Nana's Recipe project

Gram’s Slaw – A Special Guest Post!

Posted by on Jun 10, 2011 in Cooking/Recipes, Nana's Recipe project | 1 comment

As I mentioned on Tuesday, Jeannie from Life on the Clothesline is visiting today to share one of her favourite old-fashioned recipes (with a bonus recipe for chicken strips thrown in too!)  This is the second post in her series on recipes from her Gram’s cookbook (sound familiar?) You can check out the first post on her blog.  Enjoy!

Hi!  I’m Jeannie from over at Life on the Clothesline.  My blog is about old timey things, clotheslines, old recipes, crafts… things that my great grandmother would have done.  
 
Gram was my best friend for most of my childhood (always nice to be the favorite of someone isn’t it?) until she passed when I was 16.  When I was little, we’d go and visit her at her house (my grandmother and her lived together for most of their lives… ) where she would always cook our favorite dinner – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, slaw and tapioca pudding with oreos for dessert.  YUM.  Well, grandma would make the pudding, but gram did the rest.  
Gram always waited to start the slaw until I got there, so that I could help.  We’d stand at her kitchen sink, looking out into the yard and driveway, cutting the cabbage up and then slowly shredding it by hand.  She would give me the white cabbage cores to nibble on, always a special treat, and then later, after the slaw was put together, let me “test” it to make sure that it tasted OK.  It was always fabulous and I loved it as much because it really was yummy and also because she made it just for me.
Recently, my mother gave me an old hand written cookbook that we determined was Gram’s wedding shower cookbook.  On my blog, I have started a series of posts of the recipes from this nearly 100 year old book.  The first post was this week, so if you’re into some funky old timey recipes, please stop by and visit.  
 
Now, on to Gram’s Slaw recipe…
Gram’s Slaw
Layer, ending with cabbage:
1 head cabbage, shredded
1 sliced or chopped onion
6-9 large carrots, shredded
1 c. sugar
 
In a pan, boil:
1 c. sugar
1 c. white vinegar 
1 c. canola oil 
1 t. salt
1 t. celery seed
1 T. dry mustard
 
Pour over the cabbage and let sit in a crock for 24 hours.  Stir after the day is up.
 
OK – so some things that I’ve learned over the years… 
 
The bags of shredded cabbage that are next to the bags of pre-washed salad work well for this – you’ll need at least 2 bags.  However, cabbage (and this recipe in general) is super cheap, and if you can stand it, shred it by hand or use a food processor.  That’s what I used and it was super easy.   To core a cabbage, cut  the cabbage into quarters.  
Then, cut out the center white part.  It tastes good, but is tough and hard to chew…
I also used the processor to shred the carrots.  The carrots were not in the original recipe, but don’t change the taste at all and add some pretty color and nutrition to the slaw.  You can use green or purple cabbage, but purple has more nutritional value, so I always go for that.
Please only use white vinegar, apple cider does not taste good in this.  Also, as it will have to sit in the fridge, canola oil is your best bet – not olive oil, which will congeal in the fridge and while taste OK, not look appetisingat all.

Have your cabbage layered in the bowl before starting the vinegar mix.  You want to pour boiling hot vinegar/oil over the cabbage so that it wilts the cabbage as it cools down.  
 
And, as Gram always had fried chicken, I made up some baked chicken strips to go along with the slaw… My 3 year old loved them…
 
Chicken Strips
Oven at 375.
Take 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs.  Pour in 2 T olive oil and mix well with a fork.  Dip the chicken strips into water, then into the bread crumb mix.  Coat well.  Place on a foil lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until the juices inside run clear.
 
 
Enjoy the slaw and the chicken and please let your kids eat the cabbage cores – they really are yummy!
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Honey Cakes – Cake or Cookie?

Posted by on Mar 15, 2011 in Cooking/Recipes, Nana's Recipe project | 1 comment

Recipe: Honey Drop Cakes   Source: New Royal Cook Book  Date: 1922

I decided to take a break from the 1940s and explore some of the other cookbooks my great-grandmother left behind.

She has many books that were put out by baking powder companies but I chose this one because it looked like one of the oldest. 

Printed in 1922.

