January 31, 2012

Frightening Food - Home Edition

I am a good cook overall, but I am a complete failure in one gastronomic category: Fish. Other than the boxed fish 'in your grocer's freezer', the fish I cook comes out underdone. Or it comes out overdone. Somehow I can't manage to find the sweet spot between those two extremes! For example:

This is the end result of three nice pieces of haddock baked in a garlic, butter and wine sauce. The sauce turned out great. The fish, not so much. I kept a diligent eye on it, checking it often once the low end of the 'bake for' time arrived. It was gummy. It wouldn't flake, wouldn't flake, wouldn't flake and then....mush!

This week I am going to try working from the step-by-step instructions in my Best Recipes Cookbook published by Cook's magazine. Wish me luck! And if you have any fish-cooking advice, I'll take any help I can get!

January 13, 2012

The last Friday's Frightening Food Photo was...

Don't let the neon glow fool you - it's Glazed Stuffed Pork Roast. The recipe actually sounds pretty good (once you get past the first instruction). Family Circle suggests serving it with "spicy pineapple chunks and a zesty top-range "casserole" of squash and tomatoes."


5 to 6 pounds fresh pork shoulder, boned
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
4 TBS. (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 can (6 oz.) frozen concentrated orange juice
1 package (8 oz.) ready-mix bread stuffing (4 cups)
1/4 tsp. ground sage
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
Savory Pork Gravy (recipe follows)

1. Remove skin and trim excess fat from pork
2. Saute onion in butter or margarine just until soft in medium size frying pan. Stir in water and 1/4 cup concentrated orange juice. (Save remaining for Step 4). Heat to boiling; pour over bread stuffing and sage in medium-size bowl; toss lightly with a fork to moisten well.
3. Stuff into pocket in pork, packing in well to fill and give meat a round shape. Tie with string at 1-inch intervals; place on rack in shallow roasting pan. If using a meat thermometer, insert bulb into meaty portion, not the stuffing.
4. Roast in slow oven (325 degrees) 2 hours. Heat saved concentrated orange juice with brown sugar and mustard in small saucepan; brush half of mixture on top of meat. Roast, basting 2 or 3 times with remaining mixture, 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer, or until meat is tender and richly glazed. Thermometer should register 185 degrees.
5. Remove to heated serving platter; keep hot while making gravy. Makes 6 servings with enough left for a casserole.

Remove rack from roasting pan. Tip pan and let fat rise in one corner; skim off all fat into a cup, leaving juices in pan. Return 2 TBS. fat to pan; blend in 2 TBS. flour; cook, stirring all the time, just until mixture bubbles. Stir in 2 cups water slowly; continue cooking and stirring,scraping baked-on juices from bottom and sides of pan, until gravy thickens and boils 1 minute. Season with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vinegar. Strain into gravy dish to remove any bits of stuffing. Makes 2 cups.

What's for Dinner? Meal-Planning Cookbook, Family Circle, 1963

Irresistable Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter, it seems, shows up in every kind of food imaginable - sandwiches of many varieties, pasta and a host of Asian foods. Much like my aptly named granddog, Peanut, it seems to appeal to everyone. It goes well with pickles and potato chips, tastes great with chocolate and makes a darn good cookie. But there is a place to draw the line on things to mix with peanut butter, and in my opinion, that line comes right before salad. I'm not talking about a few peanuts tossed on top of a salad to add a little crunch. No, I'm talking about Peanut Butter Salad Dressing. The recipe reads like a list of things that go badly with peanut butter. Mustard? Cayenne pepper? Egg yolks? Really? Omitting the peanut butter, this dressing makes a sort of milky vinaigrette. Oh, yummy yum yum. And it cooks up like a pudding. Hmmm....might make a good "dessert" for April Fools' Day!

1 tsp. salt
2 TBS. flour
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 TBS. sugar
Dash of cayenne
1/4 cup vinegar
2 egg yolks
1 cup evaporated milk
2 TBS. peanut butter
Blend the salt, flour, mustard, sugar, cayenne; add the egg yolks, mix well; then add the milk. [Interesting run of punctuation, no?] Cook over boiling water until mixture thickens. Stir in the peanut butter, then the vinegar slowly. Thin with milk if too thick. Yield: 1-1/3 cups.
Food for the body for the soul, Moody Bible Institute, 1943 

December 12, 2011

You'll Never Think of Necking in the Same Way.....

.... after you find out the contents of Friday's Frightening Food Photo. This, my friends, is a beautiful dish of sliced lamb neck! What I find fascinating is that just as you can sometimes see images in the clouds, I see some distinct images in this mess of necks. To the far right, I see the face of a wolf peering forward. Below that, I see a cartoonish face, looking in the opposite direction. And right at the top, I clearly see the image of a little barking dog.What don't I see? I don't see anything I'd care to eat!


4 double lamb neck slices
2 TBS. flour
2 TBS fat
1 cup water
4 carrots
2-1/2 cups green beans
3 potatoes, pared
salt and pepper

Have double lamb neck slices cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick [this alone might be a barrier to making the dish. Who has a butcher with lamb necks in stock?]. Dredge in flour and brown in hot fat. Add water, cover, and cook slowly for 1 hour. Cut vegetables into small pieces and place in a greased casserole. Season. Place lamb neck slices on top. Pour liquid from neck slices into casserole, cover and place in a slow oven (350 degrees F) Cook until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Serves 4

250 Ways to Prepare Meat, edited by Ruth Berolsheimer, Culinary Arts Institute, 1940

December 8, 2011

Grandma's Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed

Why am I maligning the mental prowess of dear old Grandma? Let me give you the quote accompanying a photo of what appear to be pumice rocks in a coconut nest, "Liver dumplings with sauerkraut was one of grandmother's best ideas." One of the best? Really? God only knows what she fed the family when she wasn't at the top of her game! Maybe moose nose! [Check out that recipe in the 5/18/11 post.] Liver was BIG in the 1940's. On the same page as the Liver Dumplings there are recipes for Baked Liver Rolls, Braised Liver, Creole Liver, French Fried Liver, Liver a la Bourgeoise, Pan-Broiled Liver, Liver and Ham Loaf, and Liver Birds. The last one, by the way, is made like a halupki, except that liver plays the role of cabbage and bread stuffing plays the part of the ground meat mixture. The picture doesn't help to sell this dish. Does this look like an appealing plate?:

No, I don't think so either. But Grammy Berolzheimer apparently did. Makes you feel sorry for the poor kids for whom this was the best they were served!


3/4 lb. lamb, beef or pork liver
1/2 onion
1 strip bacon
3 thick slices dry bread
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Slice liver and let stand in hot water for ten minutes., then grind with onion and bacon. Soften bread in water and squeeze out as much moisture as possible; add eggs, seasoning, parsley and liver. Sift flour and baking powder together and add to liver mixture. Drop by teaspoons into boiling water. Cover tightly and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with fried onions or sauerkraut. Serves 5.

250 Ways to Prepare Meat, edited by Ruth Berolsheimer, Culinary Arts Institute, 1940