Parsnip Balls

Parsnip Balls 2

Winter farmers’ markets in the small suburb where I live are always a bit of an adventure, and I’m never quite sure what will be available. I recently was thrilled to find some lovely parsnips, but then I had a challenge: Could I find an interesting hundred-year-old recipe that called for parsnips?

I browsed through a couple 1916 issues of Good Housekeeping magazine and came across an intriguing recipe for Parsnip Balls, and decided to give it a try.

The Parsnip Balls only had a few ingredients and were surprisingly easy to make. They turned out awesomely. The balls were coated with ground walnuts which added a bit of crunch to the earthy, sweetness of the parsnips. This recipe is a keeper.

Here’s the recipe adapted for modern cooks:

Parsnip Balls

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: medium
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3-4 medium parsnips (1 cup, mashed)

15 saltine crackers (1/2 cup  cracker crumbs)

1 egg yolk

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup ground walnuts

1/2 cup shortening or lard

Peel parsnips and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place cubed parsnips in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until parsnips are tender. Drain parsnips, and then mash. In the meantime, crush the saltine crackers to make crumbs.

Combine mashed parsnip, cracker crumbs, egg yolk, and salt in a bowl. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls; then roll in ground walnuts. Place the shortening into a frying pan, and heat until hot.  Drop balls into the hot shortening, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

And, here is the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (May, 1916)
Source: Good Housekeeping (May, 1916)

Valentine Salad (Heart-Shaped Tomato Aspic with Hard Boiled Egg)

Valentine Salad 4

Several days ago I posted a list of food suggestions for a Valentine’s Day party from a hundred-year-old issue of Boston Cooking School Magazine. The magazine included the recipe for one of the suggestions –Valentine Salad–so, I decided to make it for my sweetheart.

Valentine Salad actually was an old-time tomato aspic  cut into heart shapes, with hard-boiled egg slices. The aspic is a jellied savory mixture of homemade tomato and other vegetable juices.

The presentation was a bit much with the heart-shaped lettuce and aspic, but the Valentine Salad had a surprisingly nuanced and sophisticated tangy tomato flavor. My husband said it tasted like a Bloody Mary without the alcohol.

Here’ s my adaptation of the original recipe for modern cooks:

Valentine Salad (Tomato Aspic with Hard-Boiled Egg

  • Servings: 2 - 3 servings
  • Time: 1 hour active prep and assembly; additional time for mixture to chill and jell
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups diced tomatoes

1/2 medium onion

3 cloves

1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)

3 parsley stems

1 stalk celery (chopped)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon (1 packet) gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 hard-boiled egg (sliced)

Romaine lettuce leaves, cut into  heart shapes

mayonnaise (optional)

Combine tomatoes, onion, cloves, parsley, celery, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Reserve the juice.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the cold water. Then add to the gelatin mixture to the hot vegetable juice. Pour into a flat pan approximately 6″ X 6″. Refrigerate until firm.  Briefly dip bottom of  pan in hot water, then slide the jellied mixture onto a plate. Cut part of the jellied mixture into hearts about two inches in diameter. With a smaller cutter, cut the same number of hearts about 3/4 inch in diameter.

To  assemble – For each serving, place a lettuce leaf on a plate, top with a large heart. On top of the heart place a egg slice, followed by a small  heart. Garnish with small pieces of hard-boiled egg.

If desired serve with mayonnaise.

*The cooked vegetable mixture can used in a different recipe. For example, I served it over  rice.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Boston Cooking School Magazine (February, 1913)
Source: Boston Cooking School Magazine (February, 1913)

 

100 Calorie Portions of Milk and Cream

Milk 4

It is so important to communicate information clearly. Today when people use the term data visualization they are generally referring to computer software that creates easily-to-understand graphics.

But, sometimes I’m blown away by  the creativity of the graphics in old books. I absolutely love a picture in a hundred-year-old home economics book that compares 100 calorie portion sizes for milk and cream.

I knew that skim milk has fewer calories than whole milk— but I’ve never been quite sure how to use that information to answer practical questions like: If I switch from whole milk to skim milk, how much more skim milk can I drink without gaining weight?

Now I know the answer–about 1/2 cup more.  Of course, this picture has limitations–Where’s the 1% and 2% milk?

Old-fashioned Butterscotch Pie with Meringue Topping

butterscotch pie 3

People knew how to make lovely pies a hundred years ago. An old-time winter favorite was Butterscotch Pie with Meringue Topping. I found this classic recipe in the February, 1916 issue of Good Housekeeping.

The Butterscotch Pie is irresistible with a smooth, buttery pudding and a light, delightful meringue. Here’s my adaptation of the recipe for modern cooks:

Butterscotch Pie with Meringue Topping

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup hot water

2 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoons cold water

3 egg yolks, beaten

1 tablespoon butter

1 8-inch (small) baked pie shell

3 egg whites

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine brown sugar and hot water in a saucepan, bring to a boil. In the meantime, in a small bowl combine the flour and salt. Gradually stir the cold water into the flour mixture to create a smooth paste; then stir in the beaten egg yolks. Add one tablespoon of the hot sugar liquid to flour and egg yolk mixture and stir to combine; then add several additional tablespoons of the hot sugar liquid while stirring constantly. When enough liquid has been added to make a thin paste,  stir the flour and egg yolk mixture into the remaining hot sugar mixture in the saucepan. Using medium heat, bring to a boil while stirring constantly; reduce heat and simmer  while continuing to stir until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. When the butter is melted, pour into the pie shell.

To prepare the meringue, put the egg whites into a mixing bowl. Beat until peaks form, then beat in the granulated sugar. Spoon the meringue onto the top of  the pie, and then swirl. Use care to get the meringue spread all the way to the edge of the pie. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the meringue is a light brown.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (February, 1916)
Source: Good Housekeeping (February, 1916)

Stylish Aprons a Hundred Years Ago

Apron 4
Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1916)

Are some aprons more stylish and youthful-looking than others? I never thought about it until I saw an article in the March, 1916 issue of Ladies Home Journal titled, “The New Girlish Apron: Daintily Made in Handwork.”

I always think that I look like my grandmother when I wear an apron – but perhaps my aprons are just dowdy.

Apron 5

Apron 3

Apron 1

Apron 2