Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two Cake Tuesday! Bologna Cake b/w Plum Fun Cake!

Bologna Cake Submitted by DEANNA
Plum Fun Cake My Mother
About a week ago, I got a frantic text from my sister, which read:

Mom is claiming that she used to make something called "plum fun cake" made w baby food. Do u know of this?

Well, I didn't remember the association with plums, but the baby food kind of rang a bell. A little quick Googling revealed that Plum Fun Cake was indeed something that was popular in the 1970s - one recipe I found claimed, in fact, that EVERYONE made it in the 70s.

Around the same time, new fan Deanna started devotedly following and commenting over on the Facebook page, and sent me the irresistible instructions for the Atkins-friendly hors d'oerve Bologna "Cake".  Cheese-covered processed meat is a particular favorite of the Kitschen, so I promised Deanna I'd get right to work. 

I'll start with the Bologna Cake, as it's by far the more time-intensive.  Here's the recipe as provided by Deanna:

12 ounces good quality bologna, sliced (I used Oscar Mayer, that's quality in MY house)
12 ounces room temperature cream cheese (one and one half blocks) 
 ½ package dry ranch salad dressing mix 
1 can aerosol cheese, sharp cheddar flavor 
Garnish: 1 sliced pimiento stuffed olive, a few slivers of green onion tops or few parsley leaves Buttery flavor crackers for serving 

In a medium bowl and with a spatula combine the dry ranch dressing mix with cream cheese until well blended. Place the first slice of bologna on a medium serving plate. Spread about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the bologna. Place another slice of bologna on top and repeat until all of the bologna slices have been used. Spread the remaining cream cheese over the top and sides, as if icing a real cake. Squirt dollops of the aerosol cheese around the base of the “cake” and around the upper rim. Garnish as desired with olives, parsley or green onions. To serve, place a very thin, sharp knife on the plate for guests to slice thin wedges. Place on top of a buttery-style cracker (Townhouse or Ritz). Serves 10-12 

It may sound like an easy task to spread cream cheese on bologna, but as you probably know, bologna is a frictionless surface, there's nothing for the cheese to cling to. So go into this with clean hands, you'll be using your fingers to get everything spread evenly. Once assembled, though, it will make a charming addition to your entertaining table:
Plum Fun Cake will come together much more quickly.  Only one problem - I'll be damned if I could find any plum & tapioca baby food. I'm not sure it's made any more.  I considered several alternatives based on what I found in the store, and finally settled on a prune-apple combination.  The result is still delicious, but if anyone knows a hidden source of authentic plum-tapioca flavor, let me know!

Here's the standard recipe as found on Cooks.com: 
3/4 c. oil
2 c. sugar 
3 eggs 
1 tbsp. red food color 
1 tsp. vanilla 
2 sm. jars plum and tapioca baby food 
2 c. flour 
1/2 tsp. soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. cloves 
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1 c. chopped pecans
Mix oil, sugar, eggs, food coloring, vanilla, and baby food together. Sift together flour, soda, salt, cloves, and cinnamon. Mix with wet ingredients, add pecans. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees in well greased and floured pan (tube or Bundt pan).
Plum flavor substituted as mentioned, and I forgot to put the pecans in. My cake also wasn't done after an hour, I baked it about an hour and 20 minutes.
The batter is also the most intriguing blood-red color as it's mixing!
 But - moist and delicious!  Both offerings this week, in fact, were very well received:
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.)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Eggs a la King!

Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book, 1959
Happy Easter! Ish. I hope it was splendid for you, and equally I hope that you've come here looking for things to do with all your leftover hard-boiled eggs, I've got just the thing.

(It involves cream sauce, there's literally nothing that could go wrong.)

And before I forget - if you're anywhere near Helena or Butte, Montana, Dr. Husband and I will be performing there later this week. Just go one over to the Montana Early Music Festival for all the information.

Now, Eggs a la King is the sort of thrifty meal I grew up on, in a time when no leftover was allowed to linger in the fridge until it was time to be thrown out. Everything thing had a use and every single scrap of food was put to use within four days of its original purpose (to be honest, in mmy zaftig family there were very few leftovers after a family meal, despite the fact that that if there were four people coming to dinner, my mother cooked for ten. But.)

First of all, you need to be steaming your eggs instead of boiling. I tried it for the first time tonight and I will never do it any other way. They were cooked perfectly after 15 minutes in the steamer basket, no holes had to be pricked in the shell, no cracking while cooking, and the shell peeled off like magic.  

Second of all, I believe I could eat almost anything if it came in a cream sauce.

So, Eggs a la King. Here's the recipe as it appears in 1959's Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book:

To 2 cups medium white sauce, add 6 sliced hard-cooked eggs, on 3-ounce can (2/3 cup) broiled sliced mushrooms, drained, and 2 tablespoons catsup. Heat. Pour over hot buttered toast; top with thick broiled tomato slices. Makes 6 servings.

I'm flattered that BH&G thought I would have white sauce at the ready, but I didn't. For authenticity, I used a basic Betty Crocker recipe:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt  
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
1 cups milk  

In 1 1/2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; boil and stir 1 minute.

Dr. Husband was literally jumping in his skin to taste it, and what did he think? 
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.)