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quince marmalade www.paulawalton.com

For me the sharp tang of quince marmalade captures the essence of a New England autumn.  I am fortunate enough to have multiple varieties of quince growing around my property.  We purchased our house on a late autumn day in 1990.  The following spring brought daily surprises as we identified new plants emerging from their deep winter sleep.  In May the enormous shrub, growing just outside our kitchen windows, burst into a glorious explosion of deep  pink blooms.  The reflected glow from the blossoms turned the kitchen into a rosy wonderland.  I loved it, and had absolutely no clue what type of bush it was!  I’d never seen anything like it in the Midwest.  After making inquiries of some of our neighbors, who are lifelong Connecticut residents, I learned that we owned a quince bush.

The deep reddish pink blossoms on the left are from the quince bush that grows outside our kitchen windows.

The deep reddish pink blossoms on the left are from the quince bush that grows outside our kitchen windows.

After doing a bit of research I learned that flowering quince bushes like ours are not true quince.  Flowering quince is a group of three hardy, deciduous shrubs: Chaenomeles cathayensis, Chaenomeles japonica, and Chaenomeles speciosa , in the family Rosaceae. Native to eastern Asia in Japan, China and Korea, flowering quince is related to the orchard quince (Cydonia oblonga), which is grown for its edible fruit, and the Chinese quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis). Flowering quince is often referred to as Japanese quince.

Almost harvset time.  Our quince are never beautiful, as we garden organically and are quite frankly negectful orchard keepes... I comfort myself with the thought that 200 years ago quince would not have been perfect and pest free.

Almost harvest time. Our quince are never beautiful, as we garden organically and are quite frankly neglectful orchard keepers… I comfort myself with the thought that 200 years ago quince would not have been perfect and pest free.

Somewhere along the way, my search for information about flowering quince turned into an obsession with true quince trees, their place in history and early 18th and 19th century receipts (recipes) for cooking quince.  In 1908, 14 varieties of common quince were being grown the United States, but by the start of the 21st century that number had shrunk to four or five cultivars that are still widely planted.  When I was searching for quince trees to plant, I wanted older varieties.  Initially I planted Orange and Van Deman trees, and later added  a few Smyrna.

The heavy fruit had bowed this branch of from our quince tree almost to the ground.

The heavy fruit had bowed this branch of from our quince tree almost to the ground.

The varying varieties of quince trees produce fruits with distinct flavors, shapes, and scents, much like different types of apple varieties (although no apple has the intoxicatingly lovely fragrance that ripe quince has).  Some years I keep the fruit pick separated by variety when I cook and other years I don’t.  I love them all and the rest of my family can’t really distinguish the difference between  Van Deman and Orange or Smyrna, although they can tell them apart from the fruits of the flowering quince bushes.

Some of my favorite things about quince are the fact that quince marmalade was actually the first kind of marmalade, the more familiar citrus marmalades came later in culinary history.  Another bit of trivia that I love is the fact that some people think that the apple Eve gave to Adam in the garden of Eden was actually a quince.  Aside from history, I would grow quince just so that I could have a bowlful of them scenting the air in my house every fall!  The fact that they have beautiful blossoms, produce amazing edible fruit, and are related to roses are all just bonuses 🙂

Here is my favorite receipt for Quince Marmalade which is taken from The Williamsburg Art of Cookery which may be purchased online here :

quince marmalade www.paulawalton.comQuince Marmalade

Boil the quinces in water until soft, let them cool, and rub all the pulp through a sieve: put two pounds of it to one of sugar, pound a little cochineal, sift it through fine muslin, and mix with the quince to give a colour; pick out the seeds, tie them in a muslin bag, and boil them with the marmalade; when it is a thick jelly, take out the seeds , and put in pots.

I usually pick the fruits from my quince bushes and make them into juice, by slowly simmering them with just enough water to cover, mashing them, then straining the juice.  Then I use the juice, along with thinly sliced quince from my trees to make the marmalade.  This year I read a recipe that called for grating the quince, instead of slicing it.  It worked very well and went much faster, as you do not need to peel the quince before grating.

