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:


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.

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.