Corn Dodgers Recipe

by Sandra Merville Hart

I recently read On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her family moved to Minnesota when she was seven and first stayed in a sod house built into the creek bank. The details of everyday life in the 1870s fascinated me.

The Ingalls family was very poor and often ate corn dodgers. In fact, the author mentioned them so often that I searched for a recipe.

As I suspected, they are similar—yet different—to corn muffins. These are baked on a cookie sheet in mounds.

I had some coarse ground cornmeal that I used to make this recipe, which I believe is more authentic to the times than the finely ground cornmeal we all know.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together 2 cups cornmeal, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of lard (I used vegetable shortening.)

Pour 2 cups of boiling water into the cornmeal mixture and stir well. The batter is thick but if you have trouble stirring it, add a little more water.

Prepare a cookie sheet, well-greased with shortening or butter or use cooking spray.

Scoop the batter into mounds on the cookie sheet. The center of the dodgers is “quite high.”

I used 1/3 cup of batter for each one to make 6 dodgers.

Bake about 25 minutes until lightly browned.

I really liked these dodgers. They’re heartier than corn muffins and more filling. We ate them as a side with soup for supper. It was a nice change from cornbread and biscuits.

These took only about five minutes to put together—and most of that was waiting for the water to boil! It’s quick and easy and a bit of a novelty because, well, I’ve never eaten one before. Maybe it’s a new recipe for you, too!

Sources

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

Mom’s Macaroni Salad Recipe

by Sandra Merville Hart

Sometimes I long for my mother’s cooking. In the summer she often made macaroni salad. She served it in a special, tall glass bowl that was only used for this salad.

The recipe is easy and no one ever wrote it down to my knowledge so I’m sharing it here.

We attended a family reunion where my aunt brought macaroni salad. As I went back for another spoonful, I asked my aunt what made it taste so delicious. She leaned over and whispered, “I put cucumber in mine.”

So, when I made it over the summer, I included her secret ingredient. Amazing tip! It adds another layer of flavor and crunch.

16 Ounces elbow macaroni

½ – 1 green pepper

1 large tomato

1 medium onion

1 large cucumber

1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups mayo

Salt

Cook the macaroni until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. Hint: Stir it a couple of times to release trapped heat and steam.

Chop the vegetables. I only used one half of a green pepper but a whole one doesn’t overpower the salad because there are several vegetables.

I like a lot of tomato in this salad. A large tomato was enough to add vibrant color and flavor.

Once the cooked macaroni begins to cool, stir in the chopped vegetables.

I never measure the mayo when making this salad but I did it this time to tell you. Cooked macaroni tends to absorb the mayo. After adding a cup of it, I spooned it in a bit at a time until it reached the desired creamy texture.

Delicious! The different soft and crunchy textures were even tastier than I remembered.

It may have something to do with my aunt’s secret ingredient. 😊

Homemade Granola Bars

by Sandra Merville Hart

I was looking for a new dessert or snack to take to a family reunion. An easy-to-hold dessert is the one most folks tend to grab at picnics. Pies and cakes are delicious but don’t fit this description. Cookies are my old standby so I wanted to steer away from them.

Then I discovered a recipe on the Food Network for homemade granola bar treats from Molly Yeh. I enjoy watching her show “Girl Meets Farm” and was excited to try it.

I followed the recipe that included some choices. I chose sweetened condensed milk over coconut milk.

Molly leaves the nut or seed butter up to the cook but has her preferences. I used almond butter instead of cashew butter or tahini—a delicious choice!

Her recipe calls for quick-cooking oats. I had the old-fashioned whole grain oats in my pantry so I used those.

I used roasted cashews, almonds, and peanuts.

These are delicious! Chewy. Packed with healthy ingredients. Filling—one bar is all you need.

This was the first time I made these treats. Next time I will give the cashews a quick chop before adding them. I’ll also try the quick-cooking oats, which I believe will hold together better.

I will definitely make these again. Enjoy!

