Sunday, November 14, 2010

Marinara Sauce

Cooks aboard Napolitan ships invented marinara sauce in the mid-16th century after Spaniards introduced the tomato (a New World vegetable) to Europe. This meat-free sauce was easy to make and resisted spoiling due to the high acid content of tomatoes. This made it ideal for lengthy sea voyages hundreds of years before refrigeration methods were invented. (Wikipedia: Marinara Sauce)

Everyone has their own recipe for Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce.  I picked up a few ideas from my mom's recipe, and my husband's mom's recipe.  I added some touches of my own, and am happy to now share it with all of you.


Ground Turkey Marinara Sauce (in a crock pot)

1 Onion, Chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced (more or less depending on how you feel about garlic)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 package Lean Ground Turkey (1.25 lbs)
1 Red bell pepper, chopped
3-4 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seed
3 large cans of crushed tomatos
1 small can tomato paste (if the sauce is not thick enough)
salt and pepper to taste

To a crock pot on high heat add onion, garlic, and olive oil.  Sweat the onions (I usually add a little salt to them) stirring occasionally.  Add the ground turkey, stir to break into small pieces.  Add bell pepper, basil, parsley, oregano, fennel, and pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked.
Add the crushed tomatoes, stir and cook on low, stirring occasionally.

Cook down for several hours to get a thicker consistency, or add tomato paste if the sauce is too watery.  Taste, add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve on pasta or use in lasagna or anything else that uses marinara.

This sauce can be made vegan by just removing the ground turkey from the recipe.


Tomatoes were originally found only in the New World (South America), but now are eaten freely throughout the world.  Their consumption is believed to benefit the heart among other organs.  They contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant.  Preliminary research has shown an inverse correlation between consumption of tomatoes and cancer risk, lycopene has been considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Lycopene has also been shown to improve the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays. Tomato consumption has also been associated with decreased risk of breast cancer, head and neck cancers, and might be strongly protective against neurodegenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s Diseases).
Some tomato varieties are available with double the normal vitamin C, 40 times normal vitamin A, high levels of anthocyanin (resulting in blue tomatoes), and 2 to 4 times the normal amount of lycopene. (Wikipedia: Tomato, Lycopene)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Preparations of Duck throughout the years

A friend requested that I find any old recipes I had for duck, so let's talk about duck.

Wild ducks have been hunted for food, down, and feathers worldwide since prehistoric times.  In America during the 1800's, there became a thriving commercial waterfowl hunting industry because of the need for food and the vast supply of birds.  Currently, most ducks used for consumption are farm raised rather than wild.

Ducks have been farmed for thousands of years; most likely farming started in Southeast Asia. They are farmed for their meat, eggs, and down. A minority of ducks are also kept for foie gras production. Their eggs are blue-green to white depending on the breed.

Ducks are more expensive and less popular than chickens because they have less lean white meat and are more difficult to keep confined than chickens are. Duck appears less frequently in the mass market food industry and lower priced restaurants and stores because of it's higher price tag.  Duck is generally only popular in "haute cuisine." 

(citations: Wikipedia: Duck, Mallard, Domestic Duck)

I will now include the recipes I have found for Duck, plus a traditional meal plan and those other recipes as well.  At some point, I'm going to give some really awesome traditional dinner parties, so I can use all of these delicious sounding recipes, and post about them as well.

Seven Centuries of English Cooking: A Collection of RecipesIf you are at all interested in what cooking was like during and before the 1920's, you should check out  Seven Centuries of English Cooking: A Collection of Recipes by Maxime de la Falaise.  It's awesome, and has all kinds of interesting historical foods! 

A Mallard, Smothered; from Seven Centuries of English Cooking, Gervase Markham, 1660:
A 3 pound Mallard or wild duck
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup stock
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
2 Tbsp wine vinegar or 1/2 cup gooseberries (or cranberries)
2 slices of toast, cut in sippets (A small piece of toast or bread soaked in gravy or other liquid or used as a garnish).

