250 Cookbooks: 500 Snacks – Bright Ideas for Entertaining

Cookbook #126: 500 Snacks – Bright Ideas for Entertaining, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, Consolidated Book Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1940. 500 Snacks CookbookI’d call this a “vintage” cook book. That’s my polite way of saying I think most of the recipes are not appetizing. Rounds of bread topped with cream cheese, eggs, and anchovy filling; olives lined neatly over cream cheese on squares of bread; toast topped with ground boiled ham, cheese, horseradish and condensed tomato soup; celery stuffed with tangy cheese spread; bananas rolled in cereal crumbs and deep fried; sausages baked in bananas; anchovy paste mixed with eggs and formed into balls and served on toothpicks; sardines on toast covered with melted American cheese; tomato juice and ground ham and cream cheese and mayonnaise in a molded salad loaf. (Actually those deep fried bananas sound kind of good . . . ) I was ready to recycle this book, but I checked my database and found that it was my mother’s. There is some handwriting in this book, not sure it is hers, perhaps my grandmother’s? Maybe she gave it to my mother, that’s about the time my parents were married (1940). This book is for sale online, for about $10. Guess I’ll keep my copy because it is so old. And 500 Snacks is kind of fun to leaf through. Brings back memories of the adult cocktail hour and the hors d’oeuvres always served at family gatherings. I especially remember smoked oysters on toothpicks in a special serving dish (I’ll put a photo on the bottom of this blog entry) and the family story from when I was a little girl – once my cat got up and ate the little oysters off the toothpicks. I like the introduction to 500 Snacks: “The Smorgasbord”. smorgasbordI decide to make “California Chicken Salad” for this blog. It actually sounds good – a mixture of chicken, apples, olives, and celery, bound together with mayonnaise and sour cream. Should be good over lettuce or with crackers, or maybe in a sandwich. California Chicken Salad recipeCalifornia Chicken Salad

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup finely diced apple
  • 1 cup chopped ripe olives
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

Combine the chicken, apple, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Add a little more sour cream or mayonnaise if the mixture is not moist. California Chicken SaladSuccess! The apples and olives really perked up an ordinary chicken salad. We all made sandwiches for lunch on toasted wheat or sourdough bread with some good crunchy romaine. I put provolone cheese on mine. And now for the promised photo of smoked oysters on toothpicks. I have this ceramic chicken with holes for toothpicks in it. In fact, I have a gang of these chickens. They are all family hand-me-downs. Here is one of the meanest-looking chickens with some smoked oysters stuck in it: chicken with oysters on toothpicks

250 Cookbooks: Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 6

Cookbook #125: Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Vol. 6, Had-Kid. Woman’s Day, Fawcett Publications, NY, 1966.

Encyclopedia of Cookery Vol. 6Cookbook number 125, halfway through my 250 Cookbooks! Coincidentally, I picked up this volume of Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery to do this week, and it’s Volume 6 of the 12 volume set – halfway through. Perfect for this week.

I tuck happily into this cookbook, remembering the unexpected treats I found in the first 5 Encyclopedias of Cookery. This one begins with haddock, hake, and halibut. Next is a “ham cook book”, then a “hamburger cook book”. My mother liked the chili meatballs in the hamburger cook book. Herbs – a great section that includes a several-page chart with drawings, descriptions, and culinary uses of over forty herbs, and a section on how to build your own herb garden.

Hermit: a dark spice cookie filled with fruits and niuts. Hominy, honey, horehound (an herb used to make horehound candy), hors-d’oeuvre, hot cakes. Hungarian Cookery: a great section with goulashes and stews and streudels.

Ice: a good read on the history of the household use of ice. Ice cream cookbook. India’s Cookery. Irish Cookery. Italian.

Jam. Jamaican soups. Jambalaya. Japanese Cookery. Jellies. Jewish Cookery.

“Lokshen Kugl” in the Jewish Cookery section: This is my real find in this volume of Encyclopedia of Cookery. I’ve been looking for this recipe since college. From my previous post mentioning kugel: “Way back in college, a friend brought a traditional Jewish kugel to a party. It had noodles and was sweet: I had never had anything like it before and loved it. To this day, I have never made a sweet kugel for myself, but just the mention of ‘kugel’ gets pings of longing zooming around my brain.” In that crazy brain of mine, I thought the dish was named “luchen-kugel”. I googled but did not find any recipe similar to the kugel my friend brought to that long-ago party. Now I see “Lokshen Kugl” in this cookbook and know it is exactly what I was looking for.

Lokshen KuglBack to the rest of the encyclopedia entries. Julienne, juniper berry, kabob (kebab), kale (pre-famous), ketchup, kid (as in the meat of a young goat slaughtered before being weaned).

Shall I make the Lokshen Kugl for this blog? Hmm, think I’ll wait for later, when I have someone other than my husband to share this discovery with. Instead, I decide to make “Hungarian Goulash” from the Hungarian Cookery section. Usually when I make a paprika-laden meat goulash, I start with a tender cut of meat like pork tenderloin or beef sirloin sliced very thin. I like my quick version so much that I added it to this blog as Pork with Paprika and Mushrooms. Now, I want to try the “Hungarian Goulash” recipe in this cookbook to compare and contrast a traditional recipe with my current one. Here is the original recipe:

Hungarian GoulashI bought two pounds of beef chuck and cut it into 1 1/2-inch cubes, trimming off the fat as I did so. And then, over a pound of onions! I would never use that many if I were doing this recipe-less. I weighed the sliced onions to get the proper amount and the pile of onions was about the same size as the pile of meat! The meat is browned in lard – and yes, I have some. I simmered the meat and onions and paprika for at least a couple hours.

paprika and lardBelow is my version of “Hungarian Goulash”. I’ll let you know if I like it as much as my quick version.

Hungarian Goulash
serves about 4

  • 2 pounds beef roast, cut into 1-inch chunks (or, use stew meat)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 to 1/2 pounds sliced onions
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika or 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • water (or white wine or a combination thereof) to cover the meat
  • 1 cup sour cream

Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the lard in a heavy pan of appropriate size, then add the meat and brown on all sides. Add the onions and cook just until the onions begin to wilt. Stir in the paprika – the meat and onions should be a reddish brown (so add more paprika if necessary). Cook and stir until most of the pan juices are absorbed or evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook a minute or two. Then, add water/wine to cover the meat (I used water).

Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours. The onions will cook down to a “pulp” and the meat should become very tender. Check during the cooking time and add more liquid as necessary. ( kept my goulash at a fairly fast simmer and checked quite a few times; it took at least 2 hours for the meat to be tender and the onions pulpy.)

Stir in the sour cream and heat through but do not boil. Serve with noodles sprinkled with caraway seeds.

Hungarian GoulashThe sauce in this goulash is wonderful! The onions really were “melted” into it. I found the meat a little chewy, so next time I’d choose a better cut of meat (I used beef chuck and it was pretty fatty) or I would cut the meat into smaller chunks (I did 1 1/2-inch pieces). (I included these changes in my version of the recipe, above.) The caraway seeds mixed into the noodles were a great touch.

Do I like it better than my quick version? Not really, but I like it equally as much. The sauce and the meat have better flavor, but the beef was a bit tough and the goulash took a long time on the stove. This would work well in a crock pot or a pressure cooker, or, save it for a long and chilly winter day when you want the aromas of a great stew wafting from your kitchen for hours.

Note: This is the sixth in a series of 12 food encyclopedia volumes. I discussed the first five volumes here: Volume 1, Volume 2,  Volume 3, Volume 4. aand Volume 5.

250 Cookbooks: Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook

Cookbook #124: Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook, Hershey Chocolate Company, Western Publishing Company, Inc., USA, 1979.

Hershey's Cocoa CookbookCAN I REALLY HAVE SOMETHING THIS GOOD FOR BREAKFAST? Boy, that was my first thought as I took a bite of Chocolate Banana Bread early this Friday morning. This recipe that I tried from Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook is a definite keeper!

Each and every recipe in this small cookbook features cocoa – the unsweetened powdered chocolate form of chocolate. I think I always passed over this book thinking it’s “just another chocolate cookbook”. But no, the recipes are all from scratch, and I always have cocoa in my pantry because it keeps so well. And this cookbook has all the basics: cakes (including red velvet cake), cupcakes, cookies (brownies), candies (fudge), pies (cocoa chiffon pie), frostings, sauces (classic cocoa sauce and hot fudge sauce), and beverages (cocoa from scratch). Plus many interesting recipes I’ve never seen before, like the Chocolate Banana Bread.

The back cover of Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook states that this cookbook was “free!”. It probably came with a new box of cocoa. Today, I found it for sale online for about five dollars.

I chose this banana-based quick bread because as so often happens in the summer, I had very ripe bananas that needed to be used. I added the suggested raisins too. Here is the original recipe.

Chocolate Banana Bread recipeI decided to use unsalted butter rather than the shortening. And I added raisins. I felt that the batter would fit better into an 8×4-inch loaf pan (and I was correct). Instead of cutting in the butter with a pastry blender, I used a food processor. I used an immersion blender to mash the bananas because I like to get them really smooth. Below is my version of the recipe.

Chocolate Raisin Banana Bread
makes one loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2-3 ripe bananas – enough for 1 cup mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins

Lightly grease an 8×4-inch loaf pan and heat the oven to 350˚.

Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine. Cut the butter into half-inch chunks and add to the top of the dry ingredients. Mix with 6-10 short pulses, until the mixture is in coarse crumbs. Do not overmix.

Mash the bananas by hand or use an immersion blender – whatever is your favorite method. Make sure the bananas measure to about 1 cup when mashed. Add the eggs and mix in well.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients in a bowl and add the raisins. Mix only until blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350˚ for 55-60 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Chocolate Banana Raisin BreadThis dense, moist chocolate bread is delicious. It’s not overly sweet. The chocolate almost (but not quite) masks the bananas. I really liked the raisins. I really like this bread.

Breakfast though? Yeah, sometimes. It was also really good with vanilla ice cream and a little chocolate syrup for dessert. Yum any way or time you eat it!

250 Cookbooks: Bon Appétit Tastes of the World

Cookbook #123: Bon Appétit Tastes of the World, Bon Appetit, The Condé Nast Publications, Inc., NY, NY, 1996.

Tastes of the World CookbookThis little cookbook has lots of interesting ideas for spicing up my cooking. I am pretty surprised at this! It’s just one of those “free gifts” that one gets when they subscribe to a magazine. I covered another such Bon Appetit cookbook in a previous post and wasn’t impressed. But this one – almost every page has a recipe I could try.

I decide to make Paprika Pork Patties for this blog. A nice change on ordinary hamburgers! First, pork instead of beef. And then, bacon! Since my daughter is visiting I decide to splurge on some bacon calories. How can one go wrong? And then, lots of paprika. Finally, chopped sauerkraut is mixed into the patties. Nice for both moisture and taste. Here is the original recipe:

Paprika Pork PattiesPaprika Pork PattiesI can’t find hot Hungarian paprika so I substitute a little hot chile powder. (But next time I am at Savory Spice Shop in Boulder I will look for it because I am curious.) I decide to grill these because it’s summer and we have company and it’s nice being outside with lots for my toddler grandson to do (like chase bubbles!). Below is my version of the recipe.

Paprika Pork Patties
serves 3-4

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped drained sauerkraut
  • garnishes such as more sauerkraut, onions, roasted red peppers, pickles, mustard, whatever are your favorites

Set up a food processor. With the motor running, drop the garlic through the feed tube until it is minced. Then, add the bacon, water, paprika, chile powder, salt, pepper, and allspice and process until a thick paste forms. Turn off the processor, add the pork, then pulse a few quick times until all is combined.

Remove the pork-spice mixture from the processor and stir n the sauerkraut. Form into six patties.

Heat a grill and set to medium high. Cook patties about 4 minutes per side. (You can also cook these in a skillet on the stove top.)

pork patties on the grillServe on toasted rye bread with the garnishes of your choice.

pork patties on a bunThese were enjoyed by all! I will probably make them again, although I tried a pork sliders recipe a few weeks ago that my husband and I liked a little better.

bubbles

250 Cookbooks: Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens

Cookbook #122: Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens, Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, The Harvard Common Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 2006.

Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens CB I love this cookbook. Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens pulls me out of my cooking doldrums – I can’t count the times I have flipped through its pages for ideas. Such fresh tastes! “Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad with Steamed Baby New Potatoes and Anchovy Caper Vinaigrette” is one of our favorites. Fresh herbs and interesting spice combinations abound in most of the grilling recipes. Polenta, orzo, couscous, hearts of palm, jicama, fennel, capers, endives, hummus, curry . . . vegetarian, pork, beef, chicken . . . sandwiches, meats, salads . . . variety galore in this cookbook. I especially like the summer salad recipes. The only type of recipe I haven’t tried are the grill stir-fries.

Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens is also practical. I can easily find how to grill a pork tenderloin, for instance. It’s easy to mix and match ideas from different recipes. Instructions are always clear.

So this book’s a keeper!

Note that this cookbook was published in 2006. The authors, Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, are “The Barbecue Queens” (with the tiaras to prove it) and currently active in the commercial cooking community. Besides authoring numerous books, they have appeared on the Food Network, Better Homes and Gardens TV, PBS, and more. I plan to the BBQ Queens website for more grilling ideas.

I decide to make “Blackened Beef with Thai Chile Noodles, Mushrooms, and Baby Bok Choy” for this blog. Below is a scan of the recipe in spite of copyright issues (I think it’s okay) to show you the layout and style of this cookbook.

reciperecipeI’m going to vary this just a bit. For one, I think we want a little more meat. For three adults, I will use close to a pound of beef. The sirloin I have in the freezer is only about three quarters of an inch thick, but I’ll use it anyway. I want more garlic, but less hot chile.

I miss-read the recipe and added a couple drops of sesame oil to the noodles, and I liked it that way. When I served this, it begged for soy sauce, so we passed it at the table.

So. Below is my version (with a shortened title!).

Steak and Thai Noodles
serves 3-4

Noodles

  • 8 ounces Thai-style rice noodles, cooked
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • a few drops of chile oil (if you have it)
  • a few drops of (toasted) sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • part of a small chile (like a jalapeno), chopped fine – use an amount suitable to your personal taste
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped lightly

For the grill

  • sirloin steak, about 1 pound, thick-cut if possible
  • portobello mushrooms, about 4 large, stemmed and wiped clean
  • 4-6 baby bok choy (leave them whole)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • soy sauce (optional; pass at the table)

For the noodles, combine the oils, vinegar, herbs, garlic and chile for in a large bowl. Add the cooked noodles and toss. Sprinkle the peanuts on top. You can do this before you start grilling, if you wish.

Combine the vegetable oil with the sesame oil, brush some of this mixture on the mushrooms and bok choy, then on the meat. Salt and pepper everything.

Heat your grill (in your usual way) and then set the burners to medium high. Grill the steak over direct heat for 3-5 minutes per side, until medium-rare or medium, as per your own preference. At the same time, grill the mushrooms and bok choy over direct heat for about 2-3 minutes per side. As stated in the BBQ Queens original recipe, you grill: “until you have good grill marks and the vegetables have begun to soften.”

To serve, slice the steak and mushrooms into thin slices and the bok choy into bite size pieces and put on top of the noodles.

Serve! We liked a little soy sauce on top.

Here are my ingredients:

ingredientsAnd serving:

Beef Thai NoodlesThis was a definite hit and I will make it again!