Sources

Yeh, Molly. “Homemade Granola Bar Treats,” Food Network, 2021/08/20 https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/homemade-granola-bar-treats-8032610.

Summer Kitchens in the 1800s

Cindy Ervin Huff, fellow author in “The Cowboys,” has a new historical romance book release that I loved! Welcome back to Historical Nibbles, Cindy!

by Cindy Ervin Huff

In my newest Release Rescuing Her Heart, Delilah James wants to start a bakery to provide for herself by baking in her employer Genny Holt’s kitchen and sending baked goods to the mercantile in town. Genny persuades her husband to build a summer kitchen for baking and canning in the sweltering heat.

This was not unusual request, considering there were no air conditioners or fans in the 1870s. Many families had some sort of summer kitchen.

Some women did all the cooking for the day in the morning, so the house could cool off before evening. Then the cold food was eaten throughout the day.

For the wealthy, it comprised a brick building in the back of the house near the main kitchen. They did all the cooking and canning in the summer kitchen throughout the warm months. Middle-class families might have a summer porch for cooking or a small, roofed area out back with a stove. Others resorted to building a campfire away from the house to keep the heat out of their homes.

My heroine Delilah James helps Genny Holt do canning and baking in a summer kitchen built by Lonnie and Jed Holt. The ranch has a large garden and some of what is canned, along with the baked goods, are sold in town.

They furnished the summer kitchen with a preparation table, a stove and shelves. Utensils, pots and pans came from the main kitchen.

I am so grateful for air-conditioning so I can cook in comfort throughout the summer!

About Cindy

Cindy Ervin Huff is an Award-winning author of Historical and Contemporary Romance. She loves infusing hope into her stories of broken people. She addicted to reading and chocolate. Her idea of a vacation is visiting historical sites and an ideal date with her hubby of almost fifty years would be live theater.

Visit her at her blog.

Rescuing Her Heart

As her husband’s evil deeds haunt a mail-order bride from the grave, can she learn to trust again and open her heart to true love? Jed has his own nightmares from a POW camp and understands Delilah better than she knows herself. Can two broken people form a forever bond?

Irish Brown Bread

Welcome to friend and fellow author, Cindy Thomson. She has written Irish historical novels and nonfiction Irish books. I read her latest book, Celtic Wanderings, and loved this devotional book! She is sharing a recipe for Brown Bread. Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Cindy!

by Cindy Thomson

I have a fascination with the history of Ireland and the Celtic nations. My latest book, Celtic Wanderings, is inspired by the early Celtic Christians. It’s a devotional that I hope will guide readers along that wandering path we all must traverse in life. My first published novel, Brigid of Ireland, is my interpretation of the early life of one of Ireland’s patron saints (along with Patrick and Columba).

At one of my first appearances at a book club, the hostess had attempted to make food pertaining to the novel. She said she found that challenging. After all, we are talking about the 5th century! Many people in Ireland celebrate St. Brigid’s Day by making brown bread, so I think that’s a good choice. They ate bread back then as they do now, with lots of butter (Kerrygold)! Add a cuppa of strong Barry, Lyon’s, or Bewley’s tea and that’s about as Irish as it gets!

Irish Brown Bread

1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

½ Tbsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

¾ cup wholemeal flour (you can use whole wheat or look for the authentic stuff online)

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup steel cut oats

2 ¼ cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease 8-by-4-inch loaf pan.

Sift all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt.

Add remaining dry ingredients and mix with pastry cutter or with hands.

Add buttermilk and mix with hands but try not to overwork the dough or it may become tough.

Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon rolled oats.

Place in oven, bake for 20 minutes, rotate and bake 20 more minutes.

Allow bread to cool before slicing. Keep remaining bread refrigerated.

About Cindy Thomson

Known for the inspirational Celtic theme employed in most of her books, Cindy Thomson is the author of six novels and five non-fiction books. A genealogy enthusiast, she writes from her home in Ohio where she lives with her husband Tom near their three grown sons and their families. Visit her online at CindysWriting.com

Celtic Wanderings: Daily inspiration from ancient Celtic voices.

