Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Favorite Recipes Presents: Medley of Meats - A Cookbook with a Musical Flair" - Drummer's Dumplings and Round Steak (for 11-11-11 & Spinal Tap)

Date I made this recipe: November 11, 2011 (11-11-11)

Favorite Recipes® Presents: Medley of MEATS – A Cookbook with A Musical Flair by Mary Jane Blount (Editor) and Nicky Beaulieu (Project Manager)
Published by: Favorite Recipe Press
© 1977
Recipe: Drummer’s Dumplings and Round Steak – p. 30

So yes, today is Veteran’s Day and I salute all those who have served and are currently serving our country. But since I’ve previously observed Veteran’s Day in this blog, it’s time to move so that we may pay homage to Nigel Tufnel, the daffiest “rock star” ever born.

Who is Nigel Tufnel, you ask? Well kiddies, Nigel (as played by actor Christopher Guest) was the “star” of the 1984 movie, This is Spinal Tap. And Nigel had a thing about the number 11, specifically as it related to amplifiers.

The plot of This is Spinal Tap, centers around a documentary/rockumentary film maker Marty DiBergi, played by actor Rob Reiner, who is following the comeback of a British rock band, Spinal Tap, as they tour America. Band mates Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, played by Michael McKean, and Derek Smalls, played by Harry Shearer, are more than happy to share their insights and musical talents with Marty. And guest stars Fran Drescher and Paul Schaffer (among others) just add to the fun and frivolity.

All these rock stars are a little bit off their nut, but none more so than Nigel. In the most hilarious scene in the movie (next to "Stonehedge"), Nigel explains to Marty how their amplifiers (as opposed to other band’s amplifiers) “go to 11.”

Nigel: “If you can see, the numbers all go to 11. Look right across the board – 11, 11, 11….”

Marty: “Amps go up to 10. Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?”

Nigel: “Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not 10…”

Marty: “Why don’t you make 10 louder and make 10 be the top number?”

Nigel stops chawing his gum for about a nanosecond, contemplates the request but then responds with “These go to 11.”

Reader, I’m telling you, every time I see the scene, I just die laughing. And you know right away if someone has seen the movie because anytime someone mentions something like “On a scale of 1-10…,” a fan always responds with “These go to 11.” And you either get it or you don’t. (And if you don’t, then you need to see the movie. Right now!)

Also paying homage to Nigel on 11-11-11 was my favorite local radio station, The Current. All day long, they played music celebrating Spinal Tap and Nigel and Nigel’s infamous 11-11-11. In fact, as early as Monday, they started reminding listeners to tune in to be part of the celebration. I love this station. (And a big shout out to DJ Mary Lucia who just rocked the afternoon for me with her playlist. I about head banged myself out of my car a few times on my way to and from the grocery store.)

My husband gets credit for reminding me way early on in the year about the significance of 11-11-11 but finding a cookbook to go with a Spinal Tap-theme was darned difficult. I looked through the few British cookbooks that I had and didn’t really find anything that spoke to me so that was disappointing (By the way, you have no idea how popular the fish, haddock, is to the British population until you’ve looked at a couple of British cookbooks. It seemed like every other recipe contained haddock. But alas, folks, I don’t “do” fish so I had to find something else.)

This left only one book that is musical in nature - Favorite Recipes® Presents: Medley of MEATS, A Cookbook with a Musical Flair – which I had not yet used for my blog. Let me assure you folks that this book was most certainly not intended to pay homage to a rock group as all the artwork inside is of marching band members, pom pom girls and majorettes. (The artwork is from the 70’s and it is hilarious) Okay, actually, there is a drawing of what appears to be a blue grass band on p. 6 and to me, that’s close enough. I did a lot better with today’s recipe: Drummer’s Dumplings and Round Steak; sure guitars are okay, but you need someone to set the beat, am I right?

I often run recipes by my husband to see what floats his boat and he selected this recipe despite the requirement of three cans of soup. “You do realize it will be very salty, right?” I asked. “Well, just buy low-sodium soup.”

I’m here to tell you folks, that I found plenty of no-fat or low-fat canned soups but I could not find, despite the enormous selection available to me, low-sodium soup. So I’m just warning you right now that this dish may make you feel like you’re eating a salt lick. I didn’t notice it so much but I did try to limit my recipe intake just to be on the safe side.

And on a scale of 1-10 for a recipe, I’d say this went to 11. It was tasty, not too salty and filling. About the only thing I’d add were I to make this over again, would be carrots and maybe potatoes to make it more like a stew. And while I’m not a fan of canned vegetables, there’s something about canned peas that just makes me happy.

So go ahead, crank your radio up to 11 and get going. And happy 11-11-11, Nigel!

Drummer’s Dumplings and Round Steak - serving size not indicated
1 2-lb round steak, cubed (I substituted beef stew meat)
1 chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can onion soup (I used Campbell’s French onion soup)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 4-oz can mushrooms, drained
1 1/3 c. flour (1/3 for the “stew,” and 1 cup for the dumplings)
1 No. 3 can green peas, drained (*see Note below)
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
2 tbsp oil
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (I had to ponder this one for a moment as the soups provided an off-the-charts amount)
Dash of sage (optional—I used it)
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

*Note: I know I have old community and church cookbooks that explain how many ounces are in a No. 3 (or 2 or 4) can, but rather than look through them, I thought I’d use the internet. To my surprise, there were only about three links that discussed how much was in a can. The best I could come up with was 33 ounces or 4 cups. Well, that’s a lot of peas, people. I decided to use two 15-oz cans and we were swimming in peas. I bet you could get away with just one can if you wanted.

Place steak cubes in a 9 x 9-inch casserole. Combine onion, bay leaf, soups, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms and 1/3 cup flour. Pour the soup mixture over steak cubes; cover. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 2 hours. Stir well; add peas.

Beat egg, milk and oil together until blended. Sift remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt and sage together. Stir into egg mixture until moistened. Fold in parsley. Drop batter by spoonfuls over casserole; cover. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes longer or until dumplings are done.

No comments: