Old-Fashioned Baked Bananas

Baked banana on plateI’d never heard of Baked Bananas, so was intrigued when I flipped through a hundred-year-old cookbook and saw not one, but two, recipes for Baked Bananas. The first recipe involved peeling the banana, adding several ingredients and then baking. The second recipe just called for baking the banana in the skin. Over the years, I’ve learned that the easiest and simplest recipes are sometimes the best, so I decided to go with the second recipe.

The Baked Banana was sweet, creamy, and soft – and a nice change of pace from just peeling and eating a banana.

baked banana in dishHere’s the original recipe:

Recipes for Baked Bananas
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

I made Baked Bananas II.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baked Bananas

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 banana per serving

sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put bananas in shallow pan or baking dish; cover. Place in oven and bake until the skin is very dark (almost black). Remove from oven, and let cool slightly; then remove the pulp from the skins and place in serving dish. Sprinkle with sugar.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Chicken à la Crème

Chicken a la Creme on Toast

As the days get shorter and the evenings cooler, I find that I crave comfort foods. So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Chicken à la Crème, I decided to give it a try. Chicken, sliced mushrooms, and chopped red pepper are embedded in a rich, creamy sauce that is served over toast.

This recipe is a keeper. I’ll definitely make Chicken à la Crème again. It is quick and easy to make, and very tasty.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Chicken a la Creme
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1921 Edition)

Is Chicken à la Crème another name for Chicken à la King? A few years ago I made a recipe for Chicken à la King that was similar to this one. Both recipes called for chicken and mushrooms. This recipe called for red pepper; Chicken à la King called for green pepper as well as for a small amount of onion. For this recipe, the sauce was a white sauce; the sauce for Chicken à la King was made using cream, chicken broth, and lemon juice.

Here’s the Chicken à la Crème recipe updated for modern cooks:

Chicken a la Creme

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 red pepper, finely chopped

2 cup milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir the flour into the butter; stir in salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms, and red pepper. Bring back to a boil; remove from heat. Serve over toast.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Cornflake Fancies

Even though I don’t often think about it, a wide range of commercially-produced foods were available a hundred years ago. Cornflakes was one of those products. According to Wikipedia, William Kellogg invented cornflakes in 1894 to serve to patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. They were first mass-marketed in 1906. And, soon thereafter, people began, not only eating them for breakfast, but also using them in recipes.

I came across a recipe for Cornflake Fancies in a 1921 church cookbook. The recipe is made by folding cornflakes and coconut flakes into beaten egg whites that have been sweetened with sugar, and then placing heaping teaspoonfuls of the mixture on a baking sheet. They are then baked until lightly browned The Cornflake Fancies were light and airy, and reminded me a little of Coconut Macaroons, but with a slight crunch from the cereal.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cornflake Fancies
Source: Ladies’ Union Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of West Concord Union Church (Concord Junction, MA) (1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cornflake Fancies

  • Servings: about 2 1/2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 cups cornflakes

1/2 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put egg whites in bowl and beat until stiff. Gradually add the sugar and salt, while continuing to beat. Fold in the cornflakes and coconut. Drop heaping teaspoons of the mixture about 1-inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake until set and lightly browned (about 10 – 12 minutes). Remove from oven, and let sit for about two minutes, then remove from the baking sheet with a spatula. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Potato Tarts a la Gratin

Potato Tarts a la Gratin on plate

Au Gratin potatoes are a nice comfort food, but they can get boring, so I was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Potato Tarts a la Gratin.  A muffin tin is lined with pastry dough, then filled with diced au gratin potatoes. The resulting tarts were tasty, visually appealing, and a nice change of pace. They reminded me a bit of the savory hors d’oeuvres served by hotels at events – though they were tastier than many of those hors d’oeuvres.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Potato Tarts a la Gratin
Source: American Cookery (November, 1921)

I substituted butter for the lard when I made this recipe. Rather than using left-over cold potatoes, I made boiled diced potatoes which I immediately used in the recipe.

When I made the sauce, it seemed rather thin for a tart filling, so I coarsely mashed a few of the diced potatoes and stirred them into the sauce to make it thicker before adding the remainder of the diced potatoes. This worked well.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Potato Tarts a la Gratin

  • Servings: approximately `10 - 12 tarts
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

3 – 4  medium potatoes, diced into 3/4 inch pieces (about 2 cups diced potatoes)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded cheese + additional cheese to sprinkle on the top (I used cheddar cheese.)

pastry dough (enough for 1 2-crust pie, or use approximately 4 pre-rolled sheets)

Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll pastry dough and cut into circles. Line the space for each muffin in a muffin pan with the circles of pastry dough. Fit each circle, trim, and flute edges.

Put the diced potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with water. Put on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes). Drain potatoes. Remove about 1/3 cup of the potatoes from the sauce pan; put in a bowl and coarsely mash using a fork. Set aside both the mashed and diced potatoes

Melt the butter in another sauce pan, then stir the flour and salt into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir in the mashed potatoes and 1/2 cup shredded cheese, continue heating until the cheese melts. Add the diced potatoes. Stir to combine.

