Believe it or not vegetables and their importance in our diet has been something debated for many years. Below I'm taking excerpts from Letters to a Young Housekeeper about various vegetables.
Green peas need no accessories of parsley or mint, as French and German cookery prescribe. They are of such fine and delicate flavor that any kind of spice, be it exotic or herby, would merely deteriorate them.
Take a round platter, place in the middle of it a fine head of cauliflower boiled in salted water with the addition of a piece of butter the size of half an egg. Encircle it with composed a wreath of green peas, which in turn you sur0f vegetables round by a rim of boiled rice. Put outside of it
and meat. A circle of boiled carrots cut into wheels, and surround the whole either with lamb chops, or stewed sweetbreads.
Next to green peas come string beans when quite young, which, however, if maturer, are surpassed in their nutritive qualities by kohlrabi, — a vegetable introduced from Germany. Cook string beans thus: String them and how to cook them.
For nothing is more disagreeable than to eat beans not entirely freed of their strings. Wash them very well through several waters, rubbing them through your hands to get rid of parasites which are apt to cling to them, and are invisible to the naked eye. This done, you cut them slantwise into pieces an inch wide, and parboil them as stated before; then drain and put them into boiling mutton or beef broth enough to cover them. They need more or less boiling according to their kind or age; not less than one hour. Some need two hours, some even more; but I would say the latter are not fit to eat because too hard to digest. By slow boiling and evaporation the most of the liquid ought to disappear; the rest must be served with the beans. They need more fat than peas, not having any themselves. Serve them with beef, mutton, or pork.
Lima bean that it must have a large percentage of carbohydrates. Cook them in boiling water, slightly salted. Do not take any more water than will cook them, How to cook and when tender add a little hot milk, in which a Lima beans good-sized piece of butter has been melted. Add some salt. Leave them standing in a hot place for a short while to get saturated with the milk.
Spinach is a highly valuable vegetable because of its mineral matters, especially iron and lime. Therefore, you must be most careful not to waste its precious juices by throwing away the water it is cooked in, or pressing its leaves before chopping it fine. Some, indeed, prefer not to chop it at all, and they are no doubt right; but table fashion will have it chopped.
For a puree of spinach, pick the leaves over carefully, omitting the coarse and thick-ribbed ones; wash them several times, A puns throw them in plenty of boiling water, well salted;
of spinach. leave them in a few moments, then drain, and cool them off in cold water, from which drain them again. Now chop them very fine in a wooden bowl. Take a saucepan, put in a piece of butter, and when hot add to it your spinach. Stew very gently in its own juice, merely adding a little boiling water, if necessary, to prevent scorching. When done, which will be in about one-half hour, the spinach ought to have sufficient consistency to serve it heaped up in a dish, or to use it as a garnish around any kind of meat.
If spinach is served as a course by itself, a garnish of croutons, or quarters of hard boiled eggs, or both is in place. A puree Spinach as an of spinach is suitable for an entremets—a course entremets. between the roast and dessert—and as such is nice accompanied by either poached eggs, or pancakes1 rolled up.
A cupful of spinach puree left over will furnish you with material for a spinach pudding on the following day.
To boil cauliflower, put it upside down into cold water strongly salted; this destroys the insects apt to vegetate between the roses or flowerets. Leave the head in but a short time, then rinse it off, and put it into boiling water slightly salted, top r downward. See that it is fully covered with water, and boiling continuously. It will be done in twenty to thirty minutes. It gets tasteless if you cook it after it is tender, which you can test with a larding-needle thrust through the middle. Lift it out carefully, and place it on a platter, then pour over it a bechamel sauce for which you use some of the water it was boiled in. Or you may use the folA sauce for lowing sauce: For a small head of cauliflower cauliflower. \2k& half a pint of the water in which it was boiled (or the same amount of veal broth) ; add to it two ounces of butter, a teaspoonful of flour, a taste of nutmeg, and the yokes of two eggs beaten beforehand. Stir the whole over the fire until it just comes to a boil, and no longer. Continue to stir for several minutes after you have taken it off the fire, to avert all danger of curdling.
To cook cauliflower with cheese, take a dish and moisten it with a thick bechamel sauce; dust over it some grated Parmesan cheese; then arrange on it a layer of Cauliflower.
Cauliflower served with either pigeons, chickens, veal cutlets, or roast beef, is a good combination.
To prepare asparagus for boiling, shave off with a sharp knife the fine outside fibres, beginning below the sparagus. nead downward, and cut away the woody end below. Do it just before needed. Rinse in cold water, then tie the stalks together by the dozen, and put them in plenty of boiling water slightly salted. They ought to be done in twenty minutes. If left boiling too long, they will harden, and, moreover, lose their flavor together with their delicate mineral matters, which render asparagus so valuable. Remove the strings after they are placed on the dish they are to be served in. Have with them some melted butter, or a bechamel sauce made slightly acid, and thickened with the yoke of one or more eggs. A sauce Hollandaise1 agrees well with them. But whatever sauce you make, always use for it some of the water in which the asparagus was boiled, because it absorbs part of its flavor and wholesome properties.
To boil cabbage, cut the heads into quarters, taking out the stalks inside. Treat it like cauliflower in cleansing it.
Red cabbage is finer and more delicate than the white kind. In Germany it is cooked in the way which follows, when it is served with partridges in their proper season. It
Red cabbage is very good, also, with roasted pork, or boiled ham. Cut a large head, or two small ones, into quarters, and after removing the hard parts, shred fine with a sharp knife. Put it in a stew-pan, in which a tablespoonful of lard, or the same amount of pork-drippings, has been heated. Cover it up, and let it stew over a moderate fire, shaking it and tossing it from time to time, for half an hour. Then add half a cupful of beef broth, and an hour later a wineglassful of cidervinegar and twice as much claret. Add also a teaspoonful of salt and the same amount of granulated sugar, and continue stewing until quite tender. The longer you boil this dish of cabbage, the better it will be; only be sure and do not add the vinegar and wine too long before serving, since they lose by cooking. If you prefer not to use wine, you will have to double the quantity of vinegar, and increase that of sugar also.