Monthly Archives: July 2012

Marshmallows!

Strawberry Marshmallows

When I said yesterday that I’d post retro recipes all this week, I had no actual plan in place. Oops! In spite of myself, I still managed to pull together my very first batch of marshmallows, as made from a recipe found in The Joys of Jell-O (1962). I love marshmallows. Looooove marshmallows. When I was practicing my Only Sustainable Animal Products experiment, I missed marshmallows like crazy. I still mostly stay away from gelatin products, but this is already my second gelatin-containing treat this summer. Agar is great, but it’s just not the same “bounce.” I have purchased some vegetarian gel stuff from Whole Foods and will report back on that, but in the meantime:

Pastel Marshmallows
1 pkg (3 oz) Jell-O Gelatin, any fruit flavor
2/3 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs light corn syrup
Confectioners’ sugar
Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin in boiling water in a saucepan over low heat.* Stir in sugar until dissolved. (Do not boil.) Blend in corn syrup. Chill until slightly thickened. Line an 8-inch square pan with wax paper; grease with butter or margarine.** Then beat gelatin mixture at highest speed of electric mixer until soft peaks will form, about 5 minutes. Pour into pan. Let stand in refrigerator overnight.
Then place mixture on board heavily dusted with confectioners’ sugar. To remove wax paper, dampen surface and let stand a few minutes; then peel off paper. Dust top with sugar. Cut into 1-inch squares. Roll cut edges in sugar. Makes about 6 dozen.

Messy? Yes. Not as bad as I expected, but don’t try this with kids or they will be head-to-toe sticky, not to mention your kitchen. The resulting marshmallows are more chiffon-like and delicate than the store-bought variety, but I was following instructions and cooking over low heat. A few more degrees would likely have stiffened up the syrup, for a firmer result. I was drawn to this recipe because it didn’t require a candy thermometer, but I could see where one would come in handy if you want to repeat this recipe with consistent results.

How about you? Have you made marshmallows the traditional way? Will you try it this way and compare?

*Over low heat, my water evaporated before it would get near boiling. I boiled over med/high heat, then turned it down when I added the gelatin mix.

**I used cooking spray. Less mess, and the wax paper later peeled off with ease.

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Lettuce Was Ahead, Tomato Had To Catch Up

Ah, the busy-ness. The lack of posts last week was due to my being called in to work on-site at a client’s office. Which I enjoy, especially for that particular client, but it does take a bite out of my post-writing time. I’m playing catch-up this week, so the posts will likely be brief while I try to get back into the swing of shooting/measuring/counting/posting items in the shops.

Catch-up? Get it? Whether you spell it catsup or ketchup, here’s a recipe for you all to get ahead on, as I plan to bake up a batch later this week. It comes from a 1938 copy of The Household Searchlight Recipe Book. If you follow me on Instagram (@ampersandwich), you’ve already had a peek at this one.

Raisin Catsup Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
31/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs catsup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup raisins, chopped
1 egg

Cream shortening and sugar. Add catsup and unbeaten egg. Beat thoroughly. Add raisins. Sift flour, measure, and sift with baking soda and salt. Add to first mixture. Mix thoroughly. Turn onto lightly floured board. Knead thoroughly. Form into roll 2 inches in diameter. Chill overnight. Cut in thin slices. Place on well-oiled baking sheet. Bake in hot oven (410°F) about 10 minutes. 24 servings.

Hmmm, I think I’ll perhaps post recipes all week. I have a fruit-flavored marshmallow recipe in one of my Jello-O cookbooks (go figure) that I’d like to try. Maybe I’ll do that this afternoon. Instead of the 20 other things I should be doing. :)

 

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Bomb Girls

 

Set in the 1940s, Bomb Girls tells the remarkable stories of the women who risked their lives in a munitions factory building bombs for the Allied forces fighting on the European front. The series delves into the lives of these exceptional women – peers, friends and rivals – who find themselves thrust into new worlds and changed profoundly as they are liberated from their home and social restrictions.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, Bomb Girls, starring Meg Tilly and Jodi Balfour, has a direct tie with Tiddleywink Vintage. The original series debuted in Canada in January, but Shaw Media has picked it up and the wardrobe department has selected one—so far—of my dresses (as well as a gorgeous nightgown from the shop of my friend at Theda Bara’s Vintage Boudoir) to use in the production of the second season. Woo!

2-Minute Video: The Wardrobe of Bomb Girls

Season 1 will begin airing in the U.S. on REELZ (check your Dish/DirecTV listings) in September. You can watch a preview as well as the official trailer at the REELZ site.

All photos courtesy of GlobalTV/Bomb Girls

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Vintage Victuals: Beets in Sour Cream

Part I
I received today an early birthday present from my mother. It’s a 1938 copy of The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, and as I flipped through I noticed that the recipe for Fried Squirrel begins with “Dress squirrel” and leaves it at that. The conversation followed,

Me: “Like I have any idea how to dress a squirrel.”
Mom: “Little shirts and pants.”

