Old-fashioned Nut Pancakes

Nut pancakes on plate

Sometimes it seems like I get into a rut when making breakfast foods – and tend to just make the same two or three foods over and over. So I’m always looking for easy-to-make recipes for breakfast foods. I recently saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Nut Pancakes, and decided to give it a try.

This recipe is a keeper. The pancakes contained lots of chopped walnuts, and had a lovely texture and flavor.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Nut Pancakes
Source: Good Housekeepings’ Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

A hundred-years-ago many families still lived on farms and drank non-pasteurized milk; and, even in towns, much of the milk that was sold was not pasteurized. Back then, if the non-pasteurized milk was not used quickly, the “good” bacteria in the milk would turn it into a sour milk suitable for use in recipes. When making old recipes that call for sour milk, today’s pasteurized milk can be turned into a sour milk by adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to create a slightly curdled acidic milk.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Nut Pancakes

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups milk

1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (I used vinegar.)

2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons butter, melted

3/4 cup walnuts chopped

Put the milk in a cup or bowl, then stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Set aside for at least 2 minutes

Put the bread flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder,, melted butter, and milk that has been combined with the vinegar or lemon juice in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Heat a lightly greased griddle or skillet to a medium temperature, then pour or scoop batter onto the hot surface to make individual pancakes.  Cook until the top surface is hot and bubbly, and then flip and cook other side.

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Raisins and Bananas

Raisins and Bananas on plate

Bananas are tasty, convenient, and inexpensive. They are also a very healthy fruit with fiber and protein, and potassium and other nutrients. However, they can also be boring. So when I saw a recipe for Raisins and Bananas in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try.

The bananas are baked with raisins in a light sugar syrup. The Raisins and Bananas were tasty, and would make a lovely fruit dessert or snack (or could be served at breakfast of another meal).

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for Raisins and Bananas
Source: Cement City Cook Book (Published by First Baptist Church, Alpena, MI, 1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Raisins and Bananas

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup raisins

6 bananas

juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put sugar, water, and raisins in a saucepan; stir. Using medium heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool until lukewarm.

In the meantime, peel bananas and remove any stringy fibers. If desired cut the bananas in half. Arrange in a baking dish, then pour the raisins and syrup over the bananas. Put in oven and bake until the syrup is hot and bubbly, and the bananas tender. Remove from oven. May be served either hot or cold.

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Celery au Gratin

Celery au Gratin

A hundred years ago celery was often served as a cooked vegetable, so I decided to make a recipe  for Celery au Gratin that I found in a 1922 cookbook.

The Celery au Gratin was tasty with pieces of celery embedded in a delightful cheese sauce.

Here is the original recipe:

recipe for Celery au Gratin
Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

I used butter instead of shortening when making the sauce for this recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Celery as Gratin

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons flour

dash salt and pepper

3/4 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar.)

1/2 cup fine soft bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put celery pieces, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the celery is tender (about 10 minutes). Then remove from heat, and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid to use in the sauce. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in another saucepan, then stir in flour and dashes of salt and pepper. Gradually, add the milk and reserved celery liquid while stirring constantly; Continue heating and stirring using medium heat until the sauce thickens.

Put half the cooked celery in a 3-cup casserole dish; add 1/2 of the sauce, then top with  1/2 of the grated cheese. Repeat in same order. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan.  Add the breadcrumbs and stir. Continue stirring until the breadcrumbs are crispy and light brown.

Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs on top of the layered celery. Put in oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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Baconized Meatballs

Baconzied Meatballs in Dish

Meatballs in gravy are a nice comfort food, so when I saw a recipe for Baconized Meatballs in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try. Bacon is chopped into small pieces, sauted, and then mixed with ground beef, spices, and other ingredients, and used to make the meatballs.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Baconized Meatballs
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

I was surprised that “meat balls” was written as two words in the old recipe. I updated to the more modern way of spelling and combined into one word: meatballs.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baconized Meatballs

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Meatballs

4 slices bacon

1 cup cracker crumbs

1/2 cup hot water

1 pound ground beef

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon sage

1/4 allspice

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup cooking oil, shortening, or lard

Gravy

3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2  cups water

Cut bacon into small pieces, then put in a skillet and sauté until crisp. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl put the cracker crumbs, water, ground beef, egg, salt, pepper onion salt, celery salt, thyme, sage, allspice, and sautéed bacon pieces.  Mix well, and form into meat balls (about 1 inch in diameter).

