Browsing Tag

Vintage

Deep Dark Rich

Stovetop Steak + Stout Stew

February 27, 2021

One of my boys loves deep dark flavors. If you want that in a good stew, steak and stout are the perfect ingredients. And when using a good grade of meat, you don’t really need the super long slow roast that you need with lesser cuts, so you can make this on the stove-top in a Dutch oven. With the pandemic still lingering, we may not be able to gather in crowded pubs right now, but this hearty stew is a pub-worthy comfort that will bring cheer to your home crew. Made with Guinness, sirloin steak, and carrot and onion to mellow the stout, it’s full of deep rich flavors. Continue Reading…

Warming Wonderful

North Carolina Cassoulet (Navy Beans & Meats in Ham Hock Stock)

January 31, 2021

This satisfying Southern dish full of richly flavored stock, smoky pork, vegetables, and creamy white navy beans, came to me by way of a North Carolina chef who had ready access to both locally grown-vegetables and humanely-raised meats. My home-cook version is a warming supper for chilly, stay-at-home days. I start the stock first thing in the morning in order to have the navy beans in the oven for their bake by midday, filling the house with rich, smoky, mouth-watering aromas. By suppertime, no one needs to be called to the table—they’re all ready and waiting. Add a nice side dish of cooked greens to go along with if you like, and some crusty fresh bread for dunking. Continue Reading…

On The Side

Boston Baked Beans & Brown Bread

November 12, 2019

Despite the unfortunate  Phaseolus vulgaris moniker—the American Common Bean category includes bunches of beloved, native-to-the-Americas beans: navy, red kidney, pinto, great northern, marrow, & yellow eye, plus garden variety edible-pod beans (string, stringless and snap.) It’s not clear which of these the New England colonists first stewed in a pot, but we do know baked navy beans started with Native Americans. The Narragansett, Penobscot, and Iroiquois wrapped navy beans in deerskins—or put them in earthenware pots, along with venison, bear fat and maple syrup and then baked the lot in hot-stone-lined pits. Puritans eschewed the deerskins, but took to bean-pot cookery because the long, slow cook times meant housewives could prepare the beans a day ahead, and in so doing, stick to Puritanical no-cooking-on-Sabbath rules.

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Mother's Day

Vintage Tea Sandwiches

August 7, 2019

 One of the more entertaining things about recipe books from the ‘30s and ‘40s, is what they reveal about changing tastes. The jellied chicken, minced tongue and sardine and egg mixtures that were considered delectable snacks then have been replaced by sunchoke bundles grilled in ash, or spoons of gruyere-slaked pumpkin on tasting menus today. But despite changing tastes, vintage tea sandwiches with yummy spreads endure. This is a post full of those.

My copy of the 1943 Household Searchlight Recipe Book from Topeka, Kansas’ Household magazine is especially dog-eared in the “Gelatins,” “Icing and Fillings,”  and “Cakes” sections, clues that the books original owner, Mrs. Elbert Jackson, had a sweet tooth. But more apparent? She entertained. The end sheets and margins of the book are filled with hand-scrawled recipes for petit fours, bon-bons, canapes and cocktail nibbles. And the section tab for “Sandwiches” is completely worn through : )

Far from the meat-and-cheese-stacked clubs, panini, and submarines of today, most sandwiches in the ‘30s and ‘40s relied on spreads. Both thrifty and easy, sandwich spreads translated very well into bite-sized morsels for receptions, teas or ladies’ luncheons.

Some vintage sandwich ingredient combinations seem wildly weird now–the Grapenut cereal and cheese with Tabasco, catsup and mustard, for example, or the peanut butter and chopped pickle with cream and onion (!) But the best spreads endured, making their way into the Ladies Guild and Auxiliary Club menus that would come to define an accessible sort of ‘50s “fancy”: pretty, tasty, but still a little homey.

There are the “salads”: Ham, egg, chicken, and shrimp. There are the cheese blends: pimiento cheese, cream cheese with salmon, or for a lighter flavor– mascarpone cheese sweetened with honey or marmalade. Continue Reading…