Slowly cooked quince usually turns a lovely pinkish, red color on it’s own.  If is doesn’t you can add a drop of food coloring, rather than the cochineal.

Quinces are very high in pectin, so you usually do not need to add any, other than your quince seeds in a muslin bag :), but if you are worried about your marmalade setting up, the new Ball brand powdered pectin is very easy, flexible and forgiving to use.  It also lets you easily adjust for varying size batches of marmalade, jam and jelly.

One of the best  simple pleasures on a cool, crisp fall morning is warm toast, made over an open flame.  I especially love making toast with the toasting fork that my son, Blair, made for me <3

One of the best simple pleasures on a cool, crisp fall morning is warm toast, made over an open flame. I especially love making toast with the toasting fork that my son, Blair, made for me ❤

My son,Colin and daughter-in-law, JungHwa brought me quince tea from South Korea.  You could make a similar tea by infusing a spoonful of quince marmalade and a dab of honey in hot water.

My son,Colin and daughter-in-law, JungHwa brought me quince tea from South Korea. You could make a similar tea by infusing a spoonful of quince marmalade and a dab of honey in hot water.

 

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”
Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

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Patty pan squash, pink eyed purple podded peas, and heirloom tomatoes growing in my garden.

Patty pan squash, pink eyed purple podded peas, and heirloom tomatoes growing in my garden.

Every year I grow an abundance of summer squash in my gardens.  One of my favorites is patty pan squash.  The doll making retreat that I held last fall was in late September, when my squash were still plentiful, but my tomatoes and eggplants were at the end of their seasons.  You can change the proportions of the vegetables in this recipe to fit what you have available.  Ratatouille normally has quite a few tomatoes in it.IMG_2049

Ratatouille

3 large Vidalia onions

4 assorted heirloom tomatoes

2 small eggplants

6 medium patty pan squash

8 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese

6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

sea salt

Wash the vegetables and cut them into 1 inch cubes.  Put the vegetables  into a crock pot with a removable stoneware insert.  Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.  Place the stoneware insert in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours.  Remove from oven and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, put the insert into the crock pot.  Add Parmesan cheese and the basil, stir lightly to mix.  Cook in the crock pot on high for 4 hours.

IMG_2057

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Freshly washed Dragon's Tongue beans on the left and Pink Eyed Purple Podded Peas on the right.

Freshly washed Dragon’s Tongue beans on the left and Pink Eyed Purple Podded Peas on the right.

As part of  my Izannah Walker Doll Making Retreat in September, I cooked lunch for everyone, using some of the fresh produce from my gardens.  I promised to post recipes for a few of the favorites, so here they are.  Just in time for your 2013 garden planning!

Black Eyed Pea Salad

1-2 cups of shelled, cooked and cooled black eyed peas, pink eyed purple podded  peas or other field/cow peas (you may also substitute 1 can of rinsed black eyed peas)

1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into thin rings

4-6 cups of washed and dried field greens or young lettuces

optional: 1 cup of cooled, steamed “tender-crisp” young black eyed peas or pink eyed purple podded peas in the pod – cook them just as you would young green beans

1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar – or to taste

1/2 cup of olive oil

3/4 teaspoon sea salt – or to taste

1 teaspoon sugar – or to taste

Mix last four ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well.  Place black eyed peas, pea pods and onions in a bowl.  Pour all of the vinaigrette over the top.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  Before serving, place lettuce in a large salad bowl or individual bowls.  Spoon marinated peas, pods and onions over the top along with some of the vinaigrette.  Serve with croutons if desired.

Heirloom Dragon Tongue Beans in my garden.

Heirloom Dragon Tongue Beans in my garden.

MORE…

Another similar recipe, that is a favorite of mine, is this one that I’ve adapted from an heirloom Shaker receipt.

