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!

BRAISED LAMB NECK SLICES WITH VEGETABLES

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!

LIVER DUMPLINGS

3/4 lb. lamb, beef or pork liver
1/2 onion
1 strip bacon
3 thick slices dry bread
Water
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

December 7, 2011

Keep Your Tail Covered

Don't you just wish that you had more variety to offer at those many dinners where you serve oxtails? Osso buco, and then what? Tonight's recipe gives you an alternative - cover it with breading and fry. And so convenient; after a mere 2 or 3 hours of boiling your oxtail is tender (maybe),  then a little chopping, dipping and frying and voila!. So next time the kids whine, "Oxtails, again?" you can let them know there is a yummy surprise for them this time around! When it's chopped into pieces like this, it's just like a little fried finger!

BREADED OXTAILS

2 oxtails
3 sprigs parsley, chopped
3 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sifted dry bread crumbs

Wash oxtails and cut into 4" lengths. Cover with boiling water. Add all spices; simmer until tails are tender, 2 to 3 hours. Let cool in the stock. Drain meat, dip into egg and roll in crumbs. Fry in hot deep fat (370 degrees) until brown. Serves 4.

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

October 28, 2011

Poor Persecuted Pineapples

I am a big fan of pineapple. My favorite side dish is baked pineapple. I like jello salads with pineapple in them and fruit salads with pineapple mixed in. But there are certain things that a decent, law-abiding citizen should never do to a pineapple - and the Ten P.M. Cook Book is like an instruction manual for all the things you shouldn't do. This cookbook was published in 1958, when people apparently put on their tuxes and cocktail dresses and had amusing little parties at 10. It has one of those luridly-colored covers that make the featured dish (Cherry Peach Flambe) appear radioactive. Frightening foods are bountiful (Exhibit 1: Cocktail Prunes - Pit cooked prunes and fill with peanut butter or cream cheese mixed with deviled ham. More to come, another day) but pineapple stands out for the variety of recipes in which its taste and dignity are ruined. Here are some examples:

Cranberry Pineapple Chunks - pineapple chunks dipped in a mixture of mashed jellied cranberry sauce, vinegar and mustard.
Buffet Pineapple - wash and dry the pineapple (leaving the rind on it) then cut around each eye, creating a cone that guests can pluck out and nibble. "Calorie counters enjoy their pineapple as is. For others, provide bowls of rum [!], chive cream cheese thinned with milk, and mayonnaise mixed with curry for dipping". No doubt most guests claim to be watching their weight.
Tuna Pineapple Dip - a can of crushed pineapple with a little juice, a block of cream cheese and a can of chunk-style tuna with a dash of salt and a dash of nutmeg, all "well-blended", then mixed with  avocado chunks and topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Served on crackers, although the "calorie-watchers" are advised to use celery sticks.
Anchovy-Pineapple Bites - Cream cheese again, mixed with a bit of pineapple juice, then spread on crackers and topped with an anchovy fillet [what, only one?] and pineapple tidbits.
Pineapple-Salad Mold - Lemon jello and pineapple,with the addition of grated cheddar and a little whipped cream once it is partly set. When unmolded, it is garnished with walnuts and maraschino cherries, and gets a little endive tucked in around the edges. Then, it's served with French dressing!

There are a few decent uses for pineapple mixed in here and there. Here's one to make up for all those yucky ones!

PINEAPPLE-CRUMB SQUARES
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 TBS. granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1 pkg. vanilla pudding
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup syrup from pineapple
1/2 cup drained, crushed pineapple
1/4 cup flaked coconut

Start heating oven to 375 degrees. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter; firmly press one-third of mixture into bottom of a 8"x8"x2" cake pan. Bake 5 minutes; cool. Meanwhile, in saucepan, combine pudding, water and pineapple syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a full boil. Add pineapple; cool 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Pour over crumbs in pan. Sprinkle reserved crumbs and coconut over top. Refrigerate several hours, or until firm. Serve cut into squares, with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6 to 9 servings.

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING'S Ten P.M. Cook Book, refreshments designed with guests in mind

October 3, 2011

Appetizers for Mrs. Sprat

When I posted the recipe for goose fat fried in goose fat, I thought that that was about the most fat that you could work into a meal. I was so, so wrong. For sheer quantity of fat, I don't think today's recipe can be beat. I didn't even know this type of fat existed, and I could have lived happily ever after in that state of ignorance. But I bought the cookbook, I read the recipe, and now I know the whole ugly story which will no doubt linger in my mind for a sadly long time. Why must fat be so persistent? The subtitle of this recipe could be "How to transform pork into a blob of fat in 4 easy steps." The French have a lot to answer for.

RILLETTES DE TOURS

3 pounds of lard (kidney fat)
3 pounds fresh pork (shoulder, loin or leg), cut into small pieces
1 cup water
Salt, freshly ground black pepper

Render the leaf lard in a large pot. When it is melted, add the pork and water. Cover and cook slowly on top of the stove or in a 250 to 300 degree oven until the meat is so tender that it almost falls apart; this will take about 4 hours.Remove the meat from the fat and shred it with two forks. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Spoon the shredded pork into small pots with some of the fat, mashing so that the pork absorbs the fat. Ladle enough fat on top to make an airtight cover over the Rillettes. To serve as an hors d-oeuvre, spread on toast.

September 20, 2011

Bad from the Bone

Splurge and buy a big one. That's the advice we get from Family Circle's What's for Dinner Meal Planning Cookbook when it comes to smoked tongue. "When nutritious smoked tongue is on the menu, splurge and buy a big one, for it can be served in so many ways. Here it's sliced hot to eat with a tangy fruit sauce. What's left will keep well for sandwiches or a supper meat-and-salad plate." What's worse than tongue for dinner? Leftover tongue for dinner, I suspect. But no tongue for us today. Today's recipe is from yet another, heretofore unexplored, part of the cow - the bones! My question is, why would you ruin perfectly good dumplings by adding beef bone marrow? Protein? Not really necessary when they are to be served atop a beef stew. I suspect it's - as the PA Dutch say - just for so. Wouldn't want to waste valuable bones, would we?

