Posted in Back in the Day, Canning & Preserving, Food Facts, From Scratch, Hen Cackle, Historical, The Scoop from the Coop, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Water Bath or Pressure Canner? And a Vintage Water Bath Chart.

1304176654-hey-who-s-the-designer-here-before-after-design-talk-oyxnog-clipartAre you like me? Ready to pull hair and scream over this whole: Water Bath or Pressure Canner debate? I feel you. I really, really feel you. And I can even understand why newbies to Canning are so freaked out. It’s not like the “Canning Police” and the “FDA” attempt to ease our mind any. They have more Do’s and Don’t’s than Grandma and her switched did.

 


And for those of us who were raised on our previous Ancestors, and how they did things, that’s a real struggle. I’d like to see the “Canning Police” or the “FDA” tell my Grandma or one of my Great Aunt’s how to Can. I’d love for them to say….


  • “You aren’t allowed to Can Potatoes”
  • “You aren’t allowed to Can Tomatoes in a Water Bath and if you Can, which better be in a PC (Pressure Canner), then that better have added Acid in it.”
  • “No Onions allowed!”
  • “Stick to a recipe to a T. If it calls for four cloves of Garlic, you better stick to 4 cloves. If not, you will kill the whole family.”

And last but not least….

  • “Best not EVER use a Water Bath to Can meat!!!!!”

My Grandma would have beat down the entire government. Canning police? Wouldn’t be a switch left on the tree.


Still, today, in nearly every Canning Group out there, the Nazi’s still shake a finger and the FDA is still beating fear into the Masses. And while I WILL NOT tell you what you can or can’t do, I did stumble onto this cool little vintage chart of rules for Water Bath Canners that probably swam around in every kitchen back in Grandma’s day. And I will offer one bit of advice. Not a demand,. Not a threat, just advice….

If you are Canning, do what you feel most comfortable with. I’ve used a Water Bath for everything before I finally bought a Pressure Canner a year ago. I don’t add acid to my Maters. I Can potatoes religiously. And the only difference I can offer you is this one:


PC’s Can in a shorter amount of time. Example: Canning Green Beans in a Water Bath Canner can take up to 4-41/2 hours. In a PC, 25 minutes.


Yep, that’s it. If you are on unfamiliar ground where Canning goes, a PC may make you feel safer but for those of us who were taught by Grandma and those before her, we also feel just fine the Water Bath way. So when it comes to Canning, so what the hell you want. Ask for advice by finding a great support group but a great support group doesn’t bleed and spew nothing but fear. If a Jar is bad, you will smell it. Sometimes you will see it but in case your glasses are fogged that day, the smell will tell you. That’s always worked for me.

And if a recipe calls for 4 cloves of Garlic, don’t think the entire family will die if you add 10. For the love of God, folks, stop trying to duct tape everyone into the same box. winks


 

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Posted in Carnivore, Chicken, Historical, Rabbit Recipes, The Hungry Hen

Maryland–Styled Fried Rabbit

This is an historical dish that was actually made for chicken but it was listed under Poultry & Game—which to me, means, anything else can work too. And, in case you don’t know, anything made for chicken, easily converts to rabbit. If you want to use it for chicken, though, go ahead, but I’m shoving it into my Rabbit files because anymore, I prefer Rabbit to chicken any ol’ day of the week. *winks*

Also, my picture, is without the Sauce on top. I had hoped to get one before and after but my family eats everything up so quick, I was only able to grab the before. Regardless, enjoy!

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This recipe came from, The American Heritage Cookbook. This recipe is a historical favorite.  I have adapted certain things for current times. For example, if it says paper bag, I changed it into zip lock.

Ingredients

  • 6 Strips of Bacon
  • Butter or Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 cup of Flour (More or less)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 3 – 3 1/2 pounds Rabbit (Or frying chicken)
  • 2 TBSP Flour
  • 2 cups Half and Half

Note: I add a bit more salt and pepper. I also add a tablespoon (More or less) of Paprika, Garlic powder and whatever else I have a mind to.

Directions

  1. Fry Bacon in a large skillet until brown. Remove. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add enough butter or oil to bacon drippings to make 1 inch of fat in skillet.
  3. Dump 3/4 cup of flour, salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings into a plastic bag. Shake.
  4. Add Rabbit pieces or chicken pieces. Shake.
  5. When Fat in the skillet is good and hot, add rabbit and fry on both sides till brown. Now, cover skillet, reduce heat and cook over low heat for about 25 minutes or until tender when tested with a fork.
  6. Transfer to a hot platter and keep warm.
  7. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of fat, stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for a few minutes. Then pour in the half and half. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick. Season to taste. Pour sauce over hot rabbit or chicken and garnish with bacon strips or crumble with the bacon. Serves 4
Posted in From Scratch, Historical, Seasonings, Sauces, Dressings & Mixes, The Hungry Hen

The Buckhorn Inn House Dressing

IStsducc2cmcp81000000000When I was a kid and my Momma moved us back to Virginia from North Carolina, goin’ out to eat was a treat…one that came fewer than the risin’ of a  Blue Moon. When we first came up, we stayed out in Craigsville where Grandma was married to her second husband, Maxie. There, they both had a match box for a trailer. To be truthful, I don’t think they make things that small anymore. Maxie was usually gone—Gone Drinkin’—and most times when he was back, him and Grandma spent fightin’ up a storm – about him bein’ gone off drinkin’. Their fightin’ never bothered us kids none, because we actually liked ol’ Maxie. He was a man rarely seen and of very few words but when he was around, he wasn’t grouchy like most adults were back in them days. lol. He never took a strap to us or made us shush because even our breathin’ got on his nerves.

Now, while Maxie and Grandma had their problems – if he had taken her with him, I’m sure all would have been right in her world—but as I said, he was good to us. Once, I remember him makin’ her drive us out to Highland County, just because Maxie had a hankerin’ for some bread. That bread is still famous around these parts. It’s a heavy Yeast Bread that some might call Depression Food. The trip to Highland was just the icing on the cake. Maxie decided to surprise us with a trip to the infamous, Buckhorn Inn, which is actually on out there in Churchville, Virginia.

Yup, it’s still there and at the time of writin’ this piece, it’s for sale. More on that later, though.

That day, some of us cousins piled up in Grandma’s little ol’ Chevette while she drove Maxie and the rest of us wherever he wanted to go. Tons of windin’ backroads, skyscrapin’ mountains and too-many-to count-pit-stops for Maxie, who had to relieve  himself all too often of all that Old Milwaukee beer. snickers

Once it was all said and done, though, Maxie treated us to a buffet supper at, The Buckhorn Inn, located at 2487 Hankey Mountain Hwy, Churchville, VA 24421. Now, while I can’t tell you what in the world the food is like now, I can tell you it was all home cooked and delicious back then. Not that Maxie would have known it that night. He kept tellin’ the Waitress he wasn’t eattin’ because he had bread and beer in the car, lol. Still, he sat there patiently with a drunken grin on his face while we scoffed all that food down and got him more than his money’s worth. 

ISat48r2n4tip10000000000The Buckhorn Inn, built in 1859, is rumored to be haunted, not that the ghost stories frightened anyone off from eattin’ there back in the day. I think the ghost or one of them is a soldier?  Here are the claims of a Psychic and Paranormal Investigation done there. I can’t raise my right hand and swear on any of that. But it is interestin’ for those who crave somethin’ ghoulish. As I said above, it is FOR SALE. Sadly, since I was there as a kid, it has passed through the hands of many, many Owners. Some good, some not so great. Shame. Its in great shape and has awesome potential. Way above my price range but if there are any filthy rich gazillion-aires out there that just want to throw some money my way, I’d be happy to take the place on, lol.

Now that I have drug you down memory lane, let’s get to the point of this article. Few years back, while stummblin’ around my husband’s hometown of Deerfield, Virginia, I got my hands on a cookbook published by one of the church’s out there. (Deerfield Church of God) Inside was a recipe for The Buckhorn Inn’s House Dressing. That took me down memory lane, which made me just drag you down kickin’ and screamin’ and well, now here we are… to the recipe bit. I’m not sure if those who own it now use any of the old recipes, but here’s one for history’s sake. Enjoy. It’s a simple one but who knows, you may like it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 1/4 cup Vinegar

Directions

Stir all ingredients well and put in a Jar for storage. Refrigerate.

Note: I just add it all to a Mason Jar, put lid on, and shake for dear life.

 

 

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Posted in Back in the Day, Depression Food, From Scratch, Historical, Pork, The Hungry Hen

How to Cook an Aged, Country-Cured Ham

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Funny, how one day I noticed just how popular Country Hams were. I was standing at the concessions stand at my daughter’s softball game. Waiting on my Fries, a kid beside me looked up at his mother and said, “Mom, did they make the Country Ham sandwiches again?” Over Hot Dogs, Burgers or Fries, some freckled faced boy wanted salty, country pork. And my slap to attention didn’t stop there. I was at the local, summer Carnival when I seen a lady I had not seen out our way before. I asked what drug her out of the city limits and she replied, “Oh, my husband and I try to stop in every year just to get us a Country Ham Sandwich.” When my Great Aunt Joyce came down to visit not long after, I asked if she was hungry and wanted a sandwich. “Do you have any Country Ham? I haven’t had that for ages. I am just dying for some!”

