Beets a la Poitevine

Beets are a tasty low-calorie vegetable, have lots of fiber, and are chock full of nutrients including vitamin B, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. But I often struggle to find good beet recipes. So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Beets a la Poitevine. Beet slices are immersed in a light sauce that brings out the natural sweet goodness of the beets. At first I thought that this recipe might be similar to Harvard Beets – but it is very different. The recipe calls for no sugar, and only a minimal amount of vinegar which I could barely taste.

I was curious about the French name of this recipe, and googled it but didn’t come up with much. Poitevine may refer to a place in France. There is a village called Bussière-Poitevine in central France.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (March, 1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Beets a la Poitevine

  • Servings: 3-5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 medium beets (about 2 cups sliced beets)

2 tablespoons vinegar +1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 cup butter + 1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion, finely diced

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups chicken broth

Wash and trim beets. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water; add 2 tablespoons vinegar to reduce bleeding. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce temperature and simmer until the beets are tender (approximately 30 – 45 minutes, depending upon size). Remove from heat, drain, and cool slightly, then peel beets. The skin is easy to remove after cooking. Slice the peeled beets.

In the meantime melt butter in a saucepan, then add diced onion and saute until tender. Stir in the flour and salt; then gradually, add the chicken broth while stirring constantly. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar. Continue stirring until the sauce boils and thickens. Gently stir in the sliced beets, and cook until hot and bubbly while gently stirring. Remove from heat and serve.

The original recipe called for adding additional butter as well as the vinegar at the very end of the cooking process. This seemed unnecessary to me – so I added all the sauce ingredients prior to adding the beet slices. After I added the beets, I just cooked it until the sauce returned to a boil and the beets were hot.

Old-fashioned Spiced Cranberries

Now that cranberries are in season, I just had to try a hundred-year-old recipe for Spiced Cranberries. Spiced Cranberries are NOT like the ubiquitous cranberry sauce that seems to be everywhere each holiday season, but rather are more of a chutney with a delightful sweet-sour flavor that is a perfect accompaniment to meat or poultry.  In addition to cranberries, this recipe calls for sugar, vinegar, and a lovely mixture of fall spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice).

Here is the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (November, 1917)

The old recipe makes a lot – and indicates that the Spiced Cranberries should be canned. I decided to make less – and purchased one 12-ounce package (about 3 cups) of fresh cranberries, and then adjusted all of the other ingredients based on the amount of cranberries. Here is the updated recipe:

Spiced Cranberries

  • Servings: about 1 pint
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 12-ounce package (about 3 cups) fresh cranberries

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup water

2 1/4 cups sugar

2 1/8 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

Wash cranberries, then combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat, reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes. (Do not cover pan. This mixture boils over very easily.)  Remove from heat.  May be served either warm or cold.

Traditional Spice Cookies

Tailgating. . . fall campfires on chilly evenings . .  . kids’ (and adults’) Halloween parties. .  . They all call for hearty cookies.  And (of course), I found a hundred-year-old recipe that fits the bill.  Spice Cookies are a molasses cookie spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. These cookies are slightly crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1917)

This recipe was on  a page in the old cookbook that was covered with (nearly 100-year-old?) food stains. Was this recipe a particular favorite of the original owner of the cookbook?

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spice Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 50 cookies
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening or lard

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 cups flour

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Put molasses in a dutch oven or a large saucepan; bring to a boil using medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, butter, and shortening or lard. Add ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda, stir to combine. Then add flour and eggs, and stir until well-mixed. Refrigerate dough 1/2 hour or until chilled. On well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch circles. (I used an upside-down water glass as the cookie cutter.) Place on greased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Do not over cook if a moist cookie is desired.

Hundred-Year-Old Peanut Butter Bread Recipe

Want a cross between peanut butter cookies and homemade bread? If so, a hundred-year-old recipe for Peanut Butter Bread may be just the recipe for you.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1917)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Peanut Butter Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup milk

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add peanut butter, milk, and eggs.; beat until well mixed.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. May be served warm or cold.

The hundred-year-old recipe called for 2 “rounded” teaspoons baking powder. I used 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder – and that worked well.

I used less salt than called in the original recipe. One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot for a loaf of bread, so I reduced it to 1/2 teaspoon.

