Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop

Casserole Dish with Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop

Au Gratin Potatoes are tasty, so when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe that looked similar to an Au Gratin Potato recipe – but with a twist (the recipe called for corn in addition to potatoes) – I decided to give it a try.

The Cheese, Corn, and Potatoes were very nice. The rich, cheesy sauce worked nicely with the corn and potato combination.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop
Source: Household Arts for Home and School by Anna M. Cooley and Wilhelmina H. Spohr (1920)

The recipe calls for Cheese Sauce. Here is the Cheese Sauce recipe.

Recipe for Cheese Sause
Source: House Arts for Home and School by Anna M. Cooley and Wilhelmina H. Spohr (1920)

Ever make a recipe that turned out well, but that required some interpretation and tweaks along the way? Well, this was one of those recipes.

The first decision I needed to make was what kind of canned corn should I use – whole kernel or cream style? I have a vague sense that canned cream-style corn has been around longer than the whole kernel (though I’m not sure), so I went with cream style. I had two cans of corn – 8.25 ounce can and a 14.75 can. The small one contained a little less corn than called for in the recipe; the large on a little more. (The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of corn.) I decided to go with the small can even though it only contained a little more than 1-cup of corn.

Next I needed to figure out issues related to the Cheese Sauce. The Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop recipe called for 2 cups Cheese Sauce, however, when summing the amounts in the list of ingredients in the Cheese Sauce recipe, it was clear that it made less than two cups. The Cheese Sauce recipe called for 1/2 cup of grated cheese, but it did indicate that more could be used. I decided to use 1 cup of cheese so I’d have approximately the correct amount of sauce.  All was good.

But, once I’d prepared the Cheese Sauce, I realized that 1 1/2 cups of diced potatoes didn’t seem like very many potatoes given the amount of sauce that I had, so I decided to peel, dice, and cook an additional potato. This gave me about another cup of diced potatoes, so I now had a total of 2 1/2 cups. (If I’d used whole-kernel corn, perhaps the amount of sauce would not have seemed to excessive – not sure.)

When I assembled the ingredients, I just stirred the corn and cooked, diced potatoes into the Cheese Sauce rather than layering; and, then poured into the casserole dish to finish cooking.

Whew, this recipe required lots of interpretation. Sometimes the recipes that look the simplest end up being the trickiest. This recipe required lots of little adjustments, but the final dish turned out well.

Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop on Plate

I combined the two old recipes into one. Here is the updated recipe for modern cooks:

Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 cup milk

1 cup cheese (I used cheddar cheese.)

2 1/2 cups cooked potatoes, diced

1 – 1 1/2 cups canned corn (I used a small – 8.25 ounce can – of cream-style corn, which is a little over 1 cup of corn.)

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a saucepan , melt butter using medium heat; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Add cheese, and continue stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. Add corn and potatoes, and reheat until hot. Pour into a casserole dish and put in oven; bake for 25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the sauce bubbly.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Got Stale Bread? Make Toast

2 slices of toastThere’s nothing quite like freshly baked bread – but unfortunately it doesn’t stay fresh very long and I sometimes end up with bread that is a bit stale. No problem – a hundred-year-old cookbook recommends using stale bread to make toast.

description of making toast out of stale bread
Source; The Cook Book of Left-Overs (1920) compiled by the More Nurses in Training Movement

Whew, this sounds complicated. Maybe I’ll just use my electric toaster. Hopefully it won’t remove the “superfluous moisture” too quickly.

Old-fashioned Asparagus and Chicken Soup

Bowl of Asparagus and Chicken Soup

Sometimes I think of soup as a winter dish, but I’m discovering that there are also some wonderful soups that feature Spring vegetables. I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Asparagus and Chicken Soup. Chicken and asparagus tips are embedded in a delightful light asparagus-flavored broth that has a very nuanced peppery taste.

The Asparagus and Chicken Soup seemed very modern (and I never would have guessed that the recipe was a hundred years old if I hadn’t known that I’d found it in a 1920 magazine). It reminded me a bit of some of the lovely chicken miso soups that I’ve eaten in Asian restaurants.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Asparagus and Chicken Soup
Source: American Cookery (May, 1920)

The recipe called for three teaspoons of salt, which seemed like a lot, so I only used one teaspoon of it. I didn’t serve the soup with croutons or Royal Custard, and must admit that I didn’t even know what Royal Custard was until I googled it, and discovered that, according to The Spruce Eats, Royale Custard (Eierstich) is an egg custard and a popular soup garnish in Germany. It sounds lovely, and if I make this soup again, I may have to also make some Royale Custard.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Asparagus and Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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6 cups water

2 pounds chicken parts (I used boneless chicken breast.)

