Monday, February 14, 2011

"Favorite Southern Recipes of the Duchess of Windsor" & "Chocolate - A Little Indulgence" - Smothered Chicken and Hugs N' Kisses Torte

Date I made these recipes: February 14, 2011 (Valentine’s Day)

Some Favorite Southern Recipes of The Duchess of Windsor with a foreword by The Duchess of Windsor
Published by: Gramercy Publishing Co.
© 1942
Recipe: Smothered (with love?!) Chicken – p. 46

Chocolate – A Little Indulgence
Published by: CQ Products
ISBN: 13: 978-1-56383-230-7
Recipe: Hugs N’ Kisses Torte – p. 104 - 105

Unless you are living under a rock, you know that Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson and Catherine (Kate) Middleton are going to be married in April. And today, the press was all atwitter about who the bridesmaids would be and duh, of course the maid of honor is her sister, Pippa, and William selected his brother, Harry, to be his best man (actually, in England they are called “supporters.”) And there was much rejoicing.

But Wills (and Kate) and even Chuck (and Di) would not have been in the positions they are in (grandson and son to the current Queen) if not for Chuck’s Uncle David, formerly known as King Edward VIII of England. (Full name: Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David. Wow - only 7 names?!)

King Edward, you see, was quite the gad about town and was at yet another party when he met and fell in love with an American, Wallis Warfield Simpson, a divorcee twice over. And just like that he up and quit the throne for the woman he loved. I mean who does that? Because “if I were King of the For-rest…” (Thank you, Wizard of Oz), I don’t know as I’d give up my golden throne and all the accoutrements that come with it for some average-looking American socialite. But give up the throne he did and they married (and got demoted to Duke and Duchess of Windsor) and spent the rest of their lives in “exile” (so to speak), traveling the world and living the high life. Meanwhile, Wallis became one of the most hated women in England and so okay, you’re a Duchess, but honey, was it worth it?

Stepping into the suddenly vacated post of King was Edward’s younger brother, Albert, who just happened to be Elizabeth II’s father. Albert (whose name was changed to King George VI) never, ever expected to be King and it is said that the Queen Mum (Elizabeth’s mother) never forgave Wallis for forcing her fragile husband into the throne. Actually, the entire Windsor clan was quite pissed and I do not mean “pissed” as in “drunk” (as the Brits call it). I mean royally (hahaha) ticked off at Wallis. Quite.

For those of you who have seen the recent movie blockbuster, The King’s Speech, you’ll know that King George suffered from a stammer. Luckily the man was able to overcome it to speak to his people during WWII and encourage them to be brave and to solider on and work together and stiff upper lip and all that. But he also smoked and was not in the best of health and when he died at an early age, Elizabeth took over the throne and still reigns today.

So before we go any further, a few bits of trivia:

 The current Queen is technically known as Elizabeth II because another Elizabeth came before her – Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII’s daughter.

 As another aside, the current Queen should thank her lucky stars that Henry decided his daughter would be Queen. Most of the time the title fell to the King’s son and if there wasn’t a son, it fell to the next male relative. Henry didn’t have any sons that lived and so the first Queen Liz got the job. But believe it or not, there are currently monarchies around the world that still hold to the idea that the crown goes to the man. We don’t have time to go into what I think about that.

 Don't ask me why but I recently had not one but two people as me why a Queen’s husband is never a King. Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Philip, is not King Philip but rather Prince Philip, and that’s because the male spouse of a sitting Queen can never be higher in rank than the Queen herself. When the Queen dies, the crown passes to either the son (e.g. Prince Charles will become King Charles when the Queen dies) or a daughter (e.g. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will become Queen when her father, King Carl Gustaf dies. Her mother, the current Queen, Queen Sylvia, does not inherit the throne. That being said, if a sitting King marries, his wife is called Queen. Okay, so now that we got that all cleared up…)

 Despite the fact that I have not one drop of British blood in me, I am a major Anglophile…actually make the Royalphile (if there is such a word…and spell check suggests there isn’t). I began reading about the British Royal Family when I was a teenager. I also watched Prince Charles’ investiture as Prince of Wales on our black and white TV back in 1969And finally, I knew all about Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles’ second wife, way before you did because several publications (Time, Life and Newsweek) ran several articles about Prince Charles’ love life and she was one of the named contestants in hot contention to be “Mrs. Queen of England.” (Diana was barely born at the time of these articles). And even though King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1939, there were enough articles after the fact to keep me busy reading for years and years.

