Old-fashioned String Beans Recipe

green snap beans

Sometimes old cookbooks contain recipes for very basic foods that barely seem to need a recipe. For example, I recently came across this recipe for String Beans in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

String Beans Recipe
Source: Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

But, when I look more closely, I realize that the directions are very different than how the beans would be made today. Boiled string bean recipes today often call for leaving the beans whole and merely breaking the tips off the beans; other modern recipes call for breaking the beans into 2- 3 inch pieces. The hundred-year-old recipe, however, called for breaking or cutting the beans into small 1-inch pieces.

Modern recipes for boiled string beans also call for cooking them just a few minutes – 5 minutes or maybe 10 max. However the old recipe directs cooks to boil the string beans for  1-to 3 hours!!!

What the heck?  But, next thing I knew I was boiling string beans for 1 hour. (I couldn’t bring myself to boil them for more than that).

The verdict – The beans were very soft, but still maintained their shape. My daughter said, “Why did you ruin some perfectly good green beans? They taste like frozen or canned beans.”

Old-fashioned String Beans

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 pound string beans (green beans or wax beans)

1 teaspoon salt

butter

Break the tips off the string beans. Cut or break into 1-inch pieces. Wash beans, then put into a sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 3 hours. Add salt for last 1/2 hour of cooking. If most of the water boils away, add additional water. Remove from heat and drain. Put in serving bowl and top with a dab of butter.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Peach Shortcake

Peach Shortcake with Whipped Cream on Plate

Sweet, juicy, local peaches are just beginning to appear at farm stands, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Peach Shortcake. The recipe turned out well – and was perfect for a hot summer day.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Peach Shortcake
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1921 Revised Edition)

This recipe made a little less shortcake than I was expecting. I used a 10-inch round cake pan when I made the recipe. (There wasn’t enough dough to make two layers.) If I made this recipe again, I think that 8-inch cake pans would work better, so that is the pan size that I listed in the updated recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Peach Shortcake

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups peeled and sliced peaches

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

whipped cream

Combine sliced peaches, sugar, and lemon juice; stir gently. Spoon some of the  sweetened peaches between the layers of shortcake (see recipe below). Put additional peaches and the whipped cream on the top layer of shortcake.

Shortcake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons lard

1 cup milk

butter, if desired

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl; stir to combine. Cut in butter and lard using a pastry blender. Add milk and mix using a fork until dough starts to cling together. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, then divide dough in half and put into the pans. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly, then remove from pans. Split each layer using a fork. If desired butter layers, Arrange layers with fruit filling in the middle and on top.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumber Sandwich on PlateI often see sandwich recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks. They often contain different ingredients from modern sandwiches, and don’t pique my interest. But. I was intrigued by a recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches. There’s a bumper crop of cucumbers this year, so decided to give the recipe a try. The sandwiches contain lettuce and cucumber slices coated with a sweet-sour Boiled Dressing.

The lettuce and cucumber slices were crisp and the sandwich was tasty – though it seemed very old-fashioned and made me think about old novels where the heroine eats dainty sandwiches similar to this.

The bread is buttered for this recipe. I haven’t buttered bread when making sandwiches in years. Which made the sandwich seem even more old-fashioned.

I probably won’t make this recipe again, but it was fun to make one time.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

And, here’s the old recipe for Boiled Dressing:

Recipe for Boiled Dressing
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

One loaf of bread would make 8 or 10 sandwiches. There was no way that my husband and I were doing to eat that many. So when I made this recipe, I really scaled the Cucumber Sandwiches Recipe down, and gave directions for one sandwich. The Cucumber Sandwich recipe calls for Boiled Dressing. I made the full Boiled Dressing recipe and used the left-over dressing on other salads. It kept well in the refrigerator.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cucumber Sandwiches

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: moderate
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For each serving:

6 – 8 cucumber slices, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons boiled dressing (see recipe below)

1/8 teaspoon grated onion

2 slices bread (preferably thinly sliced)

butter

leaf lettuce

Put boiled dressing and grated onion in a small bowl; stir to combine. Add cucumber slices. Gently roll and stir the slices to coat with the dressing. Set aside.

