Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hefty Punch

Even before I read the recipe I was thinking that you should not be ingesting anything that makes you think of "Hefty, hefty cinch sack".

2 quarts white vinegar
1 cup diced pears
1 small can oysters in oil
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup buttermilk

Combine all ingredients. Serve lukewarm in crystal goblets.

If the road to hell is paved with creamy sandwiches, this is what they serve for refreshments once you get there. Let's see: you have fruit, seafood, and dairy. The vinegar and the oil from the oysters combine to create a, um, "delicious" vinaigrette. The buttermilk cuts the acid of the vinegar (I think?). And you get a little zing from the Worcestershire sauce. Over all I'd say a very balanced meal...I mean drink. I think the same person created this monstrosity as came up with creamy sandwiches. Once again we are instructed to serve something utterly disgusting in a nice dish. Do they really think that nobody will notice what's inside? "Oh, what beautiful goblets! I can't wait to taste what's inside. It must be just to die for." Or from. What's the phrase? Champagne taste on a beer budget. Only this is more like sewer rat taste on a gourmet budget.

Creamy Sandwich

Okay, this one almost doesn't need commentary, but being me I just can't help myself. First the recipe:

2 slices white bread
1 T. smooth peanut butter
1 T. mayonnaise
1 t. almond extract
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 chopped anchovies
1 clove garlic, diced
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. oregano

Mix together peanut butter, mayonnaise and almond extract until smooth. Add cheese, anchovies, garlic, cinnamon and oregano. Salt liberally. Stir until completely combined. Spread filling over one piece of bread and top with the other. Fry in butter until bread is browned and crunchy and cheese is melted. Place sandwich on pretty plate with a sprig of parsley and three grapes. Serve warm.

There is so much wrong with this recipe I'm not quite sure where to begin. I think you should require a license to mix peanut butter and mayonnaise in the same recipe, and that license should be impossible to get unless the end of the world was imminent and that was the only way to accomplish its rescue. And almond extract? Really? They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I'm quickly becoming convinced that this is not correct. It's actually paved with creamy sandwiches - and that is all there is to eat once you get there. I mean, who, after combining peanut butter, mayonnaise and almond extract, then thinks to include cheese, anchovies, fresh garlic, cinnamon and oregano?!?!?!? Not to mention a liberal serving of salt. Of course you have to serve it on a pretty plate with parsley and 3 grapes (no more, no less) because the beauty of the plate will hopefully decrease the gag reflex and if there weren't parsley and grapes nobody would get anything to eat. Oh, I get it! It just became clear to me. This is diet food. And effective, too! This will have you losing weight in no time. And yes, you better serve it warm because you do not want to imagine this (let alone actually experience it) once it has cooled and congealed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oreo Cookie Salad

What summer salad menu is complete without a delectable dessert? We've had Sunburst Macaroni Salad with 4 of the 5 food groups, not to mention fats/oils, and Fresh Fruit Salad to round out the pyramid. But we can't forget that mysterious and elusive 6th food group: chocolate / sweets. And even better if your salad has both chocolate AND sweets, right? Your request is my command, master. Ta da!

1 small box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 (8.0z) container whipped topping
30 Oreo cookies, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Prepare pudding according to package directions with the milk. Fold in the whipped topping. Mix in cookies and marshmallows and refrigerate until ready to serve.

And for those of you questioning the title salad, from Webster's 3rd definition for the word salad: a usually incongruous mixture; hodgepodge. 'Nuff said.

Now, I do understand that making a pudding from scratch is a time consuming and sometimes difficult proposition. Not everybody enjoys the challenge as much as I do, and that's fine. But come on, "whipped topping"?!?! It takes less time and effort to whip up some heavy cream than it does to make the pudding, plus you have the added advantage of not having to rely on a substance that would survive a nuclear holocaust without mutation or destruction. It's like putting cockroaches in your salad to add a little crunch! I'm all for specificity of measurement, but how many tries do you suppose it took to discover that 30 was the magic number of Oreos; or was it just that they ate the other 21 in the package in the process? Or perhaps they're just rubbing their hands in glee at making us count out 30 Oreos. 1...2...3...4......29...30. Phew! (Wiping sweat off brow) Made it. Let's see. I've got soft and squishy and I have crunchy and chocolatey, I feel like I just need one more texture and it'll be perfect. Especially since after enough time the cookies will probably get soft and squishy too. Hmmm, maybe something a little chewy. Yes! Marshmallows. Perfect.

Fresh Fruit Salad

A lightly sweet salad made of fresh cut fruit is the perfect accompaniment to any summer dinner (such as Sunburst Macaroni Salad). Watermelon, canteloupe, grapes, pineapple, apples, oranges - the possibilities and combinations are endless. Delicious, healthful. What could be better? You just can't improve on nature. Or can you?

2 medium apples, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 medium bananas, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
1/2 cup green grapes
1/4 cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
3 T. orange juice
4 1/2 t. lemon juice

Combine fruit in a bowl and set aside. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan, then add water, orange juice and lemon juice and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Toss sauce gently with the fruit and refrigerate until ready to serve.

It's a minor note, but I'm pretty sure canned pineapple doesn't count as fresh fruit. The recipe does admittedly have fresh fruit in it, though, so we'll let them keep their title for now. I'm pretty sure this recipe comes from somebody who hates fresh fruit. I mean, all that natural goodness wasn't enough? We had to "enhance" it with a thickened fruity sweet and sour sauce? Those bananas are just so bitter, let's add some sugar. And, well, I like both orange juice and lemon juice. Eeeny, meeny, miny...oh, heck, let's splurge and just use both. Then maybe I can change the name to Decadent Fruit Salad or Luxurious Fruit Salad or something. Ah, that's perfect. There's just nothing like man-meddled, er made.

Oh, and at some point, are you supposed to turn the burner on underneath the saucepan? Because I'm pretty sure cornstarch doesn't thicken anything without a catalyst, namely heat.

Sunburst Macaroni Salad

One of my wife's favorite comfort foods is good ol' mac and cheese. Over the years we have tried several made from scratch recipes from Alton Brown to Better Homes and Gardens. So far, however, her favorite remains the classic Kraft blue box. Then we came across this recipe. The name conjures images of bright summer days with delicious, fresh, light and tasty picnic dishes. Maybe even some citrus in there, right? Uh, yeah. If you ever need to induce vomiting for poison control or something just read this recipe and it will do the trick. Try and make it all the way to end of the instructions because that last little gem is my favorite by far.

1 pkg. Kraft macaroni shells and cheese
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped sweet pickle
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon

Prepare mac and cheese according to the directions on the package. Mix in all remaining ingredeients. Place in refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours, or overnight. If desired, additional mayonnaise may be added prior to serving.

First of all (I'm not even going to bother with the "macaroni shells") do you know how much 1 cup of diced celery is?! Nobody's going to taste anything else...on second thought, maybe that's not such a bad thing. Oh, but I forgot about the 1/2 cup of sweet pickle. Why not just call it a celery and sweet pickle salad? I'm assuming the green pepper is just for a little color since you're not going to be tasting it. At this point, though, it's just too sweet and creamy so we need a little zing and bite to liven it up. I know - let's throw in 1/4 cup of raw onion! Do you think that's enough? Maybe...nah, that'll do it, I guess. Okay, okay, this is good, but I still feel like there's something missing. We've got dairy and grains and lots of vegetables. Aha! Meat. I forgot the meat. We'll save the fruit for our fresh fruit salad. And, of course, there's that final suggestion. It's not enough that we've blocked everybody's arteries. Let's finish the job and just embalm them with a little more mayonnaise. Make this at your own risk!