midcenturymeals

1950's and 60's meals, memories and trivia

I’m Baaaack!

Oh my goodness…I had a comment left on my meatloaf blog by a wonderful gentleman who loves meatloaf, (but his wife doesn’t), so I hit “approve”. Then I thought about how much I missed my blog. I went to my blog page, and lo and behold…my dashboard, etc. had reappeared. I am able to post again. Not sure what happened before, but I feel like I am back home!

For those of you who don’t know, the icon on my page that gave me all my blog info and allowed me to post, disappeared one day. After several days of trying to figure it out, I sent a “help” signal to Support. I must say, they responded very quickly, but the email had about 10 things for me to try and I didn’t know how to do any of them. (Also, for those who don’t know, I am a tech IDIOT!)  Plus, my computer sucks and I have yet to get a new one. So, after repeated failures…I gave up.

I have soooo missed my blog. At times it was like a shelter in a storm. I LOVED when people visited it, and I “met” some fantastic people with blogs of their own, but it was ultimately something I was doing for me. Something that brought me joy. An outlet.

Anyway, I won’t post pictures or a recipe today. I actually have to relearn how to do everything. I’m OK with that. I just wanted you to know that I am feeling all warm and fuzzy because….”I’M BAAAAACK!”

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Saucy Corned Beef

Yum!!

I don’t know why I feel like it is imparative I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I am about 1/16th Irish. Maybe it is because I love the color green. Or perhaps because I love a good dark beer…Guinness, of course. (Green beer doesn’t excite me…) I love Irish pub bands, “Gaelic Storm” in particular. (Check them out on YouTube!) Irish history is fascinating and the people are wonderful. Does all this make me full blooded Irish? No, but I am going to pretend for a day, like most of the rest of America. That is why I am posting this recipe. One more way to feel Irish for the day!

Luv my Le Creuset Dutch oven!

This is not your typical corned beef recipe. I was raised with the basic boiled corned beef brisket. The one that cooks for hours in the pot then put on a plate and smothered in mustard. One of my sons was NOT a fan! Then great auntie Phyllis, one of the most amazing women I ever knew, gave me this recipe to try. Now this is a favorite of the entire family. I remember absolutely refusing to eat corned beef when I was young. If only I could have poured this sauce over it! You decide if you would like to add the potatoes, carrots and cabbage to the pot. I love the veggies cooked with the brisket. You have some latitude when it comes to the weight of the meat so I didn’t put anything specific in the recipe. It will work with almost any size prepackaged corned beef. Make one large enough for leftovers. This makes a great sandwich the next day!  I posted a day early so you have time to run out and get your corned beef in time for tomorrow. Erin Go Bragh…Ireland Forever!

Saucy Corned Beef Brisket

Serves 4+

 

1 Corned Beef Brisket

**********

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup + 1 tablespoon ketchup

The delicious sauce.

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons canola oil

6 whole cloves

Trim excess fat from the corned beef. Place in a large Dutch oven and just cover the meat with water. Simmer on the stove top for approximately 3 or 4 hours OR bake in the oven at 350 degrees until corned beef is tender. For sauce, combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. This sauce recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. (I ALWAYS double it!)Slice the meat against the grain.

Bubbling in the oven with the sauce. So tender after 4 hrs in the pot, it is falling apart!

When corned beef is tender, you can do one of 2 things:

  1. Place corned beef in a baker and cover with sauce. Bake at 400 degrees until sauce is baked on, 15-20 minutes
  2. If you are in a hurry, just slice corned beef and pour sauce over the meat or serve it on the side. Either way is awesome!

 Did You Know???   The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Petticoat Junction, and Andy Griffith were the most popular T.V. shows of 1963.

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Bunnie’s Beef Brisket

Notice the "grain" running left to right diagonally? You would cut opposite the grain for the meat to be tender.

My husband played 18 years in the N.F.L. He played in Seattle for 9 years, Atlanta, 4 years, Pittsburgh, 4 years and Philadelphia, 1 year.  All were exceptional cities but we were really crazy about the South. We moved to Suwanee, Georgia, (suburb of Atlanta), from Woodinville, Washington, (suburb of Seattle), in 1991 and stayed until 2000. During that time when Norm played in Pittsburgh, we would rent a place for the season, keeping our permanent home in Georgia. His parents would stay with us throughout the football season, their home being in Garden Grove, California. During those years in Pittsburgh while I was chasing 3 little boys, my mother-in-law would do much of the cooking. She shared some wonderful recipes that were very retro. These were dishes she fed her own boys as they were growing up in the 60’s. (No, girl’s do not run in this family’s genes, with the exception of my niece Paige Marie!) Fortunately I recorded many of the recipes she shared during that time and now, more than ever, appreciate them for their simplicity and flavor! This is one of them.

