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Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't made it yet but will soon and will let you know!

We do barbeque in our back yard with a hibachi my husband got years ago in a garage sale. He mostly makes Colombian style grilled meat (marinated in onion, rice vinegar, salt, cumin and garlic, thinned with water and blended in a blender (luckily we still have the old kind with a glass pitcher so it does not retain smells), but we have not gotten more creative than that. We do camp, and make simple meals over a camp fire. We live near the Wisconsin River which is full of sand bars where anyone can camp and it is very safe to build a fire. Mostly we prepare very simple items on the fire, and I bring prepared food in a cooler. Because we canoe, we can afford quite a bit of extra weight, and don't worry much about how much we carry. Things would be VERY different if we were back packers. We have a huge cooler that can carry a lot of ice. I used to do very long canoe trips as a teenager and in my early 20s, but since I married our trips have tended to be shorter.

I was very excited by your description of your period cooking, and my plan for the summer (I was interested in this anyway but got more excited after reading your posting) is to build a good size fire pit in my yard and try to cook outside. I love your idea of period cooking. It might be as simple as a shallow hole in the ground surrounded by stones, or it may be more elaborate. I am also interested in building a mud oven. My brother went along on a medical project in Malawi and learned how to make them. (Apparently because of the colonial heritage people found it very funny to take on a middle-aged white guy as their helper/apprentice in oven making but that is another story.) I will be doing this slowly.

In the meantime, I am going to replace my portable oven, which I use for outdoor cooking in summer and make the pudding the wimpy way. I have a summer kitchen to keep my very old house cool. Obviously it is a small step from a summer kitchen to true period cooking over an open fire. I just need to get through graduation and I am set to go!!!! Thanks for all your ideas. I am very psyched about this. I haven't known anyone who does historical reinactments, and have only seen them at the historical part of Williamsburg Virginia. This is all pretty fascinating. It is amazing the things I learn on this website.

DOry

Dory
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Small world. I used to know the Wisconsin River above the Dells quite well. Some of the best smallmouth fishing in the Midwest. Most of my canoing was done in Michigan, though, and, before that, upstate NY.

You might want to do a search for period events and redezvous in your area. I know you're surrounded by them, particularly those dealing with the French fur trade period. If you can't find any on-line, check with the local shooting ranges for people who shoot muzzleloaders. They usually know about events and clubs that specialize in reenacting. Many of the historic museum sites also sponsor events, and they're worth attending too.

You don't need a large pit for cooking. Nor does it have to be round and surrounded by stones. A rectangle is actually more efficient. Remember, you're creating a cooking surface, not a bonfire. Most of your cooking will be over coals rather than flames. My permenant firepit at home is about 4 feet long and a foot wide, and was only dug out about 4 inches or so. Flanking it are a pair of upright iron rods holding a crosspiece. This simulates the lug that would have been in a fireplace before upgrading to a crane. Various hanging devices---S hooks, chains, trammels, and rachets---hang from the crosspiece and are used to control the height over the fire.

In front of the pit, and edging it, are four 16" pavers from the home improvement store. These simulate the apron on a hearth, and a lot of cooking is done on them.

I've got a whole thread going, now, at Cheftalk about open-fire cooking. You might want to check it out as well.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too bad you're so far away, Dory. This weekend, at Fort Boonesboro, they're having a special event called Women On The Frontier. This year's theme is food & fabric.

Traditionally, 20-30 women turn out for this 2-day event.

Friend Wife and I will be teaching them some of the 18th century foodways, and will be preparing 5 dishes for the evening meal:

Roast leg of pork: Barbecue (under that name, in fact) goes back at least to the 17th century in America, and would have been a regular way of preparing pork. Basic difference with this recipe and a modern one for pulled pork is that it uses wine as the mop sauce instead of the more familiar tomato-based mops of today.

Sausages and stewed red cabbage: Another common dish. The sausages would likely have been pork, rather than beef (beef was not commonly eaten at that time & place). But we want to provide an alternative protein for the participant, so fresh brats are our choice for this.

Potato dumplings: A sort of rustic form of gnocci. Instead of flour, milk-soaked bread is used to bind a mixture of grated potatoes and onions. This is shaped into balls and dropped into boiling water.

Carrot pudding: You already know about this one.

Stewed tomatoes: This is a made dish, that goes beyond the canned stewed tomatoes we're all familiar with. Starting either with canned or fresh tomatoes, they get cooked down a little with salt, pepper, and herbs, then biscuits are crumbled in. A really nice side dish to almost anything.

Everything will be prepared on an open fire.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang, I would so sign up for a workshop like that--even if I had to wear a bonnet.!!!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There and then it would have been a mob cap rather than a bonnet, David. And I think you'd look damned cute in one. Wink
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha ha I stand corrected! Had to look up mob hat/cap. Yes more accurate for the times! Well I admit I looked quite silly circa 1957 with my Davy Crockett cap!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We all looked silly in those coonskins, David. But, hey! We were kids. What did we know?

There is some evidence that Crocket never wore one, BTW. He was a fashion plate, who'd just spent a lot of time in Washington, and, generally, wore a brimmed hat. You remember the Yancy Derringer series? Crocket dressed more like that.

Just before boarding the ferry to cross the Mississippi on his way to Texas and glory he traded it for a fur hat worn by one of his constituents. But many authorities believe it was a fox pelt, not a raccon.

It's even worse with the popular image of Daniel Boone. He never wore a road kill in his life, much preferring a Quaker-style flat hat. And his clothes were made of cloth, not fringed leather.

