An Index to the Foods of Gideon Lawton Lane
Keepers began life as a cookbook in a small three-ring binder with spatter-proof pages. Over time, copies found their way to kitchens in the United States and Spain, creating version problems and update difficulties. Posting to the web seemed a decent solution.
This index gathers all of those Keepers recipes, sorts them by genre, and provides links to the full text. There are 40 recipes in the Keepers archive. To narrow your search, select:
Canning | Baking | Hors d’oeuvres | Soups | Main Dishes | Side Dishes || All Recipes
All recipes in this index
Granny Smith Apple Tart
An unusually tasty tart shell, based on a recipe that may have originated with James Beard. The choice of apple is crucial; crunchy and tart is the goal.
Black Cherry Salad with Charred Scallion Vinaigrette
Fresh black cherries seem to have a short season. We saw them in the market and came upon this recipe on the same day. It turned out to be a perfect accompaniment to a sandwich for a summer lunch.
This is a very dense coffee cake, a few shades away from a blueberry pie. Fresh blueberries are essential — four cups of them, which means you should have about eight blueberry bushes in your yard.
Savory Blueberry Chutney
A welcome and unexpected addition to bowls of crackers, cheese plates, or other hors d’oeuvres.
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
With eight blueberry bushes out in the garden and lots of berries in the freezer, this quickly became a household standard.
This is a refreshing summertime soup, although it has some historical connection to fireside apres-ski socializing. The recipe can triple or more for larger crowds. Having eight blueberry bushes in the garden helps with that.
Blueberry Cheese-filled Tart
Farmer’s cheese is sometimes difficult to find. Ricotta works in a pinch, but it is possible to make it out of fresh buttermilk.
Getting the boeuf browned, sauced, and into the oven involves a fair amount of time and labor, but the three hours of unattended cooking time in the oven provides lots of time to recover. This is a memorably flavorful preparation that could double for larger crowds if the kitchen has a large, sturdy covered pot.
Anson’s No-Knead Bread
An artifact of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, when everyone was sheltering in place, restaurants were closed, and baking suddenly became important. The recipe fit easily into a day’s routine, but a five-pound bag of flour was often difficult to find.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
An autumnal, earthy, harvest-time soup well-suited to a hand-thrown pottery bowl. Fresh sage is essential. Recipe doubles and triples nicely.
Barbara’s Carrot Cake
A mercifully easy recipe that yields an indescribably good result. Most adult McMillans have a handwritten copy and have made at least one cake.
Carrot Spice Muffins
This is the legacy of a last-minute Labor Day weekend trip to Bar Harbor. While preparing for an afternoon of sea kayaking, we chatted with a young Indian couple who were staying at our bed and breakfast. The man regretted that the kayaking would make him miss the carrot mini-muffins that our host set out around four o’clock. We had no idea, but made it a point to be at the B&B the next afternoon.
Sour Cherry or Blueberry Oatmeal Tart
The tart shell is like a giant oatmeal cookie. The recipe began as a blueberry oatmeal tart because the garden had eight very productive blueberry bushes. A couple seasons later, the Montmorency sour cherry trees reached fruiting size, and the sour cherry alternative became the dominant tart.
Mimi’s Chestnut Stuffing
Part of most Nickel Thanksgiving dinners since at least the late 1930s, the recipe is now preferred as a casserole. It had been stuffed inside the turkey and roasted.
Ranch House Paté
A paté that tends to be enjoyed even by people who are put off by the very idea of paté. This foie is not gras, and the dish goes together quickly and ahead of time.
Grilled Lemon-Tarragon Chicken
Owing partly to the superabundance of French tarragon growing in the garden, this has become standard fare for spring and summer dining al fresco.
Shortbread Cheese Crackers
Originally from the New York Times. The flavor and texture improve somewhat by using a pastry cutter and muscle power rather than the food processor, but the difference is slight.
An interesting relish with a chunky texture that comes together quickly and lasts in the refrigerator for weeks.
Cucumber Salad: Two Versions
Two versions, sour cream (Swedish) and white vinegar (Danish). Both are wonderful side dishes to summer sandwiches. A single English slicing cucumber works for either recipe.
Eierschwer: Biskuit oder Schwammkuchen [Heirloom]
Mueller weddings and other ceremonial gatherings were never complete without a dense yellow sponge cake, often served with berries or other fruit. The Muellers called it “Eierschwer” (egg-heavy) because the recipe listed its ingredients based on the exact weight of the eggs.
