I know why you, dear readers, voted this dinner to be my 30th meal. Not because it was the fanciest meal or the most involved. It was all because of 2 words.
I feel like I must apologize because in my first milestone meal, after the audience-participation and the voting, I ended up with what might be my worst attempt at food photography and an unmade dessert.
So here it is, my 30th meal. #59.
You knew it would be. Was there every any question? The apple kuchen gave #59 a run for its money, but in the end the wieners prevailed (insert sexting joke here).
Although the weather has been quite lovely the past few days here in Bodymore, Murderland, when I made #59 it was hot. Really hot. So instead of putting this casserole in the oven I used one of my favorite appliances, the CROCK POT. So rather than baking the casserole at 350 for 1 hr. 15 minutes, I slow cooked it at ‘high’ for 4 hours. This may or may not have been a good move, as you will later read.
As in some of my previous dinners, I have integrated the food that I purchased through Arganica Food Club. Here is a sampling of the beautiful organic produce that arrived in that day’s crate:
The contents included peaches, heirloom tomatoes, pears, lemons, oranges, yellow onions, kale, blueberries, broccoli, lettuce, herbs, and a massive carrot. If you read #55 Hamburger Pie, and saw the photos, you know that I have received mutant carrots before, but none were this large. It is THE Carrot.
Now, if you have never met Brian personally, you don’t know how large of a cat he is. And he is a substantial cat. But unless he’s there in your presence, it might be difficult to gauge the size of a 19 pound cat and then compare it to a giant carrot.
Maybe this photo will put the heft and breadth of this root vegetable into perspective.
I am 5′ 2″ and THE Carrot is bigger than my head. I weighed the damn thing. 1 pound 2 ounces. I have never, and will probably never see again, a carrot of its magnitude.
I love this photo because I inadvertently wore a dress the same hue as THE carrot. Perhaps from now on I will color-coordinate my ensembles with my foodstuffs.
So let’s get to #59.
I started at 4pm. I put the Bratwurst in a skillet to brown while I chopped up an onion. Once the Brats were browned to my pleasing, I sauteed the onion in the sausage fat. Sausage fat. Yum. In the crock part of the crock pot I put a down a layer of sauerkraut in the bottom, topped it with the sauteed onions, and repeated. I forgot to put the caraway seeds in between the layers so I kinda mixed up the whole thing to evenly distribute the seeds, so the layering was all for naught. Anyway, the links went on top of the whole thing, I capped it with the crock pot lid, and set it to ‘high.’ This was about 5pm. I then left the house because I had some errands to run.
Fast forward to 7pm (which will, compared to the DiS! timeline will equal 5pm). I started by prepping my celery and carrot sticks. Or, in the case of THE carrot, carrot LOGS. They went into the crisper.
7:15pm I began dessert: Apple Dumplings with Apricot Glaze (Card #91). Doesn’t that sound delicious? Here is the recipe (direct from Card #91):
Buy frozen Apple Dumplings. Bake according to directions on package. For Apricot Glaze: Melt a 1-lb. jar of apricot jam in a heavy saucepan. When melted and bubbling, remove from heat and force through a fine sieve. Keep warm.
Huh. That seems doable, right? All I have to do is make a glaze. I’ve made glazes before. I began by putting half a jar of apricot preserves into a small skillet on low heat. This deceptively easy recipe snowballed from good to bad to Bridget Jones’ blue soup rather quickly.
I was good with the first part, melting and then sieving (see photo to the left). At 7:35pm I had a very nice looking apricot sauce. But there was the matter of keeping it warm without bubbling it all over again. So between this point and when I served dinner, the sauce kept boiling and then cooling down and boiling again and I ended up with a caramelized marmaladeish blob. Not a glaze. FAIL. After the cycle it was like tacky candy. No bueno.
Moving on, I turned my attention to the Instant Mashed Potatoes. I went with the Betty Crocker Homestyle Creamy Butter because of the yellow banner at the top of the box proclaiming, “Tastes as good as HOMEMADE!” Needless to say, they don’t. But there is something oddly appealing about instant mashies. Until I went to college the only time I ever had them was in the school cafeteria. My mother always made mashed potatoes from scratch. I ate a lot of potato buds in college. I would mix fake mashies with buttered corn and eat it out of a bowl as a meal. Gross, right? But I think I know what I’m going to do with the second pouch from that Betty Crocker box.
I am aware that I have been slacking on the potato front. For the last three dinners in a row I’ve half-assed it. Canned potatoes with the lobster, pre-made whipped with the stuffed fish, and now this. Instant Mashed Potatoes. Don’t judge me.
So, mashed potatoes done, I am ready to serve #59, my 30th meal.
8pm DINNER IS SERVED!
This is not my best photographic effort. I think mainly because the dumplings are missing completely from the photo. But you know what, after dinner we didn’t even have the dumplings. I was full and it was too damn hot to put on the oven to bake the frozen dumplings.
Although not the most photogenic of meals, this one was good. The scent was wonderful. I think that was the caraway seed. The casserole would’ve really benefited from being baked in the oven because as is it was a bit soupy and in the oven the top layer would’ve gotten a bit browned. But like I mentioned earlier, it was too damn hot for that. Regardless, it was tasty. I’m not a fan of sausage (I hate Kielbassa and Polish sausage) so the Bratwurst was a solid choice. I liked it.
Too bad I shit the bed on the dessert.
There were a lot of leftovers so in addition to doing the standard reheat for lunch I also made mini-Reubens. I used some of the mini Pumpernickel loaf from my 2nd meal, #17 Beef Lindstrom, that I had in the freezer. I made sandwiches with the caraway-scented kraut (that gave it a rye flavor), 1000 Island dressing, and Swiss cheese. Even though there wasn’t any corned beef involved, since the kraut was cooked in the sausage, it was still good.
#59 was just a mixed bag.
And now, a look back on the first 30 meals:
I’m 25% of the way there. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be this far ahead. Hell, let’s be honest–I didn’t think I’d still be doing this after 15 weeks. I am awesome and totally proud of myself. But should I feel bad that the most popular part of my blog is my cat? Well, the public wants what it wants and I promise that Brian will make more appearances. To hold you over here are some beauty shots of my handsome boy and his bedroom eyes.
So many weeks (months!) in and I am still having fun cooking and writing, I’m preparing foods that I never have (and probably would never had if not for Dinner is Served!) and my spice rack has become quite impressive. I have really expanded my collection. The spices purchased expressively for use in Dinner is Served are caraway seed, ground mustard, ground ginger, dill weed, celery seed, and marjoram. I am sure that I have more McCormick purchases in my future. I’m going to need more room.
Thus far I have been going at a pretty good clip. I have made 30 meals in 15 weeks. If I keep this up I am on pace to complete all of the cards in a little over a year. However, Cleveland is entering full-on campaign mode (did I mention that in addition to his regular job he is also managing a city council campaign?) so he won’t be around a lot. Who the hell am I going to cook for? Me and Brian? So, if you are in the Baltimore area, or want to visit and would like to sample some 1970s fare courtesy of Dinner is Served!, let me know. I’ve got 75% more to go and I need some mouths to feed.
Seriously. Call me.