Side Dishes

Baked Apples with Sweet Potatoes

The original recipe, “Apple Stuffed with Sweet Potatoes,” is from the 1941 edition of Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes. We adapted the recipe to make a delicious and quick snack, but the original recipe is perfect as a sweet side dish or a dessert.

Forgive today’s photos—I took them after sunset so it was dark in the house. I’ll try to remember to take a few more next time we have this as a snack or dessert.

Here’s the original recipe.

Apple Stuffed with Sweet Potato

Core large red apples and cut crosswise into two circles. Allow one half for each person. Place in shallow baking pan with cut side of circle up. Fill core and cover cut side of apple with brown sugar and bake slowly until tender.

Have ready well seasoned and smoothly mashed sweet potato. Pile on top of apple, swirling potato into attractive peaks. Cover with melted butter and place into oven long enough to reheat and brown lightly.

Pineapple rings can be used in place of apples. If you do this, flavor the sweet potato with the pineapple juice.

Our Snack Version

We cored and sliced the apples and then followed the instructions above, covering each slice with brown sugar and baking. We then covered each slice with mashed sweet potatoes and butter and browned the slices a bit. You can mash canned sweet potatoes to really speed things up.

Results

This is one of our favorite snacks. The apples are warm and soft, and the brown sugar, sweet potatoes, and butter make this a sweet treat that we never seem to make enough of. If you crave a little crunch, adding chopped nuts would add that extra bit of texture. Make more than you think you’ll need—you can never have too many!

First Monday Menu: Wrapping Up Summer

Due to weather and supply issues at our local supermarket, I decided to give you a round-up of menus. I hope this gives you some ideas for some last-minute outdoor meals before summer 2020 slips into the history books completely.

I’ve used the January 1940 Your Gas Range Cook Book for menus in the past because it has such a wide range of suggestions for a relatively small cookbook. Today I’m sharing recipes for a “Summer Broiler Menu” that would be easy to take out on the porch or patio.

The 1944 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book is another cookbook I’ve often used for menu ideas. When looking for inspiration for outdoor meals, I ran across a section about picnics. The typical picnic fare was included, but the section suggested that men would prefer to be able to cook at least one dish over an open fire. Folding portable grills were discussed, pointing out that they could also be used in the living room fireplace. I can imagine using one in your fireplace when bad weather forces you to change picnic plans. You wouldn’t have to give up your picnic entirely!

The cookbook also reminded the reader that brick or stone fireplaces built in a backyard made it easy for the host to cook meat outside while the hostess cooked the rest of the meal inside before bringing it out to serve buffet style or at a table on the lawn.

For packing the more usual picnic items, the option of packing all sandwich fixings and letting picnickers make their own meal was introduced. This method helped make certain everyone got a sandwich made the way they preferred. No more guessing for the picnic packer.

I also really like the idea of a Bring Your Own Steak Supper. Have you done this before? Did it work well? I think I’m going to put this in my calendar to try next summer.

Let me know if you would like me to test any of these suggested recipes. I see several that I’d like to try in the future. We have a lot of warm weather left this year where I live and we often eat outside, especially in the fall when the heat becomes more manageable and the bugs aren’t as hungry.

I hope the upcoming season is filled with good food and good weather wherever you are.

First Monday Menu: July 4 Porch Supper

Happy Independence Day!

Here is a menu from the 1941 edition of The New American Cook Book. This will be my First Monday Menu for the month, just a couple days early.

Note:

We chose to make the potatoes and the strawberry shortcake from this menu. I’m including the tomato aspic recipe so you can have all three.

Tomato Aspic

Potatoes Au Gratin

These potatoes take longer than 25 minutes to bake. At 25 minutes the dish is still very runny. We left it in the oven and watched it carefully until it solidified. Even then, when we served the potatoes, there was still a lot of liquid left in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Strawberry Shortcake

You’ll note that the recipe number on the menu and this recipe are different. Number 2999 sends you to recipe 964. There are suggestions for orange, strawberry, banana, currant, grapefruit, and huckleberry shortcakes, and they all refer back to this shortcake recipe.

