Fish in Aspic

So, I was looking through one of those hoity-toity magazines at the doctor’s office while I was waiting to get some scratches looked at. Now, I’ll admit that the magazines there are pretty old, but this one was at the bottom of the stack and it was older then me. So it was really old, right? No, not really old. I’m not that old. Don’t you even say it.

No. Don’t even think it. There’s still plenty of wriggle in the wiggle. I am far from old-bat-dom.

So anyway, this ancient magazine had this crazy recipe for fish in aspic. It sounded really fancy. But way more complicated than I could remember and I didn’t have a pen and paper to copy it all down. And ripping a page out of a magazine is frowned upon. I mean, if everyone who waited there for two hours ripped out a page, there would be nothing left of the magazines except for the subscription cards and the rind.

So as best I could remember, the aspic is a wiggly sort of jello thing, right? And you suspend the fish in it. Easy peasy.

Fish in Aspic

  • 1 middle-sized can of tuna
  • 1 bottle of clam juice
  • 1 small can of peas
  • 1 big package of lemon jello
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1 lemon
  • Mayonnaise

Make lemon jelly using package directions, but use clam juice instead of water. Add tuna and peas and stir real good. Pour into a bundt pan or angelfood pan if you have one. If you don’t (I mean, who does?) you can use one of those chip dip bowls where the chips go around the outside and the dip goes into the embedded bowl in the center.

Chill the whole thing until it’s good and solid, then plop it out onto a plate it fits into. Put the shredded lettuce in the center, squeeze the lemon over the lettuce, and dollop plops of mayonnaise all over where ever you want it.

Now, this didn’t look too good, but it didn’t taste so bad, particularly after I doused it in hot sauce and had a few Margaritas.

As far as the scratches, the Margaritas really helped. I’m still mad at mom for clawing at me when I found her chocolate stash.


I’m Famous!

Lookie here, we got mentioned at SERIOUS EATS: http://www.seriouseats.com/talk/2011/01/the-worst-recipe-ive-ever-seen.html

I am SO PROUD I am about to burst!

And I am soooo going to make that recipe!

Just LOOK at these ingredients:

“Louis the CCXXXII Salad”

1 16oz can cling peach slic
1 8 oz can green beans
1 7 3/4 oz can pink salmon
1 can pitted ripe olives
4 cups shredded lettuce
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 carrot curls
1 cup sliced cucumbers
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lemon, cut into wedges

1/4 bottled French dressing
1/4 mayonnaise
1/4 tsp Tobasco sauce

So proud! So, so proud!

Diet Gravy

T’other night, I decided to make biscuits and gravy, but didn’t have a can of gravy to use, so I called up to the diner to see if I could buy a quart. But no, they were running low and couldn’t spare.

So I pulled out the old cookbook that contained recipes and clippings and stuff that people had gave me over the years, and the only gravy recipe I could find was this diet gravy.

I figured it was worth a try.

I don’t know if it came out right, but it didn’t taste so good. It wasn’t quite as orange as the photo. More brown.

Diet Gravy

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Seasoned Salt

Put a cup full of flour into a skillet and let it go to medium brown. Stir it around so it’s all even and not some of it burnt. If it does go black and smoky, you have to throw it out and start over.

When the flour is all good and pretty brown, like between the color of oak wood and walnut, add water. The same cup-size as you used for the flour.

Stir the flour and water until it’s all smooth and not lumpy, then add again that much water and stir it around. Let it cook a good five minutes or so, and it will get thicker and blurpy-bubbly. Add as much more water until it is as thick or thin as you like.

Add a good bit of seasoned salt.

At every gathering that includes my husband”s family, this baked bean recipe graces the table in memory of Auntie Jane, who was “called home” as they like to say.

And almost inevitably, an argument ensues. Did Auntie Jane make it this way on purpose, or was she simply being lazy? Fistfights have nearly broken out over these beans and Auntie Jane’s amazingly artistic creativity or lack of motivation. No one thought to ask her when she was bringing the beans herself.

Now, the beans have become something of a potluck affair with different people bringing a can of beans and someone else bringing a random barbecue sauce. And then the cans are opened and poured and people talk about Auntie Jane for a few minutes. Sometimes they even say nice things about her.

Auntie Jane’s Secret Baked Beans

  • 3-6 cans of different types of baked beans (depending on the size of the gathering)
  • 1 bottle of barbecue sauce

Open cans of beans. Pour cans of baked beans into microwavable serving plate. DO NOT STIR. The point is to make sure the beans stay mostly separate. Open bottle of barbecue sauce. Pour it over the beans in a swirly pattern, using 1/2 of the bottle for the three-can version, and all of the bottle for the 6-can bottle. DO NOT STIR.

Microwave until hot. Serve.

Now, not only is there controversy about whether the lack of stirring was about laziness, but there’s controversy about how to serve the beans. And since it’s mostly served buffet-style and otherwise always served family style, that’s all about how you server yourself. Some people take a serving of one type of bean. Some people take two types of beans next to each other. Some people take a spoon full of each type.

It’s enough to make your head spin.

Me. I skip the beans and go for the potato salad. There’s no controversy there.

Oh – and when I say that she was “called home” they don’t mean she’s dead. She violated parole and got herself locked up again.

I met up with Angie and we took a walk down the block to have a cup of coffee with Beth. We all went to school together, and Beth makes the best cakes I’ve ever tasted, so it makes a lot of sense to drop in on her in the morning and hope she’s got something sweet to nibble on.

