A cocotte is a small round or oval dish in which food is cooked and served - a ramekin or individual casserole. It may be made of fireproof china, tempered glass, earthenware, porcelain, cast iron, copper, or stainless steel. The food cooked and served in such dishes is usually called "en cocotte".
Shad was known as elft, the eleven fish, to the early Dutch settlers. It was on the 11th day of March each year that the first shad were caught and cooked on a plank, a method the settlers learned from the Indians. Shad were so abundant in colonial days that it became quite fashionable among some of the well-to-do. Many of them ate shad on the sly, fearing others would think them unable to afford more expensive food.
Spring is finally around the corner after the endless cold days and this means new start and new beginning. Everything slowly starts to wake up as sun warms up the ground. I love first sunny days, I open my windows to let fresh air to come into our bedrooms. Once you can see first flowers under the trees you know Easter is coming soon. Along with cooking special foods during such time, I like to give my house a spark and start my spring cleaning. I do laundry almost every day - all winter jackets, scarves and sweaters need a good wash. Winter boots are going into their boxes until next cold season. When all of this is in order, I start freshening up room by room. I buy many flowers and herbs in early spring, something unique for every room. Tulips usually go on my dining table, lilies of the valley – to bedrooms. Fresh mint on a countertop brings lovely aroma in a kitchen. Don't you just love new beginning?
When I was a child we were allowed to go by ourselves to the local food store for simple shopping such as getting bread or milk. Very often in my early age I had basic grocery shopping as a chore. Our nearby bakery was nothing special. They stocked few varieties of breads, some breakfast pastries as well as few cakes were always available, but that was all. But sometimes, if you were lucky to come to the store at the right time, you could find number of sweet treats behind glass display. One of such treats was rum baba, soaked in sweet syrup, rum and covered with white sugar icing.