30 January 2009

Miss Martha Makes Bucatini

On Wednesday, after our Monday posting of my favorite bucatini recipe, Miss Martha declared one of her favorite things to be --- bucatini!

She server her's with bottarga, a dried grey mullet roe cured in sea salt for a few weeks until it is a hard slab.

We'll stick with the cauliflower and lobster!

28 January 2009

Etiquette Wednesday

Now, as it was in 1894 when this manual was written, it is hard to find good help!

When you finally do find that right girl to serve you your meals, you may need some help in instructing them of their duties. The Expert Waitress by Anne Frances Springsteed is a manual designed to fill that void.

Here is one of Mrs. Springsteed’s “useful suggestions” for instructing the help.

…cleanliness means more than a clean gown and clean collar and cuffs. One of the first things for a waitress to consider is her supply of underclothing. She will see the necessity of fresh print dresses for morning work, and a neat dark costume for afternoons; but she may be thoughtless at first about underclothing. Yet to keep clean, and by keeping clean to promote good health, nothing is more important than to be able to change underclothing whenever she feels the need to do so.
Change your underwear!

This piece of useful advice comes AFTER our waitress has been taught to bring breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, afternoon tea and a traveling lunch. It comes AFTER our waitress has been instructed to care for the dining room and pantry; to wash dishes, polish silver, change the oil lamps, and care for the carvers. Oh yes, now might just be a good time to change your underwear! Right before she is instructed to care for an invalid’s room.

Well, better late than never. In these times of financial uncertainty, when the average investment banker/stock broker is asking, "Do you want fries with that shake?", it behooves us girls to be prepared for the inevitable career shift. Forget about that master's degree, forget that consulting stint, remember to tell your future employer you understand that you are to serve from the left and oh yeah, you frequently change your underwear.

26 January 2009

Cauliflower Ragout

Today's recipe from Lucindaville is one Harry Lowe calls a "planned over." A "leftover" is something you make or eat because it happens to be in fridge. A "planned over" is a dish you intended to make from the remaining portion of a dish you made earlier.

Over at Cookbook of the Day, we gave you a recipe from M.F. K. Fisher for a cauliflower casserole. I adore making this casserole, it is one of my ultimate comfort foods. Since I often cook for myself, facing cauliflower casserole for several days is daunting.

When I cook this casserole, it is usually with this planned over in mind. This recipe comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. I like a heavy pasta for this dish. My favorite is bucatini, a thick Italian spaghetti with a hole in the center, hence the name: buco means hole in Italian. I was never sure how they get that slim hole through the center of the spaghetti, but it's pretty cool. Use the amount of pasta you need. Bucattin tends to be sold in 2 pound bags so use less than that. This recipe works great with seafood: shrimp, lobster, or crab. If you keep a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer (and you should), this is the easiest solution. You can also serve the ragout plain over pasta with some freshly ground pepper and a shaving of Parmesan.

Cauliflower Ragout with Seafood over Bucatini

1 cup seafood
1 tablespoon butter
Leftover cauliflower casserole
1/2 package of bucatini

Cook the bucatini in several quarts of boiling salted water, about nine minutes.

In a skillet over moderate heat, melt the butter and saute your seafood till it pinks up, or simply heat it through if it pre-cooked.

Take the leftover cauliflower and mash it with a potato masher of just a fork, till the cauliflower is broken down but not liquefied.

Add the leftover cauliflower to the skillet with the seafood and heat thoroughly. If the ragout is too thick, add a bit of water or milk.

I like this recipe so much that for Christmas, I made it for company. I cooked the casserole, steamed lobster and made the dish with a lot of planning but no "over." It was a big hit.

24 January 2009

Beet Pie with Horseradish Whipped Cream

What we lacked in squash this year, we made up for in beets! I thought if one can make pumpkin pie, why not beet pie. The color is quite beautiful, though I found it didn't permeate the entire filling. The sweet yet biting whipped cream offered a nice compliment.

You can use fresh beets or you can use canned beets. For fresh beets, i recommend peeling them before cooking and cutting them into small cubes. Then roast them in oven, or you can just boil them. For canned beets, you will need two cans. I heat them in their juice on the stove top. Beets are a bit "hard" and they need to be rather smooth for this recipe. The beets are easiest to "mash" in a food processor.

Do not over bake the pie. We have all seen pies served where the filling is pulled away from the crust, or the filling is cracked. That occurs when you over bake. You want the center to be firm, but just. the pie will continue to bake once it is out of the oven, so the second you see the center firm up, pull the pie out of the oven.

The Horseradish Whipped Cream is a matter of taste. I like spicy food, so I use 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish. That might overwhelm some, so I recommend adding it a teaspoon at a time.

Beet Pie

1 pie crust
2 cup mashed beets
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon quatre-epice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk

Combine the the dry ingredients to incorporate the spices evenly.

In a bowl, beat the eggs.

Stir in the mashed beets and the dry ingredients

Add the evaporated milk a bit at a time to fully incorporate

Place your pie shell on a heavy baking sheet

Pour the mixture into your pie shell

Add to a hot pre-heated oven -- 450 -- and bake for 15 minutes

Reduce heat to 350 and bake for about 40 minute

Horseradish Whipped Cream

1 pint whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish; added a teaspoon at a time to insure you don't over power the cream

23 January 2009

Famous Food Friday -- Sara Delano Roosevelt

In keeping with Inauguration Week festivities, this Friday's Famous Foodie is none other than FDR's mom, Sara Delano Roosevelt. You know Franklin didn't cook!

In 1879, her favorite Aunt Sarah gave Sara Delano Roosevelt a small notebook with less than 200 pages. That year she began a household notebook which she relied on for 50 years to run her various homes, including Hyde park. In 1950, Clara and Hardy Steeholm annotated the household diary, giving the reader a picture of life within the Roosevelt house. Their book, The House at Hyde Park, offers a unique insite into the formative years of Franklin Roosevelt under the doting and stern eyes of his mother.

Sara collected recipes from friends far and wide. This recipe, she notes, cam from William Yapp, a porter on the D & H car. Her husband was a director of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. He and his family traveled in a private car on the D & H, know as the Monon. William Yapp was the cook and porter for the private car.
He made a cornbread or egg bread for the Roosevelts and later gave the recipe to Sara. She notes that Yapp called it egg bread but she lists it as cornbread. An egg bread usually replaces the milk with eggs only, so perhaps in formally setting out the recipe for Mrs. Roosevelt, Yapp gave her a more refined recipe.


1/2 pint milk, bring to a boil, & stir until it is smooth
1 teacup full indian meal
1 large tablespoon of lard
1/2 " " of butter
A little pinch of salt - stir well at the time, when cool add about 2 tablespoons of flour,
1 teaspoon of baking powder then beat in 3 eggs.
beat it up, grease the pan, pour in an inch deep - bake 15 minutes in a quick oven.

Today, we have self-rising corn meal and there is no need to boil milk, but I must say Mr. Yapp's recipe has changed little in all these years.

Check out the Cookbook of the Day blog for the entry on Martha Washington.

21 January 2009

The Crick Done Froze

Here at Lucindaville, as with a gigantic chunk of the country, we have been cold. Actually we have been frozen.
When I lived in D. C., cold weather wasn't a problem, but in West Virgina, we tend to loose some basic services when the temperature drops below 32.

We have lost water in our frozen pipes, which is a colossal pain. Our internet is so sluggish it barley works, which means our posting have been sporadic. Still, the ice and snow are quite beautiful.

Even Kitty Carlisle is enjoying this sunny day with an excursion outside to make snow angles.

Fun aside, we are looking forward to spring!!

17 January 2009

Etiquette Wednesday

Today's Etiquette tips come from none other than Catherine the Great.

Not only was she an accomplished equestrian, but she threw a great party. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. All ranks shall be left behind at the doors, as well as swords and hats.

2. Parochialism and ambitions shall also be left behind at the doors.

3. Be merry, but neither spoil nor break anything, nor indeed gnaw at anything.

4. Be seated, stand or walk as it best pleases you, regardless of others.

5. Speak with moderation and not too loudly, so that others present do not get an earache or headache.

6. One shall not argue angrily or passionately.

7. Do not sigh or yawn, neither bore nor fatigue others.

8. Agree to partake of any innocent entertainment suggested by others.

9. Eat well of good things, but drink with moderation so that each should be able always to find his legs on leaving these doors.

10. All disputes must stay behind closed doors; and what goes in one ear should go out the other before departing through the doors.

If any infringe the above, on the evidence of two witnesses for any crime each guilty party shall drink a glass of cold water, ladies not excepted, and read a page from the Telemachida out loud.
Who infringes three points on one evening, shall be sentenced to learn three lines from the Telemachida by heart. If any shall infringe the tenth point, he shall no longer be permitted entry.

Seriously, nothing can be worse than a rowdy Vicomte brandishing a sword after the soup course! Unless it is the Marquis gnawing on a table leg! Alas I can find no English translation of Vasily Trediakovsky's Telemachida for you to foist upon your guests. The closest penalty for your rude party animals -- memorize Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Ulysses.

Since I know most of Ulysses by heart, and since it is one of my favorite poems, I dare say I can be quite the rowdy guest and take my punishment like a Lady.

There lies the port... and a rather good Merlot..so, behave, please.

10 January 2009

Chocolate Chipotle Cake

Chocolate Chipotle Cake is not for the faint of heart. Out of the box it looks like any dense, rich, chocolate cake, but one bite tells you this is not Grandma’s chocolate cake! I use my Wood Cake Box to bake this hot and creamy treat.

