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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Forward

I don't think i know anyone who doesn't like Spring...and all the sudden explosion of color and warmth after so many torrid cold months. Its what makes us so rounded in personality in the northern hemisphere,

So with all this chat yesterday of "vernal" this and "Cookout" that...making me starving hungry.... ( especially after last night's Rock Bacchannalia in the city, and consuming almost a gallon of Pear Cider and Poachers Ale)...

...........I bring you a web-blog about Historic Gastronomy, especially the period of 18th and 19th Century American Cooking

It is written by a New York Artist called Sarah Lohan; who says

“I don’t know why old recipes are so evocative, since many of the ingredients are unknown to me or difficult to get, the processes laborious beyond belief, and the results, quite honestly, often nothing I’d want to eat. But they read like a poetry of lost specifics, in which you learn old words and ways to boil, bone, braise, devil, hash, jelly, pot, roast, sauce, steam, stew, and stuff…” (The Education of Oronte Churm)

Why bother deciphering a recipe over 150 years old?

You can take a collection of words and measurements written long ago, and turn it into a physical object. You can create something that looks, smells, and tastes just like it did hundreds of years in the past. And that’s the next best thing to time travel: it lets you understand a little bit about another way of life.

I don't think i'm going to find too much bear meat in the UK, and turtles arent that thick on the ground either.. We do have farmed Wild Boar that is going on the menu.

I love some of the drinks and Cocktail recipes tho and i hope you join me in trying a few out and raising an ancient a period of time that has made happy the hearts of Men for as long as Man has been around. .

And to finish...i see that Lady making her Grandma's Mac and Cheese... and the blog, maybe even has her grandma's recipe on it......!!!

Certainly it is an American Classic, and here is Sarah's description of how they made it way back when......

Macaroni and Cheese is largely thought of as a modern dish, thanks to the “Kraft Dinner,” introduced in 1937 and used as rations during WWII. But good ‘ol Mac n’ Cheese has a much longer history. In fact, I’ve already cooked up two different versions of this classic dish on this blog: a simple, 19th century version I ate during the Tenement Diet, and a more decadent recipe using neufchatel cheese during the Kellogg Diet.

Macaroni was possibly invented by the Romans, and was served with cheese sometime in the Medieval era (source). The first documented occasion on which Macaroni and Cheese was served in America was at the White House in 1802, during Jefferson’s presidency. A guest at one of Jefferson’s dinner parties recounts his first experience with the dish (source):

“…A pie called macaroni, which appeared to be a rich crust filled with onions or shallots, which I took it to be, tasted very strong, and not very agreeable. Mr. Lewis told me there was none in it; it was an Italian dish, and what appeared like onions were made of flour and butter, with particularly strong liquor mixed in them.”

The earliest known American recipe for macaroni and cheese appears in The Virginia Housewife, first published in 1824. This is the recipe that we shall attempt today.

It seemed decadent to boil the macaroni in milk, but I gave it a whirl to stay true to the recipe. While the pasta was cooking, it smelled sweet like a rice pudding; however, upon tasting it, I could discern no noticeable difference. I think that this step could be left out, if you desire.

I used a Queso Blanco, an un-anged, simply made Mexican cheese. I choose it for it’s similarity to farmer’s cheese, and other fresh cheeses used in the 19th c.

Macaroni and Cheese
from The Virginia Housewife: or, Methodical Cook By Mary Randolph, 1838 ed.
1/2 lb macaroni
1 quart whole milk
12 oz sliced farmer’s cheese, queso blanco, or queso fresco
1 stick unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring one quart milk and an equal amount of water to a rolling boil. Add macaroni and cook, uncovered, until al dente, about 6 1/2 minutes.
2. Drain in a colander. While still in the colander, sprinkle pasta with about a 1/2 tsp salt, shake to combine, then sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp more (or to taste).
3. Our about 1/3 of the pasta into a casserole or baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese and butter. Repeat, ending with a layer of cheese and butter on top.
4. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sir D ( who is now as you crashing about the kitchen rattling those pots and pans ) of O


  1. Spring
    Poachers Ale
    Historic Gastronomy / Cooking
    Mac 'n Cheese

    Sir Dayvd, I must say you pretty much covered it all there for me.

