(Black) Walnuts and Sweet Potatoes

Black Walnuts and Sweet Potatoes

I love the bold, earthy taste of black walnuts – but seldom see them in stores, so I often forage for them. One of my favorite autumn activities is gathering black walnuts, hulling them (oh, what mess!), and then on a cold winter day cracking them to get the nut meats out. I now have a jar of black walnuts in my refrigerator so was excited to see a recipe for Walnuts and Sweet Potatoes that called for black walnuts in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

The recipe was delightful. It called for sugar instead of the usual brown sugar used in sweet potato recipes which allowed the robust taste of the black walnuts to shine.

Here’s the original recipe:

Walnuts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe
Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1923)

This recipe calls for a lot of sweet potatoes (12), so when I updated the recipe I reduced it to 4 sweet potatoes (2 pounds). After all the specificity about the number of sweet potatoes, the recipe was oddly unspecific about the amounts for the other ingredients. So when I updated, the recipe I also added amounts for the other ingredients. And, I changed the name from Walnuts and Sweet Potatoes to Black Walnuts and Sweet Potatoes to better describe the recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Black Walnuts and Sweet Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 medium sweet potatoes)

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup black walnuts, coarsely chopped

Wash sweet potatoes and then place in a Dutch oven or other large pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and let cool enough to handle. Remove skins from the sweet potatoes. They should slip off easily. Then cut the sweet potatoes in quarters and arrange in a shallow baking dish.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 375° F.  Dot the sweet potatoes pieces with small pieces of butter, then generously sprinkle with sugar. Top with the chopped black walnuts. Put in oven, and bake until the sweet potatoes are  hot, and the sugar is melted and bubbly.

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Old-fashioned Breakfast Apples

Breakfast applesI’m always looking for new recipes for simple, yet tasty ways to serve apples – and I recently found an excellent new (old) recipe. The hundred-year-old recipe was for Breakfast Apples, though they are work equally well at lunch or dinner.

The Breakfast Apples were delightful. Apple slices were sautéed in butter then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Here’s the original recipe:

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

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Breakfast Apples

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 large tart apples (Braeburn, McIntosh, Granny Smith, etc.)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoons sugar

Core and slice the apples (do not peel them). Melt butter in a skillet using medium heat; add salt and stir to combine. Add sliced apples, then put lid on pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove lid and use a spatula to turn over the apple slices so they evenly cook on both slides. Put lid back on the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove lid and check to see if the apples are soft. (If they are not soft, cook for several additonal minutes.)

In the meantime, put the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, and mix together.

Sprinkle the cooked apples with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Serve hot.

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Old-fashioned Hawaiian Delight

Hawaiian Delight on plateI remember enjoying cakes with pineapple when I was young, so was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Hawaiian Delight. Hawaiian Delight is a cake that includes a cinnamon and sugar topping – which is then served with crushed pineapple spooned on top of cake pieces.

The recipe was easy to make. The Hawaiian Delight is an old-fashioned classic type of dessert and was quite tasty.

Here’s the original recipe:

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

The list of ingredients for this recipe includes shortening, but the directions refer to butter, so when I updated the recipe, I listed butter rather than shortening. I think that grated canned pineapple is just an older name for crushed pineapple, so I used a can of crushed pineapple. The recipe called for pastry flour, which is difficult to find where I live, so I used all-purpose flour, and it worked fine.

The old recipe said that Hawaiian Delight should be served hot – though I enjoyed it both hot and cold.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Hawaiian Delight

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 can crushed pineapple, 20 oz.

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Put flour, baking powder, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, egg, milk, and butter in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Put in a greased and floured 8-inch square cake pan.

Put cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. Stir together, then sprinkle the top of the cake batter with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To serve, cut into squares, and spoon crushed pineapple on top. May be served hot or cold.

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Eggs and Mushrooms on Toast

Eggs and Mushrooms on Toast

I recently came across a recipe for Eggs and Mushrooms in a hundred-year-old cookbook. The Eggs and Mushrooms are served on toast.

The recipe was quick and easy to make – though I found the Eggs and Mushrooms to be a little bland.

Eggs and Mushrooms Recipe
Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cookbook (1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Eggs and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup mushrooms, sliced (or 1 8-ounce can of mushrooms)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

4 eggs

4 slices toast

Put tomato sauce and mushrooms in a skillet. Using medium heat, heat until hot and bubbly, and the mushrooms are tender. Add salt and Worcestershire sauce.

Break eggs into a bowl, and then slip into the hot tomato and mushroom mixture. Break yolks and stir gently until the mixture thickens. Serve on toast.

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One Egg Chocolate Cake

piece of cake on plate

I’m always intrigued by old cake recipes that have titles which emphasize the use, or non-use, of a specific ingredient. For example, I recently came across a recipe for One Egg Chocolate Cake. Why was the number of eggs stated in the title? Were eggs really expensive back then? . . . or maybe the recipe was aimed at families that raised chickens, and the chickens didn’t lay many eggs during the winter so cooks were looking for recipes that used few eggs. . . or. . . ?

