Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"The Working Wives' (Salaried or Otherwise) Cookbook" - Spicy Shrimp Dinner

Date I made this recipe: November 1 and 2

The Working Wives’ (Salaried or Otherwise) Cookbook – Cook-Ahead Cookery: All Recipes Based On Preparation Of Each Day’s Dinner The Night Before by Theodora Zavin and Freda Stuart
Published by: Crown Publishers, Inc.
© 1963
Recipe: Spicy Shrimp Dinner – p. 51

I bought this cookbook this spring while back in Michigan for my mom’s funeral (and later, burial) in what is now Falling Rock Café and Bookstore (http://www.fallingrockcafe.com/) but what used to be Leeches Bar and Grill. I never, ever went in Leeches when I lived there, probably because I was underage, but I do remember my friends and I singing “Let’s all go to Leeches Bar and Grill, food’s more fun at Leeches Bar and Grill” to the tune of the A&W song (“Let’s all go to A&W, food’s more fun at A&W….”) Hey, it was a small town without a lot going on.

I hadn’t been up to that neck of the woods in quite some time and was really impressed with what the new owners had done to the place. The bar was still there but instead of booze, you could get soup, sandwiches, desserts, ice cream and coffee. Apparently, one could buy a membership in a coffee club and for that low, low price, you got your own mug (many of them lined the walls of the place) and I gathered bottomless coffee. The coffee there was really good and I oftentimes bought two cups, one to microwave at home. (My parents weren’t really decaf connoisseurs).

Just off the “bar” were tables with computers allowing for internet access. What a godsend! I was nervous that I couldn’t hook up to the internet from my parents (and indeed, my sister-in-law said she had to balance on the toilet seat while making a call back to Rochester, NY.) and with this set-up, I was able to get my coffee, connect with friends and family who lived elsewhere and keep up with the news.

And then there was the used book area. To my amazement, their cookbook collection was mighty impressive, such that I think I picked up two bags each time I was there. I’ve been to many a place in the Twin Cities that had less to offer.

Not that you want to make a trip to Michigan’s U.P. just to go to this place, but should you find yourself there vacationing (and there’s a ton of stuff to see and do in the area), you should stop in and pick up a book…or two!

As to the book, the cover caught my eye with it’s “Salaried or Otherwise” notation in the title. What I didn’t realize until I opened it up a few days ago was that everything was intended to be made the night before. (When all else fails, read the instructions). No matter. The dish was easy to assemble and the final cooking time is only thirty minutes. I may actually get dinner on the table “on time” (in Ann’s world, anytime before 8:00!)

Spicy Shrimp Dinner – Serves 6
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ cup celery, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 green pepper, diced
1 can (1 lb) tomatoes (Note: it doesn’t say what kind – whole, diced, stewed – nor does it say whether or not to drain the tomatoes. I didn’t and I also used whole.
¼ cup tomato juice
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 ½ lbs. cooked, cleaned shrimp (buy 2 ¾ pounds if you buy them with shells)
1 can (1 lb). okra or peas
1 can (3 oz). whole mushrooms

The night before – Preparation time: 20 min. Cooking time: 35 min.
Chop the onion, garlic and celery. Cook the bacon until crisp, but do not discard bacon fat during the cooking process. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside. Add the olive oil to the bacon fat and cook the onion, celery, and garlic in the combined fats for abut 5 min., until the onion is transparent. Add the flour, stir, and remove the pan from the stove. Add the crumbled bacon and all the other ingredients (except the shrimp, okra/peas and mushrooms). Stir well and simmer over a low flame for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly, cover and refrigerate.

Before Serving – Preparation time: 2 min. Cooking time: 30 min.
Add the shrimp, okra or peas and mushrooms to the sauce and cook over a low flame for 30 minutes. This is excellent served with boiled rice.

NOTE: This recipe was most certainly not spicy despite the chili powder and the horseradish, but it was darned tasty.

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