Each spring I eagerly await the arrival of rhubarb at the local market. I bought some rhubarb last week-end, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Rhubarb Dumplings in a hundred-year-old cookbook.
The Rhubarb Dumplings were tender with a refreshingly tart rhubarb filling embedded in a sweet custard-like sauce.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Put sugar, flour, and egg in a small bowl; stir to combine. On a pastry cloth or other prepared surface, roll shortcake dough to 1/4 inch thickness; cut into squares, 4-inches by 4-inches. Put heaping 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) in the center of each square, then cover with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and egg mixture. Fold dough so that the points overlap on top of the rhubarb mixture. Put the dumplings in a large flat baking dish, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. If desired, serve with whipped cream.
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the shortening; then add the milk. Stir gently with a fork to create a dough.
The old recipe only called for 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. When I made this recipe, I had difficulty measuring 2 tablespoons of rhubarb for each dumpling. (Rhubarb is just too thick to fit well on a spoon.) So I used a 1/8 cup scoop, and put a heaping scoop of rhubarb in each dumpling, I ended up running out of rhubarb before I’d used all the shortcake dough, so I cut up an additional stalk of rhubarb. I think in the end that I used 2 – 2 1/2 cups of rhubarb. The dumplings were excellent, though if I made them again, I might put even more rhubarb in each dumpling.
Creamed vegetables on toast are one of my favorite comfort foods, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for a combination that was new to me. Creamed Celery and Green Pepper is delightful. The celery and the green pepper complement each other perfectly. The chunks of green pepper add flavor and reduce any bitterness in the celery. This quick and easy recipe is a keeper.
1 small green pepper (1/2 of a typical large supermarket green pepper), cut into vertical slices 3/4 inch wide, then halved
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
Put celery in a saucepan, and cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Stir green pepper pieces into the celery.
In the meantime, in a skillet, melt butter using low heat. Stir the flour into the butter; add salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the celery and green pepper pieces, and bring back to a boil; remove from heat. Serve over toast.
Meat loaf is the ultimate comfort food, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old beef loaf recipe. This recipe is different from modern meatloaf recipes. In addition to ground beef, it contained ripe olives, oatmeal, canned tomatoes, and onion; and brought back memories of some meatloaf recipes served at family reunions when I was a child.
2 cups canned tomatoes (1 one-pound can diced onions)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
meat drippings from pan (approximately 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 375° F. Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Shape meatloaf in a 9″ X 13″ or similar-sized baking dish (or put in a large bread pan). Place in oven, and bake until done (approximately 1 hour).
If desired, serve with gravy. To make gravy, put meat drippings from the baking pan in a small skillet. Heat to boiling. Sprinkle with flour and stir to combine. Slowly pour in the water while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the gravy thickens, then remove from heat and serve.
Cook’s note: My meatloaf had relatively few drippings which limited the amount of gravy that I could make. I used ground beef that contained very little fat. Ground beef with a higher fat content probably would provide more drippings.
I used less salt than called for in the original recipe. It called for 3 teaspoons of salt. I used 1 teaspoon of salt which seemed like plenty.
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.
Caramel Biscuits is the name of a recipe that I found in a hundred-year-old magazine, but the recipe name may be a misnomer. This is a dessert or snack pastry, not the typical biscuit.
Caramel Biscuits are similar to cinnamon rolls, but contain no cinnamon. Instead nutmeg provides a more nuanced and sophisticated flavor when combined with the rich brown sugar filling that is embedded between each layer of bread. They are made using baking powder, rather than yeast, so are quick and easy to make.
Here is the original recipe:
And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Servings: approximately 2 - 2 1/2 dozen 1 1/2-inch in diameter biscuits
Preheat oven to 400° F. Put the brown sugar and butter in a bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, then stir together. Cut in the butter and lard, then add water and milk. Mix using a fork until dough starts to cling together. If needed, add additional water. Divide into two balls. Put one ball put on a floured pastry board. Roll into a 1/4 inch-thick rectangle approximately 6 inches X 10 inches. Spread one-half of the brown sugar mixture on the rectangle of dough. Rolling from the wide side, roll up the dough, and then cut into 3/4″ slices. Place slices in a greased 10″ inch round (or similar-sized) pan. There should be about 1/4″ space between each slice. Repeat with the second ball of dough, again putting the slices in the pan. Sprinkle each slice with nutmeg.
Place in oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan. Serve either warm or cold.
In 1918, World War I was raging. There were food shortages, and the U.S. government was shipping wheat and other foodstuffs to the troops in Europe. To help cooks on the home front use “conservation as far as possible of food which can be sent abroad,” the Kansas State Council of Defense published One-Dish Meals.
The booklet is filled with lots of intriguing recipes, but the recipe that grabbed my attention was one for Chop Suey. It bore little resemblance to the typical chop suey recipe. The recipe called for ground beef, sausage, tomatoes, onions, and celery – and not for any of the usual bean spouts, bamboo shoots, or soy sauce. That said, this recipe was delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.
2 cups chopped tomatoes (or use 1 lb. can of tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
4 cups cooked rice (or more, if you like lots of rice)
Brown sausage and ground beef in a skillet using medium heat. Add, green pepper, onions, and celery; cook until tender. Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low; simmer gently for one-half hour. Remove from heat, and serve over rice.
I used less salt than called for in the original recipe, and it turned out just fine. I also thought that the original recipe called for very little rice, so I made more.
Nothing says Spring like asparagus (or a refrigerator filled with rainbow-colored hard-boiled eggs). So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe that called for both asparagus and chopped hard-boiled eggs.
The Scalloped Asparagus turned out wonderfully. This classic dish was tasty, and made a lovely presentation with bits of asparagus and egg poking through the browned bread crumb and cheese topping.
1 bunch asparagus (approximately 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/4 cup milk
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup fine bread crumbs
6 tablespoons grated or shredded cheese (I used Parmesan cheese.)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Boil or steam asparagus until tender (2-3 minutes).
Meantime in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir the flour, salt, and pepper into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil using medium heat. Remove the white sauce from heat.
Put 1/3 of the cooked asparagus in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Add a layer with 1/3 of the chopped eggs, a layer of white sauce, a layer of bread crumbs, and a layer of 2 tablespoons cheese; continue layering with the final two layers being bread crumbs and cheese.
Bake for 1/2 hour or until the dish is hot and bubbly and the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve.