Monday, February 24, 2014

Party Sandwich!

Cookindex (1958) via
I'm on the road this week, but that won't stop me from cooking up potentially-disgusting recipes to foist on unsuspecting husbands all across America.  This week, we take a trip to lovely-ish Florence, SC, where Dr. and Mrs. Substitute were kind enough to put me up and help me in my culinary endeavors.

Florence, as you probably already know, is the site of an almost-calamity in 1958, when an atomic bomb accidentally fell out of a plane and landed in someone's back yard. Whoops!  Luckily the plutonium core didn't detonate, but there's a crater nonetheless, which you can visit to this day!

On a lighter note, Florence is also the soon-to-be-home of Seminar Brewing, Florence's first commercial craft brewery! (I can personally, and highly, recommend the Carver Peanut Butter Porter).

So, off we go. Party Sandwich is one of the gems presented by our friends at Vintage Recipe Cards, an invaluable source of kitschy recipes when I'm away from my cookbooks and in a jam. If you're too lazy to click the link, here's the recipe:

1 small round loaf Italian bread
Softened butter or margarine
Ham and Celery Filling, see below
Curried Egg Filling, see below
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Avocado Filling, see below
Cream cheese, about 1/2 lb.
Light cream
Sliced stuffed olives
Springs of parsley

Cut loaf, crosswise, into four thick slices. Spread each slice with butter. Spread bottom sliced with Ham and Celery Filling. Top with second bread sliced; spread with Curried Egg Filling. Top with slices of tomato and third bread slice. Spread with Avocado Filling; top with remaining bread slice. Mash cream cheese; stir in enough cream so cheese will spread easily; beat until smooth. Spread on top and sides of loaf. Garnish with olive slices and parsley. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes about 12 servings.

HAM AND CELERY FILLING: Combine 1 cup ground cooked ham, 1/2 cup chopped celery and enough mayonnaise to moisten.
CURRIED EGG FILLING: Combine 4 finely chopped hard-cooked eggs, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and enough mayonnaise to moisten.
AVOCADO FILLING: Mash 2 fully-ripe avocados; add 2 tablespoons highly-seasoned French dressing. String until well blended.

You'll notice that the first step is to spread the bread with butter. This seems to have been a thing back in the day, at least according to my grandmother Mrs. White, who started every dish that could even be tangentially considered a sandwich (including hot dogs) with a liberal spread.

Once your bread is sufficiently buttered, you can start assembling your fillings. Mrs. Dr. Substitute was a great help in the kitchen this week, as was Chester, a great huge lumbering creature with two different colored eyes.
Mrs. Dr. Substitute was concerned that the ham "salad" didn't contain pickle relish; I argued that the sweetness might clash with the curried egg mixture, but in hindsight, the dish as a whole is such a mishmash of mayonnaise-y flavors that it probably wouldn't have mattered a whit.

I must also praise Mrs. Dr. Substitute for her insistence on homemade French dressing, she made about a gallon just to provide the measly two tablespoons needed for the avocado layer.

Once you start adding mayonnaise into your mixtures, the gentlemen in the house will sit up and take notice!
So, once you assemble and combine all your layers, you will be faced with icing your creation. I recommend securing the "sandwich" with a skewer before icing (and leave it in place for the slicing). Also, be prepared to have some slopover avocado and egg mix in to your icing.

When you're finished, add your olive and parsley garnish. You'll arrive at something roughly looking like this:
Based on our scientific slicing technique, I'd estimate that this sandwich will provide about 8 servings.

But enough about science, how does it taste?
And, seriously, if you want to be a guest kitchen, drop me a line!

Our Rating: Two Screaming Husbands!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Herb-Glazed Triple-Decker Ham-Clam Sandwiches

The Midnight Cookbook (1971) and Joys of Jell-O (1962)
Happy Valentine's Day!  To demonstrate my everlasting love for you, I've crafted a composite recipe from two different sources, because that's how much I care. 

Source number one: The Midnight Cookbook: A Guide to Intimate Dining (1971) by Thomas Mario. From the frontspiece:
The Midnight Cookbook offers an escape into the debonair world of late-night feasting...whether you're a swinging single on a late date, a housewife or husband eager to seduce your partner with gustatory delights, or a party-giver planning mouth-watering specialties of the house, Thomas Mario offers step-by-step instructions on food preparation and gives suggestions for drinks to precede and complement the meal.

From the cover art, I think it's safe to assume that "swinging" is the operative word in the above description.
Also, "gustatory" is apparently a word.

The basic recipe, for "Triple Deck (sic) Clam and Ham Sandwiches" is found on page 43. My own alterations are noted:

24 thin slices white sandwich bread (I used a mini pumpernickel loaf)
Soft butter or margarine
2 cans (10 ounces) baby clams, drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pound boiled or baked ham, thinly sliced
1 pound firm ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

Chop clams fine. Combine clams with mayonnaise, celery, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bread with soft butter. Spread clam mixture on one slice bread. Place second slice on top. Place ham and tomatoes on second slice of bread, keeping both within bread margin. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Continue in this manner until 8 sandwiches are assembled. Crust may be left on or sliced off with very sharp knife. Wrap each sandwich individually with clear or plastic wrap. Chill. (The recipe goes on to suggest broiling the sandwiches and serving them with a dill cream sauce. I ignored this bit. Instead...) 

Source number two:  The bountiful 1962 Joys of Jell-O has a whole section devoted to extended Jell-O techniques. Among them, on page 75, is "Herb-glazed sandwiches".   

