Potato Croquettes

This simple dish was called “Potatoe Balls” in the 18th and early 19th centuries and an original recipe for this dish appears in Mary Randolph’s cookery book The Virginia Housewife published in 1824. These croquettes are a good way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. While the base recipe is simple, feel free to add spices or herbs to your liking. Nutmeg, imported from the West Indies, was a common ingredient in early American kitchens—even in savory preparations. Minced chives are a good addition as is grated cheese—1/2 cup of grated gruyere or 4 tablespoons soft goat cheese are two choices. 


Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Russet potatoes 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1 egg yolk and 1 beaten egg 
  • 1 cup or more as needed Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs 
  • 1 cup safflower oil 

Directions

Makes about 18, serves 6 to 8 

  1. Cook the potatoes: Boil the potatoes, with their skin, in a large pot with enough water to cover. Cook until tender—about 20-25 minutes.  
  1. Drain potatoes and cool slightly until easy to handle and peel. Mash well and stir in the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow the mixture to cool completely. 
  1. Add the egg yolk to potato mixture and mix well to incorporate.  
  1. Lightly wet your (clean!) hands and roll the mixture into golf-ball sized balls.  
  1. Dip potato balls in the beaten egg, then roll them in bread crumbs to coat. Repeat with all the potato balls and then refrigerate for 15 minutes up to an hour. 
  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Test the oil by dropping a bit of flour into the oil. If it immediately sizzles, then the oil is ready. 
  1. Place the potato balls gently into the hot oil, and fry until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. For a healthier option, place the potato balls on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  

The Bee’s Knees

This cocktail was popular one hundred years ago during the Jazz Age. The sweet-sour combination was ideal to mask the taste of the harsh “bathtub gin” brewed locally or at home in defiance of Prohibition laws. 


Ingredients

For the Honey Simple Syrup: 

  • ½ cup honey 
  • ½ cup water 

 For the cocktail: 

  • 1 lemon, washed well to make twist for garnish (optional) 
  • 2 ounces gin (or vodka) 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon honey simple syrup (or to taste) 

Directions

1. Make the Honey Simple Syrup: Bring the honey and water to a boil in small saucepan over medium heat, then lower to a simmer. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half to form a syrup. Set aside in a sealed container, preferably glass. 

2. Make the Lemon Twist: Take a potato peeler, sharp paring knife or small channel knife and peel a narrow strip of rind around the lemon crosswise. Place the strip on a flat surface, pith side up, and roll away from you in tight coils—as if rolling a rug. Uncoil and use in your cocktail as a garnish. 

3. Make the Cocktail: Add the gin or vodka, lemon juice, honey simple syrup to a shaker with ice and shake well. Pour into a champagne bowl or martini glass and serve with the lemon twist, if desired. Alternatively, you may mix the ingredients in one tall glass and pour over anther tall glass filled with ice. Pour into a martini glass or champagne bowl using a strainer. Serve with the lemon twist, if desired. 


Shrewsbury Biscuits

Named for a town in England in the county of Shropshire bordering Wales, the Shrewsbury biscuit is essentially a shortbread cookie. Carried to America via early colonists this cookie was commonly flavored with caraway seeds which impart a faint licorice taste. If you don’t like caraway, you may simply omit it.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) softened butter 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 ½ cups flour with additional as needed 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons caraway seeds 
  • zest of 1 lemon 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

2. Cream together the butter until fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes in a stand mixer. Add the egg and beat until well combined. 

3. Slightly crush the caraway seeds in a mortar and whisk into the flour along with the lemon zest. Add the flour to the butter and egg mixture and mix until it comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. 

4. Flour a clean work surface liberally and roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick. Use a 2-inch round or fluted cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and place on the cookie sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. 

5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they begin to brown slightly around the edges. Remove and cool before serving. 

Follow along with our video tutorial at home!


Beef Pasties

While it’s not definitively clear when meat turnovers were invented, meat pies have been referenced in a 13th century royal charter by England’s King Henry III and 14th century French cookbooks, which referred to the encompassing dough as paste. This is likely where the word “pasty” came from. 

In earliest versions, a stiffer version of the pastry dough itself served as a baking container for the meat filling. These later evolved into the popular “standing pies” which were eaten into the 19th century. The dough in these weren’t usually eaten because they were too tough. This standing pie dough was also called a “coffin”. 

As the pasty moved through the centuries, it became a go-to street food or fast food of days of yore. In English versions, potatoes, carrots and other ingredients joined meat in the pie so they ate like a full meal. The most well-known of these is the “Cornish Pasty” a popular, one-handed food for miners in Cornwall. As England expanded her colonial reach, outposts of the empire adopted the pasty and made it their own. The best example of this is the popular Jamaican Beef Patty. 


Ingredients

Puff pastry cut into 5 inch squares to total 8  (2 10”x 15” sheets), keep chilled or 1 14 oz package large inch empanada dough discs such as Goya or follow our recipe for pie dough below. 

  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 1 small onion, minced 
  • 1 small carrot, peeled, diced small 
  • ½ stalk celery, minced 
  • ½ pound ground beef 
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste 
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice 
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 2 teaspoons Madeira, port or sherry (optional) 
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 sprig thyme 
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, diced small 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2  eggs beaten well with 1 tablespoon water 

Directions

1.     Roast the chicken if making from scratch: Preheat oven to 400° F. Place chicken in a baking dish and rub all over with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper and roast the chicken for 1 hour or until the internal temperature registers 165° F when thermometer is placed into the thickest part of the thigh. You may also test if a chicken is done by  piercing the thigh with a sharp knife. If the juices run clear it is cooked through. 