Anyway, back to our story: so without a kingdom to rule, the newly-named Duke and Duchess of Windsor took to traveling the world over and spent a lot of time in America where they were the toast of the town. And somehow the Duchess found time to pull together recipes for this cookbook. And after seeing a promo the other day for The King’s Speech, I remembered that I had this book and thought it would be perfect to cook from it for Valentine’s Day seeing as how King Edward abdicated the throne for “the woman I love.” And believe it or not, they were married for 35 years, separated only by his death in 1972. Awwww……

And speaking of royalty…the second cookbook I chose to cook from for the chocolate portion of our program was purchased at the Minnesota History Museum after I attended an exhibit about chocolate. And chocolate is tied to royalty as follows: European and English royalty sponsored trips to the New World by explorers and conquistadors and whatnot and these explorers discovered that chocolate was being used by Mexican and Latin American indigenous tribes as currency (and as indicators of wealth) and thought it would be a great idea to bring it back to their own countries. At first people were lukewarm about eating chocolate because it was unsweetened (and only consumed by the very wealthy) but once someone figured out to add sugar to it, it became incredibly popular and now companies all over the world are churning out chocolate in record form to be purchased and given to Valentines today and every day as a sign of love and affection. And again with the awwwww…..

And speaking of awww….this cookbook contained recipes for beverages, appetizers, main dishes and dessert, all of which contained chocolate, but it was the recipe for this Hugs N’ Kisses Torte, made with Hershey’s Kisses, that spoke to me. Who doesn’t love a kiss on Valentine’s Day?!

I’ll eventually get around to seeing the movie (and therefore the events leading up to King George taking the throne) but for now, here are the results of my latest attempts in the kitchen. The chicken was incredibly tender but alas, lacking in flavor so salt and pepper were in order. The torte on the other hand, had lots of flavor, namely sugar. But that is one taste sensation that is fine by me!

Enjoy…and Happy Valentine’s Day…and God Save the Queen. Quite.

Smothered Chicken – approximate yield: 5 to 6 portions
1 large stewing chicken
Salt, pepper
½ cup thin cream (thin cream is basically Half and half)
4 tablespoons chopped celery
½ cup sliced carrots
¾ cup milk (although the recipe doesn’t say, you should use whole milk if at all possible)
1 teaspoon parsley
Sage (The Duchess does not give an amount nor does she say whether to use leaf sage or rubbed sage. You decide.)
Few drops of onion juice

Have chicken disjoined as for frying. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of paprika. Roll in flour and brown quickly in fat, then place in baking dish. Add remaining ingredients. Cover the dish tightly and bake in a hot oven (400F) for about 2 hours or until chicken is tender. When it is done, uncover and brown top. Add more milk while cooking if necessary. Serve from the baking dish.

Chicken may be cooked in the morning, for one hour, placed in the refrigerator, and an hour before dinner returned to oven to finish cooking.

Hugs N’ Kisses Torte – makes 8 servings
1 (8 oz) package Hershey’s kisses, unwrapped
½ C. plus 1/3 C. heavy whipping cream, divided
2 tsp. butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla
1 (10 ¾ oz.) loaf frozen pound cake, partially thawed
10 Hershey’s Hugs, unwrapped (Note: I’m not sure what these are and a search of Hersey’s website didn’t help. Since they were only garnish, I left them off.)

In a medium saucepan over low heat, place unwrapped Hershey’s kisses and 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream. Cook, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla, mixing until butter has completed melted. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and place in refrigerator until mixture is firm enough to spread, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, slice thawed pound cake horizontally into 3 even layers. Place bottom layer on serving plate and top with 1/3 of the chocolate filling, spreading evenly. Top with second cake layer and spread another 1/3 of the filling over cake layer. Place remaining cake layer on top.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat remaining ½ cup heavy cream at medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in remaining chocolate mixture, mixing gently until well incorporated. Spread mixture over top and sides of cake and place in refrigerator about 6 hours. Garnish top of torte with Hershey’s Hugs chocolate before serving.

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