A few weeks ago I gave you the script and recipes from a the United States Department of Agriculture Radio Service’s regular program called ‘Housekeepers’ Chat.’ I want to return to that source again today.
On Friday 25 March, 1932 the subject was "Easter Dinner," and the information and recipes came from the U.S.D.A. Bureau of Home Economics. Here is the script:
The old rhyme of the housewife, as I remember it, goes something like this:
"What'll I serve for dinner?
What'll I have for tea?
A salad, a chop or two
Or a savory fricassee?
My I how I wish that Nature
When she made her mighty plan
Had given some other job to woman
Than feeding hungry man."
But you and I don't have to worry today, for the Menu Specialist has planned us a beautiful Easter dinner. The color scheme of the meal is yellow, green and white. And if that doesn't suggest spring flowers to you, I don't know what will, pale yellow candles would be nice on the table. So would a centerpiece of daffodils or jonquils and narcissus blossoms.
Lamb and veal are the traditional spring meats, especially suitable for Easter, Not that you have to have these meats on Easter in order to be correct. No rules about it. There are plenty of other meats that would be all right for an Easter dinner. But for this special meal, the Menu Specialist
has planned according to good old tradition.
Take your choice. Either broiled lamb chops or breaded veal cutlets for the dish. Along with the meat, serve new potatoes and new peas creamed together, and buttered new carrots. Then, Spring salad, made of lettuce, watercress, green pepper slices and chopped celery with French dressing.
For dessert, there are again two choices f or you. You can have either orange ice and sponge cake or jellied canned peaches and almonds.
There now. That's the yellow, green and white meal for Easter. Just one more glance at it. Main course; Either broiled lamb chops or breaded veal cutlets; New potatoes and peas creamed together; Buttered carrots; Spring salad of lettuce, cress, green pepper and celery. Dessert, either
orange ice and sponge cake, or jellied peaches and almonds.
Lamb chops, you know, may come from the loin, the rib or the shoulder. The butcher will cut them either single or double thickness, as you prefer. But always remember to have them cut in uniform thickness and to have the fell removed.
If you'd like to serve a plate of chops for Easter that look a little fancy, have the chops boned, rolled and trapped in sliced bacon. A platter of sizzling hot chops prepared this way and served right from the fire on a hot platter and garnished with parsley is one of the best sights anyone could have at Easter or any other dinner during the year.
The experts say that all lamb chops are best broiled either by direct heat or in a heavy uncovered skillet.
To broil by direct heat, lay the chops on a cold greased rack and place them over coals or under the gas-oven flame or an electric grill.
If you are using a gas oven, cook the chops 2 or 3 inches below a moderate flame. Sear then on both sides. Place double rib chops, fat side up at first, so they can also sear along the edge. After searing, you can lower the flame and finish the cooking at a lower temperature. Of course, you should turn the chops occasionally, but try not to prick the brown crust while you turn them. For the thick or double chops, it is sometimes more convenient, after searing them under the flame, to transfer the broiler to a moderately hot oven and finish the cooking there.
So much for plain broiling.
Would you like directions for pan broiling the chops? Get your heavy skillet sizzling hot. Then lay in your chops and sear them quickly on both sides. If your chops are thick, turn them also on the edge to sear the fat. Then reduce the heat, turn the chops frequently, and finish the cooking at low temperature.
Here are two don'ts about the process. Don't ever add water to the skillet. Don’t ever cover the skillet while the chops are cooking. From time to time you'll want to pour off the extra fat in the frying pan so that the chops will broil instead of frying.
How long does it take to cook the chops? It depends on the chop and how thick it is cut. By either method — broiling or pan broiling, double loin chops take from 25 to 30 minutes and single loin chops take 10 to 15 minutes. Double rib chops require from 30 to 35 minutes while single rib chops take from 10 to 15 minutes. Shoulder chops, cut ¾ of an inch thick, take from 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the broiled chops immediately on a hot platter, as we mentioned awhile back, add salt, pepper and melted butter and garnish with parsley or watercress.
That's all I have to tell you about the chops.
If you choose jellied peaches and almonds instead of orange ice for dessert, take down a quart jar of the peaches you canned last summer and get out your bag of almonds for blanching.
The recipe for jellied peaches and almonds isn't in your green cookbook. That's why I'm taking time today to give it to you. It's a very simple dessert which you can make the day before Easter and keep in your refrigerator until it's time to serve. This yellow and white fruit dessert makes a
handsome ending to any spring meal with yellow and white in the color scheme.
Are you ready now for the ingredients?
2 tablespoons of gelatin
⅛ teaspoon of almond extract
¼ cup of cold water
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 cup of "boiling water
½ cup of blanched and chopped almonds, and
1 cup of sugar
1 quart of sliced peaches.
¼ teaspoon of salt
That's quite a long list. Hadn't I better repeat it? (Repeat.)
Soak the gelatin in the cold water for five minutes. Now add the boiling water, the sugar and the salt and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Then chill. Then the mixture is beginning to set, add the almond extract, the lemon juice, the chopped almonds and the peaches. Stir until well mixed.
Then pour into a dampened mold and chill. When the jelly is set, turn it onto a plate and serve it either with plain or whipped cream.
This decorative, colorful dessert may be prepared in one large mold or may be molded in individual servings. Suit yourself.