MARROW DUMPLINGS

Beef marrow from a 3- to 4-inch beef marrowbone (1/2 cup mashed)
1 egg
1 cup soft bread crumbs (2 slices)
1 TBS. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Cut out marrow from bone with a sharp, thin-blade knife; mash and place in a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Form lightly into marble-size balls. Set in a shallow pan; chill at least one hour. (Dumplings hold their shape better when chilled before cooking.) Makes about 12 dumplings. [Arrange dumplings on top of a bubbling beef stew; cover and cook five minutes.]
What's for Dinner Meal Planning Cookbook, Family Circle, Inc., 1963

September 10, 2011

A Veddy British Dish

Pudding [noun]: a thick, soft dessert, typically containing flour or some other thickener, milk, eggs, a flavoring, and sweetener. Note that this definition clearly does not include potatoes. Nor does it refer anywhere to suet, which has only one proper place in a dessert - mincemeat pie. Yet both ingredients have a prominent place in today's recipe, the unappealing named Dessert Vegetable Pudding.  "Would you like some pudding for dessert?" "I sure would!" "Here, have a nice big helping. By the way, it's vegetable pudding Nyah-hah-hah!" Apparently, this recipe is for one of those steamed puddings that always seem to be served at some point in British murder mysteries. An excellent example of why "British cuisine" is considered an oxymoron.

DESSERT VEGETABLE PUDDING

1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup grated raw carrot
1 cup grated raw potato
1 cup raisins
1 cup suet
1 tsp. soda, dissolved in 1 tsp. hot water
1 tsp.salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup nuts, if desired
Combine sugar, carrots and potatoes [I bet this is the one and only recipe you will see with that particular instruction!]. Add soda. Sift flour, salt and spices and add gradually. Add raisins, suet and nuts. Turn into a buttered bowl or mold; cover with aluminum foil and steam for 3 hours. Serve with your favorite lemon or brandy sauce. Serves 6.

Recipe from: A Collection of the VERY FINEST RECIPES ever assembled into one Cookbook CONVENTIONAL AND MICROWAVE

September 3, 2011

Pattycake, Pattycake

I passed over the recipe for Tripe Stew, since I've harped on tripe before, even though this one included hot peppers, hominy and 2 - yes, 2! - small bottles of hot sauce. Spicy! The next recipe caught my eye, too. I guess you could say it's a bit like potato pancakes, but it has no potatoes and no flour. It's a bit like a whole-grain pancake, but it includes onions and cream of mushroom soup, so that comparison's a stretch. It may be that there is just nothing quite like it. I suspect that's a good thing, because as I visualize this combination of ingredients, the picture that comes to mind is...well, never mind. Once you picture this combo, I'm sure you'll have a similar idea.

OATMEAL COTTAGE CHEESE PATTIES
1 cup cottage cheese (may use low-fat)
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 medium onion, chopped (or onion powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Sauce:
2 cans cream of mushroom soup - 10-3/4 oz.
1 can evaporated milk - 10-3/4 oz. (may use diluted for less calories)

Mix ingredients well. Heat prepared frying pan on medium or low heat and spread large spoonfuls of mixture into the shape of patties about 1/2" to 3/4" thick in frying pan. Cover and cook until lower side is brown, about 5 minutes; turn patties and brown other side. Place in casserole pan or shallow dish. Pour hot sauce over patties. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 min. or microwave on full power 10 minutes. Serves 6.
To prepare sauce, place the contents of 2 cans of mushroom soup in saucepan. Add one can evaporated milk; stir well to mix then stir occasionally while heating. Optional: May use tomato soup instead of mushroom soup for sauce.

September 2, 2011

The Perfect Meal for a Drunk, Spunky Wino

A Collection of the VERY FINEST RECIPES ever assembled into one Cookbook CONVENTIONAL AND MICROWAVE is actually full of recipes that sound great. They  ["they" meaning the anonymous writers/editors responsible for this book] include a large number of authentic ethnic recipes, including one for a Russian meat pie that I never thought I would get to taste again. I probably have as many pages marked for recipes I want to try as I do for possible frightening food subjects. Questionable recipes like Avocado Cake, Deviled Egg-Stuffed Flounder Rolls and Oatmeal Cottage Cheese  Patties are offset by tempting recipes for Ukranian Kolach, fresh Mushroom Soup and Crab-Stuffed Chicken Breasts. The variety of recipe styles suggests that this is a collection of recipes from a wide variety of unnamed sources - thus, we don't know who to thank for the boozy meal that follows. Whoever wrote the entree recipe clearly was sipping on the aprict brandy before choosing the name, while the jello salad contributor was definitely the pragmatic type. Just to round out the meal, let's have some after-dinner coffee, too.  Remember, though, safety first: don't eat and drive!

PHEASANT - ALL DRUNK & SPUNKY
 2 large Pheasants
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium orange, quartered
2 celery stalks, halved
1 cup apricot-pineapple preserves
1/2 cup apricot brandy
4 strips of bacon

Stuff 2 pieces of orange and 2 pieces of celery into the cavity of birds. Tie legs closed with kitchen thread. Place in large roasting pan. Heat broiler to 400 degrees.
Heat mixture [of preserves and brandy] carefully in saucepan until preserves are melted. Spoon some of the mixture over pheasants to glaze. Place pan with birds in broiler for 7 - 10 minutes, until birds are beautifully browned. Remove and spoon additional sauce over birds. Place 2 strips of bacon over each bird and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with glaze. Remove and discard orange and celery and serve.  Note: 5 minutes before serving, you may pour 1/3 cup brandy over your birds.

WINE JELLO
2 TBS. unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup orange juice
3 TBS. lemon juice
1 cup wine, either sherry, claret or a rose is delicious

Mix the gelatin and sugar well in a bowl. Add boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add juices and wine. Mold and chill. Serves 6 to 8 as a dessert, 12 as an accompaniment  for poultry.

IRISH COFFEE en GELEE
1-1/2 TBS. good instant coffee
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 TBS. sugar
2 cups water
2 oz. Irish whiskey

Put 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin. Add 1-1/2 cups hot water. Stir to dissolve gelatin over heat. Add sugar and Irish whiskey. Stir until blended. Pour into small serving dishes. Chill until firm. Serve with whipped cream. This is an excellent light dessert.

August 23, 2011

Tom and Jerry in the Kitchen

Today's recipe is not so much frightening food as weird food. While I was flipping through the Miscellaneous section of A Collection of the VERY FINEST RECIPES ever assembled into one Cookbook CONVENTIONAL AND MICROWAVE (yes, that is actually the title of this cookbook!), my eye was naturally drawn to the recipe for "Tom and Jerry Batter".  Of course, I immediately thought of the cartoon, then tried to picture what type of batter would merit an association with Tom and Jerry. Some type of cheesecake? Maybe one of those little mouse-shaped chocolate-covered mousse cakes? Well, I could have guessed until the cows came home (not that we have cows, but they are right down the road) without guessing what you would make with Tom and Jerry Batter because, ladies and gentlemen, it turns out to be the secret ingredient in a wassail-like hot drink. At first, I thought bellying up to the bar at your local watering hole and ordering "one of those drinks you make with Tom and Jerry Batter" would earn you nothing more than a blank look. I was willing to bet that none of the 200 drinks my daughter is learning to make at bartending school would feature Tom and Jerry Batter as an ingredient. Now that I've Googled the name, though, I'm questioning those assumptions. There are lots of entries for Tom and Jerry Batter on recipe websites, and apparently it's even sold commercially!

