Victorian Week Redux

So last year my boyfriend at the time (now my wonderful fiancée) came up with a great idea of doing a week of Victorian Era recipes in honour of Victoria Day. Well I had so much fun doing it last year, I thought, why not do it again this year? So I went on-line and actually found a copy of a menu served at one of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee dinners, on June 21st, 1887.

Now, it’s a pretty big deal to have a Jubilee year as a monarch, especially if that monarch is a woman. As a reigning monarch you are in constant danger from those that wish to over take you or just want to overthrow the throne. As a woman, she gave birth to 9 children, at at time when delivery was dangerous for both mother and child.What can I say, she was quite the woman! So in her honour, a week of recipes and a day off next week! Enjoy!

Diamond Jubilee Dinner

For those of you not up on your French, the menu reads as follows:

Potages (Soups)
À la Tortue (Turtle Soup)
Au Printanière (Spring Vegetable Soup)
À la Crème de Riz (Cream of Rice Soup)

Poissons (Fish)
Whitebait
Les Filets de Soles farcis à l’Ancienne (Filets of Sole, Stuffed and Garnished with a Cream Sauce of Shrimps, Mushrooms and Truffles)
Les Merlans Frits (Fried Whiting)

Entrées (Mains)
Les Petits Vol-au-vents à la Béchamel (Vol-au-Vents with White Sauce)
Les Côtelettes d’Agneau, Pointes d’Asperges (Lamb Chops with Asparagus Tips)
Les Filets de Canetons aux Pois (Duckling with Peas)

Relevés (See note below)
Les Poulets à la Financière (Chicken Garnished with Cocks’ Combs, Cocks’ Kidneys, Dumplings, Sweetbreads, Mushrooms, Olives and Truffles)
Haunch of Venison
Roast Beef

Rôts (Roasts)
Les Cailles Bardèes (Roast Quail)
Les Poulets (Roast Chicken)

Entremêts (Sweets)
Les Haricots verts à la Poulette (Green Beans in Cream Sauce Garnished with Onions and Mushrooms)
Les Escaloppes de Foies-gras aux Truffles (Sliced Foie Gras with Truffles)
Sprütz Gebackenes
La Crème de Riz au Jus aux Cerises (Cream Rice with Cherry Juice)
Les Choux glacés à la Duchesse (Iced Puff Pastries)

Side Table
Cold Beef, Tongue, Cold Fowl (Cold Chicken)

“Relevés” – Apparently, it means to relieve, or to remove, and was used in the following sense (according to Larousse Gastronomique, which is pretty much a food bible, so I believe it).

“Remove: Dish which in French service relieves (in the sense that one sentry relieves another) the soup or the fish. This course precedes those called entrees.”

Maybe because they were English they did it after the entrees? What can I say, when you’re Queen, you can have your meals served any way you want!

Roasted Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage

Roasted Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage

Okay, after touting both the virtues and dangers of rhubarb, not to mention some delicious recipes, I don’t really have much more to say on the subject. But I will leave you with this one last bit of trivia: Did you know though not often used today, the word ‘rhubarb’ can also mean ‘a heated argument or dispute,’ according to Merriam Webster.But don’t get into a rhubarb about dinner, maybe try this dish out instead?

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 ¼ cups orange juice
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup water
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel*
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger*
3 cups 2-inch-long ¼ inch-thick matchstick-size strips rhubarb (from about 2-3 stalks trimmed rhubarb)
8 cups thinly sliced red cabbage** (from about ½ medium head)
½ cup Sherry wine vinegar
½ cup dry red wine
6 (6-7 ounce) salmon fillets with skin
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups arugula**
¾ cup plain Greek-style yogurt

* Click here to get tips on zesting oranges and peeling fresh ginger.
** Click here to learn how to clean arugula and cabbage.

Directions:

Stir the mustard seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to small bowl and put aside for now.

Bring the orange juice, sugar, water, and orange peel to boil in large skillet, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pre-cooked mustard seeds, coriander seeds, caraway seeds and ginger.

Simmer away until it becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add the rhubarb and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until rhubarb is tender but intact, about 2-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to microwave-safe bowl and put it aside for now.

Bring syrup in skillet back up to a simmer and add the cabbage, vinegar, and wine, bringing everything up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat back down to medium, partially cover, and simmer until cabbage is soft and most of liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes. Season the cabbage to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the cabbage from the heat.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the salmon until it is just opaque in centre, about 11 minutes. Rewarm reserved rhubarb in microwave just until warm, about 1 minute or so.

