The Main Menu: Some of the most popular recipes printed in Beach Metro over the decades

The 1970s was a time of muffin mania and among the most popular was the Morning Glory. On the occasion of Beach Metro Community News' 50th anniversary this month, Jan Main looks back on some of the most popular recipes she has shared with our readers in her decades of writing for the paper.


Happy Anniversary, Beach Metro Community News! During that 50-year period, there were hundreds of recipes printed, first as Ward 9 Community News, then as Beach Metro Community News.

Over that time, cooking changed from being popular entertainment, where one would labour all weekend over a dinner party to be enjoyed with friends to “rush hour” cooking. There was no time to cook and recipes had to be prepared on the run- preferably nutritious, low in fat, tasty but quick to prepare or later, take out for home with the special touches. Finally, during COVID, the kitchen resumed its place as a source of home cooking and comfort.

This column is a brief summary of recipes that have been requested numerous times and remain popular today.

Morning Glory Muffins

Yes, the 1970s were known for muffin mania. The Morning Glory Muffin was the star of its time. Many muffins got a bad rap because they were high in fat and sugar. However, this version is lower in sugar and fat while still bursting with flavour.

Reader Liz Schumann has been making this recipe from the time it was first printed for her young family and according to Liz, it is still a favourite with both herself and her adult children..

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) each, shredded coconut and raisins
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) milk
1/3 cup (75 mL) vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups (500 mL) apples, peeled and coarsely grated (2 apples)
2 cups (500 mL) carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (1 big carrot)

Glaze: This is optional but Liz has started putting a zesty glaze on the muffins for the finishing touch.
1/2 cup (125 mL) sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Line muffin pans with large muffin papers and spray with baking spray, put aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, coconut, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl beat together, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir in apples and carrots. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch or toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool on rack.

Glaze: While muffins are cooling, whisk together in small bowl, icing sugar, lemon juice and rind. Spoon glaze over muffins. Keeps well for several days but freeze for longer storage. Wrap individually in foil and pack into freezer proof container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 12.

Aromatic Biryani

Although very popular now, Indian food was slow to catch on in Toronto. The Indian Rice Factory was one of the first Indian restaurants to gain popularity in the 1980s. This is their tasty example of biryani, a rice dish, compliments of Aman Patel, chef from that restaurant.

1 cup (250 mL) basmati rice
2 cups (500 ml) water
2 tbsp (25ml) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) vinegar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cumin seeds
3 whole cloves
2 brown cardamom pods, broken in half
1 bay leaf
1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 piece of green chili such as jalapeno, chopped – use with caution adding more as you taste
2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh coriander
Pinch of salt

3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds
1 cup (250 mL) fresh sliced portobello mushrooms
1/2cup (125 mL) frozen peas

Garnish: You can buy caramelized onions in Indian stores, otherwise, cook the onions in butter as below:
2 tbsp (25 ml) butter
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup (50 mL) each, cashew nuts, raisins and chopped coriander

Rice: Wash basmati rice in water and drain. Meanwhile, bring water, butter, vinegar, cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon and salt to boil. Stir in rice and cook covered over simmering water about 5 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat and let stand covered.

Sauce: Meanwhile in food processor or using a whisk, combine yogurt, garlic, chili (use your own judgement as to quantity – a little goes a long way!) lemon juice and salt. Spoon into serving dish.

Vegetables: Melt butter in Teflon pan over medium high, stir in cumin seeds and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in mushrooms and cook until tender. Rinse frozen peas and stir into mixture cooking briefly. (Do not overcook or peas will be a yucky colour). Spoon vegetables on top of rice; cover and let stand while preparing garnish.

Garnish: In same Teflon pan over medium heat, cook onions until softened. Stir in cashews to lightly brown then raisins and coriander. Stir to combine.

Stir vegetables into the cooked basmati rice (if you wish, you may remove whole spices) then stir in the garnish and serve rice with the sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Dill Sauce

Fast and simple, this dill sauce is a must with salmon or trout which became popular from the 1990s onward. However, the sauce is excellent with eggs, ham and vegetable dishes too.

I vouch for its popularity by the number of requests for it.

1 large bunch of fresh dill washed and dried (use a salad spinner)
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) vegetable oil
1/2cup (125 mL) Dijon mustard (Maille brand is the best for this recipe)
1/4 cup (50 mL) red wine vinegar

In a food processor or blender, combine the leaves (not stems) of the dill with sugar and combine to chop. Pour in oil, mustard and vinegar. Combine until smooth.

Pour into jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Makes about 2 cups (500 mL).

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