CEREALS (cultivated grasses) rank first among vegetable foods; being of hardy growth and easy cultivation, they are more widely diffused over the globe than any of the flowering plants. They include wheat, oats, rye, barley, maize (Indian corn), and rice; some authorities place buckwheat among them. Wheat probably is the most largely consumed; next to wheat, comes rice.
Macaroni, spaghetti, and vermicelli are made from wheaten flour, rich in gluten, moistened to a stiff dough with water, and forced through small apertures in an iron plate by means of a screw press. Various Italian pastes are made from the same mixture. Macaroni is manufactured to some extent in this country, but the best comes from Italy, Lagana and Pejero being the favorite brands. When macaroni is colored, it is done by the use of saffron, not by eggs as is generally supposed. The only egg macaroni is manufactured in strips, and comes from Minneapolis.
From cereals many preparations are made, used alone, or in combination with other food products. From rice is made rice flour; from oats, oatmeal, and oats steam-cooked and rolled. There are many species of corn, the principal varieties being white, yellow, and red. From corn is made corn meal,both white and yellow, cornstarch, hominy, maizena, cerealine, samp, and hulled corn; from wheat, wheaten or white flour, and a variety of breakfast foods. Rye is used for flakes, meal, and flour; barley, for flour and pearl barley. Buckwheat, throughout the United States, is used only when made into flour for buckwheat cakes.
For family use, cereals should be bought in small quantities, and kept in glass jars, tightly covered. Many cereal preparations are on the market for making breakfast mushes, put up in one and two pound packages, with directions for cooking. In nearly all cases, time allowed for cooking is not sufficient, unless dish containing cereal is brought in direct contact with fire, which is not the best way. Mushes should be cooked over hot water after the first five minutes; if a double boiler is not procurable, improvise one. Boiling water and salt should always be added to cereals, allowing one teaspoon salt to each cup of cereal,boiled to soften cellulose and swell starch grains, salted to give flavor. Indian meal and finely ground preparations should be mixed with cold water before adding boiling water, to prevent lumping.
Core apples, leaving large cavities; pare, and cook until soft in syrup made by boiling sugar and water together, allowing one cup sugar to one and one-half cups water. Fill cavities with oatmeal mush; serve with sugar and cream. The syrup should be saved and re-used. Berries, sliced bananas, or sliced peaches, are acceptably served with any breakfast cereal.
Mix cereal, salt, and cold water; add boiling water to cereal placed on front of range. Boil five minutes, steam in double boiler thirty minutes; stir in dates, and serve with cream. To serve for breakfast, or as a simple dessert.
Mush left over from breakfast may be packed in greased, one pound baking-powder box, and covered, which will prevent crust from forming. The next morning remove from box, slice thinly, dip in flour, and sauté Serve with maple syrup.
Pack corn meal or hominy mush in greased, one pound baking-powder boxes, or small bread pan, cool, and cover. Cut in thin slices, and sauté cook slowly, if preferred crisp and dry. Where mushes are cooked to fry, use less water in steaming.
Pick over rice; add slowly to boiling, salted water, so as not to check boiling of water. Boil thirty minutes, or until soft, which may be determined by testing kernels. Old rice absorbs much more water than new rice, and takes longer for cooking. Drain in coarse strainer, and pour over one quart hot water; return to kettle in which it was cooked; cover, place on back of range, and let stand to dry off, when kernels are distinct. When stirring rice, always use a fork to avoid breaking kernels. Rice is more satisfactory when soaked over night in cold water to cover.
Put salt and water in top of double boiler, place on range, and add gradually well-washed rice, stirring with a fork to prevent adhering to boiler. Boil five minutes, cover, place over under part double boiler, and steam forty-five minutes, or until kernels are soft; uncover, that steam may escape. When rice is steamed for a simple dessert, use one-half quantity of water given in recipe, and steam until rice has absorbed water; then add scalded milk for remaining liquid.
To wash rice. Put rice in strainer, place strainer over bowl nearly full of cold water; rub rice between hands, lift strainer from bowl, and change water. Repeat process three or four times, until water is quite clear.
