ANTIQUE RECIPE FIND of the CENTURY and CHICKEN TETRAZZINI CASSEROLE

As you know I LOVE antique recipes! I am ALWAYS on the prowl for antique recipe boxes IF they are FULL of actual recipes, well, and occasionally if they aren’t 😀 

On our anniversary amid the pandemic we HAD to get out for a bit and went for lunch and decided antiquing was a safe excursion.  We had a GREAT time at the few places that were actually open.  But, it was in the last store that hubby surprised me with the greatest gift, an antique notebook from 1914 ish.  The recipes themselves aren’t dated, but ARE written in pen and ink that was blotted. There was an article in the back of the notebook from Essex, England April 21, 1915 on “An American Woman”.  Upon further inspection, she saved it for the “When Tomatoes Are Plentiful” recipes on the back side.

Each recipe has its own unique qualities, but one of the best things is that they are attributed to their original author, whether its “Mother” or “Marys Cook” or Bess Maxwell…

There are about 40 or so recipes in the notebook and I want to try ALL of them except 2 or 3 – I’m just NOT a fan of curry or aspic 🙂

The first thing I did was CAREFULLY open the notebook and photocopy each page.  I then put it back together with carefully placed rubber bands to help keep it square. Since these are over 100 years old, I wanted to handle them as little as possible. Fortunately, pen and ink photos quite well and I now have really good working copies to operate from.

I did a little research on the notebook itself, “The National Notebook for use in the National Notebook System adapted for ALL Written Schoolwork”. The patent dates back to 1898, a time when people were transitioning from slates to paper which had become inexpensive and allowed students to retain their notes.

I’m still trying to make out some of the formal cursive writing and a few of the titles, but the ingredients sound really good and are seriously FROM SCRATCH.

The first recipe I tried in its ORIGINAL form is from Ernest Arbogast, the chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, but made famous by Chef Louis Paquet is Chicken Tetrazzini.  It is said that he named the recipe after Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini.  It is widely believed to have been invented around 1908–1910. So, I’m sure the recipe was making the rounds through all the housewives 😀

The version I was taught when I was younger was seriously altered and shortcutted with processed foods so this is a really FANTASTIC find!

CHICKEN TETRAZZINI CASSEROLE
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons WONDRA flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Cream of Sherry
1/2 pound prepared spaghetti
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, reserve tops for later
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
2 1/2 cups small diced cooked chicken
1 can petite green peas, drained
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sliced almonds

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray 8×10 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet.
  • Add onions and mushrooms, sauteing until caramelized. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • In another bowl add chicken pieces. Set aside.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet.
  • Whisk in flour until golden.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk in broth and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and whisk in the white pepper, nutmeg and paprika.
  • Whisk in cream sherry and heavy cream, simmering 5 minutes.
  • Pour half of sauce into mushrooms and the other half into the chicken pieces.
  • Arrange spaghetti around the edges of the baking dish, leaving the center empty.
  • Spread chicken into the center of the baking dish.
  • Top with mushroom mixture and peas. Spread even.
  • Sprinkle cheese and then almonds evenly over top.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes.
  • Top with green onion tops.

My version of P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

With this horrible recuperation and limited food, eating out is a real pain in the butt.  BUT, I’m in love! In love with restaurants that have great appetizer menus.  LOL  😀 I ordered the Chicken Lettuce Wraps at P.F. Chang’s the other day from their appetizer menu and got 4 meals out of it!  But, what I fell in love with was the actual flavor.  The added bonus was the small chop on all the ingredients making it easy for me eat AND it heats up in the microwave for subsequent meals tasting the same as it did served fresh! So, of course I had to duplicate the recipe for home use and believe I have come REALLY close.

P.F. CHANG’S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnut, diced small
2⁄3 cup mushroom, diced small
1 small shallot, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 leaves butter lettuce
1/2-1 cup crispy rice noodles
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
  • Add shallots and green onions to pan sautéing until soft.
  • Add water chestnuts, garlic, mushrooms and ginger, sautéing a few minutes more.
  • Add stir fry sauce and stir until well blended.
  • When chicken is cool, shred it as small as the mushrooms and water chestnuts pieces are.
  • Add chicken into mixture, toss to blend and coat well.

STIR FRY SAUCE
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

  • Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.

SPECIAL SAUCE
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup water
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
1 -2 teaspoon Siracha

  • Whisk together the sugar and water in a small bowl until completely dissolved.
  • Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, hoisin sauce and desired amount of Siracha whisking until well blended.

ASSEMBLY

  • Serve each helping in a lettuce leaf.
  • Top with a handful of crispy rice noodles.
  • Pour Special sauce over the wraps.