Sunday, September 30, 2012

Step by step method of making the best risotto.....period!

I have experimented with every type of rice imaginable for Risotto and here are the facts.

Arborio rice is a short grained rice that doesn't undergo as much milling as other types of rice, thereby giving it more natural starch content. This is important because while making risotto, you want this starch to be released, creating a very creamy texture. Long grained rice ultimately turns mushy and is not even close to being creamy, as Risotto should be.
If you don't have Arborio, any short-medium grained rice is more than adequate, and I doubt if anyone will ever be able to tell the difference. If you can, than you aren't cooking the Risotto properly and it has nothing to do with the rice.
A pound of rice soaks up about 6 cups of liquid and many chefs adhere to the same rule of thumb for cooking Risotto as they do pasta, al dente.
You may see many professional chefs on television, in print or elsewhere judging different Risotto recipes. I have to laugh because I saw one particularly well-known chef describing another chef's Risotto as TOO creamy. You obviously could tell that this Risotto dish was moving every time he moved the plate. I took particular umbrage to this statement and although I admire all chefs on television and respect their abilities, they sometimes lose sight of the original intention and presentation of certain dishes, Risotto being one of them.
Risotto should be prepared all'onda, which is Italian for "with the waves", or simply "wavy". It should flow every time you move the dish although not have a watery "rim" around the edge of the dish. Although that certain chef may not have cared for the risotto, in his own taste, it was made perfectly and that should be what these chefs are judged on, not individual tastes. If that were the case, no-one would ever win.

Risotto remains the most important staple dish for many people in all Northern Italy, and especially in Milan. Threads of saffron are classically added to Risotto but with the cost of saffron, it is not that essential unless you choose to add it.

New England Risotto with Caramelized Onion and Bean's Chorizo

Add a Quenelle of Pumpkin(zucca gialla) on top of each serving to give it that Yankee touch. Directions below.

5 c. chicken broth
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T. granulated sugar
1/4 lb. thinly sliced Bean's Chorizo
2 c. Arborio rice, or any other short-medium grained rice
1 c. white wine
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Add chicken stock to a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; set aside. In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 T. butter, garlic and onion. Saute until just done, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue cooking until sugar has dissolved and becomes a thick syrup. Add the Chorizo and continue cooking about 2 minutes or until sausage is warmed through. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes, making sure rice is evenly coated with glaze.

Add wine to rice, stirring regularly. When wine is completely absorbed by the rice, add a cup of the hot stock. Continue to add stock, 1 cup at a time once the previous cup is absorbed by the rice. Stir rice continually. After 18 minutes, remove the rice from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese and 1 T. of butter, stirring until melted. Stir in cream until mixed well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

1 c. pure pumpkin
1/4 t. cracked black pepper

Mix the pumpkin and pepper well and simply heat in the microwave. Spoon a quenelle or two on top of each serving of Risotto. If you find it difficult to make quenelles, just dollop a lump of pumpkin on top.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Boston Cream Pie

I am sitting here, late at night, just thinking if there is one item or recipe that embraces New England cuisine completely. Would it be maple syrup? chowder? Pumpkin? Cranberries? The answer is probably all the above, and as I reference in my book, it is the way we prepare our ingredients that separates us from the rest of the country. We, as Yankee's, know how to turn our apples into the best Apple Cider Pie and our cranberries into decadent Cranberry Orange Coffee cake. But there is one dessert that has been part of our heritage for over a century and a half. That would be the Boston Cream Pie. Although I believe Chef Sazian, of the Parker House in Boston, got his inspiration for this "pie" from a new York column the same year(1856), it is still a beloved pie to us New Englander's.

Now for those of you who just don't have the time to take the necessary steps to prepare this delightful recipe, using a yellow sponge cake recipe, prepared vanilla pudding and chocolate fudge heated in the microwave suffices for the most part. But why not take a little time and make it just once in your life so you can enjoy teh taste of real Boston Cream pie.

The Yankee Chef's Boston Cream Pie
Notice i don't use salt in the recipe. It does absolutely NOTHING for this recipe so why add the extra salt? But I will give you one great hint. Want just a little more New England flavor? Add some thawed, chopped frozen cranberries to the cake batter. Seeing cranberries studding the inside of that yellow sponge cake is not only gorgeous to look at, but gives it a tangy bite that sits well with the buttery, sweet flavors you are about to enjoy.

2 c. sifted cake flour*
2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla extract or 1 T. imitation
3 eggs
3/4 c. light cream or half-and-half
1 recipe Vanilla Bean Pudding, recipe below
Chocolate Glaze, recipe below

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper or generously spray with nonstick cooking spray and lightly flour, tapping off excess that doesn't stick to pan. Beat the butter and sugar together at medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla extract. Stir the cake flour and baking powder together using a whisk. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat the flour mixture into the butter-egg mixture, adding it in thirds and alternating with the cream. Beat until the batter is smooth.
Transfer to the prepared pan and bake on the center shelf of the oven until the cake tests clean when a skewer is inserted into the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To assemble, split the unmolded cake using a long serrated knife. Spread Vanilla Bean Pudding over the bottom half of the cake and place the top layer over the pudding. Pour Chocolate Glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake.