The secret ingredient in this cake is the adobo sauce. Adobo sauce can be found in specialty shops and in the Mexican food section of most groceries. Adobo sauce is made from dried red jalapeño peppers known as chipoltles, some tomato and spices. You will generally find it in a 7 ounce can. For this recipe, you need to remove the solids from the peppers, leaving a smooth, thick puree. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and force the peppers and sauce through the strainer, leaving a thick paste of pure pepper essence to give this cake its powerful punch.

Chocolate Chipotle Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter
5 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup sugar
10 ounces dark chocolate (56%)
4 eggs
1 7 ounce can adobo
1/4 cup plain flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place the adobo in a mesh strainer and remove the solids.

Combine the sugar and orange juice and bring to a boil, to form a light syrup.

Break up the chocolate and place in a large bowl.

Pour the syrup over the chocolate and stir till melted.

Add the butter and continue stirring till melted.

Add your eggs one at a time, incorporating thoroughly after each addition.

Add the adobo puree, the flour and salt until just incorporated.

Pour into the lined wood cake box and bake at 300 degrees for 90 until just firm in the center.

Serve with a spoon of crème fraiche or whipped cream, as milk solids help to cool the heat.

06 January 2009

Guiness Peel Cake

My favorite cake to bake in Lucinda’s Wood Cake Boxes is a Guinness Peel Cake. It’s a dense, fruity cake with a spicy flavor. A creamy stout gives the cake a bold flavor and is a perfect counterpoint to the fruit. I use Guinness, but feel free to use any stout you enjoy drinking. The cake calls for a total of three cups of fruit and peel. Once again, you can use your personal preference. The recipe calls for a cup of rasins, sultanas, and peel. Recently Dole and Trader Joe’s have been selling a premium raisin blend with several different varieties of raisins. The mix of plump, multicolored fruits works nicely here. Quatre-épices, “four spices,” is a French blend that gives a complex flavor. The best single substitute would be allspice or cinnamon.

Guiness Peel Cake
1 bottle (12 oz.) Guinness stout
1 cup raisins
1 cup sultanas
1 cup mixed fruit peel

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups flour + dredging flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon quatre-épices or allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Soak fruit and peel in the stout at least 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line the cake box with parchment paper, and lightly oil the paper.

Drain the mixture through a colander or strainer with a wide mesh, reserving the stout.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix dry ingredients together and add to the butter and eggs in small batches until the batter is smooth.

Add the reserved stout.

Dredge the drained fruit and peel, boldly. Coat fruit completely with flour but don’t add extra, loose flour.

Fold the dredged fruit gently into the batter.

Pour into lined cake box and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes, until firm in the center.


04 January 2009


Quatre-épices is a French "four spice" blend.

Like so many spice blends, everyone that makes it has a different blend. Often it has five or six spices.

Generally the mix always includes pepper, nutmeg, cloves and either ginger or cinnamon.
Some people add allspice in lieu of cinnamon. Some recipes call for both black and white pepper.
However you blend it, it gives a rich and complex flavor to baked goods. It is also use frequently in terrines and pates.

I hate fussy recipes. If you find one of those tedious recipes that calls for 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, just add one teaspoon of quatre-épices. It will give the recipe a great kick.

Lucinda's Quatre-épices

1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

I make it in large batches, so basically it is and equal parts ground white pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon and half a part of ground cloves. The ground cloves can be overpowering, so you don't need as much.

Try it the next time a recipe calls for plain cinnamon. I think you will enjoy it.

02 January 2009

Lucinda's Wood Cake Boxes

One of the things I remember most about growing up in Alabama is spending time in the kitchen with my great aunts, Ruth and Mamie. There was always something baking. As soon as the last slice of cake was eaten at dinner or supper, another cake was in the oven.

Every batch of batter was large enough to save out an extra scoop that was baked in a tiny pan especially for me. On afternoon, Aunt Ruth found an old wood cheese box with three compartments.

She lined it with an old grocery sack and poured in the extra batter for my little cake, three cakes this time. I remember those fat little cakes. They were almost too beautiful to eat, but I somehow managed. I hadn’t thought of that cheese box for years until I moved to West Virginia. In the corner of a box of items packed years ago after my great aunt died, I found the broken side of that old box. I began searching for a replacement and several months later, I found the same Cloverleaf cheese box. The day it arrived I dropped everything and stirred up a chocolate cake batter. When I baked my little cakes, a flood of memories came rushing back.

This is an easy chocolate cake that comes together in one bowl. It’s quick and easy with little fuss. Bake at 320 till firm in the middle, about 15 minutes.

Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake

1 2/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 cup sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl add the flour, soda, salt, cocoa and sugar and wisk to sift the dry ingriendts together.

Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla and wisk the batter till smooth.

This recipe will make two layers or about 24 cupcakes.

Several friends saw the cakes baked in my wooden boxes and wanted to get their own to bake in so Lucinda's Wood Cake Boxes was born.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin