Early frontier cooking was greatly influenced by the place they were located at the time. Families had to obtain the bulk of their food according to what was available locally and in season. Other supplies that were purchased tended to be products that could be shipped easily such as flour, beans and sugar. Any other products were either too expensive to consider or unavailable because they could not withstand the shipping. Pioneers were also limited by what they typical cooked with and were usually limited to using frying pans, pots and splits. Cast iron was durable and easily obtained in those days.
Many of these pioneers came from families that had sourdough starter passed on from generation to generation. One example is the Boudin family who in 1849 discovered the Wild yeasts in the San Francisco air had added a unique a flavor to their traditional sourdough.
This recipe below uses baking soda with the starter to produce a loaf that can be prepared in more rustic conditions and to produce a loaf which is very good in its own right. The frying pan I used was too large to make a nice shaped loaf. A ten- inch frying pan or dutch oven would give much better results
1 cup sourdough starter
2 !/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cornmeal
Combine the starter, water, sugar or honey and 5 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or wet towel; let the mixture stand at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
Stir in oil. Combine salt, soda and 1 cup flour. Stir into dough; beat until smooth.
Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface; continue to work in flour until dough is stiff enough to knead. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).
Divide in half. Roll each into a 10-inch round.
For each loaf, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy 10-inch cast-iron skillet with heat-resistant handle. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornmeal. Place dough in skillet. Turn over to coat top with butter and cornmeal. Let rise 15 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.
Makes 2 loaves.
Arme Ritter can be literally translated as Poor Knights. This is the German version of French toast although this version differs because it is lightly coated with breadcrumbs. In Germany they have a bread called breakfast brot and crusty white rolls that they use. Outside of Germany use the best white bread you can get. An excellent bread to use is the golden, braided loaf bread you can find in Central European and Jewish bakeries. For this version pictured I used Texas Bread. It is a “Pullman” type bread that is thickly sliced and works quite well for Arme Ritter..
Poor Knights are often served with apples slices that have been pared and lightly browned in butter or they are made stuffed with preserves. The version pictured above was topped with lightly sauteed Cinnamon apples.
You will need three separate bowls or pans for the yolk mixture, egg whites mixture and breadcrumbs.
3 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
grated rind 1 lemon
8 to 10 slices stale white bread with crusts or 6 to 8 stale crusty type rolls cut into 1 inch thick slices
2 egg white lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water.
3 to 4 tablespoons butter
sauteed apple slices (optional)
Beat the egg yolks with the milk, sugar, a dash of salt and the lemon rind. Add the bread to the mixture being careful not to get too soggy to handle. Take the bread out of the first mixture and dip into the egg white mixture and then into the bread crumbs, turning over to coat both sides. If you want make stuffed Arem Ritters add some preserves between two slices and put together like a sandwich before dipping in the egg whites and breadcrumbs.
In a pan heat the butter and fry the slices browning them on one side before turning and browning on the other side.
Sprinkle with with sugar and cinnamon before serving and top with the sauteed apple slices if you are using them.
This is an easy recipe that you can make easily make changes to. It is a little different than most red beans and rice recipes with the added colored peppers and ketchup. You can use either dried or canned beans, different peppers and different sausage depending on your taste.
8 ounces reduced-fat turkey sausage (smoked is best)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups peppers. green, yellow or red
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 dried thyme
1 (114 ounce) cans red beans, drained and rinsed ( or 8 ounces of dried beans sorted, soaked and cooked per directions, then drained)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
3-4 dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce
1-2 tablespoons ketchup
ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked rice
Slice sausage, then cut into quarters. Cook the sausage in a large saucepan with the cooking oil until well-browned for 5 to 8 minutes.
Add all of the vegetables, including garlic and saute until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the bay leaves and thyme. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
Add beans to pan. Add chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered for about 15 -20 minutes until vegetables are tender and sauce thickens.
Remove the bay leaves. Season to taste with the Louisiana Hot sauce, ketchup and black pepper. Serve over Rice.
Note: Instead of Louisiana hot sauce you can use 3-4 dashes of Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper to taste.
These are very simple to can and require only a few ingredients, You can make the apple rings plain or add spices.
I added cinnamon and cloves to my spice bags to give my rings a special taste for the winter/holiday season. This product could also make a lovey gift or part of a food basket. I used red food coloring as should in the above picture (sixth container from the left) however, you could also color it green or any other color. Just let your imagination go wild but just remember the audience. Children may be excited with purple apple rings but adults not so much.