*You don't very often see The Yankee Chef use cake flour, but in a delicate cake such as Boston Cream Pie and Angel Food Cake, I prefer it and let me tell you why. If you were to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, the result will be a little off because not all flours are created equal. All different types of flours have different protein, or gluten, contents and weights, resulting in various results. All purpose flour has roughly 11 % protein content while cake flour has between 6-8 %. Many recipes need that low protein content to remain tender and light, such as our recipe here. Other recipes, however, can stand up to the difference and accept the substitution reliably, such as most cakes and breads. Keep in mind that all-purpose flour is strong.
If you need to substitute all-purpose instead of cake flour, take out 2 T. per cup of all-purpose if you don't have any cornstarch at home. If you do, I highly recommend replacing the deleted 2 T. with 2 T. cornstarch. Why? Because cornstarch is gluten free, thusly ending up diluting the gluten content while replacing the original amount of flour taken out.

Vanilla Bean Pudding
Or if you are in a higher tax bracket than I am, you can call it Creme Patisserie.

3/4 c. milk
1 c. light cream
1 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 t. butter or margarine

Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into a pot that contains the milk and cream. Add the scraped bean as well and simmer over medium heat until scalding, whisking almost constantly. Whisk the eggs, cornstarch, sugar, and salt together in a separate bowl. Slowly ladle a cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk well. slowly add back this bowl of egg/hot cream mixture back into the pot and continue whisking over medium heat unt5il it thickens and just begins to boil. This is called tempering. Immediately transfer to a bowl and remove and discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the vanilla extract and butter. Let cool, whisk again before filling the cake..

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 c. heavy cream
7 oz. chopped dark chocolate*
1 T. butter or margarine
3 T. maple syrup or corn syrup(your choice of light or dark)

Heat the cream to a boil over medium heat, whisking almost constantly. The seco9nd it starts to come to a boil, pour into a sturdy bowl and add the chocolate, butter and maple syrup. Whisk and let cool to tepid and thickened. Whisk again before glazing.

*This could even be a chocolate candy bar if need be.

To assemble, cut the cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Remove the top half. Pour and evenly spread the pudding over the bottom half. Replace the top half and slowly, and evenly, pour your glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip over the sides. Let cool and serve.

Here is the recipe that the Omni Parker House uses for their Boston Cream Pie the last I visited them a couple of years back.

Boston Cream Pie

4 cups pastry cream (recipe follows)
7 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing the pan
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


1.Prepare and chill pastry cream.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.In two mixing bowls, separate the egg yolks and whites. Add 1/2 cup sugar to each bowl. Beat the egg whites until moderately stiff, but not dry. Beat the yolks at high speed until light yellow and thick, about 3 minutes. Fold one third of the egg whites into the yolks, then fold in the remaining whites. Gradually add the flour, folding in with a spatula. Fold in the melted butter.
4.Pour the batter into a 10-inch greased springform pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the surface is golden and the center is dry when tested with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly.
5.Combine the chocolate with 2 tablespoons of water, and melt in a microwave oven or double boiler. Reserve. Using a long serrated knife, level the top of the cake and slice into two layers of equal thickness. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pastry cream for the sides of the cake, and spread the remaining cream on one layer. Top with the second layer.
6.Top the cake with the chocolate mixture. Combine confectioners' sugar, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix well. Place in a piping bag with a 1/8-inch tip. Pipe spiral lines starting from the center of the cake. Score lines with the point of a paring knife, starting at the center and pulling outward to the edge. Spread the sides of the cake with a thin layer of pastry cream, and press toasted almonds into the cream.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

All About Indian Pudding.....and then some...

Being a Yankee, I simply adore Indian Pudding. Many food historians and critics, alike, contend that Indian Pudding and Hasty Pudding are one and the same. This is untrue. Although Indian Pudding has its' roots in Hasty Pudding, the former has additions of ingredients and spices that transforms it to the latter.

Take a peak into the past:

Amelia Simmons, in her published cookbook from 1807, gives the following recipe:

"a nice indian pudding. 3 pints scalded milk...7 spoons fine indian meal. stir well together while hot, let stand till cooled; add 7 eggs, half pund raisins, 4 ounces butter, spice and sugar. Bake one and half hours."

Let me give you a Hasty Pudding recipe my grandmother, 3 times removed, had written down. I am so thankful my ancestors were such avid chroniclers. I have so many hundreds of recipes, journal entries, household cures and ways of doing things that my ancestors left for me since about 1790. Here is one dated about 1830-ish, by Charlotte BAiley, who mentions that her husbasnds "foke" gave it to her. Her husband was my ancestor, Josiah Bailey. Reprinted exactly as written.

"Haste pudding, mush, gap n swallo. Cook quickley cornmeal with same amount as milk. the doters calling it loblolly. when it is cold we slice it up with some good grease and fry some. naybers- the spragues -make it so thick you ken lift it all up with the spoon from the pot".

My grandfather, the first Yankee Chef, wrote that Flimdiddle was a baked main course "pudding" made of stale bread, molasses, spices, pork fat and whatever meat scraps you had laying around. this was all hashed together and baked.

I have the pleasure of having a friend who is the present chef at Durgin Park, a famous restaurant near Fannueil Hall in Boston. Melisha Phillips has been making the one pudding that has made Durgin Park famous(and vice-versa) throughout America, the true New England Indian Pudding. They make it without the sweetness that many contend is the reason it isn't more often enjoyed. After mixing everything all together, they bake it for over 2 hours in a "slow" oven and the result? Let's just say they hit the original recipe and, thereby, taste, on the money. Visit them on the web(in person is much better) at their original website at:

or their current site:

Durgin-Park is a centuries-old restaurant at 340 Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston. The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau states that it has been a "landmark since 1827", and it continues to be a popular tourist destination within Quincy Market. The restaurant has entrances on both of its facades (Faneuil Hall and Clinton Street).

