Honey Cake

Honey Cake

A Recipe from The Golden Jubilee Recipe Book (1959)

About the Recipe

Tonight (September 6, 2021) at sundown, is the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish holiday celebrating the new year. It’s one of my favorite holidays. It means time with family, getting a little bit of wine even when it wasn’t supposed to be allowed, and of course – delicious food. One of the traditional dishes to celebrate is honey cake, so of course I went looking for a good one!

This one is delicious! Light and fluffy, and just the right amount of sticky sweet for a sweet new year. It’s already bubbling and rising by the time the batter goes into the pan, which is exactly what one looks for in a great honey cake. It’s got a very traditional flavor to it, without all the density that sometimes comes along.

Two quick changes – throw this one in a 9×13 pan. Otherwise you’ll end up with batter everywhere! And I went a little bit lighter on the added sugar, maybe a 1/4 cup less. I find the balance is a bit better.

L’shana tovah! And happy 5782!

About the book

This book is the gift that keeps on giving. As it turns out, this little B’nai B’rith book has filtered down all over the New York metro area. A friend of mine found the noodle kugel recipe that I shared previously and noted that it was the same one she used in childhood. The dishes in it seem to be all of the regional favorites of Jewish New York, and I’m not even a little bit upset about it.

On a more personal note, one of the ladies who submitted a “Similar recipe” above is Rose Dubinsky. My paternal grandmother was a Dubinsky. Her family came over through Ellis Island and lived in New York for awhile before relocating to the Baltimore/DC area. I can’t help but wonder if an old family recipe has just come back around to find me this time around…

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 lb. honey
1 t baking soda
1 cup strong coffee
4 cups flour
2 t baking powder
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup almonds

Directions:

Mix eggs and sugar together; add honey.

Dissolve soda with a little hot water and add.

Sift flour and baking powder; add alternately with coffee; add the juices; stir in almonds.

Line 8″ x 10″ (I used a 9×13 and barely had enough room) baking dish with foil; pour in batter and bake in 350*F oven one hour.

Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

A Recipe from the Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking (1959)

About the Recipe

When a friend invited me over for dinner at the tail end of berry season, and with a fridge full of blueberries, I happily volunteered – “I’ve got dessert!” This quick and easy little cake was the perfect cap to a dinner with friends. Any berry could be easily substituted for the blueberries, and you could even go full on triple berry if you’re feeling saucy. Any way it’s done, this is a great last-minute-I’ve-got-the-dessert recipe.

While we’re here though – you might be asking yourself, what is a “buckle?” Simply put, a buckle is much like a coffee cake. It’s traditionally got fruit in the batter and a crumb topping, with a fairly high batter to fruit ratio. It’s called a buckle because the weight of the crumb makes the cake do just that when it comes out of the oven – buckle!

About the Book

Part of my weekly routine since I started collecting cookbooks is to sit down with a small stack of them as I’m making my grocery list, and picking out one or two to try over the course of the week. While that’s fantastic for finding new things to try for dinner, it’s not great when I’m seeking something specific (like, say, blueberry desserts). For the specific ask, there’s only one resource I turn to – the Mary Margaret McBride. I’ll spare more waxing poetic about this amazing book for now, but suffice it to say that if you’re looking for a gift for someone new to the kitchen this is the perfect fit.

Check out more recipes in the Mary Margaret McBride Collection here!

About the Glassware

The baking dish is a new acquisition of mine from a road trip I took with my husband earlier this year. It’s a Fire King by Anchor Hocking with a Primrose pattern. This pattern was produced in the early ’60’s and when I saw it, I had to add it to the collection. I rarely see this pattern in my usual antique/vintage haunts and it’s just so cute. It felt like the perfect mid-century dish for this mid-century dish.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sifted enriched flour
1/2 t cinnamon
3 T soft butter or margarine

Batter:
1/4 cup soft butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sifted enriched flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 14-oz can blueberries, drained OR 1 pint fresh blueberries

Directions:

Crumb Topping:
Measure sugar, flour, and cinnamon into small bowl. Mix well.

