lemons, cut into thin slices and halved
3 oranges, cut into thin slices and halved

1. Place the cider and brown sugar in a large kettle. Tie the allspice, cloves, cinnamon and mace in a muslin bag and add with salt. Bring to a boil and simmer fifteen minutes.
2.Remove spice bag and add the rum, lemons, and oranges just before serving. Serve hot.
Makes about three dozen servings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cream of Chicken Soup

I had intended to make this recipe back in the late summer or early fall. Considering I fell off the horse and was lame for a month, I did pretty well in the cooking department. But I didn't get to this.
To be honest, this is not a dish that one should undertake after getting home from work, especially if you do not wish to eat at 10:00 pm. It's time consuming. I left school around 4:15 after another staff member got around to moving her car. Then I did a couple of quick errands, including dropping my winter coat off at the cleaners. I did a quick estimate and figured it probably hadn't been to the cleaners for at least a year and probably two.
After that, I dragged the long suffering dog out into the freezing cold, walked him around the block, and then prepared to make the soup. Even though I got out of work relatively early, I was still starting dinner at 6:00.
First, I boiled the chicken. The recipe called for two ribs of celery and some parsley, which we did not have. I turned the soup down, not off, and took off for Safeway, worrying as I did that I would get into some kind of accident, and the house would burn down and take the dog with it. Well, this dire event did not occur, but later in the evening, my husband pointed out that we actually had celery. So now, we have two heads of celery.
Once the broth is ready, the recipe says to cook sliced baked potatoes and onions in butter for two or three minutes, and then boil them in the broth. Then, buzz the whole thing in the blender, taking care not to overfill it, thus creating a fountain of hot soup that decorates the kitchen wall.
The result is a fabulous soup. It was so yummy.
If you want to make it on a work night, the smart thing would be to boil the chicken ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator. This would enable you to skim off the fat from the broth.

Cream of Chicken Soup

1 three-and-one-half pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
6 cups water
2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs parsley
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup butter. (Darn, I thought it was one half cup. No wonder the soup was so yummy.)
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced or diced
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Place the chicken pieces in a heavy casserole or kettle. Add the water, celery, bay leaf, parsley springs, one teaspoon of the salt and one-quarter teaspoon of the pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently until chicken is tender, about fifty minutes. Remove chicken pieces from the broth. Strain the broth into a kettle and remove surface fat.
2. Take the chicken meat from the bones and skin and cut meat into large slivers. Set aside.
3. Heat the butter in a skillet and saute the onions in it until transparent but not browned. Add the potatoes, toss and cook two to three minutes without browning.
4. Add vegetables to the broth in the kettle. Add the saffron and remaining salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer forty-five minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender.
5. Pass the mixture through a sieve or puree in an electric blender. Return to the kettle. stir int he cream and reserved chicken. Reheat but do not boil. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.
Serves eight.

What gives this soup its thickness is boiled sliced potatoes, run through a blender. And boiling the potatoes in the chicken broth takes time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Apple Bread

I had been meaning to make apple bread for over a year. In fact, I bought the jar of apple sauce last fall, planning to make it. However, it didn't happen until Thursday night when I was seized by a spurt of energy, and the memory of how much I had enjoyed cooking and blogging. On Wednesday night, I spent 45 minutes I didn't have reading old posts and thought, "Gee, I should get back to this."
So, the following night, in spite of not getting home until after 7:00, I plunged into the apple bread. Warning. This is a yeast bread. Yeast breads require time. My long suffering husband climbed out of bed at 12:30 to turn off the timer on the stove that was going "Beep, beep,beep," with maddening regularity. I would have just let it beep, because I can't hear it, but it drives him nuts.
Another warning. This recipe that contains the phrase "Continue adding flour until a soft manageable dough is formed." If you are not a bread maker, you probably have no idea what the hell Hewitt is talking about. Well, here's the scoop. When you get through step 2 and mix all the ingredients and half the flour, you will be left with a sticky mass that is more liquid than solid. Start adding flour, a half cup at a time, and push it in with your fingers. Reach down the side of the bowl and pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl. Turn it over in the bowl and squeeze it to get the flour worked in.
When the dough becomes more solid and less sticky, spread a quarter of a cup of flour over your clean kitchen counter, and dump the dough out onto it. It will still be sticky, but not as sticky. It will not be oozing all over the counter. Then, continue spreading a quarter cup of flour over the dough and kneading it. The dough should stay soft, so don't put too much flour in. That's why you measure.
The Internet, wonderful institution that it is, can give you a better idea of kneading bread with a video on your computer screen, than I can by describing it. Just Google kneading bread videos.
If you decide to undertake this, it is not difficult. It produces a mildly flavored bread that you might eat with tea or coffee. I just made the recipe straight without tinkering around, but you could profitably put cinnamon in the dough, or nutmeg or any old spice that would bring out the apple-ness.

Apple Bread

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 cups lukewarm apple sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 cups to six and one half cups flour
melted butter

1. Soften the yeast in the water.
2. Combine the applesauce, two tablespoons butter, salt and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add the softened yeast and half the flour. Mix well.
3. Continue adding flour until a soft, manageable dough is formed.
4. Knead on a lightly floured board until smooth.
5. Place in a clean greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.
6. Knock dough down (kinda punch it. This also will be covered in a video.) and divide into two. Let rest, covered, ten minutes. Shape into two oblong loaves (I used greased bread pans.) and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about forty-five minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
8. Bake thirty to thirty-five minutes, or until done. Brush with melted butter.
Makes two loaves.