In keeping with its long history, the concept of Durgin-Park maintains the tradition of communal seating at long tables. The menu is designed to offer traditional New England-style fare with a concentration on seafoods, chowders, broiled meats, and boiled dinners. The first restaurant at this former warehouse was opened in 1742, and was purchased in 1827 by John Durgin and Eldridge Park, becoming a Boston landmark.

By 1840, Durgin & Park took on John G. Chandler as a third partner. It was this trio that established the concepts of food and service that have remained essentially unchanged.

During the Reconstruction era—after the deaths of Durgin and Park—Chandler continued to run the operation and his family owned it until 1945, when it was sold to James Hallett, who ran the operation until 1977, enhancing the restaurant's national reputation.

The restaurant was purchased by the Kelley family in 1972, and sold by them to Ark Restaurants in January 2007.

In late summer of 2010, Durgin-Park opened up a beer garden in their basement bar. Called The Hideout, they have carved out a beer list that is atypical to the Faneuil Hall area.

Durgin Park's Famous Indian Pudding

3 c. milk
1/4 c. black molasses
2 T. sugar
2 T. butter, melted
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. yellow corn meal
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 425 ° F. Mix together 1-1/2 c. of the milk with the molasses, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, egg, and cornmeal. Pour the mixture into a stone crock that has been well greased and bake until it boils. Heat the remaining 1-1/2 c. of milk and stir it in. Lower the oven temperature to 300 ° F and bake 5-7 hours. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

It is here that I would like to give you The Yankee Chef's recipe for Indian Pudding. I am truly a purist at heart when it comes to all things New England. Although I enjoy the taste of Durgin Park's recipe imeensely, I enjoy mine more. I have made it just a tad sweeter with a few additions and ideas. Enjoy the taste of Yankee-land.

4 c. milk
½ c. cornmeal
2 T.. butter or margarine
3/4 c. molasses
3/4 c. real maple syrup (preferably a light grade)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. ginger
Pinch nutmeg
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. raisins soaked in 1/2 c. hot apple juice for 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter, or use nonstick cooking spray, a 2-quart casserole dish or a 6-cup muffin tin.. In a medium pot, add all ingredients at once(I am serious and trust me) and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat, whisking almost constantly. Cook for 5 minutes when it has reached simmer, turning heat to low. Remove from heat.

Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish or divide among the 6 cups in muffin tin, and bake about 1½ hours or 1 hour if baking in muffin tin, until center is set (the center will still be soft, but you don’t want it to look liquidy). Serve with your choice of dessert sauces listed below. You can also spoon any of the dessert listed below on top of the Indian Pudding before baking as well.

Here is a creation by The Yankee Chef, and I must say, it is simply fantastic tasting. Crunch of the batter surrounding the creamy, hot Indian Pudding within is only heightened by one of the sauces below to dip it into.

Indian Pudding Fritters

One recipe Indian Pudding, cooked and cooled overnight
Dessert sauce of your choice, recipes below
3 c. prepared pancake batter
1 qt. vegetable oil
1 large pot*
Candy thermometer*

Fill your large pot with the vegetable oil. Heat to 350- degrees , checking the temperature with a candy thermometer.
Place prepared pancake batter in a bowl; set aside. Remove Indian Pudding from refrigerator and carefully, and thinly, remove top "skin" from the top. With a tablespoon or melonballer, scoop out about a heaping tablespoon of cold pudding and roll between your hands to form a ball. Place in the bowl of pancake batter and continue until you have 6 balls in the batter. Make 6 more balls and set them on a plate to coat in batter.
When oil is hot enough, and with 2 forks, roll each ball in batter to evenly and thickly coat. Gently lift out the Indian Pudding balls with two forks and lower into the hot oil, frying 6 "fritters" at a time. Cook for approximately 45-60 seconds, turning to make sure that all sides are browned. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate or tray. Upon lifting the last ball into oil, place the remainder of the balls into the batter and begin coating.
Repeat process with the last 6 fritters. Serve with your choice of sauce listed below, or visit my blog for more sauces that truly elevate this New England dessert to today's level.

* Or follow manufacturers instructions for deep frying in your deep fryer. heat at least 1 qt.oil to 350-degrees F.

Pomegranate Molasses
Although not a dessert sauce you would find gracing our ancestors tables, this contemporary sweet sauce truly cuts through the molasses flavor with a tangy knife.

4 c. pomegranate juice
1/2 c. sugar*
1/4 c. lemon or lime juice

In a large, uncovered saucepan, heat pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice on medium until the sugar has dissolved and the juice is gently boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has a syrupy texture and reduced by at least half.

*If you want your pomegranate molasses to be sweeter, add more sugar to taste, while you are cooking it.

Pomegranate Baby Grape Sauce

Follow the same recipe for Pomegranate Molasses as above but add 1/2 c. small, very sweet and tasty baby grapes into the sauce. These baby grapes(or mini-grapes as they may be called) are found in your local supermarket.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Molasses

Add 1 bag (about 12-16 oz.) fresh cranberries to pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. Cook as directed.

Apple Cider Sauce
How about more New England flavor?(please-no emails about the next ingredient and its' association with Yankees) Add 1/2 c. dark rum.

1 qt. pure apple cider
That's It!

Put cider, and rum if you are using, in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and gently boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and syrupy in texture. This may take anywhere from 12-25 minutes, depending on the strength of your stoves heating element. If you boil it down too much, remember a couple of things. If you decide you want the cider more thick, once removed from the stove, it will thicken even more. If you have left over syrup you want to use again, simply, and gently, heat it back up and it will thin out. Also, As you reduce the cider, stir more frequently so that it doesn't scorch or burn on the bottom.

