Delicious and Savory Soufflés

This is the second article in March of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on March 10, 1907, and is a discussion on the soufflés.

I have never made a soufflés myself, however, based on television, movies, etc. I am aware that it can be difficult ensuring the soufflé does not fall after it has been taken out of the oven.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Boston Sunday Post.

Delicious and Savory Soufflés

PRONOUNCED as if written “soofflay.” Some will recognize them by the hearing of the ear who might mispronounce the printed word into unintelligibility.

“Kitchen French” thus translates it: “A pudding beaten to a froth and baked very quickly.”

Our good standby, the dictionary and cyclopedia, goes into details: “A delicate dish, sometimes savory, but usually sweet. It is made light by incorporating whites of eggs beaten to a froth, and placing it in an oven, from which it is removed the moment it puffs up, and served at once.”

Not a bad description from one who, presumably, is not a professional cook. The souffle is as often savory as sweet in my kitchen. It is one of the most popular methods known to us of utilizing left-overs. As I shall show presently, there are few vegetables that may not be saved from the stigma of “warmed-ups” by working them into the compound with the French name. For a quarter century the potato puff has been a frequent and welcome visitor to our table. It may not taste better when christened “souffle,” but it more nearly approximates the dignity of a “company dish,” especially if it be crowned with a meringue.

She is a stupid or bigoted mistress who does not learn something from every change of cooks. I, for one, am not ashamed to confess myself the debtor to even the least accomplished woman who has ever presided over my range and sink. If you will deign to study her methods, you will find that each incumbent has some specialty. One, a redheaded daughter of Erin, boasted modestly when I engaged her, that she “had quite a name for her corn bread.” She was a mediocre cook in general. She made the best corn bread I have ever eaten that was made of Northern Indian meal. I introduced the recipe into my first cook book under the title of “Nonpareil Corn Bread,” and told her I had done it. From a second cook I got a capital recipe for Yorkshire pudding, registering it under its rightful name in the face of her insistent declaration that it was “Auction Pudding.” To a later date belongs my instructor in souffles. She was a fair cook in other lines. She had a genius for souffles. It did not lower my respect for her that she was conscious of this. So long as harmless vanity in her one accomplishment did not interfere with the average excellence of her work, I encouraged her. In fact, I had secret enjoyment in the sight of Janetta’s mien and movements when allowed to transform a cupful or a saucerful of this or that left-over that might have been consigned to the garbage pail but for her proclivity to reduce any given culinary quantity to a souffle.

Her methods were worth watching. To begin with—and this stage is commended as an example to the novice in kitchen work—she collected all needed materials and tools before beginning the real business of the hour. Eggs, cream or milk, the vegetable or fruit, or marmalade, or rice or tapioca, which was to act as the foundation of the airy structure—bowls, egg beater, bake dish, sugar and other condiments—were set in intelligent order upon the table and duly scanned ere she seated herself solemnly in front of the array and fell to work. In the three years of her incumbency she never once failed to send in a soufflé at the right moment—puffy, tender, hot, and in all things satisfactory. What matter if an artist magnify her office when the result is invariably success? It is something to be proud of—the ability to do one thing as well, if not better, than anybody else can do it—be it ruling an empire or tossing up a souffle.

RECIPES FOR SOUFFLES OF VARIOUS KINDS

A Cheese Souffle
(A nice luncheon dish.)

PUT two tablespoonfuls of butter into a deep frying-pan, and when it hisses stir into it two tablespoonfuls of flour. Rub and stir to a smooth “roux” and add gradually a cupful of milk. Bring to a boil, having dropped a quarter of a teaspoonful of soda into the milk, and stir in an even cupful of grated cheese, a saltspoonful of salt and a dash of cayenne. In two chilled bowls have ready the yolks and the whites of four eggs, beaten separately and very light. Turn the contents of the frying-pan into a third bowl, and pour in with this gradually the beaten yolks, beating all the time. Fold into the mixture, and lightly, the stiffened whites. Pour all into a bakedish ready heated and buttered, and bake in a quick, steady oven to a delicate brown. Send to the table promptly, before it falls.

