Old-fashioned Beet Relish Recipe

beet relish

I’m always on the outlook for salads and relishes that use seasonal ingredients. When browsing through the January, 1916 issue of Good Housekeeping, I came across an intriguing recipe for Beet Relish. Of course, I had to try it.

The Beet Relish contains chopped beets and cabbage in a tangy vinegar dressing that has a fun horseradish kick. This recipe makes an absolutely beautiful, slightly flashy, sweet- sour side dish.

Beet Relish

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Time: 30 minutes active prep
  • Difficulty: easy
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1  cups sugar

1 cups vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoons celery seed

2 cups cooked beets, chopped

1/2 small head of cabbage, chopped

1/8 cup to 1/2 cup horseradish, grated

Combine sugar, vinegar, salt, dry mustard, and celery seed in a bowl. Add chopped beets and chopped cabbage; stir to combine. Add horseradish to taste. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Here is the original recipe:

Good Housekeeping (January, 1913)
Good Housekeeping (January, 1913)

I halved the recipe when I made it. I also used much less horseradish than called for in the original recipe. A little horseradish adds a nice peppery flavor to this dish–but too much can easily overwhelm the other flavors.

Let’s Eat Oranges

orangesThe rail system in the United States was in largely in place by the 1910’s, but I’m still surprised sometimes about how readily (and inexpensively) fresh produce was transported across the country a hundred years ago.

Here’s part of a 1916 magazine article about oranges:

Let’s Eat Oranges

Probably the reason many of us consider the orange a luxury rather than an every-day food is because we still cherish memories of the time when the fruit was high-priced and not widely distributed, and an occasional orange was a surprise often reserved for the toe of the Christmas stocking.

Many of us are more or less slaves of our habits of thought, and in face of the fact that oranges can be purchased from December to April at almost any price, and the rest of the year at prices which are moderate when the value received is considered , we do not take advantage of their wonderful dietetic properties because we consider them too expensive.

It is generally known that the orange contains citric acid, which s a liver stimulant, and that it is a gentle laxative. But its wonderful supply of phosphates, a direct nerve-food, is usually overlooked, and the fact the oranges therefore have a most beneficial effect in cases of insomnia is practically unknown. In short, the importance of the orange as an every-day food the year round cannot be too greatly emphasized.

Good Housekeeping (March, 1916)

Steamed Chocolate Nut Pudding with Hard Sauce Recipe

steamed chocolate nut pudding

Hundred-year-old cookbooks have oodles of steamed pudding recipes. These slow-cooking molded desserts were easy to make back in the days when people had a fire constantly burning in a wood stove. I have vague warm fuzzy memories of steamed puddings made by an elderly neighbor when I was a child, and I’ve wanted a pudding mold for some time–so I was thrilled to get one for Christmas.

A few day ago I flipped through my old cookbooks, and tried to decide which pudding recipe to make. I finally decided to try the recipe for Chocolate Nut Steamed Pudding because it sounded delicious – and didn’t require steaming for as long as many other puddings. (It only needed to be steamed for 1 1/2 hours.)

This recipe was worth the time and effort. The pudding was incredible.  I expected the pudding to be heavy and rich–and was thrilled that it actually was moist, yet light, with a hint of chocolate that enhanced the taste of the walnuts. The recipe called for beating 5 egg whites (and only 1/2 cup of flour) which resulted in a very light cake-like dessert.

I served it with Hard Sauce (which is actually a brandy butter). The Hard Sauce partially melted on the warm pudding surface releasing a luscious buttery brandy essence .

Here’s my updated version of the recipe for modern cooks:

Steamed Chocolate Nut Pudding

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: difficult
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Steamed Pudding

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, grated

1/2 cup milk

5 eggs, separated

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup walnuts, chopped

In a saucepan, combine the 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, salt, and grated chocolate. Gradually stir in the milk to make a smooth mixture; and put on a stove burner at medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens while constantly stirring. (This mixture become quite thick, so use care not to scorch.) Remove from heat and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl, and beat vigorously until stiff peaks form.

