I recently had a roast in the oven, and was looking for a side dish to accompany it, so when I happened upon a hundred-year-old recipe for Onion Souffle, I decided to give it a try.
Onion Souffle contains onions and bread crumbs, and reminds me a little of stuffing. This side dish had a robust onion flavor and nicely complemented the roast, though it was a little dry. The next time I make this Souffle, I’ll probably drizzle a little gravy or other sauce over the top.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Put bread crumbs and melted butter in a bowl, then stir. Add onions, salt, pepper, and egg yolk; stir to combine.
Put the egg white in a small mixing bowl, beat until stiff peaks form. Then fold the beaten egg whites into the onion and bread mixture.
Spoon into buttered custard cups (small ramekins). The souffle does not rise much during cooking, so the custard cups can be filled to within 1/2 inch of the top. Place in oven and bake until set and lightly browned (about 30 minutes). Removed from oven and serve. If desired, the onion souffle can be unmolded.
I’m currently auditioning foods to serve on Thanksgiving. Some people love to try new recipes when family and friends convene for the holidays. I, on the other hand, prefer to try new recipes ahead of time to help ensure that all goes smoothly on the big day.
So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Creamed Carrots and Onions, I had to give it a try. It just said Thanksgiving to me, and brought back vague memories of wonderful creamed vegetables lovingly prepared by my grandmother and other elderly relatives when I was a child
The recipe did not disappoint. The Creamed Carrots and Onions passed their audition. They were easy to make, colorful, and tasty — and definitely deserve a spot on the Thanksgiving table.
2 cups bite-sized carrot chunks (peel or scrape carrots, then cut into chunks)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
Put onions in saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. The carrots should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat and drain.
In the meantime, 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 carrots and onions. Remove from heat and serve.
Sometimes simple foods are the best. Toast toppers are a favorite of mine for lunch or a light dinner, so when I saw a recipe for Onion Toast in a hundred-year-old magazine, I had to give it a try.
Mild, sweet onion slices embedded in a rich, creamy sauce are served over a classic French toast. The bread was soaked in beaten eggs, and then grilled to create a delightful French toast that added an unexpected, but delightful, dimension to this dish.
In days gone by, this simple dish was probably seen as a way to stretch budgets when money was tight – but I would put this dish in the category of gourmet comfort food. This recipe is a keeper, and will become part of my repertoire of recipes that I regularly make.
Here’s the original recipe:
When I made this recipe I wasn’t exactly sure what a Bermuda onion was, so I googled it and determined that it was a large, mild onion. But I was surprised to discover that in the late 1800s and early 1900s that large quantities of onions actually were imported into the U.S. from Bermuda. According to the Bermuda 4U website, after Mark Twain visited Bermuda, he wrote about its wonderful onions in Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion:
The onion is the pride and joy of Bermuda. It is her jewel, her gem of gems. In her conversation, her pulpit, her literature, it is her most frequent and eloquent figure. In Bermuda metaphor it stands for perfection — perfection absolute.
Onion Sauce: Melt butter in a skillet using medium-low heat, then add the onion slices and saute until the onions become soft and translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and serve over the French Toast.
French Toast: Beat eggs with a fork, then stir in salt and a dash of pepper. Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture then place on a hot griddle that has been generously greased with butter. Using medium heat, grill until the bottom side of the bread is browned, then flip and cook the other side.
Cook’s notes: The original recipe called for 6 slices of bread, but I used 4 slices. I only had enough of the beaten eggs to coat 4 slices – and the amount of onion sauce seemed about right for 4 slices. I also did not scald the milk prior to stirring it into the onion mixture.
There’s starting to be a nip in the air; a few trees are turning lovely hues of red and yellow, and the days are getting shorter. Autumn is here – and I had a sudden urge to make soup.
I found a lovely hundred-year-old recipe for Cream of Onion Soup. The soup was rich and creamy with flecks of onions. The recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of pepper which gave the Cream of Onion Soup a delightful peppery undertone.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in large saucepan, add sliced onions and saute until the onions are soft and semi-transparent (but not browned). Add water and parsley, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food processor.
Meanwhile, in a dutch oven, using medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter; then stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add the milk while stirring constantly; then add the pureed onion mixture.
In a small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks; add cream and stir to blend. Add a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of onion mixture and stir quickly to prevent the egg from coagulating. Then stir the egg and cream mixture into the onion mixture in the dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and then serve.
I found a hundred-year-old recipe for Browned Whole Onions that is lovely with a hearty pot roast, game, or other flavorful meat. The onions’ robust flavor nicely complements the meat.
These onions are firmer than the sliced browned onions that are often served today–and they are not at all like the breaded onion “flowers” that restaurants sometimes serve. Instead they have a delicate outer browned layer, and firmer but delicious inner layers.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Peel onions, place in a large saucepan, cover with water, then add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain onions.
In the meantime combine the flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Dust the onions with the flour mixture.
Place the bacon drippings or olive oil in an oven-proof skillet, then add onions. Pour 1/2 cup water into the pan along the edge. Place pan in oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and gently turn and roll the onions in the dripping in the bottom of the pan. If needed, add additional water. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until lightly browned. (The amount of time is dependent upon onion size. Larger onions may need to be rolled in the drippings a second time and cooked a little longer.) Remove from oven, and place browned onions in serving dish.
Add 1/2 cup water to the drippings in the skillet, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any flour or cooked pieces of onion. Place on a burner, and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook a few minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly. Spoon the “gravy” over the onions and serve.
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.
4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (approx. 2 cups)
4 medium onions, sliced (approx. 2 cups)
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:
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.
16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Tuesday, August 15, 1911: Went to Watsontown this afternoon to get some nick-knacks to take to the picnic. Makes me to mad Carrie isn’t going after all our planning. I have a presentiment that perhaps no one will be there except its originator, but the morrow alone can tell.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
What could nick-knacks for a picnic have been? . . . Crepe paper? . . . paper nut cups? Neither of these items seems exactly like a nick-knack or right for a picnic, and they may not have even existed a hundred years ago.
Why isn’t Grandma’s friend Carrie Stout going to come? Carrie had been involved in the planning since the very beginning. Did Grandma and Carrie have a disagreement? Was Carrie grounded for some reason?
I wonder if Grandma had begun to makes foods for the picnic. An excellent old-time food for a picnic in August is Cucumbers and Onions.
Cucumbers and Onions
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 cups cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup onion, sliced
Stir together the vinegar, sugar, and water in a large bowl. Add cucumber and onion; gently stir to coat vegetables with liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
This is one of my favorite old recipes. I frequently make Cucumbers and Onions during the late summer and early fall. The vinegar, sugar, and water are in a 1:1:1 proportion—and, depending upon how many cucumbers and onions I have, I will vary the amount of syrup that I mix up. The liquid should almost cover the vegetables. (Many old recipes are based on easy to remember proportions and were never written down.)
It is okay if there is a layer or so of the sliced cucumbers and onions above the liquid because after a few hours the amount of liquid will increase as some of the liquid comes out of the vegetables.