Bread-and-Cheese Souffle.

Scald two cupfuls of milk, adding a half-teaspoonful of soda. Add a cupful of fine, dry crumbs, and take from the fire. Leave the crumbs in soak for ten minutes, beat to a smooth paste, add a cupful of finely grated and very dry cheese, a tablespoonful of melted butter, a pinch of cayenne and a saltspoonful of salt. Beat hard for a minute and add the yolks of three eggs whipped light; lastly, the stiffened whites of the eggs. Pour into a heated and buttered bakedish, sift fine crackerdust on the top and bake, covered, for fifteen minutes in a brisk oven. Uncover and brown lightly.

A delicious dish, and more wholesome than one based entirely upon cheese.

Baked Souffle of Eggs.

Scald a cup of milk, putting in a tiny pinch of soda. Beat the yolks of six eggs until light and creamy, and the whites till stiff enough to stand alone. Add one-half teaspoonful of salt, a dash of pepper and one rounded tablespoonful of butter to the milk, and stir it into the yolks; then beat in the whites very quickly. Pour into a deep, buttered pudding dish and bake in a moderate oven ten minutes, or to a delicate brown. Serve immediately in the bakedish.

Orange Souffle.

Cut stale sponge cake into small cubes and saturate with orange juice. Pour into a dish and pour over it rich custard. Cover with whipped cream and put Maraschino cherries on top.

Spinach Souffle.

Chop a cupful of cold cooked spinach very fine, or run it through the vegetable press. Beat in a tablespoonful of melted butter, salt and pepper to taste, half a teaspoonful of sugar and a pinch of mace nutmeg. Stir and beat to a smooth paste; add half a cupful of milk, the beaten yolks of three eggs, and when these are well mixed with the other ingredients, ??? in the stiffened whites. Beat for thirty seconds and turn into a buttered dish. Bake twenty, minutes in a quick oven. It is very good.

Green Pea Souffle.

Mash a cupful of cooked peas to a smooth pulp, working in, as you go on, a tablespoonful of melted butter. Mix with this a cupful of milk, into which you have dropped a pinch of soda. Season with salt and pepper; beat in the whipped yolks of three eggs, and, a minute later, the stiffened whites. Turn into a buttered bakedish; bake, covered, in a brisk oven for twenty minutes, then brown lightly.

Potato Souffle.

Into a cupful of mashed potatoes work a cupful and a half of milk which has been scalded, and a pinch of soda added. Beat hard and light. Season with salt and pepper and a teaspoonful of onion juice. Add a teaspoonful of melted butter and beat to a cream before whipping in the yolks, then the whites, of two beaten eggs. Turn into a buttered pudding dish and bake, covered, for ten minutes in a quick oven. Then, uncover and brown.

Rice Souffle.

Make a roux of a tablespoonful of butter and one of flour heated and stirred together in a saucepan. When smooth pour in a cupful of milk heated with a bit of soda. Remove from the fire, and, when it is lukewarm, beat into the sauce a cupful of cold boiled rice, then the yolks, and finally the whites of three eggs, beaten separately. Bake in a pudding dish set in a quick oven. Keep the dish covered for ten minutes.

Onion Souffle.

Make as you would the rice souffle, substituting for the cold boiled rice a cupful of boiled onion—yesterday’s “leftover”—run through the colander or vegetable press, and free from all bits of skin and fibre.

It is very savory.

The Queen of Souffles.

Soak half a pound of prunes over night. On the morrow drain them well, remove the stones and mince the prunes finely. Whip the whites of seven eggs to a standing foam, beat in quickly six spoonfuls of powdered sugar; whip the minced prunes into this meringue; turn into a buttered pudding dish and bake in a hot oven. Twenty minutes should send it to table hot and high—a very dream of lightness and deliciousness.

Serve whipped cream as a sauce.

Date Souffle.

Is made in the save way, and is esteemed by some epicures as hardly second to the “Queen.”

Chocolate Souffle.