Add butter or margarine and cut in with fork or pastry blender until mixture is consistency of crumbs

Batter:
Stir butter or margarine until creamy. Add sugar, gradually, mixing until creamy. Beat in egg. Add milk.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into butter or margarine mixture, stirring until smooth. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spread batter into well buttered pan, 8×8 inches.

Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake in moderate oven (375*F.) 45-50 minutes.

Perfect Potato Salad

Perfect Potato Salad

A Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens Salad Book (1958)

About the Recipe

When friends are coming over for a beach picnic, what do you do? You make potato salad, of course! I went to this book right away looking for a recipe, knowing that it was one of my grandma’s go-to’s. When I saw the 3x math on the page, I knew this one had to be a winner!

My husband doesn’t like celery, so I left it out. The onions and pickles give it plenty of crunch and flavor, and in the end it’s exactly as described – a perfect potato salad.

For potato salad newbies (like me!), don’t miss the step by step instructions on how to cook the perfect potato for a salad.

About the Glassware

I found the cradle and the Fire King rectangular baking dish together at a vintage store just outside of Palm Springs on a recent visit. It’s not clear on whether they might have been originally purchased together or not. Many sets like this seem to have a clear dish instead of an opaque one. Either way, it’s a great little serving piece, and I can’t resist the opportunity to make potato salad look fancy.

About the Book

I went to visit my grandma this past weekend, who is getting ready to move out of the house that she’s lived in for… well a very long time. It’s no secret to anyone following my posts that she’s a big inspiration for a lot of the work I do on this blog. While I was there, she told me to take the cookbooks. Any of them that I wanted, including this Salad Book. I cried.

This book is so clearly well loved and well used. There’s a page covered in plastic wrap, because a recipe was used so often, she was trying to keep the splatter off it (a Caesar salad, for the record!). There are splotches on most, if not all of the pages. The edges are torn. I could not love this book more.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups cubed or sliced cooked potatoes
1 t sugar
1 t vinegar
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery (if desired)
1/4 cup sliced sweet pickle (if desired)
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t celery seed
3/4 c mayonnaise
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

Directions:

Sprinkle potatoes with sugar and vinegar. Add onion, celery, pickle, seasonings, and mayonnaise; toss to blend. Carefully “fold in” egg slices. Chill. Serve in lettuce-lined bowl. Trim with egg slices.

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water, peel and cube — they’re salad-ready

1. Scrub potatoes thoroughly with a firm vegetable brush. Choose potatoes of equal size so all will get done at the same time.

2. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water. Begin fork testing after 25 minutes of cooking. When just tender, remove from heat and drain. Shake in pan over low heat to dry.

3. Peel potatoes while hot, holding on long fork or on paper towel. Salad secret: Mix salad with warm potatoes — they absorb seasonings.

4. Halve potatoes lengthwise. With flat side down on cutting board, slice each potato half in 3/4-inch strips. Then cut it crosswise to make bite-size cubes.

Chicken Breasts Baked in Cream

Chicken Breasts Baked in Cream

A Recipe from Betty Crocker’s New Dinner for Two Cook Book (1964)

About the Recipe

Chicken is a staple in our household, but even our favorites can start to get old. I had some chicken breasts in the freezer so I went on a search through my books! Betty Crocker (almost) never fails, and this recipe looked simple enough for a Friday evening. Fair warning though – it takes 2 hours to bake! The cook time on this in total is about 2.5 hours all told.

I made a few adjustments on this one – I substituted olive oil for the shortening and used fat free half and half instead of proper cream. Removing all of the fat from this dish meant getting rid of some of the richness. We ended up with a (more cholesterol friendly) baked chicken, rich in flavor but not in fat. Oh – and as with most recipes, the amount of onion and garlic is just a suggestion. Go to town, with Betty’s blessing I’m sure.

About the Book

I found this book in a giant antiques mall in Virginia on a recent road trip with the husband. There was a whole section just of antique and vintage books and I was in heaven! If you’re in the area (or even just slightly out of the way), the Factory Antique Mall in Verona, VA is well worth the trip.