Country Ham is most certainly right up there with Fried Chicken and Sweet Ice Tea. The problem is, not many folks make one anymore. They wait till they hit up a Family members house, a carnival or, well, as I learned, a ball game somewhere in the South. I suppose one reason could be the size of a Ham. They are rather large and most folks don’t have the freezer space to store the left overs. Most can’t even eat a third of one on their own. But the biggest reason, I think, people make them less and less at home is because they don’t know how. Honestly, it takes a bit of doing and many have lost the know-how.

The trick to a Country Ham is, you want to soak it overnight. You want to soak it for at least 12- 18 hours. You want to cover it in water—and folks, sometimes I change my water out a few times, depending on how salty you want it. I’ve also have soaked mine for two days, as well, before. And, I have actually soaked mine in a five gallon bucket. Not everyone has the sink room, ya know?

Next, and this is a part many forget because the “knowing’ has been lost between generations. Get yourself a pot. Drain the Ham from the water you have been soaking it in, place it in the pot and cover over again with fresh, cold water. You are going to want to SIMMER the Ham for ONLY TWO HOURS. I don’t care if that thing is the size of a watermelon, only SIMMER for TWO HOURS. DON’T BOIL. SIMMER. 

When the two hours is up, pull the Ham off the stove and just let it sit in it’s own juices – that pot of water—and completely cool down. Once it has, cut off the rind and clean it up. You can glaze it…

Honey – Just drizzle Honey over the Ham.

Brown Sugar – 1 Cup Brown Sugar (I like Dark), 1-2 tsp. Dry Mustard and 1/2 tsp. Cloves (optional)

Or whatever Glaze you want to invent. I’ve seen some people make Glaze out of Jams like Orange, Apricot, Apple Butter, whatever. It’s you’re world, so roll with it.

Last, place it in a preheated oven at 400 degrees and Bake (about 30-40 minutes). When you cut Country Ham, don’t cut thick slices. It should be cut in super thin ones. Not unless you are into thick. Freeze any extras in pieces to make Beans or whatever you desire or to pull out when company comes over to make Red Eyed Gravy or Biscuits.

Posted in Ducks & Other Birds, From Scratch, Historical, Other, The Hungry Hen, Wild Game, Guineafowl, Birds, etc.

Braised Guinea Hen Recipe, Information & Cooking Tips

 

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A lady told me awhile back, “Once you cook Guinea, you won’t want chicken anymore.” Now while I still haven’t cooked a Guinea, I do recognize the fact that these birds can be multi-purpose. Eggs (Seasonal Layers), Pest Control and Meat (Compare to Pheasant). While some absolutely hate them—they are noisy and can bully chickens—hey, there’s a pecking order to everything—others love them because they make great alarms. Anything comes around, they are the first to catch wind of and make noise about it. They also work in a pack, might want to tell that to the snakes before they enter the yard. And snakes are just an appetizer. These things wipe out spiders, ticks, locusts, grubs, snails, beetles, WASPS!!!! AND THAT’S just the tip of the iceberg!

So, I am still considering bringing Guineas home. And if I ever get more land and that farm I dream of, then you can bet your best Sunday bloomers, I’ll be gettin’ em sooner rather than later. Until then, here’s the 411 on the bird.

Aside from what I’ve already said, Guineas are native to West Africa. Sometime during the 15th-16th century, the bird was brought to Europe and soon after, became very popular in Colonial America. They are great foragers, so if you get some, you will want several, as they hunt in a group or pack. If you bring them in as keets—babies—then free ranging is a cinch but if you bring them in as adults, you might want to consider locking them up for three or so weeks before setting them free to range on their own.

Guineas are compared to Pheasant as far as taste goes. In fact, I’ve heard them called, “Poor Man’s Pheasant” because it costs a fraction less to raise a Guinea than it does a Pheasant. Don’t let the nickname or cost fool you, though. In many Countries, Guineas are like our Lobsters. They are considered fine-dining without a doubt!

The darker meat, is darker and more rich than, let’s say, chicken. There is less fat, so it’s healthier. They have smaller bones but produce bigger breasts (again, in comparison to chickens). Hens, on the table, may average between 2 to 3 pounds.People prefer the Hens to Males because the Hens have bigger breasts and actually, are said to taste better. The breasts also have a better texture to the meat. 