Molly McMillan — Nana to most generations — sent fruitcake to family members every Christmas. Her handwritten recipe credits the Minnesota Centennial Cookbook as a starting point but includes her own refinements. Where the original called for two cups of water, Molly replaced a half cup of the water with an equal amount of scotch or bourbon.
Heppen: A German Soul Food [Heirloom]
While the Muellers may have styled themselves as sophisticated immigrants, the Nickels were more straightforwardly blue-collar. Opa Mueller made his Kaiserliche Mettwurst, a rich, whole-hog, gently smoked sausage; the Nickels made Heppen, a pickled melange of organ meat with excellent keeping qualities.
Johann im Sack: Großer Hefenkloß (Giant Yeast Dumpling)
This volleyball-size dumpling, known among older family members as “Johann im Sack,” comes from Frau Erica’s Deutsch-Amerikanisches Kochbuch (Rundschau Publishing Co., Milwaukee und Chicago, 1903; Eleventh Edition, Page 195).
The flavor of the holiday season in a wonderful, durable, hard cookie that that stands up even to international shipping.
One of the oldest Keepers recipes, it arrived in a Cuisinart publication a few months after Alli and I had received a Cuisinart as a wedding present from the Nickel brothers.
Sweet Basil Pesto
We were introduced to pesto by the late Bill Pittsley, who prepared his grilled pesto-chicken pizza after a couple sets of mixed doubles. It’s best to plant your own basil in the spring and make the pesto in July.
Mimi’s Potato Salad
The potato salad was the most memorable part of picnics at Wilder Park in Elmhurst, Illinois. No mayonaise, no Italian dressing, no bacon and vinegar “German” style. It was mustardy with pleasant vinegar overtones, crunchy with celery, and still warm in its Fiestaware bowl.
A simple yet astonishing dish of baked potatoes prepared by Aliki Kantikou from an old family recipe. It yields flavorful, crisp potatoes, depending on how thinly the potatoes are sliced.
This recipe uses rhubarb’s natural affinity for oranges. There is no added pectin. The orange and the long cooking time produce a spreadable fruit, like apple butter but without all the cloves, cinnamon and other frou-frou.
Saurhecht: Not Quite Herring [Herloom]
A Hecht is a pike or pickerel. A Sauerhecht is a pickled pike, much like herring in wine sauce. With considerable effort, H.C. Nickel secured this recipe from his mother Margaret (Megs) Ziesemer and tried it out at Melahn’s Resort on Lake George in northern Minnesota, to a mixed reception.
Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut
There are few sauerkraut recipes in old German cookbooks. It’s a simple task; every German adult knew how to do it. The recipe doubles or triples easily if there are containers large enough to hold it.
Sour Cherry Jam
There is a fairly short window for picking and processing ripe cherries, so it helps to have sour cherry trees on the property. It also helps to have a propane burner outside for boiling water in the canning kettle.
Stollen: A German Christmas Bread
A lighter, tastier, more wholesome Stollen without a hint of candied fruit. Stollen baking is to be done only between Thanksgiving and the following January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. It is legal to bake a final loaf on the sixth, slice it, wrap it in portions, and freeze it to enjoy later in the year.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Slow-Cooked Jam
We picked strawberries at a farm down the road, and we have plenty of rhubarb growing in our garden. Strawberries and rhubarb are ready to pick at about the same time, so this recipe was a perfect match. It uses no added pectin and requires about half the sugar most strawberry jam recipes call for.
Olive and Caper Tapenade
A perfect cocktail-hour offering — savory and redolent of lemon, thyme, and garlic.
Olive and Tuna Tapenade
Tuna replaces the capers called for in most tapenade recipes, and where there is usually thyme, there is now basil.
Thyme Bombs: Meatballs with an herbal twist
If thyme is not your thing, try fresh oregano or another fresh herb, or just go with the garlic and parsley. Also, understand going in that this is more of a method than a recipe. Amounts and ingredients can vary widely. Experiment and find out what you like.
Cream of Tomato Soup
This may be a commonplace among soups, thanks to Andy Warhol, but with care it can become something special. Canned tomatoes can work almost as well as fresh, but choose a brand that uses only tomatoes and maybe a bit of salt.
It’s much more than a soup. Leftover Vichyssoise works in scrambled eggs and makes to-die-for mashed or whipped potatoes.
Our friends Deb and Miguel brought this recipe to us years ago. We had grilled chicken and sweet corn out on the deck, and Watermelon Gazpacho turned out to be the perfect way to start a summer dinner. Put the empty serving bowl into the freezer an hour or so ahead of time.