Dust the duck with flour and brown it in oil; brown the onions in the same oil. Braise the duck in the same pan and add the stock, wine and herbs. Simmer for about 1 hour; then add the currants and dates and simmer for another 30min or until the duck is tender.  Remove the bird and keep it warm.  Add the butter, sugar, cinnamon, wine vinegar or gooseberries, reduce the sauce and pour over the bird in a dish garnished with sippets.
Duck with Horseradish; from Seven Centuries of English Cooking, Charles Carter, 1732:
A 4-4 1/2 pound duck
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup grated Horseradish.
Freshly grated Horseradish
1 sliced lemon

Dust the duck with flour and brown it in the butter on all sides. Add the chicken stock and grated horseradish and simmer gently until the duck is tender.  Remove the duck and carve it.  Arrange the pieces on a warm serving dish, then skim the fat from the surface of the sauce and pour the sauce over the bird. Arrange the fresh horseradish at each end of the dish and the sliced lemon around the edges.

To Stuff and roast a Turkey, or Fowl; from The First American Cookbook, 1796:
One pound soft wheat bread
3 ounces beef suet
3 eggs
a little sweet thyme
sweet marjoram
pepper and salt
and some add a gill (1/2 cup) wine

fill the bird therewith and sew up, hang down to a steady solid fire, basting frequently with salt and water, and roast until a steam emits from the breast, put one third of a pound of butter into the gravy, dust flour over the bird and baste with the gravy; serve up with boiled onions and cranberry-sauce, mangoes (a name sometimes given to the cantaloupe; and often attributed to any vegetable or fruit: melon, squash, green pepper, etc. that can be stuffed and pickled), pickles or celery.
2. Others omit the sweet herbs, and add parsley done with potatoes.
3. Boil and mash 3 pints potatoes, wet them with butter, add sweet herbs, pepper, salt, fill and roast as above.
To Stuff and Roast a Goslin; from The First American Cookbook, 1796:
Boil the inwards tender, chop them fine, put double quantity of grated bread, 4 ounces butter, pepper and salt, (sweet herbs if you like; sweet thyme, marjoram) 2 eggs moulded into the stuffing, parboil 4 onions and chop them into the stuffing, add wine, and roast the bird.  This is a good stuffing for every kind of Water Fowl, which requires onion sauce (or gravy cooked with onions).

1896 Boston Cooking-School CookbookThis one is also a great guide to historical (and modern) cooking.  It has everything!

Roast Duck Dinner Menu; from The 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book:
Cream of Lima Bean Soup
Roast Duck
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Cauliflower au Gratin
Rice Croquettes with Currant Jelly
Grapes, Pears, Crackers, Cheese, and Cafe Noir.

Cream of Lima Bean Soup
1 cup dried lima beans
3 pints cold water
2 slices onion
4 slices carrot
1 cup cream or milk
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Soak the beans overnight; in the morning drain and add cold water; cook until soft, and rub through a sieve. Cut vegetables in small cubes, and cook five minutes in half the butter; remove vegetables, add flour, salt, and pepper, and stir into boiling soup.  Add cream, reheat, strain, and add remaining butter in small pieces.

Roast Duck
Dress and clean a wild duck and truss. Place on rack in dripping-pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover breast with two very thin slices fat salt pork. Bake twenty to thirty minutes in a very hot oven, basting every five minutes with fat in pan; cut string and remove string and skewers.
Serve with Orange or Olive Sauce. Currant jelly should accompany a duck course. Domestic ducks should always be well cooked, requiring little more than twice the time allowed for wild ducks.
Ducks are sometimes stuffed with apples, pared, cored, and cut in quarters, or three small onions may be put in the body of duck to improve flavor.  Neither apples nor onions are to be served.

Olive Sauce: Remove stones from 10 olives, leaving meat in one piece. Cover with boiling water and cook five minutes.  Drain olives, add 2 cups Brown Sauce*.

Orange Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/3 cups Brown Stock*
1/2 tsp salt
Juice from 2 Oranges
2 Tbsp sherry wine
Rind of 1 orange cut in fancy shapes
dash of cayenne

Brown the butter, add flour, with salt and cayenne, and stir until well browned. Add stock gradually, and just before serving, orange juice, sherry, and pieces of rind.

*Brown Sauce: 2 Tbsp butter, 1/2 slice onion, 2 1/2 Tbsp flour, 1 cup Brown Stock, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper.  Cook onion in butter until slightly browned; remove onion and stir butter constantly until well browned; add flour mixed with seasonings, and brown the butter and flour then add stock gradually.

