Old-Time Endive Salad with Homemade French Dressing

Endive Salad

Endive was a popular early Spring bitter green a hundred years ago. This divine tangy homemade French vinaigrette dressing served on crisp endive greens creates a flavorful, nutrient-rich salad.

Even though I found this recipe in a hundred-year-old cook book, it probably was considered a tad old-fashioned in 1916. Cooks a hundred years ago worried that tossed salad greens looked disorganized, and sought to impose order to salads using  scientific salad making techniques that,  for example, embedded ingredients in gelatin. Thank goodness strange food trends get reoriented over time. In 2016, this old recipe seems amazingly modern–and Endive Salad would be perfect with grilled salmon, chicken, or other dishes.

Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe updated for modern cooks:

Old-Time Endive Salad with Homemade French Dressing

  • Servings: 5 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 head curly endive

1/2 teaspoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper

1/2 teaspoon finely minced onion

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Chopped chives (for garnish)

Wash the endive and pat dry with paper towels, then tear the endive into bit-sized pieces and put into a large bowl. Set aside.

To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the mustard, salt, paprika, red pepper, onion, olive oil, and vinegar.

Pour the dressing over the torn endive and gently toss. Refrigerate for at least one hour, then drain off any excess dressing and place the marinated endive in a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped chives.

Here are the original recipes:

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)

French Dressing apparently was very popular a hundred years ago. Lowney’s Cook Book, a cookbook published in in 1912, had three French Dressing Recipes – none of which are anything like the cloying bright orange bottled dressing that’s in all the supermarkets today. I made French Dressing, Number 2. In my opinion, the original recipe was too salty, so when I updated the recipe, I only used half as much salt as was called for in the old recipe.

Valentine Salad (Heart-Shaped Tomato Aspic with Hard Boiled Egg)

Valentine Salad 4

Several days ago I posted a list of food suggestions for a Valentine’s Day party from a hundred-year-old issue of Boston Cooking School Magazine. The magazine included the recipe for one of the suggestions –Valentine Salad–so, I decided to make it for my sweetheart.

Valentine Salad actually was an old-time tomato aspic  cut into heart shapes, with hard-boiled egg slices. The aspic is a jellied savory mixture of homemade tomato and other vegetable juices.

The presentation was a bit much with the heart-shaped lettuce and aspic, but the Valentine Salad had a surprisingly nuanced and sophisticated tangy tomato flavor. My husband said it tasted like a Bloody Mary without the alcohol.

Here’ s my adaptation of the original recipe for modern cooks:

Valentine Salad (Tomato Aspic with Hard-Boiled Egg

  • Servings: 2 - 3 servings
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups diced tomatoes

1/2 medium onion

3 cloves

1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)

3 parsley stems

1 stalk celery (chopped)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon (1 packet) gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 hard-boiled egg (sliced)

Romaine lettuce leaves, cut into  heart shapes

mayonnaise (optional)

Combine tomatoes, onion, cloves, parsley, celery, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Reserve the juice.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the cold water. Then add to the gelatin mixture to the hot vegetable juice. Pour into a flat pan approximately 6″ X 6″. Refrigerate until firm.  Briefly dip bottom of  pan in hot water, then slide the jellied mixture onto a plate. Cut part of the jellied mixture into hearts about two inches in diameter. With a smaller cutter, cut the same number of hearts about 3/4 inch in diameter.

To  assemble – For each serving, place a lettuce leaf on a plate, top with a large heart. On top of the heart place a egg slice, followed by a small  heart. Garnish with small pieces of hard-boiled egg.

If desired serve with mayonnaise.

*The cooked vegetable mixture can used in a different recipe. For example, I served it over  rice.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Boston Cooking School Magazine (February, 1913)
Source: Boston Cooking School Magazine (February, 1913)

 

Old-fashioned Cranberry Conserve

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, November 25, 1913:  Nothing to write.

DSCN1146

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share a great hundred year old recipe for Cranberry Conserve.

