Vintage Recipe: Slovak Easter Memories

There are many things that come to mind as a child growing up in a Slovak family, but one of the best memories is Easter. The magical eerie evening church service on Holy Saturday and the blessing of the Easter baskets in the church basement on early Easter morning will always be my fondest memories.   I will never forget the smells of all the delicious meats, eggs, breads and desserts that came in round wooden baskets covered with embroidered Easter linens. It was a truly an amazing experience with both the church service and with the food.

I wanted to share with you two easy staple recipies that I make every year for Easter. I will admit, you have to acquire a taste for these dishes.  They are called Hrudka (Easter Cheese) and Beets & Horseradish (help me Slovak peeps on the name). These recipies are taken from my old church the St. John The Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church Cookbook circa 1982.  Here’s a copy of the cover and the actual recipies.

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Let’s start with the Hrudka.  (Online it shows Hrudka the cookbook shows Hrutka). If you follow the original recipe you will get a large amount of cheese.  It’s perfect for a larger family likes it. However, I cannot eat that much.  I cut the recipe in half.  This will still last about a week.

Start by creating a double boiler and add your milk and eggs and mix well.

image I like to add a pinch of nutmeg and a splash of vanilla for extra flavor. You want to constantly mix to prevent sticking, and after many minutes you will notice large curds start forming.  I continue to stir until the milk turns watery and you have a scrambled egg consistency.

imageThis is where you pour the mixture into a colander lined with cheesecloth.

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Roll tightly and hang to drip dry until juices stop dripping.

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Once all liquid is removed, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and keep stored in the refrigerator. This is served cold in small slices.  This goes great with ham and beets and horseradish ofcourse.

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Now onto the Beets and Horseradish. The traditional recipe uses fresh beets and fresh horseradish.  You have to grate the beets and grate the horseradish and by the time you’re done, it looks like a crime scene in your kitchen.  I did it once and said… NEVER again, so I now take the easier route…..food processor!  I use canned beets as you already have the juice, if you use fresh beets- you’ll need to cook them and grate them and add additional liquid.  (Have fun with that)

Place the juice from the beets into a saucepan and add your salt, sugar and vinegar.  This is all your personal taste, if you like a sweet brine add more sugar, if you like it tart add more vinegar- it’s your personal taste. Bring to a simmer to melt sugar.

imageAdd your beets to the processor and do a quick chop.

image.jpegPlace beets into a non-reactive bowl and add your horseradish.  Once again this is your preference, but I would say atleast 1-2 teaspoons. I like it hot so I do a heaping tablespoon. Add enough brine to the chopped beets and horseradish to just about cover.  You don’t want to create a soup you want just enough liquid to make a nice relish. Adjust your seasonings as needed.  Wrap with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.  This is best to be made the day before to allow flavors to combine.

imageThis is also served cold and goes great with ham and with the Hrudka and also kielbasa.

These two simple recipies really brings great memories of Easter dinner back in Pennsylvania. I hope you enjoy.

Vintage Recipe: Better Homes And Gardens Chicken Divan

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This is from the Better Homes and Gardens Chicken and Turkey cookbook. My mom made a similar recipe back in the day, so I’m excited to try this one.  I’m going to try to stick to the actual recipe, but may make some small modifications.  Here’s the recipe from the actual cookbook.

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I diced a large chicken breast and cooked it to brown.

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I arranged chicken with sauce cheese and broccoli.

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Added whipped cream, mayonnaise, cheese and paprika and put under the broiler.  This was the end product.

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The Verdict:

The good:  Flavors are ok, was easy to prepare.

The bad:  Very casserole like, nothing spectacular, hard to make a good plate presentation

Overall score:  ⭐️⭐️

 

Vintage Recipe 1977: Better Homes and Gardens- Sukiyaki

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Sukiyaki.  I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever had it.  I love all types of Asian inspired foods,  so I’m not sure how or why I missed this.  I do love Sukiyaki the cover song in 1980 by The Taste Of Honey, but let me get back on track.

This recipe is featured in the Better Homes and Garden- Oriental cookbook circa 1977.

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Here’s the actual recipe from the cookbook.

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Ok… Let’s have some fun!  I’m going to start by partially freezing the top round steak. I’m thinking 30 minutes to 1 hour should be good.

While freezing the meat I chopped all the vegetables.

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After 40 minutes meat is frozen enough to cut.  Lets start cooking!