Make a roux of a tablespoonful of butter and one of flour in a saucepan. When smooth, add, by degrees three-quarters of a cupful of milk. Have ready in a bowl the beaten yolks of three eggs, into which have been stirred three tablespoonfuls of sugar. Turn the white sauce upon this; add four tablespoonfuls of grated sweet chocolate, and whip to a lukewarm cream. Set on ice to cool, stirring now and then to hinder a crust from forming. When quite cold, fold in the frothed whites of the eggs, and turn into a buttered pudding dish. Bake quickly and serve at once with whipped cream.

Marion Harland

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Some Delicious Lenten Entrees

This is the first article in March of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on March 3, 1907, and is a discussion on the entree. It is interesting to note that the entree was once identified as “a made dish introduced between the principal courses of a dinner.” Over one hundred years ago today an entree was a dish eaten prior to one of the main dishes, whereas, today the entree is known as the or one of many main dishes in a meal.

Also discussed in this article are sweetbreads. Like the chafing dish, sweetbreads are something that have gone out of fashion based on my knowledge. In fact, on first glance I assumed sweetbreads would be confectionery considering sweet is in the word. Imagine my surprise when I Googled that sweetbreads are actually the thymus or pancreas of a calf and lamb and that sweet refers to the flavour of the meat.

Another item on the menu is the calf’s head which is another item that isn’t exactly easily accessible to people today.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Boston Sunday Post.

Some Delicious Lenten Entrees

Who sets the fashions? The question never has been, and it never will been answered satisfactorily. About 800 years before the birth of the Christian era somebody or something ordained that the daughters of Zion should wear changeable suits of apparel, round tires (tiaras) like the moon, mantles, wimples and crisping pins. The inventory is too long to be copied out in full here. So circumstantial it is, one suspects that the indignant prophet called upon the womenkind of his household for help in making it out.

St. Paul, writing in the second half of the first century, A.D., is more general in condemnation of the ultra-fashionist whose taste ran to embroidery and jewelry. In the fiftieth century, the mysterious arbiter of customs had so led away wise as well as silly women that the heap of finery cremated in the public square at Savonarola’s command to his converts made a smoke that darkened the heavens at midday.

Who first abolished the hoop and towering headdress of Queen Anne’s reign, and who brought them in again in the middle of Queen Victoria’s? Who forbade the sweeping curtsey of our grandmothers, and is now drilling our grandchildren in the very same motion?

WHENCE TABLE FASHIONS?

Who ordained the good man’s tables must no longer groan under the weight of a dozen dishes, but be decorated with flowers, and tricked out with chef d’oeuvres, and that all which builds up and solaces the inner man shall be served from kitchen and “service table”? Who dictated that dish is not to be touched with the knife and ice cream must be eaten with a fork in preference to the honest and convenient spoon?

Who banished the “side dish” from the main board and taught us to call it an entree?

We, who cling to English speech—sometimes at the expense of grammar and oftener by the sacrifice of elegance—persisted in naming them as “made dishes” until chefs and butlers put us to open shame and forced the foreign phrase between our teeth. We all say “entree” meekly now, and we have ceased to torment ourselves with speculations as to the identity of the Tyrant to whom man and woman kind have done homage for all these thousands of years. In the days of the Empress Eugenie we said with glib complacency that she “gave fashions to the world.” She sank out of sight, and the nameless Despot of whose abiding place no man knoweth unto this day still tells us, though his thousands of myrmidons, what we shall wear, and when; what we shall eat, and how and where.

