Yes, We Have No More Snow Flakes

April 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

   How’s this for a fitting Good Friday opening:  Will miracles never cease?  The answer, of course, is “no,” and that seems to apply to Minnesota weather as well as to events much more significant and awe-inspiring. 

That’s my long-winded way of saying that we made it through March with no snow storms.  To my further wonderment, the first day of April was more like June, offering temps in the 80s and a summer-bright, sunny sky.  How hot was it?  Hot enough that my little pup got overheated and asked to be carried for the last half of our walk.  This phenomenon compels some observers to admonish me, “She’s not getting much of a walk, is she?”  I may have to prepare a little sign to wear on my back explaining, “It’s her idea, not mine.” 

But back to April 2nd, as slate-gray skies promise a much-needed rain but leave me a little less energetic than usual.  Something relatively (no pun intended) easy for my in-law dinner tonight, I think.  Broiled Tenderloin Steaks, Sour Cream Potato Casserole, and Sunshine Salad.  And from the freezer, Japanese Vegetable Blend and Ciabatta Rolls.  Then, to make up for my laziness, Fudge Pie, in all its resplendent gooiness, from the pages of my 1946 edition of The Joy of Cooking.  

The potato casserole was a last minute improvisation, based on the idea of the classic side of baked potatoes with sour cream: 

6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed                      1/2 C evaporated skim milk

1/2 C fat-free sour cream                                                          1 TB melted butter

1/2 tsp paprika                                                                             1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 TB dried parsley, rubbed to a fine crumb

Cut each potato in half crosswise and cook in boiling water to cover for about 20 minutes.  (Check after 16 or 17 minutes, and stop the cooking as soon as they feel tender to a knife poke, but not yet of mashing consistency.)  Cool slightly, then grate coarsely into an ovenproof casserole dish.  In a small bowl, blend together the milk, sour cream, butter, paprika, garlic powder, and parsley.  Gently fold the sour cream mixture into the grated potatoes.  Cover casserole lightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes in a 350° degree oven.  

Next, brush 1-1/2 inch steaks with a small amount of garlic-infused olive oil and broil them about four inches from a pre-heated broiler flame for nine minutes per side.  Hint:  Use tongs instead of a fork when turning steaks to prevent the juices from escaping. 

While the steaks cook, start the water for the frozen vegetables and prepare the salad

2 C mixed salad greens                                   1 C baby spinach leaves  

1 large orange, peeled & sectioned            sunflower seeds 

Wash and spin or dry salad greens and spinach.  Cut orange sections in half, toss with greens, and sprinkle liberally with sunflower seeds.  Pass your favorite oil and vinegar dressing. 

Slice, wrap in foil, and warm the rolls in the oven.  If you have only one oven, as I do, you can bake the potato casserole ahead and do a final warm-up in the microwave.  The bread can take the broiler heat of the oven for ten minutes or so. 

And lastly, but certainly not “leastly,” dessert.  As Irma Rombauer writes in her recipe notes, “This is a crustless pie or cake unexcelled in quality.  It is deliciously and devastatingly rich.  Do not let that deter you.” 

1/2 C (one stick) butter                  1 C sugar

2 egg yolks                                           2 oz melted, unsweetened baking chocolate

1/3 C flour                                            1 tsp vanilla

2 egg whites                                         1/8 tsp salt 

In a mixer bowl, beat softened butter until light then beat in sugar gradually until creamy.  Beat in the 2 egg yolks and the cooled chocolate, followed by the flour.  Add vanilla and blend.  Whip egg whites with salt until stiff and fold them into the batter just until incorporated.  Bake in a greased 8-1/2 inch pie plate at 325° for 30 minutes.  If you have the pie ready to slip into the oven as you sit down to the main course, it’s about perfect timing in order to serve it still warm to your dinner guests, topped with vanilla ice cream.  No nuts or cherries required. 

And no boots required, either, as we head on out to Good Friday communion service, thanking God for miracles large and small.

Entry filed under: Musings of a Midwestern Foodie. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

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