Although whoever wrote this recipe (the authorship of the cookbook is totally anonymous) claims it's, "The best ever!" I can't even decide if this drink sounds good or bad. If you decide to give this recipe a try, don't worry that you'll have to finish off the dozen eggs' worth of batter in one fell swoop -  it lasts for weeks in the fridge and months in the freezer. Plenty of time for you to put together a Tom and Jerry theme party. Let me know when to show up.

TOM AND JERRY BATTER

12 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. butter of margarine, at room temperature
3 lbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. each vanilla and rum (or brandy) flavoring
1 tsp. mace
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice

Beat egg whites until stiff; add salt. Beat egg yolks until light. Cream butter and powdered sugar and mix until crumbly. Add egg yolks and flavorings; mix well. Add spices and egg whites. Beat until well mixed. Batter will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. May be frozen, covered, for several months. Use 1 heaping tablespoon of batter for each Tom and Jerry serving. Drop batter into a hot mug and pour in 1 jigger of rum or brandy and boiling hot water. Sprinkle with nutmeg. The best ever! 

August 19, 2011

Chowderheads and Weiners

Ah, chowder, the quintessential soup of New England. Corn, potatoes and broth, with or without clams; a soup that's an American tradition. Maybe that's why this German version seems so wrong. If I asked you to name 10 ingredients that might be found in a bowl of chowder, what would you say? I'll wait a moment while you make your list................................................. Okay, name your 'ten likely ingredients'. Sauerkraut is not on that list, is it? How about all beef weiners?

Yes, lolcat, weiners. There is one thing this recipe has going for it though - you just dump the ingedients in the pot, heat for 15 minutes, and dinner is ready. Introduce it as Beefy Mushroom Soup and maybe the family will go for it.

 GERMAN CHOWDER
1 pound package sauerkraut
3 cups beef broth
1 onion, chopped fine
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
4 beef frankfurters, sliced very thin so they will curl when cooked
1/4 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper

Mix together the first five ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes; add spices and serve.

Truly Unusual Soups, Lu Lockwood, Pequot Press, 1977

August 4, 2011

Daring Yet Frugal

According to Lu Lockwood, author of Truly Unusual Soups, there is one soup in her recipe collection that requires an adventurous spirit. Given the name of the book, and what I read as I leafed through it, more than one of her soups requires a certain derring-do to slurp up. Today's recipe, though, is also directed to the truly frugal. Let's say you had a potluck dinner and someone brought an overabundance of green salad and put dressing on everything in the bowl. That's not going to stay fresh to be eaten as leftovers - the greens will suck up all the dressing and go totally limp. But, never fear, Lu offers a recipe that will keep those greens from going to waste. I think her comment at the end of the recipe gives fair warning: "Like nothing else you've ever tasted." Note that she doesn't claim that it's 'better than anything you've ever tasted' or 'surprisingly good' or even "better than wasting food.". Are you bold enough - or cheap enough - to try it?

MOLLY'S LEFT OVER SALAD SOUP
If you have 2 cups of leftover green salad, and an adventurous but sometimes parsimonious spirit, saute a sliced peeled potato in 3 TBS. of butter. When the potatoes are golden, add two cans of chicken broth and cook 15 minutes. Add the salad remains (don't drain the dressing) and your favorite herb (dill, basil, oregano, rosemary) and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Pour the whole thing into your blender and whirl for a couple of minutes. Like nothing else you've ever tasted!


August 3, 2011

Soup Cubed

People have been inspired to do all kind of things with gelatin (and in some cases, in gelatin), with a wide range of results. There's the Good:
the Bad:
and the Ugly:
The bad, by the way, is a faux turkey made of gelatin and avocados. You have to wonder, "Who thinks of these things?" And, "Why?" Of course, that could be the mantra for the whole frightening food blog. Should today's recipe from the Truly Unusual Soups cookbook really be considered a soup at all? It's served in cubes, for pete's sake! Well, Lu Lockwood says it is, and who am I to argue with Lu, who has owned 2 hotels, a catering business and 2 restaurants? Sequentially. She seems to move on somewhat frequently. Maybe I'm not the only one who begs to differ with her idea of "good" food. Pickle-flavored Jello ®? Just say NO!

JELLIED CUCUMBER SOUP
4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp. mixed pickling spices
5 cups water
1 TBS. chopped parsley
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
4 TBS. sour cream

Place the cucumbers, onions. spices and water into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 1/2 hour. Pour through a sieve, pressing the cucumber through as much as possible. Take the soup and add the parsley, salt and pepper. Soften gelatin in 1/2 cup of cold water. Stir into the soup. Let soup cool and pour into a shallow pan to set. When soup has jelled, chop into small cubes and serve in champagne glasses with a dollop of sour cream.
Truly Unusual Soups, Lu Lockwood, 1977 

August 2, 2011

Just Ducky

Truly Unusual Soups. What a promising name for a book to be culled for frightening food recipes! Alas, although there really are a lot of unusual recipes, many of them actually sound good. Our featured recipe is not from among those! Can you guess what it is from the picture? Duck Soup, you say? Very close, but no cigar - note the tomato-red broth. Give up? It's Duck Gumbo! Ordinarily, gumbo includes okra, a vegetable that cooks to a snot-like consistency. This one doesn't - but the duck pieces and giblet water together qualify this twist on a traditional cajun dish as a frightening food. The comments in regular parentheses are from cookbook author Lu Lockwood. I love how she orders you to contract out the yuckiest part of the recipe. The grammar and punctuation (or lack thereof) are all hers, too. Maybe she wrote out this recipe after testing recipes from two of her other books - Cooking with Beer and Cooking with Scotch!

DUCK GUMBO
(Very Special)

1 Duck, cut up into small pieces (have butcher chop up duck)
1/4 cup salt and pepper [really, this is what it says!]
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup bacon drippings
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 large peeled tomatoes, cut up
3 tablespoons of flour
3 cups giblet water

Boil giblets in 4 cups of water to 1/2 hour and set aside.
Season duck pieces and roll each in flour, fry in bacon drippings until tender. About 10 minutes. Remove from pan add onions and tomatoes saute a few minutes.  Add tablespoon of flour and stirring over heat with onions and tomatoes until flour all disappears. Add giblet water and duck, cook over low temperature for 2 hours. Taste for seasoning. Serve over rice.

