Old-time Spinach Omelet Recipe

I recently saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Spinach Omelet, and decided to give it a try. A homemade omelet makes breakfast special.

Often omelets are a little greasy and heavy, but Spinach Omelet is light and fluffy. The recipe calls for beating egg whites into stiff peaks, and then folding the remainder of the ingredients into them.  This omelet has a delicate spinach flavor – and is less savory that the typical modern omelet that also contains onions, bacon, or cheese – but is delightful.

Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (June, 1917)

And here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spinach Omelet

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup cooked spinach (approximately 4 cups fresh spinach)

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/3 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1/2 cup cream (I used half and half.)

4 eggs, separated

If using fresh spinach, rinse the spinach and put into a sauce pan. Do not add any additional water; the water clinging to the spinach leaves will be enough. Using medium heat, cook until the spinach is wilted (approximately 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Cool slightly, then coarsely  chop cooked spinach; set aside.

Using medium-low heat, melt the butter in a sauce pan; then stir in the flour, salt,  and pepper. While continuing to stir constantly, slowly add the cream. Increase heat to medium, and stir until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.  Beat egg yolks, then quickly stir into the white sauce.  Add cooked spinach, and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Be sure that the beaters are clean and dry – otherwise the egg whites might not stiffen and form peaks.) Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Then cook omelet either on the stove top or in the oven.

Stove top method: Pour into a prepared omelet pan. (If needed grease to prevent sticking.) Cover and cook using low heat for about 12 minutes or until the is set. Fold omelet, and slip onto a plate. Serve immediately.

Oven method:  Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Heat a large oven-proof skillet on the top of the stove using medium-low heat. (If needed to prevent sticking, liberally grease the skillet before heating.) Pour the egg and  spinach mixture into the hot skillet, and gently cook for 1 minute. Move the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 12 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Remove from oven, and loosen the edges of the omelet from the skillet with a knife or spatula, then turn onto a plate; fold into half. Serve immediately.

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Traditional Egg Sauce Recipe

HAPPY EASTER!

There are lots of things I like about Easter, but using all those hard-boiled eggs lurking in my refrigerator can be a challenge. So I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Egg Sauce.  It was easy to make, and is delightful when served on asparagus or other green vegetables.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1915)

The Egg Sauce recipe called for one pint (2 cups) of Cream Sauce. The Cream Sauce recipe made approximately one cup of sauce. To make the two recipes compatible I halved the Egg Sauce recipe.

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Egg Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 hard boiled egg, chopped

Melt the butter in a saucepan using low heat, stir in the flour. Increase the heat to medium; gradually add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until hot and bubbly. Add salt, pepper, and chopped eggs. Stir to combine, continue heating until the sauce again begins to bubble. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Creamed Celery with Poached Eggs

creamed-celery-with-poached-eggs

When I saw a delightful picture illustrating a Creamed Celery with Poached Eggs recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine, I knew that I needed to give it a try.

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine, June/July, 1915)
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine,) (June/July, 1915)

The recipe did not disappoint. My rendition of Creamed Celery with Poached Eggs was lovely. The presentation was just a tad dramatic, and it turned an ordinary meal into a special one.

This vegetable and egg dish is perfect for breakfast . . . or lunch. The slight tang and bite of the celery combines with the cream sauce and eggs to create lovely taste sensation.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine, June/July, 1915)
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine) ( June/July, 1915)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creamed Celery with Poached Eggs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 1/2 cups celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup milk (preferably whole)

2 eggs

salt and pepper

celery leaves, optional (for garnish)

Put the celery in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 10 minutes).  Drain well.

In another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Gently stir in the cooked celery, and remove from heat.

In the meantime, bring 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a skillet, then reduce to a simmer. Break each egg into a small bowl or cup, then slip into the water. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the poached eggs from the water using a slotted spatula, and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To assemble the dish: Put the creamed celery in the serving dish, then gently place the poached eggs on top of the celery. If desired, garnish with celery leaves.

 

Old Poached Egg in Tomato Recipe

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)

Eggs and tomatoes make a nice pairing, so I was excited when I  saw a new way to make eggs and tomatoes in a hundred-year-old cookbook – Poached Egg in Tomato.

Preparing the tomato shell for the egg reminded me of scooping a pumpkin but on a much smaller scale. And, it was fun to slide the egg into the tomato shell, and cover it with a circle of parchment paper that I’d cut out.

