I confess that I have made this meal before. I think I might have mentioned it on the ‘about’ page. I prepared #32 back in November of 2009 (wow, is that right?) as part of a bet that Cleve and I had regarding the Pittsburgh mayoral race that year. The stakes were as such: if our candidate ended up 2nd, I was to make Cleve an entire retro meal, and do so dressed as June Cleaver. If our candidate fell to 3rd, we would have had a very nice evening of drinks, dinner, and dancing paid by Mr. Cleveland. If by some act of God that Franco Dok Harris became the mayor of Pittsburgh (think of how insane this would have been) we were gonna jump on a plane to Las Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator.
You know the result of the election, because I ended up cooking #32, Pot Roast in Foil, teetering in high heels and bedecked in pearls. Cleve and I are going to Vegas in July, so there’s still a chance we’ll elope in an Elvis-officiated ceremony.
Oh, and mentioning the election gives me the chance to bring back this video, which still makes me laugh out loud.
Now, the last time that I made #32, I thought it was rather successful (although I had issues with the Jell-O). But perhaps that will be remedied because this time I have an actual Jell-O mold. On the downside, I am dealing with the bipolar (sorry, bi-winning!) oven, so I don’t know what I’ll end up with–undercooked? Overcooked? It’s a surprise!
And now onto my pot roast post-mortum…
So I had my friend Erin over for dinner. I would consider her somewhat of a foodie–she does on occasion Facebook photos of Eggs Benedict and chocolate mousse and whatever other fancy food she makes from time to time. So I it did cross my mind that maybe my pot roast and frozen pecan pie wouldn’t be that impressive. But not to worry, I plied her with gin & Crystal Light lemonade and she seemed to think everything was just gravy (and there was gravy). Now, because I was entertaining, I was kinda lax on the documentation. Deal with it.
Overall, #32 wasn’t at all difficult. I started about an hour and a half later than the 2:30 start time indicated on the card. I topped the roast with condensed cream of mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix and then swaddled it in a tin-foil papoose. I got it into the oven at 4:15 into a 350 degree oven. My roast was just a tiny bit smaller than the recommended 3lbs, so I didn’t have to adjust the cooking time. At 6pm or so I took the pan out of the oven, squeezed the gravy out of the foil, and then put the roast back in the oven to keep warm. The best part about this meal is that I didn’t have to do a damn thing to the gravy.
Because it was a mix of the onion soup mix, the mushroom soup, and the meat juices in the foil, it automatically was thick, seasoned, and a lovely beef shade of brown.
At this point I put the potatoes into boiling water and did the glaze for the vegetables. I had already cooked the pearl onions and carrots earlier in the day and refrigerated them.
If you haven’t cooked pearl onions yet, you really should give it a try. They are really pretty in dishes and are sweet enough to eat whole. Here is the easiest way to work with these pearls:
Step 1: boil the whole onions for 3 minutes.
Step 2: put drained onions in ice water
And KAZAAM! You have beautiful, naked pearl onions. They are great in a lot of dishes, but I like them best with buttered peas.
To reheat and glaze carrots and onions I used the glazed white potato recipe from #41 Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin. The glaze over-cooked initially and started to form into blobby, tacky candy chunks. So I had to trash the first pan and start again. Once I got the temperature right, it was all good. Syrupy glazey goodness.
However, I don’t make particularly good mashed potatoes. I bought a masher because I don’t have a hand mixer, but even with the masher I brought out the immersion blender to mix them even further and it just ends up all starchy/stringy, not at all whipped. Eh, whatever. Regardless of their visual aesthetic they tasted good and heated up well for my lunch leftovers.
Now, don’t think I forgot about the Jell-O! When I made this in 2009 I mixed some cinnamon and nutmeg with canned peaches because I couldn’t find spiced canned peaches. But lo and behold, guess what the Safeway DID carry? Spiced frickin peaches! And I was able to put it in a real, copper Jell-O mold and not a plastic bowl. So the Molded Spiced Peach Salad was just as Dinner is Served! intended. Sadly, it wasn’t anything spectacular. But it was right. And right is good. And it came out of the mold in one unbroken, fluted glob.
So all that was left was to plate it all. And plate it, I did. So I estimate that it was a little after seven I could declare: Dinner is Served!
All in all everything tasted just fine. But my Jell-O was a bit sad. Yes, I was happy that it fully congealed and came out of the mold just fine. But look how perky #32’s Jell-O mold is! And then look at mine. It’s just wimpy in comparison although I made it in the size mold that was specified. The photographer lied to me in a big, giant way.
Lastly, I hope that you aren’t judging me because I haven’t yet made a pie. But damn, I made those Medaillons and custard filling for #41 Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin, and I think that allows me to not have to bake anything else until at least 20 meals in (which I am VERY close to!!!!).
So Miss Marie Calendar supplied me with the pecan pie. And it was good. I brought the leftovers into work today and I didn’t hear any complaints. Frozen pie is a-ok in my book.