louWhile browsing through some photo albums the other day, I came across some snapshots of my elementary school days. It was taken during the era when little girls were fashionably attired in ruffly dresses and long curls and little boys sported long corduroy trousers.

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Lou Liebetrau: Familiar ingredients take on different recipes

Published 4:05pm Friday, July 9, 2010

If memory serves me correctly, I believe that blue jean fabric was available in overalls form only and customarily worn by farmers as they tended their fields. The little boys’ footwear was usually an oxford shoe with laces, whereas the little girls’ shoes were frequently fashioned with buckles and often made of nice, shiny patent leather.
Even when viewed from a distance on the playground, it was easy to distinguish the little girls from the boys because of their ruffles and frills. I do not recall that there were any actual dress codes for school children in those days, and it was simply a sign of the times when we did not seem to live in as a relaxed society as we do now. The adult women clothed themselves in dresses and aprons (usually homemade) of cotton fabrics, and it was not at all uncommon to see their daughters wearing identical prints. In families that were a bit more affluent, often the little girls’ dresses were created out of children’s prints. There was also a fabric known as ric rac, which when sewed on a solid fabric, was thought to give the solid-colored fabrics an air of pizzazz.
You can bet your bottom dollar that homemade children’s clothing usually sported generous hems, for not every child within the family was of the same stature, and this fact was anticipated when the garments were first created.

Baked Asparagus
Ingredients:
1 lb. asparagus spears
3 tbsp. onions
3-6 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
4 tomatoes
3 tbsp. celery
1 tbsp. bread crumbs
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of thyme

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in baking dish. Add asparagus on bottom, then sprinkle over it onions, celery, tomatoes, cheese and bread crumbs. Season evenly with salt, oregano, pepper and thyme. Cover dish and bake for at least 45 minutes or unit it tests tender.

Homemaker’s Hint: I very frequently hear from readers who praise the use of common ginger in relieving their arthritis pain. They claim that just a half-teaspoon can work wonders in tea.

I frequently receive requests for anise recipes, so today I am incorporating  anise into a sweet bread. Enjoy!

Anise Sweet Bread
Ingredients:
3 pkgs. active dry yeast
3 1/2 c. milk, scalded and cooled
2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. and 1/3 c. anise seed
Pinch baking soda
1 c. oleo, melted
2 eggs, beaten
5 lb. flour
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. oil

Directions:
Dissolve yeast in one and a half cups milk. Sift flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and soda. Make a well in the dry ingredients, then add yeast mixture, remaining two cups milk, oleo, oil and anise seed. Mix well, then knead slightly. All dough to rest for about five to 10 minutes, then knead well again. Cover and let dough rise until double. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into seven or eight loaves and place onto greased baking sheets. Brush tops evenly with beaten eggs, then bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
For an unusual and tasty treat, try toasting this bread. Anise has a licorice-like taste and the flavor goes well with fish.

Sometimes the ingredients listed in various recipes are those you would least expect to find, and such is the case in this next offering. Don’t put a “thumbs down” on it until you have at least tried it, for I believe you will be in for a huge surprise!

Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake
Ingredients:
2/3 c. oleo
3 eggs
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. water
1/2 c. sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and chopped

Frosting:
1 c. milk
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. Crisco
1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round pans. Cream margarine and sugar, then beat eggs an vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together, then add alternately with water to first mixture. Stir in sauerkraut. Pour into pans and bake for 30 minutes. Cool. cooke milk and flour until thick, stirring continuously. Cool. Cream Crisco, margarine, sugar and confectioner’s sugar; add cooked mixture, salt and extract. Beat until fluffy, then spread on well-cooled cake.

Scalloped Oysters
Ingredients:
1 pt. oysters, drained, liquid reserved
1/2 c. stale bread crumbs
2 tbsp. oyster liquid
3 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. milk or light cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a quart and a half shallow baking dish. Combine butter with bread and cracker crumbs. Spread half of mixture on bottom of baking dish. Cover half of oysters and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add half of oyster liquid and cream. Repeat layers, saving a small amount of crumbs for very top. Sprinkle top with chopped eggs, then bake uncovered for approximately 30 minutes.

Homemaker’s Hint: I recently read an informative article where carrots, celery and parsnips are members of the umbelliferate family, and presumably this is the family that rates high in blocking the spread of cancer cells. It is considered very wise to snip the greens from the tops of parsnips before refrigerating them to prevent them from drawing moisture and nutrients from the root itself.

Spinach Salad
Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh spinach
4-5 slices white bread
2 tbsp. bacon drippings
3 tbsp. tarragon vinegar
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. crispy bacon, crumbled
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2/3 c. salad oil
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash pepper
Garlic salt
Butter
Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine oil, tarragon vinegar, wine vinegar, bacon drippings, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in jar and set aside. Remove edges from bread, then butter both sides and sprinkle one side of breads with garlic salt. Cut into cubes, then place on cookie sheet in oven for two to three hours. Toss occasionally to even on both sides, then sprinkle with Parmesan. In large salad bowl, combine spinach, bacon and croutons, then toss with dressing and serve.

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