The dog days of summer are upon us, but the good news is that delectable garden-fresh tomatoes are plentiful. So I was thrilled to recently find a hundred-year-old recipe for Tomato and Nut Salad. This is really a stuffed tomato recipe. The tomato is stuffed with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, walnuts, and green pepper, with a little mayonnaise for added flavor and to bind everything together. The crunchy stuffing reminds me of Waldorf salad – though that isn’t exactly an accurate description since there are no apples in this recipe.
The recipe calls for peeling the tomato. I almost skipped this step- but it’s worth doing. The peeled tomato has a lovely velvety surface which adds to the presentation.
Here’s the original recipe:
And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Tomato and Nut Salad (Stuffed Tomato with Nut Salad)
Put a pan of water on the stove; bring to a boil. Drop the tomato into the water for about 15 seconds: remove from heat and gently slip the skin off the tomato. Using a knife remove the stem end and the firm core from the tomato and discard. Scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds, place in a strainer and drain off any excess liquid. Place pulp in a bowl; add the walnuts and green pepper. Stir in the mayonnaise, then stuff the tomato with the mixture. If desired serve on lettuce leaves.
Why do we almost always eat some vegetables raw, while others are typically cooked? I don’t have an answer, but I know that I was surprised when I recently saw a hundred-year-recipe for Scalloped Cucumbers. And, since it’s cucumber season, I decided to give the recipe a try.
The Scalloped Cucumbers were delightful. The cooked cucumbers still had a hint of crispness, and when mixed with onion slices in a creamy sauce, and topped with cheese and breadcrumbs, this makes a perfect vegetable side dish. Cucumbers are a tasty vegetable . . . regardless of whether eaten raw or cooked.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel cucumbers, and quarter length-wise. Remove the seeds, and then dice the cucumbers into bite-sized chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about 10 – 15 minutes). (Cucumbers are still somewhat firm even when cooked.)
Remove the skins from the onions, and then thinly slice. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about 10 – 15 minutes).
In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens.
In a large buttered casserole dish, layer the white sauce, cucumbers, and onions. End with a layer of white sauce. Then sprinkle the grated cheese and breadcrumbs on the top. Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
*The original hundred-year-old recipe also indicated that nuts or cereal could be used as a topping.
I didn’t salt the water when I cooked the cucumbers and onions: instead I put some salt in the white sauce. And, I didn’t “butter and crumb” my casserole dish; I just buttered the dish. It worked fine with the crumbs just sprinkled on top of the dish.
Plums are coming into season, and are relatively inexpensive at the store, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Plum Conserve. Conserves are a type of jam or marmalade that often includes citrus fruit, raisins, and nuts.
In addition to plums, this Plum Conserve contains a peach, an orange (including the peel), raisins, and pecans. It has a beautiful purple hue and is delightful on scones, baguettes, and other breads. It is also lovely with cheese (think brie and crackers).
Here’s the original recipe:
This recipe makes a lot of conserve. When I made the recipe, I halved it and I still got about 8 half-pints of Plum Conserve.
2 quarts tart purple plums (about 2 pounds) – Plums that are not quite ripe work well in this recipe.
1/2 cup raisins
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Remove stones from plums and coarsely chop. Remove skin and stone from peach (I dipped the peach in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then slipped the skin off.); coarsely chop. Remove peel (and any excess white pith) from orange, and coarsely chop. Finely chop the orange peel.
Place the chopped plums, peach, orange, orange peel, and raisins in a dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the sugar and pecans.
Continue to boil gently for 30-40 minutes or until the mixture is the consistency of jam. Stir frequently — especially towards the end of the cooking time.
A good way to tell if the mixture is the right consistency is to lay the spoon that is used for stirring on a plate. Allow the liquid clinging to the spoon to cool for a few seconds, and see if it has a jam-like consistency.
Pour mixture into hot one-half pint jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe jar rim and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
I’m always on the look-out for foods that are easy to make when camping, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Bacon and Corn, Camp Style. In addition to bacon and eggs, this dish contains eggs, green pepper, and onion, and is easy to make in a skillet. It is both hearty and tasty, and would be perfect for breakfast or dinner while camping. It also is a nice, easy dish to make at home.
2 cups corn, canned or boiled and cut from the cob (I used a 15 oz. can of corn which is a little less than 2 cups, but it worked well in this recipe.)
