Uncategorized

Monticello Summertime Snack: Ice Cream!

It’s important to look for ways to stay cool in the end-of-summer heat, and at Monticello, the first place that we look is to the past. While Thomas Jefferson’s era did not have the modern amenities we cherish in these warm months, he is credited with the first known ice cream recipe recorded by an American and likely was responsible for the popularization of ice cream within the country—talk about a delicious solution!

Jefferson’s interest in this sweet treat carried over to his relative, Mary Randolph, who is best known for the publication of the influential cookbook The Virginian Housewife, published in 1824. With 22 recipes on the topic, Randolph’s Virginian Housewife dotes on ice cream a surprising amount considering the period. Her cookbook includes recipes for almond ice cream, coffee ice cream, and quince cream, among others.

Feeling rather warm myself, I decided to try making some of these ice cream recipes myself. Although I was at first worried about how well I could handle making recipes from a 19th-century cookbook, I found that they were incredibly easy to make and totally satisfied my sweet tooth!

 IMG_9829

IMG_9838

Chocolate ice cream in Monticello Stemware – Cordial, a Monticello exclusive!

 

Chocolate Ice Cream

(adapted from The Virginia House-wife)

You will need: 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips; 1 pint of full milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream (depending on how creamy you want it); 3 eggs; one vanilla bean.

Recipe:

IMG_9750

1) Put the pint of milk in a saucepan. As you heat it over low, pour in the chocolate chips and the vanilla bean. Be sure to stir this continually.

IMG_98192) When chocolate has dissolved, thicken the mixture with three eggs.

3) Keep on heat until mixture has fully blended, then freeze.

 

Peach Ice Cream

IMG_9836

Peach ice cream on right; served in Monticello Reproduction Patty Pan.

(adapted from The Virginia House-wife)

You will need: 3 peaches, ripe; 1 cup sugar; 1 pint of full milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream (depending on how creamy you want it).

Recipe:

1) Peel peaches, quarter them, remove stones, and place them in a bowl.

2) Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over the peaches. With a spoon, chop them very smallIMG_9713 until they become a smooth pulp.

3) Add pint of milk to the mixture and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Stir.

4) Freeze mixture.

 

 

IMG_9837

Lemon ice cream on left side; served with Twisted Handle Teaspoon!

Lemon Ice Cream

(adapted from The Virginia House-wife)

You will need: 4 lemons, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 pint of full milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream (depending on how creamy you want it).

1) Pare the yellow rind from four lemons and put them with the pint of milk in a saucepan. Boil the IMG_9821mixture, making sure to mix continually, and remove from heat, placing  in the refrigerator until completely cooled.

2) Meanwhile, strain the juice of one lemon and saturate the juice completely with the powdered sugar.

3) When the cream is cold, stir in the juice mixture, making sure that it does not curdle. If the mixture is not sufficiently sweet, add more sugar.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

042516-Mothers-Day-Gift-Collection

Give Mom a Gift as Unique and Beautiful as She Is

The Shop at Monticello’s Gifts for Her collection is inspired by Jefferson’s passions for elegant, functional design and nature’s beauty. From classic decor to exclusive garden supplies, a gift from this collection is sure to delight each Mom on your list. Shop the entire collection now >>

041816-Gardeners-Gift-Basket 041816-Lavender-Spa-Gift-Set

042516-Jacquard-Woven-Wrap

041816-Leather-Saddle-Bag

 

 

 

 

042516-Dragonfly-Music-Box_sm

042516-Buffalo-Head-Nickel-Bracelet 041816-Monticello-Umbrella 041816-Lavender-Scent-Diffuser 041816-Apothecary-Bottle 041816-Tulip-Poplar-Magnifier-Necklace 040116-Porcelain-Diffuser 042516-Tulipiere 041816-Blue-Ruffled-Pitcher041816-Vineyard-Vines-Blue-Monticello-Tote 042516-Citron-Gift-Set

Author Signed Copies of “The Invention of Nature”

042716-Invention-of-Nature-Main

Andrea Wulf, the acclaimed author of Founding Gardeners, reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world-and in the process created modern environmentalism. Von Humboldt (1769-1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes and mountains.

