by Carly Cerniglia
As a chef, I’m always searching for the next best thing; the next best recipe, dish, vegetable. But it is just as important to investigate history. I asked myself one day, where did Caesar Salad come from? It led me down a crazy path including Tijuana, prohibition, an Italian immigrant living in California, and an origin I did not suspect. That got me searching for other classic recipes and “Dining Across the Decades” was formed. Elevating recipes and spinning them to have a modern twist, I’ve reimagined some classics that are perfect for our lifestyles today. In food, and everyday life, it’s important to remember when being creative, it’s not always about making something new, but sometimes about rediscovering the past. Looking into the history of recipes shows many different qualities that speak through the food.
Recipes tie into people’s culture, food availability, geography, economy, significant historical events happening, and even how busy their day was. Not to mention the entertaining stories that go with many recipes out there.
I hope the next few pages encourage you to dig through your family cook books, scour the internet for old recipes, and see how you can tweak and adjust to create familiar yet exceptional dishes.
If you had to guess the origin of the Caesar Salad, I don’t think your guess would be too far from a classic Italian dish. But you’d be surprised to find that it is, in fact, a Mexican dish created by an Italian man by the name of Caesar Cardini in Tijuana in the 1920s. This recipe spins off the original, however includes anchovy paste and parmesan cheese blended into the dressing. It is a delicious salad and crowd favorite, and the homemade croutons are sure to please!
Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
1-2 T anchovy paste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 egg yolks
3 T lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
2 T parmesan, grated
Mix all ingredients except the olive oil in a small food processor or high-powered blender. Blend well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until incorporated. Thin with extra lemon juice, if desired.
½ ciabatta baguette
⅛ cup olive oil
1 T Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and stir to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
In a large bowl, toss lettuce with just enough dressing to coat. Transfer to serving bowls and top with cherry tomatoes, grated parmesan, and croutons.
It is a mystery when Key Lime Pie was invented, however, the recipe we know today with sweetened condensed milk emerged in the 1930s! These simple, flavorful pies are descendants of a similar Magic Lemon Pie and are an oh-so-delicious twist. I kicked this pie up a notch by adding a thick layer of toasted meringue. Feel free to skip the meringue and substitute a dollop of whipped cream!
Key Lime Meringue Pie
For the Pie Filling:
½ cup key lime juice
3 egg yolks
One 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Zest of 1 lime
For the Crust:
5 T unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp ginger
For the Meringue:
3 egg whites
⅔ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix crust ingredients until incorporated. Press evenly into a pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. While crust is baking, whisk together the pie filling ingredients. Pour over crust and bake an additional 15 minutes until pie is just a little jiggly in the center. Let cool for 20 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to completely cool.
Once cool, make meringue. In a stand mixer, whip egg whites until foamy. While whipping, rain in sugar slowly until all is incorporated. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Put a dollop of the meringue on top of the chilled pie and torch.
*If using the oven to torch your pie, make sure meringue is covering the filling completely, and broil while keeping a VERY close eye on your pie.
*Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. After that, meringue may start to weep.
Fondue became popular in the 50s and 60s and is still popular today! Part of the fun of fondue is the versatility. You can make cheese fondue, broth fondue, and chocolate fondue. I created this recipe for a savory broth that gets better and better as you fondue the night away! Perfect for date night, this slow meal takes little work but gets flavorful results.
Roasted Garlic Broth Fondue
3 heads roasted garlic
1 onion, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
Sauté onion in olive oil until tender. Add in roasted garlic and a cup of chicken broth. Simmer until reduced. Add the remaining chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. With an immersion blender, blend broth until smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot and top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Once simmering, fondue items until fully cooked.
What to fondue:
Does it get more classic than a cheese ball? Now, this is not your mama’s cheese ball. This cheese ball is bursting with goat cheese and fresh herbs and has a delightful yellow pop. Pair it with these homemade seed crackers, and it’ll be groovy, man! A perfect appetizer for a ladies’ lunch or dinner party, this ball will get the party rolling!
Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Cheese Ball with Seed Crackers
For the Cheese Ball:
1 tsp onion, finely diced
1 roasted garlic clove
Fresh herbs (I used basil, thyme, oregano, dill, and garlic chives)
¼ tsp turmeric
⅛ tsp salt
4 oz goat cheese, room temp
½ block cream cheese, room temp
Toasted black and white sesame seeds
Chopped fresh herbs
In a small food processor, blend all ingredients until incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl lined with plastic wrap. Pull plastic wrap around cheese and secure with a rubber band if needed. Chill until firm. Place garnishes evenly on a cutting board. Take the chilled cheeseball and quickly work into a ball shape. Roll in garnishes and transfer to serving plate.
2 cups toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup flax seeds
1 cup water
½ cup sesame seeds
2 T olive oil
1 T flour
Pinch of salt
½ tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix flax seeds and water in a medium bowl. Let sit 20 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and stir. Spread evenly on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 20 minutes then cut into squares, if desired. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool and break apart gently.
A lot of weird things came out of the 80s, but the best may just be tiramisu! This delicious Italian dessert, although invented centuries earlier, did not become popular until the 80s. This spin is a simple parfait-style approach that will encourage any tiramisu lover to try making it themselves!
Tiramisu for Two!
½ block cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup kahlua
1 T sugar
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
6 Lady fingers
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 T powdered sugar
Mix kahlua, sugar, and coffee. Mix ½ of coffee mixture into cream cheese. Whip powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in ¾ of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Dip one lady finger, broken in half, in remaining coffee mixture. Place in glass. Top with a layer of cream cheese mixture and continue layers until you reach the top. Smooth a spoonful of whipped cream over the top. Sprinkle with cocoa powder, if desired. Let chill for 1 hour. Enjoy!
Calling all 90s kids! This popular after-school snack used to come in a box and a microwaveable toaster tray, but it’s just as quick and easy to make yourself! Just four ingredients and 7 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a quick snack or meal that’ll take you right back to those after-school feels.
Spread pizza sauce on bagel halves. Top with mozzarella and pepperoni and broil in an oven or toaster oven until cheese is melted and bagel starts to toast.
Avocado toast hit the streets in 2010 and we haven’t stopped eating this breakfast dish since. The creamy avocado mixed with a runny egg yolk and a crispy toast crunch is a satisfaction you can’t find elsewhere. In this recipe, it’s important not to skimp on ingredient quality. Use farm fresh eggs, a ripe avocado, good quality olive oil, and fresh, crusty bread for the ultimate meal. Sure to please Millennials and other generations alike, this toast is bursting with healthy fats and sprouts.
Fresh, crusty bread
One farm fresh egg
Himalayan pink salt
Black and white sesame seeds for garnish
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Carefully place egg in water and boil for 6 minutes and 13 seconds. Remove from water and run under very cold water for a minute. Carefully peel.
While the egg is boiling, toast bread and thinly slice avocado. Arrange on top of toast artfully. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with microgreens and repeat seasonings. Top with egg and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds.
In 1885 a man by the name of Charles Nagreen, a.k.a. “Hamburger Charlie”, invented the hamburger in Seymour, Wisconsin when he was 15. While this is wildly debated, Seymour is legally declared the birthplace of the hamburger. I bet he never imagined that two centuries later they’d be making that burger out of plants. 2020 is known for its food trend of plant-based meat alternatives, and boy, have they come far! This smoked gouda burger with garlicky mayo is, in fact, a plant-based burger. But if that’s not for you, just substitute meat!
Plant-Based Burgers – Serves 2
2 plant-based burger patties
2 slices smoked gouda
2 Brioche buns
2 pieces lettuce
2 T butter
1 yellow onion
Slice onion. Melt 2 T of butter. Add onion. Sauté until caramelized (15-20+ minutes). Deglaze the pan with a bit of water, as needed. Set aside.
3 baby portobello mushrooms
In the pan you used for caramelizing onions, heat a bit of olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and season with salt and garlic powder. Cook until tender. Set aside.
Season patties with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a few shakes of Worcestershire. Cook or grill according to package directions. Melt smoked gouda over cooked burgers.
4 T mayo
½ -1 tsp garlic powder
Dash of tabasco sauce
Mix all ingredients well, to taste.
Toast brioche buns and spread with garlicky mayo. Add lettuce, burgers, mushrooms, and onions. Enjoy!