Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bonus Mini-Post: Scary-hilarious recipes from the 1950's

Here at Mrs. Katz Cohn I post only the "real food" recipes from years past but there's a dark side to vintage cooking.  My friend Carol sent me this link to an article on Jezebel that just cracked me up.  I just had to share!  The author and a group of friends make the strangest sounding 1950's recipes and have a tasting party.  The results are like no party I've ever thrown!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Chopped Beef Potpourri, Woman's Day February 1949 and bonus recipe Speedy Artesian Bread

This recipe was originally published in a 1938 Women's Day issue.  It was part of an article called "Our Best 64 Hamburger Recipes".  That's a lotta beef!  Perfect for my carnivore hubby.  In 1949 this recipe costs only $0.14 to make.  Using the CPI Inflation calculator that's $1.37 in today's dollars.  Food prices sure have gone up independent from inflation because I spent way more that that!

Chopped Beef Potpourri is just ground beef stew.  It's a great all in one meal (Includes protein, veggies, grains, and starch.) to make on a weekend and there's enough for leftovers throughout the week.  Judging from the ingredients it would probably freeze well.  Warning:  total cooking time is 2 hours.  Plan accordingly.  ( I caught the end of Hairspray and about half of Grease while making dinner tonight.  Yes, I was in the kitchen a good looooong time!)  I also made an herbed artesian bread using a speedy version of my Aunt Alice's favorite bread recipe.  I'll post my fast recipe below but click on the link to see the original.  It's not vintage but it's a keeper.  Even if you've never made bread before you can make this recipe.  Really.

Here's the original Chopped Beef Potpourri:

Here's my version, aka Ground Beef Stew:

  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 2 Large onions, sliced 
  • 1/3C Barley
  • 2 1/2C Diced tomatoes (about a can and a half using two 14.5 oz cans)
  • 1 1/2 Quarts water
  • 2 Beef bullion cubes
  • 1T Salt (or less depending on the saltiness of your bullion)
  • 1/2t pepper
  • 3 Carrots, sliced
  • 2 Large potatoes, diced
  • 3 Stalks celery, diced
  • 2t A-1 steak sauce
  • 1/2t Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder to taste

First brown the ground beef in a BIG pot over a medium high heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes lowering the heat if necessary to avoid burning them.  You'll see the original recipe calls for 3 onions.  Remember my whole thing about onion sizing?  How I'm betting they're larger now?  Well if not click on the "onion sizing" label on the right.  Here's how much onion I used:
The onions on a 9 inch salad plate.
Heat the water and add the two bullion cubes.  Dissolve completely and add to the beef and onions along with the barley, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer over a low to medium low heat for one hour.  (This is when I baked the bread.  I mixed up earlier so it had already risen.)

Add the veggies, sauces, and garlic powder.  Stir well and cover and simmer for another hour.  Here's what you get:

This was after dinner.  The pot was filled to the ring around the top.
About half was left.  Not sure why the color is off.  Probably the lighting.

I was lucky to have another helpful taster tonight as my son is having a friend sleep over.  These boys are such little men!  Both agreed that they loved the meat and the potatoes best.  When I asked them to describe the flavor they called it "meaty".  Hubby liked their description adding that he thought it would taste even better if I made meatballs to join the pound of ground beef already in the stew.  (I supposed then I could call it "caveman stew" which would be kind of funny like I'm Betty Rubble.  "Barney, your caveman stew is ready!!!")  One daughter didn't care for it but the other loved dipping the bread in the juice.  The puppy of course loved the little taste he got.  Here he is looking cute and hoping for more.

Focus on the doggie, not the stuff on the counter.
Cooking is messy.  At least in my kitchen.

Now on to the bread!  

Speedy Artesian Bread

3C Regular flour (NOT bread flour!)
2t Rapid rise yeast (1 heaping T of regular yeast can be substituted.)
1.5t Salt
1.5C Warm water

Seasonings:  I used about 2 tablespoons dried chives, a few shakes each- garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano and about 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  Be creative and add what you like.  Start with a little and smell it to make sure your combo works for you.  Then add more if you feel like it. 