The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, 1938

Part II
This began as an Instagram conversation. Well, okay, it began (as far as my life is concerned) in my grandma’s kitchen. Anyway, last night I posted a pic of my dinner, mostly beets, and someone mentioned that he was a recent convert to these tasty swollen roots. I shared that I’d grown up eating a creamy concoction that assured I’d like beets even as a kid, and a few people asked for the recipe. Here you go.

I call these creamed beets or pink beets. My grandmother calls them beets in sour cream. My mom, who dislikes this recipe, disparagingly calls them Barbie beets because of their rather startling color.

Begin with:
1 pound (16 oz can) cut or diced beets, drained
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons flour
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dill weed
â…› teaspoon black pepper
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoon light cream

 

Everything you need. Even the not-very-photogenic vinegar.

Left to right, top to bottom, these are your steps:

  1. Melt butter in saucepan (Larger than you think you’ll need. Beets are messy.) over low heat. You don’t want it to start to brown.
  2. Blend in flour. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. In my experience, this only takes a few seconds. Also in my experience, it’s more effective to distribute the flour evenly by shaking the pan vigorously rather than stirring. But not so vigorously as to require cleaning the stovetop. Don’t take out your aggression on the roux.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar, sugar, salt, dill, and pepper. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in beets, heat through.

Step by step

As your final step, stir in the sour cream and light cream. It will look clumpy and unappetizing at first, but as you stir it will smooth out nicely. If you use canned beets, the color will be more vibrant than if you use vacuum-packed beets as I did here.

Beets in sour cream. Deliciousness.

Enjoy!

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All of These Things Are Not Like The Others

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.
Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

I didn’t have a specific post planned for today, or if I did, I’ve forgotten what it was. But there I was, doing a quick search for dress clips on Etsy this morning, and it seems a lesson is in order:

Dress clips are not shoe clips are not clip-on earrings. They are not interchangeable. I have personally attempted to use clip-on earrings as shoe clips, and they hurt because they’re too dimensional. I wouldn’t dare use dress clips on my ears, because that’s akin to clipping an iron maiden onto your earlobes. Neither shoe clips nor earrings have the strength required to gather and restrain fabric like dress clips.

Below: some visuals of properly described items currently listed on Etsy, so that you can see what you’re looking for. (Clicking on any photo will take you directly to the matching Etsy listing, if you’d like to see prices and more info.)

Dress Clips
Grandma, what big teeth you have!

1940s Vintage “Cream Corn” Bakelite Carved Dress Clips from ForGrammaAlice

Shoe Clips
See how the clip lies flat and smooth, and isn’t hinged? A hinge would dig right into the top of your foot. All. Day. Long.

Vintage Art Deco Shoe Clips from BakeliteBakery

 

Clip-On Earrings
Note the tensioned hinge and the somewhat curved (cushioned, as much as metal will) piece that presses against the earlobe. No teeth here!

Vintage Earrings Clip On Teardrop Shaped Bone Colored Filigree from MagpieSue

This is not to say that there are never variations on the hardware for these items, but before you buy (or sell), think about the purpose these items are being advertised for, and whether or not the hardware is up to the task.

DISCLOSURE: As you know if you’re a regular reader, I am a vendor with two vintage-themed shops on Etsy. MagpieSue (earrings) and I are both members of the Vintage Lovers and Vintage Market teams on Etsy; I otherwise have no affiliation with these particular vendors.

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Vintage Victuals: Christmas In July! Noel Glazed Ham

Noel Glazed Ham, 1967

“Be different! This year make the pacesetter of your company get-together an easy-carve boneless ham roll, glazed and trimmed in the grand French manner.”

Not only does this recipe (from a 1967 Family Circle publication) take 2 days to make, but in the end, you wind up with a baked ham frosted with gelled mayonnaise.

No, YOU try it. I made the ketchup pie, remember?

Noel Glazed Ham
Bake meat first to bring out its juicy-best flavor, then glaze, French style. Only last-minute job is to arrange platter.
Makes 12 servings, plus enough for a second-day treat.

