November 25, 2006

Oak Farms Dairy

Oak Farms is a Texas dairy with headquarters located in Dallas. They are now a subsidiary of Dean Foods (Suiza Foods Corporation) which is the nation's largest milk processor and distributor. There are four main Oak Farms Dairy plants with branches all over the eastern half of the Lone Star state.

The San Antonio plant is the oldest and was built in 1908. The Waco plant came next in 1925, followed by a site in Dallas in 1936 and in Houston in 1940. The site in Houston is the one I remember when I was growing up as we passed by it often.

There are also branches in Wichita Falls, Tyler, Weatherford, Paris, Sherman/Denison, Beaumont, Brenham, McAllen, Uvalde, Austin and Temple. I mention the main plant and branch locations because this information is sometimes helpful when trying to locate old Oak Farms recipe booklets or other Oak Farms memorabilia.

One such recipe book is Oak Farm Recipes (not dated, 48 pp). I suspect it was published sometime in the 1960s or very early 1970s judging by the color photographs of the food and table settings that illustrate the interior. It has a $1.00 price printed on the front cover.

This booklet could have been used as advertising for any dairy as the recipes do not actually call for Oak Farms products, but are generic in nature. An Oak Farms milk carton is shown on the front cover with other company information and the Oak Farms logo found inside the front and rear covers and on the rear cover itself.

The recipes all use dairy products that Oak Farms produced, such as milk, cream, butter, cheese, sour cream, buttermilk and ice cream.

This booklet has a special section on Instant Gourmet Go-Togethers which they describe inside as actually being glamorous throw-togethers. Women back then evidently had the same problems as we do now--a lack of time to hang out in the kitchen. These Go-Togethers were recipes for "gourmet" foods that could be prepared in only 10 minutes.

Examples of Go-Togethers are Snowballs (scoops of vanilla ice cream rolled in coconut and served with chocolate sauce and a maraschino cherry) and Naughty Noodles (noodles mixed with cottage cheese, sour cream, olives and Worcestershire sauce). I'm not quite sure why these noodles are naughty--perhaps they're fattening and therefore not permited if one is watching their calorie intake. There's also a calorie chart in the rear of the booklet.

Other recipe categories include appetizers, cream soups, salads, sauces, casseroles, main courses, vegetables, cakes and desserts.

In the luncheon casseroles section of Casseroles, there are four recipes given for large quantities: Chicken Escallop (50 portions), Ham Loaf (50 portions), Chicken a la King (50 servings) and Macaroni Casserole (24 portions).

There's a page on the nutritional benefits of drinking milk and including other dairy products in your diet.

The rear of the booklet invites consumers to visit and tour the Oak Farms plant and Quality Control laboratory (though it doesn't mention which plant). This may well have been a popular destination for school field trips and scout outings. Although I went on many such field trips in my youth, I don't recall ever visiting Oak Farms.

November 24, 2006

Fresh Cranberries

This is the time of year when you'll find those wonderful bags of fresh Ocean Spray cranberries in the produce section at your grocery store. I always buy extra bags and freeze them for later in the year when they're not available.

101 All-Time Favorite Cranberry Recipes (not dated, 36 pp) was published by Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. and is a nice recipe booklet that gives plenty of recipes for using those fresh cranberries.

While the majority of the recipes in the booklet call for either fresh or frozen cranberries or whole or jellied canned cranberry sauce, there are several others that use other Ocean Spray products such as cranberry juice cocktail and cranberry orange relish.

There are three pages in the front of the booklet that tell a bit about the history of the cranberry. Although the publication date of this booklet isn't given, the booklet says that Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. is a national cooperative with plants in five cranberry-growing states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington and Oregon. The recipe book was likely published before 1993 (the year Craisins were introduced) because none of the recipes call for Craisins.

The booklet is illustrated with small drawings such as those shown on the front cover. The recipe categories are divided into Cranberry Breads, Cranberry Salads, Cranberry Main Dishes, Cranberry Desserts, Cranberry Cakes and Cookies, Cranberry Frostings, Cranberry Beverages, Low Calorie Cranberry Dishes and Quantity Cranberry Dishes.

For sweeteners, the low calorie recipes call for liquid sweetener (Sucaryl) or Sweet 10.

Here are a couple of recipes from the booklet to help you take advantage of the fresh cranberries:


1 cup chopped Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons finey diced celery
2 tablespoons finely diced green pepper
1 cup halved green grapes
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (blended with a little whipped cream for extra smoothness)

Mix cranberries and sugar. Moisten cabbage with orange juice. Add sugared cranberries, celery, green pepper and grapes to cabbage. Toss Lightly with mayonnaise. Chill. Makes 4 servings.