Results

Even though the potatoes seemed to be sitting on top of a layer of liquid, they were easy to serve without being runny. You could lift the potatoes away and leave the liquid in the dish. They were cheesy, but I think you could easily add more cheese if you like your potatoes to be super cheesy.

The strawberry shortcake was tasty, but it was like eating strawberries on a biscuit with whipped cream. The shortcake was soft and crumbly. I think they would have been excellent spread with honey or jam. I prefer my strawberry shortcake with a softer cake like sponge cake, pound cake, or angel food cake. We add sweetened strawberry juice and the softer cakes soak the liquid up better. I know that this shortcake is a much more traditional shortcake than what I usually eat, and it was still very good. I’m glad we tried it.

One of my teenage sons kept the shortcake intact and made a strawberry shortcake sandwich with the strawberries and whipped cream as a filling. Another son ate his with the shortcake in one piece, but most of us broke the shortcake up as instructed in the recipe. It’s a versatile recipe that can be served a variety of ways.

I hope you all have a happy holiday today. Stay safe!

Escalloped Potatoes Hungarian Style

Today’s recipe is from the 1942 edition of Short Cuts and Left-Overs by Hannah W. Schloss. Schloss felt that there had been enough attention on recipe books and household hints, but not enough on using leftovers in an easy and appetizing way. She wrote that the secret of leftovers was to make them taste better and use them in filling dishes. She also thought that combining fresh foods and canned foods was the ticket to using leftovers in a way that would appeal to the family while filling them up.

The cookbook is aimed at new cooks. I can imagine this book being a terrific gift for a new bride in the early 1940s. It includes a long list of kitchen vocabulary ranging from appetizer to zest. There is a weights and measures chapter, and a chapter with kitchen hints that help a housewife choose spices, utensils, food staples, and more. My favorite chapter is a separate index in the front of the book that is really helpful when you are trying to use up specific foods. For example, if you have leftover apples, this index lists all the recipes in the book that use apples. The index in the back of the book is not near as detailed.

One last thing I want to mention before I get to the recipe—none of these recipes have directions for oven temperature and many don’t include cooking times. Less than half actually have a list of ingredients. There is a lot of guess work involved in cooking these recipes, but I think that allows for more flexibility when using a variety of leftovers. In fact, we adapted today’s recipe. More on that in a minute.

Escalloped Potatoes Hungarian Style

Our version of this recipe is tweaked a little to fit the meal we were having. We placed the ingredients on a cookie sheet, dotted it with sour cream, and baked it at 350°F for 20 minutes.

Results

I would describe these as a cut up baked potato. Your typical baked potato ingredients are all here—salt, pepper, sour cream. The eggs were a nice, mild tasting addition. You definitely could add things like pickles or cheese to make the dish have more flavor and color. It’s a good way to use up potatoes and it will go with almost any meal. Recipes like this would help home front housewives use up every last bit of food in their kitchens.

Do you have a favorite leftover recipe?

First Monday Menu: Luncheon Ham with Cottage Cheese and Peach (Nectarine) Salad

This month’s menu is a June option from Modern Meal Menu by Martha Meade, a fabulous 1939 cookbook with 1115 menus and 744 recipes.

Menu

  • Luncheon Ham
  • Bread
  • Cottage Cheese and Peach Salad
  • Fruit Mayonnaise
  • Coffee, Tea, or Milk

This luncheon menu has three different recipes. I’ll start with the luncheon ham.

Luncheon Ham

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 lb diced boiled ham
  • 2 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 1/2 c cooked peas

Cook diced boiled ham in butter or oil. Beat 3 eggs well and add the peas before pouring over the ham in the frying pan. Cook gently without stirring until eggs are set. Roll and cut in serving pieces.

Note: We couldn’t get this to roll. It fell apart, so we cut it into pieces to serve.

Peach and Cottage Cheese Salad

  • 1 c creamy cottage cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 4 peaches (8 halves)
  • lettuce
  • chopped nuts
  • fruit mayonnaise (see recipe)

Mix cottage cheese with salt and paprika. Fill 8 fresh peach halves with cottage cheese mixture and place two halves on a cup of lettuce. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the salad and place a spoonful of fruit mayonnaise on the side.

