Old-fashioned Okra and Tomatoes

I seldom eat okra, but I recently saw some beautiful okra at the local farmers’ market, and decided to give it a try. Then, of course, I had to find a hundred-year-old okra recipe. I found a delightful Okra and Tomatoes recipe in 1904 Kentucky cookbook, called The Bluegrass Cookbook.

The Okra and Tomatoes (and a little onion) were tasty, as well as easy-to-make and nutritious. One drawback – the okra had a bit of a gooey (some call it a slimy) texture; but that’s just par for the course for this vegetable.  No vegetable’s perfect.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Bluegrass Cook Book by Minnie C. Fox (1904)

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

Okra and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup okra, sliced

2 medium tomatoes

1/4 cup onion, diced

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Put okra in a saucepan, and add enough water to just barely cover it. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, and thoroughly drain.

In the meantime, put a pan of water on the stove; bring to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the water for about 15 seconds: remove from heat and gently slip the skin off the tomatoes. Core tomatoes, then dice.  Put the diced tomatoes in a saucepan, and using medium heat cook 5 minutes while stirring frequently; then add onions. Continue cooking and stirring until soft and juicy (about an additional 5 minutes). Stir in butter, salt, and pepper. Add cooked okra, and stir gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Note: See the reader comments. Several readers suggested adaptations to this recipe that might improve the texture and make the okra less gooey.

Old-fashioned Tomato Succotash Recipe

I always thought Succotash was a mixture of corn and lima beans, so I was surprised to see a recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine for Tomato Succotash. The recipe called for seasonal vegetables – tomatoes, corn, green pepper, and onions – so, of course, I had to give it a try.

The medley of vegetables was delightful.  This recipe is a keeper. And, I know that it will become part of my repertoire of recipes that I regularly make.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

I’m not sure what is meant by “green corn” in the recipe. When I made the recipe, I took it to mean tender (perhaps slightly immature) corn.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Tomato Succotash

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 large tomatoes

3 large ears of corn , cooked (tender corn is best)

2 tablespoons butter

1/ 2 green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Peel and slice the tomatoes, set aside. (I put the whole tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then removed from the hot water and put briefly in cold water. The skins are then easy to slip off the tomatoes).

Cut the corn from the cob. Set aside.

Put the butter in a large skillet; melt using medium heat. Add green pepper and onion; saute until tender. Stir in the sliced tomatoes, corn, salt, sugar, and paprika. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and serve.

Old Poached Egg in Tomato Recipe

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)

Eggs and tomatoes make a nice pairing, so I was excited when I  saw a new way to make eggs and tomatoes in a hundred-year-old cookbook – Poached Egg in Tomato.

Preparing the tomato shell for the egg reminded me of scooping a pumpkin but on a much smaller scale. And, it was fun to slide the egg into the tomato shell, and cover it with a circle of parchment paper that I’d cut out.

The Poached Egg in Tomato was delightful with toast. The one downside – it took longer to bake than I anticipated.  I had to delay breakfast because it took about 45 minutes for the egg white to fully set.

Poached Egg in Tomato

For each serving:

1 medium tomato

1 egg

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the top of the tomato and gently scoop out the pulp, then set the tomato in a ramekin or custard cup. Break the egg into a small bowl, then slide the egg into the tomato shell, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut circles from a piece of parchment paper that is the same size as the ramekin; then cover the filled tomato with the parchment paper circle.

Place the ramekin into a small cake pan or other oven-proof dish or pan. Gently pour hot water (approximately 125° F.)  into the pan until it is about 1 inch deep. (I use the hottest water that comes out of my tap.). Place into the oven and cook until the egg is desired firmness (approximately 45 minutes).

Poached egg in tomato a
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

 

Old Tomato Rarebit Recipe

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

Monday, July 17, 1911: It rained real hard this morning. I don’t know whether that kept me from doing anything of any account or something else—any way it isn’t here to read.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 contained a recipe for Tomato Rarebit.  A rarebit is a cheese sauce that is served over toast or other similar foods.  I like Welsh Rarebit so thought that I’d give this recipe a try.

Tomato Rarebit

Cook one tablespoon chopped onion in one tablespoon butter five minutes. Add one cup tomatoes, cook two minutes, and strain. In a saucepan, or the blazer of the chafing dish, melt two tablespoons butter, add two tablespoons flour, and three-fourths of a cup of thin cream. Cook until thickened, then add two cups cheese cut in dice or thinly shaved, the tomato, and one-half teaspoon each mustard and salt, and one-fourth teaspoon paprika. Stir until cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Serve on toast or heated crackers.

The Tomato Rarebit had a zestier taste than Welsh Rarebit, and was excellent.  The recipe is a keeper.