Monthly Archives: June 2017

When Corn Salad is not Corn Salad

Valerianella locusta illustration by Thomé (1885) showing the plant, flower, and seed.

There is plant called

corn salad

Ackersalat02

Which is not the same thing as a

corn salad

Corn_&_Beans_(15392776377).jpg

See?

Not the same thing at all.

Corn Salad also goes by Mache, Doucette and Raiponce …yes, that translates to Rapunzel!

Fairy_Tales_From_The_Brothers_Grimm_Rapunzel_3_By_Walter_Crane

Walter Crane illustration of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Was she so named because her hair grew like a weed?

Evidently, it’s called corn salad because it’s a weed in the corn – which is any grain back in England. People use to gather it in from the fields,  and not actually grow it in their gardens. Ordinary people, that is.

Thomas Jefferson grew it in his gardens at Monticello.

Official_Presidential_portrait_of_Thomas_Jefferson_(by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800)

Thomas Jefferson – not ordinary

Louis XIV also grew it in his garden

Louis_XIV_of_France

Louis XIV – the Sun King – very NOT ordinary!

I’m really tired of KALE

kale

So perhaps Corn Salad – or Mache or Doucette or rapunzel  could be next Arugula…

rocket

 

 

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Just fine

Van Gogh, Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, June 1888. Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 64.3 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Van Gogh, Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, June 1888. Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 64.3 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

First day of Summer.

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Happy Birthday, Pappa!

June 18th was Father’s Day in 1933.

It was also the day my father was born, which made a certain amount of sense when I was little  –  why wouldn’t fathers be born on Father’s Day?  (My mother was christened that same day in Italy, which is the start of the connections between the two of them…..)

And he  LOVED Chinese food.

chinese-take-outLike blue eyes and curly hair (what was left of it) this was such a fundamental part of who he was and what he did,  that I never asked, nor do I remember anyone else ever once asking,

“Chinese food? What is about Chinese food, Bill? Why Chinese food? How does an Irish boy learn about Chinese food”

Good questions…wish I’d thought of them sooner. Not only was  Chinese food the treat of treats, it brought him into the kitchen after he retired.

He had a wok.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality of the ancestral home cooktop.

For a very long time, perhaps as far back as the ’70’s, a paperback copy of  “The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking” by Madame Grace Zia Chu has been kicking around .Chinese Cooking larger

Several recipes have markers….but the basic of the basics is Fried Rice.

HAM FRIED RICE

2 Tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon sugar

2 eggs

4 tablespoons peanut or corn oil, divided

¼ cup scallions cut into ¼ inch pieces

4 cups cold boiled rice

½ cup diced cooked ham

  1. Mix the soy sauce with the sugar. Set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs and scramble them slightly in 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.
  3. In a heavy frying pan or a wok heat 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat.
  4. Add scallions and stir a few times
  5. Add rice and stir quickly so that rice won’t stick to the pan and will be well coated with the oil
  6. Add the soy sauce/sugar mix, stir well.
  7. Add the ham and the slightly scrambled egg, mixing and breaking the eggs into little pieces in the rice.
  8. Serve hot.

NOTES: The rice needs to be THOROUGHLY cold or all you’ll get is a sticky mess. Madame Chu’s note and my experience. Brown rice may be used for a more hippie version, just be sure that the rice is cooked thoroughly.

Cooked chicken or beef may be substituted for the ham.

The original recipe does not call for a wok, but I think they’re a little more common now, so if you got one, go ahead and use it.

The original calls for ¼ teaspoon MSG, which I stopped using years, make that decades, ago. If that departure from the recipe makes it Irish/Chinese fusion, so be it. Call the Food Police. Guilty as charged.

Serves 4.

Grace Zia Chu. The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking. Pocket Books, March 1969. p.51.

Fried_rice

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Rinktum Ditty

Here’s another cheese toast/toasted cheese to add to the mix from Cynthia Clampitt

The World's Fare

Rinktum-Ditty-cropped-B.jpg
It was the name of this recipe that caught my eye initially, as I was flipping through an old cookbook. Then, looking over the ingredients, I was definitely interested in trying it. Seriously, anything with melted cheese is going to be pretty good. Rinktum Ditty is something of a spin on Welsh rarebit (or do you say “rabbit”–both terms are ancient and correct), but with tomatoes taking the place of beer.

It appears that Rinktum Ditty came to America from England, specifically from Cheshire. It became associated with New England, but it clearly spread nationwide, even appearing in a 1917 collection of recipes in Arizona.

Some versions call for cooked tomatoes, others for tomato sauce, and a few Depression-era versions used canned tomato soup. I decided to update it a bit, using a can of “petite diced” tomatoes. It made it a bit chunkier, but the flavor of the cheese…

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Rabbit or Rarebit?

Now to find Irish Rarebit….

Plays with Fire

First, hitting the books

The recipes, by century

18th century

1747

To make a Scotch rabbit,

toast the bread very nicely on both sides, butter it, cut a slice of cheese about as big as the bread, toast it on both sides, and lay it on the bread.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

 

To make a Welch rabbit,

toast the bread on both sides, then toast the cheese on one side, lay it on the toast, and with a hot iron brown the other side. You may rub it over with mustard.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

To make an English rabbit,

toast the bread brown on both sides, lay it in a plate before the fire, pour a glass of red wine…

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Drive-In Day

June 6th is National Drive-In  Movie Day. Shouldn’t it be Drive-In NIGHT????

It’s not as easy to see a drive in movie as it used to be……

As I’ve mentioned before, popcorn put me through college….

And Kingston was where I made it.

We also got to see the movies. Or hear them . Not always both at the same time, but after six nights, you had a clue. And we could always come in on our night off and watch, so yes, I went to the Drive-In to WATCH the movies.

And eat free popcorn, freshly made.

It was at the Drive-In I saw Star Wars

Not knowing anything about Star Wars before it first aired…it seemed to have dropped out of the sky.

Image a summer night sky and then…

Just think about this movie on a giant screen against the night sky.

Movie Magic.

drive in

 

 

 

 

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New England Style Poutine

I’m talking about chowder fries.

Why have I never heard of these before?

darling-oyster-bar-1_2000x1500

Chowder over French Fries – New England Poutine

Saveur had a story….just last March.

Thick chowder is key – as are hot and crisp Fries. Frozen will not do. This might be my Summer go out for dish.

The spud on spud left my Irish heart happy.

Here’s what may be the first chowder recipe in print.

Boston Evening Post on September 23,1751.

First lay some Onions to keep the Pork from burning
Because in Chouder there can be not turning;
Then lay some Pork in slices very thing,
Thus you in Chouder always must begin.
Next lay some Fish cut crossways very nice
Then season well with Pepper, Salt, and Spice;
Parsley, Sweet-Marjoram, Savory, and Thyme,
Then Biscuit next which must be soak’d some Time.
Thus your Foundation laid, you will be able
To raise a Chouder, high as Tower of Babel;
For by repeating o’er the Same again,
You may make a Chouder for a thousand men.
Last a Bottle of Claret, with Water eno; to smother ’em,
You’ll have a Mess which some call Omnium gather ’em.

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coniglio coniglio coniglio

Ital rabbit 1

rabbit italian soup tureen

Italian Soup Tureen

italian-rabbit-recipe-COVER-1000x628

Not surprisingly, most of the Italian rabbit images have them already cooked, or are plates to serve them in…or cookbooks.

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Happy Birthday!

 

Happy Birthday, Mother Mine

and his and his

and hers

and his and his

roses bunch

The number of candles above is representative and not actual.

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