String Beans with Bacon (and onions) are delicious, and they are quick and easy to make. This hundred-year-old recipe brings back vague memories of string bean dishes from my childhood.
The recipe calls for cooking the beans until they are tender – and I cooked them for about 20 minutes. They weren’t crisp like the beans often prepared using modern recipes – but I found them to be a refreshing change, and enjoyed this dish’s old-fashioned goodness. The recipe is definitely a keeper.
1 pound string beans (use either yellow or green beans)
2 small onions, thinly sliced
1 slice bacon, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash cayenne (red) pepper
Clean string beans, remove tips, and snap into 1-inch pieces. Place in a saucepan. Add the sliced onions and chopped bacon; then just barely cover with water, and add the salt and cayenne pepper. Place on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, then remove from heat, drain any excess liquid (a little is okay), and serve.
When browsing through hundred-year-old magazines, I’m sometimes surprised by the recipes I find. This is one of those times. I was amazed to find a recipe for Lamb Curry with Rice (East Indian) in the April, 1917 issue of Good Housekeeping that had been submitted by a reader.
This recipe makes a very credible Lamb Curry. I’m not an expert on Indian foods (and feel free to disagree), but to me, it tasted similar to some of the milder lamb curries that I’ve eaten in restaurants over the years. Which led me to wonder, who was the woman who submitted this recipe to the magazine? Did she have friends from India? Had she visited India?
Place the lamb in a dutch oven or large saucepan and cover with water; add salt. Cover, and bring to a boil using high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the lamb is tender. Remove from heat. Cut the lamb into small pieces, removing any fat, bones, or gristle, then set aside. Reserve 2 cups of broth, and skim excess fat from the top of the broth. (The broth may be chilled to make it easier to remove the fat.)
Melt the butter in a skillet using medium heat, and stir in the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion and garlic are soft; then add the cooked lamb. Stir in the flour, pepper, curry powder, cloves, and allspice. Slowly add the lamb broth while stirring constantly; bring to a boil. Add the coconut and lemon juice. Then reduce heat and simmer until the sauce has a thick gravy-like consistency. Remove from heat and serve with rice.
I’m always on the outlook for hundred-year-old winter vegetable recipes, so I was thrilled to find a recipe for Spiced Sweet Potato Balls.
The outside of the Spiced Sweet Potato balls were crisp and browned, while the inside was nutty, rich, and spicy with the warm blend of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. The balls contained ground nuts, which added a nice texture and flavor dimension when combined with sweet potatoes.
3 large sweet potatoes (approximately 3 1/2 cups mashed)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup nuts, ground (I used walnuts.)
Place whole sweet potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender (30-45 minutes). Remove from heat and drain. Remove the skins from the potatoes then mash until smooth; mix in butter, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Add ground nuts, and stir to combine. Shape into 1-inch balls, then gently roll in flour.
Melt 1/2 inch of shortening in a large skillet. Slip the sweet potato balls into the hot shortening, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
Cook’s note: The mashed sweet potato mixture is very sticky. The key to success with this recipe is shaping the balls, and then gently rolling the balls in the flour while continuing to shape.
Each Fall my husband and I drive out into the country to see the leaves – and to buy pumpkins and winter squash. There’s a farmer who sells incredible produce directly from a farm wagon – and each year we worry that his tiny roadside market will be gone.
But this year (like every year), just when we were sure we won’t find his wagon, we went around a bend and there it was–and the selection of pumpkins and squash was the best it’s ever been. We stocked up on lots of Fall produce. Right now most of the squash are on our front porch with the pumpkins, but I decided to use an acorn squash immediately – which leads me to the point of this post. I needed to find a hundred-year-old recipe for acorn squash.
I browsed through my old cookbooks and found a delightful recipe for baked squash which called for molasses.
The recipe worked perfectly with my acorn squash. The savory nuttiness of the squash is enhanced by the rustic sweetness of the molasses.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Depending upon squash size, halve or quarter the acorn squash to create serving-sized pieces. Remove seeds and the stringy portion. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil to make clean-up easier. Brush with molasses, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake until the squash is tender when poked with a fork. While baking, baste 2 or 3 times with additional molasses. After the squash is removed from the oven put a small dab on butter in the middle of each squash piece.
Old-fashioned Brownies with Walnuts are an ultimate comfort dessert, and I found a delightful recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook. They were moist and chewy. The top of the Brownies was less crusty than many modern brownies – but the Brownies were wonderful. And, my husband and I devoured the entire pan within 24 hours.
This recipe was in one of my favorite hundred-year-old cookbooks, Lowney’s Cookbook. It is a general cookbook (though it was published by a chocolate manufacturer), and I tend to think of it as being an old-time equivalent of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe:
This recipe was one of the signature recipes in the old cookbook. Of course Lowney’s Premium Chocolate is long gone, so I substituted unsweetened baking chocolate. I was also surprised that the recipe didn’t call for baking powder or baking soda – but the recipe turned out just fine without it. I baked the brownies at 350° F. and it took longer than 15 minutes for them bake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter in a mixing bowl; stir in sugar and chocolate. Add eggs, flour, and salt, and stir until combined.; then stir in walnuts. Spread in greased 8-inch square pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cut into 36 squares.
Can a dessert be a comfort food? If so, Spice Cake is one of my favorite comfort foods.
I found a Spice Cake recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook, and just had to give it a try. It was perfect, and brought back memories of luscious Spice Cakes at long-forgotten family reunions and church pot lucks.
This easy-to-make cake has a perfect spicy blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Brown sugar is the only sugar used in this recipe, which gives this cake a lovely caramel note.
If I had one complaint about this recipe, it’s that it did not make quite enough batter to use my “go-to” 9-inch X 13-inch oblong cake pan. Instead I used a 9-inch square pan, and that worked well. Hmm. . . now that I think about it, perhaps the smaller cake is an advantage rather than a negative. It was just the right size for my husband and me.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. Combine all ingredients (except for the raisins or dates) into a large mixing bowl. Blend until well blended. If desired, stir in the raisins or dates. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost if desired. Good with a maple-flavored frosting.