When I made this the other day, I was in a hurry and had already cooked several meals to test and photograph. I accidentally put in two 12 oz. bottles of beer instead of 2 cups of beer. This is one of the reasons that, before you start, remember “mis en plac” or “everything in its place.”  Measure out and set aside all your ingredients before you start. Anyway….both beers were ales so a bit more robust than a lager. I must say, I got lucky and it was a pleasant mistake. You may want to first try this with cups of beer and then increase from there if you wish. When you pull it out of the oven after 3 hrs. you may not think it is tender enough. The meat doesn’t “fall apart” when it is done. Try a bite of the meat. If it isn’t chewy, it is done. Be sure to slice it against the grain. If you aren’t sure what this is, slice a small piece both ways. You will know right away which way is agaist the grain. It is much easier to chew!

Yesterday, I pulled out the leftovers and took a bite of the beef while it was cold. It was delicious! I then chopped it up and put it on a bun with a little extra sauce, for a brisket sandwich made similar to a pulled pork sandwich. It is great warm OR cold. This is one of those recipes that is better on day 2 and 3! If you end up with more than you can use, this also freezes well. So versatile!

Before the sauce is cooked over the meat.

Bunnie’s Beef Brisket

Serves 4-6

Beef Brisket, (any size brisket at the market will work. They are typically 2-3lbs)

2 cups ketchup

2 cups beer (a lager or ale is preferred)

2 cups sliced mushrooms

Salt and Pepper

Cut excess fat from brisket. Whisk together ketchup and beer. Mix in mushrooms. Set aside. Place meat in a roasting pan or baker and cook meat uncovered in oven for 1 hour @ 325 degrees. Remove meat from oven and pour ketchup mixture over the brisket. Bake 2 more hours or until meat is tender. When you slice this, remember to slice against the grain. It will make it much more tender. Salt and pepper to taste if desired.

After...YUM!

Did you know???  In 1965, Shake ‘n Bake was born. It was promoted as a healthier and easier way to make “fried” chicken, without the frying.

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Mid-Century Entertaining

Parties at my grandma’s and grandpa’s were legendary. I remember gowns, rhinestones and long gloves, big band music and enough food to feed an army at their New Year’s Eve party. At all special occasions; birthdays, First Communions, showers, and holidays, she would serve the meal on her Spode India Tree orange and brown china. Sometimes we sat at a table but as the family grew in number, she started serving the meals buffet style. She made a deep impression on me and I adore entertaining! The joke in the family is that I channel my grandma. I tell you all this because my grandma was the ultimate mid-century hostess. She even had two maids who she brought in for the larger gatherings. This wasn’t necessarily just for the wealthy, (my grandparents were on the upper end of middle class.) Amy Vanderbilt even mentions in her book, “Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook,” that “one needs 2 or more servants to put on a formal luncheon or dinner.” Just about everything I found in my cookbooks and research, my grandma Ria could have written herself. I am going to share some of those ideas below, (ones that don’t include maids!)  For the most part, mid-century entertaining was about elegance, grace and the rules of etiquette were absolute. I am going to give you a general overview today and then eventually, in the future, break down entertainng during this time, into more detailed blogs. They would include, mid-century buffets, fondue parties, dinner for the boss, ladies luncheons, etc.

Informal-centerpiece at the end.

“She welcomes those at the door with a happy smile and cheerful attitude. A spirit of warm hospitality and graciousness prevails,” says Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book published in 1956. “A congenial atmosphere must prevail if entertaining is to serve it’s purpose.” and “Choose your guest list as you would choose ingredients for a recipe. Combine people who would mix well.” These were common themes through all the cookbooks I used for my research. Another tip that is as smart today as it was then, “Never try new recipes when entertaining. Serve foods that you have made before and are comfortable with.”

There’s is big difference between formal and informal service. We still have both today but I think the line has been blurred a bit. In 1963 formal service meant linen table cloths, “Clean crisp tablecloths in a white, cream or pastel, damask, linen or organdy fabric.” (Organdy is a sheer, crisp, typically cotton fabric which is similar in characteristics to silk organza.) Informal service usually starts with simple placemats. The centerpiece should never obstruct the view of the diners. This rule is still absolute! According to several of my mid-century books, a formal centerpiece is always in the “dead center of the table.” An informal centerpiece can be in the center, but it is o.k. to put it on an unused end of the table as well. Candles are appropriate for either formal or informal meals, but are never to be used in the daytime unless it is needed “for illumination.”

