Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just a Light Lunch, Charleston Style

When I think of eating a light lunch, to me that means something like half of a turkey sandwich and an apple. Not surprisingly, our friends the Old Charlestonians had rather different notions about what constituted a light mid-day meal. After the jump, we've prepared another edition of Southern Cookin' for you. This time it's just a very delicate, sparse four course meal, with recipes taken from the invaluable Charleston Recollections and Receipts: Rose P. Ravenel's Cookbook.  (More info on the cookbook can be found in post one here.)

So if you're feeling just a teeny bit hungry around lunchtime, do be sure to check out the  following recipes. They are absolutely perfect for a small snack! 

Light Lunch or Supper Menu:

Tomato Soup
Eggs A La Bennett
Pears Poached in Wine
Groundnut Cakes

This is an excellent lunch on a hot, summer afternoon. If you enjoy color, this lunch will be a delight to prepare and present.

Tomato Soup

1 qt. canned tomatoes
6 or 8 crackers (crushed)
1/2 qt. water
1/4 stick butter
pinch soda
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1/2 tsp. ground mace sauce
1 qt. milk
1 tsp. salt

To 1 quart canned tomatoes, add water and herbs; boil until tomatoes are done, about 45 minutes. Drop in a pinch of soda. May be made ahead until this point. Before serving, add 1 quart milk, Worcestershire sauce, butter, salt, and pepper. Let it come to a simmer and serve immediately. Serve crushed crackers at table with soup.
—August, 1872

Eggs A La Bennett

1/2 finely chopped seeded green pepper
1/2 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 finely chopped medium onion
dash pepper
4 eggs
3 Tbs. butter
4 slices country ham
3 Tbs. Sauce and Gravy flour
4 pieces toast
1/2 C. cream

Make Creole sauce: Finely chop 1/2 seeded green pepper and 1/2 medium sized onion. Melt 3 Tbs. butter in saucepan. Cook pepper and onion slowly in butter until onion is transparent. Add 3 Tbs. flour and cook for three minutes without browning. Remove from fire and when cool add 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 tsp. salt and dash pepper. Return to heat and cook until sauce thickens.

Poach 4 eggs, Heat 4 slices country ham. Toast 4 pieces toast. Put ham, egg, then sauce on each piece of toast and serve. Sprinkle with paprika.

Pears Poached in Wine

8 firm ripe pears
Vanilla—1 teaspoon,
lemon juice
3 cups sugar
3 cups dry white wine

Peel pears, cut bottoms off, if necessary, so pears will stand. Boil sugar and wine together, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla and lemon juice.

Add pears, simmer, basting continuously, until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Remove pears to serving dish, pour liquid over. Serve hot or cold, with whipped cream, sour cream, or make hot syrup of raspberry jam or other jellies (good on cold pears) or hot boiled custard.

Groundnut Cakes

1 lb. roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 lb. sugar (1/2 C. is plenty)
1 tsp. vanilla (or rosewater)
3 egg whites (room temperature)

Chop peanuts in blender. Whip egg whites with pinch of salt until stiff. Add vanilla. Slowly add sugar, beating thoroughly. Add peanuts, mix well. Drop a teaspoonful on greased tins. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown. Batter will be thick. Makes approximately 5 dozen.
—Miss Milliken

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