Inspired by stories of ancient Celtic saints, this devotional will guide you and inspire you along the often winding path of life. Structured to be flexible to fit the natural flow of your day or evening, offering both challenge and wisdom, this devotional makes a great gift for others and for yourself.

Purchase her books!

Generational Pie Crust Recipe

Cindy Ervin Huff, fellow author in “The Cowboys,” shares a family recipe that’s been passed down for generations. She also has a new historical romance book release that I loved! Welcome back to Historical Nibbles, Cindy!

by Cindy Ervin Huff

This recipe has been in my husband’s family for generations. It makes four crusts or several tarts.

Back in the day this recipe was created, the perfect pie crust was the envy of every homemaker. Pies were more often made than cakes. Like the little girls in my historical romance Rescuing Her Heart, they learned to make pies at an early age. Even I remember having tiny pans as a child and my mother helping me make a pie.

It was this recipe from my mother-in-law’s family that made my flaky, delicious crusts something to be proud of. I imagine my heroine Delilah James in Rescuing Her Heart used a similar recipe  when baking pies for her bakery.  

Bakers often kept recipes in their heads so no one could steal them. They measured by sight … a pinch of this, a handful of that.

A cup was not always the same depending on the tea cup one used. Standard measuring cups were slow to appear in every homemaker’s kitchen in the 1800s. Some recipes or receipts as they were often called only listed ingredients, like this one. Others gave detailed directions. Note there is no temperature listed either. Women learned from their mothers or grandmothers how to shape the dough and its various uses and how hot the oven needed to be.

This dough is good for fried pies too. Modern stoves with consistent temperatures made successful pie crusts so much easier.

Foolproof Pie Crust

Mix together in a bowl with a fork:

4 cups flour

1 ¾ cups vegetable shortening (Crisco, or Margarine, older recipes used Lard)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

In a second bowl beat:

1 tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider)

1 egg

½ cup water

Combine and stir until moist.

My mother admired my pie crusts so much my husband made her plaque for her kitchen with the recipe on it!

About Cindy

Cindy Ervin Huff is an Award-winning author of Historical and Contemporary Romance. She loves infusing hope into her stories of broken people. She’s addicted to reading and chocolate. Her idea of a vacation is visiting historical sites and an ideal date with her hubby of almost fifty years would be live theater.

Visit her at her blog.

Rescuing Her Heart

As her husband’s evil deeds haunt a mail-order bride from the grave, can she learn to trust again and open her heart to true love? Jed has his own nightmares from a POW camp and understands Delilah better than she knows herself. Can two broken people form a forever bond?

Fresh Banana Cake

by Sandra Merville Hart

I had a few bananas that I needed to use when someone mentioned their mother’s banana cake. My mom didn’t make banana cake but I found a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Tip: This recipe calls for 2 cups of cake flour. If you don’t have any on hand, you can easily make it. For every cup of all-purpose flour, use 2 tablespoons less of flour in the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare a 9 x 9 cake pan with cooking spray OR butter and lightly flour it. I cut parchment paper into 2 strips to provide handles for easier removal of the baked cake.

Mash 1 cup bananas (about 2 medium bananas) and set aside.

Sift 2 cups cake flour into a separate mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cream ¼ cup butter with a mixer. Slowly blend 1 ½ cups sugar into the butter until the mixture is light and blended.

Add the banana, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the sugar mixture. Beat well.

Add in the flour mixture a bit at a time, beating as you add until it’s all blended in well.

Fold in ½ cup sour milk OR sour cream gently until blended. (I chose sour cream.)

Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake 40 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool at least 5 minutes in the cake pan and then turn it out onto a rack. Allow the cake to cool and then cut it in half to make a two-layer cake. Fill it with Banana Cream Filling and ice it with Portsmouth Frosting.