In 1804, at the end of a five year expedition in Central and South America, von Humboldt visited Washington, D.C., specifically to meet President Thomas Jefferson. President Jefferson was thrilled ot welcome Humboldt, and was eager to hear all about the lands south of the newly-acquired Louisiana Purchase. These meetings were the start of a 21-year friendship and correspondence on topics including science, politics and nature.

andreawulfANDREA WULF was born in India and moved to Germany as a child. She lives in London, where she trained as a design historian at the Royal College of Art. She is the author of Chasing Venus, Founding Gardeners and The Brother Gardeners. She has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.

 

ORDER A COPY NOW>>

042716-may-also-like

 

 

Snail Flower, “the most beautiful bean in the world”

plant2

Heirloom flowers are cultivating a devoted following. This spring planting season, choose tried-and-true historic plants over mass-market plants like Jefferson’s beloved Caracalla Bean Vine (aka Snail Flower) just featured in The Wall Street Journal article “A Guide to Planting Heirloom Flowers-With Links to Thomas Jefferson and More.” Read the article >>

snail-flower-vigna-caracalla-4In 1792, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Hawkins, “The most beautiful bean in the world is the caracalla bean which, though in England a greenhouse plant, will grow in the open air in Virginia and Carolina.” Imported from tropical South America, it was found in American gardens by the 1830s, when Robert Buist wrote in The American Flower Garden Directory, “Snail-Flower is a very curious blooming plant, with flowers … all spirally twisted, in great profusion when the plant is grown well.” This spectacular flower was popular in florists’ corsages by the late 19th-century.

The Snail Flower ships in late April, so order yours today! Shop our entire collection of hard-to-find plants now >>

Shop Spring 2016 Plants Now

Mirth, Jollity and a Monticello Plum Pudding

 

By Diane Ehrenpreis, Assistant Curator

Details of how the holiday was observed at Monticello are scarce. I recently made a discovery in a set of Jefferson family letters that takes place at Christmas, and provides insights into the comings and goings of the household.

In December (date), Jefferson’s granddaughter Cornelia Randolph composed a hasty letter to her sister, Virginia Randolph Trist, asking her to send the family recipe for plum pudding as quickly as possible.

VRT to CJR 12 22 60 1

Courtesy of the Nicholas Philip Trist Papers #2104, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While Cornelia’s letter does not survive, her request and its urgency are clear in Virginia’s surviving reply. Virginia’s response, which was written in Philadelphia, is dated December 22, probably in 1860. She says, “I received your letter last night and hope the directions for the pudding may reach you to-morrow morning.” And despite having a sick headache, she transcribed and annotated the recipe so that her sister, who may have been with family in Alexandria, Virginia, could have the plum pudding that they both remembered from their childhood.

Once Virginia had copied out the ingredients, the sugar and flour, bread crumbs from a penny loaf bread, the dozen eggs, the cinnamon and citron, the suet and the brandy, she added one powerful word: “Monticello.” Virginia specifically associated this Christmas pudding with Monticello, and by extension, her Christmas past and present. Perhaps Virginia and Cornelia felt the same way about this exact pudding, as I do about my Nana’s Swedish pepparkakor recipe: it is not Christmas without this food.

When I read this exchange between sisters, I was struck by how modern the events seemed. I immediately empathized with Cornelia’s evident upset at not being able to find the pudding recipe. Have we not all been there, especially this time of year?  I was also immensely touched at her sister’s reaction to promptly share and send the recipe, despite feeling poorly. And, what about the U. S. Post Office, and the one-day turn-around time, in 1860!

Just as the Internet has changed how we stay in touch, and it has dramatically changed how I do much of my research. I found this letter while reading scans of the family correspondence available online from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I can now sit at my desk and have access to seemingly unlimited primary material, from here and other collections.

Earlier this year, this same collection yielded a reference to the Randolph family looking forward to playing whist and drinking eggnog at a Christmas gathering in the 1850s. While this may seem too late to apply to Monticello, it likely reveals a tradition that the family had kept for quite a while, considering that both whisk and eggnog first became popular in the 18th century. When I saw the recipe for “plumb pudding” and the date of December 22, I knew this was another discovery to add to our Christmas file.

