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