This next recipe would allow you to take advantage of the abundance of fresh cranberries available right now, the great prices and could serve as lovely homemade holiday gifts:


1 quart (1-lb) Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries
2 cups water

Pick over fruit, wash carefully and drain. Use a colander or sieve for this. Transfer the fruit to a medium saucepan. Add the water and cook to the boiling point. Now reduce the heat and cook very slowly, (simmer) for 10 minutes. Stretch several layers of cheesecloth over a bowl and pour in the fruit. Drain off all the juice, pressing the fruit lightly with a wooden spoon to extract the maximum amount of liquid. Measure the juice (discard the fruit pulp) and to each cup of juice add 1 cup of sugar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling for 2 minutes longer and remove from heat. Skim off any froth on the surface and pour the hot syrup into hot sterilized jars or bottles. Seal securely. Makes about 1 pint of syrup, but yield varies according to the degree of ripeness and juiciness of the cranberries.

Serving Suggestions:
  • Sauce for Ice Cream
  • Stirred into crushed ice and carbonated water to make a good drink
  • Sauce for cake, vanilla pudding, bread pudding, cereal

November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Hope you, your family and friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

This evening, many will have leftover turkey in the fridge, so I thought I'd put up a few recipes that might inspire you to use some of the leftovers in something other than turkey sandwiches. Or for when you get tired of turkey sandwiches!

These recipes are from the Favorite All Time Recipes Campbell's Celebrations cookbook (1998, 94 pp). You've already done all the hard work for the big dinner, so it's time to relax the rest of the weekend cooking-wise, and recipes that call for a can of Campbell's soup are always good for a quick and easy meal.


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bag (16 ounces) any frozen vegetable combination, thawed
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
4 cups hot cooked rice

In medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add vegetables and stir-fry until tender-crisp.

Add soup, soy sauce and garlic powder. Heat to a boil. Add turkey and heat through. Serve over rice.

Serves 4

Tip: To thaw vegetables, microwave on HIGH 3 minutes.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

1 pound fresh broccoli, cut into spears, cooked and drained, or 1 package (about 10 ounces) frozen broccoli spears, cooked and drained
1-1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Broccoli Cheese Soup or Cream of Chicken Soup
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces, optional)
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted

In 9-inch pie plate or 2-quart shallow baking dish arrange broccoli and turkey. In small bowl mix soup and milk and pour over broccoli and turkey.

Sprinkle cheese over soup mixture. Mix bread crumbs with margarine and sprinkle over cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot.

Serves 4

Tip: For a lighter version, substitute 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) Campbells 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/4 cup milk
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce or Thick & Chunky Salsa
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (about 8 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1-1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
4 cups cooked corkscrew macaroni (3 cups uncooked)

In large saucepan mix soup, milk, picante sauce, garlic powder, corn, turkey and macaroni. Over low heat, heat through.

Serves 4

Got leftover ham and company? Try this recipe one morning for brunch:


Bake/Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 package (10 ounces) Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Shells
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) Campbells Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup or 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1-1/2 cups cubed cooked ham
1-1/2 cups cooked asparagus cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (2 ounces)

Bake pastry shells according to package directions.

In medium saucepan mix soup, milk, mustard, ham, asparagus and cheese. Over medium heat, heat through, stirring often.

Serve in pastry shells.

Serves 6

November 22, 2006

Cheesecake - RTE or Traditional

What factors determine the type of cheesecake dessert you might prepare on this Thanksgiving Eve?

If you're busy, short of time (and who isn't) and not a purist, you might go for the new Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling that Kraft introduced in September. I had a coupon for it so I picked up a tub at the supermarket this afternoon. The filling is located in the refrigerated section next to the other cream cheese. I also bought a pre-made graham cracker pie crust to use with it.

It took me literally less than two minutes to take the lid off the pie crust, remove the lid from the tub and scrape the filling into the pie shell. Took longer than that to checkout at the grocery. There it was, ready to eat.

We already tested the results and here's what we think around here: The texture is nice--it's almost exactly like if you had mixed up one of the recipes that calls for cream cheese, sugar and non-dairy whipped topping. However, we thought the filling tasted a bit too sweet. Although I didn't add a topping or any mix-ins as suggested on the package, our very small slices were very rich.

Remarkable that is it too sweet, as half of this opinion is from a guy who can knock back a mixer bowl (or two) full of Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate ice cream with no complaints about "too sweet". Can't imagine mixing in chocolate chips or crumbled Oreo's and adding even more sugar. However, we did think that it was better than a grocery bakery item, so it wins points for at least being semi-homemade.

(Note to those people who keep slice-and-bake cookie dough and canned cake frosting in the fridge for quick sweet-tooth fixes--this product will fit in nicely with your other selections. Perhaps some graham crackers so you can use it as a dip.)

If you're not too busy and don't mind getting out your hand mixer to whip together a few ingredients you might use a recipe that calls for a few convenience foods. Here's a recipe from the Kraft, the same people who make the Ready-to-Eat filling.