Put 2 tablespoons of flour on a plate. Roll meatballs in the flour.

Place the cooking oil, shortening, or lard into an overproof skillet and heat until hot.  Drop balls into the hot fat, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Move skillet to oven (preheated to 375° F.), and continue cooking until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked (about 20 minutes).  Remove from oven and put meatballs in serving dish.

Put skillet back on the top of the stove, and reheat using medium heat. To make the gravy, stir the 3 tablespoons flour into the meat juices. Slowly add the water while stirring. Continue stirring until the gravy thickens and is hot and bubbly. Removed from heat, and pour gravy over the meatballs, then serve.

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Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel Recipe

Green Peas Maitre d'Hotel

Green peas are a vegetable I often cook when I’m uninspired, so I was intrigued when I came across a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel. It sounded so fancy – and suggested that a boring vegetable could be really special. So I decided to give the recipe a try. The peas are immersed in butter, chopped mint leaves, and lemon juice.

The verdict: Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel were nice with a hint of mint, but the mint taste was very mild and nuanced; and I was a little disappointed that the peas in this recipe seemed very similar to just plain peas.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Green Peas Maitre d'Hotel
Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Green Peas Maitre d'Hotel

  • Servings: 3- 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups green peas

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

salt and pepper

In a small bowl mix butter, chopped mint, lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper.

In the meantime, cook the peas in a small amount of boiling salted water until tender; drain. Then gently stir in the butter mixture. Return to heat until the butter melts, then serve.

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Old-Fashioned Asparagus with Orange Sauce

Asparagus with Orange Sauce
I was surprised to recently discover a hundred-year-old recipe for Asparagus with Orange Sauce that called for blood orange. I don’t think that I’ve ever previously seen a recipe for blood orange. The recipe turned out nicely. The sauce had a lovely sunny citrus flavor that nicely complemented the asparagus.

Asparagus with Orange Sauce
Source: American Cookery (April, 1922)
Recipe for Asparagus with Orange Sauce
Source: American Cookery (April, 1922)

Until I read this old recipe, I had never realized that blood oranges were considered a spring citrus fruit a hundred years ago.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Asparagus with Orange Sauce

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

grated rind of 1/2 blood orange

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons lemon juicee

Juice of 1/2 blood orange

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup butter, softened

`Wash and trim asparagus. Put in steamer pan. Add water to bottom, and steam for about 5 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime to make the sauce, combine paprika, salt, grated orange rind, lemon juice, and water in a pan.  Bring to a boil using medium heat, boil for several minutes until the volume is reduced by half.  Remove from heat.

In a separate pan beat butter until creamy, then add to the grated orange rind and lemon mixture. Next add the egg yolks, one at a time, while beating into the mixture. Set pan with mixture into a pan with hot water. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens, then stir in the juice from the blood orange. To heat, put on medium heat for a few seconds while continuing to stir. Remove from heat and serve over the asparagus.

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Old-Fashioned Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding

Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding

At potluck dinners when I was young, someone always seemed to bring a salad (or maybe it was a dessert) made with whipped topping, fruit, and marshmallows, so I was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding. It looked similar to more modern renditions – but called for real whipped cream.

I tend to think that a dessert made with lots of whipped cream, marshmallows, and sugar may not be particularly healthy, but that said, the Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding was delicious.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding
Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup strawberries, sliced (or if small cut in half) + several additional whole strawberries for garnish

1/3 cup small marshmallows, cut in half

1 cup whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream until stiff peaks form, then gradually add the sugar and vanilla while continuing to beat. Gently fold in the marshmallows and strawberries. Either put in a large bowl to serve or in individual dishes or cups. Garnish with whole strawberries.

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