More Summer Vegetables and How to Cook Them

This is the fourth article in June of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on June 23, 1907, and is the second talk on cooking less well-known vegetables in summer time.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

More Summer Vegetables and How to Cook Them

NEXT-TO-EVERYBODY has some idea how to fry eggplant. Therefore, I omit the recipe for preparing the delicious vegetable in that way. Comparatively few cooks know how good it may be made if handled in obedience to the directions which follow this preamble.

Parboil the eggplant for ten minutes if it be of medium size. Put it over the fire in cold, salted water and keep it there for ten minutes after the boil is reached. Plunge then into ice water and leave it to get cold and firm. It is well to parboil and cool it the day before it is to be cooked, as it will then be cold to the heart. When this has been done, cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise, and scrape out the heart, leaving a crust an inch thick. Mince the pulp and mix to a forcemeat with minced chicken, or veal or duck, fine crumbs, well seasoned, melted butter and a dash of onion juice. With this forcemeat fill both halves of the eggplant, put them together in the original shape and bind securely with soft cotton lamp wick or tape. Lay in your covered roaster, pour a cupful of good stock about it, cover closely and bake. Baste with the stock every ten minutes. It should be done in about forty-five minutes, unless it is very large.

Transfer to a dish, remove the strings carefully not to separate the halves, and keep hot while you thicken the gravy left in the pan with browned flour rolled in butter. Boil up and pour over and about the eggplant.

Eggplant a la Creole.

Prepare as directed in the preceding recipe until you are ready to stuff it. Then make the forcemeat of the pulp, a chopped sweet pepper, one young okra pod minced, four or five ripe tomatoes, cut up small, and a cupful of fine crumbs. Add a great spoonful of melted butter, pepper and salt to taste, not omitting a little sugar to correct the acid of the tomato. It is well to parboil the pepper if it be large, before adding it to the stuffing.

Fill the hollowed halves with the mixture, bind as in the last recipe, and lay in the pan.

Pour a rich tomato sauce about it and baste with butter and water. Keep the top of the roaster on while the eggplant is cooking, and it will not shrivel.

Serve as with the stuffed eggplant above described and pour the tomato sauce about the base.

Scalloped Eggplant.

Peel, cut into strips as long as your finger and nearly as wide. Lay these in ice-cold water well salted, and leave in a cold place for an hour. Then boil until they are clear and tender, but not broken. Drain all the water off in a colander, and arrange the strips in a buttered bake dish. Butter, pepper and salt, strew with fine crumbs, season these in like manner; then another layer of eggplant, and so on until the dish is full. The last layer should be thicker than the rest, and soaked with cream. Bake, covered, half an hour, then brown.

A Scallop of Mushrooms.

Select mushrooms of medium and uniform size. Skin them without cutting off the stems. Lay enough to cover the bottom of the dish, stems uppermost, in a pudding dish. Dust with salt and pepper, and pour into the gills a little melted butter. Then strew very lightly with fine cracker crumbs, and arrange a second layer upon the first. Season and butter, cover with crumbs, soak the crumbs in cream; dot with butter and bake, covered, for twenty minutes, and brown very delicately. Serve at once. There is no more delicious preparation of mushrooms than this.

Sweet Peppers a la Creole.

Cut a slit in the side of each pepper and extract the seeds, touching the inside as little as possible. The pungency lies chiefly in the seeds. Lay the emptied peppers in boiling water for ten minutes. Prop the slits open with a bit of wood to let the water reach the inside. At the end of the ten minutes drain the peppers and cover with ice-cold water, leaving them in it until they are perfectly cold. Wipe and stuff with a forcemeat of any kind of meat that you have on hand, preferably poultry, veal or lamb. Add to the meat a raw tomato skinned and chopped, and one-third as much fine crumbs as you have meat. Season with salt, melted butter and a very little sugar to soften the acid of the tomato. Wet well with gravy. Tie the filled peppers into shape with soft thread and set upright in the covered roaster; pour a cupful of gravy about them, and bake, covered, for twenty minutes, then five more, uncovered. Serve upon a heated platter, pouring the thickened gravy over and about them.

You may, if you like, substitute fish, picked free of bones and skin, for the meat.

Or, mushrooms, skinned, parboiled and cut small—not chopped.

Or, and perhaps best of all, sweetbreads, blanched, then stewed for ten minutes in the gravy that is to be poured about the peppers. This last-named dish is exceedingly dainty.

Swiss Chard.

An excellent vegetable, so lately introduced into our country that the name is unfamiliar to most of our housewives. It is not very unlike spinach in general appearance, although it belongs to a different family of esculents.

