Tag Archives: Desserts

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!

Drop Sugar Cookies

Monday I posted a cream sponge cake recipe from Honor Among Cooks, a 1941 cookbook composed of recipes collected by Mary Spahr. The recipe could also be used to make drop sugar cookies. We made a couple of additional adjustments based on Monday’s cake results. You can find them in the note below the recipe.

Drop Sugar Cookies

  • 6 oz butter
  • 2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c sweet milk
  • 3 3/4 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon, extract or grated rind

Mix in usual manner. Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in oven at 425°F. Makes 60 cookies.

Note: Based on Monday’s cake results, we adjusted this recipe a bit. We added 2 tbsp butter and an extra splash of milk. We added the eggs to the mixture last.

Results

This is a good cookie recipe. The cookies were soft and fluffy and really moist. The lemon flavor stood out more than in the cake, which I liked. We tried these both with and without cinnamon sugar, and they were tasty either way. These would be easy to decorate as holiday cookies, topping each cookie with colored sugar or sprinkles.

My family of taste testers all loved these. In fact, while I was taking pictures, my three year old snuck a cookie from my plate. If that doesn’t say how good these are, I don’t know what will.

Let me know if you try these, and if you use the original recipe or try our modifications. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you here Monday.

Cream Sponge Cake

Today’s recipe is from the 1941 edition of Honor Among Cooks by Mary Spahr. The proceeds from the book were given to The American Friends Service Committee for Refugee Children. Spahr’s 1938 first edition booklet was a “Kitchen File” with her favorite recipes that she sent out to people by mail. In response, women shared their recipes with her. Spahr found she had enough recipes to publish a book, and Honor Among Cooks became a hard bound cookbook. The recipe for Cream Sponge Cake was from Bess Farnham.

Cream Sponge Cake

  • 6 oz butter
  • 2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c sweet milk
  • 3 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon, extract or grated

Mix in usual manner. Bake in oven at 375°F. Makes two layers.

Results

The recipe is short on instructions, so we weren’t sure what to do with those two layers. My daughter came up with this lovely buttercream and strawberry jam layer. Any buttercream recipe will do. Just spread it on the the cake, follow with some strawberry jam, then top with the second cake layer.

The cake itself was pretty dry. I would have liked for there to be more lemon flavor. The addition of the buttercream and jam helped with the dryness. If it weren’t for that middle layer, I think the cake would’ve been too dry to enjoy. If you make this recipe, consider adjusting the ingredients accordingly.

With a couple of small changes, Bess Farnham said that this recipe can also be made into cookies. I think we’ll give it a go later this week. I’ll let you know how it turns out. (ETA: You can find those cookies here.)

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.

Magic Chocolate Frosting

I found a handwritten recipe tucked into one of my vintage cookbooks. It was written on a paper torn from a promotional pad, so I was able to guess a rough date based on information on the paper. It’s probably early 1940s, which makes sense because the cookbook was published in 1940. Of all of the vintage recipes I make, these handwritten ones are my favorites. They are so personal somehow. It’s very different than reading a recipe out of a published cookbook.

Magic Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp water

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir over boiling water 5 minutes until it thickens. Ad water and vanilla. Spread and serve when cool.

Results

I was disappointed with this frosting. Whenever I make something from a handwritten recipe that I’ve found, I think that somehow I’ll end up with something amazing and spectacular. After all, someone liked this recipe so much that they took the time to copy it down and tuck it into the pages of a cookbook to save. Plus, with a name like “Magic Chocolate Frosting,” it had to be magical, right?

Not one of my taste testers liked the frosting. It was somehow runny and thick at the same time. The consistency was more like an oily syrup. One of my sons said it felt like he was eating slime. The cupcakes soaked up the frosting so quickly that by the time we called everyone to the kitchen, it looked like we had poured chocolate water over them instead of frosting. The frosting did have a nice, not overly sweet chocolate flavor, but that’s about all I can say in favor of it. Well, and it was shiny and reflected light like a mirror. It was actually quite lovely to look at after it was freshly applied to the cupcake.

I don’t recommend this recipe, but I’m glad we tried it. I like to think that the woman who slipped this into the pages of my book would be happy that, almost 80 years later, someone else was reading and making the recipe she wrote down. I just wish we would have liked it a little better.

Do you have a favorite chocolate frosting recipe?

First Monday Menu: Spinach Soup and Lemon Rice Pudding

Today’s menu comes from Ida Bailey Allen’s Double-Quick Cooking for the Part-time Homemaker. The chapter titled “Time Saving Family Luncheons and Dinners” includes a week’s worth of menus and recipes for both lunch and dinner. Lunch menus also give suggestions for carried lunches and variations for the homemaker’s midday meal.

I was really excited to try the lemon rice pudding with apple whip sauce but was a little worried since my last few puddings haven’t turned out very well. I’m happy to say that today’s menu was a success!

I used the “Fifth Day” luncheon menu. I did switch the luncheon and the dinner soups because we still are having shortages of certain ingredients.

