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gramas holiday aspic  RSS feed

 
                    
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Grandma made food constantly. When any of us grandkids walked into the house, she would get worried if we talked with her before hitting the kitchen. She thought something was wrong if we didn't have an apple in one hand and a wedge of pie or cake in the other and turkey leg in our jawbone.  She made the food from things she grew or traded with other victory gardeners, mostly, so it was always pretty solid healthy fare.

She always complained she didnt have an ice box. I recall her using the fridge to show off. She'd line up a box of 20 matches on the top of the door and kick them off one by one burlesque style. She was 5'3". Except to cool aspic and canned goods, and for leftovers, I hardly recall anything else she sued the fridge for.  Shed boil eggs and pickle them before putting them in a fridge. best EVER deviled eggs. She made aspics and pickled- constantly.

She would let the broth roll in the pot, simmering, and drain the fat off. This often went into a soup pot. Sometimes she poured it over toast. She was a hardcore depression era survivor and WWII widow who raised 10 kids by her lonesome, and half of north Portland besides. During WWII. No nutrition was trivial. Rosie the Riveter for real- she built those ships during the War, and gardened when she got home- city chickens and goats, besides aspic and pickling in the 1940's!

So the stock is rolling and the fats off. I think the stock to egg white ratio was about 1:1; she would use a @3qt pot, and three eggs went in. I used to watch her - she would slip me knucklebones and crispy chicken skins and I'd chew on them while she fussed and made jokes. She whipped the broth until it foamed. Pretty soon it would boil up and the foam would get thick and shed stop, taking it off the heat. Then a damp wash cloth was put over a clear glass jar or bowl and the broth foam would get poured through. She would let it set awhile and the air bubbles would come out, and the stock would go mostly clear.

Then the meat (already cooked mostly potted or corned) would come out.  She would pour a tad of aspic in the bottom of bowl- and this is when she used the fridge- just to chill the aspic until the stuff in the bottom was firm- and then she would put the meat, cooked veges, etc. in it.  I think she did that so she could flip them out without them falling apart. She liked carrots and cabbage, so I guess I do too, but roasted peppers and sundried tomatoes work find now as well

Then she would pour the liquid over the whole lot of it, and -making sure the stuff inside didnt float up- cover it.

sometimes she added spices- savory & rosemary were common. I recall cinnamon and nutmeg as well. These got added to the meat/vege combo if I recollect, not the liquid.

For holidays she made fruit aspics, done like mince meat. She also garnished them with citrus and clove this time of year.

The stuff that wasnt canned  would set up in the bowls in the fridge, and when firm, shed leave them on a bottom shelf, a cool spot. they would stay jellied several days, with a lid, and no need to refrigerate. sometimes in the winter they would just be piled up on the porch, tucked into some snow she scooped up. in winter she didnt use the fridge for anything but a closet. And a dance practice partner.

I recall her aspic spoons.. very curious relic of silverware.. a serrated spoon.  i need.

holidays. loved ones passed.

still with us in spirit. feeding us yet.






 
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