Old-fashioned Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish

It’s always fun to find a “new” way of serving a classic in a hundred-year-old cookbook. I recently was browsing through an old cookbook and found a recipe for Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish. Of course, I had to give it a try.

The Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish were delightful.  The tender and flavorful peppers balanced nicely with the mild, delicate taste of the fish. (I used flounder.)

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3-4 medium peppers (The number of peppers needed will vary depending upon size. Green peppers must have been very small a hundred years ago. The amount of stuffing would not come even close to stuffing  8 modern “good-sized” peppers.)

2 cups cooked halibut or other white fish, flaked (I bought 1 pound of frozen flounder, baked it, and then flaked it. It made approximately 2 cups.)

1 1/2 tablespoons butter + approximately 1 teaspoon butter for bread crumb topping

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut thin slice from stem end of each pepper. Remove all seeds and membranes. Wash inside and out. Put peppers in a large sauce pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook peppers for 5 minutes; drain.

In meantime, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Stir flour, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce into melted butter. Slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of the hot white sauce mixture into dish with beaten egg, stir quickly.  Then add egg mixture to the remaining white sauce, and cook for two minutes using medium heat. Stir in the flaked fish and continue cooking until the mixture is hot.

Lightly stuff each pepper with the fish mixture. Stand peppers upright in ungreased baking dish. Top the fish mixture with bread crumbs and small dabs of butter.  Cook until the bread crumbs are lightly browned and the stuffing is very hot (20-30 minutes).

1917 Pillsbury Flour Advertisement

Source: Good Housekeeping (July, 1917)

A hundred years ago, companies were already branding their products and aggressively competing with one another.  At that time, General Mills advertisements for Gold Medal flour asked, “Eventually, why not now?”

A very successful Pillsbury ad campaign responded, “Because Pillsbury’s best.”

Hundred-year-old Corn Fritters Recipe

Remember the first time you had corn on the cob this summer? . . . and, how special it was? . . . and, how much you ate? The corn was so sweet and tender. Back then, I’d buy a half-dozen ears at the farmer’s market – and my husband and I could easily polish it off at one meal.

Now, as the season winds down, I’m getting a little tired of corn. So when a neighbor gave me ten ears of corn a few days ago, I was looking for ways to use it. And, then I remembered Corn Fritters. . .

I found an incredible recipe for Corn Fritters in a hundred-year-old cookbook. The Fritters were crispy on the outside and contained just the right amount of corn. The recipe was perfect – it was both easy to make and tasty. Bring on the corn!

Here’s the original recipe:

Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Corn Fritters

  • Servings: 15-20 fritters
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup corn (fresh corn cut from the cob is best; canned creamed corn could also be used)

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

dash red pepper

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

shortening or lard

Put flour, salt, red pepper, egg, milk, and olive oil in a mixing bowl; beat until combined. Add corn and stir until the corn is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Heat 1/2 inch of shortening until hot in large frying pan. Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot shortening.  Flip fritters and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: The original recipe called for 2 teaspoons salt. This seemed like a lot to me, so when I updated the recipe I only used 1 teaspoon.

Old-fashioned Eggplant en Casserole

During these last days of summer I’m enjoying all the wonderful fresh vegetables, so when I saw a recipe for Eggplant en Casserole in a hundred-year-old magazine, I was intrigued and had to give it a try. The recipe had an old-fashioned goodness, with a taste and texture that was a little different from more modern eggplant casseroles.

The recipe is made with mashed eggplant that blended nicely with the other ingredients. In addition to the eggplant, the recipe called for corn and onion – as well as a little tomato soup, and it was topped with a crispy bread crumb topping.

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

Eggplant en Casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 small classic eggplants (approximately 4 cups mashed)

2 tablespoons shortening

2 medium onions, chopped

1 cup corn cut from the cob (approximately 1 cup)

1/2 cup tomato soup (I used canned tomato soup.)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel eggplants and cut into slices. Put into a steamer basket, and steam until tender (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and mash.

In the meantime, melt the shortening in a skillet using medium low heat; add chopped onion and saute until tender. Stir in the mashed eggplant, corn, tomato soup, salt and pepper. Put into a casserole, cover with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Put in over and bake until hot and bubbly (about 1/2 hour).