Divide the warm cabbage among 6 plates. Scatter the arugula atop and around the cabbage. Place 1 salmon fillet atop the cabbage. Spoon a dollop of the yogurt atop the salmon, and then the rhubarb.

Ginger Rhubarb Crisp

Ginger Rhubarb Crisp

So just in case you weren’t already sold on the whole rhubarb idea yet, did you know how good it was for you? Did you know it can just about do everything for you but your taxes? Here is just a short list of the great wonders that rhubarb has going for it, y’know, besides just tasting awesome!

  • Aids in weight loss – high in flavour, but low in calories, rhubarb is a great alternative with only 21 calories in 100 grams!
  • Stimulates bone growth and repair – the vitamin K promotes osteotrophic activity.
  • Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease  – that’s the vitamin K again, which prevents the oxidation of brain cells and stimulates cognitive activity.
  • Stimulates production of red blood cells – the trace amounts of copper and iron found in rhubarb are enough to stimulate the production of new cells.
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases – the impressive amount of antioxidants in rhubarb help ensure that free radicals don’t cause heart disease.
  • Prevents cancer and macular degeneration – beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are polyphenolics found in rhubarb which delay and ward off cancers and degeneration.
  • Stengthens digestive system and relives constipation – high in fibre, rhubarb has been traditionally used as a cure for constipation.

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
zest from 1 orange
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
8 cups chopped rhubarb (8 large stalks/16 small stalks)
½ cup flour
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup salted butter or margarine
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats

Directions:

Move an oven rack to the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and set it aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the white sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, salt, eggs, orange zest, and ginger until well combined. Add the rhubarb, and mix to coat. Pour the rhubarb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Thoroughly combine ½ cup flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon by pulsing in a food processor or blender. Stir in the oatmeal by hand, and then crumble the whole mixture over the rhubarb. Gently pat the topping down to make a crust.

Bake on the centre rack of the preheated oven until the topping is lightly golden, the rhubarb has fallen apart, and the juices are very thick and bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes. Check frequently after 30 minutes to see if bubbles are thick.

Rhubarb Wild Rice Pilaf

Rhubarb Wild Rice Pilaf

So here’s a little FYI about rhubarb, were you aware that it is poisonous? Rhubarb contains oxalate, which causes illness or death when large quantities are ingested. Most of rhubarb’s oxalate is in its leaves, so trim them off and discard them, and you’re safe. There is almost no poison in the actual rhubarb stalks.

By the way, it’s not easy to die from eating rhubarb leaves. According to The Rhubarb Compendium website (at www.rhubarbinfo.com), a 150 pound person would have to eat at least 11 pounds of rhubarb leaves before suffering fatal effects. I think we’ll all be okay with this weeks recipes.

Ingredients:

¼ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium/large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 2 large stalks)
½ cup white wine
½ cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup cooked wild rice (about ⅓ of a cup uncooked)
1 cup cooked long-grain white rice (about ⅓ of a cup uncooked)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F, and spread out the almonds onto a baking sheet. Toast almonds in the preheated oven until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep an eye on them, nuts burn ever so quickly! Set the almonds aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion in the oil until just translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about another minute. Add the rhubarb and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes more.

Stir in the wine, raisins, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper into rhubarb mixture; cover the skillet with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until rhubarb is tender to the bite but still firm, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the honey and soy sauce, stirring everything to combine.

Lastly, add both the wild and white rice into the rhubarb mixture, stir until rice is heated through. Top with toasted almonds.

Rhubarb Custard Tart

Rhubarb Torte

So I came across this picture more than a year ago, and fell head over heels in love with it. but alas, no recipe to go along with it. So I became a woman on a mission, trying to find something that would more or less match up, and I think I did. I played around with a few different recipes and settled on the one below, taking a bit from this one and a bit from that one. I have given an recipe for making your own pastry dough, but you can easily just use a store bough one instead. Just blind bake until golden brown and follow the rest of the steps for the tart.

Ingredients:

Sweet Pastry Dough:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (1 stick, minus 1 tablespoon)
1 large egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 ½ tablespoons cold water

Custard:
414ml (14 oz.) condensed milk (this is equal to 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons)
100ml evaporated milk (this is equal to ½ cup minus 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs + 2 yolks

Rhubarb:
2-3 large stalks fresh rhubarb, sliced to the width of your tart pan
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water

You will also need a 14 x 5 x 1 inch rectangular tart case (or any other tart shell you would like)

Directions:

For the Pastry Dough:
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips (or I’ve even known people to use two knives in a criss-cross motion), blend together the flour mixture and butter until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and water with a fork and then stir it into the flour/butter mixture with the fork until combined well.

