Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chicken Paella- FAIL! (UPDATED for reader Aileen!!!)

So the recipe I mentioned last time was this- Chicken Paella from the December 1955 issue of Women's Day.  It had so much promise.  It looked like it would be warm, comforting, and delicious.  But alas I was wrong...

Here's the hot mess:

Yum, hu?  I had to put the veggies on the plate so it didn't look totally depressing!

The Family's reaction:

Hubby- "It needs more flavor..."  Adds salt and Tabasco.  "It's ok I guess."  When asked if I should make it again he politely asked me not to.
DD15- Ok first a little background.  This one is a somewhat picky eater.  She also hasn't learned to cut her chicken herself or at least acts like it.  (Not sure how she functions when her mommy isn't around.  I'm afraid to ask.)  So the fact that this dish included bone in chicken didn't bode well from the start.  She took a bite of the rice and asked how to eat the chicken.  I rolled my eyes at Hubby, who was trying not to laugh.  Then she complained it was fatty. I don't need to continue with the details but suffice it to say Little Miss had a few carrots, said she was full, and went up to her room.
DD13-  Ate more than her brother and sister but claims she didn't like the meal.  I think she was thwarted by peer pressure.  She thanked me for dinner, something she usually does so she looks like "the good one"- an old family joke, but tonight I took her words to heart regardless of their sincerity.
DS9- My dear son, despite his advanced palate, has the same chicken cutting phobia as his oldest sister.    (Apparently removing the shell off king crab legs is ok but cutting chicken off the bone is just too much.)  He ate a bite of the rice and said it was good.  Then looked at the chicken and said it looked confusing. (What have I done to these children???)  He then finished the rice, had a few carrots, and asked what else was for dinner.  Can you guess the answer?????????????  Sigh...
The Pooch- He would have LOVED it.  But he has an allergy to chicken.  I kid you not.

But there's always a silver lining isn't there?  I'm thinking I can rework the recipe to only make the Spanish rice! (I've been looking for a good Spanish rice recipe for Taco night.  It's harder than you think.)  Also I got a manicure today.  This is a silver lining in and of itself, right?  And I didn't hack off a chunk of the freshly applied polish like I usually do when chopping onions.  Victory!

Happy New Year!


Update starts here.   One of my readers, Aileen, asked if I would post this recipe as it sounded similar to one she used to make.  So, Aileen, here you go!

The recipe continued.

If I were to try it again I'd use more saffron and a way bigger pot!

Here's how much Saffron I used.  And it wasn't enough.

This was the pot I used.  Not too pretty...

Let me know how it goes!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Where have I been?

Hey there.   I haven't abandoned my fledgling blog.  I've just been busy with my kids being home from school, holiday fun, getting my house organized, and making emergency trips to Target.  (I'm a suburban mom.  It's what we do.) Also hubby is off for these two weeks so we've been trying to slow down and spend time together, which can be a challenge at this time in our lives.  He still has work in the back of his mind and I'm still keeping up with my job- the hubby, house, and kids.  Sometimes it's just a walk with the dog but I love it.  Last night we saw American Hustle.  We both really liked it and if you're into Disco era fashion it's a must see.  The story kept my interest which is pretty great considering gangster con artist films aren't my favorite genre and I had a nice glass of wine at dinner.

I'm working on a recipe now.  Literally.  It's on the stove.  We'll see how it turns out.  I have concerns.  (Hubby's suggestion was to make sure it has enough flavor.  Gee thanks, babe.)

I've been thru almost all of Mrs. Katz Cohn's December magazines and it just dawned on me that the reason I'm having trouble finding a test recipe is because I'm looking for family meals.  The December magazines are all about parties and treats.  Nothing against party food, decadent Jello, franks and beans for a crowd or five thousand ways to make different cookies from the same basic dough but there is so much chocolate in my house right now I'm in danger of OD-ing on it as it is.  (I seriously couldn't sleep the other night after my 15 year old and I had a Rodeo Girls marathon complete with equally trashy snacks.  And lest I insult those reality show devotees out there- this one really isn't bad.  For reality tv.)  I found a couple of contenders so I'll be posting a recipe soon.   How do we feel about homemade salad dressing?   Hmmmm...  I may have to find out!

I hope everyone has been enjoying their holidays!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Hamburger Cobbler, Woman's Day December 1949

I have to credit Mrs. D. E. Dick of Worcester, MA for submitting this delicious recipe to Women's Day.  I don't know if it was her own creation or something she adapted from another recipe but it was a part of a section entitled "New Hamburger Dishes" in which contest winners' recipes were published.  Good job, Mrs. D. E. Dick.  (I wonder if the "D" and the "E" are her initials or her husband's.)

I had an interesting time explaining this dish to my younger kids.  They had only tasted cobbler as a dessert, not as a main dish.  Once tasted everyone enjoyed it.  Hubby said it was good enough to make again.  My 15 year old daughter said it was very filling.  (She eats like a bird so this isn't saying much though.)  My 13 year old daughter thought it tasted like pizza and my son, age 9, liked the meat and the biscuit topping- but not together.

Here is Mrs. D's original recipe:

Original recipe.

Here is my tweaked version:

Beef mixture
  • 1 Small onion, sliced  (*see note below)
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb Ground beef aka hamburger
  • 1t Salt
  • 1/4t Pepper
  • 1/4t Marjoram
The cheese (stands alone...)
  • 8 to 10 Slices American cheese, thinly sliced
Tomato mixture
  • 1-14.5oz Canned diced tomatoes, drained well (About 1C chopped tomatoes.)
  • 2T Worcestershire sauce
  • 3T Ketchup
Biscuit topping
  • 1 and 1/2C Flour
  • 1 and 1/2t Baking powder
  • 1/4C Shortening (I found a non hydrogenated brand at Whole Foods.)
  • 1/2C Milk 
  • 1/2t Salt

Preheat your oven to 450.

First brown the ground beef in a sauce pan or small Dutch oven over a medium high heat.  Dump meat into a colander in a clean sink to drain and set aside.  Heat the pot on medium and sauté until fragrant the onion, garlic, and mushrooms (my addition to Mrs. D's recipe) in the fat left in the pan from the ground beef.  Put the beef back in the pan and add the salt, pepper and marjoram.

In a bowl drain the tomatoes and mix with the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.  (If you've never used Worcestershire sauce and are tempted to leave it out thinking you're buying a whole bottle for just two tablespoons DON'T.  It adds depth to the recipe and is used a lot in vintage recipes so you'll likely use it up.  It's also great with steak.  I grew up thinking it actually was steak sauce.)   Add to the beef mixture and mix well.

Grab a 9" X 9" pan and spread the beef mixture evenly in it.  No need to grease it.  Top with overlapping cheese slices.  (Here's where I deviated a bit from Mrs. D's grand creation.  She calls for "processed cheese".  This may or may not have meant Velveeta.  I used organic American.  There's just so much time travel I can do you know?)

Now it's time for the biscuit topping.  Mix the last 5 ingredients in this order in a bowl:  flour, baking powder, salt.  Then cut in the shortening.  (If you don't have a pastry blender use a whisk.  If you don't have a whisk use a fork or your fingers.  There are videos on You Tube to teach you how.)  Then add the milk.  (I used whole milk as this is what we use in the house.  You can try it with a lower fat milk if you like.)  Mix until you get dough.  But not too much or your biscuits will be hard.

Mrs. D says to drop the biscuit dough on top of the tomato mixture but I found the dough to be too thick to drop.  I would have rolled it but I took the quick way out (I had no clean counter space and just needed to get dinner on the table.)  and just formed it into flat circles with my hands. While the dough was nice I might try this recipe next time.  I prefer a lighter biscuit but it may not hold up with the heavy meat and cheese so use it at your own risk.

Bake your beautiful cobbler in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the biscuits have browned a bit and the beef-tomato-cheese underneath is bubbly.  Then Mrs D. says to cut it into squares.  The baked cobbler was too loose to cut into squares but scooped up easily biscuit and all.

Ta dah!!!!!!!!

*A note about the onion.  I seem to have an issue with onion sizing.  This recipe called for a "small" onion but exactly what constitutes a "small" onion? Or a "large" one for that matter?  I tried to measure what I thought was right but the slices were too big to fit into a measuring cup.  So I took a pic.  How did people cook before cell phones??  ;)

Looks like a little less than a cup to me.

I would totally make this again.  It was warm and yummy on a cold night.  I served it with a salad and sliced apples.  If I made it on a weeknight I'd start in the morning cooking the meat and adding the tomato mixture then stick it in the fridge.  I'd put the biscuit topping on right before I popped it into the oven.

Reheating note- Dear son was home sick from school today and we had this for lunch, reheated in the microwave.  It was good but a smidge dry.  I think it's fine for leftovers but I wouldn't make it a day ahead for company.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Savory Fish Stew Women's Day, December 1954

I'm not a big fan of fish unless it's grilled but hubby and my dad, who is visiting from California, love bouillabaisse and I'm sure not up for that.  (I once texted hubby from the grocery store asking what he'd like for dinner and he sent me a recipe for bouillabaisse with 25 ingredients!  Seriously.  And no, I didn't make it.)  This recipe was better than I thought it would be and I got me over my distaste of non-crunchy fish.

The original recipe

  • 3 Large onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4C Olive oil (I used less- about 2-3T)
  • 2 Large potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 2t Salt
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4C Tomato paste
  • 1T Paprika
  • 2lbs Cod or haddock, fresh or frozen and thawed (I used cod), cut into bite sized pieces

As you can see I omitted/changed a few things; The green pepper (Hubby absolutely HATES it!), the peppercorns (I hate them.  But I'm not quite as vocal about it.  Thus no caps necessary.),  and I swapped the salad oil for olive oil.  I really used 3 onions.  My dad and I were wondering if onions were smaller in the 1950's because it looked like a lot of onions in the pot.  But I wanted to stay true as possible to the recipe and I'm glad I did.  The onions added a nice texture.

The original recipe says it serves 4-6.  I think it's more like 6-8.  It was a hit with the adults but my girls wouldn't even consider tasting it.  My son, the 9 year old foodie, tasted it but gave it a thumbs down.

So here's how to put it all together:

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium-high heat.  (I used a Dutch oven but whatever you have is fine.)  Cook the onions until light brown.  Add potatoes, salt, garlic and bay leaves.  Stir gently and cook for a few minutes.  Add 4 cups water, bring to a boil and cover.  Lower the temp and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and paprika to the pot.  Stir gently (To keep the bay leaves intact.).  Add the fish and simmer covered for another 20 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.

This is what you get:

The finished stew

I had this bread in the freezer and it was perfect with the stew!  Surprisingly this reheated well for leftovers the next day.  (Usually reheated fish doesn't do well.  I've tried.)  I gave a little taste to my pooch and he loved it too!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Beef Noodle Medley, Woman's Day 1953

I've made this dish a few times and it's a winner- every time!   This is a big deal.  I have 3 kids and a hubby whose tastebuds are skewed from eating out so often on business trips.  Everyone likes this meal.     I serve it with a green salad, a veggie, and fruit.  Perfect on a cold day!

The recipe in the original form.

Notice how under the phrase "Precook meat; reheat while noodles cook" it says the cost and "(August 1953)"?  Well I promise you this is from the September 1953 issue.  Not sure why it's an August recipe.  All the recipes on the page are from "August 1953".  It's a vintage mystery.  

The magazine, September 1953

Here's my tweaked version (Not to be confused with my twerked version.  That would be inappropriate, especially at my age.):
  • 1 and 1/2lbs Stew meat cut into 1 inch cubes (My butcher does this for me.  Saves time.)
  • Salt and Pepper- amounts aren't given.  Start with 3/4t salt and 1/2t pepper.  You may want to change it next time.
  • Flour- again amounts aren't given.  I use about 3/4C, which is way too much.  Use 1/2C and let me know how it goes.
  • 8oz Tomato sauce
  • 1/2C Red wine (preferred) or water
  • Garlic salt- no amount given.  Just shake the bottle a few times over the pot.
  • 8oz Fresh sliced mushrooms (My addition- totally optional.)
  • 8oz Pasta (Corkscrew works well but any sturdy bite sized pasta will do.)

Make seasoned flour by mixing flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over a medium high heat.  Toss the meat a few pieces at a time in the seasoned flour.  Shake off the flour or if you have a small handheld strainer put the meat in and give it a good shake.  Put the floured meat into the pot and brown on all sides.

Add 3/4C boiling water to the pot.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours.   Meat will be tender.

Add tomato sauce and wine or water to the pot.  Stir and add the garlic salt and more salt and pepper if necessary.  ( I don't add more salt/pepper here but hubby adds more at the table.  See what I mean about his wonky tastebuds?)

[Now you have a choice.  Either let this cool and put into the fridge, add fresh sliced mushrooms and cook a bit longer, or continue with the recipe.]

Cook pasta in salted water.  (This is from 1953 after all.  I personally don't add the extra salt.)  When al dente (Back to 2013!), drain.  Serve meat mixture over pasta.  I prefer it without the parmesan cheese listed in the original recipe but add a sprinkle if you'd like.  Be sure each plate gets lots of yummy sauce.

[If you've stopped the recipe after cooking the meat mixture just reheat in the microwave or on the stove and cook the pasta.   Voila.  You're all caught up!]

This dish is great reheated, pasta and all, the next day for lunch.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Intro, posting schedule, and rules.

Hey there.

I'm starting this blog to share my experience with vintage recipes. After years of pouring over my mother's old cookbooks I lucked out and went a fantastic estate sale this fall with my friend Susan. I found over 300 vintage magazines dating from the 1930's to the 1960's!  I did a little Googling and found that the lady of the house was a fantastic cook, thus my blog name. The idea of cooking vintage may seem odd but the more I learn about nutrition, health, and the importance of real food the more I see how the old recipes developed before processed foods were the norm are really the way to go. Not everything I make is pretty or easy or even 100% from scratch but it's real food. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

Part of my vintage magazine collection from the Katz Cohn home.

My goal is to post a recipe once a week.  But you know life (aka my 3 kids, pooch, and hubby) sometimes gets in the way.  I'll do the best I can.

My rules:
1.  All recipes will be tested before posted.  I'll tweak it until it's a "tried and true" recipe.
2.  All recipes will be made with minimally processed ingredients.  For example I'll use store bought flour in bread, not grind my own wheat.  I may use homemade chicken broth even if a recipe calls for canned.
3.  All recipes will be vintage and from my collection.
4.  I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist.  I may share interesting articles and my opinions but refer to your doctor or a medical professional before making any changes to your diet.  I am not responsible for your health- you are!
5.  Content © Sarah Hartman.  Please contact me if you'd like to publish or copy any of my content.

I'll post my first recipe within a week.  It's a delicious Beef and Noodle Medley from the September 1953 issue of Women's Day.