All of the Betty Crocker books in this time period and format are worth the purchase. The mid-century illustrations are so fantastic, and the recipes, for the most part are excellent. This one is dedicated to small families or “the career girl enjoying her first apartment.” In particular, this recipe comes from the section dedicated to when company comes. The recipes and menus feel like they’re adapted for when you were planning for two… and then surprise! company comes. All in all, this book is wonderful. Snag it if you find it.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 whole chicken breasts (about 2 lb.)
3 T shortening
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup cream (20% butterfat)
1 1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
2 t Worcestershire sauce

Pan Gravy:
2 T fat
2 T flour
1 cup liquid (water, meat stock, or bouillon cube broth)

Directions:

Heat oven to 300*F (slow). Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise, making four serving pieces. In a heavy skillet, brown breasts in shortening until golden. Add remaining ingredients. Cover tightly. Bake about 2 hr. or until tender. Just before serving, remove chicken from skillet; keep warm while making Pan Gravy

Pan Gravy:
Remove meat to warm place. Pour off clear fat (not drippings); measure amount needed into small saucepan. Measure liquid into roasting pan; stir and scrape all of brown drippings loose from pan — heat mixture if necessary; set aside.

Add flour to fat in saucepan; stir together until smooth. Cook over low heat, stirring steadily until it is bubbling.

Take pan off heat. Gradually stir in liquid and drippings from roasting pan. return pan to heat; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 min. Season and serve.

Blueberry Pancakes #2

Blueberry Pancakes #2

A Recipe from the Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking (1959)

About the Recipe

I woke up yesterday with an undeniable craving for blueberry pancakes. After a quick search through the MMMB, I came across this particular recipe. I took a look around for Blueberry Pancakes #1 – and did not find it. SO! Blueberry Pancakes #2, a delightfully over-complicated pancakes recipe it is!

Separating the eggs and beating up the whites plus the slightly high amount of baking powder makes for a wonderfully fluffy pancakes. They were well balanced between sweet, savory, and fruit. I would even make them again with different fruit or sans fruit altogether! Try a little lemon rind for a special twist if you’d like, but otherwise enjoy. And know that the extra 10 minutes or so to make them are definitely going to be worth it. Bonus points to the hubby this time around for helping to fold the egg whites!

I got to pull out my favorite Pyrex Frankenset and enlist the help of the hubby to fold in the egg whites. A wonderful way to kick-off brunch, indeed!

About the Book

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love this cookbook. Not only is it a fantastic resource for any home cook looking for literally any recipe, but the illustrations and photographs are everything you’d look for in a mid-century cookbook. They look both appetizing and disgusting, all at once!

Check out more recipes in the Mary Margaret McBride Collection here!

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sifted enriched flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
3 T granulated sugar
3/4 t salt
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3 T melted shortening
1 cup blueberries
Melted butter
Brown sugar

Directions:

Sift dry ingredients together. Beat egg yolks with rotary beater; combine with milk and shortening.

Add to dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in blueberries. Then fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Bake on hot, greased griddle. Serve with melted butter, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Makes 12 3-inch pancakes.

Blueberry Peach Pie

Blueberry Peach Pie

A Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Outdoor Cook Book (1961)

About the Recipe

Nothing quite says summer like a fresh fruit pie. This is a delightfully simple pie recipe, designed for making quickly and toting to a picnic or barbecue. Peach and blueberry is a classic combination, and this pie just works.

I used pre-made Pillsbury pie crusts (because some days there’s just not time to make it from scratch, and that’s okay), but feel free to use your favorite 9-inch crust, anything will do. Two quick adjustments – I doubled the butter, using about 3 tablespoons dotted across the pie. Next time I’ll also toss the blueberries in a little bit of lemon juice. This pie is a little bit on the sweet side, and that little bit of acidity would go a long way.

Don’t make my mistake – let it cool and set before serving to avoid some of the soupy mess you see above. And trust me when I say this is worth the wait. It tasted even better when I had it for breakfast this morning.

Otherwise, I’m pleased to report that my friend Raab (dressed in his ’50’s bowling shirt and toting his adorable daughter, Lila) enjoyed it quite heartily as dessert to our first barbecue of the season.

About the Book

This book is everything you’d look for in a mid-century style cookbook – a little bit absurd, great illustrations, and a little bit of racism (buyer beware…). It came my way via the sister of a good friend of mine who heard through the grapevine that I was also a collector.