I loved reading about the “proper” way to entertain during the mid-century. It was so…well….civililized! After researching, writing and then reading this over, I think I might need to have a good old fashioned dinner party. Now what to serve? A nice, mid-century Frankfurter casserole perhaps?

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Mom’s Shephard’s Pie

As promised yesterday, I am posting my mom’s shephard’s Pie recipe. I decided to do some research on this dish. It was quite interesting and has as many variations than stew or chili. Every family appears to have their own idea of what shepherd’s pie should be. I never thought my mom’s was very authentic, but she nailed it. It is considered a “layer of meat, then a layer of vegetables, topped with creamy mashed potatoes.” That is exactly what this recipe contains.  It just goes to show you,, “Mother knows Best!” Thanks Mom!

1st layer - meat

Shephard’s Pie was first created in the mid- 19th century, in England. It was a take on meat pies, which were enclosed in a pie crust. Essentially, Shephaerd’s pie is a meat pie without the crust! American women became enamored of it 100 years later. With all the conveniences of the middle of the 20th century, it was a quick, inexpensive alternative to stew. Also, the mid-century was the heyday of casserole. This fits nicely into that catagory.

Shepherd’s Pie has many variations. Originally, the meat used was lamb. American cooks use ground beef far more often. Technically, the 2nd layer - veggiesname changes to “Cottage Pie” when beef is used. The meat is cooked in advance to speed up cooking time. The second layer, vegetables, can really be any veggie of your choice. I was raised with green beans, (canned, of course) but a half cup of corn added to the beans would sweeten up the dish. Carrots, peas, onions…almost any vegetable you’d like to use will work. The topping still needs to be some form of mashed potatoes. American cooks began adding tomato sauce, gravy, etc., to moisten up the dish. This is also a wonderful way to use up leftovers. You can use pot roast, steak, sausage, added to whatever veggie you had the night before, and then potatoes. How about left over Thanksgiving dinner. Bottom layer of turkey, turkey-day veggies, left-over gravy poured over that with a layer of mashed sweet potatoes. Yum!

My siblings and I loved this dish, but I remember my mom making it when dad wasn’t coming home for dinner that night. He hated green beans. Now I realize that she could have put anything she wanted in there with or in place of the beans. Was there a method to her madness????

3rd layer - sauce/gravy

Shepherd’s Pie

 1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained

1- 15oz. can green beans

1- 10.5 oz. can tomato soup, undiluted

2 tsp. garlic powder

Pinch of pepper

1 package mashed potato buds, prepared

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ground beef and green beans in a mixing bowl. Add tomato soup, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour into a casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes until all ingredients are hot. Remove from oven and dot the potatoes with butter. Sprinkle with paprika as garnish (optional).

Add potatoes, bake and enjoy!

Did you know???    The “Flying Saucer” & “Pluto Platter”, were renamed the “Frisbee” in 1956. The original was made from a pie tin. Yale students would yell “Frisbee!” after “The Frisbee Baking Company” in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when one was thrown, to warn other students.

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The Mid-Century Housewife

Lately I have gone back through some of my 125 + mid-century cookbooks and re-read some of the introductions, suggestions and basic commentary. It is such a window to a time when being a good housewife and mother was what men aspired to marry and women aspired to be. I found that to be the case in both 50’s and 60’s cookbooks. However, by the mid 60’s you begin to see changes. The books start talking about “The busy working mom.” This was a huge change from the earlier part of the mid-century when the woman stayed at home and took care of her family.

The women in my neighborhood followed this pattern. We were your traditional, middle class, blue collar neighborhood. Until the mid to latter part of the 60’s, the mom’s were at home. I remember being at a friend’s house and about 4:00 in the afternoon, (just before Dark Shadows started!) you could smell the beginnings of “supper.” Then I remember my mother going to work for a while, and so did some others. Mrs Van Driel next door began a day care service for the children of the mom’s who worked. I don’t know if it was because women going to work was a neccesity or just a sign of the times.

In the 50’s, cookbooks would make comments like, “Greet your tired husband, just home from work, with an appetizer as simple as a fruit juice cocktail.” or warning women to carefully prepare the main dish, left-overs, casseroles, and souffle’s. “Poorly made main dishes have a bad reputation among men, as a substitute for meat.” Seriously? Then there is, ” A woman knows how to be a thrifty shopper.” and “The woman MUST be prepared for times when the husband comes home unexpectedly with his boss.”