Orange Sauce

1 c. orange juice
1 T. grated orange zest
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
1/4 t. salt

Put together all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or till the quantity is reduced to half. Sieve through a strainer and pour into the serving bowl.

Molasses Cream

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/3 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 T. plus 1 t. molasses
1/2 t. rum extract

Place cream cheese in a bowl, and beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add yogurt, powdered sugar, molasses, and rum extract; beat until well-blended.

Maple-Butterscotch Sauce

3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. real maple syrup
2 T. butter or margarine
1/2 c. whipping cream
2 t. vanilla

Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cream and vanilla immediately. Cool; store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/2 c. of butterscotch sauce.

Apple Caramel Sauce

1 apple of your choice, peeled, cored and wedged into 1/2-inch segments
2 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 can(14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. butter or margarine

Mix the apples,sugar and condensed milk together in medium saucepan. Cook on low heat until apples are crisp tender but not mushy, about 3-4 minutes. Set the mixture aside. Melt the butter in another small saucepan, and stir in the vanilla and milk. Let the mixture simmer on low heat until mixture is smooth. about one to two minutes longer.

And don't forget that veritable French Creme Fraiche. Often overlooked, this less-sour version of sour cream has always been a delight when served with fre3sh fruit. The Yankee Chef offers that although we may be a tad stubborn when it comes to our food, we are not going to overlook an addition to our culinary heritage if it is complimentary. And I assure you, the Indian Pudding Fritters and Creme Fraiche do just that!

Sweet Indian Cake
This cake would be the perfect accompaniment to a cool, autumn night. Give it a try. Who knows, maybe you will bookmark this recipe for the Holidays.

3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. raisins soaked in 1/4 c. hot apple juice for 30 minutes
6 T. butter or margarine
2 apples peeled, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ springform or bundt pan. In a bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs and molasses together, then add milk and vanilla. Combine raisins, and the soaking liquid, and 4 T. butter. Slowly add the dry ingredients. When blended, pour into prepared pan.
Arrange apples on top of the batter. In a saucepan, melt the remaining 2 T. butter. Pour over the apples, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. sugar.
Bake until the cake is puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the springform pan.

Authors and residents of New England alike were enamored with their desserts and sweet treats centuries ago. I think mostly because they didn't go out to the nearest store to splurge on candy and sweets much like we do today. The only food they ate was the food they made. So the desserts our forebears ate were, of course, delicious and enjoyed by everyone in the household. So much so that Joel Barlow dedicated a poem for:

Joel Barlow


A simplicity in diet, whether it be considered with reference to the happiness of individuals or the prosperity of a nation, is of more consequence than we are apt to imagine. In recommending so important an object to the rational part of mankind, I wish it were in my power to do it in such a manner as would be likely to gain their attention. I am sensible that it is one of those subjects in which example has infinitely more power than the most convincing arguments or the highest charms of poetry. Goldsmith's "Deserted Village," though possessing these two advantages in a greater degree than any other work of the kind, has not prevented villages in England from being deserted. The apparent interest of the rich individuals, who form the taste as well as the laws in that country, has been against him; and with that interest it has been vain to contend.

The vicious habits which, in this little piece, I endeavor to combat, seem to me not so difficult to cure. No class of people has any interest in supporting them, unless it be the interest which certain families may feel in vying with each other in sumptuous entertainments. There may, indeed, be some instances of depraved appetites, which no arguments will conquer; but these must be rare. There are very few persons but what would always prefer a plain dish for themselves, and would prefer it, likewise, for their guests, if there were no risk of reputation in the case. This difficulty can only be removed by example; and the example should proceed from those whose situation enables them to take the lead in forming the manners of a nation. Persons of this description in America, I should hope, are neither above nor below the influence of truth and reason, when conveyed in language suited to the subject.

Whether the manner I have chosen to address my arguments to them be such as to promise any success, is what I can not decide; but I certainly had hopes of doing some good, or I should not have taken the pains of putting so many rhymes together. The example of domestic virtues has doubtless a great effect. I only wish to rank SIMPLICITY OF DIET among the Virtues. In that case I should hope it will be cherished and more esteemed by others that it is at present.

Chambery, Savoy, January. 1793.
Joel Barlowe.