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

Put water and chicken in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

In the meantime, cut the tips off the asparagus stalks and set aside. Cut the reminder of the stalks into 1-inch pieces. After the 2 hours, add the asparagus pieces to the water and chicken, and simmer for an additional 1/2 hour. Remove from heat, and remove the chicken. Cut and shred the chicken into small pieces. Strain the liquid and asparagus pieces.

Put the cooked asparagus pieces through a sieve to extract the juice and puree the asparagus. (A ricer or Foley mill can be used.)

Return broth, shredded chicken, and asparagus puree to the saucepan or Dutch oven, then add the salt, pepper, and celery salt. Heat until hot, then add asparagus tips, cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the asparagus tips are tender, then serve.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Sour Cream Pie with Dates

 

slice of sour cream pie with dates on plateWhen I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Sour Cream Pie with Dates, I decided to give it a try. This rich, custard-style pie has lots of embedded date pieces; and is a unique combination of old-fashioned goodness, and a sophisticated blend of sweet and sour.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Sour Cream Pie with Dates
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Sour Cream Pie with Dates

  • Servings: 5 -7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dates, chopped

8-inch (small) double-crust pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put sour cream, sugar, egg, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in dates. Place in pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust. Seal and crimp. Cut slits in top crust (or poke top crust several times with a fork). If desired, brush with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in oven for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is browned and filling has set.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Coleslaw Recipe

Some foods memories are associated specific events. Others are much more scattered. For me, Coleslaw is one of those food where I have scattered memories – some wonderful; others not so great.

I have rich memories of eating Coleslaw at family reunions, at church potlucks, and at home. Some renditions had a light vinegar dressing; others had rich mayonnaise dressings. Occasionally the coleslaw had a hint of pepper or contained celery seed. And, sometimes there were additional ingredients – chopped onion, apple, or green and red pepper.

But I also associate coleslaw with fast food joints – often with a runny mayonnaise-based dressing.

Suffice it to say that I have mixed feelings about Coleslaw. But, I had a cabbage in the refrigerator so when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Coleslaw in a home economics textbook I decided to give it a try. The Coleslaw dressing had a very mild flavor with just a hint of sugar and vinegar, which allowed the flavor of the cabbage itself to shine. That said, I prefer Coleslaw dressings with a more pronounced sweet-sour flavor, so I probably won’t make this recipe again.

recipe for cole slaw
Source: School and Home Cooking by Carlotta C. Greer (1920)

This process for making this recipe is similar to the method used to make custard. I got this recipe from a home economics textbook. The author seeks to build upon skills learned in previous lessons. So she often referred back to previous recipes that used similar processes – in this case to a recipe for soft custard. I previously posted the hundred-year-old soft custard recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Coleslaw

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

3 cups shredded/grated cabbage

1 egg or 2 egg yolks (I used a whole egg.)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

dash cayenne (red) pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoon butter, melted

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Put egg (or egg yolks), salt, mustard, cayenne (red) pepper, and sugar in a small mixing bowl; beat until combined. Set aside.

Put the milk in a heavy sauce pan (use a double boiler if available); then heat using medium heat. Stir constantly until the milk just barely begins to bubble, then remove from the heat.

Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of hot milk into bowl with the egg mixture, stir quickly. Add this mixture to the hot milk and stir. (This helps prevent the egg from coagulating when the egg is introduced to the hot liquid.)  Return to stove and cook, using medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture just begins to thicken or coat a spoon. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vinegar Strain and then pour over the shredded cabbage. Chill at least 3 hours before serving. Stir before serving.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Dandy Stuffed Eggs (Stuffed Eggs with Dandelion)

Stuffed Egg on Dandelion

HAPPY EASTER

I love to browse through hundred-year-old cookbooks. Sometimes I flip through cookbooks looking for an inspiration about what to make; other times I’m looking for a certain type of recipe. Today, since I had hard-boiled Easter eggs, I knew that I wanted to make a recipe that called for hard-boiled eggs. I found several recipes which were candidates for this post, and then I read the ingredient list for Dandy Stuffed Eggs and saw that it called for dandelion greens. I immediately knew that I’d found the recipe that I was going to make for today’s post. .

I have memories of my grandfather foraging dandelion for my mother to prepare;  and each year I carry-on the tradition. Maybe it is my imagination but eating dandelion always seems to restore my energy after a long winter. My mother always called dandelion greens her spring tonic.

Back in the days before modern supermarkets with produce sections filled with fresh fruits and vegetables year round, nutrient-rich dandelion was one of the first greens available in the spring, and people craved them. Dandelion greens contain lots of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, folate, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium.

The Dandy Stuffed Eggs were wonderful The eggs are stuffed with a dandelion, bacon, onion, and vinegar mixture  The stuffed eggs are served hot on top of a bed of wilted dandelion.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Dandy Stuffed Eggs
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1920)

One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot, so when I made the recipe I only used half as much.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Dandy Stuffed Eggs (Stuffed Eggs with Dandelion)

  • Servings: 12 stuffed egg halves
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

6 hard-boiled eggs

1 pound dandelion greens (spinach, beet greens, or chard may be substituted for the dandelion greens)

1 small onion, finely chopped (about 4 tablespoons chopped onion)

1 slice fried bacon or salt pork, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vinegar

If desired, sugar and additional vinegar

Preheat oven to 375° F. Thoroughly wash dandelion greens, then take about 1/2 cup of the greens (reserve the remaining greens) and put in a small skillet.  (No additional water is needed, since the dandelion greens should have some water clinging to it.) Using medium heat, wilt the greens while stirring constantly (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and chop the wilted greens.

In the meantime, cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks and put in a bowl; then mash the yolks using a fork. Add the chopped wilted dandelion greens, onion, bacon, salt, and vinegar. Stir to combine; then stuff the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture.

Put the stuffed eggs in a baking dish. Cover and put in oven until the stuffs eggs are hot (about 15 minutes.)

In the meantime, put the remaining dandelion greens in the skillet. Using medium heat, wilt slightly while stirring constantly. If desired, sprinkle with sugar and add a splash of vinegar. Remove from heat.

To serve, put wilted dandelion greens on serving plate or bowl. Place the stuffed eggs on top of the greens.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns on plate

Hot Cross Buns are a traditional Easter bread. Historically these sweet, spicy buns with lots of embedded currants (or raisins) were a treat as Lent came to a close, and dietary restrictions ended. Bakers have been making Hot Cross Buns for at least a hundred years, and probably much longer. There’s even an old Mother Goose nursery rhyme about them:

Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!

Hot Cross Buns are obviously a food that has had a special place in the hearts of people for many years. So when I came across a recipe for Hot Cross Buns in a 1920 magazine, I decided to give it a try.

Most modern Hot Cross Bun recipes call for either making the cross on top of the buns with icing after they are baked, or making a cross using a flour and water paste prior to baking. The old recipe instead called for scoring the dough with a knife prior to baking to create the crosses on the balls of dough.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe of Hot Cross Buns
Source: American Cookery (March, 1920)

The old recipe called for using a compressed yeast cake; I used an envelope of active dry yeast.

The buns were made by first creating a “sponge” with the milk, yeast, sugar, and a little of the flour. This was allowed to rise; then the additional flour and additional ingredients were added before kneading. The dough was then shaped into balls, and the balls of dough were allowed to rise before baking. When I made this recipe, the sponge rose nicely; the balls of dough, not so well. Perhaps I did not place the dough in a warm enough spot – or maybe the ratio of yeast to flour wasn’t quite right, or maybe there was some other issue.

The verdict: The buns were tasty, but not as light as most modern Hot Cross Buns. This may be because of the problems I had with getting the dough to rise properly. If I made Hot Cross Buns again, I’d probably just go with a more modern recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Hot Cross Buns

  • Servings: 15 - 20 buns
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 cup warm milk (108-110° F)

1 envelope active dry yeast

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup flour + 2 cups flour (scant) (Either all-purpose flour or bread flour may be used)

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg (or 1 whole nutmeg, grated)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup currants (raisins may be substituted for currants)

1/8 cup citron (optional) (I didn’t use citron.)

1 egg, beaten (1/4 cup water may be substituted for the egg) (I used an egg.)

1 tablespoon sugar + additional sugar to sprinkle on top

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm milk; add flour and beat until smooth. Cover, and then let this “sponge” rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

In the meantime, in another bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups flour (scant), nutmeg, and salt. Add butter, and stir to combine. Then add the sponge and stir to combine. Place on a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 5 minutes). Near the end of the kneading process, sprinkle currants on the bread dough- about one-fourth at a time – and knead into the dough.

Break off pieces of the dough, each about half the size of an egg, and roll into balls; flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Put the balls in a greased baking pan(s) (2 9-inch round pans or 1 9 X 13″ rectangular pan). The flattened balls should be about 1/2-inch apart. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Then use a knife to score a cross on the top of each ball of dough.

In a small bowl stir together the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon sugar; then brush the mixture on top of the unbaked buns. Sprinkle with additional sugar.

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Put the baking pan(s) with the buns in oven, and bake 30 minutes (or until lightly browned).

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