Deviled Hamburgers

Here’s another selection from my trousseau cookbook (or maybe I should more accurately call it my “hope chest” cookbook—whatever). My recollection (which may well be wrong) was that I got this from my grandfather, Kieffer Vaughan. There is an almost identical recipe at food.com, but since it omits horseradish and claims only four servings, I’ll post this one anyway.

Deviled Hamburgers

1 lb. lean ground beef
⅓ cup chili sauce
1½ teaspoons prepared mustard
1½ teaspoons prepared horseradish
1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
8 hamburger buns or sandwich rolls
Melted butter

Combine all ingredients except buns and butter. Spread on bottom halves of buns. Brush with melted butter. Broil 5–7 inches from heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Warm tops of buns and add to cooked hamburgers. Makes eight servings.

I haven’t made this recipe in a long time, and I really should, as I well remember how delectable it was.

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Hamburger Stroganoff

Since I seem to be on a roll with recipes, I’ll offer another from my trousseau cookbook. Although there is no dearth of recipes for “Hamburger Stroganoff” or “Ground Beef Stroganoff” online, none is exactly like this (most call for less butter), so I offer it as a richer alternative. Makes four servings.

Hamburger Stroganoff

¼ cup (half stick) butter
½ cup minced onion
1 clove garlic
1 lb. ground beef
2 tablespoons flour
Pepper and paprika
1 (4-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 (10½-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup sour cream

Sauté onion and garlic in butter till golden. Add ground beef and brown well. Stir in flour. Add remaining ingredients except sour cream and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream and serve over rice or buttered noodles.

The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt, but, unless you’ve bought low-sodium soup, this will make the dish too salty. Pepper and paprika are of course “to taste,” but since I’m hopeless at cooking by tasting, I just add a generous dash of each. My husband and I usually have this over rice and actually prefer it to Beef Stroganoff. Steamed broccoli makes a good side.

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Deviled Green Beans

As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for “Deviled Green Beans,” which I serve as a side to (among many other things) my hot dog casserole. It’s another hand-me-down recipe, but, unlike “Seafarers’ Rafts,” it doesn’t appear in the loose-leaf recipe book I assembled before I got married; it’s copied in my handwriting on a folded recipe card from Current, but attributed to “Mother.” I’ll give the original recipe first, with the caveat that I don’t use this exact recipe at all any more.

Deviled Green Beans

1 16-ounce can (2 cups) cut green beans
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash salt
Dash pepper

2 tbsp. cornflake crumbs

Drain liquid from beans into saucepan. Bring to boil; cook liquid till reduced to about one third. Add beans and heat through; drain. In small saucepan, melt butter, stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour over hot beans; stir gently. Sprinkle with cornflake crumbs.

I will say at the outset that I am confident I never sprinkled these with cornflake crumbs. And I seriously doubt that I bothered to reduce the canning liquid more than once—way too much trouble! Nowadays, I don’t use saucepans at all because I make this in the microwave. In order to get a quantity that will provide leftovers, I use the “family size” (28-ounce) can instead. That of course changes the amounts of the other ingredients, but I don’t measure them, so I probably never make the sauce the same way twice, but it’s almost impossible to ruin this dish.

I drain the beans (discarding the canning liquid) and put them in a 1½-quart microwaveable casserole (Corning Ware, with a glass lid). I then add to a microwaveable measuring cup “some” butter (usually 2–3 tablespoons), a healthy squeeze of mustard and a generous dollop of Worcestershire sauce, and several dashes of salt and pepper. I microwave this at low heat until the butter is melted, whisk it together, pour it over the beans, and stir. Then I microwave the covered beans on HI for 3–5 minutes.

Note that there are several recipes with this name online. None seems to be exactly like the one above, though this one is close.

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Another Recipe Favorite

I usually make this recipe in tandem with “Seafarers’ Rafts” because I hate to buy a whole bell pepper for just the small amount that this recipe calls for, and the Seafarers’ Rafts take care of the rest. Unlike the Seafarers’ Rafts recipe, whose origin is lost to the mists of time, this one has a very definite source: I clipped it from an issue of Southern Living (probably sometime in the 1980s) and taped it onto a 3″ × 5″ card. It was submitted by Mrs. B. N. Brown of Germantown, Tennessee. She titled it “Layered Frankfurter Casserole,” but we tend to call it “Hot Dog Casserole.” Google could not find anything similar under either name, so I hope Mrs. Brown will not mind my sharing it.