The old recipe says that this bread is best when it is a day old.  In my opinion, the bread was good the day after I made it – though it also was good shortly after I took it out of the oven.

Apple Flamingo Recipe

Fall is here – and apples abound; so I dug through my hundred-year-old cookbooks looking for the perfect apple recipe. I found a recipe for Apple Flamingo, and think that I found a winner.

Apple Flamingo is basically a baked apple with the skin removed following baking.  Red apples are used in this recipe, so the cooked apples take on a bit of the color from the apple skins,  and have a lovely reddish hue. The apples are served with a citrus syrup that contains bits of lemon and orange zest, and are topped with whipped cream.

Apple Flamingo is delightful and seems almost decadent. This apple and citrus dessert is a welcome change from the usual cinnamon apple desserts.

Here is the original recipe.

Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

And. here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Apple Flamingo

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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8 apples (use a red variety that maintains shape – Rome, Braeburn, Winesap, etc.)

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

grated rind of 1/2 lemon

grated rind of 1/2 orange

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Core apples, and put in a baking dish. Place in oven and bake until tender (about 45 – 55 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then gently remove skin using care to leave the reddish color on the apple flesh and maintain apple shape. (I started removing the skin at the bottom of the apple where the skin was moister and easier to loosen and worked up to the top.)

In the meantime, make the sauce by putting the sugar and water in a saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid thickens into a syrup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, orange juice, grated lemon rind, and grated orange rind.

Also, in the meantime, make the whipped cream. Place the whipping cream in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners sugar, and continue beating until thoroughly mixed.

To serve, spoon sauce over the baked apples. Top with the whipped cream. Serve warm.

Note: This recipe makes a lot of the citrus sauce. I had some left-over when I made this recipe, so I baked several additional apples the following day.

I put a little confectioners sugar in the whipped cream. The original recipe didn’t call for adding any sugar to the whipped cream, but I thought that the whipped cream was tastier when sweetened a bit.

Old-fashioned Carrot Timbales

Vegetables can be boring, so I’m always looking for interesting new recipes. I recently found a hundred-year-old recipes for Carrot Timbales. The timbales are delightfully light, have a texture similar to a custard, and a delicate flavor. This recipe is a keeper, and I anticipate that I’ll be making it again soon.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

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

Carrot Timbales

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 carrots, peeled and sliced (approximately 2 cups sliced)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon onion juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Put sliced carrots in a saucepan and cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover, and cook until tender (about 20 – 25 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.  Puree carrots until smooth or put through a ricer. (I used a ricer.)

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, onion juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and whipping cream. Add the pureed carrots – a small amount at a time –  while stirring constantly. Beat until thoroughly combined. Put the mixture into greased custard cups, and place in a pan filled with hot water that reaches half way to the top of the custard cups. Put in oven and bake until the mixtures has set – and a knife inserted in the timbale comes out clean. Remove from oven. To remove the timbales from custard cups,  gently loosen each timbale from the custard cup using a knife or spatula, then flip onto a plate and serve immediately. If desired, may be served with peas, cauliflower, or stewed meat.

I used only half as much salt as the original recipe called for. One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot, so I instead used 1/2 teaspoon.

Old-fashioned Fried Green Tomatoes

I think of Fried Green Tomatoes as a classic comfort food – but I never actually tried them until I recently made a hundred-year-old recipe.

This is a food that I should have tried years ago. The Fried Green Tomatoes turned out wonderfully.  They were delightful with a crispy cornmeal coating.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: The Blue Grass Cook Book (Compiled by Minnie C. Fox, 1917)

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

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices

4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

sugar

salt

pepper

1/2 cup corn meal

shortening or lard

Combine  the water and  1 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl, then soak the sliced tomatoes in the water for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the water and drain on a paper towel, then lay the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper. Put the cornmeal in a small bowl, then roll each tomato slice in the cornmeal.

Heat 1/2 inch of shortening or large in a large frying pan. Carefully place the breaded green tomato slices in the pan in a single layer. Depending upon pan size, the slices may need to be cooked in several batches. Fry for about 3 minutes or until the bottom side of each slice is lightly browned, then gently turn and fry until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.