Spoon into the pastry shells, and sprinkle additional shredded cheese on top. Bake until hot and bubbly, and the top begins to brown (about 30 minutes).

Blueberries and Boulettes Recipe

Blueberries and Boulettes in dish

Some desserts which were eaten a hundred years ago are seldom seen today. One of those desserts is Blueberries and Boulettes. Boulettes are homemade drop dumplings that are made by dropping heaping teaspoons of dough into rapidly boiling water. Warm boulettes are topped with a little butter, and smothered with blueberries, and a generous sprinkling of sugar.

The Boulettes were fun and easy to make. They only take a few minutes to cook, rising to the top of the water when done. When served with sweetened blueberries, they made a nice old-fashioned summer dessert.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Blueberries and Boulettes
Source: American Cookery (August/September, 1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Blueberries

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

butter

blueberries

sugar

Combine melted butter and sour cream in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each in. Stir in salt, then gradually add and stir in the flour.

In the meantime bring 3-4 quarts of water to a bowl in a large pan. When the water is rapidly boiling, drop heaping teaspoons of the dough into the water, and let it remain until it rises to the top; then remove with a slotted spoon. Serve warm.

To serve, put boulettes in serving dish(es), top with dabs of butter, blueberries, and sugar.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-Fashioned Tomato and Cauliflower Salad

Tomato and Cauliflower Salad is a tasty, attractive salad – though it seems very old-fashioned. A hundred years ago salads were frequently arranged on a plate on a bed of lettuce, and this salad is a nice example of that type of salad.

For this salad, tomato slices are arranged in a circle on top of the lettuce. A dab of mayonnaise is spread around the center of the plate. The mayonnaise is then topped with the small cauliflower florets that have been marinated in French salad dressing. I made homemade French dressing using an old recipe that I previously posted. A hundred years ago French dressing was a vinaigrette with paprika rather than the typical orange bottled dressing that is common today.

When I served this salad, my daughter asked if she should eat the lettuce. I said that I don’t think that lettuce beds are typically eaten, but that she should go ahead and eat it if she wanted. I wonder why lettuce is generally left uneaten with this type of salad.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Tomato and Cauliflower Salad
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I made several minor adaptions to this recipe. I skipped peeling the tomatoes. A hundred-years-ago tomatoes were often peeled, but today almost never. (And, I know from previous experiences doing various tomato salad posts that -at least by modern standards – that peeled tomatoes don’t look very good in a photo.)

I used less mayonnaise than the original recipe called for. I just thickly spread a dab of mayonnaise on the lettuce in the center of the plate.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Tomato and Cauliflower Salad

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup cauliflower florets (raw or lightly streamed and then cooled)

1/4 cup French salad dressing (I used a hundred-year-old recipe that I previously posted.)

3 medium tomatoes

mayonnaise

lettuce leaves

Put the cauliflower in a small bowl. Pour French dressing over the cauliflower and stir gently to coat. Set aside. Arrange the lettuce on plate(s). Core tomatoes and cut into sixths. Arrange in a the tomato slices on the plate(s). Place dollop of mayonnaise in the center; spread over the lettuce in the center of the plate with the back of a spoon. Drain cauliflower, and put on top of the mayonnaise.

http://www.ahundredyears.com

Sliced Beets in Lemon

Sliced Beets in Lemon in Bowl

I recently made a hundred-year-old recipe for Sliced Beets in Lemon. They taste similar to pickled beets – though typically vinegar is used to pickle beets. This recipe instead called for lemon juice. This recipe is quite healthy with only 2 tablespoons of added sugar. .

The Sliced Beets in Lemon were lovely, and tasted very similar to the pre-packaged pickled beets sold in the produce section of my local store.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Sliced Beet in Lemon
Source: The Science of Food and Cookery (1921) by H. S. Anderson

It seems odd that the recipe called for optionally adding one hard-boiled egg to the pickling liquid. The recipe only makes enough liquid to cover one -or maybe two – hard boiled eggs. It seems like the recipe author either would have skipped the egg or used larger qualities of the ingredients so several eggs could be added. Maybe only one person in her family liked eggs in beets.

I was also a bit foggy on how to serve the Sliced Beets with Lemon “with a sprig of green leaves stuck into one end for garniture.” I interpreted it to mean that parley was to be used as a garnish.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Sliced Beets in Lemon

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: simple
  • Print

1 bunch medium beets (3 – 5 beets)

1 cup water

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

1 hard-boiled egg, optional

sprigs of parsley or other green for garnishing, optional (I used flat leafed Italian parsley.)

Cut the greens off the beets, and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the beets are tender when poked with a knife (30 – 40 minutes). Remove from heat and drain. Allow beets to cool slightly so they can be handled, then rub the skins off and slice beets into a bowl. Set aside.

Put water, lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan; stir to mix. Then bring to a boil using high heat.  Remove from heat; add bay leaf and then gently pour over the sliced beets. Chill.

If desired, a hard-boiled egg can be added to the liquid before chilling.

If desired, garnish with parsley or other greens before serving.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com