MODERN IMPROVEMENTS

This is not a growl, dear reader! The Dictator is not consistently unkind. We eat, drink and live, generally, more sensibly than our fathers dreamed of doing. But one can’t help wondering how it happens that we do! When did you, dear housemother, who lay no claim to the reputation of a fashionable woman, discover that it is no longer “the thing” to have a hot roast at the foot of the table to be carved by John, a secondary roast at the head, a couple of side dishes and faithful flankings of vegetables up on side of the board and down the other? This was entirely en regle for the second course of a dinner party forty years ago. Soup preceded it. When we wished to be in very fine feather, we had a fish and a salad course. Can you cast your thoughts backward and tell us, with any degree of accuracy, how you arrived at the conclusion that your present mode of serving and eating was the better way—in fact, the one and only way for “nice people? To adopt? Go a step further. How did it come to pass that, without any concert of action, all your neighbors also took to the altered fashion of “diners a la Russe,” and the accompaniments of service table and a dozen etceteras to which your children have been used for the major part of their lives? We spoke with bated breath of giving what the consulting caterer called “a course dinner” when those young folks were in the nursery. We sit down to “course dinners” seven days in the week, nowadays. We have not grown much richer. Our position in society is an inheritance from parents who were of gentle blood and breeding. Yet we do not live as they lived. Who sounded the order for the change of base?

“Entree” is defined in my small manual of “Kitchen French” as “a made dish introduced between the principal courses of a dinner.” The definition is food—as I once heard a circuit rider say encouragingly to a brother who stammered to a hopeless breakdown in the middle of a prayer—“very good, so far as it goes!” But “made dishes” is a term so constantly applied to “rechauffes,” or warmed-up meats, that we have come to associate it exclusively with “left-overs.” And all entrees are not second thoughts, an effort more or less successful, to evolve savoriness out of insipidity. For example, sweetbreads, kidneys, mushrooms, asparagus—in some of the ways I have written of lately—macaroni in divers shapes, sweet core on the ear or as a pudding, stuffed eggplant—and half a score of other “first hand” edibles—are entrees. I do not undertake to supply one word which will aptly define what has superseded the obsolete side dish; the intermediate course of the company dinner, and which serves excellently well as the principal dish of the family luncheon when the base is meat. As a matter of necessity and custom, we fall back upon “kitchen French” and cover the long list—growing with the increasing luxuries of our civilization—with the ambiguous, elastic ENTREE.

MANY TOOTHSOME DISHES

I am thus minute in explanation, because I know of no other culinary phrase which is more misused and abused. Your “made dish” may be an entree, but, as we have seen, all entrees are not left-overs. It is a joy, too, in these days of individual ramekins, casseroles and casserole chafing dishes to make toothsome and savory entrees.

The chafing dish pictured for instance, is a product of modern arts and crafts workmanship, and a most useful one. The tray itself is of mission wood, and the stand copper, with brass trimmings. The head is inclosed so the whole dish gets the benefit, and there is a quaint door effect like and old-fashioned oven. The cover is of copper, and has a mission wood handle, in keeping with the tray. In fact, it is quite unlike the silver and aluminum chafing dish of other days.

Bake Sweetbreads

Wash the sweetbreads carefully, freeing them from skin and strings. This done, drop them into boiling water, slightly salted, and cook for ten minutes. Turn off the water and cover the sweetbreads (in a cold vessel) with iced water. In five minutes drain and cover with more iced water. Leave them in this for one hour. Take out and wipe dry.

This process is known as “blanching.” It is necessary to the right preparation of sweetbreads, making firm and white what would else be flabby and dull-red.

Cut fat salt pork into thin strips (lardoons) and make incisions in the sweetbreads with a narrow, keen blade. Thrust the lardoons into these. They should project half an inch on each side of the sweetbread. Arrange the larded sweetbreads in a deep bakedish; pour a cupful of well-seasoned stock about them, cover and bake for twenty minutes. Several times during the cooking lift the cover and baste the sweetbreads copiously with the gravy.

Remove the sweetbreads to a hot dish; stir into the gravy left in the dish a roux made by cooking a tablespoonful of butter with one of browned flour. Add a teaspoonful of onion juice and three olives, minced fine. Cook one minute, add a glass of brown sherry and pour the gravy over the sweetbreads.

An Easter Entree of Sweetbreads

Blanch, lard and bake the sweetbreads as directed in the last recipe. Set in a closely covered dish over a pan of boiling water while you prepare the “nest” which is to receive them. Cut into long shreds some cold meat. Chicken or turkey or veal is best for the purpose. The meat should be white. Mix with a generous cupful of boiled spaghetti, drained and clipped into length. Make a ring of the mixture upon a hot platter, wet well with a cupful of rich, hot gravy, set in the over for five minutes, or until heated through, lay the sweetbreads within the garnish around with the dish.

