Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Presidential fare cookbook offers a taste of the past

Ralph Burch of Port Arthur loaned me a 1917 copy of “Presidential Cookbook: Adapted from the White House Cook Book” that crumbled a little with every page turned. The reader had made some pencil notes, now faded, and marked pages with Jell-O recipes dated much later than the book.
Aside from canning and stewing information, there are etiquette tips on how to hold one’s glass and how many berries to take. Here’s a recipe that surprised me:
Fried cucumbers
Pare them and cut lengthwise in very thick slices; wipe them dry with a cloth; sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge with flour, and fry in lard and butter, a tablespoon of each, mixed. Brown both sides and serve warm.

Fish fun
Gorton’s has a new resealable bag for beer batter fish fillets. I added to what the label calls “Crispy Pub Taste” with a dousing of malt vinegar. But my favorite news is of the newest product, which you may have sampled during Lent: Lemon Peppercorn Tilapia, which makers offers with some Weight Watcher-approved recipes. Get on their website for ideas. Gorton’s is working with cookbook author Aviva Goldfarb, founder of the “Six O’Clock Scramble,” who has a new cookbook coming out this spring. I’ve also recently enjoyed what was a seemingly-decadent breakfast of fish nachos, with Gorton’s Grilled Tilapia with roasted garlic butter. It was actually what Weight Watchers fans call “point friendly.”
Grilled Shrimp with Tropical Fruit Salsa
8 points per serving
2 servings
16-19 Gorton’s Scampi Grilled Shrimp
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
1/2 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled & diced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
4 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
2 cups brown rice, prepared
Prepare Gorton’s Scampi Grilled Shrimp according to package instructions.
Combine pineapple, mango, cucumber, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice salt and pepper, place on top of rice with cooked shrimp and serve immediately.

On the border of too good
My fish nacho breakfast was also inspired by another shelf newbie, On the Border Monterey Jack, Asadero and Smooth Blanco cheese dip in a jar, that is not over-the-top calorie wise when you enjoy it in the proper serving size. I served that Gorton’s fish over shredded cabbage and On the Border’s chips, salsa and new dip to rave reviews.

Spicy inspiration
There’s one fewer excuse for people who claim they can’t or don’t have time to cook. McCormick Recipe Inspirations packets feature six pre-measured, no-waste spices and herbs with a perforated, plastic-coated recipe card on the back you can file. How does garlic lime chicken fajitas, rosemary roasted chicken with potatoes or quesadilla casserole sound? These cards, which make great gifts, take just a little bit of prep and cook time, and come with the trusted flavor of McCormick products.

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