Friday, March 29, 2013

Retro Recipes

I have always been infatuated with the 50's and 60's. I love the TV shows, movies, clothes, etc. Since I have always loved to cook, it's only natural that I would eventually start tryig recipes that were popular during that era. Some of my inspirations came from TV shows, some from my parents talking about what their Mothers cooked back then. I was also given a copy of a family cookbook I put together for a woman when I was working in a print shop. It has many recipes from her mother, grandmother, aunts, and church ladies. It is a true treasure. One of my grandmothers was a fabulous cook, and though I learned a lot from watching her, the only recipe of hers I have is for her famous Clover Yeast Rolls. My mom has the actual hand-written recipe, on a yellowed index card with years of smudges, I hope to talk her into letting me frame it to hang in my kitchen.

I've always loved looking through my Mom's old Betty Crocker Cookbooks and I recently came across a stash of food ads from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Crazy stuff. My Dad remembers his Mom preparing a few of these things. We both agreed that most were too weird to even be considered, Tuna and Cottage Cheese Jello Mold, anyone? I've made two already, and when I searched the internet I found the blog of a woman who attempts many retro recipes. I had saved these recipes to make "eventually", but her reviews convinced me to go ahead and try them. You can find her blog at  I hope to make more of these recipes (if I think I can stomach them), and share the results here. Both recipes were very good. My husband really enjoyed both meals. I didn't have canned biscuits when I made the Western Ranch Dinner; so I just used my regular recipe, and it was delicious.

So far I have made :
I forgot to take pictures of the Western Ranch Dinner, but I did get a picture of the Dude Ranch Beans. My 19 month old son really enjoyed them and even went back for seconds on his own. I didn't have baked beans, so I used a can of black beans and added some BBQ sauce, ketchup, a little pepper and chili powder. With all of the substitutions I make I guess what I have been making are technically "Retro-Inspired" recipes; since I don't normally purchase convenience foods, which is what most of these recipes call for. I didn't want to waste time threading the skewers either, so I just tossed everything on top of the beans prior to baking. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bread Pudding

I fell in love with bread pudding as a teenager when my Mom and I shared some for dessert at Mimi's Cafe. I had never made it myself until recently for a church potluck. For something so good, it is really easy to make. Mimi's drizzles theirs with a rum sauce, but I made a vanilla sauce since I was taking it to church. It is an excellent dessert and it would be delicious for a brunch as well.


1 loaf French bread (cut into 1" cubes)
½ cup Raisins (soak ½ hour in
warm water and drain)
1 pinch Nutmeg
¼ lb. Butter (melted)
¼ cup Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 cupsHalf & Half
4 Eggs (beaten)

Fill a 9"x 9"x 2-½" baking pan with the bread cubes and sprinkle the raisins on top. Whisk the remaining ingredients together to make a batter, pour over the top of the bread and stir lightly. Allow the bread to soak for 30 mintues. The pan will be very full. Bake in a 325° oven for about 40 minutes, until the pudding is golden brown and puffed up around the edges. The center should be "set" but still a little soft.

Vanilla Sauce:
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch salt
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine sugar and cornstarch, blend well. Add sugar and cornstarch mixture to boiling water; reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla, and salt, stirring until butter is melted. Spoon over dessert.
Makes 3/4 cup.