March 12, 2010


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March 11, 2010

Snaphot: Pinons

Pine nuts.

My friend Cecile is visiting from Belgium, and she brought me a little gift: pine nuts, collected during a hike in the south of France.  I've never even seen a pine nut in it's shell before!  I'm going to make something really special with these; perhaps some Pignoli Cookies.

March 10, 2010

Travelogue: Chickens Cooked in Bladders

Left: My teacher proudly displays a chicken stuffed into a bladder. 

The weekend before Pancakes Aplenty, I took a trip down to Pennsbury Manor, the recreated historic homestead of William Penn.  I attended a hearth cooking workshop by Past Masters in Early American Domestic Arts to brush up on my skillz.

The featured recipe we recreated was from an 18th century source, "Chickens in Bladders."  You essentially take two small chickens, stuff them with a bread crumb and oyster dressing, then tuck meatballs under the skin, then shove the whole thing in a cow's bladder.  Our teacher, Clarissa, stretched out the cow's bladders by cutting off one end and forcing her hands inside, in procedure that looked either like a reverse birth or an old timey freak show.  The chickens were then coerced inside and the whole thing was boiled for about two hours.  When they came out, they looked like human balloons.

Forcing a chicken into a cow bladder. Photo by Carolina Capehart.

The finished chicken.  The bladders were cut open, the chicken removed and carved.

The bladders acted like a sausage casing, keeping all the stuffing in place.  The chicken meat was very tender, and flavorful, but the flavor was predominantly of oysters (not my favorite food).  It was served atop a "Coolio," and I was so distracted thinking about the rapper, that I think I may have missed what it actually was.  The full recipe, for your enjoyment, is below.  You can see more photos from the class here.

Take Ox-Bladders that are ready dry’d, and put them into warm Water to supple them: Cut off the Necks of the Bladders, to make Room for your Fowl to go in, but be sure to leave Room enough to tie them up close; then let your Fowl be drawn, singed, and truss’d to boil, the Legs* cut off, and truss’d close: Take Oysters, if three Fowls, to each a Quart, to a Chicken a Pint, set them, and beard them; take Lumps of Marrow, Chestnuts blanch’d, or Pistachoe-Nut Kernels; season with Pepper, Salt, and Nutmeg, Thyme and Parsly minc’d, and a little Onion; work this up together with grated Bread, a little Cream, and the Yolks of Eggs, and fill the Bellies full of it, and force under the Skin of the Breast with a little light forc’d meat: Put them in your Bladders, and tie them up fast, leaving Room that the Bladders may not break; boil them well, for they will require as much more boiling as without Bladders; then make a Coolio with a Sweetbread or two, a few Cocks-combs, a few Morelles and Trouffles; do not make it too thick; pout it in the Bottom of your Dish; lay your Fowl on it: You may cut off the Bladders, when they are cut up, the inside Forceing will mix with the Coolio: Garnish with Forc’d- meat and sliced Orange or Lemon, and serve it away hot. (The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter; London, 1730)

March 8, 2010

Events: Pancakes Aplenty! Wrap-up and Recipes

Cooking Apple, Sour Milk & Molasses Pancakes at Old Stone House yesterday.  See more photos from the event here.

I was too immersed in pancake making to know how many people came out to the event yesterday.  Take a look for yourself:

Despite a constant flow of pancakes, the line was this long for an hour and a half.  I was flabberghasted.

I want to thank everyone who was able to make it out yesterday, and thank you for waiting patiently and amicably while I furiously flipped flapjakes.  I simply was not prepared, nor was I expecting, to serve hearth-cooked pancakes for 200 people; I'm so pleased that everyone was able to get a taste, and (hopefully) went home happy.

If you enjoyed yourself, then I encourage you to make these recipes at home!  They work just as well on an electric skillet as they do over an open hearth--and it's probably a more efficient method of cooking.

Thank you again for the wonderful day; if you were able to attend, please leave your thoughts in the comments.  Enjoy the recipes, and I sincerely hope to see you at another event in the future.


Apple Pancakes
Adapted from The New England Economical Housekeeper by Esther Allen Howland, 1845.
Modern recipe adapted from The Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook, 3rd ed. by Jack Larkin, 2009.

The original recipes instructs the cook to deep fry these pancakes in lard, like a doughnut.  But I find this recipe works just as well fried with butter on a griddle or in a skillet.

2 cups sour milk or 1 1/2 cups fresh milk with 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 baking apples
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour

1. Combine milk and molasses, whisking until emulsified.
2. Pare and core apples, and dice into 1/4 in. cubes.  Add to milk and molasses mixture and set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk cornmeal, baking soda and flour until combined.  Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour milk mixture into the well, and mix until combined.
4. Fry in a skillet or on a griddle, with a generous amount of butter.  Serve with maple syrup, butter, or a hard sauce.

Clove and Rosewater Pancakes
Adapted from The New England Economical Housekeeper by Esther Allen Howland, 1845

Rosewater can be food in the Indian or Middle Eastern section of your grocery store.

3 tablespoons sugar
½ tsp cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lighten beaten with
½ tsp rosewater
1 cup whole milk

1. Combine sugar, cloves, baking soda, flour and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk until combined; set aside.
2. Whisk the milk into the egg and rosewater mixture.
3. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour milk mixture into the well, and mix until combined.
4. Fry in a skillet or on a griddle, using a generous amount of butter.  Serve with maple syrup, butter, or a hard sauce.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes
Adapted from Food, Drink and Celebrations of the Hudson Valley Dutch by Peter G. Rose, 2009.

"Although (the Dutch) continued their own food ways, they did incorporate native foods into their daily diets. They did so, however, in ways that were familiar to them: for example, when they made pumpkin cornmeal pancakes (cornmeal instead of wheat flour) or pumpkin sweetmeat (instead of quince paste)."

-- Food, Drink and Celebrations of the Hudson Valley Dutch by Peter G. Rose

1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten with
1 1/2 cups whole milk

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, and spices. Set aside.
2.  Whisk together egg and milk mixture with pumpkin puree until throughly amalgamated.  
3. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour milk mixture into the well, and mix until combined.
4. Fry in a skillet or on a griddle, with a generous amount of butter.  Serve with maple syrup, butter, or a hard sauce.

A Hard Sauce
From Miss Corson's Practical American Cookery and Household Management by Juliet Corson, 1886.

1 pound unsalted butter, room tempeature
2 cups sugar
½ cup white wine or brandy
1 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)

Beat in an electric mixer on medium until evenly combined.

March 2, 2010

Events: Pancakes this Sunday!

Do you know there are free pancakes at Old Stone House this Sunday? Pancakes made by me??  The official press release is below!


EVENT LISTING: Pancakes Aplenty
DATE:                            Sunday, March 7th
TIME:                            11am - 1pm.
LOCATION:              The Old Stone House in Washington Park5th Ave. at 3rd St.Brooklyn
DETAILS:               Stop by for brunch and a taste of the past at Brooklyn's Old Stone House. Historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman flips flapjacks over an open fire, and will recreate three historic pancake recipes: Pumpkin Cornmeal; Apple and Sour Milk; and Clove and Rosewater. Sure to tickle the modern palate, the pancakes will be served will all the fixins' as well as hot drinks.  Music for the little ones will be provided by Ivan Ulz, so bring the whole family. Presented by the New York Nineteenth Century Society and The Old Stone House. FREE
- More -
Sarah Lohman researches and recreates historic food, creating dishes that look, smell, and taste just like they did hundreds of years ago. She opens a delectable window to the past, letting her lucky tasters understand a little bit about another way of life.