Roast them like you would a Pheasant, even stuffing them using the giblets. If you are eating Guinea breast, remember that the meat can go dry. Usually, in Colonial times, they would wrap the breast in a fat, like salt pork. One historical way of cooking them would be to place them in an oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes—basting. Remove the pork and then roast for ten minutes allowing them to brown. Now days, one could use a thick sliced bacon, I’m sure.

Below, is a recipe our European and American Ancestors once loved….

Braised Guinea Hen

  • 1 Guinea Hen
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP of Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper (Black)
  • 1/4 tsp. Dry Mustard
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Dash of Cayenne
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth

Directions

Cut the Guinea in quarters and sauté in heated butter until all sides are brown. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over bird, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until almost tender. Remove cover, turn up heat and continue cooking until almost all liquid has evaporated. Wild Rice goes well with this. Serves 4.

 

American Heritage Cookbook

 

Posted in Bread, Rolls & Such, From Scratch, Historical, The Hungry Hen

Historical Lightnin’ Bread : No Yeast, Salt Rising Bread

Lightnin’ Bread is also known as Salt Rising Bread. Back in the day, when you couldn’t count your bottom dollar on how Yeast was gonna turn out, people made Lightnin’ Bread. You will create your own fermentation which makes this bread rise. It takes some time to make, which maybe why people don’t fool with it much today. In my opinion, this bread should make a comeback for Homesteaders or for those just tryin’ to get back to the basics.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups of White Corn Meal
  • 1 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 8-10 cups Sifted All Purpose Flour
  • 2 TBSP Shortening

Directions

Scald Milk in a saucepan on the stove. Remove from heat and add to Corn Meal, Sugar, and Salt—stirring until smooth. Cover with a teat towl and set in a warm place overnight. The following morning, add 1 cup warm water mixed with Baking Soda and about 2 1/2 cups Flour. (This should make a stiff batter. If not, add flour till it does.) Set bowl of batter in a pan of warm water. Cover. And let standing until it foams up. (2 hours to half a day). Try to keep water at an even tempoerature all the time. Not too hot. Not too cold. If it seems like the batter is not rising, give it a stir to help things along.

If you notice an odor, then all things are working. The odor is another reason people now days may be afraid of this bread but don’t be. This odor is caused by acetous, which is souring or, you may know it as, fermentation. You may also think, souring means, a tart or foul bread but its not. The more souring that happens, the sweeter the bread will be when baked.

When the batter has risen, knead in Shortening and more flour. (Could take up to 8 cups) to make a stiff bread dough. Shape into 2 loaves, set in greased loaf pans, and let rise again until doubled. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until light brown.

 

The American Heritage Cookbook

Posted in Bread, Rolls & Such, From Scratch, Historical, The Hungry Hen

The Story and Recipe of Anadama Bread

During the 19th century, Massachusetts, there lived a Fisherman and his wife…or so the story goes. Every day at the crack of dawn, the Fisherman would set sail into the deep of the sea hoping to make his catch so that he could shape some sort of modest living for himself. Every evening, tired and worn, he’d come home to a woman who was hell-bent on neglecting him. Each and every night, there upon the table, was nothing more than corn meal and molasses. Unable to stand it any longer, the Fisherman finally lost his temper over what his wife considered to be a good enough meal for a hard working man. Among the heated words spewing under his breath, in a rage, he threw yeast and flour into her joke of a supper and then all of it into the oven to cook. Even after the loaf had baked and he sat down to eat it, the Fisherman would famously go down in history, saying, “Anna, damn her!” Hence the name, Anadama Bread. This, as you can imagine, is classified as one of our Historical Recipes and, a keeper.

 

  • 1/2 cup Corn Meal
  • 3 TBSP Shortening
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 cup Boiling Water
  • 1 package active Dry Yeast or 1 cake compressed
  • 1/4 cup Warm Water
  • 1 Egg beaten
  • 3 sifted cups of All Purpose Flour

Mix corn meal, shortening, molasses, salt and boiling water in a big bowl. Let stand until water is lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over warm water to dissolve, then stir yeast, egg, and half of the flour in. Beat vigorously. Stir remaining flour in and mix until dough forms. Transfer to a greased loaf pan and cover. set in a warm place until dough rises 1 inch above the pan. Sprinkle top with a little corn meal and salt. Bake in a PREHEATED 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. Cool before slicking.

 

 

From the American Heritage Cookbook