Cranberry Conserve

1 quart cranberries

1/3 cup water

Juice and pulp of 2 oranges

Grated rind of half an orange

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup chopped raisins

1 cup walnuts, chopped

Wash the cranberries and put into a medium saucepan.  Add the water, oranges, sugar and raisins. Cook until the cranberries burst and are soft. Remove from heat, and stir in nut meats. Put into a bowl and  chill.

Adapted from recipe in Ladies Home Journal (November, 1913)

This dish is excellent. The orange and raisins nicely balance the tartness of the cranberries, and the nuts add a nice texture. This recipe is a keeper and I plan to make it for Thanksgiving.

 

Smearcase (Cottage Cheese) and Apple Butter

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, November 2, 1912:  They made apple butter this morning. I had to get the dinner and then had to be teased about it in the bargain. Went to Watsontown this afternoon and stayed longer than I meant to.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Apple butter sounds delicious—even if Grandma’s dinner wasn’t.

How did the Muffly’s eat the apple butter?. .  .on bread? . . . or with smearcase?

In Pennsylvania, cottage cheese is often called by its Pennsylvania Dutch name—smearcase.  And, the best way to eat smearcase is with a little apple butter stirred into it. It might sound (and look) odd—but it’s really, really good.  The rich, slightly sweet taste of the apple butter nicely complements the cottage cheese.

Threshing and Old-time Pickled Cabbage (Pepper Hash) Recipe

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, September 13 , 1911: Was in such terrible trepidation this morning, lest I would have to miss school and help Ma with the work, but Besse came to my relief. So glad I was. I missed those stacks and stacks of dishes for dinner, but have to confront them tonight.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Besse was Grandma’s married sister who lived nearby. The previous day Grandma wrote that the threshers were at the farm.  All the farmers in the community probably were at the Muffly farm helping with the threshing. And, I bet that all the hard work made them very hungry.

Early 20th century photos of steam-operated threshing machine. Photo was taken in the midwest, so the machine in the photo was probably a little larger than what would have been used in central Pennsylvania. (Photo source: Library of Congress, Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Collections)

I’m on a roll remembering traditional Pennsylvania sweet and sour foods that might have been served to the threshers. Yesterday I wrote about spiced crab apples.  Another fall sweet and sour food is pickled cabbage (pepper hash).

Pickled Cabbage (Pepper Hash)

1 medium head cabbage, shredded (approximately 4 cups)

1 green bell pepper (green mango), coarsely chopped

1 red  bell pepper (red mango),  coarsely chopped

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and let  stand at least 1 hour. This salad may be kept covered and refrigerated for several weeks. Drain before serving.

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Linda— and she says that she got it from her mother.  It is a very typical old-fashioned central Pennsylvania dish.

This recipe is very adaptable and can easily be made in larger or smaller quantities. Just use equal proportions of vinegar and sugar to make as much dressing as needed.

Linda says that the original recipe called for green and red mangos rather than green and red bell peppers. Traditionally people in central Pennsylvania and other parts of Appalachia referred to bell peppers as mangos. Of course, the mango fruit doesn’t grow in Pennsylvania, and until recent improvements in transportation the tropical  fruit wasn’t sold there, so there never was any confusion.

Beet and Pepper Salad Recipe

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, July 14, 1911: The entries for this month look, as if they won’t require much space. Can’t help it though.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t have much to say a hundred years ago today, I flipped through the July 1911 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. It included sample menus.

The Friday menu is below:

An asterisk meant that the magazine contained the recipe.  For the Friday dinner menu, the included recipe was for Beet and Pepper Salad:

Beet and Pepper Salad

Thinly slice four small boiled beets. Remove the seeds from and parboil two green peppers five minutes, then cut in strips. When very cold serve in nests of lettuce with a French dressing made as follows: Mix together four tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon vinegar, one teaspoon tarragon vinegar, one teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon paprika, one-eighth teaspoon pepper, and if liked one teaspoon finely chopped onion or shallots.