DESCRIPTION.—The vegetable oyster plant, sometimes called purple goat’s-beard, or salsify, is indigenous to some portions of Great Britain. The long, slender root becomes fleshy and tender under cultivation, with a flavor, when cooked, somewhat resembling that of the mollusk for which it is named. On this account, it is much esteemed for soups. A variety of the plant grows near the line of perpetual snow, and forms the principal article of fresh vegetable food in the dietary of Kurdistan.
PREPARATION AND COOKING.—Select fresh and unshriveled roots, wash and scrape well, dropping into cold water as soon as cleaned, to prevent discoloration. If the roots are covered with cold water for a half hour or more before scraping, they can be cleaned much easier. Use a porcelain-lined kettle, for cooking, as an iron one will discolor it and injure its flavor. From twenty minutes to one hour, according to age, is required to cook it tender.
SCALLOPED VEGETABLE OYSTERS.—Boil two quarts of sliced vegetable oysters in about two quarts of water until very tender. Skim them out, and fill a pudding dish with alternate layers of crumbs and oysters, having a layer of crumbs for the top. To the water in which they were boiled, add a pint and a half of thin cream, salt to taste, boil up, and thicken with a heaping tablespoonful or two of flour rubbed smooth in a little cold cream. Pour this over the oysters and crumbs, and bake a half hour. If this is not enough to cover well, add more cream or milk. Stewed tomatoes are a nice accompaniment for escalloped vegetable oysters.
STEWED VEGETABLE OYSTERS.—Wash, scrape, and cut into slices not more than one half inch in thickness. Put into a small quantity of boiling water and cook until tender. If a large quantity of water is used, the savory juices escape, and leave the roots very insipid. When tender, pour in a cup of rich milk and simmer for five or ten minutes; add a little flour rubbed smooth in milk, and salt if desired; boil up once, and serve as a vegetable or on slices of nicely browned toast. If preferred, a well-beaten egg may be used in the place of flour.
DESCRIPTION.—Corn, peas, and beans in their immature state are so nearly allied to vegetables, that we give in this connection recipes for cooking green corn, green beans, and green peas. A general rule applicable to all is that they should, when possible, be cooked and eaten the day they are gathered, as otherwise they lose much of their sweetness and flavor. For corn, select young, tender, well-filled ears, from which the milk will spurt when the grain is broken with the finger nail. Beans and peas are fresh only when the pods are green, plump, snap crisply when broken, and have unshriveled stems. If the pods bend and appear wilted, they are stale. Corn, peas, and beans are wholesome and nutritious foods when thoroughly cooked and sufficiently masticated, but they are almost indigestible unless the hull, or skin, of each pea, bean, or grain of corn, be broken before being swallowed.