It almost seems a shame to start with a pie, as the heart of this cookbook is in all of the great outdoor recipes found within – clambakes, broiled steaks, banana boats. But don’t fret – there will be more coming from this classic as the summer gets on.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

Pastry for 9″ Two-crust Pie
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar*
1/3 cup flour
1/2 t cinnamon
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 1/2 cups pared and sliced fresh peaches
1 1/2 T butter

*Use maximum amount of sugar only if berries and peaches are quite tart

Directions:

Heat oven to 425*F (hot). Stir sugar, flour, and cinnamon in small bowl. Pour blueberries in bottom of pastry-lined 9″ pie pan. Sprinkle half of the sugar-flour mixture evenly over berries. Arrange peach slices over berries. Sprinkle with remaining sugar-flour mixture. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust which has slits cut in it for steam to escape. Seal and flute. Bake 40-50 min. Cool and serve.

If using frozen fruit: Use 1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen blueberries and two pkg. (12 oz. each) frozen peaches, thawed and drained well, saving juice. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1/2 t cinnamon with 1/2 cup peach juice; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 min. Add blueberries and mix lightly. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan; dot with butter; arrange peaches over blueberries and cover with top crust.

Orange Bowl Coffee Cake

Orange Bowl Coffee Cake

A Recipe from 100 New Bake-Off Recipes from Pillsbury’s 16th Grand National (1965)

About the Recipe

Sometimes a dish comes out of the oven, and you show your little brother how to properly flip a baked dish, and as he lifts the casserole dish off, you’re crossing your fingers that it comes out properly – and then it comes cleanly out of the dish with a slow waterfall of caramel-y goodness and all you can think is – WOW. Yeah. This is that recipe.

“Coffee cake” is a little bit of a misnomer here, as this is far from the crumbly baked good you’re probably thinking of. This is more like a cinnamon bun loaf with hints of orange caramel; more suitable for pulling apart than for slicing.

I’ll admit, this came out looking a little bit different than in the photo that lives in the book (no, I’m not going to put it here). Be sure to let the orange juice and eggs come to room temperature so as not to make the yeast angry and you’ll be good to go. Even through my yeast flub, this dish gets the little brother seal of approval:

For more recipes in the Pillsbury Challenge, click here!

About the book

Pillsbury really goes the extra mile on the advertising front in this booklet. Not only are they pushing the new “Pillsbury Family Cookbook” (YOURS FREE for a Ten-Day Try Out!), but they dedicate the first few pages to new Instant Blending flour – “This gay new way to put a cake together!” Divine!

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 packets active dry yeast or 2 cakes compressed yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 cup milk, scalded
2 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
1 cup granulated or brown sugar
2 T grated orange rind
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Soften yeast in warm water. Combine in mixing bowl 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup soft butter, salt and milk. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in eggs, orange juice and yeast. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth and satiny, 3-5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled, about 1 hour.

Cream 1/2 cup butter. Add 1 cup sugar and orange rind. Roll out half of dough on floured surface to a 12×8-inch rectangle. Spread with half of filling; sprinkle with 1/2 cup walnuts. Starting with 120inch side, roll jelly-roll fashion. Cut into twelve 1-inch slices. Arrange 1 inch apart on bottom and sides of well-greased 2-quart casserole or mixing bowl. Place remaining slices in center. Repeat with remaining slices in center. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until light and doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350*F for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Invert immediately onto cooling rack.

Variation: For orange-cinnamon coffee cake, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon to filling. If desired, drizzle warm bread with a vanilla glaze.

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Chicken Legs, Pierre

Chicken Legs, Pierre

A Recipe from The Family Circle Fish and Poultry Cookbook (1955)

About the Recipe

There are a few things in this recipe that I find interesting enough to try again and to play with in the future. Because the chicken gets browned in the pan first, when the tomatoes (from the can! Don’t use fresh, the juice is important!) get poured into the hot pan, the effect is to de-glaze all of the goodness from the browned chicken. Basically you end up starting your sauce with a warm, flavorful base.

Once the chicken is added back into the pan and covered, effectively you’ve browned the chicken to keep it moist and then poached it for the rest of the cooking time. The result is fall-off-the-bone tender chicken legs in a nicely blended, slightly spicy sauce. On that note – add some more hot pepper sauce, you won’t regret it!

This is an easy to execute, delicious chicken recipe. While it’s on the stove poaching, use that time to whip up some mashed potatoes, which will soak up that additional pan sauce with the chicken. Yum!

About the Book

This is my first Family Circle cookbook, and what a fantastic little resource! Right from the start, the book kicks off with fantastic mid-century illustrations on how to carve poultry. The book itself is divided into sections based on what kind of bird or fish you’re planning on cooking. Do you have some duck? There’s a section for that! Some oysters? There’s a section for that, too! Grouper? Oh yes, a section for that as well.

I can see this becoming a regular for mundane and interesting recipes a lot in the future. In addition to the usual suspects (chicken a la king, poached salmon, etc.) there are some weird ones that make mid-century cooking so much fun (see: turkey pancakes). My brother Jon (in the photos below) gives this book a big thumbs up!

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

8 chicken legs
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
3 T butter or margarine
1 can (about 1 lb.) tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 T brown sugar
2 T vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t salt
1 t chili powder
1 t dry mustard
1/2 t celery seeds
1 clove of garlic, minced
Few drops bottled hot-pepper sauce

Directions:

1. Dust chicken legs with seasoned flour.

2. Melt butter or margarine in large heavy frying pan with tight-fitting cover; brown chicken over medium heat on all sides; drain on absorbent paper.

3. Combine remaining ingredients in same pan.

4. Bring to boiling; reduce heat; return chicken to pan; cover.

5. Simmer chicken 40-45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with 2-tine fork.

6. Serve with pan sauce.

Pi(e) Day 2021

Pi(e) Day 2021

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I have always maintained that pies test my patience, and this year, just after the 1-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, they definitely did. The crusts took 3 tries to get out of the oven in a usable state. I needed to call in my sous-chef (husband) multiple times because I wasn’t ready for some of the multi-tasking that needed to happen. And yet – it was a successful pie day. Here’s what we made:

2021 Pi(e) Day WINNER! Orange-Pumpkin Chiffon Pie (1961)
Chicken Pie with Sweet Potato Crust (1940)
Cottage Cheese Pie (1963)

Tuna-Cheesettes

Tuna-Cheesettes

A Recipe from preparing foods with Reynolds Wrap pure aluminum foil (195?)

About the Recipe

Imagine a tuna-melt. Now imagine that the tuna salad part has a few more ingredients than it really should. Now imagine that instead of quickly grilling it up, you’ve got to put it on a bun, wrap it in tinfoil, and bake it for a half hour. Voila! The Tuna-Cheesette is born!

This has all of the trappings of a classic post-war recipe – canned ingredients, using a war material for something other than artillery, a vaguely brown and smushy end product that tastes great, but just will not photograph well, no matter how hard you try. It’s worth the effort, though watch the salt levels. Both the husband and the brother commented on how salty the end result was (though it heartily got the husband seal of approval).

Aside from that – enjoy! These are great make-ahead sandwiches, and I could even see them working really well for sticking on charcoal for a camping trip or barbeque.

About the Book

I was so excited to get this booklet along with some of the Culinary Arts and Pillsbury booklets. It’s got great illustrations, and is so illustrative of that particular brand of re-marketing that was happening after the war. The advertising company that decided this booklet was a good idea took great pains to go through literally every use you can possibly imagine for aluminum foil.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. processed American cheese, cubed
3 hard cooked egg yolks, chopped
1 7-ounce can tuna, flaked
2 T chopped green pepper
2 T minced onion
2 T chopped sweet pickle
1/2 cup salad dressing
2 T chopped stuffed olives
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
6 hamburger or other thick buns

Directions:

Combine ingredients except buns, mixing lightly. Split buns, spread with softened butter or margarine and fill. Wrap buns in Reynolds Wrap. Place on shallow pan and bake in slow oven (325*F) 35 minutes, until filling is heated and cheese melts. Serve hot.