Gently knead the dough in the bowl with floured hands until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times. Form the dough into a ball, and then flatten it into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.  If making the tart right away, preheat oven to 350°F, and line a rectangular pastry case with sweet pastry and blind bake* until golden, about 12-15 minutes.

For the Custard:
To make the custard you are going to need to pans on the stove top at once. One with the evaporated milk/cornstarch mixture and one acting as a double boiler* for the egg base.  For the egg base, take a small to medium pan (make sure your pan is smaller than your mixing bowl that will sit on top) and put a cup or two of water in it and set it to boil on the stove. Once it begins to boil, lower it to a simmer. It is now ready to act as your double boiler.

While you are waiting for your water to come to temperature, mix the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and condensed milk together in a glass bowl. Once the water is simmering, place the glass bowl over the pan, and heat the contents, whisking until they thicken. To make the custard place the evaporated milk and cornstarch in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Remove both mixtures from the stove top and fold together to fully combine. Pour the combined custard into the cooked pastry case.

For the Rhubarb:

Cut the rhubarb into equal lengths, to fit the pastry case. Pour the sugar and water into a sauce pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Place the rhubarb into the heated sugar and allow to cook for 1 minute then turning gently for another minute. You are just par-cooking the rhubarb, the final product will still have some firmness to it.

Place the rhubarb gently on top of the custard along the length of the pastry case. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the tart and rhubarb with the remaining sugar syrup to glaze. Refrigerate until chilled and set.

* Click here to learn about blind baking and double boilers.

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

So I was asking around the office if anyone had any special requests for recipes, and one of my co-workers was very quick to say “Rhubarb! I want recipes for rhubarb!” So, ask, and ye shall receive. This week will have some sweet dishes, but I also wanted to give some savoury and not so expected rhubarb recipes as well, like today’s barbecue sauce. This is will work great on a variety of dishes, but check using Worcestershire sauce containing fish on meat dishes (see the tips & tricks page).

Ingredients:

4 large stalks fresh rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1 (12 fl oz) can Dr. Pepper® soda
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce*
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons corn starch, optional

* Click here to learn about using Worcestershire sauce in meat dishes.

Directions:

Combine the rhubarb, soda, apple cider vinegar, sweet onion, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, allspice, salt, black pepper, cloves, ground chipotle, and garlic powder in a saucepan, bringing everything to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer until the rhubarb and onion are very soft, about 45 minutes, stirring often.

Pour the sauce into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel and pulse a few times to get the sauce moving before leaving it on to purée. Purée in batches if necessary until sauce is smooth.

If you wish to thicken the sauce, take the following steps: In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with a couple of tablespoons of the sauce until combined. Pour this corn starch mixture, along with the puréed sauce, back into a saucepan over a medium heat, while whisking until it begins to thicken. Once it thickens, remove from the heat.

Challah

Challah

So if you’re going to do bread recipes, how can you not do a challah recipe? My mom and sister make their doughs and do a first rise in a bread machine, and then take out the dough to shape, do a second rise, and then bake in the oven. Personally, I like to make my dough in my food processor, then take it out to rise, shape, rise again, and bake. Maybe that’s just because I’m not lucky enough to own a bread machine. But hey, whatever works for you, works for me.

I’m going to be setting up a separate page about the laws of taking challah, for those of you who wish to learn more about the it and get the chance to partake in the mitzvah when they are baking bread. You can click here to be taken directly to the page. I am also going to be setting up a how-to page on different braiding techniques for some easy, and some not-so-easy, ways to make a beautiful loaf for your table.

So, having said all that, please enjoy the recipe below. It will make two medium loaves or three small.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups water, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup oil
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar, divided
⅓ cup honey
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 egg (for the egg wash)

Directions:

If you are making this in a bread machine, place all of the wet ingredients first (except for the 3rd egg, that is for an egg wash on top of your braided challahs), then all of your dry ingredients, adding your yeast last. Set your machine on the dough setting. Once the machine is done, remove the dough from the machine and braid or shape the bread to your liking. Make an egg wash from the remaining egg and a little water mixed together, brushed on top of the bread. Bake in a preheated 350°F degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the challahs are golden brown and sound hollow when knocked on. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

If you are making this recipe by hand or in a food processor, use these directions:

In a medium sized bowl add the yeast, ¼ cup of warm water (heated to 105°F-110°F) and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy, like beer.

In a large bowl or in your food processor fitted with your dough blade, mix together the flour, remaining sugar and salt. Slowly add the wet ingredients until dough begins to form, including the yeast mixture. If using a processor, let the processor run until a ball begins to form around the blade. In either prep method, once a ball has formed, turn it out onto a floured counter and knead the dough for a few minutes so that it comes together to form a nice cohesive elastic dough. Add more flour or water as needed.

