An Updated 1970s Cocktail

Lemon Lime Cocktail 2On a hot day, you can’t go too far wrong with lemon juice, lime juice, mint, and something fizzy. Continue reading

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One hour, 400 Mushroom Sandwiches

Mushroom sandwich board

mushrooms close up

A grilled sandwich with cooked mushroom filling may not sound like a must-have lunch, but tradition always rules at the Chautauqua Institution, the arts and education center in western New York which started in 1874. These sandwiches, made by a group with the quaint-sounding name of Bird, Tree & Garden Club, have been made and sold as a fundraiser since 1965.

The Bird, Tree & Garden Club started in 1913 to study gardens, nature and the environment around Chautauqua. An early president was Mina Miller Edison, wife of inventor Thomas A. Edison and daughter of one of Chautauqua’s founders.

Mushroom in progressFor the one-day sandwich sale, held every other summer, volunteers cook quarts of filling in advance. Wondra (a granulated form of flour that is lighter than regular all-purpose flour) holds the mushrooms together. On sale day, the crew toasts about 400 sandwiches in an hour. Never mind if the filling falls out the sides of the sandwich and butter drenches your fingers – continuing a tradition is most of the fun. The recipe comes from the Bird, Tree & Garden Club’s 2003 cookbook.

Mushrooms on grillChautauqua Bird, Tree and Garden Club Famous Mushroom Sandwiches [1965]
Makes 4 sandwiches

Butter, as needed
16 ounces mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 tablespoons Wondra flour
8 slices sandwich bread

  1. Rinse the mushrooms in cold water and spread on towels to dry. Finely chop the mushrooms by hand or in a food processor.
  2. Melt 3-4 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook until they change color and liquid forms.
  3. Sprinkle in seasonings and stir. Add Wondra one tablespoon at a time until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat. [May be stored in a covered container and refrigerated until ready to make sandwiches].
  4. Preheat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lay a piece of wax paper on the counter and spread both sides of each bread slice with butter. Spread 2 rounded tablespoons of mushroom mixture on four of the buttered bread slices, then cover each with another slice of bread.
  5. Place on the griddle and cook until the side facing the griddle is golden brown, then turn with a spatula and cook the other side until golden brown. Slice on the diagonal and serve.
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Waldorf Salad with a Midwest Twist

Salad - Marvin House finishedMy summer base in western New York puts me closer to Cleveland than to the east coast, so I have a new radius for recipes to try. Since Empire apples are already being sold at the farm stand down the road, I decided to give the Missouri Waldorf Salad from the Marvin House Cookbook a try. Continue reading

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A soggy dessert recipe from Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt with a patriotic birthday cake. Source: Library of Congress

Eleanor Roosevelt with a patriotic birthday cake. Source: Library of Congress

Eleanor roosevelt pudding doneMy quest to make another U.S. President-inspired July 4 recipe started out promisingly enough when I found First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s contribution to The All American Cookbook: Favorite Recipes of Famous Persons. Continue reading

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All-American Corn Soup from 19th U.S. President and “Lemonade Lucy”

Corn Soup - done

Corn close up

The upcoming July 4 holiday inspired me to look back at recipes from U.S. Presidents for alternatives to unimaginative menus of hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad. Continue reading

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Rhubarb Bars from a ‘Culinary Time Capsule’

Weston picnic 188When the town of Weston, Massachusetts celebrated the 300th anniversary of its founding in 2013, the Friends of the Weston Public Library asked people for their recipes and recollections. The result, Flavors of Weston, is filled with stories about traditions from times past.  Continue reading

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Finish Line of the Pieathlon with Cottage Cheese Apple Pie

Pieathlon pie bakedIMK June Eat PieBloggers about retro food unite today under the leadership of Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972 to make a pie recipe published before 1985. Each of us found and scanned a recipe and Yinzerella sent us each one to try.

Continue reading

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