Butter the bread slices. Put the lettuce leaf on one slice. Top with the cucumber slices that are coated with dressing. Put the second butter slice of bread on top. Serve immediately.

Boiled Dressing

2 egg yolks, well beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

Put beaten egg yolks, salt, sugar and flour in a small bowl; stir until blended. Add milk, lemon juice, and butter or olive oil. Put in a saucepan, and heat using medium heat while stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, remove from heat and refrigerate. If the mixture begins to curdle place the pan in a larger pan of cold water and beat vigorously using a mixer.

The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Minced Potatoes

 

minced potatoes on plateOccasionally I make a hundred-year-old recipe that is lovely – but that seems to be misnamed. This is one of those times. The name of the recipe is Minced Potatoes – yet recipe directions call for either cutting the potatoes into 3/4th inch chunks or slicing them — I sliced them — which resulted in pieces which seemed much larger than what I’d expect for Minced Potatoes.

To make this recipe, potatoes are first boiled, the cut into pieces and put into the oven to brown. Then they are stirred and 1/2 cup of cream is poured over them. They are then returned to the oven to brown a second time. Most of the cream evaporated, but a delicate creaminess remained.

Minced Potatoes reminded me a bit of Scalloped Potatoes – but they were not nearly as creamy. But I’m saying this in a good way. The Minced Potatoes made a tasty side dish.

Recipe for Minced Potatoes
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

The recipe does not say when to add to the salt. It is not clear whether it should be added to the water that is used to boil the potatoes, or to the cream that is poured over the potatoes. I decided to add the salt to the cream – though I only used 1/2 teaspoon of salt instead of the teaspoon called for in the old recipe. A teaspoon seemed like too much. (If I’d instead added the salt to the water used to boil the potatoes, 1 teaspoon would have been an appropriate amount of salt to add.)

The recipe called for “cream.” I was uncertain whether this meant heavy cream or a lighter cream. I decided to use half and half rather than heavy cream.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Minced Potatoes

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 medium potatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup half and half

Peel potatoes and put in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are tender (25-30 minutes). Remove from heat, drain, and put the potatoes in the refrigerator to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Cut the cold boiled potatoes into 3/4th inch cubes or slice the potatoes. (I sliced them.). Put the potatoes in a 1-quart buttered baking dish. Place in oven.

Put the cream and salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.

When the potatoes begin to brown, gently stir the potatoes to turn them. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes. Return to the oven and allow to lightly brown a second time. Remove from oven and gently stir, then serve. (If desired, put the potatoes in a serving bowl. After I stirred the potatoes, they didn’t look particularly attractive in the casserole dish that I cooked them in – but they looked very nice in a serving dish.)

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Raspberry Nectar Recipe

Glass of Raspberry Nectar

It’s so much fun to go to “pick-your-own” berry farms, but I always pick lots of berries and end up searching for new recipes to use them. Yesterday, I picked some lovely red raspberries, and was pleased when I found a hundred-year-old recipe for Raspberry Nectar. It’s a winner.

The Raspberry Nectar contains both red raspberry juice and lemon juice so the nectar was fairly tart with the delicate essence of raspberry. My husband said that it looked like Kool-Aid – but once we tasted the Raspberry Nectar, we immediately knew that there was no comparison.  Raspberry Nectar has the rich nuanced taste of the fresh fruits,  and is refreshing on a hot summer day.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Raspberry Nectar
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I’m surprised that the old recipe indicates that the serving size is only 3 1/2 ounces. Somewhere I have some very small juice glasses that I got as a shower gift many year ago – and they may have been about this size. The small serving size makes we wonder if the recipe author considers Raspberry Nectar to be a breakfast drink. Both raspberries and lemons are chock-full of vitamin C, so it would be a good substitute for orange juice. That said, I served this drink mid-afternoon over ice; and, it was a nice change from my usual summer drinks (iced tea and lemonade).

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Raspberry Nectar

  • Servings: 3 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup red raspberry juice (Can be made with about 1 1/2 pints red raspberries)

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 tablespoons sugar

1 3/4 cups water

To make the red raspberry juice, put the red raspberries in a bowl and mash with a fork. Put the pulp in a strainer and strain to get the juice. Set the juice aside.

Combine the lemon juice, sugar, and water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved; then add the raspberry juice and stir to combine. Chill and serve.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Lemon Snow with Custard Sauce

Lemon Snow with Custard Sauce

During the summer heat, cool desserts are the best. So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Lemon Snow, I decided to give it a try. The Lemon Snow is served with Custard Sauce, and, if desired, could also be topped with Whipped Cream. I skipped the whipped cream.

The Lemon Snow was light and had a sunny, lemony flavor. The creamy Custard Sauce paired nicely with the Lemon Snow.

Here are the original recipes:

Recipe for Lemon Snow
Source: The Science of Food and Cookery (1921)
recipe for custard sauce
Source: The Science of Food and Cookery (1921)

I put the Lemon Snow in custard cups. It may be possible to remove the chilled Lemon Snow from the cups (molds) for serving, but I served the chilled dessert in the cups.  When I made this recipe, I served the Lemon Snow with Custard Sauce, but I skipped the whipped cream.

Since hot liquid is stirred into the beaten egg whites, the egg whites may be largely cooked, but I used a pasteurized egg for extra safety.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Lemon Snow with Custard Sauce

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Lemon Snow

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg white

dash of salt

3/4 cup water

3 tablespoons lemon juice

grated rind of 1/2 lemon

Custard Sauce, if desired

whipped cream, if desired

Put the sugar and cornstarch in a bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.

Put the egg white  and the dash of salt in a bowl; beat until stiff. Set aside.

Put the water, lemon juice, and lemon rind in a sauce pan. Using medium heat, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and strain the hot liquid.

Slowly pour the strained liquid over the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Stir until smooth. Return this mixture to the saucepan, and bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and slowly pour over the beaten eggs whites while using a whisk to combine.

Rinse 2 or 3 custard cups with water. Pour the Lemon Snow mixture into the wet cups. Put in the refrigerator to chill (at least 2 hours).

If desired, serve with Custard Sauce or Whipped Cream.

Custard Sauce

2/3 cup milk

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon sugar

3-4 drops (a dash) of vanilla

Put the egg yolk and sugar into a small bowl; beat until smooth. Set aside.

Put milk in a saucepan. Using medium heat, heat until hot and steamy while stirring constantly. Put a small amount of the lot liquid in the bowl with the egg yolk mixture while rapidly stirring. Then slowly add the egg mixture into the hot milk while stirring constantly. Continue cooking, while stirring, until the hot mixture thickens slightly and coats a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain and then put into a bowl; chill in the refrigerator.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Pineapple and Strawberry Salad with Golden Dressing

Bowl of Strawberry and Pineapple Salad

Fruit salad is perfect for hot summer days, so I was thrilled to find a delightful hundred-year-old recipe for Pineapple and Strawberry Salad. The fruits are paired with a sunny dressing that contains lemon juice, and pineapple or other fruit juices.

Here is the original recipe:

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

And, here is the original recipe for Golden Dressing:

Recipe for Golden Dressing
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

Three-fourths cup of Golden Dressing seemed like a lot, so I used about 1/3 cup which seemed like plenty.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Pineapple and Strawberry Salad with Golden Dressing

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups diced fresh pineapple (dice into bite-sized pieces)

1 cup strawberries (cut into half – or quarters if the strawberries are large)

1/3 cup Golden Dressing – use more if desired

Put pineapple and strawberries in a bowl. Add Golden Dressing and stir gently to coat the fruit with the dressing.

Golden Dressing

2 eggs

1/4 cup pineapple juice, apple juice, or other light-colored fruit juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

Beat eggs for the yolks and whites until combined (but not foamy). Add the remaining ingredients, and beat until mixed. Put in a saucepan and cook using medium heat until the dressing thickens; stir constantly while cooking. Remove from heat and strain. Put in the refrigerator to cool. May be stored for several days.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com