Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Southern Cucumber Salad Relish


In the vintage era a relish was any kind of side item with a sour or sour sweet taste.  This term usually applied to pickles, chutney, piccalilli, etc.  We have changed the meaning in the modern era to mean chopped pickles added to hot dogs or various salads.  It was not uncommon to have a dill pickle with dinner as such practices were thought to aid in digestion which has some foundation in fact if the pickles are lacto fermented.  In this case I am sharing a family recipe for Cucumber Salad, a dish most often served with pork but I eat it with just about anything (ok not ice cream).  It's simple to make and tastes better the day after it's made so the flavors can meld together.  The last time I made it I stuck with organic cucumbers and it just tasted divine.  You don't need to use any special vinegar with it, just plain white vinegar will do fine.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Country Captain Southern Chicken Curry


I chose a rather laborious title for this post because most people don't know the Americanized version of chicken curry is rightfully called Country Captain Chicken.  Now the origins of this dish are veiled in the mists of time as it has been around since before the Civil War and quite a few towns make claim to Country Captain as being "their" dish.  After looking at literally dozens of recipes dating from now all the way back to 1822 I can say with a high amount of confidence that this dish is a New Orleans Creole recipe.  You can usually tell the background of a recipe by it's base ingredients and Creole cooking is one of the easier ones to spot as almost all dishes start with at least 2 of the "Trinity", bell peppers, onions and celery.  These ingredients showed up time and again in each recipe I looked at, albeit with some variations as time went forward.  I picked a recipe that was simple and stayed close to the original in terms of ingredients and flavor.

Friday, August 9, 2013

1950's "Church" Banana Bread


I admit I always hated banana bread with a passion.  The dense, door stop quality, pudding consistency breads of my youth were just over the top with banana flavor and nothing else.  Coupled with an evil tendency to flare up my heartburn I soon shied away from banana bread for good.  You can imagine my discomfiture the other day when my wife said "Let's make banana bread".  "Yeah sure, I'll make it but you can eat it, I hate the stuff."  So as with anything else my wife suggests to eat I immediately spring into action with a search for a vintage recipe.  The only problem is there is no vintage recipe for banana bread.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Maryland Zucchini Crabcakes


When times were tough and you couldn't afford to buy crab meat this neat little recipe stood in for the Authentic Crab Cake.  They are delicious in their own right and would probably fool someone who wasn't a native Marylander but since I'm from Baltimore I can say they don't fool me.  Don't let this dissuade you from trying them though as it's a great new way to use zucchini.  You will have to shred the zucchini and place in a towel 1 cup and time.  Fold the towel and make a ball squeezing very tightly to get out as much water as possible.  If you skimp in this step your crabcakes will come out too damp.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Holladaise Sauce and Her Daughters


I wrote about Mother Bechamel and her Daughters some time ago and promised to pass along a recipe for Hollandaise Sauce in due time as it is a mother sauce in and of itself.  I finally had the opportunity to make Hollandaise the other day when I made a rather rich dinner of Eggplant Creole topped with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.  To tell you the truth I don't really recommend the combination as the relatively light flavor of the sauce was drowned out by the heavier flavor of the eggplant creole.  However if you get back to basics and use the Hollandaise for such things as dressing aspargus or steamed cauliflower or the legendary eggs benedict then you will see the flavor of the sauce shine through into the whole dish not dominating or being dominated in turn.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ad: Hires Root Beer

1931 Hires Root Beer

Does anyone else like Root Beer?  I know I do, along with it's distinguished brother Birch Beer and it's back of the woods cousin Sarsaparilla.  I suppose you could argue that Moxie is a part of the family, although Moxie's main taste is Gentian, the same herb they put into Peychauld's Bitters, used in the Sazerac Cocktail.  But all that is for another time as I'm going to concentrate on the Hires ad above.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Vintage Cleaning

 How do you clean your home in a safe, effective and green way?  I found out long ago that buying all those expensive cleaning agents is a waste of time and money.  Besides being no more effective than what our parents used, they are harmful to your health and the environment.  For just a few dollars cost you can acquire some things that will make any cleanser you would ever wish for.  So here's what you need:

Baking Soda
Washing Soda
Borax
Fels Naptha Soap
Kosher Salt
White Vinegar

There, that's no so hard is it?  Chances are you have a few of the items around the house right now.  you can replace Windex, tile cleaner and counter top spray by mixing Vinegar 50-50 with water in a spray bottle.  Use it as you would and counter top cleaner or window cleaner.  It leaves mirrors sparkling especially when you use newspaper to wipe with instead of paper towels.  Tile can be cleaned with a paste made of baking soda and some water.  For general cleaning dissolve a couple tablespoons borax in 2 quarts hot water and wipe down the surfaces to be cleaned.  To sanitize and deodorize sink disposals pour in 1/2 cup borax and let sit an hour.  Turn on the disposal and rinse with hot water.  Add some borax and washing soda to laundry to make your detergent more effective or better yet make your own laundry detergent for just pennies per load (more on that in another article).  A mixture of salt and vinegar into a paste will shine most metals.  To clean drains of soap scum pour in some washing soda and little hot water.  Let sit for 15 mins then flush well with hot water.  Have a steam mop?  mix in some vinegar with the water at the ratio of 25:75 (vinegar:water) to get your floors sparkling clean.  Don't mind the vinegar smell as you're mopping, it quickly dissipates and deodorizes the air.

I've given you just a few of the ways I use these "Vintage" products around my home.  The total savings is around $200/yr in cleaning products, much more if you make your own laundry detergent.


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