Working quickly (so the egg whites remain beaten), put the egg yolks and sugar in another bowl; and combine. Add the chocolate mixture, and beat until smooth. Stir in the walnuts, and then gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

Put the mixture in a greased mold, and steam for 1 1/2 hours.* Remove from mold and serve warm with Hard Sauce. (This pudding is also excellent cold without the Hard Sauce.)

*Notes: I used a 2 liter mold, but had some extra space at the top. A 1 1/2 quart mold would be large enough. Historically coffee cans were often used as molds. BBC Good Food has an excellent video that succinctly describes how to steam a pudding (or follow the directions that come with the mold).

Hard Sauce

1/2 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon water

2 tablespoons brandy

Cream the butter, then slowly add the powdered sugar while stirring constantly. While continuing to stir, add the water, and then the brandy.

Here are the original recipes:

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

There were two Hard Sauce recipes in the cookbook. I adapted the first one.

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Old-fashioned Silky Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Silky Cauliflower Soup

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to lose a few pounds. I’m trying to eat healthy (and January is the perfect time for soup), so I looked through my hundred year-old cookbooks for a soup that was light yet rich and tasty. I wasn’t sure it was possible to find a soup that met my criteria, but I think that I came up with a soup that fits the bill.

I found a recipe for Cauliflower Soup in Lowney’s Cook Book (1912). This milk-based soup is a very smooth, strained soup—and not very thick; so I think that today it would be considered a “silky” soup.

This Silky Cauliflower Soup is lovely, and has a surprisingly subtle cauliflower taste. The soup will warm you up on a cold winter day–plus, it’s light enough that you don’t need to feel guilty.

Here’s my updated version of the recipe for modern cooks:

Silky Cauliflower Soup

  • Servings: 5
  • Time: 40 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 medium head cauliflower, coarsely chopped

water

4 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup chopped onion

4 tablespoons flour

4 cups water

1 egg yolk, beaten

2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Put chopped cauliflower in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain cooked cauliflower and puree in a blender or food processor.

In the meantime, melt butter in a large saucepan; then add the chopped onions and saute until tender. Stir in the flour, and slowly add 3 cups water while stirring constantly. Stir the egg yolk into the remaining 1 cup water; and then add the egg and water mixture to contents of the large sauce pan while continuing to stir constantly. Add the pureed cauliflower, salt, and pepper to the mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and strain. Return the liquid to the pan and stir in the milk. Heat until hot, then stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Scotch Potatoes (Scalloped Potatoes and Onions) Recipe

Scotch Potatoes

Brrr, it’s cold outside and I’m ready for some comfort foods. When I saw a recipe for Scotch Potatoes in the January, 1916 issue of Ladies Home Journal, I just had to try it.

Scotch Potatoes are very similar to Scalloped Potatoes, but they contain a lot more onions. The recipe calls for a 1:1 ratio of potatoes and onions (2 cups potatoes and 2 cups onions).

This recipe was a winner, and I may never make regular scalloped potatoes again. Scotch Potatoes wonderfully pairs the creamy potatoes with the sweet, bright, complex flavor and texture of the onions to create a lovely taste sensation.

The recipe I typically use for Scalloped Potatoes just has me put the raw potato slices into the casserole dish and then pour white sauce over it. When I bake that casserole I often struggle to get the potatoes tender before the top gets overly brown. One of my favorite things about the Scotch Potatoes recipe is that I had no issues with a burned top and under-cooked potatoes.

This recipe called for boiling the potatoes and onions for a few minutes before putting them into the baking dish. This worked perfectly—and I now wonder why I never thought of doing this before.

Scotch Potatoes (Scalloped Potatoes and Onions)

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (approx. 2 cups)

4 medium onions, sliced (approx. 2 cups)

water

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400° F. Put the sliced potatoes and onions into a saucepan, and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are just barely tender (about 12 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.

In the meantime, make a white sauce by melting the butter in another saucepan. Stir in the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. While stirring constantly, slowly add the milk. Continue stirring until the mixture is hot and begins to thicken.

