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!
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
1/2 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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.)
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for the perfect peach dessert – Peach Tapioca Without Cream. The name is a bit misleading. This luscious, refreshing dessert is topped with almond-flavored whipped cream.
The peaches are embedded in a delightful, thick, sweet, tapioca sauce made with water, sugar, and lemon. The use of water rather than the usual milk or cream creates a lovely new dimension that’s unlike any tapioca I’ve ever eaten.
This recipe was published in Good Housekeeping in 1917. At the time, food prices were rapidly rising due to food shortages cause by World War I. Cream was expensive – so the recipe called for making the tapioca with water instead of cream. But apparently the recipe author couldn’t bring herself to totally eliminate the cream and decided that people could afford to use a little cream that could be whipped into a delightful topping.
Here’s the original recipe:
And, here’s the recipe updated for modern readers:
Combine the tapioca, water, and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer gently while continuing to stir; cook until the mixture is clear and thick (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, and sugar. Added the sliced peaches and gently stir to combine. Put into a bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Serve with Almond-Flavored Whipped Cream.
Almond-Flavored Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Put cream in a bowl; beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners sugar and almond extract; beat until combined.
Last week I did a post on a hundred-year-old recipe for Mint Syrup. In that post, I said that the syrup could be used in coffee (it’s delicious) – but several readers suggested that it would be wonderful on ice cream, especially if it was mixed with chocolate syrup.
Well, great minds think alike – and it goes across the years. The magazine that contained the Mint Syrup recipe, also contained a recipe for Chocolate Mint Sauce for Ice Cream.
This sauce was much thicker than most modern chocolate syrups, but it was delightful on vanilla ice cream. The hundred-year-old recipe calls for lots of brown sugar and only one tablespoon of cocoa. I expected the syrup not to be chocolaty enough – but I was wrong. It had just the right amount of chocolate with the brown sugar apparently contributing to the rich flavor.
Here’s the original recipe. (I’m also including the Mint Syrup recipe, so that you don’t need to go back to last week’s post.)
I found this recipe challenging. When I made it, the sauce quickly hardened into a candy-like consistency. I reheated it and added butter. I then removed from the heat and stirred rapidly until the sauce began to thicken – and it again got too thick, so I added water (quite a bit of it), and stirred until the consistency seemed right for a sauce.
Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks – though I feel like it still needs a bit more tweaking. If you try this recipe, I hope you’ll add comments about how well it turned out – and whether you made additional revisions to the recipe.
Put the brown sugar and cocoa in a sauce pan; stir to combine. Gradually add the milk while stirring. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and cook until it forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water (238° F.). Remove from heat, stir in the butter. After the butter has melted, add the mint syrup. Stir rapidly until the sauce begins to thicken; add water if the sauce is too thick. Serve on ice cream.
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.