In a section entitled “Cookies and Small Cakes” a recipe for “Honey Drop Cakes” caught my eye as I am always looking for recipes that substitute honey for more refined sweeteners.

Here is the original recipe.

I am not sure what “greased individual tins” would look like.  Did they have a special “small cake” pan in the 1920s?  Or, if I greased my muffin tin, would I get little round cakes?  Motivated by simplicity (with all of the positivity I try to muster around washing dishes, I haven’t been able to convince myself that I like washing muffin tins!)  I decided to go with the drop method instead.

The end result was definitely more cookie than cake, (maybe a cake-like cookie?)  but oh so good!  They kept well in a cookie tin for as long as they lasted (which wasn’t long since hubby loved them too.)

I then made a second version, taking out the sugar and adding some yummy add-ins.  They came out looking completely different, but got rave reviews.

Here are my two variations.

Honey Drop Cakes (original)

Cream 1/3 cup softened butter, add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup honey, a beaten egg yolk (save the white for later!) and 1/2 tablespoon  lemon juice.  Mix well. 

Add in 1 1/2 cups whole white flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.

In a small bowl, beat egg white.  (The recipe didn’t state how much to beat the white, so I stopped when it was white and foamy.)

Fold the egg white into the batter.

Drop far apart on greased baking sheet.   I found I could fit 8 on mine with enough room for spreading.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.  (The original recipe says to cook in a hot oven for 10 – 15 minutes.  My first batch was burnt by 10 minutes so I turned the oven down to 375 and they were still done before 10 minutes had passed, so keep your eye on them the first time.)

They are a rather plain cookie (or cake?) but that sweet honey taste gives them a nice flavour.  You could even switch things up by using different types of honey.  Or, you could try my second variation.

Lemon Cranberry Nut Honey Drop Cakes

  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
  •  zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and chopped walnuts

Combine the batter as outlined for the original recipe, adding the lemon zest in with the juice, and folding in the cranberries and walnuts before the egg white.  Cook on greased pans at 375 for 8 – 10 minutes, or until done.

Enjoy!

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1940s Bran and ‘Lasses Muffins

Posted by on Mar 8, 2011 in Cooking/Recipes, Nana's Recipe project | 3 comments

Source: Victory Economy Bulletin No. 10  Date: 1940s

Here is another no-sugar war-time recipe.  One of the reasons I am enjoying these recipes so much is the absence of refined sugars.  I decided last year to try to use natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, etc.) as much as possible in my baking and have been editing recipes ever since.  It’s nice when the work is already done for me! :)

These muffins are super-easy and really tasty.  The molasses makes them just sweet enough, and I also added raisins to mine (because what are bran muffins without raisins?)  I think they would also be really yummy with chopped dates, or maybe even diced apple!

Here is the original recipe:

Other than my add-ins, I made no changes to the recipe, but I should have reduced the cooking time to 15 minutes.  At 15 minutes I could smell them cooking, which usually means it is time to take them out, but for some reason the left-side of my brain took over with its adherence to rules (see here?  this recipe says 20 minutes, better leave them in!) and I ended up with slightly blackened (but still edible) muffins.  However, if they are yummy overcooked (albeit, a little dry), I can’t wait to try them when they have been cooked for the right amount of time!

Cook’s note:  if they look done and smell done, trust your intuition and take them out of the oven!

Bran and ‘Lasses Muffins

Combine 2 cups bran, 1/2 cup molasses and 1 1 /3 cup milk in  a bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.   While you are waiting, turn on the oven to 400 degrees, beat an egg, and grease your muffin tins.

Stir in beaten egg.

Combine 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda.  I also added 1/2 cup raisins to this batch and next time I might add 3/4 cup, or one of the other add-ins I mentioned above. 

Add flour mixture to bran mixture and stir until combined.  The mixture will be wet, but somewhat cumbly. 

Fill 12 muffins cups and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until done.

Turn onto a wire rack to cool. 