7 to 8 pounds boned rolled ready-to-eat ham
½ red skin apple
4 green-onion tops
8 to 10 whole sprigs of watercress
2 cups cream for whipping
1 tablespoon dried tarragon leaves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
7 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water
2 cups mayonnaise or salad dressing
½ cup lemon juice
4 cups apple cider

1. Two days before your party, place ham on a rack in a large shallow baking pan. (Do not add water or cover pan.)
2. Bake in slow oven (325°) 1 hour and 15 minutes. Lift onto a large platter; cool, wrap, and chill overnight.
3. The next day, pare skin from apple in wide strips; split green-onion tops. Cut tiny flower shapes from each with a truffle cutter; place cutouts and watercress between sheets of damp paper toweling to keep moist.
4. Heat cream with tarragon and ginger just to scalding in a small saucepan; cool to lukewarm; strain through cheesecloth into a small bowl.
5. Soften 4 envelopes of the gelatin in water in a medium-size saucepan; heat slowly, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves; remove from heat. Beat in mayonnaise or salad dressing and lemon juice; stir in cream mixture. Let stand at room temperature.
6. Soften remaining 3 envelopes gelatin in 1 cup of the cider in a small saucepan; heat slowly, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves; stir in remaining 3 cups cider. Let stand at room temperature for Step 9.
7. Set ham on a wire rack in a large shallow pan. Pour about ½ of the mayonnaise mixture into a small bowl; place in a pan of ice and water to speed setting. Chill, stirring several times, just until as thick as an unbeaten egg white; spoon over ham to coat evenly. Chill ham about 10 minutes, or until coating is set.
8. Repeat Step 7 with remaining mayonnaise mixture, half at a time, to make a thick coating on ham. When top layer is just sticky-firm, press apple and onion cutouts on top of ham and watercress along side to make a festive pattern. Lift ham onto a clean platter, Chill until coating is firm. Wash pan and rack.
9. Pour about half of the cider mixture into a small bowl; place in a pan of ice and water to speed setting; chill until as thick as unbeaten egg white.
10. Return ham to rack in pan; spoon thickened cider mixture over top to coat evenly; chill until firm. Repeat with remaining cider mixture. Spoon any that runs off ham into a shallow pan and chill until firm for garnish. Chill ham until party time.
11. When ready to serve, place ham on a large carving board. Frame with lemon leaves, if you wish. Cut extra gelatin into tiny cubes and pile around ham. Carve ham into slices about ¼ inch thick, as needed.

As a warm-weather treat, this does have the advantage of being served cold. And since it calls for ready-to-eat ham, I think you could skip the part where you bake it for 75 minutes, then chill it again. Maybe that step is required to dry out the ham enough so that the mayonnaise sticks better. Oh yeah, that’s an appetizing thought.

Um, bon appétit?

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Household Hints (1944) AND VOTE FOR ME

EDIT: Just as I was about to publish this rather dry little post today, a text came through on my phone: “Are you aware that your website is listed as a contestant for Lulu’s Vintage people’s choice top 10 vintage clothing websites?” NO, NO I DID NOT. I realize that any ol’ person can write in any ol’ shop, but it is SUCH AN INCREDIBLE HONOR to know that one (or more) of my customers or colleagues submitted Tiddleywink for this annual competition! To be mingling with such fabulous company is just blowing my mind right now. And hey, yeah, vote for me! I do my best to find you pretty, affordable items, to research them thoroughly, and to list them with honesty and integrity. My shop is pretty terrific. :)

I now return you to today’s regularly scheduled programming.

Handy Hints from The Work Basket, Volume 9, No. 4 (January, 1944)

  • To prepare sour milk quickly for use in baking soda recipes use 1 1-3 [sic] tablespoons vinegar in a cup, adding the sweet milk until the combination of milk and vinegar equals the quantity of sour milk required. Mix well. The resulting sour milk will react with ½ teaspoon soda. It can be used in place of sour milk or buttermilk in any baking soda recipe.
  • When buying buckles or buttons to be used on wash dresses, don’t get the kinds that are glued on to the shanks. They will come off in laundering.
  • After towels have been wrung out of last rinse, fold them as you would to put away on shelves, then run them back through wringer. Unfold once and lay towel over line, with crease of fold running along the line. They dry straight and are ready to be put on shelves.
  • To avoid wrinkles in the legs of trousers caused by hanging across wire clothes hangers, cut a piece of fairly stiff cardboard two inches wide and two inches longer than the rack. Notch in one inch from each end and fit to rack. Trousers hung over this do not wrinkle even when left on for months.
  • To make sure fudge will reach its destination in a good creamy condition, pour the warm candy into the box which you have previously lined with waxed paper. Allow to harden without cutting. Seal the top with Scotch cellulose tape.
  • Cook liver first over high temperature to sear. This keeps in the juices. Then lower heat.
  • The flavor of an apple pie is greatly improved if the juice of half a lemon is squeezed over the apples after they have been placed on the lower crust.
  • Buttons which have been torn off children’s rompers or underclothing can be replaced by sewing the button securely to a small piece of strong tape. Push the button through the hole, leaving the new square on the wrong side of the garment. Fell this down to the garment beneath the button. Thus you are patching as well as sewing on the button.

Tomorrow: Christmas in July! A delightfully awful mid-century “glazed” ham that should never grace any holiday table. 

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