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A Star-Spangled Supper: A Georgian Menu

The founding fathers' hunger for independence and freedom could only have been rivaled by their hunger for fine food! Consider preparing a patriotic feast for your next family gathering, featuring delectable dishes from the 18th century.


Gazpacho

Gazpacho soup, also known as gazpacho, is a cold, Spanish liquid salad that is popular in warmer areas and during the summer. Gazpacho descends from an ancient Andalusian concoction based on a combination of stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. With the Columbian Exchange beginning in 1492, the tomato and the bell pepper were brought to Europe. In the United States and other countries, there exists the common misconception that the fundamental ingredient of Gazpacho is tomato. While tomato is an important ingredient of the most commonly-known form of Gazpacho, it is still the original ingredients mentioned above which define this recipe. In Andalusia, there are many types of Gazpacho, many of them not including tomato at all. One very popular type of Gazpacho is White Gazpacho or Ajoblanco Malagueno made principally with almonds, bread, garlic, vinegar and oil. Our recipe serves eight. As a note, the soup can be made one day in advance and kept refrigerated, tightly covered.

4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into l-inch slices
1/2 large Spanish or Bermuda onion, peeled and diced
1/2 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 green pepper, seeds and ribs removed, and cut into strips
1 large ripe tomato, peeled and seeded
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 1/4 cups broken pieces of white bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups tomato or V­8 juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Pass the cucumbers, onion, celery, green pepper, tomato, garlic and bread through the small die of a meat grinder, or chop finely (but do not puree) in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, using on and off pulsing action.
2. Combine with remaining ingredients, season to taste and stir well. Serve very chilled.


Sweet Stuffed Squash

Squash is thought to have originated in northern Mexico, and the name comes from the Mattachusett Indian word meaning "eaten raw". An old cultivated vegetable, widely used in many parts of the world, it has become increasingly popular in recent times with the development of new shapes, sizes and colors. This is a wonderful entree that is perfect for a holiday dinner. Our recipe is for one squash, which serves two people.

1 acorn squash
Diced pears, apples or peaches
Chopped nuts
Raisins
Cherries or small berries
Brown sugar (or white sugar, honey or molasses)
Cinammon
Nutmeg
Ground cloves
Butter or margarine
Maple syrup

1. Cut the squash in halves and scoop out the seeds. The seeds can be saved for roasting.
2. Using a knife, slice off a piece of the bottom so that the squash will sit on a flat surface and not roll over.
3. In a separate bowl, combine diced pears, apples or peaches. Add chopped nuts, raisins and some cherries and berries. Sprinkle in brown sugar or other sweetener such as white sugar, honey, or molasses, to your liking. Sprinkle in a little cinnamon, nutmeg and some ground cloves.
4. Mix the filling well and pack generously into the acorn squash. Be sure to pack the filling in tightly.
5. Put a pat of butter and a generous helping of maple syrup in each squash.
6. Fill a Dutch oven with just over an inch of water and gently lay the squash inside. The water in the bottom of the Dutch oven will keep the squash from burning and will heat the inside of the oven with hot steam.
7. Slowly cook about 45 minutes until squash is tender.


North English Oatcakes

Havercakes or riddlecakes differ from the "sgian" oatcake of the Highland Scots, in that they are made from a soft dough or batter, rather than the firm pastry dough of the "sgian." Such batters probably derived from attempts to preserve grain-pastes or porridges by cooking and drying, and the resulting cakes are probably older than the sgia. Such cakes are, in fact, prehistoric, first made during the Iron Age and passed down from generation to generation, substantially unchanged, to Second World War.

2 cups porridge oats or pinheat oats
1 quart water

1. Grind oatmeal or porridge oats into medium-fine grits.
2. Place grits in 1 quart water.
3. Leave batter overnight in a covered bowl, unrefridgerated.
4. Pour batter in griddle over medium heat. Do not flip over.
5. When cakes begin to peel away from the griddle, remove and hang on a rack to become dry and crisp. Alternatively, toast cakes directly on a rack in oven at 250 degrees oven for 1/2 hour. The resulting cakes taste like matzoh or Wasa Krispbread.


Veal Chop

Veal chop was a popular entree in colonial America, particularly in wealthy households.

4 loin veal chops (10 ounces each)
Salt and fleshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced mushrooms (leave very small mushrooms whole)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup Port
1/2 cup veal or beef stock
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Season veal chops with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add veal chops, being careful not to crowd the pan, and sear the chops on both sides until brown. Remove the chops from the pan and set aside.
3. Add celery to the pan, and saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the mushrooms and thyme to the pan, and saute for 3 additional minutes. 
5. Deglaze the pan with the Port and stock. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Return veal chops to the pan, and braise uncovered, turning once, for a total of 5 to 8 minutes, or until the chops reach desired color. Serve immediately, with the vegetables on top of chops. 