10 pounds apples
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
red food coloring (optional)
Wash , peel, core the apples. I used a peeler. corner and slicer. It makes the process go a lot faster. Treat to prevent darkening. Combine the sugar and water in a large sauce pot. Add the food coloring, if desired, bring the mixture to a bail and boil for 5 minutes, Remove from heat. Drain the apple rings for the treatment to prevent browning agent. Add the apple to the syrup and let stand for 10 minutes. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat, simmer 30 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let cool. Remove apple rings form syrup. Return syrup to a boil. Pack the apple rings loosely int hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head apace. Ladle the syrup over the apples and remove air bubbles allowing 1/2 inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps . Process in water bath 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
Variation: For spiced add stick cinnamon, whole coves and other spices in a spice bag to the syrup during preparation. Remove the bag before canning.
Note: use a variety of apples good for cooking in this recipe.
Antioxidants: To prevent browning use a commercial mixture place in a bowl with lemon juice and water, To not leave in too long or the apples with get sour.
This takes a some time to produce and can the Barbecue sauce but in the winter it is nice to be able to ope some sauce you have prepared. It is just so much fresher and has a cleaner taste than any sauce purchased. If you never canned before I suggest reviewing canning instructions to review how the process works for successful results. This is only the recipe.
4 quarts chopped, peeled and cored tomatoes
2 cups chopped celery (about 3 stocks)
2 cups chopped onions( about 2)
1 12/ cups chopped sweet green or sweet red peppers (2 medium)
2 hot red peppers , finely chopped
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt (kosher)
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 cayenne pepper
1 cup vinegar
Combine the tomatoes, celery, onions and peppers in a large cooking pot. Cook the vegetables until they are soft. this should take about 30 minutes. Press through a fine sieve or food mill. Put the moisture back into the cooking pot and cook until reduced by about 1/2. this should take about 45 minutes. Put the peppercorns an a spice bad and add bag into sauce.Cook slowly until the mixture is about the consistency of catsup., This should take about 1 1/2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. remove the spice bag and ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust the two piece caps. Process 8 half-pints or 4 pints 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Blanching a an important step to prepare your vegetables to be frozen. It cleanses the vegetable, brightens the color, helps retain vitamins and help reduce enzyme action which can destroy the flavor after 4 weeks.
Select young, tender pods when the seed is first formed. Wash in cold water; trim ends; Cut the beans into 2 to 4 inch lengths or lengths to fit freezer container. If you use the gallon size freezer bags you can freeze the whole bean. The longer the cuts the best quality you will have. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool the beans. I put the beans in a ice water bath to cool them quickly. Drain, Place the beans on a cookie sheet and flash freeze. this will prevent them form sticking together if you just pack them into the bags or jars. When flash frozen pack them into jars or freezer bags and seal, label and freeze.
2 1/2 to 3 pounds apples per quart
Wash , stem and quarter apples, do not core or peel. Cook apples until soft in a large covered saucepan with just enough water to prevent sticking. Press apples and juice through a sieve or food mill to separate seeds and peel from the pulp. Return apple pulp to sauce pot. Add 1/4 cup sugar per pound of apples or to taste, if desired. Bring applesauce to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 20 minutes in a boiling water canner.
I decided to prepared something with the large size franks in my kitchen. After looking around looking at what was in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer I decided to use the jar of sauerkraut and prepare grilled sandwiches.
First I drained the sauerkraut and rinsed in water. I then placed the sauerkraut in a pan with a tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/2 cup water and heated until hot.
On a piece of bread, rye or wheat, spread a small amount of mayonnaise on the bread. Next place one of the hot dogs sliced in half on the bread. On top of the sliced hot dog place the carefully drained sauerkraut on the bread. Now put another slice of bread on top. Spread some butter on each side of the sandwich. Carefully place this sandwich into your grill and cook for at least two or three minutes on each side.
I slice of Swiss cheese would make this sandwich even better and more like a Ruben.
For some reason it usually ends up being one lonely over ripe banana sitting in the fruit bowl and sadly not enough to make bread or cake so a lot of people just throw it out. My solution for that lonely ripe banana in my fruit bowl is to toss the whole thing into a freezer bag. You can peel, mash and add a little lemon juice but why go though all that trouble unless you want to use it for something and need to make sure it does not get oxidized and remains a light yellow color. Adding one overripe whole banana allows you to keep adding bananas until you have the time to bake. When you take the bananas out of the freezer don’t let the dark black skin fool you. If is has not ripen any more and is still good to use. If you have more bananas than needed for the recipe just take out the amount needed. You can let the bananas thaw in the refrigeration or put in into the microwave for a few seconds until thawed. Either case, you will have the best bananas for baking. Once thawed the bananas will be a breeze to mash and will be full of flavor. Below is a simple banana sheet cake you can use some of the overripe bananas.This cake can serve plain, with powered sugar, or with icing or you can make muffins instead. If you make muffins bake for a shorter time.
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup mashed banana (about 3)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups four
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, Mix in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk. Fold in the nuts. Pour into greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 45 minutes.