Please enjoy reading Virginia’s version of the Christmas pudding, and do not overlook her helpful hints for making it a success. Do people still boil pudding for an entire day? I am hopeful that some one of you will take time to create this Christmas dish, so do let us know how it turns out.

“Proportions of a plumb pudding”

4 spoonful of brown sugar-

½ lb of currants-

1lb of raisins-

1 lb of suet- (*modern substitute: butter)

3 spoonfuls of flour-

crumb of a penny loaf of bread grated-

12 eggs-

1 nutmeg-

mace

+ cinnamon 1 spoonful-

citron-

1 teaspoonful of salt-

1 wine glass of brandy.

The ingredients must be prepared and the pudding boiled a long time…a day’s boiling, it is better for it, but when made with bread it is not so necessary as when made with four + is lighter + more wholesome.

The suet should be grated fine and every string…taken out of it (*modern substitute: cream the butter)-the ingredients carefully and thoroughly mixed.

Virginia house wife recommends rubbing the raisins for pudding and cakes in a little flour to prevent their settling to the bottom, taking care the four should not stick to them in lumps.

 The cloth in which the pudding is boiled should be wet + floured + the pudding tied up…

 Put into boiling water and cover…

 If the pudding is boiled some hours the day before it is wanted it may be again put into the pot the following day + boiled as long as necessary.

 It should be kept in a cool place.

 

Interested in hearing more about Monticello holiday traditions? Visit monticello.org for information on holiday programming and events.

 

 

Mary Randolph’s Cornbread Recipe

“Our breakfast table was as large as our Dinner table; … we had tea, coffee, excellent muffins, hot wheat and corn bread, cold ham and butter,” recalled visitor Margaret Bayard Smith. Jefferson’s notes allude to raising corn for bread and Martha Jefferson Randolph referred to the family being “fond” of Indian, or corn, meal. This is Mary Randolph’s recipe, and almost certainly one of the breads served on Jefferson’s table. Its traditional taste is sure to be a hit with family and friends this holiday season.

Thomas Jefferson and his family ate only two meals a day at Monticello: breakfast, typically at eight, and dinner, in the late afternoon.

Mary Randolph’s Cornbread

1 ½ cups whole milk

¼ tsp active dry yeast

1 tbs lukewarm water

2 large eggs

1 tsp salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

10 ounces fine stone-ground white cornmeal

  1. Scaled the milk over medium heat and let it cool to 110 degrees. Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it proof 10 minutes. Break the eggs into a separate bowl and beat together until smooth, and then beat in the milk, yeast, and salt
  2. Rub the butter into the cornmeal with your fingertips until it is evenly distributed and resembles fine crumbs. Make a well in the center, pour in the liquid ingredients, and quickly stir until the batter is fairly smooth (a few small lumps won’t matter). Cover and set in a warm place until slightly risen and thick with small air bubbles, at least 1 hour and as long as 2 hours.
  3. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12-cup standard muffin pan and divide the batter among the cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until puffed, golden brown, and set, about 35 minutes. The bread will begin to separate from the edges of the pan when it is done.

monticello-fruit-butter-gift-basket-202Serve this delicate and delicious bread with Smithfield Virginia Country Ham, a real southern favorite. This cooked country ham is aged and smoked, but for only about half the curing time. Tender and lean, each mouthwatering bite leaves a mild, smoky and less salty taste on the palate. If you prefer a sweeter pairing, Monticello Sweet Potato Butter goes wonderfully with cornbread. This delicious, creamy spread is made of sweet potatoes, sugar, spices and citric acid, with no preservatives. It’s made for us in Frederick County, Virginia at a family-owned farm and cannery started in 1828.

diningatmonticelloFor more historic recipes, check out Dining at Monticello. An inviting view of the renowned hospitality offered at Thomas Jefferson’s table. Ten essays discuss topics such as the groceries and wine imported from Europe, the recent kitchen restoration and the African Americans who participated in Monticello’s rich food culture at every stage. Seventy-five delicious recipes from Jefferson family manuscripts, updated by Editor Damon Lee Fowler, are authentic to the period and accessible to today’s home cook.

 

Jefferson’s Wine Jelly Recipe

“I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk, & restorative cordial.”                      

-Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, Aug. 17, 1811

We have reams of material on the food and cookery of Thomas Jefferson’s day in Virginia–much of it recorded by Jefferson himself. In addition to all of his garden book references of food coming “to table,” Jefferson made endless accounts of household provisions and numerous culinary observations in his Memorandum books. The recipe below is one of 10 he wrote out in his own hand.

Wine jellies were once considered delicate and rare confections. Traditionally made from gelatin extracted from calves’ feet, today this elegant dish can be simplified with ordinary gelatin.

Wine Jelly

Curbatch6-0001

Three different styles of Monticello jelly glasses are known (above). Following Jefferson’s death, Martha Randolph’s inventory noted “21 cut & 3 plain jelly glasses.”

Serves 6

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

4 cups water

2 cups Madeira or dry sherry

3 cups water

3 large egg whites, shells reserved

1 cup sugar

3 envelopes granulated gelatin

1 cup cold water

  1. Pare the rind from 2 of the lemons in long pieces with a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife. Juice the lemons and strain into a 2-quart saucepan. Add the rind, spice, and water. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the Madeira or sherry and let it cool.
  2. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Crush the shells and beat them into the whites. Stir this into the wine mixture, return it to medium-low heat, and bring it slowly to a simmer. Meanwhile, wet a large piece of muslin (un-dyed plain cotton fabric), wring it out thoroughly, and line a wire strainer with it. Set this over a bowl that will just hold the strainer near its rim.
  3. When the egg has solidified and floated to the top, push it to one side and check the clarity of the liquid. If it is clear, skim most of the egg away and ladle the liquid into the trainer. Leave it to slowly drip into the bowl. (This takes some time, so be patient and do not stir or agitate it.) The liquid that drips through the strainer should be perfectly clear.
  4. Clean the saucepan and return the clarified liquid to it. Bring it back to a simmer over medium heat, stir in the sugar until dissolved, and simmer until the liquid is clear again. Meanwhile, put the gelatin in a large bowl and stir in the cool water. Let soften for 10 minutes and stir in the hot liquid. Continue stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved and the liquid is somewhat cooled. To speed up the cooling process, set the bowl in an ice bath and stir constantly until it is cold but not yet beginning to jell.
  5. Pour it into small, stemmed glasses or shallow champagne goblets, cover and chill until set, about 4 hours. Alternatively the jelly may set in a shallow pan, then be broken up with a spoon or knife, and spooned into stemmed glasses.

Serve this classic delicacy with traditional Monticello stemware. These glasses, with their clean forms and exquisite engraving, speak volumes about Jefferson’s taste for fine design. Jefferson purchased a great deal of glassware between 1767 and 1821, but very little survives. The Shop at Monticello’s reproduction stemware is based on a rare original and is made of mouth-blown full lead crystal, cut and etched by hand with a sprig and wheel band. Slight variations among the glasses are hallmarks of handmade glass.

diningatmonticelloFor more historic recipes, check out Dining at Monticello. An inviting view of the renowned hospitality offered at Thomas Jefferson’s table. Ten essays discuss topics such as the groceries and wine imported from Europe, the recent kitchen restoration and the African Americans who participated in Monticello’s rich food culture at every stage. Seventy-five delicious recipes from Jefferson family manuscripts, updated by Editor Damon Lee Fowler, are authentic to the period and accessible to today’s home cook.

Win Our Holiday Favorites

pinitGlobeFlutes1The Shop at Monticello is offering a NEW holiday contest this year! Anyone can head on over to Pinterest and Pin to Win a Monticello Musical Snow Globe.

Monticello is truly beautiful after a new snow. Our highly collectible snow globe is an accurate three dimensional view of the home of Thomas Jefferson. The semicircular globe sits on a faux wood resin base. The snow globe plays Mozart’s Eline Kleine Nachtmusik, a song well known to Jefferson. 4 1/2″ diameter, 5 1/4″ high. Available for $56.