Old-Fashioned Smoked Beef Brisket

Historians are not certain where the word "barbecue" came from. Some believe it derived from the French settlers in Louisiana ("Barbe a queue" translated as "from whiskers to tail," which is neat description of a whole roasted beast). Others surmise that the Spanish "barbacoa" is more likely. Yet others look to early advertisements for bar, beer, and pool establishments--bar-beer-cue. Some name a Texas ranch, with the brand --BQ on their cattle, legendary for their hospitality. In any event, cooking meat over an open fire in the outdoors was known to all cultures at one time. However, the practice was forgotten in Europe by the time the first colonists to Jamestown arrived. Following the lead of the local Indians, pit barbecue was quickly rediscovered, and has remained popular.

In the United States, each region offers its own barbecue pecularities. For example, pork is the favored meat throughout the Southeast. This preference likely goes back to the colonial period, when pigs were let loose to grow fat on apples, nuts, and then captured and eaten later, saving the farmer effort and expense in sheltering and feeding the livestock. Texas is known for its beef barbecue, and method of dry-rubbing the meat prior to smoking it. Beef ribs are the favorite dish, with a hot and sweet sauces served alongside, combining the tastes of the Southwest and Southeast. Chicago-style barbecue is much like the kind found in the Southeast, and was brought by the migration of African-Americans to the area, along with the blues. Sauces are heavy and sweet, livened up by generous application of pepper and are the focus of the dish. Although barbecued turtle was popular in New York at the turn of the last century, this region is no longer well-known for its regional barbecue. Some would argue that the famous clam bakes of New England, where the shellfish are cooked in a pit with seaweed to provide steam, remain their barbecue specialty.

Brisket of beef was a traditional dish enjoyed by families during the 18th century. The dish was also especially popular in the antebellum South.

10 lb. beef briskets, untrimmed
8 ounces hickory wood
1/2 gallon cooking oil
3 pounds onions
3 medium bell peppers
1 stalk of celery
1 bunch of onion tops
1 bunch of parsley
1 pod of garlic
3 cans of 8 ounces tomato sauce
3 bottles 20 ounces ketchup
1 bottle of Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons of mustard
3 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of salt
2 blocks of butter
Louisiana Hot Sauce to your taste

1. Clean and dry individual briskets.
2. Load briskets 1 per grill, fat side up. Position briskets so that they do not touch the sides of the oven. Close and latch the smoker's door.
3. Load wood box with 8 oz. hickory wood.
4. Smoke-cook at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 hours. (Brisket should be smoke-cooked 1 hour per pound, to a maximum of 12 hours. The brisket will be done after 4 - 5 hours. The internal temperature of a well-done brisket is 165 degrees. The longer cooking time is necessary to tenderize the meat. If you've selected a brisket with some fat on it, it won't dry out.)
5. When the brisket is done, remove from the smoker and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Wrap and refrigerate.
6. Serve with homemade, old-fashioned barbecue sauce.

To make sauce:
1. Grind onions, celery, bell peppers, parsley, onion tops and garlic.
2. Mix all ingredients in pot of your choice and cook over a low fire for about 1-1/2 hours. Stir frequently. This will yield you about 1/2 gallon of sauce.
3. After the sauce is cooled, skim off oil from top of sauce and save for basting your favorite meat while cooking outdoors. The remaining sauce may be used as you would prefer after your meat is cooked.


Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Dumplings

The Pennsylvania Dutch were primarily German farmers who emigrated to America, often to escape religious persecution in Europe. Their cooking reflected both the German heritage and the hearty foods associated with the physical work involved in farming. Our recipes serves four. As a note, the pastry and syrup can be prepared 1-2 days in advance and kept refrigerated. The apples should be peeled just prior to baking.

1/4 cup all-vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
4 small tart apples, such as Granny Smith
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoons dark rum
4 teaspoons unsalted butter

To make pastry:
1. Combine the shortening, flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Using on and off pulsing action, combine until the mixture resembles fine meal.
2. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces, and pulse a few times, or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of ice water, and pulse a few times. The mixture should hold together when pinched.
4. Add more water, if necessary. (You can also use a pastry blender or two knives.)
5. Scrape pastry onto a floured board, form it into a ball, and wrap it with plastic wrap.
6. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

To make apple filling:
1. While the pastry is chilling, peel and core the apples.
2. Divide the raisins and rum into the core holes, and place 1 teaspoon of butter in each core hole.

To make syrup:
1. Combine syrup ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer for three minutes, and set aside.

To assemble dumplings:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Divide the pastry into 4 parts. Form one part into a ball, and place it between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper.
3. Flatten with hands into a "pancake."
4. Roll the pastry into a circle large enough to cover an apple.
5. Place an apple in the center, and bring up the sides to encase it. Pinch the top together, holding the dough with a little water. If the folds seem thick, trim them off and seal the seams with water.
6. Repeat with the remaining apples.
7. Place the apples on a baking sheet, and brush them with the syrup.
8. Place them in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 330 degrees Fahrenheit, and brush again with the syrup.
9. Bake an additional 35 minutes, brushing every 10 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.