Monday, May 5, 2008

"Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book" & "The Take Good Care of My Son Cookbook for Brides" - Swiss Steak and Parsleyed Potatoes

Date I made these recipes: May 4, 2008

Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book
Published by Meredith Corporation
© 1941, 1951
Recipe: Swiss Steak – Chapter 14, page 7

The Take Good Care of My Son Cookbook for Brides by June Roth
Published by: An Essandess Special Edition
© 1969
Parsleyed Potatoes – p. 106

Had my mom been alive, today would have been my parent’s 51st wedding anniversary and trying to find a recipe or two to acknowledge that just eluded me until the last minute. I pulled several off the shelf before I hit on my selection criteria: What Would Mom Make? (WWMM?) This helped eliminate wonderful-sounding dishes that would have never seen the light of day in our household—chicken breasts with wild mushrooms, fancy pastas, shrimp dishes—the list goes on and on. And that’s how I came to settle upon Swiss Steak and Parsleyed Potatoes.

I have two copies of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, this one, published in 1941 and then reprinted again in 1951 and the other was one I blogged about a few weeks ago. The older version is a little worse for the wear but the recipes are pretty similar to the ones in my mom’s copy that she received when she got married on May 4, 1957. The Swiss Steak recipe that I selected is pretty similar to my mother’s so that was an easy choice.

While contemplating my next move, I noticed The Take Good Care of My Son Cookbook for Brides on my shelf and in it, the accompaniment to the Swiss Steak—Parsleyed Potatoes. My mother made these potatoes for so many dinners I lost count but particularly with liver and onions. (If you must, please take a moment to go “ew.”)

This recipe didn’t quite hit the mark as it called for 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, something I don’t think my mother ever added and I didn’t like the flavor at all. If memory serves, mom boiled some potatoes, added sautéed onion and then the parsley although I could be wrong. You would think that something as simple as this recipe would be easily remembered but you would be wrong and now I lost my opportunity to ask her. The moral of this story is to never take the easiest recipes for granted—get it in writing!

Both of these dishes are really easy to make, something my mother appreciated. She cooked great meals for us that primarily consisted of meat, potatoes and a vegetable and utilized her pressure cooker to the nth degree. She almost never made a casserole, even at the height of that craze, and canned vegetables weren’t too prevalent, either, given the fact that we had a huge garden. Sometimes folks, simple pleasures are the best.

Swiss Steak – Serves 6
2 pounds round or chuck steak
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons fat
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup canned tomatoes

Have steak cut 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. Mix flour, salt and pepper; thoroughly pound into steak. (Note: how does one “thoroughly pound” flour into steak? I coated the steak…then pounded the steak…but don’t believe I thoroughly pounded the steak!)

Brown the meat and onion in hot fat; add tomatoes. Cover; cook over low heat or bake in a moderate oven (350) until tender, about 1 ½ hours.

Parsleyed Potatoes – Serves either 2 or 3 or 4 to 6
To serve 2 or 3
¾ pound tiny new potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice

To serve 4 to 6
1 ½ pounds tiny new potatoes
¼ cup butter
¼ cup minced parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Wash potatoes, leaving them whole with skins intact. Place them in a saucepan, cover with salted water, and boil for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

In a small saucepan, melt butter; remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice. Pour into a small deep serving dish. Peel potatoes quickly and place in lemon-butter sauce. Roll potatoes in sauce with a spoon until well coated. Serve at once.

Note: If I were to make this again, I’d peel the potatoes before boiling as it is much easier and saves you from burning your hands!

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