The 60's "career" woman

Then in the 60’s you see a change happening. “In the rapid pace of modern living…you are likely to be combining cookery with a career.” or “Today a woman’s food choices are based on whether or not she has a career.” New conveniences: Dried foods, (potato buds, dried soup mixes, or instant coffee, for example,) canned foods and frozen, gave the housewife more time to pursue those careers, or new hobbies.

With all of the changes during these two decades, one thing remained constant. The family ate together virtually every night and there were absolute hard and fast rules on etiquette, whether you were entertaining the husband’s boss, or having the typical family meal. For the most part, we have lost sight of those rules over the years. Yes, today family means different things to different people, but whatever or whomever  your family consists of, maybe one night soon you can play “mid-century” housewife, (you don’t necessarily have to be female to do this…), make a wonderful meal of comfort food, set the table properly and greet your mate at the door with your pearls and apron on (maybe you should be female for this..), a big smile and fantastic mid-century smells wafting from the kitchen!

Tomorrow’s recipe: Comfort food at it’s best. My mother’s Shepherd’s Pie. This was my mom’s very simple, all-American version and not your standard British Fare.

Did you know??? The Wizard of Oz was shown on T.V. for the first time in 1956.

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Measuring Tips (and the Bronx Wanderers)

The title may confuse you a little bit. Last night my brother and I attended a show at the gorgeous Admiral Theatre www.admiraltheatre.org in beautiful downtown Bremerton, Washington. (That is for people who are not from this area, those of you who are…say nothing, or else!) The show just happened to be a group who sang mostly 50’s and 60’s music. (I have season tickets and I am on the Board of this Art Deco style 1942 theatre which would explain my shameless plug!) The Bronx Wanderers are originally from..yes, the Bronx. We had so much fun doing the twist, the jerk, the swim…etc. I couldn’t wait to get home and do a blog in all my mid-century glory. Alas…I was too tired from all the doo wopping and be bopping! Anyway, if you like more than just mid-century food, I highly recommend this incredibly talented and entertaining group. Check them out at www.thebronxwanderers.com. Now on to the mid-century meals thing…

I have taken many of the tips below about measuring from my mid-century cookbooks. They are great tips for new cooks and though I consider myself to be a fairly well seasoned cook, (pun intended), I found some of the tips helpful. I hope you do as well. I will be following this up in a few days with a wonderful measuring chart I have posted inside my cabinet for reference. Hopefully by then I will figure out how to allow you to print the page so you can have a chart at your fingertips too!

Measuring Tips 

* For accurate measuring you need a measuring set for dry ingredients and one for liquid ingredients.

* When a recipe calls for a tablespoon or a teaspoon, avoid the temptation to grab a spoon out of your silverware drawer. Measuring spoons and tableware have few similarities in volume. Basic cooking is not as important as baking. Baking is an exact science.

* If the recipe calls for “flour, sifted,” measure first and then sift. If it calls for “sifted flour,” sift first, then measure.

* Mid century recipes often call for a pinch of this or a dash of that. There are actually measurements for these. A pinch means 1/8 tsp. for dry ingredients. A dash can be liquid or dry. A dash of liquid is usually 1 or 2 drops. For dry ingredients, a dash is 1/8 tsp.

* When measuring a dry ingredient such as flour or sugar, scoop up ingredient and slightly tap with a knife to eliminate air pockets. Level the top with the flat side of the knife.

* Brown sugar should always be firmly packed unless stated otherwise.

* Never measure dry or liquid ingredients over the mixing bowl or pot. Do this over the container you took the ingredient out of when possible. When baking, just a small amount of excess ingredient can alter the results.

* When measuring sticky liquids such as molasses, honey or syrup, spray a small amount of non-stick cooking spray in to or on to the measuring device. This will allow the sticky liquid to release from the device more easily.

* When measuring fats such as butter or shortening, it is best to measure at room temperature unless otherwise specified in the recipe.

Tools of the trade circa 1963

Did you know????  In 1952, the first color 3D film was released in America. It  was called Bwana Devil starring Robert Stack, Barbara Britton and Nigel Bruce. It’s tagline was, “The miracle of the age!! A lion in your lap! A lover in your arms! In 1996, a film with an almost identical theme was released called “The Ghost in the Darkness” starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. It was “based on a true story” about man-eating lions in Africa.

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Old Fashioned Beef with Vegetable Soup

From this...

