This was my Hurricane Irene meal. Or, as I liked to call it: Hurrican’t Irene or Hurrilame Irene. I don’t want to make light of the flooding and destruction that happened in other parts of the country but here in my little sliver of Baltimore City, we never lost power or cable television. The lights didn’t flicker once. We were quite lucky.
The day before, I went to the Safeway early in the morning to stockpile wine in a box, batteries, bottled water, canned fruit, and Jesus candles. All of my disaster preparation was for naught. I’m happy that we weren’t inconvenienced, but it was a bit of a let down.
Anyway, I picked this as my hurricane meal because if the power went out I could still make #76 by candlelight via my gas oven/range.
I made the ‘California Coleslaw’ the day before. I couldn’t find a recipe for it in my cookbook collection so I consulted some other retro-recipe aficionados; the below clipping was the only one that turned up (thank you, Ms. Surly). Who the hell knows what DiS! considered a ‘California Coleslaw,” aside from the fact that it was to be topped with oranges and apples. I had never heard of it before. Have you? So I used this recipe. It’s undated, but it looks like it might be from the 80s. Maybe?
Cabbage, marshmallows, pineapple, and mayo. That combo just screams “make me for Dinner is Served! and throw mandarin oranges on me!”
So that chilled overnight.
This was my #76 DiS! timeline during the storm:
6pm: cut and cored green peppers. Then boiled and drained.
6:15: prepared the meat stuffing. I followed #76`s directions, but in my version I added extra garlic, extra parsley, extra salt, extra pepper and I added oregano and paprika.
6:24: stuffed the peppers.
6:26: started the tomato sauce. I made 4 instead of 6 peppers so I decreased the sauce ingredients. I used a 28oz can of tomatoes. I kept all of the spice measurements the same as the original recipe (DiS! can be oh-so-bland) and in lieu of the instant minced onion (yech) I added some minced shallots.
6:32: once the sauce simmered, I used an immersion blender to smooth and thicken it.
6:57: topped the stuffed peppers with the sauce.
7:03 both the stuffed peppers and the frozen onion rings were placed in a 350 degree oven. The onion ring cooking directions on package: 425 degree oven for 20 min. And the stuffed peppers were to go into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes covered and then 15 minutes uncovered. I thought that 45 minutes at 425 was a reasonable switcheroo for the original onion ring directions.
I should also note at this point that I did not heat a can of corn chowder, nor did I prepare the rice. You see, it’s just the two of us and I figured that the peppers, onion rings, and cole slaw were more than enough for one meal.
So after 45 minutes the peppers and onions emerged from the oven and I went about plating.
7:55: Dinner is Served!
I had to include one of the Jesus candles I purchased from the Hispanic food aisle at the Safeway. So there she is in all her glory, my Our Lady of Guadalupe candle. Who knows, perhaps it was her presence that warded off the hurricane. To quote Melissa Gorga “Thank you, Jesus!” Because no one loves Jesus as much as Melissa Gorga:
Teresa feels blessed, too:
So does Caroline:
Those Italians love Jesus (and his birthday). Speaking of Italians–this wasn’t a terrible dinner, but as with all other Dinner is Served! dishes that include a tomato sauce, I automatically expect it to be Italian. This is a card where that was not the case. Cinnamon was an ingredient. Cinnamon! And in what Italian dish would you make a ground beef mixture without onion yet contained celery?
Yech. Celery has no place in Italian food. It’s like going to a restaurant and the wedding soup has celery and carrots. What the fuck?
Anyway, when the peppers came out of the oven, the meat was cooked all the way through but it wasn’t baked, it was more of a steamed meat. That’s fine fine if the ground beef is mixed with goodies like ginger, soy sauce, scallions, and water chestnuts and purposely steamed in bamboo like a Chinese meatball. But this wasn’t that. And like the majority of DiS! main dishes, #76 was pretty damn bland.
But there is a bright side to this tale: the leftovers were yummy. I think for 2 reasons: the first being that I re-baked the peppers so the meat filling cooked a bit more and lost some moisture; the second reason is that I augmented the tomato sauce from the original dish with some leftover sauce I had in the freezer–a sauce that was indeed Italian-inspired–an Arrabbiata with spicy sausage. Interestingly enough, the cinnamon in the original recipe, although not a strong taste, was a distinct aroma in the dish. I liked it. In the future I might try a dash or two of cinnamon in a spaghetti sauce.
As for the California Cole Slaw–I didn’t want to like it. The recipe was absolute crazeballs. But I did like it. It was a cole slaw-ambrosia hybrid. Cabbage Fluff.
I think I’m done writing this now because it is Saturday night, I just made Linguini with Clam Sauce (you will see that post soon), and I need to set my fantasy lineups. First full NFL Sunday. Damn.
Also, it would be amiss of me to not mention that tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of 9/11, which is a very solemn occasion. Let’s take a moment of silence and commemorate it with “Amazing Grace,” shall we?