Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Coffee Is On

The best way to signal to your guests that the party is winding down, and they should start making their way towards the door is to put on a nice hot pot of coffee. But that's not the case at the Retro Mimi Potluck Party!!! We whip up a gelatinized coffee treat that will keep you zinging well into the wee hours! You can thank my blogger pal, Roz for this Coffee Catastrophe. Enjoy.

Looking to cut back on sweets? THIS is the recipe for you!!!

HUGE thanks to Mimi for hosting this fun roundup, and HUGE apologies to Mimi too! I stuck my hand up and volunteered to be part of this Retro WW potluck at the end of June. This is mid August. I think that time gap says it all, and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get 70's cooking!!!! Was it worth the wait? (or the weight???) I'll let you decide!

I present....”Coffee Rum Strata”. TA DA!!!! Excitement level rising!!!!!

And what a stroke of luck. I see on the bottom of the attachment Mimi sent, this was published by Weight Watchers in 1974. In 1974, I was far too young to drink coffee or rum. (OK...probably not that FAR too young, but young nonetheless) Thank goodness this is 2012 and I can enjoy this fantastic recipe! Excitement level even HIGHER!!!

I LOVE coffee, I like rum...this could be RIGHT up my alley!!! Excitement peaks!!

But then....I saw some things I DON'T like....artificial sweetener (LOTS of artificial sweetener!), rum EXTRACT (extract...what's wrong with REAL rum??), non fat dry milk, unflavoured gelatin (LOTS of unflavoured gelatin).....Uh oh. Excitement level going down.....

But like the procrastinating trouper I am (see June-August comment above) I gathered the ingredients and gave it my all. I also made a FEW modifications, as you'll note below. Excitement level a bit neutral now!

Coffee Rum Strata

Jelly Layer

(excitement diminishing again, oh dear...I am NOT a jelly fan for anything other than spreading on my toast. Jello/bouncy things remind me of having my tonsils out when I was little. Hey...that may have actually happened in 1974! I digress.....)

1 envelope of unflavoured gelatin
1 ¾ cold water, divided
2 tsp instant coffee
Artificial sweetener to equal 1/3 cup sugar 
½ tsp rum extract

(I'm NOT a fan of artificial sweeteners at all. If I only needed a few tsps, I may have just “acquired” a few packs from a coffee shop...I didn't want to buy a whole pack, knowing I would just toss it, so I threw caution to the wind and used REAL cane sugar. I KNOW!!! I'm a rebel!!!!)

 I have ABSOLUTELY no idea how/why I actually DO have rum extract in our cupboard. It must have been there since about 1974, 'cause it had very little rum scent when I opened it up. So I made an executive decision. I'll add the rum extract, but I'll also add some BRANDY flavouring too.  

 Booze flavour is booze flavour, right???? . I also contemplated doing a shot of REAL brandy while I cooked, because my excitement level was now pretty depleted. I chose not to indulge in the brandy, and carried on! :) )

1. Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup cold water in saucepan. Check.

 2. Add coffee. Check

 3. Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Check

4. Remove from heat. Check (no photo really need...looks just like photo above)

5. Add remaining water, sweetener and extract

 6. Divide evenly into 8 dessert glasses 

7. Chill. Check. (Please don't judge the cleanliness of my fridge. Just sayin....)

Mousse Layer
(I KNOW...I have to do this all over again. NOOOOOOO)

1 envelope of unflavoured gelatin
1 cup of cold water
Artificial sweetener to equal ½ cup of sugar (I'm thinking that measure of artificial sweetener may well have now turned this recipe carcinogenic)
½ rum extract (MORE I REALLY need REAL rum!!)
1/3 cup non fat dry milk
1/3 cup ice water
1 tbsp lemon juice
Dash instant coffee

Here we go again.....this part may seem like deja vu at the beginning....

1. sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water in saucepan. Check (again) - see photo above

2.  Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves Check (again) - see photo above

3. Remove from heat. Check (again) - no photo required, see above.

4. Add remaining water, sweetener, and extract. Check (again) - see photo above

5. Chill until syrupy 

DRINK REAL RUM – oh wait...I just added that bit....this is NOT part of the real recipe. But it should be!!!

6. Beat dry milk with ice water until thickened. Check, but omg, this smells gross!

7. Fold into gelatin mixture. Check (but not pretty or for the faint of heart)

8. Spoon, evenly divided on top of jelly layer

 9. Chill until firm

10. Garnish with coffee. (I ran out of instant coffee. Good thing, this would have been a waste of instant coffee! :)

And VOILA!!!! Finished product!!!!! It LOOKS “ok”. It SMELLS a bit “off” but better than I'd expected. My excitement level began to rise slightly again

In the spoon, it looked like chunks of big brown jello with bumpy foam. Excitement level plunges again. Note to self: It may be ok. You love coffee, you like'll be FINE!!

My husband, Dennis tried it.  

Here is how the conversation went once photos were taken:
Dennis: “Well, um...its not QUITE as bad as I thought it was going to be.”
Roz: “Are you going to finish it?”
Dennis: “Oh, hell no!”

Then it was my turn. 

It WAS as bad as I thought!!! OMG...this was GROSS!!! In texture, taste and looks. I WANTED to like it, I really did....but I couldn't. It was THAT bad. I can only imagine how horrible it must have been if I'd ACTUALLY used artificial sweetener, and how tastes may have changed since 1974.

BUT...there is always a silver lining to brown, foamy clouds!

It cleared our garbarator well.

Even a couple of tastes caffeinated me enough that I could stay up late and watch Craig Ferguson, who I love.

And when all else fails....throw some toys in, and call it a party!!!!

Mimi, thank you so much for the opportunity to make this hilariously awful recipe. To those readers who think “it can't be that bad”, well, YES it can. Do NOT, repeat NOT make this for human consumption. However, if you too need your garberator cleaned, you need to stay awake for hours or you have some toys that would look jaunty in foam and brown vomit....THIS is the recipe for you!!!!!

Please pop over to my blog . I assure you, you will NOT be traumatized by this recipe there any time soon!!!!

Thanks Mimi!

Monday, August 6, 2012

She's Nacho Mamma in the House!

Hey Party People! My girl Margo is here, and the potluck just got a little spicier! Check out this dish and get ready to SALSA, MERENGUE and do the CHA-CHA all at the same time!

Hola everyone! 

Margo from Nacho Mama's Blog here, back with another "South of the Border" Retro-Weight Watchers delight! Like Mimi, I am a long (no really, long) time WW member and a complete nerd when it comes to vintage Nidetchiana (I even have an autographed photo of Jean Nidetch hanging in my kitchen). So when Mimi threw down the gauntlet again this year, I just had to accept! I didn't want to put my hostess to the trouble of researching a recipe for me (ok, I admit it, I was terrified of what she might choose to top last year's "Marcy's Enchiladas") so I plunged the depths of my first edition copy of the original 1966 Weight Watchers Cookbook...

And found this:

After laughing til "Coffee Whip" came out of my nose, I knew I had found the perfect recipe! You know you've hit gold when the dish starts out with a glaring grammatical error. You see, I grew up eating "Chile Relleno" in my Mexican-American household. Chile Relleno is a dish we'd typically eat on Fridays, when my grandparents observed the Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat. What is "Chiles Rellenas"? I didn't know but I was dying to find out!

CHILES RELLENAS (Stuffed Peppers Mexican Style)
1 ounce hard cheese
3 roasted pimentos
1 egg, separated
1 tablespoon water
1 slice bread
1 cup tomato juice
1 clove garlic, slightly crushed
Dash of oregano or cayenne pepper 

Cut hard cheese into 3 strips . Wrap each strip in a roasted pimento. Secure with toothpick. Combine 1 egg yolk with water, fold in egg white, stiffly beaten. Add 1/2 cup bread crumbs (made from luncheon slice of bread, whizzed in blender). Dip pimentos into this fluffy batter and refrigerate so the batter sets. Heat tomato juice in skillet, add crushed clove of garlic and a dash of oregano or cayenne pepper if you prefer. As soon as juice is heated, transfer the cheese-stuffed pimentos to pan with a spoon. Any batter that dripped off the pimentos can be spooned in also. Cook about 10 minutes until cheese is melted, remove garlic and transfer sauce and pimentos to plate. Makes an excellent luncheon dish, can be made in double quantity and reheated.

