I have recently inherited my Mom’s recipe box. It is the box that sat on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen of every house we lived in. The decoration on the outside of this metal box looks like a 1960s MOD interpretation of an Art Deco floral pattern. The background is black; the flowers are red, blue, orange, yellow and white. The inside holds the larger sized index cards. I can tell that my Mom must have bought it in a fit of organization, as the very back of the box is packed full of extra, blank cards.
Most of the cards are in either her handwriting or my sister’s. I think that I have identified the very last recipe card she ever wrote. It is stuffed into the front of the box, out of order. Extra large cursive letters reveal that she was losing her eye site at the end. Only the name of the recipe, a list of ingredients, time, and temperature are listed. It is for her favorite dessert, custard, the ultimate nursery comfort food.
As I continue to search through the box, I realize that its contents reflect the many phases of her life. There are diet recipes, party recipes, recipes from aunts, recipes that I can remember her making (mostly cookies or gooey desserts), and recipes that I can’t imagine her ever attempting—crepes? I study each card carefully to see if it reveals anything about the occasion she made it for, but I can’t find any comments beyond “very good” or “from Pat’s Party.”
It seems time to give her recipes an airing and to give them the attention they deserve. The recipes below are all appropriate for the warm summer months ahead. As all of the recipes that bear my sister’s signature suggest: Enjoy!
Sweet and Sour Bean Salad
2 cans green beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pimento, diced
1 red onion, peeled and sliced into rings
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Black pepper to taste
Drain and rinse beans. Combine with pimento and red onion. Crush garlic into salt. Combine with vinegars, sugar, vegetable oil and black pepper in glass jar. Cover and shake until well blended. Pour over salad and marinate overnight. KM NOTE: Try this with fresh green beans that have been blanched. Use a really large jar and add the salad ingredients into the dressing. Cover and refrigerate. Great for a picnic.
Asian Salad Dressing
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pour ingredients into pint size jar. Cover and shake thoroughly. KM NOTE: This would be great to toss with grilled vegetables. Serve room temp.
1/2 cup Karo syrup
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup onion, minced
One teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil for two minutes. Great as a basting sauce for chicken.
Aunt Elsie’s Teriyaki Sauce
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped
3 green onions (scallions), chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mix well. Use as a marinade for chicken.
Cold Chicken and Rice Salad
1 package chicken flavored Rice-A-Roni, prepared and cooled
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained (reserve marinade), and chopped
1 small can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
One half teaspoon curry powder.
Stir together mayonnaise, reserved artichoke marinade, and curry powder. Combine with Rice-A-Roni and green onions. Serve cold. KM NOTE: Be careful with salads that contain mayonnaise. They must be kept cold at all times.
1 1/2 cups whole corn kernels
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup vegetable oil
Add vegetable oil to a large frying pan. When hot, add a few tablespoons of corn mixture to oil. Fry three to four minutes or until lightly brown.