Using medium heat, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside, but keep warm. Drain most of the fat from pan, while reserving a small amount to saute the vegetables. Add the green pepper and onion, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Stir in the corn. Let cook until curds begin to form, then gently scrape the bottom of the pan and stir to turn the mixture to scramble the eggs. Continue cooking and scrambling until the eggs are set. Remove from the heat and serve. If desired garnish with some of the bacon strips. Serve the remaining bacon on the side.
Some things just go together – like summer and Berry Shortcake. A few days ago I would have written “like summer and Strawberry Shortcake,” but I’ve discovered a wonderful hundred-year-old recipe for Blackberry Shortcake, so I needed to broaden my analogy.
Slightly crushed, sweetened, juicy blackberries go between and above tender layers of shortcake biscuits. This delightful old-fashioned dessert, with the “new” twist of blackberries is perfect for a hot summer day.
I did not use any whipped cream when I made this dessert since the old recipe did not call for it, and it definitely is not needed. The sweetened juice from the blackberries soaks into the biscuits and creates a delightful flavor and texture; though, if desired, the Blackberry Shortcake could be topped with whipped cream.
Here is a photo of Blackberry Shortcake that appeared in the old magazine:
And, here is the original recipe:
If seemed unusual the old recipe called for buttering the split shortcake biscuits before putting the blackberries between the layers, but I gave it a try with several biscuits. The warm biscuits melted the butter, and it really was not very noticeable after the berries were added. I also tried serving this dessert without buttering the biscuits first, and there was very little difference in the taste or appearance.
2 cups pastry flour (If you do not have pastry flour, use 1 cup cake flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour.)
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
approximately 3/4 – 1 cup milk
Wash and drain blackberries. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Lightly crush berries with a fork. Set aside. (If desired, put in a saucepan and heat using low heat for 1 – 2 minutes to warm slightly and to increase the juicing of the berries, but do not cook. Remove from heat.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, salt and baking powder together. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Add 3/4 cup milk and stir just enough to combine using a fork to form a soft dough. If the dough is dry, add additional milk and stir a little more to create a soft dough.
On a pastry cloth or other prepared surface, roll shortcake dough to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds 2 1/2 – 3 inches in diameter. (I turned a water glass upside down and used it as the cutter). Put on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cook about 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned. Remove from oven and split the biscuits in half. (I used a bread knife to cut them.) If desired, spread the biscuits with butter. Put the berries between and above the biscuits and serve at once.
I used less sugar than called for in the original recipe because 1 1/2 – 2 cups sugar seemed like an excessive amount to put on the blackberries.
Chocolate and mint combine beautifully to create delectable taste treats – think Girl Scout cookies, and mint chocolate chip ice cream – so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe in a vintage issue of Good Housekeeping for Chocolate Mint Fudge. This lovely fudge has just the right amount of chocolate and mint to create a delightful candy.
The Chocolate Mint Fudge recipe calls for Mint Syrup. Both the Fudge and Mint Syrup recipes were provided in the old magazine.
Put cocoa in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the milk and stir until smooth. Set aside.
Put butter, brown sugar, the remaining milk, and mint syrup in a mixing bowl stir to combine. Put in a saucepan and using medium heat bring to a boil. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Reduce and gently boil until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (238° F.). Put saucepan in cold water, and beat the fudge mixture until it thickens. Put into a 8 inch X 8 inch buttered pan. (If desired, line with parchment paper to make it easier to remove fudge). When cool, cut into pieces and remove from pan.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup mint leaves
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; then add the mint leaves. Bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid begins to thicken to a syrup consistency (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat; strain and cool.
Cook’s note: This recipe makes more Mint Syrup than is needed for the Mint Chocolate Fudge. Extra syrup can be used in coffee or tea, or in other recipes.
Looking for a tasty and easy-to-make ice cream for your 4th of July bash? Banana Sour Ice Cream fits the bill. I found this delightful recipe in a hundred-year-old issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.
Banana Sour Ice Cream is refreshingly tart, and almost reminds me of a sherbet. The recipe calls for both bananas and lemon juice, and the ice cream contains the nuanced flavors of both fruits. It also contains sour cream which enhances the tartness.
Put sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in sour cream. Set aside.
Peel bananas, then mash until smooth. (A food processor or blender can be used to get a smooth puree.)
Add the mashed bananas to the sugar, lemon juice, and sour cream mixture; beat until smooth. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, then place in ice cream maker and freeze. (I used a 2-quart ice cream maker.)