1 YE Alps audacious, through the heavens that rise,
To cramp the day and hide me from the skies;
Ye Gallic flags, that, o'er their heights unfurl'd,
Bear death to kings and freedom to the world,
5 I sing not to you. A softer theme I choose,
A virgin theme, unconscious of the muse,
But fruitful, rich, well suited to inspire
The purest frenzy of poetic fire.
Despise it not, ye bards to terror steel'd,
10 Who hurl your thunders round the epic field;
Nor ye who strain your midnight throats to sing
Joys that the vineyard and the still-house bring;
Or on some distant fair your notes employ,
And speak of raptures that you ne'er enjoy.
15 I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense, and my evening meal—
The sweets of Hasty Pudding. Come, dear bowl,
Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul.
The milk beside thee, smoking from the kine,
20 Its substance mingled, married in with thine,
Shall cool and temper thy superior heat,
And save the pains of blowing while I eat.
Oh! could the smooth, the emblematic song
Flow like they genial juices o'er my tongue,
25 Could those mild morsels in my numbers chime,
And, as they roll in substance, roll in rhyme,
No more thy awkward, unpoetic name
Should shun the muse of prejudice they fame;
But, rising grateful to the accustom'd ear,
30 All bards should catch it, and all realms revere!
Assist me first with pious toil to trace
Through wrecks of time thy lineage and thy race;
Declare what lovely squaw, in days of yore
(Ere great Columbus sought thy native shore),
35 First gave thee to the world; her works of fame
Have lived indeed, but lived without a name.
Some tawny Ceres, goddess of her days,
First learn'd with stones to crack the well-dried maize,
Through the rough sieve to shake the golden shower,
40 In boiling water stir the yellow flour:
The yellow flour, bestrew'd and stirr'd with haste,
Swells in the flood and thickens to a paste,
Then puffs and wallops, rises to the brim,
Drinks the dry knobs that on the surface swim;
45 The knobs at last the busy ladle breaks,
And the whole mass its true consistence takes.
Could but her sacred name, unknown so long,
Rise, like her labors, to the son of song,
To her, to them I'd consecrate my lays,
50 And blow her pudding with the breath of praise.
If 'twas Oella, whom I sang before,
I here ascribe her one great virtue more.
Not through the rich Peruvian realms alone
The fame of Sol's sweet daughter should be known,
55 But o'er the world's wide clime should life secure,
Far as his rays extend, as long as they endure.

Dear Hasty Pudding, what unpromised joy
Expands my heart, to meet thee in Savoy!
Doom'd o'er the world through devious paths to roam,
60 Each clime my country, and each house my home,
My soul is soothed, my cares have found an end:
I greet my long-lost, unforgotten friend.
For thee through Paris, that corrupted town,
How long in vain I wander'd up and down,
65 Where shameless Bacchus, with his drenching hoard,
Cold from his cave usurps the morning board.
London is lost in smoke and steep'd in tea;
No Yankee there can lisp the name of thee;
The uncouth word, a libel on the town,
70 Would call a proclamation from the crown.
For climes oblique, that fear the sun's full rays,
Chill'd in their fogs, exclude the generous maize:
A grain whose rich, luxuriant growth requires
Short, gentle showers, and bright, ethereal fires.
75 But here, though distant from our native shore,
With mutual glee, we meet and laugh once more.
The same! I know thee by that yellow face,
That strong complexion of true Indian race,
Which time can never change, nor soil impair,
80 Nor Alpine snows, nor Turkey's morbid air;
For endless years, through every mild domain,
Where grows the maize, there thou art sure to reign.
But man, more fickle, the bold license claims,
In different realms to give thee different names.
85 Thee the soft nations round the warm Levant
Polanta call; the French, of course, Polante.
E'en in they native regions, how I blush
To hear the Pennsylvanians call thee Mush!
On Hudson's banks, while, men of Belgic spawn
90 Insult and eat thee by the name Suppawn.
All spurious appellations, void of truth;
I've better known thee from my earliest youth;
Thy name is Hasty Pudding! thus our sires
Were wont to greet thee fuming, from their fires;
95 And while they argued in thy just defense
With logic clear, they thus explained the sense:
"In haste the boiling cauldron, o'er the blaze,
Receives and cooks the ready powder'd maize;
In haste 'tis served, and then in equal haste
100 With cooling milk, we make the sweet repast.
No carving to be done, no knife to grate
The tender ear and wound the stony plate;
But the smooth spoon, just fitted to the lip,
And taught with art the yielding mass to dip,
105 By frequent journeys to the bowl well stored,
Performs the hasty honors of the board."
Such is thy name, significant and clear,
A name, a sound to every Yankee dear,
But most to me, whose heart and palate chaste
110 Preserve my pure, hereditary taste.
There are who strive to stamp with disrepute
The luscious food, because it feeds the brute;
In tropes of high-strain'd wit, while gaudy prigs
Compare thy nursling man to pamper'd pigs;
115 With sovereign scorn I treat the vulgar jest,
Nor fear to share thy bounties with the beast.
What though the generous cow gives me to quaff
The milk nutritious; am I then a calf?
Or can the genius of the noisy swine,
120 Though nursed on pudding, thence lay claim on mine?
Sure the sweet song I fashion to thy praise,
Runs more melodious than the notes they raise.
My song, resounding in its grateful glee,
No merit claims; I praise myself in thee.
125 My father loved thee through his length of days!
For thee his fields were shaded o'er with maize;
From thee what health, what vigor he possess'd,
Ten sturdy freemen from his loins attest;
Thy constellation ruled my natal morn,
130 And all my bones were made of Indian corn.
Delicious grain! whatever from it take,
To roast or boil, to smother or to bake,
In every dish 'tis welcome still to me,
But most, my Hasty Pudding, most in thee.
135 Let the green succotash with thee contend;
Let beans and corn their sweetest juices blend;
Let butter drench them in its yellow tide,
And a long slice of bacon grace their side;
Not all the plate, how famed so'er it be,
140 Can please my palate like a bowl of thee.
Some talk of Hoe-Cake, fair Virginia's pride!
Rich Johnny-Cake this mouth hath often tried;
Both please me well, their virtues much the same.
Alike their fabric, as allied their fame,
145 Except in dear New England, where the last
Receives a dish of pumpkin in the paste,
To give it sweetness and improve the taste.
But place them all before me, smoking hot,
The big, round dumpling, rolling from the pot;
150 The pudding of the bag, whose quivering breast
With suet lined, leads on the Yankee feast;
The Charlotte brown, within whose crusty sides
A belly soft the pulpy apple hides;
The yellow bread, whose face like amber glows,
155 And all of Indian that the bakepan knows—
You tempt me no; my favorite greets my eyes,
To that loved bowl my spoon by instinct flies.


