Posted by: Erica Retrochef | August 18, 2014

Ribbon Slaw

Fun food safety fact: Mayonnaise isn’t dangerous if left unrefrigerated. Made with pasteurized eggs, vinegar, and lemon juice, it’s not a bacteria-friendly environment. Which means you can safely enjoy this “new idea for coleslaw” brought to you by 1960’s Miracle Whip, even at a sweltering August picnic!


Toss purple cabbage with radish and stuffed green olive slices and Miracle Whip; layer this with green cabbage tossed with cucumber slices, kidney beans, Miracle Whip.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | August 11, 2014

Neptune Sandwiches

I really like avocados. One of my friends got me this giant avocado — the grocery store had a sale, they were about to throw away the promotional avocado, she asked if she could keep it and now it lives in my kitchen.


His name is Avi the Avocado.


Another of my friends got me this super cookbook, published by Calavo some decades ago (it’s undated) and full of ways to eat these tasty green fruits.

Interestingly, it’s also full of slightly defensive paragraphs about how avocados are nutritional powerhouses, not fattening, and have less calories than various other foods. Which is all true, in fact — avocados are very nutritious as well as delicious! I was mostly surprised that the “omg so fattening” myth was old (this was published in the late 1960’s).



Makes about 1 3/4 cups filling.

1 1/2 tsps. instant minced onion
1 T. water
1 (7-oz.) can tuna
1/3 to 1/2 c. finely chopped celery
drop or two Tabasco sauce
1 T. fresh lime or lemon juice
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1 mashed Calavo avocado

Combine onion and water. Flake tuna; combine with celery, Tabasco, lime juice, salt and onion. Mash avocado (see pg. 2) and blend into tuna mixture. Spread on toast.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | August 4, 2014

Mock Steak

In retro days of yore, beef was the thing to cook when grilling out in the summer time. (Even Elsie and Elmer got in on the action, which is kinda cute until you start to wonder exactly where does a cow family get a big pile of hamburgers?) Slapping a giant steak down on the barbecue was iconic, and August is prime grilling time pretty much everywhere — but steak ain’t cheap. If your spouse didn’t make steak money, what was the solution?


No, silly, “get a job” isn’t an option, this is the 50’s. You make fake steak, of course!

MOCK STEAK (Serves 8): Mix 2 lbs. ground round, 1/2 lb. lean pork, 1 env. dry onion soup mix, 2 Tbs. Lea & Perrins, 2 cups stuffing mix, 1 1/2 cups tomato juice. Form into steak shape 1 inch thick. Wrap 2 strips thick bacon at outer edge to resemble fat. During broiling brush with mixture of 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 Tbs. Lea & Perrins, 3 Tbs. catsup. Broil 10 min. each side. Use carrot strip to make bone.

There’s just so much to love (and fear) about this recipe. I didn’t tell Buzz what I was doing in the kitchen (which is rare, usually he helps both choose and cook); I just said we’d be having steak and he should go away for a while until it was done.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | July 28, 2014

Susie’s Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

Remember how your family invites The Boss over for dinner all the time, and you need to impress him?


Henry’s boss hadn’t had homemade ice cream since he was a kid. No wonder he raved and raved. Susie didn’t tell him it was easy. Just a little lemon trick.

What I really like about this little tidbit is it shows that homemade ice cream was antiquated even in the 50’s.

2 cups half & half or heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh grated lemon peel
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

In large bowl, stir together cream and sugar until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Mix in lemon peel and juice. Pour into ice cube tray, 8″ square pan, or directly into sherbet dishes. Freeze several hours until firm. Makes about 1 1/2 pints.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | July 21, 2014

Frankfurters & Corn Casserole

One-dish meals that combine meat and vegetable are a great idea, at least in theory. The whole dinner is in one place, the kids can’t fussily avoid one or the other, and cleanup is reduced.

That’s the theory, at least. In practice, one-dish dinners tend to be even messier (somehow) and picky eaters will outright refuse everything because “the hot dog is touching the corn, waaaah!”


1/4 cup finely chopped onions
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups canned whole kernel corn, drained
3 eggs beaten
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
1 pound frankfurters, scored

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook onions in butter until transparent; stir in flour. Add salt and pepper. Over low heat, gradually stir in milk; cook until sauce is thick and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from head and add corn. Fold in beaten eggs. Pour into 1 1/2 quart buttered casserole. Mix melted butter and bread crumbs; sprinkle on top. Bake 30 minutes; place frankfurters on top of casserole and bake 15 minutes longer.

Let’s see how this casserole turns out, shall we?