Luncheon Menu

  • Spinach Soup (celery in the original menu–I switched this)
  • Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Lemon Rice Pudding
  • Tea for adults
  • milk for children

Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb chopped raw spinach or 1/2 pkg frosted spinach
  • 1 qt boiling water
  • 2 bouillon cubes OR 1 tsp brewer’s yeast extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp enriched flour
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c light cream or evaporated milk

Combine spinach and water and boil 10 minutes. Add the bouillon cubes or extract, salt, pepper, and the flour stirred smooth with the butter. Stir until boiling, then gradually stir in the cream or evaporated milk. Serve as is, or sieve. Serves 4-6.

Note: We used raw spinach, bouillon cubes, and evaporated milk.

Lemon Rice Pudding

  • 2 c cooked rice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c sugar OR 1/3 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 c milk
  • juice and rind 1/2 lemon

Mix the ingredients in the order given. Pour into a shallow oiled pudding dish. Set in a pan of hot water and bake slowly in a moderate oven, 350°F until firm in the center, about 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold with melted jelly or Apple Whip Sauce.

Note: We put the full amount of sugar in, but then added a drizzle of honey, as well. It took much longer than 30 minutes to bake. It was more like 2.5 hours before the center was firm and it probably could have stayed in the oven a while longer.

Apple Whip Sauce

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar OR 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 c grated raw apple
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whip in the sweetening, apple, and lemon juice. Serve at once with puddings, or in place of whipped cream on gelatin desserts.

Note: We used powdered sugar. This really needs to be served immediately or it begins to separate.

Results

The spinach soup was warm and creamy. If you like spinach, chances are you’ll enjoy this soup. It’s not incredibly filling, so I was appreciative of the toasted peanut butter sandwiches. I thought the nuttiness and slight crunch of the toasted sandwiches went well with the soup.

The lemon rice pudding with apple whip sauce was delicious. I was surprised by how long it took to bake compared to what the recipe suggested it would take. It took so long after the rest of the meal that I lost the daylight I needed to take pictures and actually ran outside to take them in what light was left. Artificial lighting at night often makes my pictures too shadowy. I think you can still see what it looked like, though. It was creamy and lightly lemony. The sauce tasted more like apple juice than I expected. It was refreshing and sweet. I liked the pudding equally with or without the sauce.

I’m happy the lemon rice pudding turned out well. This was a nice menu and I’d recommend all of it. I think the soup was a handy recipe for a home front housewife. The spinach could have come from a Victory garden, helping to cut costs. All of the recipes include options in their ingredient lists so you can customize them to work with whatever is in your pantry. I found this helpful today, and I know it was helpful then.

Stay safe and well. Let me know if you try any of these recipes.

Broiled Peaches with Lemon Sauce

Earlier this week I was looking for something to make as a dessert. I wanted it to be sweet, easy, and a little different. I think these broiled peaches fit the bill nicely. We liked them so much we’ve made them twice already.

Broiled Peaches

This recipe is from Your Gas Range Cook Book. It was published in January 1940 and was distributed by the Wyandotte County Gas Company in Kansas.

  • corn flakes or cereal crumbs
  • lemon sauce (see below)
  • 6 peach halves
  • melted butter

Dip the peaches in melted butter, roll in cereal crumbs, and place in broiler. Broil to a golden brown. Serve with lemon sauce.

I chose a lemon sauce from another cook book because I couldn’t find a lemon sauce in the same one. I looked in the index and didn’t see one, but after we made the peaches, I looked again and found it under Magic Lemon Cream Sauce. I’m assuming that is the lemon sauce they referred to in the recipe, but they didn’t include a page number or exactly what it was called. I’ll list the ingredients for that sauce here in case you want to try it, too.

  • 2/3 c sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 c lemon juice

Blend and stir all ingredients. Add water to create desired consistency if needed.

Lemon Sauce

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • nutmeg (no quantity listed)
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 c boiling water

Mix the sugar and corn starch. Add the boiling water and a pinch of salt and boil until thick and clear. Continue cooking over hot water for 20 minutes. Beat in the butter, lemon juice, and nutmeg. A grating of lemon rind may be added.

This recipe is from the 1940 edition of The American Woman’s Cook Book.

Results

These peaches were so yummy! They were sweet with just the right amount of crunch from the corn flakes. The lemon sauce was good, but when we added it we couldn’t taste the lemon over the flavor of the peaches. I don’t think it added much, so definitely don’t be afraid to make these without the sauce. They were delicious either way. We used canned peaches and they worked well. Our local store doesn’t have good peaches right now, but I’m excited to try this during peach season with fresh peaches, too. We warmed up the leftover peaches and found them to be just as tasty.

This would have been the perfect recipe for the home front housewife. Most, if not all, ingredients would have been easily obtainable. My newly 6-year-old daughter and I have been reading the American Girl books about Kit Kittridge. They are set during the Great Depression, so we’ve been talking about how people changed their eating habits during these years, too. I wonder if that is when this recipe was created or if its history reaches back even further than that. It’s a great dessert that uses affordable, easy to get ingredients.

Is this a dessert that you’ve had before? Let me know if you’ve tried it or if you decide to make some for yourselves.

WW2 Ration Cook-In: Ultimate Challenge of Choice

I enlisted my 18 year old daughter to help me on this one. I wanted to find something I had never made before, and I found this Pumpkin Alaska recipe in the 1941 Pies and Pastries. It’s another cookbook in the Culinary Arts Institute series.

We started this pie this morning and just tasted it a while ago. It’s about 9pm. It’s been a day full of pie, but more on that later. Here’s the recipe.

Results

Pumpkin Filling

I’ll start off by saying that this was pretty good. We popped the left over pumpkin filling into the freezer, then ate it spooned into bowls with whipped cream earlier in the day. I think I liked this better than the pie, actually. I liked the whipped cream and pie filling combo better than the meringue and filling, and I think I’d replace the meringue with whipped cream if I made this in the future.

The problem with this pie is that it never set enough to cut into slices. We had it in the freezer most of the day. The first time we tried to eat it was right after the broiler step in the recipe—exactly when it says to serve it. It was super runny and we decided to put it back in the freezer to see if we could get it to the point where it was solid enough to slice. It froze for hours and hours and still only set to the point it is in the final pictures. The slice in the photo below is the best one we were able to get out of the pie pan.

Final Result

I had so much fun doing this challenge. I want to thank my fellow hosts for including me. I enjoyed seeing what everyone made. It’s not too late to start! Head over to Instagram and use #ww2rationcookin so we can see what you make.

Please stay safe and I’ll see you Monday for April’s First Monday Menu!

WW2 Ration Cook-In: Dessert

I made a variation of a cottage pudding recipe today. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the end result was much better than yesterday’s beverage.

I found cottage pudding in The American Woman’s Cook Book. There was also a blueberry variation, so I decided to use that recipe.

Results

Blueberry pudding ends up like a biscuity blueberry muffin. We ate them fresh out of the oven with some butter. They were a little drier than a traditional muffin, but the blueberries were juicy and made up for that. These cooked a lot faster in the oven than the recipe says, so watch them closely.

I used these for dessert, but they would be perfect at breakfast or for a snack. They were very easy to make.

There’s still time to join us on Instagram! We’d love to have you!

First Monday Menu on a Tuesday

I know that this is a day late, but it includes possibly my favorite recipe I’ve ever made for this blog.

I started soaking the beans on Monday. Does that count?

I got this menu from one of my favorite little cookbooks, 300 Helpful Suggestions for Your Victory Lunch Box. Since I’m including three recipes here today, I think I will split this post into two. Today I’ll include the recipes and later this week I’ll write about packing lunch boxes during the war.

Let’s get right to the recipes.

Minestrone

  • 1/2 c navy or pea beans
  • 6 c water
  • 1/4 lb bacon, chopped
  • 4 c beef broth
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 c shredded cabbage
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 (No. 2 1/2) can tomatoes
  • 1/2 c macaroni (1 inch pieces)
  • salt and pepper

Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. Drain and place in soup kettle with the water and chopped bacon. Simmer until beans are tender. Add beef broth, vegetables, macaroni, and seasonings. Cook for 30 min. Serve with grated Italian style cheese. Serves 6.

Sandwich

  • Sliced hard boiled eggs spread with chopped stuffed olives. Use mayonnaise as a spread on top piece of bread.

Orange Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 3 oz package cream cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp orange juice
  • few grains salt
  • 1 tsp grated orange rind
  • 1/4 chopped nuts, optional

Mash cream cheese with a fork. Add orange juice gradually, beating until fluffy and smooth. Beat in salt and orange rind. Add nuts if desired.

Frost gingersnaps and stack three or four together, leaving the top one unfrosted.

Results

The minestrone was amazing. This is now my favorite minestrone recipe and probably my new favorite soup. The bowl I have pictures of didn’t have a lot of broth in it, but there was broth in the pot. I wanted to make sure you could see all of the ingredients. It was hearty and filling. I highly recommend this recipe. Note: We forgot the grated cheese! It was terrific even without it.

The sandwich brought mixed reactions. I love eggs, and I love green olives stuffed with pimientos. but I discovered that I don’t like them together. Several of my testers did like it, though, so you might want to give it a try. The recipe came from a list of filling ideas for lunch box sandwiches. I’ll include some more options in my next post.

The gingersnap cookies were good and the cream cheese filling was sweet and lightly orange-flavored, but it wasn’t the version we started out with. The original recipe created frosting that was really runny and didn’t taste good. We decided to try to fix it. We added more cream cheese and powdered sugar until it reached the consistency and flavor that we wanted. We added a little more orange juice to keep the orange flavor. We used store-bought gingersnaps. I think a home front housewife would often have used purchased cookies for lunchboxes. Stacking three or four as suggested really didn’t work, so I made little cookie sandwiches instead. My two year old preferred dunking individual gingersnaps in the filling.

To sum this all up, I recommend the minestrone. I’m not a fan of the sandwich filling, and the orange cream cheese filling is good if you add powdered sugar to sweeten it up.

These were all recipes intended for lunch boxes in 1943. There’s so much information in this cookbook. I’m looking forward to talking about packing your lunch 1940s style a little later this week. If it’s chilly where you are right now–try the minestrone! Have a great week.