A pleasing variation of this handsome dish may be made by pouring tomato sauce, made rich with butter, thickened with browned flour and seasoned with salt, pepper and onion juice, over the nest and content after they are dished.

Sweetbread Pates

Wash and blanch the sweetbreads. Cut into neat dice and mix with an equal quantity of canned mushrooms (champignons), cut into pieces of corresponding size. Blanch a dozen almonds and shred into tiny bits. Have ready a cupful of good drawn butter, rather highly seasoned. Stir sweetbreads and almonds into this and set over the fire in a double boiler. Heat a dozen shells of pastry in the oven and when the mixture in the inner boiler is very hot fill them with it.

A Casserole of Liver

Wash a lamb’s liver and lay in cold water for an hour. Take it out, wipe, and slice. Fry together half a dozen slices of fat pork and a sliced union until the fat is crisped. Strain off the fat and return to the fire. Lay the liver in it, and fry quickly, first on one side, then the other, until it is slightly browned. Scald the casserole and lay the sliced livery in it. Between the slices put a dozen potato marbles, cut out with a gouge and parboiled, and half a dozen boiled green peas, left from yesterday, or a few champignons, may be added. Fill up the dish with soup-stock or gravy, thickened with browned flour. Fit on a close cover and cook for an hour and a half. This is a cheap and most savory entree that will not be unwelcome as the mainstay of a family dinner.

Send to table in the casserole. If the cover does not fit tightly, fill the space between it and the casserole with a thick paste of flour and water. The chief advantage of the casserole is that it keeps in all the flavor and juices.

Calf’s Head en Casserole

Boil a calf’s head until the flesh leaves the bones of its own weight. Leave it in the liquor until perfectly cold. Cut into pieces an inch long and half as wide. Thicken two cupfuls of the pot liquor with a roux made by cooking together two tablespoonfuls of lemon juice.

Add the meat to this and turn into the casserole. The tongue, cut into dice, should go in with the rest of the head. Lay on the top two hard-boiled eggs, sliced, then sift over all very fine bread crumbs to form a light crust. Stick dots of butter in the crumbs; fit on the cover and bake for forty minutes.

Send to table, covered, in the casserole.

Savory Macaroni

Cook half a pound of macaroni for twenty minutes in salted, boiling water. Into another saucepan put two cupfuls of beef stock; thicken with a brown “roux” made as I have directed in former recipes. Cook for five minutes, stirring it smooth; add four tablespoonfuls of tomato catsup, a teaspoonful of kitchen bouquet, the same of inion juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the cooked macaroni and add it to this gravy. Pour all into a bakedish; sift a mixture of fine crumbs and double the quantity of Parmesan cheese over the surface, stick bits of butter here and there; add the tiniest dust of cayenne, and bake, covered half an hour, then brown lightly.

Marion Harland

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Uses and Abuses of Canned Goods in the Household

This is the fifth article in January of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Jan 29, 1905, and is a revisiting of a topic that had been covered two years previously on the dangers of “canned goods” although I have yet to come across this previous “talk” in my research. Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Washington Times.

School for Housewives – Uses and Abuses of Canned Goods in the Household

How to Make the Best of the Preserved Foods and Some Errors to be Guarded Against.

SOME of our readers may not have forgotten a lively discussion we had two years ago in this department concerning what we have all fallen into the habit of calling “canned goods.” In this course of our debate sundry unpleasant facts were evolved that moved me then, and ever since, to press upon housewives the importance of putting up fruits and vegetables for their own family use, when this is practicable. It was proceed upon the testimony of competent chemists that many of the “bleached” fruits and such vegetables as corn and asparagus owe color and “staying qualities” to certain acids and salts which are not conducive to the health of the eaters.

One of our staff of chemical experts announced that he found in three tablespoonfuls of preserved pears enough salicylic acid for a strong dose for an adult. From one canning establishment I received the formula for a powder warranted to preserve vegetables, etc., sent in ingenuous good faith. One of the principal ingredients was salicylic acid.