I'm not much of a pumpkin pie fan, but don't mind eating pumpkin in a cheesecake.

The following recipe is from The Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cookbook (1981, 191 pp).


A great alternative to traditional pumpkin pie -- a spicy pumpkin cheesecake in a gingersnap crust.

1 cup gingersnap crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons Parkay margarine, melted
1 8-oz. pkg. Philadelphia Brand cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 16-oz. can pumpkin
2/3 cup (5-1/3 fl. oz. can) evaported milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of salt

Combine crumbs, nuts and margarine; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

Combine softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing on electric mixer until well blended. Blend in egg; pour over crust.

Combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Carefully pour over cream cheese mixture. Bake at 325 degrees, 1 hour and 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Loosen cake from rim of pan. Cool; remove rim. Chill.

For traditionalists, who cook for taste no matter how long it takes, there's always the Joy of Cheesecake. I've yet to prepare a recipe from this cookbook that didn't receive a whole lot of compliments.

Whichever option you take on the cheesecake road, I hope you and your family will have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day.

November 21, 2006

Frank's Kraut

Cooking with Frank's Kraut (not dated, 40 pp) is a small recipe booklet that was prepared by the National Kraut Packers Association and used to promote commercially processed sauerkraut to home cooks. Although the booklet isn't dated, it appears to have been published sometime during the late 1940s or early 1950s. This clue comes from looking at the clothing worn by the Test Kitchen Home Economists shown in the black and white photo inside the front of the booklet.

The rear of the booklet has printed on it:

Compliments of
The Frank Pure Food Company
Franksville, Wis.

The rear cover also says "Insist on Frank's Fancy Quality" and shows a green and white illustration of a can of Frank's Fancy Quality Kraut.

The front and rear covers are the only place that mention the Frank's brand. Inside, only generic kraut is called for in the recipe ingredients.

Although the booklet contains several pages of information on the history, nutritional value, modern manufacturing methods and the use of kraut in reducing diets, it does not give any insight about the history of the Frank's brand.

The little cookbook contains 56 different recipes that use canned sauerkraut. The recipes are divided into the following categories:

Kraut with Meats
Kraut and Frankfurters
Kraut with Pork and Apples
Kraut with Vegetables
Kraut Soups and Appetizers
Kraut Salads
Kraut in the Low Calorie Diet

There are several black and white photographs of some of the finished recipes that illustrate the book. The Frank's Kraut brand is still sold today by the Fremont Company.

Here's a recipe from the booklet that came from the Reducing Diet Section:


(Makes 8 Servings)

2 cups cubed, uncooked lean ham (1 pound)
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 No. 2 can kraut
2 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
2 quarts hot chicken broth
Chopped parsley

Brown ham; add onion and kraut and cook until lightly browned. In a large kettle, combine kraut mixture, tomatoes and chicken broth; cook over low heat 1 hour. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Calories per serving - 230.12
Protein per serving - 11.97

November 18, 2006

Kellogg's Cookbooks

This morning I have been looking through The Kellogg's Cookbook, a cook book published earlier this year by the Kellogg Company to commemorate their 100th anniversary.

The cookbook gives a nice, concise history of the company from its 1894 origins up until the present time. There are 200 recipes, many of which have been previously featured on Kellogg's cereal boxes, in magazine advertisements and in various recipe booklets throughout the years.

As with many newer cookbooks publishing collections of their older recipes, the recipes may sometimes change either slightly or significantly. Rarely do all of the recipes remain identical throughout the passage of time. Sometimes the product itself goes through production changes that account for the recipe modifcations. In this book the Kellogg Kitchen states "Our recipe collection has evolved over many decades to meet a variety of criteria for taste, texture, nutrition, appearance, ease of preparation and availability of ingredients so all of our consumers can enjoy our recipes."

I compared a couple of the Crispix recipes in this new cookbook to recipes with the identical names published in 20 Greatest Crispix Mix Recipes of All Time (1991, 16 pp) and found them to be exactly the same.

I compared some others to those found in Kay Kellog's Creative Cookery (1971, 64 pp). The recipes for Sweet Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting were almost identical, with the newer version showing a slight modification to the amount of salt and coconut. The recipe for the Almond Tea Ring in the newer version decreased the amount of sugar by 1/2 cup and had a different topping glaze. The Cherry Winks of 1971 have transformed into Cherry Dot Cookies in 2006 and now call for less cereal. The recipe ingredients for Fiesta Cookies (2006) and Fruit Loops Fiestas (1971) are the same, as are those in the Chocolate Scotcheroos.

All in all, I'm satisfied that the classic recipes probably haven't changed all that much. I think this new cookbook is a handy book to have, in part because it also shows many newer and more contemporary recipes for entrees and side dishes.