Layered Frankfurter Casserole

¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 (11-ounce) can Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1½ cups hot cooked rice
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
1 cup (¼ pound) shredded Cheddar cheese
5 frankfurters, cut into ½-inch slices
½ cup commercial barbecue sauce

Stir salt and pepper into soup. Layer rice, onion, green pepper, soup, and cheese in a greased 1½-quart casserole; arrange frankfurter slices evenly over cheese layer, and pour barbecue sauce on top. Bake casserole at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 4 servings.

Although I ordinarily get Nathan’s kosher franks for hot dogs, any kind of wieners will do for this casserole. The amount required is half a pound, so if you get the bun-length or jumbo kind that come eight to a package, you would use four instead of five. I usually follow the directions on this casserole, though one time I found I was out of barbecue sauce, so I substituted cocktail sauce, which made an interesting change, though not one we have intentionally repeated!

The one drawback to this recipe is that it does use only half a package of wieners; if you try to use the rest for hot dogs, then you end up with extra buns. So I generally put the remainder of the package in the freezer for another round. Oscar Mayer wieners make this easy by packaging each half separately.

I traditionally serve this casserole with “Deviled Green Beans,” another hand-me-down recipe, which I’ll post tomorrow.

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Another Forgotten Recipe

Seafarer's Raft

Recently I shared the recipe for the elusive “Honon Steak.” That one was a bit disappointing, but today I want to present a recipe that has been a family favorite for many years. I am sure my mother must have clipped it from some ladies’ magazine more than 50 years ago, but if it exists anywhere on the Internet, I have not yet managed to craft the right search string to find it, and I would hate for it to be lost to history. The original title of the recipe (and what we still call it despite the modifications I’ve made over the years) is “Seafarers’ Rafts,” and I think the description will explain the name. Here’s the original version:

Seafarers’ Rafts

¼ lb. grated American cheese (1 cup)
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
1 6½- or 7-oz. can (1 cup) tuna, flaked
2 tbsp. chopped green pepper
2 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. chopped stuffed olives
2 tbsp. chopped sweet pickle”
½ cup mayonnaise
8 hamburger buns
8 green pepper rings
2 tbsp. grated American cheese

Combine ingredients except last three. Cut thin slice from top of each bun and remove center of bun, leaving sides ½″ thick, with a thin layer on the bottom. Fill with tuna salad. Put green pepper ring around mound of salad. Broil 6″ from heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. cheese and broil 2 minutes or until melted. Top with sprig of watercress.

That recipe is a lot of work and wastes a lot of bread (although, if you’re on a low-carb diet, that’s probably a plus). It also requires that you use buns that have not been sliced. Over the years I’ve made a number of modifications, the most radical of which is to use the buns as is (sliced) with the tuna mixture as filling. I also use storebought shredded cheese (usually sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar). Instead of chopping the olives (which I used to do—my brown, stained recipe has a pencil notation: “about 8 olives”), I buy “sliced salad olives stuffed with minced pimento“; if you have olive salad for use on muffalettas, that would work, too. The chopped pickle is “sweet salad cubes.” I usually have some chopped onion left over from other projects, and if you have a ⅛-cup measure (2 tablespoons), it is quick work to throw in all these small ingredients.

After many years of draining water-packed “chunk light” tuna in a strainer, tossing and mashing to try to get as much as possible of the liquid out, I recently experimented with “solid white” tuna. It does require a minimal additional effort in flaking, but it was much easier to drain. I’ve also started buy the larger can (12 oz.) just to extend the recipe a little more.

The main modification is in the construction. I just spread the mixture on the bottom of a bun, heaping it up as high as I dare, then perch the green pepper ring on top. I broil as indicated, add the additional cheese (a good bit more than indicated!), and broil some more. Since I’m usually making just two at a time, I do them in the toaster oven. I add the top of the bun for the last two minutes to brown it slightly, then add it to the top of the sandwich before serving.