    Yes, Lady Suzanne made her famous and delicious home-made Mac 'n Cheese and shared dinner with my "Mum."

    I have to admit that the good old Kraft Mac 'n Cheese out of the box is still a favorite, too; especially with a big old slice of Texas Toast at the bottom of the bowl and plenty of pepper.

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

  2. A lot of us here have our macaroni cheese served with cauliflower florets, which is a step up from the normal 'Cauliflower Cheese' dish... both dishes of which are my favourite too...and all this talk of food has made me hungry again, and i've only just washed up from the last lot.:)

    Happy Days

    Sir D of O

  3. For you Colonial Gastros across the is the recipe for Cauliflower Cheese.

    1 large Cauliflower
    300ml (½ pint) Milk
    110g (4oz) Cheddar Cheese
    3 tbsp Plain Flour
    50g (2oz) Butter
    25g (1oz) Fresh Breadcrumbs
    ½ tsp Mustard
    Salt & Black Pepper

    Trim the cauliflower boil in salted water for 10-15 minutes or until just tender.
    Drain and place in a flameproof dish.
    Add the milk, flour and butter to a saucepan.
    Heat, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth.
    Allow to simmer for a further 2 minutes.
    Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, mustard, a pinch of nutmeg and seasoning.
    Cook for further minute stirring well.
    Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.
    Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together, sprinkle over the top.
    Place under a hot grill until golden brown.
    Serve immediately.

    D of O

  4. the sauce sounds similar to the one I make, add in some pepper and Worchestshire sauce and a lot more cheese, good teamed with pasta or veges either one -

    today we're heading to my mom's for birthday celebrating

    I requested a homemade chocolate cake (made with Coca cola no less)

    Lady Suz,
    who may be turning 51, but is still an 8 year old inside!
    and I'm very grateful to get to spend the day with my family

  5. funny you should say that as i was this afternoon making some chocolate mint cookies...i got off a TV programme this morning.
    and the chef was saying you could use coca-cola if you wanted in the it was really only carbonated Caramalised sugar. :)

    I did bother putting any in just used brown sugar i had already.

    For the biscuits
    225g/8 oz butter, softened at room temperature
    200g/7 oz sugar
    220g/7½ oz soft dark brown sugar
    1 tsp peppermint extract
    2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
    375g/13 oz plain flour, sifted
    1 tsp baking powder
    300g/10½oz plain chocolate chips
    For the topping
    150g/5¼oz mascarpone
    1 tsp peppermint extract
    200g/7¼oz dark chocolate, melted

    1. For the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
    2. Beat the butter, sugars and peppermint extract together until smooth.
    3. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until well combined.
    4. Fold in the flour, baking powder and chocolate chips until well combined.
    5. Spoon tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking tray, leaving 2.5cm/1in space between each biscuit.
    6. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden-brown and still slightly soft.
    7. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the biscuits from the baking tray and set aside to cool completely on a wire rack.
    8. For the topping, beat the mascarpone, peppermint extract and green food colouring, if using, together in a bowl until well combined.
    9. Spoon a little topping onto each biscuit. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water).
    10. Using a pair of tongs, dip each biscuit into the melted chocolate and set aside to harden on a wire rack.

    They are cooling in the fridge as i write...for snack treats with cups of Tea..during my working week.

    Sir D...( the cookie Monster )

  6. You guys are making me hungry and I just pigged out at a marvelous brunch with family and friends before loading the newlywedds on Royal Carribean Freedom of the Seas.

    Planning on trying out some ancient recipies and Sir D's Califlower concoction when we get home.

    Happy Birthday tomorrow Lady S and happy Spring Equinox to all!

    Sir Hook the Cheese Wiz of Warrick