Truly Unusual Soups, Lu Lockwood, 1977



August 1, 2011

A Rose by any Other Name.....

would smell as sweet. Perhaps not - what if it was named Athlete's Food Plant? You might not want to get near enough to find out if it is sweet - or noxious!  Many recipes in my collection of vintage cookbooks are placed at a disadvantage by their selected name. Water-fried Onions, anyone? Sounds like a soupy messy, but it's only carmelized onions that are then cooked a little longer by adding 1/4 cup of water to the pan and letting it evaporate.  Or Salad Soup? Doesn't sound as appealing as Gazpacho, but it's about the same thing. How about Beerocks?I thought it would be some conflation of beer and rock-hard somethings, but it's a version of the Welsh pasty, or hot pocket, made with a potato bread crust. The clear winners in the bad name contest , though, are the authors of The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook. I think the recipe for Boova Shenkel takes the prize. A silly name, but not that bad, you say? Allow me to translate: Boy's Legs. What? You read that right: Boy's Legs.

Where the name came from is hard to imagine. The only similarity I see is that most boys have two legs, and this recipe makes two giant potato-stuffed pierogies (about calzone size). I actually can't decide if this one sounds good or bad. I think I would prefer that the beef served on top of this was in gravy rather than broth. What do you think?

 BOOVA SHENKEL (Boy's Legs)

3 lbs. beef for stewing
2 tsp. salt
12 medium potatoes, washed, pared and thinly sliced
3 TBS. butter
1/3 cup minced onion
2 TBS. minced parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 TBS. lard
2 TBS. shortening
8 to 10 TBS. cold water

Cut meat into piecves and place into Dutch oven. Cover with water, add salt and simmer for 2 hours. Cook potatoes until tender; drain. Mix in butter, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Add eggs and beat mixture lightly. Set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut in the lard and shortening with a pastry blender or two knives. Add water, using only enough to hold the dough together. Work quickly; do not overhandle. Shape into a ball. Using 1/2 of dough, roll on a floured surface into a 10" round about 1/8" thick. With a knife or spatula, loosen dough from surface whenever sticking occurs; lift dough and sprinkle flour underneath. Spread one half of the potato filling on one half of the round. Fold dough in half over filling. Press edges together with tines of fork to seal. Set aside. Repeat process for remaining half of dough. Carefully drop the two filled pastries into the boiling broth with the meat. Cover and simmer about 25 minutes. Arrange the Boova Shenkel on a platter and pour hot sauce over pastries. Serve immediately. 8 to 10 servings

The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook, 1977, Culinary Arts Press

July 29, 2011

A Good Cake Ruined

I'm sure you've heard of rice pudding, you've heard of noodle pudding, and of course you are familiar with Jello pudding.  Well, the Pudding Cake I chose as today's frightening food uses none of the above. No, indeed, this is a very special cake. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: EGGPLANT PUDDING CAKE!

When I discovered the recipe for this culinary treat, my first thought was, "Who comes up with this stuff?" My mental picture of eggplant dresses it in bread crumbs, tomato sauce and mozzerella cheese, none of which I ever want to see in a cake recipe. Then I glanced through the recipe. It is almost identical to the recipe for zucchini cake, in which the zucchini is doing perfectly well as the squash of choice. The zucchini does make the cake nice and moist when it is baked. On the other hand, baked eggplant gets an almost slimy texture. My theory is that this recipe is the invention of a home gardener overun with eggplant, who was trying to use it in every way imaginable. I can't imagine that any dish with the name of Eggplant Pudding Cake will be well recieved by the kiddies.  Retitled appropriately, maybe it stands a chance of acceptance. Gardener's Pudding Cake? Moist Pudding Cake? Secret Ingredient Pudding Cake? Anything but:

EGGPLANT PUDDING CAKE

1 pkg. yellow cake mix, 2 layer size (NOT the kind that has pudding added)
1 pkg. vanilla flavor instant pudding, 4-serving size
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
2 cups grated, peeled eggplant
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed of electric mixer for 4 minutes [this probably renders the eggplant all but invisible. Good idea. Pour into a greased and floured fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes, of until cake tests done. Do not underbake. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan and continue cooling on rack. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar, if desired.

Note:For mellowing of flavors, cover and store overnight.

This recipe was taken from: A Collection of the VERY FINEST RECIPES ever assembled in one Cookbook CONVENTIONAL AND MICROWAVE, Becker Publications, 1979 [Quite a name!]

July 28, 2011

Tongue in Cheek? No, in Macaroni!

Today's recipe comes from a 1977 magazine clipping of unknown origin, saved by my mom, which promises, "You'll love them hot or cold." No, I won't! I'm certain that she saved this page for the Poached Fillets with Caper Sauce or the Oven-Fried Chicken with Basil Salt or possibly the Sausage and Spinach Pie, all of which sound pretty appealing as a hot dish. I'm not enticed by the thought of a cold savory egg pie or cold flounder, but I agree that fried chicken is good at any temperature. In any case, I'm quite sure it was not saved for the Tongue and Macaroni Salad recipe.

I know, you're probably thinking, "Oh, she doesn't like anything that includes tongue" - and you are absolutely right! I just can't enjoy a dish whose recipe includes the instruction to boil for 2 hours, then "remove skin; trim and discard bone and gristle." This particular tongue recipe brings together an especially odd concoction, one that I dare say might daunt even a hard-core tongue afficianado. A four-pound (!) smoked beef tongue, two cups of pitted prunes (which had not yet found their true identity as "nature's candy" in 1977), walnuts, and curry powder come together to spoil the traditional macaroni salad ingredients of elbow macaroni, celery, mayo and mustard. The anonymous (I'm not surprised) creator of this recipe just couldn't leave well-enough alone, thus taking macaroni from classic picnic dish to the culinary equivilent of the face only a mother could love.

TONGUE AND MACARONI SALAD
1 4-pound smoked beef tongue
1 8-ounce package elbow macaroni
1 TBS. butter or margarine
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups of thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 cups pitted prunes, each cut into quarters
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
2 TBS. prepared mustard
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

In an 8-quart dutch oven or saucepot over high heat, heat to boiling the smoked beef tongue and enough water to coveer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours until tongue is fork-tender. Plunge tongue into cold water to cool slightly; remove skin; trim and discard bones and gristle from the thick end of tongue. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces; set aside and keep warm. Meanwhile, cook macaroni as label directs; drain and keep warm. In a small saucepan over medium heat, in hot butter or margarine, cook walnuts 3 to 4 minutes until toasted. In large bowl, combine tongue, macaroni, walnuts, celery, and remaining ingredients until well mixed. Spoon onto large platter (odd choice of presentation, no?). Makes 8 servings

To serve cold, early in day, prepare recipe as above; cover bowl and refrigerate. Just before serving, with rubber spatula, stir 1/2 cup of milk into tongue mixture until well mixed. Serve as above.

