A hundred-years-ago people often made cakes for Valentine’s Day parties and luncheons. Here’s some examples from the February, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.
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:
3 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 medium onion
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
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:
If you are planning a Valentine’s Day party you might like these “holiday spread” suggestions.
Come back on Sunday if you’d like to see the recipe for Valentine Salad. I’m going to make it, and I’ll let you know how it turned out.