Recently I was interviewed by Gary House from Food Blog Radio:
Gary is on a mission to bring the people behind food blogs out into the open so that we can get to know them, learn what drives them, and what their creative process is. Gary spoke to me a few weeks ago, and by pulling me out of the written medium into the verbal one it created the circumstances for food to do what it does best …connect people. It was fun. I hope this concept works out better than talking pictures did for some actors and that none of us food bloggers have funny high pitched voices!
The Interview can be found here: What’s Dorothy Eating Now intervied on Food Blog Radio
In honor of Gary’s work I decided to create a good old fashioned 40’/50’s dinner. The kind of thing someone might eat when sitting down to enjoy their favorite radio show. However since I’m me, I couldn’t bring myself to make Tuna Noodle Casserole with cream of celery soup, or the rolls out of a Pillsbury can, or cake from a box. I had to make the real deal using today’s ingredients.
The good news is, it can all be made ahead, so you can heat and eat. And it’s fun and funky. I was fortunate to have some original plates from my Aunt Al’s restaurant in Manteca, CA. She owned it for many, many years and it was called the Yosemite Grill. The plates hadn’t graced a table for over 30 years, I was thrilled to find the perfect menu for them. This dinner should come with sweetened iced tea for mom, beer for dad, and milk for the kiddies.
Thanks Gary, this menu is for you!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
1 pound penne pasta
2 cans (or jars) of high quality tuna packed in oil
3 T butter
3 stalks celery, washed and sliced thin
1/3 C flour
2 C chicken stock
1 C milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Several dashes hot sauce
1 ½ C grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 C chopped green onions
¼ C chopped Italian parsley
2 C crushed good quality potato chips (I used Kettle Sour Cream and Cheddar)
Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9×13 casserole dish.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and place in a large bowl. Immediately pour some of the oil (about ¼ C) from the tuna over the pasta and stir, this is so that it doesn’t stick while you’re making the rest of the dish. Drain the tuna, discard the rest of the oil and flake the tuna into the pasta.
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the sliced celery and sauté several minutes or until the celery softens slightly. Add the flour and stir to coat the celery well. Add the chicken stock and milk in a steady stream, stirring well until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and tabasco sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the grated cheddar cheese, green onions and parsley, and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. Pasta will suck up salt so you may want to add more, but remember you are adding potato chips to the dish.
Spoon the pasta into the prepared casserole dish and evenly distribute the crushed potato chips on top. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the potato chips have just started to toast and the casserole is hot all the way through.
If you are making this in advance, don’t add the potato chips. Store the casserole in the fridge until ready to serve, since the casserole is cold it will take longer to bake. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, covered with foil. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and top the casserole with the potato chips and return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the chips are very lightly toasted.
Buttermilk Millet Refrigerator Rolls
1 C buttermilk, warmed
1 T sugar
1 package dry yeast
1 t salt
2 T butter, melted
1 C millet flour
2 ½-3 C all unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for flouring the board)
Touch of oil or butter to butter the bowl
1 T water
In a large bowl whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Stir in the millet flour and add enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough that is just slightly sticky. This will vary depending on the weather and humidity which is why I didn’t give you an exact flour measurement. Place the dough on a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly butter the mixing bowl, return the dough to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake. If you have a small refrigerator like I do, you may want to place the dough in a gallon ziplock bag since that will take up less space. If you’re ready to bake the rolls, you do not have to refrigerate them, you can continue on with the baking steps.
When ready to bake heat the oven to 375 and place dough on a floured board, knead several minutes to warm the dough and shape into a long rope. Cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a strip about 6 inches long and tie into a knot. Place the roll on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Continue to roll and shape all the dough. Allow the dough to rise until doubled (if starting with chilled dough this can take 1 to 1.5 hours, if baking immediately after making the dough it will rise in about 45 minutes). Once risen combine the egg and water in a small bowl-whisk well and brush rolls gently with the egg wash. Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 12 rolls
Peas and Carrots
1 bag frozen peas and carrots (organic of course!)
1 T butter
2 T water
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan covered with a lid over a medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes. Stir to make sure it’s all defrosted and cook gently until heated through.
Simple Chocolate Cake
1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C sugar
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
½ t salt
½ C flavorless oil
¼ C buttermilk
1 t vanilla
¼ C butter
3 T cocoa powder
3 T buttermilk
2 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8×8 square pan. In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Whisk in oil, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Once thoroughly blended pour into the prepared pan and bake about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool.
Once the cake has cooled prepare the icing. Place the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk in a small pot and whisk until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until the frosting is thick and glossy. Spread the icing over the cake and set aside until ready to serve.