Notes: We are still having problems getting certain foods at our local grocery store. We didn’t have lettuce or chopped nuts, and we could only get nectarines. I still wanted to try this, though, because the recipe sounded so interesting.

Fruit Mayonnaise

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash cayenne
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 c olive oil

Melt butter, add flour and blend thoroughly. Add fruit juices slowly, stirring constantly. Cook until smooth and thickened. Place all remaining ingredients together in a bowl and beat with a rotary egg beater until slightly mixed. Add the hot mixture slowly and beat until thick enough to hold its shape. Makes 1 pint.

Results

I’m glad I chose this menu. I picked it for the peach salad, but the luncheon ham ended up being the star of the show.

The luncheon ham really was just an omelet with ham and peas. I’ve never had an omelet with peas before, and let me tell you, I’ll definately add peas in the future. Peas were unexpected, but at the same time blended well with the other flavors. I think adding a little bit of finely chopped onion would also be good in this recipe. My entire family really enjoyed the luncheon ham and I know we’ll eat it again in the future. It’s quick and easy in addition to being super tasty.

Do you add peas to your omelets? I wish I had thought of this earlier.

On to the peach salad. We can’t buy peaches here right now, so we used nectarines instead. I was unsure about the combination of ingredients in these recipes. I didn’t know what to expect. I tried both with and without the fruit mayonnaise.

Without: The sweetness of the nectarine was nicely balanced by the cottage cheese and paprika mixture. I was surprised at how much I liked it. I like cottage cheese, but I typically don’t eat it with sweet foods. This was pleasant, and the soft textures of the nectarine and the cottage cheese worked together nicely.

With the fruit mayonnaise: I really don’t know what to think of this. The fruit mayonnaise by itself was oily and lumpy and I didn’t like it at all, but when I added it to the nectarine and cottage cheese mixture, it transformed itself into a slightly citrusy topping that wasn’t at all as strong as I expected it to be. The whole thing worked out well. The fruit mayonnaise isn’t really necessary, I suppose, but I think I would miss it if I made this dish again without it.

In all, this was a fun menu with some great new recipes that I think would work well in our modern meals. Hope your June is a healthy and happy one.

Baked String Beans

I got a bunch of new cookbooks and I’m so excited to start trying some of the recipes. Today I’m using the Assistance League’s Pleasing Food cookbook from Long Beach, California. Published in 1941, it’s full of local advertisements and handwritten recipes. The first page reads “Members of the Assistance League of Long Beach present Favorite Recipes and Tea Room Delicacies”. I’ve looked though most of the book, and I’ve only found a single recipe that is signed with the contributor’s name. They are all signed Mrs. Husband’s First and Last Name. It’s definitely an interesting look at how women saw themselves during that time. The Assistance League of Long Beach still exists. They are a volunteer organization that has numerous programs to help those in need.

Baked String Beans

  • 1 large can green beans
  • 3 tbsp bacon drippings
  • 1/4 small green pepper, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (or more) onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced and browned in butter
  • grated cheese

Mix in order given, minus cheese. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. This dish may be left in the oven for 1 hour or longer at a lower temperature. Serves 6. Mrs. William Brayton

Note: I cut the bacon up and added it to the mixture. I also doubled the recipe, and used grated parmesan cheese as the topping.

Results

What a delicious green bean dish! The different colors, textures, and tastes complimented each other very well. I would definitely add the bacon if I make this again. You can taste a very slight bit of vinegar, but not enough to be off-putting. I like this type of side dish because it goes with everything. We had it with parmesan chicken, but I can see it being a perfect side to a hamburger, fried chicken or meatloaf. It would be an easy, flavorful potluck dish. Bring the recipe with you. People will ask for it. It’s that good.

Corn Pudding or Deviled Corn

This is from my trusty 1940 edition of The American Woman’s Cook Book. I’m always trying to find new side dishes to add to our meals. Corn is one of my family’s favorite vegetables, and I’ve never tried deviled corn before, so this seemed like a good choice.

Corn Pudding or Deviled Corn

  • 2 tbsp fat
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • Paprika
  • 2 c corn pulp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Buttered crumbs

Make a sauce of fat, flour, milk, and seasonings. Add the corn, egg slightly beaten, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour into a baking dish, cover with buttered crumbs, and bake in a moderate oven at 350° to 400°F for fifteen to thirty minutes.