"Your luncheon or tea sandwiches stay fresh and flavorful under a glaze," the booklet joyously proclaims!

1 2/3 cups water
1/8 teaspoon peppercorn (I used a bit more)
1/2 bay leaf (I used a whole one)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 package (3 oz.) lemon Jell-O Gelatin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne
3 tablespoons vinegar (I used tarragon vinegar)
6 to 8 open-faced sandwiches, 0r 12 to 14 appetizer-size sandwiches

Combine water, peppercorns, bay leaf, and dried dill in a saucepan. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes; strain. Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin, salt, and cayenne in the hot liquid. Add vinegar. Chill until syrupy. Place sandwiches on a rack and pour syrupy gelatin over them, allowing about 1/4 cup for each large sandwich or 2 tablespoons for each small sandwich. Chill until glaze is firm. Makes about 1 3/4 cups glaze.

By now, you must be thinking, "This is going to make a plate of sandwiches that look like they're covered in yellow mucous."  

Yep, you got it!
 Our Rating: One Screaming Husband!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kumquat-Avocado Pie

Adapted from "Joys of Jell-O" (1962)
 Happy Anniversary!  No, sillies, not the anniversary of the blog (though that's coming up...) but rather the anniversary of Dr. Husband and me.  Twenty-one years of connubial bliss. We haven't yet succeeded in destroying traditional marriage, but give us time. Cooking is hard work and doesn't leave us a lot of free time or energy. I figure another thirty years or so will do the trick.

Here's a picture of us when we were young, because I know it's hard for you to believe that we're old enough to have been together 21 years.

Anyway,  we were delighted to spend a portion of our anniversary day as guests of Megan and Tricia, on their ever-entertaining radio show No Chefs Allowed. You can hear our episode here, but just go ahead and subscribe to the podcast, because they're funny and delightful and you'll like them even if we're not on.

So, if you listen to the episode referenced above, you'll hear that I was challenged to create a recipe using their ingredient of the month, which for February is kumquats. Done and done!  I actually just adapted a recipe from 1962's Joys of Jell-O; the original called for pineapple - I replaced the pineapple with kumquats (canned, which were no easy feat to find in my historic town of 750) and made a few other adjustments. Avocado will seem a strange addition, I know, but just reinforces my enthusiasm for its addition to sweet concoctions.

So, here's the recipe:

1 3-oz. package Jell-O Lime Gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 can Asian kumquats, OR 4-6 medium kumquats, chopped
3/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons lime juice 
1 medium avocado, peeled and halved
1 package (3 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream OR prepared dessert topping
9-inch Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Dissolve Jell-O and salt in boiling water. If using canned kumquats, drain can and reserve 3/4 cup liquid. Combine liquid with lime juice and add to gelatin (if using fresh kumquats, combine lime juice with 3/4 cup cold water.) Chill until very thick.

Meanwhile, dice half of the avocado. Mash the remaining half until smooth. Blend cheese into mashed avocado until creamy. Then fold cheese mixture, diced avocado, kumquats, and whipped cream or dessert topping into thickened gelatin. Spoon into crust. Chill until firm. Garnish with halved kumquats, if desired.

Dr. Husband's favorite dessert ever is key lime pie, and if you choose to make this yourself, I think you'll find the richness of the avocados and the brightness of the kumquats combine in a very similar way.  Plus, cream cheese.  Here's what Dr. Husband thought:
Our Rating: Zero Screaming Husbands!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cook Book (1969)

This may be one of the easiest recipes I've yet gotten away with. It's perfect if, like me, you're having a busy spring and can't dedicate a lot of time to making hot, delicious meals for your family. Or, you know, iof you're just lazy. Also like me.

In my defense, the recipe for "Wienie-Lottas" (get it?  It kind of sounds like 'enchilada', only you don't have to fool with any of that left-leaning foreign spelling!) looked a lot more complicated on paper, mostly owing to the fact that in 1969, apparently, one couldn't dash down to the local five and dime and pick up a bottle of enchilada sauce, but had to make it oneself.  

I wasn't about to work that hard, but if you're so inclined, have at it. Here's the recipe:

8 to 10 frozen tortillas
2 10 1/2 ounce cans chili without beans
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
6 to 8 drops bottled hot pepper sauce
1 pound (8 to 10) frankfurters
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup seeded and chopped canned green chili peppers
4 ounces sharp natural Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Cook tortillas in water according to package directions. Combine next three ingredients. Place a frank on each tortilla; top each with 2 tablespoons chili mixture (reserve remaining). Roll tortillas around franks. Arrange, seam side down, in 12x71/2x2-inch baking dish. Combine remaining chili mixture and tomato sauce and pour over tortillas. Sprinkle with chili peppers. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Top with cheese. Serves 4 or 5.

Now, here's my version, with modifications:

1 package frozen tortillas, which you got for free from Maria at Maria's Taqueria because her order was mixed up and she had an extra pallette of tortillas
1 package hot dogs
1 jar enchilada sauce
1 package shredded Cheddar Cheese

Thaw tortillas in microwave. Roll 1 hot dog in each tortilla. Dump enchilada sauce over the top. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Top dish with as much cheese as you want (and admit it, you probably want the whole package) and bake for another 5 minutes. Top decoratively with cilantro.

So, there you have it. It's hot dogs in tortillas with enchilada sauce and melted cheese. So, perfection, essentially.  Here's what Dr. Husband thought:
Our Rating: Two Screaming Husbands!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)