Lightly grease a large bowl and put your dough in it to rise. Cover the dough with a dish towel and place in a warm area for about an hour or so, until it has doubled in size.

Turn out your dough on to a floured surface, and punch the bread down to release air bubbles. Knead the dough for another few minutes and then shape/braid your loaf into whatever shape you desire.

Place loaf(s) in oiled pans and cover with a dish towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until again doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. You can top with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or just egg wash the tops.

Bake at 350°F until bottom of the loaf(s) sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Onion & Garlic Cheese Bread

Cheese BreadSo as we know, bread is a staple. It has been around forever, in one form or another, be it loaf, bun or pita. Because of this, our wise Sages worried that  an unsuspecting person might mistake dairy bread for plain pareve bread and eat it together with meat. In doing this, he  would inadvertently violate the prohibition of eating milk and meat together.

So, to stop this problem before it happened, they decreed (Gemara: Pesachim 30a and 36a) that one may not bake dairy bread unless certain criteria are met:

  1. either changing the shape or look of the dough prior to baking, making it instantly recognizable to all as dairy. So if all your loaves are rectangles, then ONLY your dairy ones are round, or having cheese on top of the loaf so one can see at a glance that it is dairy.
  2. baking dairy bread exclusively in small quantities, so that it is consumed all at once and inventory control is in place. You serve the dairy bread at a dairy meal, and don’t have to worry about a leftover roll being used for a meat sandwich.

(FYI – The same prohibition and exclusions apply to meaty bread as well, due to bread’s propensity to be eaten with a dairy meal)

So, having said all that, let’s bring on the cheese bread! Make sure however to follow the guidelines above and to top the loaf with lots of cheese so that is it visible to all that it is a dairy loaf.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (between 105°F – 110°F)
½ cup warm milk (same temperature as the water)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups flour + flour for dusting
2 tablespoons margarine
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried minced onion, divided
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese + more for topping the loaf
Oil to grease a bowl & pans

Directions:

Combine the yeast, water, milk and sugar in a large bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes foamy (like beer).

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, garlic powder, 2 tablespoons of the minced onion, margarine, and cheese. Add the foamy yeast mixture to the flour mixture and combine to make a dough ball. Knead the dough for a few minutes so that you have a cohesive mix, and it is not too sticky or too dry. Add more flour or water as needed.

Lightly grease a large bowl and put your dough in it to rise. Cover the dough with a dish towel and place in a warm area for about an hour or so, until it has doubled in size.

Turn out your dough on to a floured surface, and punch the bread down to release air bubbles. Knead the dough for another few minutes and then shape your loaf into whatever shape you desire.

Place loaf(s) in oiled pans and cover with a dish towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until again doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. Sprinkle the remaining dried minced onion and cheese over the top of the loaf.

Bake at 350°F until bottom of the loaf(s) sound hollow when tapped, 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with your dairy meal!

Quick & Easy Beer Bread

Beer Bread

So as a double whammy, for a splurge after Pesach, how about a quick and easy Beer Bread? It’s got both wheat flour and beer! How can you go wrong? Check out the recipe below and you will want to bake some for dinner tonight! As always, feel free to play with the savoury aspect of the recipe. Don’t have onion power or Italian seasoning? Don’t like them? Switch to garlic powder, rosemary or sage. Use whatever seasoning your family prefers, including not adding any at all.

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer
¼ cup margarine, melted

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch baking pan.

In a bowl, mix the self-rising flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Pour in the beer, and mix just until moistened. You will get more of a sticky batter rather than a dough ball. Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan, and pour the melted margarine over top.

Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

I’m Back… and I’ve brought some bread with me!

bread

So folks, first off, mea culpa! It has been way too long since I last posted, but work and life has been hectic. To catch you up on the past few months, we’ve had Chanukah, Tu B’Shevat, Purim and Pesach, all prime food holidays, which I admit, I slacked on. My bad. For those of you who would like, I can pull out some menus and recipes from those days and catch you all up. But onwards and upwards! Since we have just finished Pesach, a holiday of no leavened products, I feel the great desire for some real bread. Not potato starch bread. Not a gluten free concoction (though credit does go out to my gluten-intolerant and Celiac friends, I’ve got your backs too! Check out the posts under the Gluten Free Category). I want real, wheat flour based, bread!

So with that in mind, I dedicate the rest of this week to bread! Our proud quiet companion that supports whatever delicious substance we slap between two pieces of it. Without you bread, we wouldn’t have a sandwich. Thank you.