Hundred-year-old Baked Bean Recipe

Baked beans are a classic summer dish to take to picnics, barbeques, and potluck dinners. So I was excited when I found a hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Beans.

It takes a long time to make Baked Beans the traditional way. They need to be soaked overnight and then cooked for many hours. I thought about possible shortcuts (using canned beans or cooking the beans in a pressure cooker), but I decided that it would be more authentic to follow the directions in the old recipe.

The old-fashioned Baked Beans were hearty and tasty – however, they had much less sauce than most modern versions. When I served them, I asked my husband what he thought. He said, “They remind me of Baked Beans relatives used to bring to reunions years ago.”

I still had a few doubts, so when I begin to write this post I said to him, “I’m still not sure about this recipe. The beans seemed a little dry and there wasn’t much sauce.”

He replied, “They were good.”

So the final verdict is that they aren’t quite like modern Baked Beans, but they’re good.

Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1915)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baked Beans

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups dried pea or navy beans (I used navy beans.)

4 cups water + additional water

1 small onion, diced (approximately 1/3 cup)

2-3 slices bacon, diced + bacon for top of dish

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canned diced tomatoes (or use diced fresh tomatoes)

2 tablespoons molasses or brown sugar (I used molasses.)

1/8 tablespoon baking soda

pepper

Soak dried beans in 4 cups water overnight, then drain. Put the soaked beans in a large saucepan, add onions, diced bacon, and salt, then cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and gently simmer until the beans are almost tender (about 1 hour).  Remove from heat and add tomatoes, molasses/brown sugar, and baking soda; Place in 2-quart heavy casserole dish or bean crock; arrange bacon slices on the top and sprinkle with pepper; cover.  Put in oven (preheated to 325° F.), and bake for 4-5 hours. If necessary, add additional hot water to keep moist while cooking. (I didn’t add any water.)

Old-Fashioned Fried Summer Squash Recipe

Today summer squash is often streamed or grilled, but once or twice each summer I fry it.  So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Fried Summer Squash.

When I make fried squash, I generally “bread” it with flour. The old recipe called for actual bread crumbs.  The bread crumbs are a nice twist to this classic comfort food.

Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

Yellow summer squash  or zucchini could be used in this recipe. I used yellow straightneck squash to more authentically replicate the hundred-year-old recipe. According to Wikipedia, “the first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s.” Since this cookbook was published in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1917, the cookbook author won’t have used zucchini.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fried Summer Squash

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 small summer squash

salt and pepper

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, slight beaten

shortening or cooking oil

Wash and cut the squash into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper,  dip in the beaten eggs, and coat with bread crumbs. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat 1/2 inch of shortening or oil in a large frying skillet. When hot, carefully place the breaded squash slices in the skillet in a single layer. Depending upon pan size, the squash slices may need to be cooked in several batches. Fry for about a minute or until the bottom side of each slice is lightly browned, then gently turn and fry until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: Some of the breading will fall off the squash during cooking. This is okay, the remaining breading is enough to make an attractive and tasty dish.

The old recipe calls for coating the squash slices with bread crumbs, both before and after dipping in egg. When I made this recipe very few bread crumbs clung to the squash slices prior to dipping it in the egg – so I skipped this step when updated the recipe. It works fine to only coat with bread crumbs after dipping in the eggs.

Old-fashioned Tomato Succotash Recipe

I always thought Succotash was a mixture of corn and lima beans, so I was surprised to see a recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine for Tomato Succotash. The recipe called for seasonal vegetables – tomatoes, corn, green pepper, and onions – so, of course, I had to give it a try.

The medley of vegetables was delightful.  This recipe is a keeper. And, I know that it will become part of my repertoire of recipes that I regularly make.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

I’m not sure what is meant by “green corn” in the recipe. When I made the recipe, I took it to mean tender (perhaps slightly immature) corn.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Tomato Succotash

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 large tomatoes

3 large ears of corn , cooked (tender corn is best)

2 tablespoons butter

1/ 2 green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Peel and slice the tomatoes, set aside. (I put the whole tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then removed from the hot water and put briefly in cold water. The skins are then easy to slip off the tomatoes).

Cut the corn from the cob. Set aside.

Put the butter in a large skillet; melt using medium heat. Add green pepper and onion; saute until tender. Stir in the sliced tomatoes, corn, salt, sugar, and paprika. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and serve.