This recipe made a  9-inch square cake, and was very tasty. I never missed any reduction in eggs.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for One Egg Chocolate Cake
Source: Cement City Cook Book (1922) Compiled by First Baptist Church, Alphena, Michigan

I followed the recipe directions and grated the chocolate, then melted it by adding a little hot water and stirring. I was surprised how well this process melted the chocolate  – though think that the baking chocolate probably could be melted in the microwave to avoid the extra effort of grating the chocolate.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

One Egg Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 10 - 12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup  butter, softened

1/2 cup grated baking chocolate (about ounces of chocolate)

2 tablespoons hot water

approximately 3/4 cup milk

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

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Put the grated baking chocolate  in a measuring cup, then add hot water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup.  Set aside for at least 2 minutes.

Put sugar and egg yolk in a mixing bowl, stir to combine. Add butter, milk and chocolate mixture, baking soda, vanilla, and flour; beat until smooth. Put in a greased and floured 9-inch square pan. Bake until a wooden pick comes out clean (approximately 35 minutes). Frost if desired

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Old-fashioned Potato and Egg Salad

Potaot and Egg Salad in bowl

Memorial Day doesn’t seem complete without Potato Salad – and the best Potato Salads contain hard-boiled eggs, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Potato and Egg Salad.

The Potato and Egg Salad was delightful with crunchy celery and chopped pickles – but what made the salad really special was the dressing. The dressing was made with whipped cream and vinegar – and was amazingly light compared to the usual mayonnaise dressing. The whipped cream dressing takes a little longer to make than mayonnainse dressing, but it was well worth the extra effort

Here’s the original recipe:

Potato and Egg Salad
Source: For Luncheon and Supper Guests (1922)  by Alice Bradley

I didn’t have any onion juice, so substituted 1 tablespoon chopped onions.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Potato and Egg Salad

  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups cold boiled potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup celery or cabbage, chopped (I used celery.)

2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (I used 2 large hard-boiled eggs.)

2 tablespoons pickle, chopped (I chopped several Bread and Butter Pickle slices.)

2 tablespoons green pepper or pimento, chopped (I used green pepper.)

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon onions, chopped

cream dressing, see below

If desired, lettuce or cabbage leaves

Put the cubed potatoes, celery or cabbage, chopped eggs, chopped pickle,, green pepper or pimento, parsley, and onions  in a mixing bowl and gently stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator. Just before serving, add Cream Dressing and gently stir until the potatoes and other ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.  If desired, serve on lettuce or cabbage leaves.

Cream Dressing

2 teaspoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar

dash cayenne (red) pepper

1 teaspoon butter

1/3 cup vinegar

1 egg yolk, beaten

1/2 cup whipping cream

Put the flour, salt, mustard, powdered sugar, cayenne pepper, and butter n a saucepan or double boiler, and gradually add vinegar while stirring constantly.  Using medium heat, cook until thickens while stirring constantly. Put a a spoonful of the hot mixture in the bowl with the egg yolk, and immediately stir rapidly; then add the mixture to the mixture in the saucepan or double boiler while stirring rapidly. Continue stirring and cook for 1 minute. The mixture will be very stiff. Put in a small bowl and cool in refrigerator.

Shortly before serving, whip the cream until it is stiff. Add the cooled vinegar mixture, and beat until smooth.

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Old-fashioned Sponge Pudding

Sponge Pudding

Occasionally, an old recipe surprises me. A hundred-year-old recipe for Sponge Pudding called for putting the pudding mixture in a casserole dish, sitting it in a pan of hot water, and then baking in the oven, I thought that the Sponge Pudding would be a baked custard-style pudding, or maybe similar to the filling of a sponge pie, and decided to give it a try.

The recipe only had five ingredients – sugar, flour milk, eggs, and butter. Most of the ingredients are first cooked on top of the stove, and then stiffly-beaten egg whites are folded in. The mixture is then put in the casserole dish and baked.

A few minutes after I put the Sponge Pudding in the oven, I took a peek and was shocked to discover that the baking mixture had risen several inches above the top edge of the casserole dish – and that I actually was making a souffle-type dessert rather then a custard. I turned the oven light on, and nervously watched the baking  Sponge Pudding, fearful it would expand so much that it would spill over and go all over the oven. But, fortunately that didn’t happen, and I soon had a lovely very high lightly-browned dessert.

The Sponge Pudding was delightful – though not even close to what I had been expecting.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Sponge Pudding
Source: Cement City Cook Book (1922) compiled by the First Baptist Church, Alpena, Michigan

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Sponge Pudding

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups milk + approximately 1/4 cup milk

4 eggs, separated

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup butter

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Beat egg whites until stiff; set. aside.

Then in a separate bowl, beat egg yolks until smooth; set aside.

Mix sugar and flour in a small bowl. Gradually stir in the 1/4 cup milk; continue stirring until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside.

Put the 2 cups milk in a sauce pan, bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly. Put a small amount of the hot milk into the flour and sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Repeat several times until the flour and sugar mixture is fairly thin. Then stir into the boiling milk; continue stirring until the mixture thickens and is smooth.  Remove from heat.

Put a small amount of the hot mixture into the bowl with the beaten egg yolks, and immediately stir. Then stir the egg yolk mixture and the butter into the hot thickened milk mixture. Fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture., and then pour into a 2- or 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Put the dish in a pan of hot water and put in the oven. Bake until the pudding rises and is light brown (about 30 – 40 minutes). Remove from oven and serve.

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