Monday, December 14, 2009

Old Fashioned Holiday Recipes

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ~Washington Irving

Today I have some fun recipes from the Practical Recipes for the Housewife book published by the Detroit Times in 1934. I know some of you wondered if it was still available in print. I always watch ebay for vintage cookbooks, as well as used book sources online such as the sellers on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Offline I also always check thrift stores and church sales. If you have time for auctions there are many good deals at those too. As far as I know the book was never reprinted.

The recipes below are for beverages.

Frosted Russian Chocolate

2 cups strong boiling black coffee
2 ounces chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups scalded milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
grated nutmeg

Dissolve cornstarch in coffee and cook in double boiler with coffee, chocolate, spices and sugar. Then add milk to this thickened liquid. Stir well and boil for one quarter hour. Serve chilled with some cracked ice in tall glasses.

Mint Squash

Four sprigs of mint
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Cold water
ginger ale

Bruise all but tip of one sprig of mint in a glass. Add strips of lemon rind, juice of the lemon, sugar and chill. When ready to serve, fill glasses with ice cubes, pour over ginger ale and serve with a sprig of mint on top of ice.

The following recipes are dainty and can be used for afternoon tea or open houses.

Chicken and Pineapple Sandwiches

1 cup canned crushed pineapple
1 cup chopped cooked or canned chicken
2 loaves white bread
1/2 pound walnut meats
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Drain pineapple, and mix with the chopped chicken and mayonnaise. Spread between buttered slices of white bread. Cut each sandwich into quarters diagonally, forming triangles. This recipe makes 50 sandwiches.

Orange Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Mix one package of cream cheese with one teaspoon of grated orange rind, and add enough orange juice to spread. Use as a filling for very thin sandwiches of white or whole wheat bread, cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.

I have one last recipe for an interesting salad.

Pomegranate Salad

6 canned pear halves
1/3 cup pecan meats, chopped
pomegranate seeds
2 packages cream cheese
cream mayonnaise

Arrange crisp lettuce leaves on individual salad plates. Place half a canned pear on each plate. Mix cream cheese and chopped nuts, form into balls. Place one ball into the center of pear. Place a few sprigs of watercress at the blossom end of each pear. Serve with cream mayonnaise sprinkled lightly with pomegranate seeds. Serves 6.

I hope you enjoy the recipes!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Roses in Winter

No peevish winter wind shall chill, no sullen tropic sun shall wither the roses in the rose-garden, which is ours and ours only. ~T.S. Eliot

I have a question from a reader to answer today, plus I added a few tips on using roses and rose hips during the holidays. Last week we had a blizzard, then ice and sleet. I certainly hope our weather cooperates this week! The snow is beautiful, as long as I don't have to drive on it. Stay warm and safe this week as you finish your holiday preparations.

My wedding is in a year and I was wanting to use red rose petals that guests could eat. They will be used on a wedding cake.What would you recommend? ~Tina

First, the roses HAVE to be untreated in any way to be used as food. The best ones to use are your own, so you know they've been grown organically. If you can't do that, then check with local florists. You can use fresh whole roses, rose buds or petals on the cake as long as they are safe to eat. They will need to be as fresh as possible and kept chilled until the reception. Place them on the cake at the last minute, unless you could keep the entire cake chilled with the roses already on the cake. You can Royal or Butter cream icing to attach the flowers.

As an alternative you could crystallize the rose petals. There is information on that process here:

Christmas & Winter Arrangements

As long as we are on the subject of flowers I thought I would toss out some ideas for using plants and flowers during the holiday season.

Rose hips can be used in centerpieces and flower arrangements. They can be ordered from florists or found on your own rose bushes. You can also look for wild rose hips, but those are usually quite a bit smaller. Combine them still on the branch with greens for a rustic look or place them in bowls mixed with other natural items.

Roses are always beautiful any time of year. For the holidays try combining roses with greens in a holiday themed bowl for a pretty centerpiece. If you have a holiday teapot you can cut the roses and combine with greens for another charming centerpiece.

On OFL we have an article on using rose hips: