Wash the beans, and soak them over night. Boil them slowly until tender, changing the water several times. They are improved in flavor by boiling with them a small piece of salt pork, a bay-leaf, and onion. If they are to be baked remove them from the water when the skin will break easily; put them in a pipkin or bean pot, bury in them a piece of salt pork with the rind scored; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour over them a tablespoonful of molasses, and enough salted water to cover them. Cover the pot closely, and place it in a slow oven to cook for six to eight hours.
For a puree, boil the beans until tender; mash them through a colander. Season with butter, salt, and pepper; and add enough cream or stock to make them the right consistency. This is called "Puree Bretonne." To use it for a garnish, press it through a pastry bag into forms like potato roses (see page 202), or put it into small fontage cups (see page 300), or on thin pieces of toast the size of a silver dollar. To make croquettes add a beaten egg to the puree, form it into small croquettes, roll them in egg and crumbs, and fry in hot fat.
Wash beets well, but do not break the skin, or they will lose their color in boiling. Cook for one hour if young, for two to three hours if old. When done throw them into cold water, and remove the skins. Season with butter, salt, and pepper. Serve them whole if small; cut into slices if large.
Wash; cut into small pieces; cook in salted boiling water for twenty minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly; mash, and press out all the water. Season with butter, pepper, salt, and cream if convenient.
Boil the parsnips one hour, or until tender; throw them in cold water, and remove the skins. Cut them in slices lengthwise one quarter of an inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dip in melted butter; then roll in flour, and saute on both sides until browned. Or mash the boiled parsnips; season, and stir into them one tablespoonful of flour and one egg to bind them; form into small cakes, and saute in drippings until browned on both sides.
Boiled: Peel the cucumbers, and cut them lengthwise into quarters. Boil them in salted water until tender. Make a white sauce (page 277), using cream instead of milk, if convenient. Place the well-drained cucumbers in the sauce, to be heated through; then sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve.
Stuffed: Select large cucumbers of uniform size. Cut them in two lengthwise. With a spoon remove carefully the seeds, and fill the place with a stuffing made of equal parts of minced chicken, or any meat, and soft crumbs, seasoned, and moistened with one egg and a little stock. Round it over the top, and sprinkle with crumbs. Place the pieces in a pan with enough stock to cover the pan one half inch deep. Cook in a moderate oven one hour, or until the cucumbers are tender; replenish the stock in the pan if necessary. Remove them carefully to a hot dish. Thicken the gravy in the pan with a little cornstarch, and pour it around, not over them. This dish can be served as an entree.
Wash the lettuce carefully to remove the dust and any insects. Take off the wilted leaves, and cut the root even with the head. Tie the top together. Lay the heads side by side in a baking-pan; add enough stock to cover the pan one and a half inches deep. Cover, and place in a moderate oven to simmer for one half hour, or until the lettuce is soft; renew the stock if necessary. Lift the lettuce out with a fork, putting it under the middle; let it drain, and lay it double, as it will be over the fork, in a row on a hot dish. Season the gravy in the pan with, butter, salt, and pepper; thicken it with cornstarch, or with a beaten egg, and serve it with the lettuce.