“Stirring Up Memories and Great Dishes
While most of the olives and olive oil consumed in the United States comes primarily from Italy, Spain, and Tunisia, we do produce almost five percent of our own. And California accounts for 99 percent of all the olive oil production in the U.S. and has reached the status of a world-class producer.
We bring you these hand-selected recipes from another era and invite you to explore the wealth of “retro” recipes that our grandparents (and great-grandparents) enjoyed.
Here’s a classic recipe from Taste.com.au for
- 700g Pontiac or Desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 1.5cm cubes
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken breast fillets with skin (see note) (wing bone attached – optional)
- 3 eschalots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (125ml) Massel chicken-style liquid stock
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup (60ml) brandy
- 1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream
- 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Watercress sprigs, to serve
- Salt, to season
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread potato on a baking tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss with salt and pepper—place in oven to roast while you brown chicken.
Heat butter and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a frypan over medium heat. Season chicken, then cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Place skin-side up on a tray in the oven, turn potatoes, and roast both for a further 5 minutes or until cooked and golden.
Return chicken frypan to medium heat, add eschalots and soften for 1 minute, stirring. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in stock, mustard, sauce, brandy and cream, bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes to reduce by half. Stir in parsley and juice. Season. Serve chicken with sauce, potato and cress.
Chicken breasts with skin and good-quality stock are available from butchers and poultry shops.
From TheKitchn.com A perfect side could be this
Southern Pear Salad
- 6 leaves green leaf or iceberg lettuce
- 1/2 ounce sharp cheddar cheese (1/4 cup finely shredded)
- 1 (about 15-ounce) can pear halves in heavy syrup or juice
- 6 teaspoons mayonnaise, divided
- 6 maraschino cherries
- Tear 6 lettuce in half and arrange on individual plates. Finely shred 1/2 ounce sharp cheddar cheese in the small holes of a box grater (about 1/4 cup).
- Drain 1 can pear halves, discarding the liquid or reserving it for another use. Arrange 1 to 2 pear halves cut side-up on the lettuce. Spoon 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise into the center of each pear half. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the pear halves, then top each with a maraschino cherry.
- Make ahead: The pear salad can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Then there’s the “starch” – a standard inclusion in almost every retro menu. Here’s a classic from someone’s mother’s kitchen.
Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese
- 1-1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces Velveeta, cubed
- 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat. Add the cheeses, stirring until cheese is melted. Drain macaroni.
- Transfer macaroni to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni; mix well. Melt the remaining butter; add the bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 30 minutes or until heated through and topping is golden brown.
The truth is that, with centuries of great recipes, there’s a world of “retro dishes” waiting to make a comeback!
Retro Also Means Vintage – And Early American
One of the amazing things about early life in the American Colonies was their ability to produce a wide variety of delicious and intricate dishes, baked goods, and various foods. When you consider that they cooked with wood-fired stoves, used primitive utensils and pottery, and pretty much supplied all of their own ingredients, early American cooking was awe-inspiring.
During the Colonial Period of the United States, the cuisine was influenced by the available ingredients and cooking techniques of the time. Here are some of the most common dishes that were prepared and served in Colonial American homes:
- Indian Pudding: A classic Colonial dessert made with cornmeal, molasses, milk, and spices, often baked or boiled.
- Johnny Cakes: A type of cornmeal flatbread or pancake, typically cooked on a griddle or open flame.
- Hasty Pudding: A simple porridge made from wheat or cornmeal, cooked with milk or water, and sweetened with molasses.
- Clam Chowder: A hearty soup featuring clams, potatoes, onions, and salt pork, traditionally thickened with crackers.
- Baked Beans: Navy beans slowly baked in a sauce made with molasses, salt pork, and spices, resulting in a sweet and savory dish.
- Cornbread: A staple made from cornmeal, often baked in a cast-iron skillet, and served as a side dish with meals.
- Pot Roast: Beef or other meats cooked in a pot with vegetables, often flavored with herbs and spices.
- Fritters: Fried dough made with apples, corn, or pumpkin, often sweetened and spiced.
- Rye Bread: A type of bread made from rye flour, which was a popular grain in the northern colonies.
- Succotash: A dish consisting of lima beans, corn, and sometimes other vegetables, often cooked with butter or salt pork.
These dishes reflect the practical and resourceful nature of Colonial cooking, utilizing locally available ingredients and simple cooking methods. While the cuisine has evolved significantly since then, many of these traditional recipes and flavors continue to be enjoyed as part of American culinary heritage.
In that spirit, here’s a traditional Thanksgiving recipe from the 1700s: “Pumpkin Pudding,” a dish that harkens back to the early American settlers’ celebrations.
Colonial Pumpkin Pudding
- 1 small pumpkin (about 2-3 pounds)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- Prepare the Pumpkin:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cut the top off the pumpkin and remove the seeds and stringy pulp.
- Place the cleaned pumpkin in a baking dish, cut side down.
- Add about an inch of water to the dish.
- Bake the pumpkin in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until it’s tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool.
- Make the Pumpkin Puree:
- Scoop the cooked pumpkin flesh from the skin and place it in a blender or food processor.
- Blend until you have a smooth pumpkin puree.
- Measure out 2 cups of the puree for the recipe.
- Prepare the Pudding:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, melted butter, and molasses. Stir until well mixed.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Then, add them to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
- **In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Mix these dry ingredients together and then add them to the pumpkin mixture. Stir until everything is well incorporated.
- Add the milk to the mixture and stir until smooth.
- Bake the Pudding:
- Grease a baking dish or pie pan.
- Pour the pumpkin pudding mixture into the greased dish.
- **Bake the pudding in the preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 45-50 minutes, or until the top is set and the edges are slightly browned.
- Let the pudding cool for a bit before serving.
- You can serve it warm, with a dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkle of powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.
This Colonial Pumpkin Pudding recipe offers a taste of traditional American Thanksgiving fare from the 1700s, showcasing the simple yet delightful flavors enjoyed by early settlers during this historic holiday. Enjoy this historical dish and connect with the culinary heritage of the past
Create Your Own Unforgettable Vintage Meals with Essentials from Cal Mart
For over five decades, Cal Mart has served as a culinary ingredient destination, catering to our community’s desire for great dining. Nestled in the heart of Napa Valley, our roots run deep, and we’ve blossomed into a local tradition.
As an enduring family-owned establishment, Cal Mart continues to provide an unparalleled shopping experience. Our unwavering commitment to supporting local growers and suppliers has been our hallmark for more than fifty years, ensuring that every visit to Cal Mart is a wonderful experience.
Our dedicated employees take great pride in providing an extensive array of fresh and local goods, catering to the palates of our valued patrons.
And it’s the unwavering loyalty of our customers that has transformed Cal Mart into a veritable local grocery haven. We are known for our huge selection of exquisite Napa Valley wines, premium meats, artisanal cheeses, and a dazzling array of specialty foods. Our legacy has built our present-day reputation as “Napa Valley’s Finest Grocery.”
So, this fall, make it a point to come and visit Cal Mart for all your vintage recipe essentials.
And, while you’re here, please feel free to chat with our friendly staff and even treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea from our Coffee Bar.
And remember that at Cal Mart, you will always find something that is unexpected, unusual, and uncommon!