"Dill Marinated Beans" Dragon Tongue beans, Pink Eyed Purple Podded Peas and dill in jars, before adding vinaigrette.

“Dill Marinated Beans” Dragon Tongue beans, Pink Eyed Purple Podded Peas and dill in jars, before adding vinaigrette.

Dill Marinated Beans

6 cups of fresh beans and/or young field pea pods – cooked tender crisp in boiling salted water – then cooled

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (or to taste)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)

1 cup of fresh dill – roughly chopped

Place cooled, cooked beans and peas in clean jars with tight fitting lids (canning jars work perfectly for this).  Divide dill between the jars.  Pour the remaining vinaigrette ingredients into a separate jar, screw lid on tightly, shake well until thoroughly combined.  Pour the vinaigrette over the beans and dill, dividing evenly amongst the jars.  Cap the jars of beans and refrigerate at least overnight.  These are delicious served as a cold side dish, or spooned over mixed  greens as a salad.  They make wonderful picnic food too!

Fresh dill grown in a recycled granite-ware canning pot.

Fresh dill grown in a recycled granite-ware canning pot.

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Wishing you all the very best possible New Year and every happiness in 2012!

The perfect finish to 2011.  Sitting front of a cozy fire that is burning merrily in our stone lined cooking hearth; sipping champagne from my grandmother’s champagne shells, nibbling on lavender vanilla sugar cookies…

Lavender Vanilla Sugar Cookies

4 cups flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 pound butter

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp ground vanilla beans

1 Tbsp dried lavender

for decoration:

Cake Mate Cupcake Gems in Glitter Gold and Shimmer Silver (or try pearl sugar)

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs.  Stir in flour, salt, baking powder, ground vanilla beans and lavender.  Chill.  Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on floured surface.  Cut with desired cookie cutters (preferably antique 🙂 ) Place on baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.  Sprinkle with silver or gold sugar.  Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Cookies should not brown, but stay very pale around the edges.

Lavender Vanilla Sugar Cookies

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Two receipts to mark the occasion of George Washington’s 279th birthday.

George and Martha’s Favorite Mince Meat Pie

5 pounds beef, ground

1 pound beef suet, ground

2 pounds raisins

2 pounds currants

1 tablespoon cloves

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon ginger

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon pepper

4 cups sugar

1 lemon, juice and rind

1/2 poud citron peel

8 cups apples, chopped fine

Cook the ground beef and after it cools, add all of the other ingredients.  Blend thoroughly and  set aside.

Boil in a large saucepan:

1 quart apple cider

1 quart brandy

2 tablespoons butter

Pour over the other ingredients.  When cool, pack in jars, or cover the bowl well and store in a cool dry place.  Allow to stand for at least 24 hours before using to make pies.  Will keep up to 6 months if  canned in sealed canning jars.

Makes 8 – 12 pies.

George Washington had a definite weakness for mince meat pies.  Martha found it well worthwhile to make up a large batch, for if planned wisely, it only had to be undertaken once each winter.  She recommended not eating these pies at night before going to bed, if the eater valued his slumber.

Receipt from The Early American Cookbook Authentic Favorites for the Modern Kitchen by Dr. Kristie Lynn & Robert W. Pelton.

Washington Cake

Beat together 1-1/2 pounds of sugar, and three quarters of a pound of butter; add 4 eggs well beaten, half pint of sour milk, and 1 teaspoon of saleratus*, dissolved in a little hot water.  Stir in gradually 1- 3/4 pounds of flour, 1 wine glassful of wine or brandy, and 1 nutmeg, grated.  Beat all well together.  This will make two round cakes.  It should be baked in a quick oven, and will take from 15 to 30 minutes, according to the thickness of the cakes.

*use baking soda

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Scottish Shortbread

1 pound butter

1 cup sugar

4 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar.  Add flour a little at a time until it makes a stiff dough.  Pat into a large cookie sheet or 9 x 13 pan, or roll and cut out with tin cookie cutters.  Bake in a slow oven (300 degrees) for 30 minutes or till golden.  If you baked one large sheet, cut it into squares as soon as you remove it from the oven and cool in the pan.