Steam one cup rice, allowing one tablespoon salt; cover bottom of buttered pudding-dish with rice, dot over with three-fourths tablespoon butter, sprinkle with thin shavings mild cheese and a few grains cayenne; repeat until rice and one-fourth pound cheese are used. Add milk to half the depth of contents of dish, cover with buttered cracker crumbs, and bake until cheese melts.
Finely chop two thin slices bacon, add to one-half raw medium-sized cabbage, finely chopped; cover, and cook slowly thirty minutes. Add one-fourth cup rice, boiled, one-half teaspoon chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Moisten with one-half cup White Stock, and cook fifteen minutes.
Wash and drain one-half cup rice, cook in one tablespoon butter until brown, add one cup boiling water, and steam until water is absorbed. Add one and three-fourths cups hot stewed tomatoes, cook until rice is soft, and season with salt and pepper.
Add tomato to stock, and heat to boiling-point; add rice, and steam until rice is soft; stir in butter with a fork, and keep uncovered that steam may escape. Serve in place of a vegetable, or as border for curried or fricasseed meat.
Cook rice in boiling salted water, drain, and pour over hot water to thoroughly rinse. Heat omelet pan, add butter, and as soon as butter is melted add rice. Cook three minutes; then add tomatoes, chicken, and enough stock to moisten. Cook five minutes, and season highly with salt and cayenne. If not rich enough, add more butter.
Melt butter in hot frying-pan, add rice, and stir constantly until rice is well browned. Add stock heated to boiling-point, and cook in double boiler until soft. Turn on a serving dish, garnish with pimentoes cut in fancy shapes, and cover with.
Creole Sauce Cook two tablespoons chopped onion, two tablespoons chopped green pepper, one tablespoon chopped red pepper, or canned pimentoes, and four tablespoons chopped fresh mushrooms, with three tablespoons butter, five minutes. Add two tablespoons flour, one cup tomatoes, one truffle thinly sliced, one-fourth cup sherry wine, and salt to taste.
Cook as for Boiled Macaroni, and reheat in White Sauce. White Sauce. Melt two tablespoons butter, add two tablespoons flour with one-half teaspoon salt, and pour on slowly one and one-half cups scalded milk.
Break macaroni in one-inch pieces and cook in boiling salted water, drain, and reheat in sauce made of butter, flour, and milk, to which is added cheese. As soon as cheese is melted, season with salt and paprika, and turn on to a serving dish. Sprinkle with ham, and garnish with parsley.
It is cooked in long strips rather than broken in pieces; to accomplish this, hold quantity to be cooked in the hand, and dip ends in boiling salted water; as spaghetti softens it will bend, and may be coiled under water.
Beat two eggs slightly and add one-fourth cup milk. Add gradually to one cup flour mixed and sifted with one teaspoon salt. Place colander over a kettle of boiling water, turn in one-third mixture, and force through colander into water, using a potato masher. As soon as buttons come to top of water, remove with skimmer to hot vegetable dish, and sprinkle with salt and grated cheese; repeat until mixture is used. Let stand in oven five minutes, then serve.
Sift flour on a board, make depression in centre, drop in one-half egg, and moisten with warm water to a stiff dough. Knead until smooth, cover, and let stand ten minutes; then roll as thin as a sheet of paper, using a rolling-pin. Cut in strips as long as paste, and two and three-fourth inches wide, using a pastry jagger. Mix cracker crumbs, spinach, and egg; moisten with stock and season with salt and pepper. Put mixture by three-fourths teaspoon on lower half of strips of paste, two inches apart. Fold upper part of paste over lower part. Press edges together and between mixture with tips of thumbs, then cut apart, using pastry jagger. Cook ten minutes in the liquor in which a fowl has been cooked, take up with skimmer, arrange a layer on hot serving dish, sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan cheese, cover with Tomato Sauce; repeat twice and serve at once.
Cook first four ingredients eight minutes. Add tomato, 1 pint of water, and beef cut in small pieces, and cook one and one-half hours. Remove meat before serving. Ravioli is a national Italian dish, and the cheese and condensed tomato may be best bought of an Italian grocer.