Ahhhhh. The joys of Hollywood history. Sad

Worse than Fess Parker being the bane of my existence are the teachers who know even less than the Disney folks. We had a school group come through the other day, and the teacher was explaining how the Pilgrims did things when they came to Kentucky.

Interesting how we magically moved the trans-Montaine to Massachusetts. She probably thinks we ate turkey at the first thanksgiving too.

And these are the people to whom we entrust our children. Scary to say the least.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well you've certainly convinced me now B. I shall never have children!

I enjoy these little history lessons! Thanks for sharing your passion(s).
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are going to be building our fire pit soon. Part of the reason is to have a fire in the yard, but legally, apparently, we have to use it for cooking or it is illegal to have an open fire in the city. I need to check out your web page again. I have looked at it in the past, but not as seriously as I will now.

Dory

P.S. Oh, and I am still going to have to order your publication.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an update on the Boonesboro event.

We wound up feeding about 27 people, once all the women, their spouses, and some of the staffers were factored in. We'd never done a period meal for that many before, especially not with the constraints of using only 18th century tools and techniques. Making it even more difficult was the weather: temps in the high 90s, humidity nearly that.

We had three ladies helping out. A good thing, or we'd have never gotten everything done on time.

As it turns out, however, we did. All five dishes were prepared, plus an extra treat of pickled radishes we made using our own chive vinegar and radishes from the kitchen garden I manage at the Fort.

I have to say, though, that we probably learned as much as the women attending the event.

All five dishes were deemed exceptional by the crowd. But I found it interesting to see which were the most popular.

Far and away the most favored was the Carrot Pudding. Virtually nobody had heard of it before, and everyone raved about it. There were no leftovers, and we probably could have planned on a greater quantity.

The Potato Dumplings were almost as popular. Again, most attendees were unfamiliar with them. And the only thing left in the serving dish was a smear of gravy.

Understandably, the Roast Pork was popular. I'm sure that's because pulled pork is basically familiar to eveyone. We started with a 12 pound Boston butt, and ended up with just enough leftovers to make lunch for Barbara and myself on Sunday.

The big surprise was the Sausage and Stewed Red Cabbage. Going in we expected it to be almost as popular as the pork. But such was not the case. We wound up with more than half the sausages, and about 75% of the cabbage leftover. We took that home, broke it down in portion sizes, and froze it.

The Stewed Tomatoes were popular as well. In fact, about half the attendees were familiar with them, albeit under other names. Several of them, for instance, told us their mothers called them Tomato Dumplings. So there's an instance of an 18th century dish being passed down---at least in the Appalachians. There was just enough left over to have with our next-day lunch.

All in all it was a successful meal. But if we were to repeat it I think we'd substitute something else for the sausage dish. Probably something using poultry; of which there are numerous possibilities.

If anyone is interested, I'll itemize the equipment we actually used.


Last edited by KYHeirloomer on Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

we have to use it for cooking or it is illegal to have an open fire in the city.

From what I understand, Dory, in jurisdictions like that, all it takes is to have a grill rack over the firepit. It then qualifies as a barbecue rather than a bonfire. But, unlike the advice I usually give people, you may have to have the pit "enclosed" by stones, bricks, or what-have-you. So check to see what the requirements are up there.

Oh, and I am still going to have to order your publication.

Save yourself a few bucks and do it right now. The price is going up on July 1, to account for increases in paper and ink. Right now it's $9.50 plus three bucks shipping and handling. After the first it will be $12. S&H will remain the same.

You can order A Colonial Virginia Book of Cookery from Historic Foodways, PO Box 519, Richmond, KY 40476. When placing your order, let us know what name you want on the inscription. Make checks payable to Brook & Barbara Elliott. [/i]
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I told my husband about your recommendations, and that in your opinion we need to make it only 4-6 inches deep. We intend to surround it with stones from the building center. I also figure that if we have a grill nobody will bother us. We can keep a package of hot dogs in the freezer and whip them out if there is any problem. Our yard is pretty private. This whole project is pretty exciting, and is partially inspired by you. (That is, we were thinking of a fire pit, but got even more excited after hearing about your project.) Our only delaying factor is that we are looking at new puppies this week. Our older dog knows to stay away from fire, but who knows about a baby? Maybe it is instinctive.

In any case, you are an inspiration to us.

Dory
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see that as a problem, Dory.

First of all, you won't (or shouldn't) be leaving a fire untended. So if the pup heads for it you'll be there to control him. But animals seem to be pretty sensitive to fire anyway, and sense it isn't something to fool with.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd update those interested in our historic cookery.

Since the Women on the Frontier event at Fort Boonesborough we've been cooking there on Saturdays, which is are largest visitation day. What we've been doing, essentially, is exploring new historic recipes which we then take home for supper. So far it's working out, and will probably lead to a second volume of our book.

Last week, for instance, we prepared quail with a chestnut stuffing along with broccoli (which is skinned, boiled, and topped with melted butter). At the same time, because I had promised some coworkers I would, I made a pot of soup beans and a loaf of corn bread. We also experiemented with using the wafer press---which didn't work out so well. Wound up using the bulk of the batter in the waffle maker instead. The wafers, themselves, were good. But the press is incredibly awkward to use.

This week's plans are for a roasted loin of pork surrounded by forcemeat balls, and an adapted version of the potato pudding we've discussed on another thread. The pork will be stuffed with onion, sage, ham, and bacon.

Time allowing, we'll make a Sally Lunn bread as well. If so, that will be done in a ring mold, in the Dutch oven.
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