Pick over carefully, stripping the leaves from the stalks, and lay them in cold water for an hour. Drain, without drying, and put the leaves into the inner vessel of a double boiler. Fill the outer with cold water, and bring to a quick boil, keeping the inner vessel closed. This will steam the chard in the juice extracted from the leaves.

I may observe here that spinach, steamed in the same way, with no water except that which clings to the leaves after washing, is quite another vegetable from that which is generally served on our tables under the name.

When the chard is tender and broken, drain, pressing in the colander. Turn now into a wooden bowl and chop, or run it through the vegetable press. Set over the fire in a saucepan, stir in a teaspoonful of sugar, a tablespoonful of butter, salt and pepper to taste and beat to a creamy mass. When piping hot, serve in a deep dish, with sippets of toast arranged upon it.

Vegetable Marrow.

Another esculent popular for a century among our English cousins, but which needs a formal introduction to the rank and file of our native cooks. It is akin to the squash family, with a smooth richness of flavor and flesh all its own. Having cultivated it successfully in my garden for ten years, I can certify that it takes kindly to American soil and climate and is easily brought to perfection.

Pare away the rind, cut into squares or strips and lay in cold water for half an hour. Drain and put over the fire in plenty of salted boiling water. Cook until clear and tender, but not until the pieces lose form. Drain off the water, pour in a good drawn butter, set the saucepan at the side of the range for ten minutes to let the sauce sink into the marrow, and serve.

Cold vegetable marrow, cooked as above directed, maybe wrought into an excellent pudding to be eaten with meat. Run through the vegetable press, beat in a spoonful of melted butter, season with pepper and salt, and add two well-beaten eggs. Turn into a buttered bake dish when you have beaten all the ingredients together for a minute; bake, covered, for fifteen minutes in a quick oven, and brown lightly.

Green Corn Pudding.

Grate, or slice with a sharp knife, the kernels from twelve ears of corn. If the corn be hard, grate it. If immature, it will lose nearly all its substance under the grater. The knife will slice it to better advantage. Season with pepper and salt, and stir in a tablespoonful of sugar and two tablespoonfuls of melted butter. Beat light the yolks of four eggs and whip the whites stiff. Stir the yolks into a scant quart of milk and into this the seasoned corn. Finally, fold in the frothed whites, pour the mixture into a buttered pudding dish and bake, covered, half an hour, then brown.

Green Corn Gumbo.

Put two tablespoonfuls of butter into a saucepan, and when it hisses, add three onions of fair size, sliced thin. Brown slightly, and put into the sizzling pan six tomatoes, peeled and sliced, two sweet peppers that have been parboiled and minced, two okra pods, also sliced thin, and the grains from six ears of corn. Add a generous cupful of stock—chicken, if you have it—salt, pepper and a teaspoonful of sugar. Cook, covered, forty-five minutes, steadily but not hard.

Just before dishing, stir in two teaspoonsful of “file” (sassafras powder), boil up and serve.

If you wish to use this as a soup, double the quantity of stock. The dish described here is to accompany meat or fish.

You may convert this into a curry gumbo by the addition of a heaping teaspoonful of curry powder.

The “file” may be had of first-class city grocers .It gives smoothness, and yet piquancy, to the gumbo.

Cucumbers a la Syrie.

Half well-grown young cucumbers lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Leave in salt and water for half an hour, wipe and till with cold meat—beef or veal, or mutton—seasoned well and mixed with one-third the quantity of fine crumbs. Moisten with gravy. Bind the sides of the cucumbers in place with soft twine; lay in your covered roaster; pour a cupful of gravy about them and bake, covered, for half an hour. Uncover, and brown slightly. Untie the strings, lay the cucumbers in a heated platter, and pour the gravy about them.

I made the acquaintance of this dish in northern Syria, eating it first almost in the shadow of the cedars of Lebanon, and improved the friendship many times afterward. It is singularly pleasant to the palate, and more digestible than raw cucumbers.

Okra Gumbo.
(A Louisiana Dish.)

Wash and scrape lightly a dozen young okra pods. Lay in cold water while you peel and slice six tomatoes; chop a peeled onion; seed and scald a large a sweet pepper, and chop it. Put the okras then into a saucepan, cover with boiling water and cook for ten minutes. While they are cooking, heat two tablespoonfuls of butter in a frying pan, add the onions and pepper, and cook for one minute’s simmer. Turn into a saucepan with the tomatoes, and cook gently for half an hour. Slice the okras, add to the rest and cook fifteen minutes more. Season with salt, and stir in a teaspoonful of “file” five minutes before dishing.

Line the dish with thin, buttered toast.

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