Place the cooked potatoes and onions in a baking dish. Pour the white sauce over them, and put into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly, and the top begins to brown. Remove from oven and serve.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1916)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1916)

I didn’t make my potato and onion slices as thick as the slices called for in the original recipe. Mine were about 1/4 inch thick, and they worked beautifully in the updated recipe.

Hundred-Year-Old Cranberry Slush (Yuletide Punch) Recipe

cranberry slush

When browsing through a hundred-year-old National Food Magazine, I was amazed to see a recipe for Yuletide Punch that looked like a cranberry slush recipe to me.

Of course, I had to try it. The slush contained freshly made cranberry juice (not the over-filtered store-bought stuff) and orange juice as well as a little maraschino cherry juice. The icy, dusky pink slush was refreshing and had just the right amount of tartness.

This recipe is a keeper. The slush was easy to make, beautiful, and tasted awesome. I’ll definitely make it again.

Here’s my adaptation of the original recipe:

Cranberry Slush (Yuletide Punch)

  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Time: 20 minutes prep time
  • Difficulty: easy
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3 cups fresh cranberries (1 12-ounce bag)

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 medium oranges

1 tablespoon liquid from maraschino cherries

Combine the cranberries, sugar, and water in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and are soft. Remove from heat. Use a strainer to separate the juice from the berries.* Squeeze the oranges, and strain the orange juice. Combine cranberry juice, orange juice, and maraschino cherry liquid. Put the juice mixture in a freezer container and freeze.

To serve: Remove container from freezer 1/2 – 1 hr. prior to serving and allow the mixture to soften for easy serving. Spoon the slush into glasses, and serve immediately.

*Note: The cooked cranberries are not used in this recipe, but can be cooled and served separately.

Adapted from recipe in National Food Magazine (December, 1914)

Here is the original recipe.

Source: National Food Recipe (December, 1914)
Source: National Food Recipe (December, 1914)

Something doesn’t seem quite right with the old photo. The slush in the picture looks white. My slush was a dark pink.

Coconut Cream Cookies

coconut cream cookies 3Cookie season is here, and it’s time to start baking for the holidays. Of course, I just had to try a “new” hundred-year-old recipe.

I selected a recipe for Coconut Cream Cookies that was in a small promotional cookbook published in 1911 for KC Baking Powder.

The cookies are an old-fashioned soft, chewy cookie, with a very delicate creamy coconut taste. Their mild flavor makes them perfect for nibbling while sipping a cup of coffee.

The recipe didn’t call or any butter or shortening–and I was surprised that it was possible to make cookies without it. The cream in the recipe apparently provided adequate fat to create a nice cookie texture—however, the cookies weren’t as flavorful as many modern cookies.

Here’s my updated version of the recipe:

Coconut Cream Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 25 pieces
  • Time: 1 hr.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

water

1 cup shredded coconut

shredded coconut for garnish

walnuts, pecans, or other nuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine eggs, sugar, and cream. Add flour, salt, and baking powder; stir to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add water until a soft dough of rolling consistency forms. Stir in the coconut.

Roll out the dough one-fourth inch thick. Sprinkle with coconut, pressing in lightly. Cut into rounds; press a nut meat into the center of each cookie. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, or just until set and the coconut garnish is just beginning to toast.

Note: I used a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter. The coconut in the cookie dough makes this dough a little more difficult to handle than many modern doughs. A spatula can be used to transfer the cut cookies to the baking sheet.

Yield: Approximately 42 cookies

Here is the original recipe.

Source: The Cook's Book (1911)
Source: The Cook’s Book (KC Baking Powder Cook Book) (1911)

I had to make some adaptations to the recipe. I guessed that “1 coffee C sugar” was about 3/4 cup of sugar.

When I followed the recipe, the dough was extremely dry. I added additional cream, as well as water, to achieve a dough that could be rolled. Perhaps a hundred years ago, eggs were larger than the typical “large egg” of today. Also, I used all-purpose flour rather than pastry flour–and  I didn’t sift it; that might have affected the amount of liquid needed.

I also changed the spelling of coconut from “cocoanut” to “coconut” when I revised the recipe. I never see it spelled with an “a” in modern cookbooks, so I’m guessing that it’s an archaic spelling.