158 To mix the food by vicious rules of art,
To kill the stomach and to sink the heart,
160 To make mankind to social virtue sour,
Cram o'er each dish, and be what they devour;
For this the kitchen muse first framed her book,
Commanding sweat to steam from every cook;
Children no more their antic gambols tried,
165 And friends of physic wonder'd why they died.
Not so the Yankee: his abundant feast,
With simples furnish'd and with plainness dress'd,
A numerous offspring gathers round the board,
And cheers alike the servant and the lord;
170 Whose well-bought hunger prompts the joyous taste,
And health attends them from the short repast.
While the full pail rewards the milk-maid's toil,
The mother sees the morning cauldron boil;
To stir the pudding next demands their care;
175 To spread the table and the bowls prepare:
To feed the children as their portions cool,
And comb their heads, and send them off to school.
Yet may the simplest dish some rules impart,
For Nature scorns not all the aids of art.
180 E'en Hasty Pudding, purest of all food,
May still be bad, indifferent, or good,
As sage experience the short process guides,
Or want of skill, or want of care presides.
Whoe'er would form it on the surest plan,
185 To rear the child and long sustain the man;
To shield the morals while it mends the size,
And all the powers of every food supplies—
Attend the lesson that the muse shall bring;
Suspend your spoons, and listen while I sing.
190 But since, O man! thy life and health demand
Not food alone, but labor from thy hand,
First, in the field, beneath the sun's strong rays,
Ask of thy mother earth the needful maize;
She loves the race that courts her yielding soil,
195 And gives her bounties to the sons of toil.
When now the ox, obedient to thy call,
Repays the loan that fill'd the winter stall,
Pursue his traces o'er the furrow'd plain,
And plant in measured hills the golden grain.
200 But when the tender germ begins to shoot,
And the green spire declares the sprouting root,
Then guard your nursling from each greedy foe,
The insidious worm, the all-devouring crow.
A little ashes sprinkled round the spire,
205 Soon steep'd in rain, will bid the worm retire;
The feather'd robber, with his hungry maw,
Swift flies the field before your man of straw;
A frightful image, such as schoolboys bring,
When met to burn the pope or hang the king.
210 Thrice in the season, through each verdant row,
Wield the strong plow-share and the faithful hoe;
The faithful hoe, a double task that takes,
To till the summer corn and roast the winter cakes.
Slow springs the blade, while check'd by chilling rains,
215 'Ere yet the sun the seat of Cancer gains;
But when his fiercest fires emblaze the land,
Then start the juices, then the roots expand;
Then, like a column of Corinthian mould,
The stalk struts upward and the leaves unfold;
220 The bushy branches all the ridges fill,
Entwine their arms, and kiss from hill to hill.
Here cease to vex them; all your cares are done
Leave the last labors to the parent sun;
Beneath his genial smiles, the well-dress'd field,
225 When autumn calls, a plenteous crop shall yield.
Now the strong foliage bears the standards high,
And shoots the tall top-gallants to the sky;
The suckling ears the silken fringes bend,
And, pregnant grown, their swelling coats distend;
230 The loaded stalk, while still the burden grows,
O'erhangs the space that runs between the rows;
High as a hop-field waves the silent grove,
A safe retreat for little thefts of love,
When the pledged roasting-ears invite the maid,
235 To meet her swain beneath the new-form'd shade:
His generous hand unloads the cumbrous hill,
And the green spoils her ready basket fill;
Small compensation for the two-fold bliss,
The promised wedding, and the present kiss.
240 Slight depredations these; but now the moon
Calls from his hollow tree the sly raccoon;
And while by night he bears his prize away,
The bolder squirrel labors through the day.
Both thieves alike, but provident of time,
245 A virtue rare, that almost hides their crime.
Then let them steal the little stores they can,
And fill their granaries from toils of man;
We've one advantage where they take no part—
With all their wiles, they ne'er have found the art
250 To boil the Hasty Pudding; here we shine
Superior far to tenants of the pine;
This envied boon to man shall still belong,
Unshared by them in substance or in song.
At last the closing season browns the plain,
255 And ripe October gathers in the grain;
Deep-loaded carts the spacious corn-house fill;
The sack distended marches to the mill;
The laboring mill beneath the burden groans,
And showers the future pudding from the stones;
260 Till the glad housewife greets the powder'd gold,
And the new crop exterminates the old.