This soup is the most wonderful cold weather soup…maybe ever! It is so thick and rich tasting. It is made with cross cut beef shanks which you can find in most grocery stores. It is inexpensive. I also always check the “clearance” meat area. When I see them there, I buy every one they have and freeze them. Either way, you get lots of meat and flavor for very little money.

Yesterday I explained how I came about this recipe. Dr. Gordon Cromwell, my son’s best friend’s dad, suggested I get it from his mom, Jinx. Gordon is a brilliant orthopedic surgeon, so maybe this soup contributed to his brain power growing up! It’s worth a try.

This recipe can be altered to your taste, i.e., add more veggies, or less if you would like. The vegetables can be either medium or large dice. I wasn’t given all the measurements so I tested until it came out right. Jinx says she has difficulty finding beef shank and has to order it from her butcher. I have had no problem finding it. I asked the butcher and they pointed them out. They were cross cut and I took 4 which equaled 3 ½ lbs.  I have another recipe for beef and vegetable soup that is very quick and easy. This is easy though not so quick, but it is the best beef soup I have ever tasted and my family wholeheartedly agrees! If you want more broth, you can add a can of low-sodium broth, but it will change the flavor. Thanks Jinx!!

...to this!!

I prefer to make this the day before we eat it. In the refrigerator, the fat will rise to the top and solidify. I use a small spoon to scrape it off so I can get around the meat and veggies. Then you just reheat and eat! Your soup is low fat and the flavor even more pronounced!

Old Fashioned Beef with Vegetable Soup

Serves 4-6

2 tsp. oil

Beef Shank, 3-4 lbs. (aprox. 4 shanks)

Dash salt and pepper

2 bay leaves

¼ c. celery leaves, chopped

Pour oil in large stock pot. Brown the meat well on both sides then cover with water (I used about 7 cups). Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hr.

Add:

1/3 c. onions, chopped

1 large potato, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, chopped

1/2 c. corn

1-15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained

Simmer covered for 2 to 3 more hours until meat is tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed. If the broth is still a little watery, remove lid and bring to a low boil until the broth has reduced and has the flavor you want. Don’t do this if you are waiting until the next day to eat it. It may end up with the richer flavor from waiting and there will be no need to reduce.

Today’s Trivia: Chrysler Corporation introduced power steering in automobiles. It was called, “hydraguide.”

The next day. Fat accumulation.

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Notes About the Recipes and Ingredients

Davy Jones of The Monkees

As much as I like to say I am staying true to the integrity of mid-century recipes, I have tried many of these dishes with alternative ingredients. If you are trying to go “whole grain,” I have found that soft wheat bread, (Oroweat Country Whole Wheat is my favorite), is a good replacement for white bread in almost any recipe. Nearly every dairy ingredient, including cheese, can be replaced with lowfat. When using milk, I used fat free most of the time.  My family could not tell the difference. The same goes for fat free Half& Half, my favorite invention!

When a recipe called for hamburger, I used lean.  It is leaner than regular ground beef, but has a lot more flavor than extra lean ground beef. If you don’t like the added fat, pour it off and then blot out the excess grease with paper towels when appropriate. Extra lean ground beef is pretty tasteless. All the recipes called for regular mayonnaise. I tested with light mayonnaise. A staple of mid- 20th century cooking was instant (dried), minced onions. I sometimes chose to finely chop fresh onions instead. It’s just my own personal preference.

I have all sorts of pages, ripped from magazines and copied off the internet, (so NOT mid-century), taped inside my cupboards with tips on everything from measuring, to types of apples and their uses, temperature conversions, etc. Though I consider myself a seasoned cook, I find them invaluable when I have a question. I would like to spare you the messy look when the cupboards are opened so I will be posting some of that info in the future. That is an entire blog by itself!

While testing, my father was suggesting some ingredients he thought might make the meals more flavorful, such as andouille sausage and fennel.  At times while creating new recipes I would think of ingredient replacements such as dried chipotle pepper or leeks.  After reading many mid-century cookbooks and doing exhaustive research online, those ingredients either didn’t exist in American cooking or were rarely used so I did not use them in any of my recipes. That doesn’t mean that you can’t add and subtract to your hearts content. I tried to stay true to the theme of this book so I stayed with ingredients I found in recipes from that era.

My family has a history of diabetes, so sometimes I would make a recipe with sugar and then try it with a sugar substitute. Make sure it is one that can withstand heat. Splenda, Xylitol or Truvia (stevia),are my choices. I would not recommend any sugar substitutes when you are making any kind of candy or syrup without further research.