Everybody done laughing yet? Ok, in the interest of full disclosure I must tell you that I "bent" the rules of this recipe (and the potluck) as far as I possibly could without breaking them-at least as far as the ingredients are concerned. First of all, unless you have a time machine I very seriously doubt that your will be able to locate roasted whole pimentos anywhere. So I used canned Mexican chiles that were prepared expressly for stuffing. Also, the WW cookbook is extremely vague about which "hard cheeses" are acceptable on the plan, so I went ahead and bought authentic Mexican hard cheese. And even though I had "luncheon slices of bread" on hand, I am trying to finish off this canister of bread crumbs, so I used that as well. In my defense-I made sure that all of the ingredients I used would have been available (at least to savvy Mexican-American shoppers) back in 1966. Now, let's get cooking!

The first part was easy. The Mexican cheese sliced up real good and slipped right into those chiles with no trouble at all!

Now the batter. This was also pretty easy (except for ignoring my husband's jokes about "stiffly beaten stuffed chiles"). I just followed all the directions and ended up with this:

Here's where my doubts started creeping in. They doubled in sized after I "dipped" the chiles in the batter. If by "dipped" you mean "tried like hell to make this gunk stick to the chiles then just ended up scooping it on top with a spoon", that is.

After lighting a vela (Mexican prayer candle) and popping these into the fidge for a spell, I got to work on the "sauce". Once my tomato juice, garlic and cayenne got bubbling, it started to smell pretty yummy in my kitchen-the candle was working! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all! I took the chiles out of the fridge and tenderly set them in the bubbling sauce. Welcome back, doubts!

Um, so...yeah. After it had been bubbling away for about 5 minutes, I realized that the batter on the top was not cooking at all. In other words, I'd be eating poached chiles topped with gloppy, soggy raw eggs and bread crumbs. Mmmmm...Salmonella-ey! I decided to carefully turn them over so the batter would be completely cooked all the way around. After another 5 minutes, I scooped the whole mess onto my plate. At this point my whole family became very curious about what I'd been cooking.

It looked even more disgusting in person, believe you me. And there was so much of it! My husband and I each dared the other to take the first bite. I lost. I cut into a chile, making sure to have a bite that included the chile, the cheese, the batter and the sauce. And?


Seriously, it was delicious! The batter was light and fluffy, the sauce was just spicy enough and the cheese had expanded in the poaching process so those chiles seemed to have twice the melty yumminess. I ate the WHOLE THING. Ok, I let my husband have one teensy bite and it was so good that he still won't talk to me for not letting him have any more.

The verdict: AWESOME.

I guesstimate this to be about 5 PointsPlus per HUMONGOUS serving on the contemporary WW plan. The 1966 Weight Watchers cookbook recommends "Chiles Rellenas" as the centerpiece for a "TEEN-SCENE LUNCH", served with toast (???) and an "Apple Shake" (1 serving of applesauce blended with 1 cup skim milk). I would recommend skipping the toast and the "shake" and serving this with some Skinnygirl Margaritas while listening to the soundtrack album from the film La Bamba!

Really folks, if you're gonna try one recipe from Mimi's potluck party? This has got to be the one. The only drawback was the truly inordinate number of dishes, pans and utensils that were dirtied for just one serving-so you might want to take Jean's advice and prepare a "double quantity" so you can stay on speaking terms with your spouse. I still have my doubts about how good this would be reheated, though...

Take that, Marcy's Enchiladas

Wishing you love with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama