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Thumbs Down for Vintage 7 Up Recipes

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7UP Recipes Fizzle Out

7Up Recipe FavoritesI bought a stack of old cookbooks at an estate sale the other day and was intrigued by a 7Up recipe booklet advertising all the ways cooking with 7UP can enhance your kitchen meals.  According to the uncola company,  7Up and food “just naturally go together.” So just how many ways could 7Up be used besides drinking? I knew citrus soda could  be used in baking biscuits and cakes but had never tried to cook with it.  So, against the protestations of my wife, I  decided to try some 7UP soda recipes from 1969.

I wanted to make an entire meal from 7 UP recipes but didn’t have enough time or pop after drinking it. So I settled on “Carrots Supreme” and a special fish sauce. The recipe for carrots supreme was pretty simple: carrots boiled in 2 cups of 7UP for an “unusual flair.”  The result was rather usual though: carrots that tasted like, well, just carrots. Perhaps I should have elevated myself to “sophisticated” beans instead.

7UP Food Recipes  7 Up Cooking Recipe with Vegetables7Up Recipe - Fish Sauce

Next came the fish. The sauce was supposed to be  served over fried fish fillets, but since I’m not allowed near hot oil after several culinary scars, and since I didn’t have a whole branzino to baste, I settled for cod fillets. The process of making the sauce not as simple as the instructions indicated. Mixing and boiling the ingredients took longer than desires, and the 7UP lost its fizzle when added to the hot butter and resulted in a bubbling brown sticky mess. On the plate it looked like the fish had sneezed from a bad cold.

In all, the results were less than sparkling fresh. The sugar in the 7UP masked any other flavors. Perhaps there was less sugar in the 60s version of the soda? (I asked 7Up but did not receive an answer).  My wife didn’t try to conceal her dislike of it. I continued to try the creations but after a few bites had to admit the “distinctly different” 7 UP recipes were rather lackluster. The results were not even worthy of display photos.

So whether you say soda, pop, or uncola soda, I wouldn’t recommend these  7UP recipes from the 60s or anytime.

 

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Cranberry Pie from Lincoln’s Kitchen

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Cranberry Pie

Cranberry Pie Slice

I’ve been working my way through food and time recently with the book, Abraham Lincoln in the KitchenLinconIt’s a biography of Lincoln through the view of food history. Each chapter includes period recipes updated for the modern kitchen.  So far I’ve made biscuits and almond cake.  This week I came across cranberry pie from Lincoln’s inaugural year. I decided to make it since kamikazi cranberries, leftovers of overly zealous holiday plans, have been leaping from the freezer onto the floor for the past weeks.

Most of us think of cranberry as a fruit that brightens the table on holidays in a relish. But with enough sugar the plucky fruit can be used like other berries to make a cranberry pie. The instructions called for fresh cranberries, but I just thawed the frozen ones instead. The recipe was simple: 2 cups diced cranberries and sugar (or 1:1 ratio if more) and a little flour and store-bought vanilla put into a latticed pie crust. I took the risk of dishonoring the culinary ancestors and used an Aldi pie crust instead of making my own.

The cranberry pie results were pleasing. My wife was dubious at first but agreed after one bite it was delicious. It was like a blueberry pie, but with a thicker texture and a tarter flavor. Still, two cups of sugar made it taste sweet enough. The lattice crust gave it enough pastry without masking the strong flavor of the berries. I served it with whipped cream on top; it would also be good with ice cream. Next time I may add a little orange zest to enhance the cranberry flavor even more.

 

Cranberry Pie Plate                                                                                                         The remains of the day

Through this I learned that cranberries can be more than a relish, and that many types of berries can be made into a pie. I also discovered that I am allergic to cranberries! :-p.  I had a piece at breakfast (fruit and starch make a complete meal, right?) and a slice at lunch. By dinner I had pretty pink circles and stripes all over. Didn’t know cranberries could even do that. Still, the pie was worth it.

Master of My Own Domain

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The Recipe Roadshow is up and running again, this time on its own domain: www.recipe-roadshow.com. New posts will be up there now but will also be posted on this page for a bit too.

I hope to see you there soon for more adventures in food!

Whipping It Up: My First Homemade Whipped Cream

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Getting Whipped Cream Right

Whipped Cream

I saw an ad one Thanksgiving that changed my life forever.  A woman stands looking at the dairy toppings and a worker comes up to her and asks if she wants oil or cream on pumpkin pie. Confused, the customer looks down and sees the signs for Cool Whip and Rite Whip. The worker reveals that Cool Whip contains hydrogenated oils; whereas, Reddi-Whip uses only cream. Wow. Who knew? From then on, I wanted only real cream on my pie.

As fun as real cream spray whip is I want the real thing. But it always seems so intimidating. The words “Beat until stiff peaks form” scare me. I want to run out of the room crying. Because no matter how hard I’ve tried, neither my eggs nor my cream ever ascend into heavenly white peaks. Like Helen of Troy or Don Quixote’s Dulcinea, they represent the perfect ideal, that unattainable and impossible dream.

