Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Italian-American Meatballs, From a 1940's Recipe

There are as many "authentic" Italian meatball recipes on the web as there are stars in the sky with each chef making slight changes to their recipe to differentiate it from the others.  Of course my recipe dips back into the hallowed mists of antiquity to come up with something that an Italian would be proud to claim as their own.  Italian food was introduced into the US during the 1890's during the great wave of immigration from Europe.  It really didn't come into it's own though until the depression era when "Italian" food usually meant spaghetti with ketchup or some thin sauce and meat when it was affordable.  This recipe is adapted from "The St. Mary's Square Cookbook", St. Michaels, Maryland.  It was printed in 1966 but the recipes are older having been treasured family heirlooms shared with the museum to help in the restoration of the little old house built c.1700.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine...

I love Florida.  While the rest of the country is stuck in freezing temperatures, the first indications of spring are here in Jacksonville.  The robins have returned along with other migratory birds and the lawn needs mowing for the first time this year.  On the other hand it's a harbinger of things to come, sweltering in the heat when it's 90+ degrees outside and dripping with humidity.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Manila Bell Telephone

Bell Telephone Manila c.1940

I'm not really sure about the time period of this ad, but I'm guessing 1940 from the hat she's wearing and the cut of his double breasted suit.  Ugh!  Double Breasted in the heat of Manila?  Even if it's made of linen (highly likely back then) it would still be unbearable in the heat and humidity.  Honestly, I don't think her outfit is any cooler wearing either.  I simply love 40's fashions (and 30's and 20's) but I am glad some things have changed over the years.  The same outfits they are wearing would have been worn in Miami... in the Summertime.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Glazed Pork Chops and Onions

This is a nifty little recipe that comes by way of an obscure cookbook printed by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in the 60's.  It was put together from submissions by Marylanders who sent in their cherished family recipes which have to date back farther than the 1960's.  This recipe serves as a reminder that there are more ways to cook onions than mere frying.  It was often popular in the vintage era to pre-boil onions then roast them in the oven.  This serves to bring out the sweetness of the onion especially with Bermuda Onions.  I've learned a couple of things from this recipe especially the nature of Bermuda Onions which are extremely hard to find in the States these days having been displaced by Granax variety onions grown in Vidalia, Ga., Walla-walla, Wa., Maui, etc.  Organic red (Spanish) onions are the same thing as the old Bermuda onions and readily substitute in any recipe calling for Bermuda Onions.  Another thing I learned was about onion sizes.  Onions as sold in stores currently are super jumbo sized compared to what was available in the vintage era.  It is best summed up this way: Small onion - 2oz, medium onion - 4oz, large onion - 8oz.  Most of the onions I test weighed at work today ran from 3/4 to a whole pound which is great if a recipe calls for 2 large onions diced, sliced, julienned or what have you but not so great when you need them whole.  I did manage to find 2, 1/2 pound organic red onions that worked perfectly in this recipe.  The sauce is interesting but mixes with the onion juice to taste oh so divine in the end.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Business Cards For the Blog

A short time ago... well not that short, it was December, I took a chance and bought some business cards for the blog from a website that specializes in online business card printing.  I did this because since I started working full time, I have been finding it increasingly hard to find time to cook vintage meals and even worse to write on the blog.  I went the month of January with getting 1 day off a week and that one day soon becomes errand day as all the chores you couldn't get done whilst working pile up to bite you on the bippy on your day off.  Back to the matter at hand, the business cards.  I work at an upscale grocer in the produce department and since we sell a large number of organic items I always get questions from customers about organic.  Also we are encouraged to share recipes with our customers so what better way to do both than through handing out business cards.  Most days I get the chance to hand out 1 or 2 and I can never know if anyone I gave a card to actually visits the blog, but maybe, just maybe, it will help to get the word out and slowly increase my pageviews per day to that 340 a day you need to be considered desirable by advertisers.  Yes, I do this because I love it, but if I make some money off of it that helps to offset the cost of supplies for the vintage recipes.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sunday Stealing - The Star Blazers MEME

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing which originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. Here we will steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent memes. You may have heard of the expression, “honor amongst thieves”. In that age-old tradition, we also have our rules. First, we always credit the blog that we stole it from and we will “fess up” to the blog owner where we stole the meme. We also provide a link to the victim's post. (It's our way of saying "Thanks!") We do sometimes edit the original meme, usually to make it more relevant to our global players, to challenge our players, sometimes to select that meme's best questions, or simply to make it less repetitive from either this new meme or recently asked questions from a prior featured meme. Note: this week we notified or victim of the theft via private message within zetaboards. Let's go!!!

Today we ripped off a writer named
martin hanaka from the group zetaboards. It is 50 questions we will do it in 2.5 parts,  She does not say who she got it fromBut, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday 

Sunday Stealing: The Basically Obscure Meme-Part 2

21: Would you swear in front of your parents
22: Which continents have you been on?
       North America, Asia, Europe
23: Do you get motion sickness? Any horror stories?
24: Why did you name your blog whatever you named your blog?
       It came to me in a dream I tells ya!
25: Would you wear a rainbow jacket? A neon yellow sweater? Checkered pants?
       Is this 1982?

26: What was your favorite cartoon growing up? Post a picture if you can.
       Star Blazers
27: In a past life I must have been a...
      A Gangster
28: If you had to look at one city skyline for the rest of your life, which would it be?
      Jacksonville, Fl
29: Longest plane ride you've ever been on?
      Vancouver, BC to Hong Kong
30: The longest you've ever slept?
      8 hours?
31: Would you buy a sweater covered in kitten pictures? Would you wear it if someone gave it you for free?
       No and only as a last resort
32: Do you pluck your eyebrows?
       No I'm genetically advanced from cavemen
33: Favorite kind of bean? Kidney? Black? Pinto?
       Garbanzo Beans actually
34: How far can you throw a baseball?
       Not far enough...
35: If you had to move to another country, where would you move?
       The Philippines, I lived there for 3 years, at least I know what I'm getting myself into...
36: Have you ever eaten Ethiopian food? Vietnamese? Korean? Nepalese? How was it?
      Do Ethiopians have food?  I thought they were perpetually starving.  Yes, yes, no on the other 3.  All were good, I'm rather adventurous when it comes to food, ever eaten balut?  I have.
37: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
      None, because your argument is invalid a woodchuck can't chuck wood...

The Myth of the GMO PLU Code

Remember this picture?  There are others like it but they all stay the same thing, that you can walk into a grocery store and pick out GMO produce by the 5 digit PLU code beginning with an 8.  I fell for it myself but after working in the produce department of an upscale grocery chain I've learned alot of things I didn't know before and squashed some things I thought I knew as fact.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ukrainian Borscht (or Borshch)

This recipe comes by way of much historical and ethnic research and putting together a recipe.  Much like General Tso's Chicken is indicative of Hunan Cuisine, this recipe is meant to savor the multitudinous flavors of the many ways of making Ukrainian Borscht.  In essence, borscht served hot is a winter dish made primarily of root vegetables that would have kept over a long winter.  The soup itself is amazingly healthy as it is full of many immune system vitamins and minerals that the body needs to fight off infection (move over chicken soup, I have something better).  This is not a slapdash, quick and easy recipe, it's a labor of love taking time to be made right, but the end result is well worth the effort spent making it.  Your yield will be about 8qts of soup.  I froze half of mine for later and ate the other half now (and shared with friends).  Get organic ingredients as much as you can as the taste is well worth it.  I've tailored this ingredients list for shopping at The Fresh Market.

Ukrainian Borscht

2lbs Beef Short Ribs
3L Water
2tsp Real Salt (Redmond's)
1 Bunch Organic Carrots w/ tops
1 Celery Root
1 Small onion and 2 large onions
8-10 Whole Allspice berries
8 Whole Cloves
3lbs whole organic beets
2T unsalted Kerrygold Butter
1lb Organic Turnips
1 1/2lbs Organic Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes
1tsp pepper
2T Tomato Paste
8 Cloves Organic Garlic
1T Lemon Juice
Sour Cream
Organic Fresh Dill

Prepare your celery root by washing it then peeling off the skin.  Cut off a 1/2" thick round and set aside.  Wrap remaining root and place in fridge for later. Remove tops from carrots and set aside along with one whole carrot, scraped clean. Take your small onion, unpeeled and stud it with 8 whole cloves.  In 8qt Stockpot bring water, salt and beef to a simmering boil.  Strain off foam until it stops rising to the surface. Add your piece of celery root, clove onion, carrot, allspice berries and carrot tops to pot and simmer 2 hours until meat is very tender.  Remove meat taking out bones and chopping beef fine, strain broth (it will have reduced by 1/3) and set aside.  While meat is simmering, take your beets, scrub them and wrap individually in Aluminum Foil.  Place in 400 deg oven and roast 1 hour until beets are slightly tender.  Remove and let cool. To prep the rest of the ingredients, peel your turnip and 2-3 carrots, the rest of the celery root and dice.  Peel your cooled beets and grate on the large side of a box grater and set aside.  Take the pot the meat was cooked in rinse out and set back on med-high stove until dry then add butter.  Chop your 2 large onions into rough pieces and cook in pot 5 mins stirring often.  Add in diced turnip, carrots and celery root and cook 3 mins until soft.  Add reserved stock, shredded beets, beef, pepper, potatoes, garlic cloves and tomato paste and simmer on low heat until potatoes are cooked through.  Add lemon juice and taste, you want a balance of sweet and sour so add more lemon juice if necessary.  Turn off heat and serve with sour cream garnished with finely chopped dill.

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