The original recipe would be a fork dish, I suppose, and indeed, if I get too generous with the tuna mixture, we often need a fork to clear up what escapes from the sandwich version as well. You could probably serve this recipe cold, perhaps stuffed in a tomato, but I don’t think you’d get the same effect as with the melted cheese. It’s one of those recipes that are actually better the next day, when the flavors have had a chance to meld. The olives definitely add a distinctive note; if you make this, I think you’ll see why it’s a family favorite.

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Honon Steak Revisited

Last month I wrote about the mystery of “honon steak.” Someone suggested to me that, since this seemed to be an Iowa specialty, I should contact a local historical society for assistance. Accordingly, on May 5, I located a contact form for the State Historical Society of Iowa, which, it turns out, is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

On May 17, I received a reply from Shari S. Stelling, Librarian, at the State Historical Library & Archives in Des Moines. She was also intrigued by the mystery and reported that she had found a few other mentions but “nothing like a description (let alone recipe).” Her search of newspapers in the public domain (dated before 1922) through NewspaperArchive and Chronicling America had turned up a reference in the Spencer Reporter for April 5, 1916, which gave the menu for a Commercial Club Banquet that included “honon steak.” Other references, also banquet menus, were found in the February 23, 1915; January 9, 1917; and March 27, 1917, issues of the Webster City Freeman.

Since all these sightings were from the northwest part of the state, Shari suggested “contacting the Webster City Public Library to see if any of the Webster City community cookbooks in their collection include honon steak,” adding, “Maybe it was a regional favorite” (which was also my assumption). She also recommended contacting the Special Collections department at the Iowa State University library in Ames, which has “a significant cookery/cookbook collection.”

Yesterday I contacted both of those institutions, one via contact form and one via email. To my amazement, I received replies from both of them within hours!

First to respond was Olivia Garrison, Reference Coordinator, Special Collections and University Archives, at the Iowa State University Library. She wrote:

Shari Stelling pointed you to the right place! And the tip about the Webster City Freeman was extremely helpful, because it gave me an idea of where to start looking. Our cookbook collection is extensive and most are not digitized at this time, so it was great to be able to narrow the search down.

Luckily, we have a cookbook published by the Webster City Freeman, originally in 1916 then republished in 1952. And lo and behold, there’s a recipe for Honon Steak!

She attached a scan of the cover and title page of The Famous Old Webster City Cook Book, along with page 13, which has the recipe.

Less than half an hour later, I heard from Ketta Lubberstedt-Arjes, Assistant Director of the Kendall Young Library in Webster City, Iowa. She had found the same cookbook in her library’s collection and also sent scans of the relevant pages. As lagniappe, she included scans of several pages of MacKinlay Kantor’s Webster City, Iowa, by Paul C. Juhl, in which The Famous Old Webster City Cook Book is pictured and its history recounted:

There were actually three versions of the Webster City cookbook. The first, which many called the best, was published in 1900; a second in 1906; and then a third in 1916. The second creation, by the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Webster City Congregational Church, created a bound volume of the version printed in 1906. This was called “Tried and True Recipes of Webster City’s Best Cooks” and expanded on the earlier version. It was this booklet that was reprinted by the Freeman-Journal Publishing Company in 1952.

The Honon Steak recipe itself is not terribly impressive.

That sounds to me an awful lot like a blend of country fried steak (or chicken-fried steak) and pot roast, and I can’t imagine anyone ever considering it an elegant banquet entrée. Moreover, the mystery of “honon” is still unsolved. Still, I am grateful to have gotten this far with the quest. Since Mrs. Joe H. Richard, who provided the recipe, and all the cooks who may have followed it are surely long dead, I suspect this is as far as we will get.

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Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 5-21-17

Today’s report will be short and sweet.

352 N. Summit Street

The house was securely locked up again today, but the Palmetto Street lanterns from The Coppersmith have been mounted.

Peeking through the sunroom door, I can see that the kitchen faucet valve has been installed (but not the soap dispenser).

The fridge (GE Café™ Series ENERGY STAR® 27.8 Cu. Ft. French-Door Refrigerator with Hot Water Dispenser) and oven (GE Café™ Series 30″ Built-In Single Convection Wall Oven) have been delivered.

The cooktop has been temporarily removed, probably to facilitate installation of the oven.

And here’s a view of the whole house from the street.

351 N. Summit Street—Parting Shots

Since the homeowners have definitely moved in, I offer just two views of the finished house (well, mostly finished—the screened porch hasn’t yet been screened).

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