I have warm memories of making Raggedy Ann Salad and other character-shaped salads using canned fruits when I was a child, so I was thrilled to see a recipe for Porcupine Salad in a hundred-year-old cookbook.
Porcupine Salad was fun and easy to make, and it turned out beautifully. Almond slices are inserted into a canned pear half, and whole cloves are used to make the eyes.
Here’s the original recipe:
When I made the recipe I didn’t serve it on a lettuce leaf, and I skipped the fruit salad dressing, but they could be added if desired. I found this recipe in the same cookbook that contained the Fruit Salad Dressing Made with Honey that I made last week, so that dressing could be used to replicate the original recipe’s serving suggestion.
Refreshing fruit salads are one of my go-to foods on hot summer days, so when I saw a recipe for Fruit Salad Dressing Made with Honey in a hundred-year-old cookbook I knew that I had to give it a try.
The whipped dressing, made with real cream, honey, and vinegar, was tart – but a perfect fruit topping. The tangy-sweetness of this light, airy whipped cream dressing perks up the fruit, and can turn a generic mixture of fruits into a special fruit salad. When I made this recipe, I asked people to guess what ingredient gave the dressing its tang. They guessed that it contained sour cream or even a little yogurt – and didn’t think of vinegar.
Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe:
I couldn’t tell from the recipe whether the Fruit Salad Dressing was supposed to be spooned on top of the fruit or stirred into the fruit, so I made it both ways. The two presentations were very different – but the Fruit Salad was delicious both ways.
Beat egg yolks, then stir in the honey, vinegar, and salt. Place in a saucepan, and cook using medium heat while stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and continue cooking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and chill in refrigerator.
When ready to serve, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form and then stir in the chilled egg mixture.
May be served as a fruit topping or stirred into a fruit mixture (grapes, cherry halves, cubed peaches or apricots, strawberries, etc. work well).
Cook’s note: This recipe makes a lot of dressing. I used the dressing on two consecutive days. On the first day, I whipped 1/2 cup of cream and stirred the egg mixture in to taste. The second day I whipped the remainder of the cream and stirred in the remaining dressing.
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.
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.
Old home economics textbooks are chock full of tasty and quick recipes (that can be prepared and eaten within a class period). I recently flipped though a 1915 textbook and noticed a recipe for Rice Muffins. My first thought was – Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this recipe was gluten-free?
But no, it was not gluten-free. . . sigh. . . This recipe calls for a combination of flour and rice.
In spite of my disappointment, I was still intrigued enough by the recipe to give it a try.
The Rice Muffins were yummy with just the right amount of sweetness. They were very similar to a basic flour muffin, but the rice added interest by providing a bit more texture and chewiness. They are best when eaten the day they are baked.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir the egg, milk, rice, and butter together. Add the flour mixture, and stir just enough to combine. Grease muffin tins, and then fill each muffin cup 3/4th full with batter. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Both a century ago and now, cooks have asked the question, “What should I do with the leftovers?”
I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Chicken and Ham Turnovers that is a wonderful way to use leftovers. The turnovers were yummy and easy to make, and the accompanying sauce added just the right amount of zing.
Here’s the original recipe:
Since the recipe indicates that a “”buttercup biscuit” or a “rich biscuit dough in which the yolk of an egg is used,” I searched for a hundred-year-old buttercup biscuit recipe. I failed to find one, so I went with a biscuit recipe I found and added an egg yolk (and reduced the milk a little to compensate). Here’s the old biscuit recipe:
When I made this dish, it seemed a tad salty so when I updated the recipe for modern cooks, I reduced the salt. Here’s the updated recipe:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Combine diced chicken and ham in a bowl. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Cut in the shortening and butter using a pastry blender or two knives going in opposite directions. Stir in egg yolk and 1/2 cup milk. The dough should cling together and be of a consistency that it can be rolled. If needed, add additional milk. On a prepared surface, roll the dough out and cut into rounds approximately 5 inches in diameter. (I used an inverted cereal bowl to cut the rounds.) Place a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture on one side of each round, brush water on the edge of round, fold over and press edges together. Put on rounds on a baking sheet, and brush with milk. Put in oven and bake until the top is lightly browned (about 20 minutes). Remove from oven and serve with sauce.