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | July 14, 2014

Savory Cabbage-Rice

Thrifty, and nifty, and 18 minutes!



Savory Cabbage-Rice. Prepare 1 1/3 cups (5-oz. package) Minute Rice as directed on package, substituting 2 cups tomato juice for the 1 1/2 cups water. (Minute Rice takes on the rich red tomato color — makes a wonderfully appetizing dish!) Fry 8 slices bacon until crisp. Mix 4 cups shredded cabbage, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; simmer 5 minutes. Drain. Add 1/8 teaspoon oregano, 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, and the rosy rice. Delicious! Serves 6.

Not only fast, but with extra glamour!

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | July 7, 2014

Sausages Baked in Bananas

This one was another of Buzz’s crazy finds. And oddly enough, the one he wanted to make (sausages baked in bananas) is perhaps the least strange choice on the page. Banana meat loaf? Bananas au gratin?


6 bananas, unpeeled
6 to 12 small link sausages

Slit each banana lengthwise from tip to tip to form a pocket, being careful not to cut through the skin on the under side. Place one or two link sausages in the opening of each banana. Arrange bananas in baking dish, slit side up, and bake in a moderate oven (375° F.) about 15 to 20 minutes or until sausages are done. Six servings.

I have a strong suspicion this is an overreach on the banana company’s part. Let’s find out.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 30, 2014

Berry Wedge Pie

I hate most things about late June — summer is starting to take itself seriously and temperature and humidity are climbing, and the kids are beginning to be bored with the lack of intellectual stimulation. But one thing I do love is blueberries, which are finally available (indeed, overflowing) at all the local farmers markets. And this week, I got some amazing ones — the big, juicy ones that are far more sweet than sour.

So I wanted to make a blueberry pie. It’s Pieathalon Day, after all, and the Curried Egg Pie was a little bit terrifying.



2-1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Crisco
1/4 cup water

All Measurements Level. Sift flour with salt into bowl. Remove 1/3 cup flour. Cut Crisco into remaining flour with pastry blender, fork or two knives until the pieces are the size of small peas. Mix 1/4 cup water with the 1/3 cup flour to form paste. Add flour paste to Crisco-flour mixture. Mix and shape into a ball; divide dough into two parts. On a floured pastry canvas or board lightly roll a circle of dough 12″ in diameter and 1/8″ thick. Line pie plate; allow pastry to extend 1/2″ beyond edge. Turn edge under, flute with fingers. Prick pastry closely over bottom of pan. Roll remaining pastry in same manner as before, to a diameter of 8 inches. Cut circle into 6 wedges and place on cookie sheet. Prick closely. Bake shell and wedges in hot oven (425°F.) 12-15 minutes, or until brown.


3-1/2 cups frozen or canned blueberries
1 cup juice from berries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt with juice and blueberries. Add remaining ingredients and cook until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place in baked Crisco shell. Top with pastry wedges.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 30, 2014

Pieathalon! Curried Egg Pie

Welcome to the 1st Annual Pieathalon! A dozen intrepid cooking bloggers are running laps around their kitchen, simultaneously baking pies and shooting at targets. (Well, ok, we aren’t actually target shooting, but biathlon is one of my favorite sports. I like to imagine it originated when skiers were actually shooting at each another, and the civilized, humane, modern version uses targets instead.)


The brainchild of the blogger behind Dinner Is Served 1972, the Pieathalon concept is pretty simple: Contribute a recipe for (a) pie, either sweet or savory, (b) from your collection that (c) has a photograph so we know what it’s supposed to look like. Here’s who’s cooking what…

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 23, 2014

Cornoodle Casserole


Feeling patriotic? Not feeling patriotic, but want your dinner table to look patriotic?

For either scenario, we’ve got a recipe that fit your needs with some “star-spangled country corn.” Because if you’re going to be serving a creamed corn casserole at your Independence Day picnic, by golly it better have red pimiento stars on top. Anything else is just un-American, and clearly a sign that commies have infiltrated your kitchen.


6 oz. noodles
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsps. finely cut parsley
2 tbsps. chopped pimiento
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
Dash cayenne
1 #303 can DEL MONTE Golden Cream Style Corn

Cook noodles in salted boiling water about 15 minutes. Mix cheese, cream, onion, parsley, pimiento and seasonings with hot drained noodles. Butter 2-qt. casserole; spread half the corn on bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Add noodle mixture. Spoon remaining corn in center, season, dot with butter. Cover; bake in moderate oven (350°F.) about 40 min. Garnish with pimiento stars if desired. Serves 6.

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