The other day I decided once more to dream the impossible dream of homemade whipped cream. I had tried a few times before but always ended up staring down into a bowl of an uncertain gloppiness that, no matter how hard it was beaten, never lifts into peakdom.

This time I took some tips from my mother who has made about everything. First, I cleaned the bowl and the beaters very well; any speck could ruin it. And who wants to ruin a whole cup of heavy cream? Next I put the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes until it was sufficiently cold.

Then I took the bowl out and beat in the cream. The electric hand mixer made the process easier than last time when I tried to use a balloon whisk (a good workout but a bad way to raise cream). Even with the beaters it still took at least 5 minutes until I noticed the rotating circles of the beater started to slows down, and I saw that little clumps fall off the sides of the bowl. That’s when I realized dairy nirvana may be near. I kept the beaters in place and watched as ridges began to form in a slow-motion snowstorm. Could it be that the peaks were forming?

Firm Peaks - Homemade Whipped CreamThe directions said to beat until the cream held its own. Slowly, I took out the beaters and waited. The substance didn’t move. Was this it? I dipped in a spoon and tasted the substance. Sweet and fluffy and full bodied. I had just climbed up a small white Himalayan mountain and reached firm peaks!

                                                   peaks

While stiff peaks still lay ahead, at least I had now whipped part of my culinary fears into a puffy cloud of creamy goodness.

Junket Danish Dessert

A dollop of my fresh whipped cream and atop of the much-anticipated Danish Dessert.

 

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Custard’s Last Stand – Just Desserts

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Junket Custard Catalog – 1941

Tempting Nutritious Desserta - Junket 1942

If you didn’t read the the first post with fun pictures and recipes from the booklet, How to Make Tempting and Nutritious Desserts, then click here for the fun! Then proceed along the route to custard enlightenment.

The Junket Food diet continues with even more tempting and nutritious desserts.

Image (53) The milkshake pictures here start looking tempting, minus the yellow radiation in the pineapple shake. While many variations on the theme of homemade ice cream still provide deliciousness, some recipes just didn’t survive the next few decades. See Golden Glow Custard

I’m sorry, but I don’t like my desserts to glow. Orange light emanating from a bowl makes me feel like I’ve entered a plutonium-enhanced Halloween party. Plus, 7 Tbsp sugarDanish Dessert?!

The queen of curious desserts is the Danish Dessert.

The writing is in a Nordic text, so it must be authentically Danish. But was it a gelatin or pudding, or something new entirely?  I just had to know, so I ordered some from the Junket site, along with a chocolate ice cream mix and box of Rennet tablets.

Time to try the recipes. First up was the frozen vanilla custard. The modern and vintage recipe versions gave the same directions with a few exceptions:

1. The original recipe called for a freezing tray. I wasn’t sure what it was. According to the quaint domestic drawings it may have been part of an early electric refrigerator or icebox. So I just decided to use a small loaf pan.

2. The 1941 directions says to test the milk temperature by dropping it on to your wrist. But how do you know if it is “comfortably warm” or uncomfortable scalding? The latter could leave red spots on the wrist that may be difficult to explain to friends at work – did you get bit by a tarantula, or was it some rare disease? Mercifully, the current version just uses a food thermometer at 110 F.

3. The vintage recipe wanted you to whip the heavy cream and then add it to the mixture at the end. I managed that to some success. The modern version avoids all the mess; instead, it adds all the liquids directly into the initial mix that is beaten later.

After a relatively easy assembly and a firm beating, the concoction entered the freezer. After waiting impatiently for some time the frozen custard ice cream emerged from cryostasis. Would frozen custard still taste good after 74 years? Yes. Yes it did. The frozen delight felt like the texture of homemade ice cream. That is, not too firm or gloppy like the store-bought stuff, but with just enough creamy substance and sugar to make it pleasing to the taste buds.

Finally, I was going to satisfy my curiosity about the Danish Dessert. What was it and why did a whole country identify with it? I followed the package directions and boiled it like you would do with Jell-O. Only Junket Danish Dessert is thicker and the flavor is a little more tart and sweet. It can be used for pie filling but tastes delicious on its own with whipped cream.

DanishDessert

Whatever the year, Americans’ sweet teeth need to be satisfied. And some recipes, hidden from time in a yard sale box, still meet that tasty, tempting desire.

Find surviving vintage recipes for current Junket products at their site: www.junketdesserts.com

Artwork and recipes copyright 1941 by Junket Desserts, a RedCo Foods company. Used by permission.

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Battle of the Bread – Focaccia Style

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I know why pioneer women were so strong: they made a lot of bread. A couple weeks ago I took a try at making bread from scratch. My wife is normally the baker in the house. But she was overbaked from the holidays. So I decided to try my hand at making creating focaccia from my Top Chef University course (recommended program, review forthcoming).

The episode made it look rather simple. Of course, it skipped the hours of waiting and all the kneading. Part of that may be because the bread recipe called for a stand mixer. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one. So my hands would have to do.

My food processor and blade helped with the initial mixing and kneading of the dough. The instructions said to let is rest afterward, so I put it in the corner to rise (or is it raised, I can never remember?). When I took the dough out it looked like a puffy baby belly. I gently transferred it over to the counter for the next step. The instructions said next to knead for 10 minutes in a stand mixer, still conspicuously absent from our kitchen. So I guessed I’d just have to make us of mis manos. How hard could it be by hand?

It turned out to be harder than I thought. During those long ten minutes I talked to my wife, then to myself and ultimately to the dough. But after a while there was only so much the dough could say as it was rolled and flipped and rolled and flipped and rolled in so much repetition. After 5 minutes of the process my arms started to feel tired; after 10 min they were glad for a break. While the dough sat yet again, I sat too.

Who knew dough could be so “kneady”? As I looked at that  soft, sticky white lump of would-be bread I began to feel contempt for it. The blob just sat there in the corner as if to mock me. It didn’t want to be moved, and it wouldn’t until it was good and ready. And there was nothing I could do about it. In frustration I chastised it for its recalcitrance and stubbornness. How dare it balk before its baker!

Two hours later: It was finally time to teach that dumb dough a lesson.  The recipe said to punch, and so I did. I punched it down hard. Then I did it again and again. The pioneer women probably got out their frustration this way too. I can just imagine them punching out their anger over the dumb cows that ran away into the woods again. The dough continued to roll with the punches. After a while my frustration gave way to weariness. Would it ever end? All I knew was that this bread better be good, or else the neighbors were going to hear a long, loud roar.

Finally, the dough was ready to go into the pan. I filled the area with olive oil and began to stretch the bread, but it remained stubborn. I had to put down such rebellion once and for all. So I pushed and pulled until it stayed in place. The final recipe direction said to poke holes in the bread. Gladly. As it laid stretched out helpless on the pan I poked it and taunted it while I dug my fingers into its soft gooey spots and said, “See, who’s in the pan now, bubble boy? Yeah, that’s right. I own you bread!”

Twenty minutes late the focaccia emerged from the oven beautifully golden with a crisp and soft crust.

The bread battle was over. I had won. Victory was sweet (and savory).

Have you had any epic baking battles? Share them below.

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Eat Your Brain, Dear! or Meat, Your Friend

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Image (48).1
Today we’re throwing a bone to the past with a 1942 publication of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture meat manual.  At that time the American people were trying to live frugally after the Depression. The threat of war made it necessary to watch food consumption too. And most importantly, Americans needed sustainable nutrition. But the cost of meat meant it needed to be used thoroughly. So this pamphlet shows how to use each part of a cow.

Cooks then had the same concerns we do today: frugality. Meat doesn’t need to be expensive. It’s all in how you use it. Basically, meat cooked slowly in water or marinade produces tender savory results. Many slow cooker cookbooks attest to this. Bones can be used for stocks and soups. Leftovers can be made into a myriad of dishes. And even the hidden parts of a cow can be consumed. Well, supposedly.

Bu sometimes frugality extends a little too far. Thus, we end up with several, um, interesting recipes you won’t find at Applebee’s.

Spleen Stew                                                       Jellied Veal Salad
Image (56)Image (64)
Plus, there’s recipes for braised heart and stuffed liver. And in case you want a new twist on scrambled eggs, just try adding some  brains. “Come on kids, I have an extra special breakfast today!” ;-D  Talk about having your mind on food …

                                                               Scrambled Brains
Image (66)

Image (59)Now for a special treat, try to hold your tongue—with a fork. Cold sliced tongue…Mmmmm. I admit tongue is not my favorite. The rough texture makes it rather hard to chew. However, if it is sliced thin and fried with peppers and onions in a tortilla, it is tolerable in Mexican meals.

I experienced a close encounter of the other kind of meat once at a Vietnamese restaurant. I thought beef pho soup contained just broth with beef and noodles. But when it came I saw some floating spongy brown blocks. They tasted rubbery and strange. So dumb me asked what it was. The waitress paused a moments before saying, “I no know word. It in here,” at which point she pointed to her stomach. Apparently, only the Vietnamese characters explained the inclusion of tripe, beef intestines from the first two stomachs of a cow. After I heard where it came from I wasn’t too keen on finishing the dish. Now there was yet another unsettled stomach at the table.

However, these beefy insides won’t be appearing on my table anytime soon. To be fair, part of the reason is modern American taste prejudices. The national palette has been dumbed down to a bland blend of protein. Americans want simple meat: “white meat” chicken nuggets, 100% pure beef burgers, and taco meat. However, if you ever read the full packaging info on these items, you’ll realize we’ve been eating a lot more parts than we think! I remember being frozen in fear in the McDonald’s storage locker when I read the three inches of text for the the ingredients in chicken nuggets. I haven’t eaten them since. Granted, they claim to have changed their recipe, but still, I don’t trust them. (Watch chef Jamie Oliver show how chicken nuggets are made here.)

While these beef dishes don’t seem too delicious, they are likely nutritious. Still, I think I’ll stick to regular eggs and bacon for breakfast.

 

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