While the turnovers are baking, make the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan; stir in the flour and pepper. Add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, then slowly add the chicken broth while stirring continuously. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
Sometimes old-time recipes seem decidedly modern . A hundred-year-old recipe for Savory Potatoes is one of those times. This recipe reminded me of roasted potatoes that I sometimes get in restaurants. The Savory Potatoes were coated with a delightful, moist, onion and sage mixture which created an aromatic, savory taste sensation.
I’m not sure whether it’s a plus or a negative, but my kitchen smelled like Thanksgiving when I made this recipe. The roasting potatoes smelled very similar to a roasting turkey stuffed with a traditional sage and onion dressing – though (thankfully) the actual dish did not remind me in the least of Thanksgiving.
Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe:
I assume that the 1550 calories listed in the recipe refers to the total number of calories for this dish. There’s no way that a single serving could have that many calories.
And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks. (When I made this recipe I halved it.)
1 1/2 pounds small or medium potatoes (if small, halve the potatoes; if medium, cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400° F. Put the water, olive oil, sage, salt and paper in a mixing bow; stir to combine. Add the chopped onions, and stir. Then add the potatoes and gently toss until coated. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Put into oven. After 25 minutes, gently stir the potatoes, then return to over. Continue baking until the potatoes are tender (approximately an additional 20-30 minutes).
I recently made a recipe for Lemon Dumplings, and I have a conundrum. Should I change the name of a hundred-year-old recipe if the original name doesn’t come even close to describing the actual food?
The dumplings are made by dropping a sticky dough into a boiling molasses syrup. The dough is magically transformed into a dessert dumpling coated in the thick syrup that has a surprisingly complex flavor which combines the robust, nutty, sweetness of the molasses with citrus notes provided by lemon juice and lemon peel (which I assume is the reason for the name).
But, if I’d named this recipe, I won’t call them Lemon Dumplings. To me, the name “Lemon Dumplings” suggests a light, tart, yellow, citrus-flavored dessert. But the actual dumplings are a delectable old-fashioned dessert bread swathed in a rich molasses sauce. These dumplings should be called something like, “Molasses Dumplings” or “Great-Grandpap’s Favorite Dumplings” . . . or . . . anything but Lemon Dumplings.
When I made the dumplings, I asked my husband, “Is the molasses taste too strong?”
“No . . .” His voice drifted off. “They remind me of something my mother used to make, but I can’t quite place it.”
The Lemon Dumplings must have reminded him of something good, because they vanished with amazing speed.
Here’s the original recipe:
An aside: The recipes in the June, 1917 issue of Good Housekeeping had a new format that I hadn’t previously seen. The recipes included the number of calories. But, for some mysterious reason, the calories for all recipes seemed extremely high. Perhaps the magazine was reporting the total number of calories for the entire recipe rather than the per serving amount.
Put egg in a mixing bowl, and wisk until smooth. Add grated lemon peel, lemon juice, molasses, sugar, and water, and stir until combined. Put syrup into a skillet, and add the butter. [Use a skillet with a lid.] Using medium heat, bring the syrup to a boil while stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/2 cup milk, and stir to combine. If the dough is too dry, add additional milk to create a sticky dough.
Drop 1-inch balls of dough into the boiling syrup. Reduce heat to low, and cover pan. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove lid and gently roll the balls of dough to cook the other side. Put the cover back on and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
[Cook’s note: Stay nearby while the dumplings are cooking. I didn’t have any problems, but I think that the syrup could potentially boil over if the temperature is too high and care is not used.]