June 27, 2011

Cake or Pie? Bunny or No Bunny?

What do you think of when I say "Bunny Cake"? Something like this, perhaps?


Well, I guarantee that the Rabbit Cake (Hasen Kucka) in the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook will look nothing like this smiling fellow - because, of course, it is made from real rabbit.  A cake made from rabbit? Well, they call it a cake - I'd go with casserole as a better description. The Rabbit Pie, in contrast, is more attuned to truth in advertising - it is rabbit and it is baked in a pie, just like those 4 and 20 blackbirds. I'd bet the bunny at least has a bit more meat to offer than the birds. When your bunny pie is done, it should look a bit like the one below - although I think the ears are a bit over the top, don't you? Of course, any recipe that includes the phrase, "reserved rabbit liquid" has bigger problems than ugly pastry ears. That has to be one product you will never find on your grocer's shelves! 
RABBIT CAKE

1 rabbit
potato filling (see below)
1 1/2 tsp. flour
1/2 cup rabbit broth
Salt
Pepper

Wipe dressed rabbit with a damp cloth; barely cover with water to which 1/2 tsp. salt has been added and cook covered until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Separate meat from bones and cut into small pieces. Butter a casserole and put a layer of Potato Filling in the bottom, then a layer of meat. Add 1 TBS. sauce (made by combining the flour, seasonoing and broth and boiling until sauce is thickened and smooth). Repeat layers until dish is filled. Bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes or until browned. 6 servings

POTATO FILLING

2 cups hot mashed potatoes
1 egg, well beaten
4 cups cubed dry bread
1 tsp. salt
Pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 cup diced celery
1 onion, minced
1 TBS. minced parsley
2 TBS. butter, melted.
Mix together the potatoes and egg. Soak bread in cold water and squeeze dry. Fluff bread and mix gently with the potato mixture. Blend in remaining ingredients and mix well. Will fill a 6- to 8-lb. bird.

RABBIT PIE

1 rabbit, cleaned, washed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
Salt
3 TBS. butter
2 TBS. finely chopped onion
2 TBS. finely chopped parsley
Flour
Dash tabasco
Pastry (see below)

Place rabbit in a sauce pot and barely cover with water. Cover the pan and simmer rabbit until tender. Add salt to season when partially cooked. Drain and measure the liquid. Set aside. Remove the meat from the bones, keeping it in large pieces. Heat butter in a skillet; add butter and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Measure 1 1/2 cups flour for each cup of reserved rabbit liquid; add flour to onion-parsley mixture in skillet and mix well. Add the rabbit liquid slowly, bring to boiling, and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Add more salt if needed, and tabasco. Mix well with rabbit meat and pour into a baking dish. Cover with pastry and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. 4 servings.

PIE PASTRY
3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lard or other shortening
5 TBS. cold water

Sift the flour and salt together. Cut in the lard with pastry blender or two knives until pieces are the size of small peas. Gradually sprinkle water over mixture, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition; add only enough water to hold pastry together.. Roll out on a floured surface and fit into pie pan. Don't stretch pastry while fitting into pan, as this will cause shrinkage in finished product. Use as directed in pie recipes. Enough for 1 2-crust pie or 2 1-crust pies.



June 17, 2011

Goose Necks, Goose Necks Everywhere

Have you ever noticed that when you get a new vehicle, you suddenly see the same car here, there and everywhere? Sometimes they really are everywhere (as in the day I found my car was the third black Jetta in a row pulled up in front of the high school) and sometimes you've just never paid much attention before. Such seems to be the case with goose necks. Fool that I am, I thought the recipe I featured yesterday for Wintry Soup, featuring goose neck meatballs, was an oddity. Wasn't I surprised this morning to find that one of the recipes I had tagged in the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook featured goose necks, too.

When you go to make your goose neck meatballs, or last Wednesday's recipe of goose skin fried in fat (and I know you can hardly wait to taste both of them) make sure that you set aside the neck skin to use in today's recipe, Stuffed Goose Necks. In this case, goose neck skin forms a handy tube in which to stuff ground goose meat scraps and the ever-present-in-PA-Dutch-cooking bread stuffing to make a pseudo-sausage.  Practical jokesters might find this a handy recipe to use when you want to prank your sausage-loving friends and family - if you are callous enough to possibly turn them against sausage for life and/or have enough friends that you won't mind losing a few.

I've included a pictorial on the steps in this process, following the recipe. Don't look if you are squeamish. Seriously. Also don't look if you have a prurient turn of mind - once stuffed, it looks disconcertingly like Lorena Bobbitt has been at it again.

STUFFED GOOSE NECKS

Goose meat (uncooked)
Bread Stuffing
Goose neck skins, whole
1 onion, sliced
1 cup hot water

Grind scraps of goose meat finely and mix with the stuffing. Tie one end of the skin tight with clean string and stuff with mixture. Tie second end, place in baking pan, add onion and water and bake at 350 degrees until brown and crisp, basting occasionally. Slice and serve hot.






June 16, 2011

A Sorry Soup

The cookbook FOOD for the body for the soul was published in 1943, in a time of rationing and making do.  Even so, today's recipe seems born of unusually desperate times.  You are down to the last of the vegetables in the root cellar and the last bony pieces of the goose that has sustained you all week? Time to pull out the recipe for Wintry Day Soup! I picture this recipe being devised by a pioneer family snowed in at their tiny prarie home, relying on the root vegetables from Ma's little kitchen garden to get them through until spring. 

WINTRY DAY SOUP

1 1/2 pounds ground gooseneck meat [I know geese are pretty large birds, but how many do you think it would take to get a pound and a half of neck meat?]
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 bunch celery
1 bunch carrots
1 large onion
2 or 3 parsnips
Potatoes (optional)
Roll seasoned meat in small balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter and drop as you roll them into kettle containing 3 quarts of cold water and 1 TBS. of salt [yikes!]. Place over medium low burner. Water will gradually become hotter so meat juice does not escape from last of meatballs. Add 1 bunch celery, 1 bunch carrots, one large onion, 2 or 3 parsnips which have been cut up [presumably 'cut up' applies to all of the veggies]. Also potatoes if desired. Simmer at least one hour. 10 large servings.