*Brown Stock: marrow bones, beef, poultry carcasses, carrots, turnips, leeks, celery, parsnips and onion. Simmered and skimmed for several hours producing a dark brown liquid.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
To 2 cups boiled & riced or mashed sweet potatoes add three Tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and hot milk to moisten. Beat until light, and pile on a vegetable dish.

Cauliflower au Gratin
Place whole cooked cauliflower (or cut for easier serving) on a dish for serving, cover with buttered crumbs, and place on oven grate to brown crumbs; remove from oven and pour one cup Thin White Sauce around cauliflower.
Thin White Sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup scalded milk
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
Melt butter in saucepan, add flour mixed with seasonings, stir until thoroughly blended. Gradually pour in milk, stirring until well mixed, then beating until smooth and glossy.

Rice Croquettes with Currant Jelly
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp butter

Wash rice, add to water with salt, cover and steam until rice has absorbed all the water. Then add milk, stir lightly with a fork, cover and steam until rice is soft. Remove from heat, add egg yolks and butter; spread on shallow plate to cool. Shape into balls, roll in breadcrumbs, then shape in form of nests. Dip in egg, again in crumbs, deep fry until golden and drain. Put a cube of currant jelly in each croquette. Garnish with parsley.

Sounds good, doesn't it?  I may have to go out and get myself a duck to try at least one of these preparations. In the mean time, I think I'm going to have to try those Rice Croquettes, and probably the cauliflower au gratin.  I'll let you know how they turn out!

(If you have any questions, suggestions or recommendations for recipes... Please feel free to comment on any posts, or send me an email:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How to Dress a Turtle

The First American Cookbook: A Facsimile of "American Cookery," 1796     "Fill a boiler or kettle, with a quantity of water sufficient to scald the callapach* and Callapee*, the fins, &c. and about 9 o'clock hang up your Turtle by the hind fins, cut off the head and save the blood, take a sharp pointed knife and separate the callapach from the callapee, or the back from the belly part, down to the shoulders, so as to come at the entrails* which take out, and clean them, as you would those of any other animal, and throw them into a tub of clean water, taking great care not to break the gall*, but to cut it off from the liver and throw it away, then separate each distinctly and put the guts into another vessel, open them with a small pen-knife end to end, wash them clean, and draw them through a woolen cloth, in warm water, to clear away the slime and then put them in clean cold water till they are used with the other part of the entrails, which must be cut up small to be mixed in the baking dishes with the meat; this done, separate the back and belly pieces, entirely cutting away the fore fins by the upper joint, which scald*; peal off the loose skin and cut them into small pieces laying them by themselves, either in another vessel, or on the table, ready to be seasoned; then cut off the meat from the belly part, and clean the back from the lungs, kidneys, &c. and that meat cut into pieces as small as a walnut, laying it likewise by itself; after this you are to scald the back and belly pieces, pulling off the shell from the back, and the yellow skin from the belly, when all will be white and clean, and with the kitchen cleaver cut those up likewise into pieces about the bigness or breadth of a card; put those pieces into clean cold water, wash them and place them in a heap on the table, so that each part may lay by itself; the meat being thus prepared and laid separate for seasoning; mix two thirds parts of salt or rather more, and one third part of cyanne pepper, black pepper, and a nutmeg, and mace pounded fine, and mixt all together; the quantity, to be proportioned to the size of the Turtle, so that in each dish there may be about three spoonfuls of seasoning to every twelve pound of meat; your meat being thus seasoned, get some sweet herbs, such as thyme, savory, &c. let them be dryed and rub'd fine, and having provided some deep dishes to bake it in, which should be of the common brown ware, put in the coarsest part of the meat, put a quarter pound of butter at the bottom of each dish, and then put some of each of the several parcels of meat, so that the dishes may be all alike and have equal portions of the different parts of the Turtle, and between each laying of meat strew a little of the mixture of sweet herbs, fill your dishes within an inch an half, or two inches of the top; boil the blood of the Turtle, and put into it, then lay on the forcemeat* balls made of veal, highly seasoned with the same seasoning as the Turtle; put in each dish a gill* of Madeira Wine, and as much water as it will conveniently hold, then break over it five or six eggs to keep the meat from scorching at the top, and over that shake a handful of shread parsley, to make it look green, when done put your dishes into an oven made hot enough to bake bread, and in an hour and half, or two hours (according to the size of the dishes) it will be sufficiently done."
(I did change the font to more modern writing, but I kept in the "typos" or spelling/grammar differences from that time period, if you wish to see the original click on the title of the recipe.  I have also included a definition of certain terms with which some people might not be familiar.)

