Taco Tuesday: In the Vintage Kitchen

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In 1963, a new edition of a popular 12 year old cookbook was published by Beverly Pepper.

glamour magazine's after five cookbook

The cookbook was Glamour Magazine’s New After Five Cookbook containing a year’s worth of dinner recipes designed for the young modern woman who didn’t have a lot of extra time to sit down and menu plan. With an audience comprised primarily of busy career girls, new mothers, college grads, young marrieds and the over extended singleton…

photo via pinterest
photo via pinterest

the After Five Cookbook was a dream come true. Broken down by month and then further by week, each section begins with a pantry staple list needed for the month followed by a weekly shopping list of all ingredients needed over the next six days..

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The recipes are laid out from from Sunday to Friday of each week with Saturday of course left out, assuming either a night off, a party engagement or better yet, a dinner date out.

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The last twenty pages contain special large-scale menus ideal for holidays or house parties when ladies were cooking for a crowd.

photo via pinterest
photo via pinterest

This is the section where Ms. Jeannie found the recipe for this blog post – a feast of flavor (or a gourmet gangfest as Beverley Pepper liked to call it) that serves eight but could easily be doubled or tripled to feed the proverbial army. Time is always short-handed in December so while this recipe does take two hours to prepare, it freezes wonderfully, sits well in a chafing dish, makes excellent leftovers and transports easily if you are tailgating or pot-lucking your way through the month.

Mexican Beef with Olives

Mexican Beef with Olives (serves 6-8)

3 lbs. cubed grass-fed stew beef

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lb. ground grass-fed beef

2 minced garlic cloves

3 green peppers, cut in 1″inch strips

6 onions, chopped

2 tblsp. tomato paste

6 dashes Tabasco sauce (or equivalent hot sauce)

3 tblsp. chili powder

3 cups chicken broth

2 cans corn kernels, drained but reserve the liquid

1 cup spanish olives, sliced

salt and pepper (to taste)

  1. In a large pan, brown the stew beef, ground beef, garlic, peppers and onions in the olive oil over medium high heat until the beef is browned and the onions begin to caramelize.
  2. Add the tomato paste, tabasco, chili powder, salt and pepper to the pan and mix well.
  3. Add the chicken broth, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for one hour.
  4. Add the corn kernals and simmer uncovered for an additional 30-45 minutes until most of the liquid is consumed.
  5. The mixture at this point should be thick and saucy, if it looks too liquidy or thin let it simmer longer, if it looks too dry add some of the reserved liquid from the drained corn kernels. Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, add the olives and stir thoroughly over medium heat for 4 minutes.
  6. If you prepare this dish ahead of time add the olives just before reheating.
  7. Serve with rice, soft tortillas, hard tacos and lime wedges.

Mexican Beef with Olives

Ms. Jeannie served her tacos with white rice that was lightly tossed with freshly squeezed lime juice (half of a lime), a touch of salt and a few dashes of cumin.  Other serving options that would be equally delicious include: sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and/or sliced mango.

Fun for family and friends, this recipe only gets better as it sits in the fridge making leftovers and quick dinner reheats fast and easy throughout the week. A fun gift for food bloggers, kitchen experimenters and vintage cookbook lovers, the After Five Cookbook is available here.

Happy cooking dear readers!

 

The Post-Derby Post: A Minty Affair

The mint julep is always the star of the show at the Kentucky Derby in the drinks department.  But when Ms. Jeannie’s own party plans got significantly waylaid this year, she decided instead of going all the traditional routes she was going to mix things up a bit. Instead of the mint julep, she created the Minty Donberry…

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Which was a glass of chardonnay with a spring of mint and a slice of strawberry. Like a mini sangria, it was light and refreshing and looked pretty from the side…

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Instead of traditional red roses, she went white and peach and purple in the flower department…

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with bouquets of lilacs, snowballs, flowering dogwood and clematis.

And instead of a formal sit-down dinner following the race she went with a smattering of appetizers for a more informal cocktail party-like atmosphere.  The favorite of the appetizers was a sausage and mint brown rice meatball accompanied by a cucumber mint raita sauce.  It was a nice match with the Minty Donberry, easy to prepare ahead of time and made a lot.  So even though there was no julep –  mint was still a main attraction!

Here’s the recipe…

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Sausage and Mint Brown Rice Meatballs with Minty Cucumber Raita Sauce…

For the Meatballs

1 lb. ground grass-fed organic sausage

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten (preferably free range organic!)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Prepare brown rice ahead of time and let cool. Add all ingredients together in a bowl and mix until well-combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (up to one day – if you want to prepare ahead). All ingredients should look evenly dispersed throughout the mixture, like this…

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Roll into 18 golf-ball sized meatballs or smaller if you want to make a miniature version. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn each meatball once and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the meatballs turn golden brown. This may require a little more or a little less cooking time depending on the size of your meatballs. Also, Ms. Jeannie broiled hers for the last couple of minutes to get a nice dark brown crust on each.

 

For the Minty Cucumber Raita…

1/2 large cucumber – peeled, seeds removed and then grated

1 cup sour cream

1/8 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon honey mustard ( Ms. Jeannie used Inglehoffer’s which is a German mustard)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place grated cucumbers in a paper towel and squeeze out all the extra liquid. Then combine all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.  Makes 2 cups of raita.

Arrange the meatballs on a platter alongside the raita. Ms. Jeannie served her sauce in her grandmother’s 1930’s teacup – which looked pretty! If you want to garnish the plate you can use (you guessed it) fresh mint or dill. But the meatballs don’t last long once out among the party crowd so you may not want to even bother!

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Ms. Jeannie was rooting for longshot Wildcat Red…

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and even though he didn’t win – it was still a great race! Now it is on to the Preakness to see if California Chrome will become a Triple Crown winner. Ms. Jeannie’s two best friends couldn’t make last night’s party so they’ve all decided to get together for round two on May 17th to watch the Preakness. It might just be a California themed event!