Use a large mixing bowl.  Put in the flour, yeast, salt, and seasonings if you're using them.  (This bread is awesome plain too!)  Mix well.  Add the water.  Mix really well, scraping as much of the flour off the sides of the bowl as you can.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise.  Since it was cold today and my counters are on an outside wall I turned on the oven while I was mixing to warm up the room a bit.  Let rise for 3-4 hours.  (The regular recipe takes 12 hours to rise.)  The dough will be bigger, spongy and you'll see air bubbles when it's ready.  

Preheat your oven to 450.  When hot put in a heavy covered pot large enough to hold the dough when it rises even more.  I use a cast iron Le Creuset pot like this one.  (On a side note these are awesome and definitely worth the price.  My brother still has one of our mother's and he uses it all the time.  I plan on passing mine down to my kiddos.  Luckily I have a few different sizes, as I do kids!)  Leave the pot in the oven for 30 minutes so it's really hot.  While it's heating use a rubber spatula to loosen the dough from the bowl and pour it onto the center of a large piece of parchment paper.  Use the spatula to reshape if you wish or leave it how it falls.  Cover with the plastic wrap while you wait for the pot to heat.  

When the pot is hot carefully take it out of the oven using hot mitts.  (The term "hot mitts" comes from a night of wine and dinner in my not so big old kitchen with me, my friend Janet, our hubbies, and our collective 7 kids running through every so often.  I can't remember what the meal was but when I needed to take it out of the oven my middle aged fuzzy brain couldn't think of the words "oven mitts" and the term hot mitts was born.)  Remove the plastic wrap and carefully lower the dough loaded parchment paper into the pot.  Cover (And use your hot mitts please!!  The lid will be HOT.) and put in the oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until brown and yummy looking like this:    

The left loaf is plain and the right is the herbed.  I used a square Le Creuset pot for the plain and my smallest round for the herbed.

Using your trusty hot mitts turn the pot over and let the bread fall out onto a cooling rack.  Remove the parchment paper and flip the loaf right side up.  Let cool before slicing.  A serrated knife cuts best.

Either version of the bread is delicious with/for soups, stews, grilled sandwiches, toast, etc.  My friend Lauren, who probably hasn't had bread in 10 years, tried a little that I brought over on her "cheat day" and she loved it.  She had it with smoked Gouda.  (I'm drooling just thinking about it.  My poor computer.) Full disclosure- Lauren has an awesome figure to match her awesome willpower.  I feel kind of bad I tempted her but the bread was really for her also awesome fiancé Brad, who loved it too.  

I make the plain version of this bread weekly.  It's become our "house" bread.  I've searched for years to find a bread recipe my kids like to replace the store bought varieties.  This isn't soft like store bought though.  It works for us except for pb&j's.  So guess what?  The kids are eating less pb&j!  They practically lived on them for the first 7 years of their lives so I don't feel too bad.  


Thursday, February 13, 2014

We're in quarantine! (Well not really but it feels that way.)

Sorry no tested recipe this week.  We've all been sick with this bad bug that is lingering in my house like it's immune to Lysol, which has been sprayed sufficiently on all surfaces except the dog.  (Since we all cuddle with him it was suggested by an unnamed family member but I used my mommy clout to protect him from the fumes and the humiliation.)  The scene at my house was quite less charming than the picture above but I thought it was cute with the brother dressed up like a doctor nonetheless.

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day I wanted at least share something pink, red and heart shaped.

How sweet!

Click to see recipe.  
Notice my little guy's fingers helping me hold the page flat?  Just got home from the doctor and I put him to work!  I promised him Valentine pancakes for breakfast tomorrow to return the favor.  We'll see how we all feel.  I hope he doesn't have to miss his class Valentine's party!  :(

The rest of the recipe.

I hope everyone is well and out enjoying winter like this happy girl!