When I am sharing a recipe, I am hoping it appeals to you and you want to try it, but I am also sharing the food history of the 50’s and 60’s. That is why I am staying absolutely true to the era. That doesn’t mean that if I have a roast beef recipe that calls for hours of cooking, that you can’t use your crockpot. I would, (and do!) but I won’t put that in the recipe because crockpots didn’t become available until the early 70’s. I hope you find ways to put your own special touch to the recipes in this blog. Unlike me while writing this, you will not be held to any “historical” standards!

Tomorrow I will post a recipe that was given to me by Jinx Cromwell. She is my son’s best friend’s grandmother. (Did you get that??) When I was telling people about my project, researching and testing recipes for a book, I was told by Jinx’ son, Gordon, that I needed a Beef and Vegetable Soup recipe. He is my son’s best friend’s dad. (Did you get THAT??) This is without a doubt one of my favorite all time homemade soups! Can’t wait to share it!

Trivia:  Since my very first love, Davy Jones of the Monkees, passed away today, (I was 8 when I fell in love with him!), I will do trivia about the Monkees. I got in big trouble because of Davy once. I wrote “Davy loves Lori” on my bedroom wall in crayon. (Again, I was only 8!) Anyway, RIP Davy…I will always be your “Daydream Believer!”

Aired from 9/12/66 – 3/68, the Monkees were #1 in their NBC timeslot for all 58 episodes over two years, (Mondays 7:30 pm). During the first season they were paid $450.00 each per episode. The second season they received $750.00 each per episode. Davy Jones is survived by the other 3 Monkees, Peter Tork, Mickey Donlenz and Mike Nesmith.

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Apricot Pork Chops…and SNOW??

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we get a little snow, most years, but not all. This year we got more than normal, (I think it had something to do with El Nino…or La Nina…or global warming…or maybe none of the above?!) Anyway, tonight, while I was preparing this meal, I looked out the window and it was snowing. Not only was it snowing but we got about 3 inches. February is almost over! It was unusual to say the least, but really beautiful and not enough to cause problems. At least not for me. I was in a cozy, warm kitchen, cooking my heart out! On the menu? Apricot pork chops, mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Pork chops were pretty popular around my neighborhood growing up. You could do a lot of different things with them and they were very economically priced. You can still find them on sale, as I did when testing this recipe, for cheap, cheap, cheap!!  This week pork chops are 1.99lb. at our local supermarket. You’d be hard-pressed to find any meat these days for 1.99lb.

As a child, I grew up thinking pork chops and cream of mushroom soup were meant to be together. As an adult, I rarely ate pork chops, or to be honest, pork anything. Then I found a recipe in an early 1960’s cookbook calling for oranges and pork chops. I didn’t have any oranges, but I had some apricot preserves and dried apricots from another test, so I thought, “Why not?” My new favorite couple? Pork and fruit! I also added dried cranberries, (craisins), mostly for color. They are delicious, but if you don’t have any, that’s O.K., and besides, they aren’t really authentic mid-century! That’s why I didn’t put them in the recipe. Hope you like this combo as much as I do!

Apricot Pork Chops

Serves 4-6

1 Tbls. oil

4 large or 6 medium pork chops

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste

1-14 oz. can chicken broth

1-10 oz. jar apricot preserves, (about 1 1/4 c.)

1 c. dried apricots, ( 1- 6 oz. pkg.), coarsely chopped

1 Tbls. butter   

          *****

¼ c. cold water

2 Tbls. corn starch

 

Cut visible fat off pork chops. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, on med.-high heat, brown meat in 1 tablespoon oil. When browned on both sides, stir in chicken broth, preserves, apricots, and butter. Cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour or more depending on the thickness of the chop. When tender, remove pork chops to a plate. Turn heat up until juices in pan begin to bubble. Mix water and cornstarch together and slowly pour into pan while stirring. Cook until gravy thickens, 3-4 minutes. Put pork chops back in the pan and heat. This is great over mashed potatoes!

Apricot Pork Chops

I vowed to myself that I would try to post almost daily. Tomorrow may be tough, so I went ahead and posted tomorrow’s post, tonight. If you want the real truth. I wasn’t going to post it until the first thing in the morning, but I accidently hit, “Publish”, and haven’t a clue how to undo! I am such a lost cause.  I DO think I have figured out the picture thing though. That only took me a week…sigh!

Today’s trivia:  In 1966 bell bottoms and mini skirts were the new fad.

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