*'d terms: 
Callapach; also, calipash: That part of the turtle adjoining the upper shell; Turtle meat adhering to
the upper shell. 
Callapee; also, calipee: That part of the turtle adjoining the lower shell; Turtle meat adhering to the under shell. 
Forcemeat; also, forced meat: Chopped and ground flesh, usually seasoned and bulked with bread crumbs, oatmeal, and eggs, and used as a filling; or, simply that meat has been forced through a grinder; in other words meatballs.  
Entrails; also, guts: the internal organs of a person or animal.
Gall; also, Gall bladder: it contains bile which tastes extremely bitter and breaking it would transfer that taste to anything the bile came in contact with. 
Gill: A small liquid measure holding one fourth of a pint = 1/2 cup.
Scald: To treat with boiling water (in this case boil it a little so that the skin comes off more easily).

This appears to be a very handy page for definitions of old cooking terms: Feeding America

I don't know if I'll ever run into a situation where I need to "Dress a Turtle," but at least I'll know how to if I ever do!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apologies, Technical Difficulties, and More!

It's been a while.  Actually, quite a while since I last posted.  I am sorry, but I was at least upfront and honest that I am lazy.

In other news, I completely forgot to bring my camera home with me after a delightful trip to my parent's house (for their birthdays, which happen in the same week in October) and so am unable to put up those delightful pictures you're all used to.  Luckily, I have a few pictures on my computer that can be used until I get my camera back over Thanksgiving.

Also, I went on a cookbook hunt recently, and procured a few rather inexpensive books from  As I'm sure most of you know, I love old things.  So in addition to the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, I also got The First American Cookbook: A facsimile of "American Cookery," 1796 by Amelia Simmons.  It's fascinating!  I was reading last night "To Dress a Turtle."  I didn't even know that American's ate turtle!  And I am also amazed by just how much housewives had to know about anatomy!  It is written in an older font, which means that some of those letters that look like "f" are actually "s"... but it's definitely worth the $3.50 I paid for it.

On to the Birthday Gifts!
I made some rather silly things for my parents this year.  For my Dad, since he has a new Droid phone, I made the adorable little icon into an adorable little stuffed critter.
You know you want one of your very own!
That's florescent green swimsuit fabric, a little bamboo fiber fill for the antenna, arms and legs, and those tiny polyester beads filled the body.  I was really careful at first and didn't spill hardly any of the beads (though they stick like crazy to everything) but near the end of filling this little guy, I managed to spray little white beads everywhere!  I'm still finding them, every once in a while, but a swiffer and vacuum combo seemed to get most of the pesky things.
The pattern I made up entirely.  It took some "advanced math" to figure out how to make the rounded shape, but I got some assistance here.  Though, I did kind of end up just cutting until the paper shape looked right to me... and I did a lot of reshaping/folding under/top stitching by hand after it was sewn together.  At first the white strip in the middle was too wide, so after filling as much as I could, I stitched him closed and then folded the whole white strip thinner and stitched all the way around by hand. It made him pleasantly plump, I think.

For Mom, I knitted a dozen flowers using this pattern.  They turned out great!  That's them but with just the flowers on the wood skewers I used for the stems.  I then knitted a bunch of stems (pun intended).  Hopefully, when I have the camera back, I can get a better picture.  They were super quick to put together, and I usually completed one or two while watching a couple episodes of whatever cartoon I was watching at the time.
I also made a "villain" to be the rival of the Android... but unfortunately, I didn't download the pictures of him to my computer before I left my camera at my parent's house.  Oh well, you'll all have to wait and see him later.

(Cites: Amazon.comXWiki: To Sew a Sphere, Andrew Craig Williams Blog)