June 15, 2011

In the Mood(y)

The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago might not be the last place that you would expect to publish a cookbook, but it's probably close. FOOD for the Body for the Soul is quite an agglomeration of recipes, bible verses, handy hints, prayers and inspirational essays, all meant to sustain a household physically and spiritually through the war years. Our editor is apparently the pictured Mrs. Frances Youngren, shown wearing her sheer "dress" apron in front of her faux window. In addition to being an expert at frosting cakes without looking at them - in mid-air, no less - she directed the Home Hour on radio station WMBI, the Bible Institutes' very own broadcast medium. Here's a sampling of some of the "extras" she dishes out along with the recipes.
On buying meat:
There are more different cuts of meat than you realize, perhaps - actually more than 200, including various types of sausages - yet the average woman knows only 12. [Shame on you! Go talk to your meat-man (as Frances calls him) immediately].
On the necessity of vitamins:
 In the last few years, we have been consistently educated in the knowledge and use of vitamins.....Beauty demands close acquaintance with and daily use of all these vitamins. Vitamin A, or Acceptance Vitamin stands for new life or life eternal.....Vitamin B, or the Belief Vitamin, is essential to the development and functioning of the new life....Vitamin C, Confession Vitamin.....Vitamin D, Determination Vitamin....Vitamin E, the well-known and absolutely necessary Endurance Vitamin, is the demanded element of true beauty.
On faking butter:
Spread oleomargarine on salted crackers and slightly brown in oven for a few minutes. Very good - tastes like buttered crackers. [ You're kidding! Really?]
On the diet of the Israelites in the desert:
Did you ever notice God's menu for the children of Israel on their journey through the wilderness? "Honey and waffles for breakfast and quail on toast for supper." [ I think the quote is from that famous authority, herself]
On removing coffee stains:
If stains cannot be removed by warm water and soap, pour on boiling water from a height of 2 or 3 feet.[She does not offer a companion hint on treating scalds, however]

But I digress. The frightening food contribution for today was submitted to the cookbook by Mrs. G. Kuiper, who obviously delights in a little joke. Russian Fluff is the name of the recipe. I should have known by its position above the Macaroni Ham Casserole that this was not to be a tasty cold dessert reminiscent of the fluffy snows of the Russian winter. It's a meat casserole, and it sounds more like, say, Kansas Catchall than it does like Russian Fluff. If you can figure out why such a prosaic dish deserves it's slightly exotic name, please let me know.

Also, beware: naughty Mrs. Kuiper also leaves out that all-important instruction to bake the dish. Unless, of course,  you like your browned meat topped with cold corn, cold canned tomato soup and raw bacon, in which case you should prepare it exactly as instructed.

RUSSIAN FLUFF

3/4 lb. ground meat
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup celery
1 onion, cut fine
3/4 cup rice
1 can corn
1 can tomato soup
Crumbs (type unspecified)
Bacon
Simmer together the seasoned meat, celery and onion. Put the mixture in a greased casserole, over this pour the boiled rice. Then add a can of corn and over this pour the tomato soup. Cover with crumbs and bacon cut in 2-inch pieces.

FOOD for the body for the soul, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1943

June 8, 2011

Fat, Frugal and Stuffed

Reading through the PA Dutch Cookbook, you will quickly recognize that PA Dutch cooking has two frequent characteristics: 1) it's frugal, and 2) it's full of fat. Philadelphia Pepper Pot is a soup that features two types of tripe (who knew there was more than one?) plus a veal knuckle (frugal) and a full cup of beef suet (fat). Snapper Soup features veal knuckles, again, with the meat from a snapper turtle (frugal) and a cup of chicken fat. Brown Flour Soup (isn't that name tempting? Blech!) uses soup stock (frugal) and a 1/4 cup of butter plus grated cheese (fat and fat). Dandelion Salad matches dandelion greens (frugal) with 4 thick-cut slices of bacon, 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of cream (fat, fat and more fat). Maybe this explains my observation that older PA Dutch women tend to be twice the width of their husbands. I imagine doing hard physical labor, day in and day out, could burn through that fat pretty quickly. But once the kids are old enough to do most of the physically tough household chores....

Stuffing also seems to be a popular feature in PA Dutch cooking. The PA Dutch Cookbook includes recipes for Stuffed Goose Necks, Stuffed Beef Heart and Stuffed Calf's Liver. Surprisingly, it does not include a recipe for the most popular stuffed animal part of all - Stuffed Pig's Stomach. Yes, restaurants out here in Dutch country actually advertise their stuffed pig's stomach and worse yet, many people order it and eat it, thoughtlessly encouraging the continued presence of this so-called delicacy on many a diner menu.

When it comes to frugal and full of fat, though, nothing can beat today's recipe - it is all fat, plus it's cooked in fat.  It's also decidely a part that someone with a less frugal turn of mind would not consider actual food. I present you with Goose Grieben, one of the very few recipes in which one is called upon to make this vexing decision: do I want to make crispy fat or chewy fat today?

GOOSE GRIEBEN

Mmmmmmm.....fat fried in fat!
Fat skin of one goose
Salt
1 cup cold water

Cut the fat skin of a goose into 1" to 1 1/2" squares, sprinkle with salt and let stand in cool place 12 hours. Wash well and drain on absorbent paper. Add cold water and simmer for one hour. Drain and fry slowly to prevent scorching. If chewy cracklings are desired, remove them as soon as the fat is clear; if crisp cracklings, leave them in the hot fat until well browned and then place in oven a few minutes. Drain well on absorbent paper. Pour the goose fat into jars [yes, plural] and cover when cooled.

Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook, Culinary Arts Press, 1977

June 7, 2011

Everything but the Squeal

I have often heard PA Dutch folks say that when they make Scrapple they use up every part of the pig but the squeal. The claim is believable, because the PA Dutch are nothing if not thrifty, and I can imagine they would really work at ways to use every scrap on the butchers block. But now that I have read the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook, I know that this claim just isn't true. For Scrapple, you only need a hogs head. Hideous enough*, true, but a recipe using only a head, and one emptied of brains and eyeballs at that, just doesn't measure up to the "everything but the squeal" claim. 
*One of the most tasteful depictions of a pig's head available. Some of them will make your stomach flip.
Now if you want to get closer to the truth of that claim, the dish to make is Souse. Souse actually requires a pig and a half; not only does the recipe call for one pig's head, it also requires six pig's feet and six pig's hocks. Still, without eyes,brains, tongue or knuckles included in the recipe, it omits a lot of stuff besides the squeal. I think the complete pig using recipe remains to be devised.  Let's hope it stays that way!