262 The days grow short; but though the fallen sun
To the glad swain proclaims his day's work done;
Night's pleasant shades his various tasks prolong,
265 And yield new subjects to my various song.
For now, the corn-house fill'd, the harvest home,
The invited neighbors to the husking come;
A frolic scene, where work, and mirth, and play,
Unite their charms to chase the hours away.
270 Where the huge heap lies center'd in the hall,
The lamp suspended from the cheerful wall,
Brown, corn-fed nymphs, and strong, hard-handed beaux,
Alternate ranged, extend in circling rows,
Assume their seats, the solid mass attack;
275 The dry husks rustle, and the corn-cobs crack;
The song, the laugh, alternate notes resound,
And the sweet cider trips in silence round.
The laws of husking every wight can tell,
And sure no laws he ever keeps so well:
280 For each red ear a general kiss he gains,
With each smut ear he smuts the luckless swains;
But when to some sweet maid a prize is cast,
Red as her lips and taper as her waist,
She walks the round and culls one favor'd beau,
285 Who leaps the luscious tribute to bestow.
Various the sports, as are the wits and brains
Of well-pleased lasses and contending swains;
Till the vast mound of corn is swept away,
And he that gets the last ear wins the day.
290 Meanwhile, the housewife urges all her care,
The well-earn'd feast to hasten and prepare.
The sifted meal already waits her hand,
The milk is strain'd, the bowls in order stand,
The fire flames high; and as a pool (that takes
295 The headlong stream that o'er the milldam breaks)
Foams, roars, and rages with incessant toils,
So the vex'd cauldron rages, roars, and boils.
First with clean salt she seasons well the food,
Then strews the flour, and thickens all the flood.
300 Long o'er the simmering fire she lets it stand;
To stir it well demands a stronger hand;
The husband takes his turn: and round and round
The ladle flies; at last the toil is crown'd;
When to the board the thronging huskers pour,
305 And take their seats as at the corn before.
I leave them to their feast. There still belong
More copious matters to my faithful song.
For rules there are, though ne'er unfolded yet,
Nice rules and wise, how pudding should be ate.
310 Some with molasses line the luscious treat,
And mix, like bards, the useful with the sweet.
A wholesome dish, and well deserving praise;
A great resource in those bleak wintry days,
When the chill'd earth lies buried deep in snow,
315 And raging Boreas dries the shivering cow.
Bless'd cow! thy praise shall still my notes employ,
Great source of health, the only source of joy;
Mother of Egypt's god&151;but sure, for me,
Were I to leave my God, I'd worship thee.
320 How oft thy teats these pious hands have press'd!
How oft thy bounties proved my only feast!
How oft I've fed thee with my favorite grain!
And roar'd, like thee, to find thy children slain!
Ye, swains who know her various worth to prize,
325 Ah! house her well from winter's angry skies!
Potatoes, pumpkins should her sadness cheer,
Corn from your crib, and mashes from your beer;
When spring returns, she'll well acquit the loan,
And nurse at once your infants and her own.
330 Milk, then, with pudding I would always choose;
To this in future I confine my muse,
Till she in haste some further hints unfold,
Well for the young, nor useless to the old.
First in your bowl the milk abundant take,
335 Then drop with care along the silver lake
Your flakes of pudding; these at first will hide
Their little bulk beneath the swelling tide;
But when their growing mass no more can sink,
Then the soft island looms above the brink,
340 Then check your hand; you've got the portion due:
So taught our sires, and what they taught is true.
There is a choice in spoons. Though small appear
The nice distinction, yet to me 'tis clear.
The deep-bowl'd Gallic spoon, contrived to scoop
345 In ample draughts the thin, diluted soup,
Performs not well in those substantial things,
Whose mass adhesive to the metal clings;
Where the strong labial muscles must embrace
With ease to enter and discharge the freight,
350 A bowl less concave, but still more dilate,
Becomes the pudding best. The shape, the size,
A secret rests, unknown to vulgar eyes.
Experienced feeders can alone impart
A rule so much above the lore of Art.
355 These tuneful lips, that thousand spoons have tried,
With just precision could the point decide,
Though not in song; the muse but poorly shines
In cones, and cubes, and geometric lines;
Yet the true form, as near as she can tell,
360 Is that small section of a goose-egg shell,
Which in two equal portions shall divide
The distance from the center to the side.
Fear not to slaver; 'tis no deadly sin:
Like the free Frenchman, from your joyous chin
365 Suspend your ready napkin; or like me,
Poise with one hand your bowl upon your knee;
Just in the zenith your wise head project;
Your full spoon, rising in a line direct,
Bold as a bucket, heed no drops that fall—
370 The wide-mouth'd bowl will surely catch them all!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Do You Really Know What Bundling Is?

Only one thing comes to mind, now, when you hear the word bundling. But did you know that bundling originally meant when a guy and a gal(unmarried)layed down together to "sleep". Although Puritans were very VERY strict when it came to morality, bundling was somewhat overlooked in many family's. Here is an excerpt from a book entitled It's An Old New England Custom, of which I have been quoting in several different posts.

"To Indulge In Bundling

What is the truth about the old New England custom of bundling, which has its rise in the severe weather conditions which prevail throughout the region during part of the year? Was this antique winter sport as innocent as some have said it was, or was it, as others have alleged, a low and immoral practice? New England has long been taunted with this unpuritan custom which permitted a young courting couple to spend the night together in the same bed either fully or only partly clad,It flourished, paradoxically enough, while the shadow of Calvin was still over the land and the private life of everyone was the intimate concern of the whole community, especially of those ardent investigators into local sin-the clergy.

Yet there were clergymen who condoned bundling, and some who even approved the custom. Others actually engaged in the practice themselves. One candidate for ordination, who later became a distinguished minister, wooed a number of girls, with at least one of whom, according to an entry in his diary, he bundled magna cum voluptate.

The Rev. Samuel Peters, author of the General History of Connecticut(1781), gave bundling a clean bill of health. He said it was not only a Christian custom, but a very polite and prudent one. The modesty of Connecticut females was such, he cleared, that it would have been accounted the greatest rudeness to mention to a lady a garter or leg, yet it was thought but a piece of civility to ask her to bundle. But Mr. Peters as a social historian is unreliable. He had a rich talent for invention, one of his most notorious hoaxes being the spurious code of blue laws, which he promulgated out of whole cloth in the same work in which he discussed bundling. Yet there were people who shared his opinion that bundling was an innocent pastime, a view reflected in the following contemporary lines;

Let coat and shift be turned adrift,
And breeches take their flight,
An honest man and virgin can
Lie quiet all the night.

