With the kitchen redesign moving gradually, I was experiencing considerable difficulties having the capacity to cook for a developed timeframe, particularly since cooking is one of my favored techniques for stress alleviation. In this way, this past Friday I said ‘to hellfire with it’ and made a cake in my half torn down kitchen. The broiler was in working request and there was ledge space enough for the blender, and that was adequate for me.
I also had quite a few peaches on the counter that were getting a bit too ripe, so I simmered them all down into a jam. This is great for when peaches get too soft to slice properly and just kind of turn to mush in your hands when you try to pull the sliced parts off – you still get to keep all the peachy flavor, and the mushiness doesn’t matter once it cooks down into a soft, fruity compote.
They are particular, however, to be consistent in the use of garnishings. Flowers and fruits are reserved for sweet dishes, except in the case of nasturtiums, which they regard as much a vegetable as a flower and use freely with meats. It isn’t essential that every dish should be turned into an elaborate work of art, as if it were to be entered at the annual exhibition of the Société des Chefs de Cuisine, but neither is there any reason, even with modest means at command, for giving cause for that old slogan of the great American dinner table: “It tastes better than it looks.”
Vanilla and lemon have an almost universal appeal to the palate, and knowing this, the American cook, like the generation before her, has always seasoned her rice puddings, for instance, with one or the other, just as her apple sauce has invariably been flavored with lemon or nutmeg, her bread pudding with vanilla, and so all along her restricted line. An ordinary bread pudding becomes veritably a queen of puddings as, indeed, it is called, merely by having a layer of jam through its centre and a simple icing spread over the top.
I didn’t have to stir it quite as often as I usually do when I make jam, and I think it was because the heat was coming at the peaches equally from all sides of the pot which helped cook everything at the same pace, and made my cooking job easier since I didn’t have to hover around the pot.
Black & Blueberry Brown Butter Cake
For the topping, I simmered down some rhubarb with fresh strawberries, sugar, a dash of water, and the husk of the vanilla bean pod that was left after I scraped it out. This made the most refreshing & tangy syrup with a wonderfully sweet but not overly so flavor that only vanilla can bring.
- 10 ounces blackberries, for cake batter
- 6 ounces blueberries, for cake batter
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 salt spoon salt
- ½ cup flour
- Boil the sugar, water and tartaric acid five minutes. When nearly cold beat into the syrup the whites of the eggs, beaten until foamy, and the flavoring extract. Store in a fruit jar, closely covered. To use, put three tablespoonfuls into a glass half full of cold water, stir in one-fourth a teaspoonful of soda, and drink while effervescing.
- A pint of any kind of fruit juice may displace the water, when a teaspoonful of lemon juice should be added to the contents of each glass before stirring in the soda.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grate the chocolate, put it in a double boiler with the milk; stir until hot, and add the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and one pint of the cream. When cold, freeze; when frozen, remove the dasher and stir in the remaining pint of the cream whipped to a stiff froth.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mash the raspberries; add half the sugar and the lemon juice. Put the remaining sugar and half the cream in a double boiler; stir until the sugar is dissolved, and stand aside to cool; when cold, add the remaining cream, turn the mixture into the freezer, and stir until partly frozen.
- Place the pans in the oven and bake for 40–50 minutes, or until they’re golden around the edges. In making pies of juicy fruit, it is a good way to set a small tea-cup on the bottom crust, and lay the fruit all round it. The juice will collect under the cup, and not run out at the edges or top of the pie.
Tips & Tricks: Fruit pies with lids, should have loaf-sugar grated over them. If they have been baked the day before, they should be warmed in the stove, or near the fire, before they are sent to table, to soften the crust, and make them taste fresh. Raspberry and apple-pies are much improved by taking off the lid, and pouring in a little cream just before they go to table. Replace the lid very carefully.
I used Falk’s copper jam pot for it, which was by far the prettiest pot I’ve ever made jam in, and also cooked it really evenly and efficiently. I didn’t have to stir it quite as often as I usually do when I make jam, and I think it was because the heat was coming at the peaches equally from all sides of the pot which helped cook everything at the same pace, and made my cooking job easier since I didn’t have to hover around the pot.
A stew or a creamed dish is merely a more or less indifferent something to eat when it is dished up any old way and set upon the table. But if it is heaped daintily on a pretty platter, surrounded by a ring of brown mashed potato, its sides decorated by dainty shapes of toasted bread, perhaps buttered and sprinkled with minced parsley, it has become something to awaken the slumbering or indifferent appetite and at practically no extra expense of time or money.
It isn’t essential that every dish should be turned into an elaborate work of art, as if it were to be entered at the annual exhibition of the Société des Chefs de Cuisine, but neither is there any reason, even with modest means at command, for giving cause for that old slogan of the great American dinner table: “It tastes better than it looks.”