Results

This had the potential to be really good. I’m going to have to play around with it a little. I think it’s supposed to be a breaded pudding-type dish, but it was so runny. The flavor was nice, though. You could taste the paprika and I think if the breaded part was cooked more this would have been delicious. I’ll play with the cooking time and the ingredients a little and I’ll report back to you.

WW2 Ration Cook-in: Victory Lunch Box

I took today’s Victory Lunch Box menu from The Good Housekeeping Cook Book. They have a section with lunch box menus, and today’s menu was created specifically for a business girl. Almost all of the cookbooks and other materials I have separate lunch box menus into categories. There are usually sections for hard workers, working girls, housewives, and school children. I’ll be writing about some of those differences when I finish up my lunch box series later this month.

I don’t have a lunch box to show how all the items would be packed, so I put them on a regular plate. This is the exact lunch box menu, though, and would have been packed in a thermos, paper cups, and waxed paper.

Menu

  • Corn Chowder
  • Cream Cheese and Olive Sandwiches
  • Fruit Salad
  • Saltines

I’m amazed at how much food is included in the menus. Almost all that I’ve seen have called for more than one sandwich. Sometimes the menu includes several sandwiches with different fillings on different breads. Sandwich fillings range from complex mixtures to plain butter.

Corn Chowder

  • 1 2”sq fat salt pork (we used bacon)
  • 1 lg onion, sliced
  • 2 lbs pared white potatoes (4 c diced)
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 1 12oz can whole grain corn
  • 4 c bottled milk, scalded OR 2 evaporated milk and 2 c water, scalded
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Cut salt pork into 1/2” cubes and brown well in large sauce pan. Add onion and cook tender. Add diced potatoes and water, cover and cook until potatoes are tender. Add corn, milk, and seasonings. Heat and serve. Serves 6 as a main dish.

Due to shortages at our small local grocery store, we had to use red potatoes instead of white, and we used the evaporated milk and water option listed above.

Results

This was a wonderful, filling meal. The corn chowder was warm and flavorful. I think it would be perfect in a thermos tucked into a fall or winter lunch box. It was very hearty with ingredients that complimented each other. With the addition of one or two sandwiches, this probably would have been too much for me to eat. The fruit salad I have shown in the photos is a favorite family concoction made with fruit and whipped cream.

There’s one themed day left in the WW2 Ration Cook-in challenge. It’s not too late to join us! Check out your other hosts over on Instagram. Use #ww2rationcookin so we can see what you make!

Carrots Baked in Milk

This recipe is from the February 1943 issue of Woman’s Day. I mentioned earlier this month that I wanted to explore this issue a bit more because of the recipes and articles explaining rationing or offering suggestions for meals that used available foods. These carrots are from an article about using winter vegetables when many popular fresh vegetables weren’t available. Plus, carrots baked in milk added not only vegetables but dairy to the home front family’s diet. In 1943, this recipe cost 14 cents to make for a family of four.

Carrots Baked in Milk

  • 4 c ground or shredded raw carrots
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1/2 c evaporated milk
  • hot water
  • 1 tbsp margarine

Place carrots in greased 1 1/2 qt casserole. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and flour. Add onion and milk. Add just enough water to cover. Bake in moderate oven at 350°F for 45 minutes. Five minutes before removing from oven, dot top with margarine.

Results

I’ll admit that I was a little worried about what this recipe would turn out like. I like carrots, but I had never eaten them this way. I was pleasantly surprised. The carrots were still crisp, and the other ingredients had combined to create a thick gravy that had a constancy similar to slightly runny mashed potatoes. I wasn’t sure that I would like the combination of textures and flavors, but they complimented each other very well. Most of my testers liked the dish. The only one who didn’t was the one who doesn’t like carrots.

I recommend this carrot recipe as an interesting accompaniment to meat dishes on your menu. It’s easy to make, and at least for my family, is a fresh way to cook carrots whether you buy them at the supermarket or grow them in your Victory Garden. Let me know if you try these out and enjoy your bonus day tomorrow. See you in March.