Now, we’re not moochers by any means. We don’t always show up at Beth’s house empty-handed. Sometimes we bring our own coffee mugs.

No, I’m just kidding. We drink so much of Beth’s coffee that one or the other of us will pick up a bag of fancy beans for her whenever we have a chance. Because not only does Beth make tasty sweets, but she’s got one of those fancy coffee makers that brews one cup at a time AND she grinds her own beans. So we can have a nice full-bodied dark roast or a light roast instead of the stale burnt roast they serve at the diner.

Beth didn’t disappoint. How that girl stays so slim is a puzzle.

It was all going well until Angie decided she wanted a second cup of coffee to go with her third cupcake, and then she started pointing at the coffee machine and shrieking “how dareĀ  you!” and I figured she’d just about lost her mind. I mean, really, it’s a fancy coffee maker and it’s got pretty blue lights and all, but I’ve never heard it say anything rude. I’ve never heard it say anything at all. It doesn’t even beep at you, it just makes coffee and blinks once in a while.

So there’s Angie having a conversation with the coffee machine and from what I could tell, the machine must have been winning because Angie was getting madder and madder and it looked like she was about to either whack that thing upside the brewer or burst into tears.

Now all this happened pretty quick, but Beth was over to Angie’s side in a flash with her arm around Angie’s shoulder in that comforting way, and Angie was pointing at one spot on the machine and muttering something I couldn’t quite make out.

And then it all fell to hell when Beth burst out laughing like nothing I’d seen before. She was laughing and choking and gasping and tears were streaming down her face and Angie just turned and looked at her like she was the one gone mad now.

Well, I was still sitting at the kitchen table trying to make sense of this from a distance because apparently that machine was possessed and anyone who got near to it fell into some sort of crazy bag. So I watched this for a while and pretty soon Angie went from ranting to giggling a bit, because by then Beth was pretty much on the floor in the fetal position and sort of twitching like a fish out of water.

Now, I was pretty sure neither one of them was going to be able to tell me anything for a while, so I helped myself to another cupcake and sat back to wait for someone to grasp just a little string of sense. I wanted another cup of coffee, but I didn’t want to step over Beth in her own house, so I waited just a bit longer.

In a little while Beth sat up and so I asked what the hoopla was about, and Angie said, “That machine insulted me. I’m not FAT,” and then Beth was holding in the giggles again and shaking her head and I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to be much help. So I went to look at what Angie was pointing at, and there was a blinking light on the machine that said “de scale.”

Now, the only two scales I could think of were weight scales or the kind on a fish, and neither of those made any sense. I mean, the machine didn’t have eyes to see that Angie had put on some Christmas fudge pudge, and there sure weren’t any fish around. Well, except for Beth’s dramatic portrayal on the floor a few moments ago, but I didn’t think that counted.

I put my arm round Beth and let her back to the cupcakes, but that didn’t seem to cheer her up much. Just about then, Beth unraveled herself from the floor and said, “it means it needs cleaned!” And that made some sort of sense, but I have to wonder why the machine didn’t just light up and say “Clean me!” Best I can figure, it was a foreign-language model she got on discount.

You want a recipe? Not today. I grabbed a couple extra cupcake on the way out. That’ll be dinner, I think.

It’s Soup. I Think.

Yesterday was community service day, although how the county thinks it’s a service to the community to have most of the women in town wearing orange jumpsuits and picking up trash on the side of the highway … well, the logic just eludes me. Few humans look good in neon orange to begin with, and there we all were poking at bits of trash with pointy sticks instead of being at home making a decent dinner for our families.

But that’s what the county wanted us to do after the sheriff had to break up the bar fight on Christmas Eve morning. They let us all go right away because of course we all had family doings to attend to, but later we all got sentenced to this so-called community service.

Poke, poke, poke. Mash the trash into the bag. Poke, stab, poke. Shove more trash into the bag. It was tedious and boring so of course we got to talking and then we got to thinking about what we were going to do for dinner because all that stabbing and poking and wandering around made us hungry. They brought us some sandwiches and pop from the diner for lunch but the more we talked about it the more we thought that we should celebrate the end of our day of service with a little party.

Now, when we party, we party. Those that bake bring cakes and pies. Those that cook bring stews and casseroles. Those that brew bring beer or wine or something a little stronger. Those that don’t bring chairs and plates and napkins. It all works out in the end and everyone gets fed and drunk.

But not tonight. There was no time for making anything, so we started talking about what we had that was done that we could put together. In my little group of stab-and-pokers, I had half a pot of chili, Angie had pork chops, Sarah had mashed potatoes and Beth had sauerkraut. We went down the line and asked who had what left over, and none of it was enough to make part of a meal, but we sposed that if we put it all in a pot with some water and cooked hell out of it for a while, we could call it soup. Which we did.

And my some great miracle, we all lived through that meal to see morning.

Really, Ma?

I went to see ma today. Nothing important. Just stopped by to chat for a while and I had to see what she was cooking. I should know better.

Really, ma? Really?

She asked if I wanted to stay for lunch, but I suddenly remembered that I already ate, and I scrammed out of there. Seriously, the woman raised me, but sometimes I havta wonder about where she gets her crazy cooking ideas from.

And it makes me wonder a touch what it was she fed me when I was a kid and didn’t think to question. It makes me a little squeamy to think about it.

I got no recipe for you today. We had peanut butter sandwiches on rye with dill pickles on the side.