Last Christmas Christine Crocker posted a wonderful idea for shortbread. It’s taken me over a year, but I finally gave it a try. 🙂 Drop in and read Christine’s post, it’s sure to start you on a mad hunt for pressed glass!

Cobblestones

(Fanny Pierson Crane, Her Receipts, 1796, adaptation)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1- 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup cracked chocolate (pieces)

Cream together butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla and stir well.  Mix dry ingredients together and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate.  Drop from a heaping tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet 3 inches apart.  Bake in a medium hot oven for 12-15 minutes.  (for the cookies shown in the photo I substituted cinnamon chips for the cracked chocolate pieces)

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This is an ongoing list of  Open Hearth Cookbooks and magazines that I particularly like.  Please feel free to comment if you have a great resource to add to the list.  I just love “new” (to me) cookbooks! 🙂

The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion: Being a Collection of upwards of Five Hundred of the most Ancient & Approv’d Recipes in Virginia Cookery, published by Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Early American Cookbook – Authentic Favorites for the Modern Kitchen by Dr. Kristie Lynn and Robert W. Pelton.

The Virginia Housewife Or, Methodical Cook – A Facsimile of an Authentic Early American Cookbook by Mary Randolph.

Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery – An Unabridged Reprint of the 1851 Classic by Eliza Leslie.

The Kentucky Housewife by Mrs. Lettice Bryan, originally published in 1839.

Boston Cooking School Cook Book a Reprint of the 1884 Classic by Mrs. D. A. Lincoln.

Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book by Catharine E. Beecher.

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One of my favorite cookbooks is The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion: Being a Collection of upwards of Five Hundred of the most Ancient & Approv’d Recipes in Virginia Cookery, published by Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The book is filled with a wonderful collection of receipts, and out of all of them the one that’s  been the overwhelming favorite of everyone that I’ve served it to is Tea Punch.

Tea Punch

To three cups of strong green Tea put the Rind of six Lemons, pared very thin, one and one half Pounds of Sugar, Juice of six Lemons.  Stir together a few Minutes, then strain, and lastly add one Quart of good Rum.  Fill the Glasses with crushed Ice when used.  It will keep bottled.  Old Williamsburg Recipe

Make sure to serve this punch in very small glasses!  It is very smooth and quite deceptively potent.

If you would like to order a copy of this cookbook, you can shop online at Colonial Williamsburg’s  website.

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Have you ever run across terms that you are unfamiliar with when reading through an old receipt book?  Let’s start with the word receipt, do you know that 200 years ago receipt meant the same thing that recipe does today?

In amongst my cookbooks, I keep a bedraggled piece of paper entitled An Eighteenth Century Cooking Glossary.   I’ve had this particular reference for such a long time that I no longer remember exactly where I acquired it or who compiled it.

Since I find it particularly helpful, I thought I’d post it here for you to use too.  Plus let’s be honest,  if I ever lose my copy, now I’ll be able to find it again by checking the blog archives! 🙂

Measurements:

1 pound butter = 2 cups

1 pound flour = 4 cups

1 pound salt = 2 cups

1 pound sugar = 2 cups

1 pound cornmeal = 3 cups

1 pound milk = 2 cups

1 ounce butter = 2 tablespoons

1 ounce flour = 4 tablespoons

1 ounce baking soda = 2 tablespoons

1 ounce of any liquid = 2 tablespoons

General Rules:

1 cup liquid to 1 cup flour for pourable batters

1 cup liquid to 2 cups flour for drop batters

1 cup liquid to 3 cups flour for dough batters

1/8 teaspoon salt to each cup flour

1 tablespoon (or less) sugar to each cup flour – obviously there are a lot of exceptions to this rule! 🙂