But when western Massachusetts became a hotbed o bundling Jonathan Edwards at Northampton raised his voice in stern warning against the custom, the consequences of which were only too evident in the number of babies born in less than the orthodox period after marriage. Al over New England during the period of the Great Revival couple after couple stood up in open meeting and confessed to sexual intimacy before marriage.
In 1781, the Rev. Mr. haven of Dedham, Massachusetts, shocked at the increase of sexual incontinence in his vicinage, attacked the growing sin in a memorable discourse in which he attributed the fault "to the custom then prevalent of females admitting young men to their beds who sought their company with intentions of marriage." The trouble was, of course, that marriage did not necessarily follow a course of bundling , and unless nature called a halt and precipitated a choice by the girl, there was danger that indulgence in the4 custom would lead to promiscuity.
It must be said, however that despite the fact that bundling was done under cover in the dark, there was nothing furtive abut it. Parents took the custom as a matter of course, the mother and sisters of the fortunate girl often helping to tuck the courting couple in bed together.
Comtemporary Picture of a Bundling Board, a true likeness though.

Everything was done without self-consciousness. At the same time, the extreme temptation involved in the situation was recognized, as the girl was frequently swathered like a mummy, or her legs were tied together, or a dividing board(bundling board) or other object placed between the bundlers and slight bells attached to the bed. But love laughs at token safeguards of this kind, and whether a case turned out to be one of guilt or innocence, conquest or control, rested ultimately, as it always has, with the young people themselves."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Stages of Boiled Sugar.....and more

Here is some information on the different temperatures of candy cooking.

As a sugar syrup is cooked, water boils away, the sugar concentration increases, and the temperature rises. The highest temperature that the sugar syrup reaches tells you what the syrup will be like when it cools. In fact, that’s how each of the temperature stages discussed below is named.

For example, at 235° F, the syrup is at the “soft-ball” stage. That means that when you drop a bit of it into cold water to cool it down, it will form a soft ball.

Most candy recipes will tell you to boil your sugar mixture until it reaches one of the stages below. For the best results and most accuracy, The Yankee Chef recommends that you use both a candy thermometer and the cold water test. It's also a good idea to test your thermometer's accuracy by placing it in plain boiling water. At sea level, it should read 212° F. If it reads above or below this number, make the necessary adjustments when cooking your candy syrup.

Note: The temperatures specified here are for sea level. At higher altitudes, subtract 1° F from every listed temperature for each 500 feet above sea level.

Thread Stage
230° F–235° F
Sugar concentration: 80%

At this relatively low temperature, there is still a lot of water left in the syrup. When you drop a little of this syrup into cold water to cool, it forms a liquid thread that will not ball up. Cooking sugar syrup to this stage gives you not candy, but syrup—something you might make to pour over ice cream.

1. Soft-Ball Stage
235° F–240° F
Sugar concentration: 85%

At this temperature, sugar syrup dropped into cold water will form a soft, flexible ball. If you remove the ball from water, it will flatten like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.

Fudge, pralines, and fondant are made by cooking ingredients to the soft-ball stage.

2. Firm-Ball Stage
245° F–250° F
Sugar concentration: 87%

Drop a little of this syrup in cold water and it will form a firm ball, one that won’t flatten when you take it out of the water, but remains malleable and will flatten when squeezed.

Caramels are cooked to the firm-ball stage.

3. Hard-Ball Stage
250° F–265° F
Sugar concentration: 92%

At this stage, the syrup will form thick, "ropy" threads as it drips from the spoon. The sugar concentration is rather high now, which means there’s less and less moisture in the sugar syrup. A little of this syrup dropped into cold water will form a hard ball. If you take the ball out of the water, it won’t flatten. The ball will be hard, but you can still change its shape by squashing it.

Nougat, marshmallows, gummies, divinity, and rock candy are cooked to the hard-ball stage.

4. Soft-Crack Stage
270° F–290° F
Sugar concentration: 95%

As the syrup reached soft-crack stage, the bubbles on top will become smaller, thicker, and closer together. At this stage, the moisture content is low. When you drop a bit of this syrup into cold water, it will solidify into threads that, when removed from the water, are flexible, not brittle. They will bend slightly before breaking.

Saltwater taffy and butterscotch are cooked to the soft-crack stage.

5. Hard-Crack Stage
300° F–310° F
Sugar concentration: 99%

The hard-crack stage is the highest temperature you are likely to see specified in a candy recipe. At these temperatures, there is almost no water left in the syrup. Drop a little of the molten syrup in cold water and it will form hard, brittle threads that break when bent. CAUTION: To avoid burns, allow the syrup to cool in the cold water for a few moments before touching it!

Toffee, nut brittles, and lollipops are all cooked to the hard-crack stage.

Caramelizing Sugar

If you heat a sugar syrup to temperatures higher than any of the candy stages, you will be on your way to creating caramelized sugar (the brown liquid stage)—a rich addition to many desserts.

Clear-Liquid Stage
320° F
Sugar concentration: 100%

At this temperature all the water has boiled away. The remaining sugar is liquid and light amber in color.

Brown-Liquid Stage
338° F
Sugar concentration: 100%

Now the liquefied sugar turns brown in color due to carmelization. The sugar is beginning to break down and form many complex compounds that contribute to a richer flavor.

Caramelized sugar is used for dessert decorations and can also be used to give a candy coating to nuts.

Burnt-Sugar Stage
350° F
Sugar concentration: 100%

Watch out! Above about 350° F, the sugar begins to burn and develops a bitter, burnt taste.