Attending a Monticello Holiday Event? Pin a photo from your visit with the hashtag #MonticelloHoliday and you could win the Monticello Musical Snow Globe and a Monticello Toasting Flutes Gift Set! Anyone who participates in a Wreath or Gingerbread House Workshop, the Holiday Open House, our Holiday Classic 5K, Handmade for the Holidays or a Holiday Evening Tour is eligible to enter.

cvr_champagne_smallJefferson was a true connoisseur. Monticello champagne flutes, with their clean forms and exquisite engraving, speak volumes about his taste for fine design. Very little of the glassware Jefferson purchased between 1767 and 1821 survives. Our stemware, based on a rare original, is mouth-blown full lead crystal, cut and etched by hand with a sprig and wheel band.

Each exclusive Toasting Flutes Gift Set includes two handmade champagne flutes nestled in a black velvet-lined gift box tied with Monticello ribbon. Toast the new year with style and celebrate weddings, anniversaries or other momentous occasions with our sophisticated stemware. Each 5-oz. glass is 9″h and the set is a $149 value.

For more of The Shop’s seasonal favorites, visit http://www.monticelloshop.org/home-decor-seasonal.html

Snow1

Modern Uses for Monticello Classics

AltUseScene

The house was in an unfinished state, and when Mr. Seymour observed it, Mr. Jefferson replied—“And I hope it will remain so during my life, as architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favourite amusements.” –Thomas Jefferson (as told by Margaret Bayard Smith)

Thomas Jefferson was constantly designing and reinventing furnishings and devices to improve day to day living. As a “Founding Tastemaker,” Jefferson remains a source of inspiration for contemporary home decor. Modern, alternative uses for these Jeffersonian classics reveal both Jefferson’s ingenuity and the continued functionality of his designs.

Revolving BookstandAmong the many fascinating devices found in Jefferson’s Cabinet, this one perhaps most clearly suggests Jefferson’s passion for knowledge. The Revolving Bookstand, once thought to be a music stand, was probably made or adapted to Jefferson’s design and specifications in the joinery at Monticello. The cube-shaped stand has five adjustable rests that can be folded down to form a cube. A central pole enables the stand to rotate at the bottom and as many as five books could be placed on it at a time. Jefferson may have conveniently placed it next to his chair in his reading-and-writing arrangement.

Swap the books for framed photos and this remarkable device can display your friends, family and favorite moments. Made of solid mahogany with a soft, hand-polished finish, the rotating stand holds multiple picture frames at adjustable angles on rests that fold down to form a 12″ cube.Canterbury

An excellent accompaniment to the Revolving Bookstand is the Monticello Canterbury. The Jefferson family kept favorites from their enormous collection of sheet music in this portable rack. It has four compartments and a lower open shelf. Corner pieces, each topped with small turned finials, extend into turned legs ending in brass casters. The casters and the “hand hole” at the middle divider allowed the Canterbury to be “run in under the pianoforte.”

The Canterbury is still quite handy, though you’re just as likely to use its four compartments and lower shelf as convenient storage for your most cherished books and magazines. The casters on the legs and handgrip at the top make it easy to move around, allowing your stacks of reading to come with you. Mahogany, with brass casters.

How would you use these two timeless Jeffersonian pieces in your home? Post your favorite alternative use below!

In Bloom at Monticello: Scarlet Pentapetes

Scarlet MallowIf you have visited Monticello recently, you may have enjoyed the vibrant Scarlet Pentapetes that has been flowering near by the winding walk. Jefferson sowed seed of this tender annual along his flower border in 1811, calling it “Scarlet Mallow.”  He likely received seed from Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon, who noted the flower in his book, The American Gardener’s Calendar, 1806.

Scarlet Pentapetes (Pentapetes phoenicea), a member of the chocolate family, is rarely cultivated in America. This unusual plant of the Old World Tropics blossoms with rich scarlet, mallow like blooms that open at noon and close at dawn, accented by olive green foliage with serrated edges. Growing between three to five feet, the Scarlet Pentapetes prefers full sun to light shade and well-drained garden loam.

The Shop at Monticello offers seeds that are a representation of the species Scarlet Pentapetes with its tropical red blossom.  Direct sow or transplant to a sunny location after the last frost and they will grow up to five feet. It makes a handsome accent plant in the garden.Peggy

Peggy Cornett, Curator of Plants, has worked at Monticello since 1983. She graduated from The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (English and botany) and the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware. Peggy is a writer, published author, and frequent lecturer specializing in the history of gardens and plants. She edits Magnolia, the publication of the Southern Garden History Society.