SOUSE

1 pig's head
6 pig's feet
6 pork hocks
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 onions, sliced
3 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 blade of mace
3/4 cup apple cider

Clean pig's head, remove tongue, and split head open. Clean pig's feet and hocks. Place pig's head, feet and hocks in a large, heavy kettle and coveer with wateer. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to boiling and cook until tender. Remove meat from liquid and cool. When cooled, remove meat from bones and cut into pieces. Add sliced onions, peppercorns, bay leaf and mace to liquid in the kettle. Boil until liqid is reduced by half, strain and cool. Skim fast from cooled liquid. Place fat, meat pieces, and vinegar in a kettle and bring to boiling. Turn into a crock and add as much liquid as it will hold. When cold, this will set and may be cut into slices to fry, or used for salad or sandwich meat.  Yum, yum!

May 24, 2011

An Artist at the Stove

Love, happiness and - yes, even fame - can be yours.  How, you may ask? Simply by achieving true greatness in the art of cooking at your kitchen stove. Little did you realize when you sauteed those pork chops tonight that you were on your way to control the destiny of the world!

But how will you know when you have achieved true artistry? When will others be forced to acknowledge your mastery? Well, it turns out that the Mystery Chef has a very simple and specific test that will answer just those questions: "The way you serve mashed potatoes shows whether or not you are an artist at the stove." I clearly have a ways to go, since my mashed potatoes generally come from a box.  But if your plans for world domination are being held back by your inferior mashed potatoes, never fear. The Mystery Chef lays out his very own methods for achieving potato perfection.

Once you are master of the world, please be kind to us mere mortals; we are suffering enough with our pathetic boxed potato flakes.

MASHED POTATOES
The way you serve mashed potatoes shows whether or not you are an artist at the stove.  Never serve watery mashed potatoes, nor should there be a lump of potato unmashed. Here's the way I cook and mash potatoes: First remove every eye and black speck from potatoes before boiling. Boil in covered pot. Start in cold water, and when water boils, turn flame low for a slow boil. Boil for 30 minutes then drain ALL the water off and put the potatoes through a ricer. Rice them in the pot they were boiled in. Then add a level tablespoon of butter to each 2 potatoes (4 TBS. butter equals half a 1/4 lb. print). [?? That's what it says. What it means I have no idea] Then add a little milk. Place the pot over a slow flame and beat the potatoes vigourously with a large spoon. The more you beat, the better your potatoes will be. The addition of 1/4 teaspoon of Davis Baking Powder to each 4 potatoes used will help to give you light, fluffy mashed potatoes. The amount of butter and milk to be used should be decided by the artist at the stove. Mashed potatoes prepared in this way will reheat perfectly. (See Tip 24, p. 77)

TIP 24 - REHEATING MASHED POTATOES

Use a double boiler. Fill the bottom pot with boiling water and into the upper pot put a tablespoon of butter - depending on the amount of potatoes you are reheating - use your own judgement. Let it melt. Now put your cold potatoes in and add some milk. Mix the milk and butter in with a fork and then beat with a spoon - heat well until they are hot and smooth again. See if they are not just like freshly mashed potatoes.

May 23, 2011

Who is that Masked Man?


This week I'll be going through a little gem of a cookbook by the Mystery Chef, who has long since been revealed as early radio/TV chef John MacPherson. The Little Book of Excellent Recipes was published in 1934 under the sponsorship of Davis Baking Soda and includes a few hundred recipes plus 81 "Cooking Tips" that range from "How to keep horseradish from bothering the eyes while grating" (clench a 1/4 slice of ordinary bread between your teeth) to "Putting out a fat fire". MacPherson has an unusual and interesting back story, as summarized by blogger Sandra Lee:

“MacPherson writes that he came to America in 1906 from London where he owned a rapidly growing advertising business. He came looking for American business and later decided to stay and learn American methods. He left the London business in the hands of his father who was a director for various large companies. His father often complained that John made money so easily and spent it much too freely; he thought if his son stayed in America it would be an opportunity to learn the real value of money. His father, who had been sending him 100 pounds decided he would change the amount to 2 pounds a week…all of which led to a quick change in John’s way of living. He gave up hotel living and found rooms in a boarding house. “The house was fine” he writes, “but words fail me when I try to tell you how bad the meals were…”

Thus it was that he moved to an apartment with a fellow former boarder and began his foray into the culinary arts. Given his cooking skills, the enjoyment he received from cooking, his ability to put information into clear and simple terms - and no doubt that British accent (he was a native Scotsman) - it isn't surprising that a one-time stint as a fill-in for a friend's radio program led him to a new career as a popular radio chef. 
Why the "Mystery Chef" moniker? His proper mother was "horrified" by the thought of her son taking up cooking as a hobby, let alone actually working as a chef, especially one announcing himself over the airwaves. During her lifetime, he used his alias to protect her from the shame and embarrassment of his chosen profession. 

One thing that's very surprising about his recipes is that they seem much more contemporary than those in cookbooks from the 40's through 60's, with their 'all things in aspic" style. As a post-Depression radio host speaking to ordinary people across the country, The Mystery Chef kept his repertoire interesting, simple and affordable, though not plain or bland. For example, MacPherson is credited with being the first to introduce Beef Stroganoff to the American palate.  

The recipes in this book almost all stand the test of time.  The "Tips", less so.  We've tested this first tip, so I guess the following  can be considered "Frightening Food Investigative Report #2.


How did it turn out? Exactly as you suspect it would when you add 6 TABLESPOONS of sugar per grapefruit. Of the three testers, I was the only one who ate my serving, and that was only after draining the grapefruit syrup off.  Perhaps they were celebrating the end of sugar rationing with a bit of excess consumption?

May 20, 2011

Where the Wild Things Are....Eaten

There are so many frightening food recipe choices remaining in the Wild Game Cookbook, I've concluded that I will have to return to this cookbook again to pay homage to the full range of recipes it offers.  I will close out this first Wild Game Week, though, with a recipe who's name put an amusing picture in my mind. See if you can guess the dish from this illustration:
If you guessed Porcupine and Pineapple Shish Kabobs, you are quite astute! Sadly for the porcupine, the actual recipe requires his dismemberment. Interestingly, this recipe is in the "Home Cooking" section of the cookbook, right under the recipe for that other traditional icon of the home-cooked meal, BBQ Lion Ribs. Bone appetit!

PORCUPINE AND PINEAPPLE SHISH KABOBS

Serves: 2 - 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes

2 - 4 rear porcupine legs
2 large pineapple rings, cut into chunks
1/4 cup pineapple juice

Alternate the porcupine legs and pineapple chunks on skewers. Let the legs cook a bit, then brush on the pineapple juice.  Cook until done.