Additional Terms and Measurements:

butter the size of an egg = 1/4 cup

butter the size of a walnut = 2 tablespoons

coffee cup = 1 measuring cup

dash = 1/8 teaspoon

1 kitchen spoon = 6 tablespoons

1 sugar spoon = 1 tablespoon

1 dessert spoon = 1 – 1/2 teaspoons

1 dram = 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon

1 gill = 1/2 cup

1 lump of butter = 2 tablespoons

1 pinch = 1/8 teaspoon

pint = 2 cups

pound of eggs = 8 or 9 large – Colonial eggs were small, so cookbooks of the period may suggest as many as 10 – 12 per pound

pound of flour = 3 to 4 cups – this varies greatly with some sources specifying as much as 4 – 1/2 cups

pound of sugar = 2 to 2- 1/2 cups

quart = 2 pints or 4 cups

scruple = 1/24 ounce or about 1/4 teaspoon

teacup = 1/2 to 3/4 cup

tin cup = 1 measuring cup

tumblerful = 2 cups

wineglass = 1/2 gill or 1/4 cup

Glossary of Terms:

Cree – To boil any of a variety of grains into porridge

Flummery – Jellied dessert often flavored with rose water or orange-flower water.

Forcemeat – Chopped meat seasoned with herbs and used for stuffing and meatballs.

Hoop (or Garth) – A deep ring used as a mold  for large cakes; first made of wood and later made of iron.

Isinglass – A gelatin made from the air bladder of a sturgeon and dried into sheets; also used as a clarifying agent.

Lively Emptings – The yeast sediment in the bottom of a beer barrel, used in place of beaten eggs in some recipes.

Pearl Ash – A bicarbonate of potash used as the alkaline in combination with sour milk for leavening.

Sack – White wine originally imported to England from Southern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Salteratus – A more refined bicarbonate of potash that replaced pearl ash as a leavening agent.  Today equal amounts f baking soda may be substituted for saleratus.

Searce (or Search) – To sieve, necessary to remove lumps from pounded loaf sugar and impurities (yuck!!! think about it :() from flour.


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Birth-day Pudding

Butter a deep dish, and lay in slices of bread and butter, wet with milk, and upon these sliced tart apples, sweetened and spiced.   Then lay on another layer of bread and butter and apples, and continue thus till the dish is filled.  Let the top layer be bread and butter, and dip it in milk, turning the buttered side down.  Any other kind of fruit will answer as well.  Put a plate on the top, and bake two hours, then take it off and bake another hour.

This receipt (aka recipe) is from Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book by Catherine E. Beecher.  Catherine Esther Beecher was born in 1800 in East Hampton, Long Island.  She founded the Hartford Female Seminary in 1823 as well as other schools for young women in Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.  She wrote A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1841) and Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book (1846).

Notes:

After buttering my dishes I dusted them with sugar, before layering in the bread and butter.

I cut the crusts off my bread, as the pudding was for a special occasion, but you certainly don’t have to.  I saved the crusts as a treat for the wild birds in my yard.  You may also save them to make  stuffings, bread crumbs, or croutons.

I chose cinnamon, mace and nutmeg as my spices.

I baked my doll sized pudding in a custard cup, which would also be nice if you want to bake yours in individual portions.

If you wish to use a modern oven, preheat it to 350 degrees and bake puddings for 15 minutes, then  reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees and continued baking for the remaining 2 hours and 45 minutes.  I removed my doll size pudding from the oven after 30 minutes of total baking time.  Your baking time is going to depend a lot on the size of your dishes and the thickness of your pudding, so check your oven fairly frequently.  It’s also a good idea to put a cookie sheet under your dish, because my pudding bubbled over as it was baking.

If you are baking your pudding on the hearth, you may bake it in a beehive oven, dutch oven or a reflector oven.  When using a beehive oven, place the pudding on one of the cooler spots in your beehive.  If you use a dutch oven or reflector oven, make sure that you do not cook the pudding at too high a temperature.


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