I am assured by several reputable canning firms that nothing of the kind is used in their works, in proof whereof they invite chemical analysis. I am the more willing to believe this because in mid-winter hundreds of families in the country and among the poorer classes of town residents are obliged to depend upon canned vegetables for variety in a diet of salted meats, cabbage, onions, and potatoes.

Next week I shall speak of the need of a winter fare of greenstuffs and fruits. Now, I propose to show how the reproach may be lifted in part from airtight esculents kept over from the fruiting season. We get very tired of them when served au naturel for days together. No matter how good they may be, they are an indifferent substitute for the things whose names they bear. Since we have them and must use them, if only for their antiscorbutic properties, let us study ways and means for making the best of them. The poorest of the tribe is a vast improvement upon the time when desiccation was the one method practiced for preservation, for winter use, of green vegetables, while preserving in syrup, vinegar, and spirits was resorted to for keeping fruits in palatable form for the table. Sweet corn was dried when nearly hard, and had to be soaked over night, then boiled for a long time before it could be eaten. After all, it was hardly an improvement upon the coarser hominy. Tomatoes, peaches, plums, cherries, and pears lost most of their distinctive flavor through long exposure to the sun and subsequent soaking and stewing.

While the demand for canned goods may not have lessened throughout the country, it is undeniable that there is a growing disrelish for them in the minds of people of dainty and cultured tastes, and this is not so much for the reason given in the discussion, viz., the belief that they are not wholesome, as because they are stale, flat, and “common,” if not unprofitable. People who can ill afford it, pay high prices for forced vegetables, rather than set before guests the content of cans purchased at the corner grocery.

Let us see if the cause of this growing dislike many be not in the nature of the thing preserved so much as in the cook’s determination to regard it as an end, not a means, a finished product, instead of semi-raw material. The wrong way to serve all potted provisions is to “dump” them from the can or jar into the saucepan, and from the saucepan into the platter or root-dish, with no attempt at seasoning or enrichment.

Must Have the Air.

It ought not to be necessary for me to repeat again and here as in invariable rule that canned meats, fruits, vegetables, soups, etc., should be turned out of the vessels in which they were preserved at least one hour before they are cooked, or sent to table, and left in open dishes to rid them of the close, airless smell which disgusts many with the entire class. One and all they need aerating – to be “oxygenated” before they are prepared for the service of man.

Get Them in Glass.

Tomatoes, when canned, are the least objectionable of the class. So far as I have pushed my researches for the presence of deleterious ingredients introduced by those who manipulate them for the market, they are comparatively – some brands entirely – free from salicylic acid and the like preservatives. Of course, with these, as with other vegetables, fruits, soups, and meats, there are brands and brands. Some turn out a superfluity of liquid, many unripe lumps and bits of skin mingled with the pulp. Note the name and address of the manufacturer and avoid the brand in future. The housewife who takes advantage of the height of the season, and puts up her own tomatoes, rejecting cores and hard pieces, and draining off half the juice, ill fare best on this score.

When you buy them, give the preference, if you can afford it, to tomatoes put up in glass. The natural acid sometimes forms an unholy alliance with the metals of the cans.

Were I to describe the scallops, croquettes, rissoles, puddings, bisques and other variations of lobster and salmon, which would tickle the palates of the eaters, and gratify the ambition of the hounsemother, I should present the best advertisement of “canned goods” ever spread before the American reading public. Were I to expatiate upon the ease with which the “tinny” taste can be eliminated from canned succotash, and how a can of corn and another of beans may be aired and combined into still better succotash; how canned asparagus, masked by cream sauce, and laid in state upon toast, almost recalls springtime, and when heated and dressed, while hot, with vinegar, melted butter and French mustard, then allowed to get ice-cold – is a delicious salad – there would not be room below this general “talk” for the recipes which are to illustrate this specifically.

The reader is confidently referred to this continuation of our subject for directions as to the “treatment” of some of the countless varieties of artificially preserved foods.

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