Wild Game Cookbook, North American Hunters Club, 1988. Recipe contributed by Anthony Pace.

May 19, 2011

Leave It to Beaver

Yesterday's recipe for Moose Nose has set a high bar but I think today's recipe is a strong contender for second place in the "wierd wild game" category.  Here is an illustration of the object of today's culinary attention:

Oops! Wrong Beaver!
That's better! Now examine this picture and take a guess as to the part of beaver anatomy used in today's recipe. Is it the belly? Is it the leg? Is it the back? No, no, and no. It's the tail, dummy! Would I lie to you?

BEAVER TAIL BEANS
Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 45 minutes

Blister tail over fire until skin loosens (or dip into boiling water for a few minutes). Pull off skin. Cut up and boil with a pot of beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Some chopped onions add to the flavor. Beaver tail is also good roasted over a campfire or in the oven.

Good, hmmm? Then why does the contributer of this recipe use only initials, thus casting a shadow of doubt on whether this is a legitimate submission.  Who wants to test this one?

Wild Game Cookbook, North American Hunters club, 1988. Recipe contributed by G.O.A.B.C.

May 18, 2011

You Win by a Nose

You may think that the "I Can't Believe It's Cougar" recipe in yesterday's post is about as far out as you get in cooking wild game, but if you do you are WRONG! Today's recipe features a source of meat that I have never, ever imagined.  I am speaking of Moose Nose. What more can I say?

WARNING: this recipe is followed by a graphic BEFORE and AFTER picture of Moose Nose. It is not a sight for the faint of heart.

BIRTHDAY CREEK MOOSE NOSE
Serves 2 - 3
Prep Time: 24 hours

1 fresh moose nose
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
paprika

First bag yourself a moose, preferably an Alaskan moose (they have the biggest noses). Clean the nose by skinning and removing all hair. Cut the meat into small cubes and cover with water. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Let boil until tender (I wonder how much this step contributes to the 24 hour prep time?). Remove from fire or stove and let chill. Serve cold in the gellied broth (Aaaaagh!!)

Wild Game Cookbook, North American Hunters club, 1988. Recipe contributed by "Alaska " Rick Sinchak.


May 17, 2011

You Won't Believe It's Cougar!

Believe it or not, this is the name of an actual recipe. Made with actual cougar. So many of you, no doubt, have been puzzled by the question, "What can I do with all this cougar meat?" Never fear, the North American Hunting Club has the answer for you. The Wild Game Cookbook offers recipes to make a wide array of wild game more palatable. A very wide array:  alligator, antelope, bear, beaver, buffalo, cougar, coyote, duck, elk, goose, grouse, javelina, lion, porcupine, moose, pheasant, ptarmigan, quail, rabbit, squirrel, turkey and venison.  If you regularly join in the joy of deer hunting and you are lucky enough to bag a deer (okay, okay, hunters out there - skilled enough....is that better?), this is the cookbook that you want to have waiting for you back at deer camp. More than 50 venison recipes will add variety to the usual spaghetti sauce/chili version of venison cooking. Actually, if you are a frequent (and, we assume, successful) hunter, and you can't find your own vintage copy of The Wild Game Cookbook (1988), you should check out the NAHC website: http://www.huntingclub.com/. They list 85 pages of recipes and cooking advice, which should be enough to get you started, whatever your source of meat.

Since we're offering cougar meat today, I Googled the term looking for an image.  While I found no pictures of actual meat from an actual cougar, I did find the Urban Dictionary definition (Any young man being preyed upon by an older, more experienced woman) and many, many pictures of Madonna's boy toy, Jesus Luz, in his tighty whities. Don't say I didn't warn you!.  

YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT'S COUGAR!

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 - 4 lbs. cougar meat
1 1/2 TBS. minced garlic
2 TBS. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. sliced bacon
6 oz. of beer (More if you want to drink some - that might improve the dish)
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (Why? You're cooking this on a campfire!)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients except meat and bacon in a bowl. Trim all fat and gristle from meat and then cut into small pieces. Soak meat in mixture for 1/2 hour. (Do not, I repeat, do not, eat the meat at this time.  There have been recent reports of trichinosis among hunters who have eaten the meat raw. My thinking? They asked for it! Raw? Really?) Wrap half the meat in bacon strips, secure them with a toothpick and fry until done.  Fry the remaining meat without bacon for a different taste. You can flour or bread the meat prior to cooking, if desired.

Wild Game Cookbook, North American Hunters club, 1988. Recipe contributed by Jeff Gleave of IG Guides and Outfitters, Monroe UT


May 16, 2011

Cooking is Child's Play

Today's recipe comes from The Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook, subtitled How to Teach Your Child the Delights of Cooking and Eating.  Since it is targeted to children, it is full of child-friendly recipes that are easy to make and that appeal to the tastes of youngsters. But author Lois Levine manages to sneak in a few frightening foods, too. Glorious Spinach (really? isn't 'glorious' promising a bit too much?), Zucchini Custard Casserole and Butterflied Leg of Lamb all seem to run counter to the theme of this little book, but there they are. For a recipe that is least likely to appeal to children, though, I nominate Stuffed Cauliflower. It offers a combination of two unloved foods that is sure to put off all but the most adaptable children - cruciferous veggies and mushrooms (the latter of which is often fine with kids right up to the day they discover they are eating a fungus).

My copy of this cookbook has been annotated by its former owner, rating various recipes she has tried and noting the occasion when they were served.  Her ratings scale appears to be: so-so, mediocre, fine, nice, O.K., good, real good, very good, delicious, very delicious, and wow! (only Devonshire Potato Pie rated the wow!). Stuffed Cauliflower has not been tested - surprise, surprise.
I think children would prefer their cauliflower this way, for display only. But if you feel the need to avenge yourself on your children, forget the cute little sheep. Stuffed Cauliflower is the way to go.

STUFFED CAULIFLOWER

Steam until tender (about 30 minutes):
1 large cauliflower
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
Drain in colander.

Saute 5 minutes in 4 TBS. butter:
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup minced celery
3 sprigs parsley, minced
Stir in 1 TBS. flour

Remove center stalk from drained cauliflower, being careful to keep cauliflower whole. Chop stalk and set aside. Stand cauliflower, hollow side up, in greased shallow pan and add 1/4 cup water.

Add to sauteed vegetables:
chopped cauliflower stalk
3/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
dash Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste

Spoon vegetable mixture into cauliflower. Brush top with 2 TBS. melted butter.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup bread crumbs.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Serves 6.

The Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook, Lois Levine, Macmillan Publishing, 1968