The magazine is a bit worn but I love the picture!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken and Rice, Family Circle February 1955

This recipe is called "Arroz Con Pollo" in the February 1955 issue of Family Circle.  It literally means "rice with chicken" in Spanish.  The popular dish is so much a part of the culture that most Latin countries have their own version.  Since this recipe is so Americanized I opted to just call it Chicken with Rice.  (Why switch the order?  There's clearly more chicken than rice in the recipe.  I assume the Latin versions have more rice as the traditional Latin diet is more grained based.  Here in America we're all about protein, aren't we?  Not sure that's a good thing.)

This dish takes a few steps (and a good can opener) but it's easy enough for a weeknight.  With a little planning I could do the bulk of the prep it in the afternoon and do the rest in between schlepping kids to and fro.  It was nice comfort food on a lazy Sunday.

Here is the original recipe.  It starts in the lower left column and continues on the upper right.

Here's what I did:
  • 1 Chicken, cut in 8 pieces
  • 2T Olive oil (Original recipe called for 1/4C.  2T is plenty.)
  • 1C Raw white rice
  • 1C Chopped onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-14.5oz Can of green beans
  • 2-14.5oz Cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1-6oz Can of chopped mushrooms (I didn't use the whole jar- aimed for 4 ounces)
  • 1-4oz Jar of diced pimientos (What are pimientos?  Click here to find out!  I know them from the pimiento cheese of my Texas childhood but had no idea they were actually peppers.  Go figure.)
  • 2T Dried parsley
  • 1.5t Salt (Or salt to taste.  It depends on how salty your canned veggies are.)
  • Dash of pepper
  • .5t Chicken bullion granules

Warm 1T olive oil in a large skillet over a medium high heat.  Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken and turn to brown on all sides.  Place the browned chicken in a large baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350.

Add the remaining 1T of olive oil to the skillet.  Add rice and sauté over a medium low heat scraping brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add onions and garlic.  Sauté for about 10 minutes until soft.

(Hold the phone!  This is where it gets really vintage...)

Drain liquid from the can of green beans into a measuring cup.  Add water to make 1 cup total.  Pour in skillet with rice mixture.

(...Explanation:  Reserving the water in canned veggies or the cooking water from steamed fresh veggies was just what people did as a matter of course back in the day.  Somewhere along the line we stopped saving this nutrient dense water to use in soups or other dishes and it just went down the drain.  When I read this in Michael Pollan's book Food Rules I promised to start a veggie water jar in the fridge.  Never happened.)

Stir into the skillet:  green beans, tomatoes with liquid, mushrooms with liquid, pimientos, parsley, salt, pepper and bullion granules.  Bring to a boil.  Spoon over the chicken in the baking dish.  Cover and bake for 50 minutes.  Uncover, dig out the chicken, rest it on top of the rice and bake for another 10 minutes.

Voila!  This is what you get:

Chicken, rice and veggies all in one dish.  How easy!  We had fruit on the table to round out the meal.

When I first saw this recipe I was concerned about all the canned veggies.  I mean fresh is best, right?  And then next comes frozen?  For goodness sake my mother was a back to the Earth hippie vegetarian in a housewife's clothing!  How can I make a meal based on canned vegetables?  Then I thought about what my doctor told me once.  When determining what is better nutritionally you have to look at the whole picture.  What else is available?  How much time do you have?  What do you like?  So if you're going to try to make this meal with fresh veggies (adding in time for the cleaning, trimming, chopping, and steaming) but end up with a house full of screaming hungry kids and a grumpy hubby who gives up and orders a pizza then the canned veggies are better.  My wise friend Janet agreed and I proceeded sans guilt.

The result-  I don't know if it was the extra salt and pepper I used before browning the chicken or my brilliant idea to add the chicken bullion granules but hubby said IT HAD FLAVOR!  (Cue the angels.)  The kids loved it too.  I cut the chicken off the bone for the bone phobic of my brood and they ate it right up.  I thought it was delicious.  The leftovers were yummy the next day and the rice didn't get mushy as I thought it might.  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!

This is the beautiful Family Circle magazine cover.  I love it!

See George Washington?  Back then he didn't have to share his birthday by honoring all the presidents!  

I hope your family loves this dish as much as we did!