Or enjoy them hot right out of the pan! :)

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Victory Economy Jam Roly-Poly

Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 in Cooking/Recipes, Nana's Recipe project | 2 comments

Source:  Victory Economy Bulletin No. 10  Date:  WW2

It’s been a while since I have done one of these posts.  If you are unfamiliar with this project, you can find out more here

With the war putting restrictions on sugar, these “Victory Economy Bulletins” were put out by the Lakeside Home Baking Services Bureau as a way to help the cooks of the day create favourite recipes without sugar, and, of course, to promote the use of Campbell’s flour.  I have made a few recipes from these bulletins already, some successfully, some not

I think this might be the best one so far.  It is sweet, with jam being the only sweet ingredient, it’s moist, easy to make, and Hubby would have happily eaten it all in one sitting if I had let him.  “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!” 

Here is the recipes as written:

And my version.

Jam Roly-Poly

Mix one cup of whole wheat pastry flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

(Note the vintage bowl)  :)

Cut in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or softened butter until crumbly. 

Add enough milk to make a soft dough (I found this took slightly less than 1/3 cup)

Roll about 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface.  If necessary, use your fingers to nudge it into a rectangular shape.   Spread with a thick jam (I used raspberry.)

Gently roll up the dough until you have a log-looking shape.  (Be gentle!  You don’t want the jam to squish out everywhere!)

Now….here is the step that gave me pause.  The recipe asks me to put it into a greased bowl and steam.  Although I vaguely remember my grandmother steaming plum puddings at Christmas it has been years since I have seen such a thing.  Hello Google!  I discovered the Roly-Poly was often originally steamed in a shirt sleeve to keep its log-like shape, but that you could also wrap it in parchment paper to achieve the same effect.  Many sites recommended the use of a “pudding steamer” (hmmm…..I seem to have missed that one on the bridal registry…) which is a nice oblong shape.  Then there were sites that recommended using your roasting pan as the steamer with the metal rack serving to keep the pudding off the bottom.

Choices, choices.

So I went to the expert – Mom!  She recommended the use of a double boiler steamer and a glass bowl (hmm….kind of like the original recipe suggested?)  The problem is the long log wouldn’t fit into the bowl that would fit into my double broiler (trust me, this recipe is easy, I just have a knack for turning the easiest thing into a Google hunt.)

So, I did what I should have done from the beginning.  I cut the roll in half, put them side by side in the greased bowl, covered it with parchment paper secured with an elastic, and put it in the steaming basket over a pot of boiling water.

After 45 minutes I had almost boiled my pot dry (note to self, check the pot every once in a while when steaming) and the pudding was steamed to perfection. 

The recipe suggests serving with a sauce, but I opted for whipping up a little cream and flavouring it with a little of the raspberry jam.  Yum. 

Not only was this a good dessert, but I no longer have a fear of steamed puddings (and there are MANY of them in Nana’s collection.) 

I’d love to know if you give this a try, or if you have tried other steamed desserts.    Enjoy!

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Pineapple Cheese Cake

Posted by on Jun 28, 2010 in Nana's Recipe project | 4 comments

Recipe: Juliet’s Pineapple Cheesecake                                                                    Source: Nana’s Handwritten Recipes     Date: unknown

Some of you might remember me mentioning my failed attempt at my great-grandmother’s cheesecake recipe.  We will call this “Exhibit A.”

As you can see, Exhibit A does not really resemble a cheesecake.   Although it tasted pretty good, cheesecake soup might have been a better name.   As soon as I cut into it (and got over the disappointment – I had planned to bring it to a party that night!) I had a good inkling of where I went wrong so I decided to try this recipe again.   With much better results. 

Here is the original recipe:

As far as Nana’s handwritten recipes go, this one had some pretty clear instructions.    I did wonder at the lack of crust and what kind of pan to bake this in, but a quick search informed me that there are such things as “crustless” cheese cakes and that they can be baked in a pie pan, so that is what I decided to do. 

Putting this cake together is actually very simple.  First you mix together one package of plain cream cheese (the kind that comes in the box, not the modern easy-spread variety) and 1/2 cup sugar.  I used turbinado sugar. 

When it’s well mixed beat in 3 egg yolks (save the whites!).  And then stir in one cup of well-drained crushed pineapple.  (Unless you like cheese cake soup and then by all means throw in some of that juice too!)  :)    The first time I made this I quasi-drained the pineapple and thought it was “good enough.”  After all, the recipe didn’t actually say whether it was supposed to be drained or with the juice.  Trust me on this one – well-drained is the way to go.  Refer to Exhibit A.

In another bowl whip the 3 egg whites until they are stiff.  I love to do this by hand.  I think it is magical to turn this:

Into this:

Fold the whites into the cheese and egg mixture along with a teaspoon of vanilla. 

You want to be gentle at this step, but you also want to be sure that the whites are well incorporated (again I will direct your attention to Exhibit A).  Your final mixture should look like this:

Pour into a 9″ pie plate.  I greased the pan hoping that would help it to release easier and I also put a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.  It did release very easily from the pan, but it also made the edges and top a golden brown….not the usual colour for a cheese cake.  If I make this again I might try the parchment paper alone, no grease, and see what happens.   I am quite proud of the finished product anyway, especially of the way it stands up on the plate all by itself!  (No soup for hubby this time…although he didn’t seem to mind devouring the last one.)

We haven’t cut into this one yet but if the soupy version was good, this one can only be better!

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Ginger Cookies

Posted by on Jun 10, 2010 in Cooking/Recipes, Nana's Recipe project | 1 comment

Wow!  I was surprised by all the kind comments after the muffins didn’t work out.  I’m really not that upset – I knew going into this project that I couldn’t possibly like all of the recipes (remember the Ox head?) In the long run of all the mistakes I have made in the kitchen (such as somehow taking the burgers out of the freezer to thaw last night and not actually putting them into the fridge so I discovered them on the counter just before dinner time all warm and unsafe to eat……sigh……) I was just happy the muffins were still edible! 

On the other side of the muffin card was a recipe for ginger cookies:

I love directions like “remove from fire.”  It reminds me of just how old some of these recipes are….

I once again substituted butter for the shortening and melted 1/4 cup of it along with 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses in a pot on the stove.  Unless you love the taste of blackstrap molasses I wouldn’t use it, because it is really overpowering.   In fact my finished cookies should be called molasses cookies, because that really was the dominant flavour.

While that was cooling I mixed 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and a tablespoon of orange rind into a big bowl.   Then I poured in the molasses and butter and mixed it up.

It looked like a gooey sticky mess and I couldn’t imagine how this would ever turn into something I could roll out and cut cookies from.

Oh me of little faith… 

After an hour in the fridge and a dusting of flour it was ready for the cookie cutter.

I chose to cut out cats, because, if I’m going to go to all the trouble to roll out the dough and use cookie cutters I am going to use something fun. 

Then I placed them on a greased cookie sheet and baked burnt them for 10 minutes at 375.  Yep.  Burnt beyond edibility.

So I turned down the temperature to 350 and put them in for 8 minutes.

And burnt them again.  Just around the edges.  And the molasses makes them dark anyway so I pretended not to notice. 

Notes to self – use fancy molasses and bake for less than 8 minutes and WATCH CAREFULLY!

This is beginning to sound like a little too much work to make again.  Do you have recipes like that?  It’s not that I’m lazy, just that I’m not very good at watching things that aren’t really doing anything.  I start out ok but then my mind will start to wander and I’ll think “Oh!  This would be a good time to whip up some muffin batter while the oven is already on” or “hey, I should go see if the laundry is ready to come in” and off I will go and the thing that is supposed to be watched carefully will do whatever it is going to do in its own way on its own time. 

I am ok with this.  I think it’s good that I understand my own limitations. 

The finished cookies tasted like crunchy and slightly burnt blackstrap molasses.  Despite this all 14 of the ginger burnt molasses cats did eventually get eaten, which either demonstrates how great this recipe is or my commitment to wasting as little food as possible, I’m not sure which.   

I will leave you with this – try this recipe yourself at your own risk.  But if you manage to bake unburnt cookies that taste like ginger I’d love to know about it!  It might give me the motivation to try this one again….

And no need for sympathy notes, I haven’t spent my whole week eating burnt cookies and dry muffins, I also made some amazing treats using this recipe and they were so good!  I took a plate to a friend’s house and our husbands ate the whole plate between them in one evening.  Maybe I should have brought the ginger cats…. :)

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