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Beef bouillon, sugar and soy sauce….done!

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Sautéed bok choy, green onion and celery….done!

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Next sautéed tofu, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Combined all vegetables and meat and poured in sauce and cooked for 2 minutes.  Served with rice.

The Verdict:

The good:  Crunchy vegetables, tender meat, good with rice, good basic seasoning.

The bad: Needs additional seasoning to enhance flavors, not very authentic.

Total rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Enjoy!

 

Vintage Recipe: Better Homes And Gardens- Chicken Croquettes

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A great suggestion was given to me by my friend Brian, he stated that I should start featuring recipes from the vintage cookbooks that I’m starting to collect.  (Duh…. Why didn’t I think of that?!?!). So, here’s my first one.  Chicken Croquettes!  While I was visiting Pennsylvania, my sister and her husband took me to a local diner that served chicken croquettes.  I was telling her, I haven’t croquettes in probably 20 years- no joke!  So I ordered them, they were juicy and crunchy and what I remembered.  So, I thought selecting this recipe would be a fun way to start. This recipe is from The Better Homes and Gardens series book titled, “Chicken and Turkey Cookbook” from 1976.

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These are oven baked croquettes, so they will be a little healthier and less messy.  I am going to try to stay as close to the original recipe, making small changes as needed.  I never made croquettes or made anything from this cookbook… So hold on…here we go!

Here’s the complete recipe from the book:

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I had some chicken legs, thighs and a breast.  I removed the meat from the bones and put in a food processor and made my own ground chicken. It’s about two cups.

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I melted the butter, added the flour and mixed in the milk, chicken broth and brought to a boil.imageNext I added the ground chicken, parsley, rosemary and salt and mixed well. (Lawdy!!! This isn’t pretty….. atleast it smells good)

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I covered and placed in the fridge to “chill for several hours”. Next we move onto making the croquettes.  I’m struggling with the instructions here as my gut is telling me that this is going to be a mess.  I understand we need to make breadcrumbs, but cutting them into 1/2″ cubes?!!?  I’m picturing rolling these things in that boxed cubed stuffing mix and they’re going to come out looking like some target that should be shot at in a 1980’s video game.  I can’t do cubes- I just can’t- we’re doing breadcrumbs.

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Now to make the cranberry-claret sauce.  I will admit I have no clue what the heck claret is.  So- off to Google I go.  (I guess I should have stayed in the vintage era and pulled out a  Encyclopedia Brittanica-nah I’m good.)

According to Wikipedia, Claret is a red wine from the region of Bordeaux, France.  I’m certainly not heading out to pick up a Bordeaux after all we’re using canned cranberry sauce for goodness sake- so red wine it is!

I mixed the cranberry sauce with the red wine and slowly heated.  (reserving a glass of red wine for the chef.)

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I also included a “Corn in Tomato Cup” salad in the picture and rice pilaf.  The corn in tomato cups recipe is from the the Better Homes and Gardens- Lunches and Brunches cookbook.  This recipe makes 8 tomato cups, but I think one will be sufficient.  If you’re interested in this salad recipe, please reply to this post and I’ll provide it to you.

The Verdict:

The Good: The taste is actually pretty good, the cranberry claret sauce works well with the croquette.  The corn in a tomato cup although odd in appearance is actually tasty.

The Bad:  I was hoping for more of a rounded croquette, this reminds me of a crab cake.  Maybe the bread cubes might have made a difference, but I don’t think so.  Presentation leaves much to be desired. 30 minutes is not enough time to cook or brown the croquettes- minimum 45+.

The Ugly:  Very mushy when rolling the croquettes in the breadcrumbs  I gave up using the egg after the first few as it was too mushy.  It’s like rolling paper mache into a ball.  Thank goodness I saved a glass of “claret” for the chef.

This could be a good recipe with a few more modifications.  Will I try it again- possibly.

Enjoy!

 

Spicy Orange Beef Stir Fry

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Whats for dinner? BEEF! With an Asian flare!  Who doesn’t love a sticky, saucy stir fry with veggies and rice?  Here’s my version of orange beef stir fry blending multiple recipes and adding my own touch.  Here’s what you’re going to need.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sirloin or flank steak
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup fresh green bell pepper
  • 3-4 green onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 Thai red peppers or 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasame oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Seasame seeds

Start by slicing your beef against the grain in thin 1/2″ strips.  Diagonally cut your green onions and bell pepper into strips.  Cut your broccoli into florets and mince your garlic.  You should have something that looks like this.

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Combine your beef and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix to coat.  Beat two eggs in a separate bowl and set aside. Place one tablespoon of olive oil into a hot pan and sauté the red peppers or pepper flakes, garlic for 2-3 minutes and fragrant, add the orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce and water mix well and bring to a slight boil for 2-3 minutes, set aside and keep warm.

Dredge steak in cornstarch and flour mixture and dip into the beaten eggs.  Let excess drip off and place into a heated pan with butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Work in batches to crisp and brown.  Remove from heat and keep warm.

In the same pan add 1 teaspoon seasame oil and 2 tablespoons olive oil  and sauté the broccoli and green peppers until slightly tender (not mushy) add green onions and sauté for another 2 minutes.  (Note: I add a couple tablespoons of water to help the sauté process)

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Place beef back in the pan with the veggies and add the orange sauce and bring to a boil.  If you want a thicker sauce, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water and add to the sauce and continue to cook until thick.  Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds.

Spicy Orange Beef Stir Fry

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
* 1 pound sirloin or flank steak
* 1 cup orange juice
* 1 cup fresh broccoli
* 1 cup fresh green bell pepper
* 3-4 green onions
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 2-3 Thai red peppers or 1/2 red pepper flakes
* 2 eggs beaten
* 1/2 cup of water
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 teaspoon seasame oil
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 4 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons brown sugar
* Seasame seeds

Start by slicing your beef against the grain in thin 1/2″ strips.  Diagonally cut your green onions and bell pepper into strips.  Cut your broccoli into florets and mince your garlic.  You should have something that looks like this.

Combine your beef and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix to coat.  Beat two eggs in a separate bowl and set aside. Place one tablespoon of olive oil into a hot pan and sauté the red peppers or pepper flakes, garlic for 1 minute, add the orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce and water mix well and bring to a slight boil for 2-3 minutes, set aside and keep warm.
Dredge steak in cornstarch and flour mixture and dip into the beaten eggs.  Let excess drip off and place into a heated pan with butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Work in batches to crisp and brown.  Remove from heat and keep warm.
In the same pan add 1 teaspoon seasame oil and 2 tablespoons olive oil  and cover/sauté the broccoli and green peppers until slightly tender (not mushy) add green onions and sauté for another 2 minutes.  (Note: I add a couple tablespoons of water to help the sauté process) Place beef back in the pan with the veggies and add the orange sauce and bring to a boil.  If you want a thicker sauce, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water and add to the sauce and continue to cook until thick.  Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

The Thrift Store Collector                                        https://thethriftstorecollector.wordpress.com

 

Cheinco Spice Of Life Breadbox

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During my visit to Pennsylvania, my sister and I hit some of the local thrift stores in the Harrisburg area.  We uncovered a new store that my sister never visited before.  Located beside a car wash and tucked behind a back corner of a small strip mall was this incredible store. (I’ll let my sister chime in on the name) What made this store so special was it had a feel of an antique store but had amazing thrift store prices. The staff was very friendly and I could’ve spent hours looking at all the items they had there.  Located on the second floor in an area with a ton of cool Pyrex items was this Cheinco Spice of Life breadbox.

Cheinco (known as the J. Chein company and pronounced “chain-co”) started out in 1903 in New York City.  They produced small tin toys for Cracker Jack boxes and toys for five and dime stores.  Cheinco also manufactured comic toy characters (Popeye, Felix and Disney characters) and tin advertising logos for major companies such as Coca-Cola.  In the 1940’s they aided in the war effort by producing nosecones and tails for bombs.  During the 1950’s they migrated into producing metal canisters, cake and cookie tins and of course breadboxes.  The toy division at Cheinco was discontinued in the mid 1960’s and they continued to produce housewares until the late 1980’s.

This breadbox was purchased for $10.00 and retails online for around $25.00. It’s another one of the accessory products that enhances the Corningware Spice of Life line.

For me to complete the Cheinco Spice of Life tin canister series, I’ll need to find the flour, sugar, coffee and tea canisters all with the brown lids (not yellow).  No problem there…. Sigh…..

For more information on the J. Chein Company legacy, p;was visit the Wikipedia article  J. Chein Company

Shop.Collect.Enjoy!