Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ben Franklin's Super Dishes Bowl You Over with Big Game Taste.

Boston of Philadelphia?
Which of his hometown teams 
would Ben Franklin have chosen? 

The Winner was Philadelphia. 
As the eagles soared to
a closely fought victory. 

Benjamin Franklin about age 50 when he
served the British Army

Benjamin could cheer for Patriots.
After all Boston was where he was born and lived until he was 17.

Or the Eagles might be the natural choice.
Franklin was perhaps the most prominent Philadelphian before, during, and after the American Revolution.

Whichever team he might cheer for Benjamin Franklin certainly would be a convivial host.

Franklin enjoyed wine, beer, punch, and good eating throughout his life. During the early days of the French and Indian War,  Ben and his son William equipped the picky-eating British officers for "tailgating" with meals on the go.  He made up special saddle-bag picnics which the red-coated troopers could eat as their wagons, cannon, and men moved through the Pennsylvania wilderness.

Those saddlebag rations included ham, cheeses, pickles, mustard, biscuits to supplement the cornmeal and preserved "cold cuts" of the day-to-day rations.

Perfect foods for Franklin Game Day Menu:
See recipes below or click through links.

18th Century Corn Cakes (recipe below) with Pulled Pork
Meat and Cheese Tray with Ben's Boston Biskets
Tasty Stuffed Pork Loin (recipe below)
Super Meat Balls (recipe below)
Cranberry Tart
Arrack Punch
       Franklin believed in drinking alcohol in moderation.
       A little of this tasty punch goes a long way.

These easily made corn cakes are a delicious Franklin-era treat that
fit right in to our tailgating and game day snacks

18th Century Corn Cakes 

1 cup water
1/4 cup cornmeal--regular, stone or coarsely ground
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg, well beaten
up to another tablespoon water  if necessary

Note: there isn't any leavening in this recipe

In a medium saucepan bring the water to a slow boil. Gently and very gradually sprinkle in the cornmeal and salt, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until the water is completely absorbed, stirring frequently. Coarsely ground meal will take longer to absorb the water. Set aside to cool. Stir in the flour followed by the beaten egg. Add more water bit by bit if batter seems too stiff. Drop batter onto hot griddle as for pancakes. Cook until the bottom side is browned and the top looks dry. Flip and continue cooking until browned on both sides.

These delicious cakes have a soft interior and are wonderful hot off the griddle or at room temperature as a wrap for pulled pork or other meats.

Makes 8 4-inch cakes.

Adapted from Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, 1796

Tasty roast pork loin is stuffed with mixture
of parsley sage, mace, nutmeg and pepper.

Ben Franklin's Super Game Stuffed Pork Roast

3-4 pound boneless center cut pork loin -- about 3 inches in diameter
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley ( or 2 tablespoons dry)
1/2 cup minced fresh sage (or 2 tablespoons dried rubbed sage -- not ground)
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 slices uncooked bacon, minced
1 cup water
1 cup white wine 
1/4 cup vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup mild molasses for glaze

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine the parsley, sage, pepper, mace, and nutmeg.  Add the bacon and mix well. 

Cut a spiral into the meat so that it will look like a jelly roll when finished. Start at the long side of the loin and make a slice about an inch deep all the way down the length of the meat. Turning the loin as you cut to keep the one-inch thickness, continue slicing into the interior of the meat so that you end up with a flat piece of meat. Spread the herb, spice, and bacon mixture on to the now flattened pork roast. Roll the meat back up and tie with 100% cotton kitchen sting.

Line a 9-by13-inch baking pan with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Put the meat in the middle of the foil. Add water, wine, vinegar and bay leaves. Carefully bring up the sides of the foil, sealing the meat in a foil packet.

Bake until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 to 155 degrees F. about 35 to 40 minutes per pound. Check with a meat thermometer.

Turn off oven and preheat broiler on low. Make a glaze by mixing 1/2 cup of the cooking juices with 1/2 cup molasses. Discard the rest of the cooking liquid or reserve to moisten meat if desired. Pour the glaze over the meat. Return to oven about 8 inches below the pre-heated broiler. Cook until the roast is lightly browned.  Watch carefully as the molasses mixture can burn quickly. Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Adapted from "How to Collar a Pig" Eliza Smith, The Complete Housewife, Williamsburg Edition, 1742.

Super Meatballs

2 large egg yolks lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pound coarsely ground beef, 80% lean
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for coating
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a small bowl combing egg yolks and seasonings. In a large bowl add this spice egg mixture to the ground beaf and mix. Form into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Roll them in flour and shake off the excess. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spray lightly with more cooking spray, and bake until lightly browned about 15 to 20 minutes..

Makes about 2 dozen meatballs, each about 1 inch in diameter.

Serve with cole slaw and dressing made from mayonnaise, which was unknown in Franklin's kitchen, to mimic an 18th-Century cooked sauce.

Meatball Sauce 

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated horseradish
dash nutmeg

Mix together and use as a spread or dipping sauce for meatballs. Store unused sauce in the refrigerator.

Adapted from "Forcemeant," Joan Doak manuscript, The Art of Cookery, 1762

Copyright Rae Katherine Eighmey 2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's Resolutions Benjamin Franklin's Way

Chestnuts, shown here roasting on an open fire, were some of the pounds
of delicious foods Benjamin Franklin's French kitchen ordered up for the
holiday season celebrations at the end of the American Revolution

As he had for the preceding seven years, Benjamin Franklin spent Christmas 1783 in France.  Franklin and his guests would have been in high spirits. The peace treaty ending the American Revolution had been signed by all parties. Soon the nation's first diplomat and his grandsons Benny and Temple would be able to return to the rest of the family in Philadelphia.

On an earlier trans-Atlantic journey from London, 23-year old Benjamin Franklin considered the errors, not the successes of his life so far. He used the two-month voyage to take stock. From that contemplation he drew up what came to be called his Book of Virtues -- a daily checklist of thirteen areas of behavior. At first he made his tallying checkmarks in a paper notebook. However, rotating through the pages every thirteen weeks, the paper began to wear out as he erased his entries to start his notations anew. Recognizing that this would be a lifelong practice, Franklin purchased a memorandum book with ivory pages. He inscribed his goals with ink making them permanent and he then could continue marking his daily accomplishments, or failures, with an easily erased lead pencil.

Benjamin carried this journal with him on his journeys, even during his time in France. Years after his death his French friends and admirers recalled, "We touched this precious booklet, we held it in out hands! Here was the chronological story of Franklin's soul."

Benjamin Franklin's Book of Virtues goals are here in abbreviated form:

1. Temperance
2. Silence--avoid trifling conversation
3. Order--let all things have their place and time
4. Resolution--make goals and accomplish them
5. Frugality--waste nothing
6. Industry--always be employed in something useful
7. Sincerity--think innocently and justly
8. Justice--don't wrong others with your actions
9. Moderation in all things
10. Cleanliness
11. Tranquility--do not be disturbed by small things or unavoidable accidents
12. Chastity
13. Humility

Frugality--Waste Nothing was one of Franklin's lifelong resolutions demonstrated here with
Cucumbers Picked in Slices and Shallow Pan Apple Marmalade
from Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin Chapter 2 Lifelong Lessons Learned Around the Dinner Table
and Apricot Marmalade from Chapter 12 A Kitchen View of the Year of Peace.

Franklin promoted his virtuous ideals in the pages of his Poor Richard's Almanac. He wove his sayings through the almanac listings of astronomical conditions. Frugality was one of his key considerations. As was the importance of pickles to healthy eating. He wrote: "Squeamish stomachs cannot eat without pickles." And the corollary: "Hunger is the best pickle."

                                                    Cucumbers Pickled in Slices

3 cucumbers, about 8 inches in length
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Piece of fresh ginger root, about 2 inches by 1/2 inch, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

Wash the cucumbers and cut them into slices, about 1/8-inch thick. Peel the onion, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Layer the cucumber and onion slices in a nonreactive bowl, sprinkling salt between the layers. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 24 hours.

Drain off the accumulated juices. Pour the vinegar over the vegetables and let stand in a cool place for 4 hours.

Drain the vinegar into a saucepan, add the mace and peppercorns, and bring to a boil. Divide the cucumbers and sliced fresh ginger between two hot, sterilized pint canning jars. Carefully pour the boiling vinegar over the cucumbers. Put lids and screwbands on the jars and let stand in a cool place for 2 or 3 days, shaking occasionally. As the original 1717 recipe said: "In two or three days they will be fit to eat." Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Makes two pints.

Adapted from "Cucumbers Pickled in Slices," T. Williams, The Accomplished Housekeeper, and Universal Cook, 1717.

Copyright 2018 Rae Katherine Eighmey. All rights reserved.