2.     Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes so the juices redistribute and you can handle comfortably. Cut chicken breast from bone and cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. Remove the legs and thighs and remove the meat from these as well. Cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. 

3.     While the chicken is roasting, roast the carrots. Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme and toss well so the carrots are fully coated. Spread on a sheet tray and add to the oven on a separate rack from the chicken. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned and fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside. 

4.     Hard boil the eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and cover. Allow to sit until cool. Peel when cool enough to handle and cut each egg in half lengthwise and then each half into three wedges. Set aside. 

5.     Arrange the bacon on a sheet tray and place in the oven with the chicken but on a different rack. Cook until slightly crispy—about 15 minutes for pork bacon and 10 minutes for turkey bacon. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly and crumble. Set aside. If using pork bacon, you may reserve the bacon fat for the vinaigrette if you wish. 

6.     Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter and add the roasted chicken on top. Slice the tomatoes in half, if using grape tomatoes, or into small wedges if using beefsteak or other tomatoes and arrange around and on top of the chicken. Repeat with the cucumber and onion slices on top of the tomato slices. 

7.     Next arrange the hard boiled eggs in a pattern on top of the salad with the roasted carrots in between and sprinkle the bacon pieces on top. Last, sprinkle on the cheese and almonds, if using. 

8.     Make the Vinaigrette: Place all the ingredients in a small, sealable jar and shake vigorously. Spoon, as desired, over Salmagundi before serving. Arrange edible flowers, if using, over top of platter. 


Salmagundi

Salmagundi was a popular dish in 17th and 18th century America, although it has its origins as far back as the 1500s. Essentially, Salmagundi is what we would call a “composed salad” today— a salad the eats like a meal. 

In addition to lettuce, Salmagundi features meat of some kind as well as various vegetables. Cheeses, fruits, nuts and edible flowers may also be included.  The dressing is always oil and vinegar based. You can use any oil and vinegar combination you like–including using the reserved fat from cooking pork bacon, if you use it in the dish. 

The recipe for salmagundi can be as long or as short as you make it—it all depends on the different components you want to add. It’s a perfect dish to use up leftover vegetables or meats. Our recipe for salmagundi is one presented at the museum during our Washington birthday dinner Ale to the Chief and other colonial-themed food events, but you may substitute any of the ingredients for those you prefer. This recipe calls for a chicken to be roasted, however you can also purchase a pre-roasted chicken. We like the ones from our friends at The Fresh Market. 


Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

For the Chicken: 

  • 1 3-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the salad: 

  • 1 pound, mini tri-color carrots, with stem end attached, or other vegetables of your choice 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 8 slices pork bacon or turkey bacon 
  • 2 heads butter lettuce, shredded 
  • ½ pint tri-color grape tomatoes or 1 large beefsteak tomato 
  • ¼ small red or yellow onion, sliced thinly 
  • 2 Persian cucumbers or ½ English cucumber, ends trimmed and sliced into 1/8 inch slices 
  • 4 tablespoons shaved asiago cheese or shredded cheese of your choice (optional) 
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds or nuts of your choice (optional) 
  • 5 or 6 nasturtium or other edible flower (optional) 

For the dressing: 

  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar or other vinegar of your choice 
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 garlic clove minced 
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • ¾ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil or bacon fat plus enough olive oil to make up to ¾ cup 

Directions

1.     Roast the chicken if making from scratch: Preheat oven to 400° F. Place chicken in a baking dish and rub all over with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper and roast the chicken for 1 hour or until the internal temperature registers 165° F when thermometer is placed into the thickest part of the thigh. You may also test if a chicken is done by  piercing the thigh with a sharp knife. If the juices run clear it is cooked through. 

2.     Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes so the juices redistribute and you can handle comfortably. Cut chicken breast from bone and cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. Remove the legs and thighs and remove the meat from these as well. Cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. 

3.     While the chicken is roasting, roast the carrots. Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme and toss well so the carrots are fully coated. Spread on a sheet tray and add to the oven on a separate rack from the chicken. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned and fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside. 

4.     Hard boil the eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and cover. Allow to sit until cool. Peel when cool enough to handle and cut each egg in half lengthwise and then each half into three wedges. Set aside. 

5.     Arrange the bacon on a sheet tray and place in the oven with the chicken but on a different rack. Cook until slightly crispy—about 15 minutes for pork bacon and 10 minutes for turkey bacon. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly and crumble. Set aside. If using pork bacon, you may reserve the bacon fat for the vinaigrette if you wish. 

6.     Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter and add the roasted chicken on top. Slice the tomatoes in half, if using grape tomatoes, or into small wedges if using beefsteak or other tomatoes and arrange around and on top of the chicken. Repeat with the cucumber and onion slices on top of the tomato slices. 

7.     Next arrange the hard boiled eggs in a pattern on top of the salad with the roasted carrots in between and sprinkle the bacon pieces on top. Last, sprinkle on the cheese and almonds, if using. 

8.     Make the Vinaigrette: Place all the ingredients in a small, sealable jar and shake vigorously. Spoon, as desired, over Salmagundi before serving. Arrange edible flowers, if using, over top of platter.