The Poached Egg in Tomato was delightful with toast. The one downside – it took longer to bake than I anticipated.  I had to delay breakfast because it took about 45 minutes for the egg white to fully set.

Poached Egg in Tomato

For each serving:

1 medium tomato

1 egg

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the top of the tomato and gently scoop out the pulp, then set the tomato in a ramekin or custard cup. Break the egg into a small bowl, then slide the egg into the tomato shell, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut circles from a piece of parchment paper that is the same size as the ramekin; then cover the filled tomato with the parchment paper circle.

Place the ramekin into a small cake pan or other oven-proof dish or pan. Gently pour hot water (approximately 125° F.)  into the pan until it is about 1 inch deep. (I use the hottest water that comes out of my tap.). Place into the oven and cook until the egg is desired firmness (approximately 45 minutes).

Poached egg in tomato a
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

 

Hundred-Year-Old Directions for Separating Egg Whites from Yolks

Separating egg 2

Old recipes call for separating egg whites from yolks much more frequently than modern recipes. For example, a few days ago I needed to separate four eggs to make the hundred-year-old Lemon Meringue Pie recipe that I recently posted. The yolks went into the lemon custard filling and the whites into the meringue.

Old cake recipes also often call for separating the eggs and beating the whites before adding them to the batter to get a lighter, fluffier cake. . . and so do some old omelette recipes. . . . My list could so on and on.

Here are directions in a hundred-year-old home economics textbook for separating eggs:

Separating Whites from Yolks

Break the egg over a bowl, turn the small end down, and pull the shell apart, slipping the yolk from one half of the shell to the other once or twice, so that the white will drop into the bowl. If any of the yolk is mixed with the white, the white will not beat well on account of the fat present.

The Science of Home Making: A Textbook in Home Economics by Emma E. Pirie (1915)

Old-Time Asparagus Omelet Recipe

asparagus omelet h

I have a short list of brunch dishes that I regularly make. I recently found a recipe in a hundred-year-old issue of Good Housekeeping  for Asparagus Omelet that I’m adding to my repertoire of go-to brunch recipes. It makes a stunning presentation, and has a wonderful texture and taste.

Often omelets are a little heavy, but Asparagus Omelet is not like the typical modern omelet. The recipe calls for beating egg whites into stiff peaks, and then folding the remainder of the ingredients into them.  This omelet incredibly light and airy with embedded pieces of asparagus.

The omelet was so thick that I didn’t even try to fold it over like the typical omelet, and instead just turned the unfolded omelet onto a plate (actually I turned it onto a baking sheet) and cut into wedges.

Asparagus Omelet d

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Asparagus Omelet

  • Servings: 3-5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 cup milk

6 eggs, separated

3/4 cup cooked  asparagus (1-inch pieces)

cooked asparagus tips for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350° F. Make a white sauce by melting the butter in small saucepan, then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Add a small amount of milk and make a paste. Gradually add remaining milk while stirring rapidly and continuing to heat. Continue stirring until thickens. Then remove from heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until lemon colored. Stir in the white sauce and asparagus pieces; then fold into the beaten egg whites.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet on the top of the stove using medium-low heat. (If needed to prevent sticking, liberally grease the skillet before heating.) Pour the egg and asparagus mixture into the hot skillet, and gently cook for 1 minute. Move the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 10 minutes or until the egg mixture is set.

Remove from oven, and loosen the edges of the omelet from the skillet with a knife or spatula, then turn onto a plate. Garnish with asparagus tips and cut into wedges.

Asparagus Omelet e

Here’s the original recipe:

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

Make Substitutions When Eggs are Expensive

Eggs 3

Today, reasonably priced eggs are generally available year-round, but a hundred years ago people worried about the high price of eggs.

Here’s some advice in a hundred-year-old home economics textbook:

The demand for fresh eggs is great, and so many eggs are exported, that the price is high. Twenty-five cents a dozen is a reasonable price, but this is below the average at the present date. Thirty-five cents a dozen will permit the moderate use of eggs as the main dish for breakfast or luncheon sometimes, but not a liberal use in cakes and desserts.

If a recipe for soft custard calls for three eggs to a pint of milk, leave out one egg or even two, and use one or two tablespoons of cornstarch.

Foods and Household Management: A Textbook of the Household Arts (1915)