The banana flavor comes out strongly in this delicious cake. The cake itself is good but when combined with the banana filling and creamy icing, it’s delicious. I even ate it for breakfast!

While neither the cake, filling, or icing took a long time to prepare—minutes for each one—baking the cake, allowing it to cool before creating two layers, and then adding the filling before frosting probably took 3 hours.

Enjoy!

Sources

Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

Banana Cream Filling

by Sandra Merville Hart

I had several bananas that I needed to use and found a banana cake recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It suggested filling this cake with banana cream filling. I’m sharing the cake recipe separately. The filling only takes a few minutes to make and it’s delicious!

Mash 1 banana and beat it. (I used a hand mixer.) Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. One fresh lemon provided enough juice for this recipe. Set aside.    

Mix together ½ cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Heat 1 cup of milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it’s almost ready to boil. Remove from heat.

Stir the milk into the dry ingredients until well-blended.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Using low heat, whisk constantly for 4 – 5 minutes until the custard turns smooth and thick.

Stir in 2 slightly beaten egg yolks and cook a couple more minutes.

Remove from heat. Let it cool, stirring occasionally, and then stir in the reserved banana mixture.

Delicious! Smooth and creamy and thick. The flavor reminded me of banana pudding. As I said, I used it as filling for banana cake. I poured it into the cake pan to set so that it was the right size. I froze it initially to set it and make it easier to add as a cake filling.

This is a creamy filling and has a nice banana flavor. My husband loved it!

I will definitely make this again.

Source

Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

Portsmouth Frosting

by Sandra Merville Hart

I baked a banana cake from a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It suggested icing the cake with Portsmouth Frosting. It’s a quick, easy frosting that will taste delicious on many types of cakes.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Set aside to cool.

Whip ¼ cup heavy whipping cream in a mixer for a minute or two until it thickens and begins to form soft peaks. (I used a hand mixer.) Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla or rum. (I chose vanilla.) Gently stir in the melted butter.

While using the mixer, add 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating the mixture until it is thick and creamy.

I frosted a banana cake with this icing. It wasn’t quite enough to frost the entire cake and I made a second batch.     

This is a delicious frosting with a light, smooth, and creamy consistency. It takes between 5 – 10 minutes to prepare and I had all the ingredients in my fridge or pantry. Recommend!

I will definitely make this again.

Source

Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

Cottage Cheese Griddlecakes

by Sandra Merville Hart

I happened to notice this recipe for cottage cheese griddlecakes (pancakes) in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook while preparing another dish. I did a double-take. Yes, this pancake recipe has cottage cheese as the main ingredient. It was too different—I had to try it.

Place 1 cup of cottage cheese in a sieve. (I used a colander.) Press the cottage cheese down to start removing the moisture. Let it stand in the sieve for an hour over a bowl to allow it to dry.

Beat 3 eggs well in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter, ¼ cup of flour, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir together just enough to blend the ingredients.

Add pats of butter to your griddle or skillet and allow it to melt on a medium heat. (A cast iron skillet worked best for me.) Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the hot skillet.

These griddlecakes are delicate. Wait slightly longer to turn than you would a normal pancake or they will fall apart. Then turn them gently.

What’s immediately noticeable is the difference in texture so your first pancake might be too done or not done enough as you figure it out. I let them cook a minute and then started to work the spatula around the edges to prepare it for turning.

Surprisingly good! In fact, they reminded me more of a potato pancake with the soft center than a regular pancake. Actually, the taste and texture is about halfway between breakfast pancakes and potato pancakes. They aren’t sweet and require no syrup. Two were a filling, satisfying meal.

I noticed that these were Keto except for the flour so I made them again. This time I substituted the flour for almond flour. I liked these even better with the hint of almond flavor—and they are low carb!

I love to find easy recipes for items normally stocked in the fridge and pantry. I’ll make this again when I want a low-carb pancake.

Let me know what you think!

Sources

Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.