Monday, March 31, 2014

"Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook" by Ann B. Davis (Alice, the housekeeper) - Fillmore Flank Steak with Garlic-Ginger Sauce

Date I made this recipe:  March 23, 2014

Alice's Brady Bunch™ Cookbook by Ann B. Davis (Alice) with Ron Newcomer and Diane Smolen; Foreword by Sherwood Schwartz (Creator of "The Brady Bunch")
Published by:  Rutledge Hill Press
ISBN:  1-55853-307-9; © 1994
Purchased at Succotash (a very cool retro store), St. Paul
Recipe:  Fillmore (Junior High!) Flank Steak with Garlic-Ginger Sauce – p. 65

F-F-Fil, l-l-lmo, o-o-ore, Fillmore Junior High!

So here's how this all went down:  I belong to a very cool Facebook group called Classic TV:  Television Yesterday where members discuss popular TV shows from 1927-1977. At the end of last week, one of the members posted that he had just received an autographed photo from actress Ann B. Davis who played the housekeeper, Alice, on The Brady Bunch™.  And of course I had Alice's Brady Bunch™ Cookbook at the ready and so I flipped through it and of course just had to have the Fillmore Flank Steak with Garlic-Ginger Sauce because...

...for whatever reason, this episode and this cheer (see above and below) stuck in my head such that as soon as I saw "Fillmore," I was transported back to Season 3, Episode 5 – 1971 – "My Sister, Benedict Arnold."

In this episode (the details of which I had long forgotten – except for the school cheer), Greg is all mad because he was beat out for the basketball team by rival Warren Mulaney.  And of course, sister Marcia ("Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!") happened to be dating Warren.  Greg wanted Marcia to quit dating Warren but she refused.  To get back at her, Greg brought Kathy, a woman who beat out Marcia for the cheerleading squad, over to the house and had Kathy perform the Fillmore Junior High cheer over and over and over again:  F-F-Fil, l-l-lmo, o-o-ore, Fillmore Junior High! 

Now for some reason, I thought it was Jan who did the cheer but silly me – I was mixing and matching my episodes; Jan did try out to be a cheerleader in Season 3, Episode 10, but it was Kathy who led the way with in this episode.   But can I tell you how chuffed I was that I remembered the cheer after all these years?  Answer: Quite chuffed.

And lo, though I remembered this cheer (word for word), color me surprised that Alice has a last name and it was Nelson.  Who knew?  (Not I because I had to look it up!) I doubt whether I am the only one who had to do so—I mean, she was always "Alice" just like the singer Adele is Adele, Madonna is Madonna and Pink is Pink!  Alice was so awesome that she didn't need no stinking last name.

And really, wasn't Alice the coolest housekeeper ever?  (Well, prior to Alice and The Brady Bunch™, Hazel (TV show) was my favorite housekeeper; that show ran from 1961-1966. I just loved it when she said "Mr. B!"). I wanted Alice to come to my house.  Alice was a sport; Alice was fun; Alice loved her job...and she loved Sam, The Butcher (yes, capital "T," capital "B").  And what's more, Alice could cook!  Well, sort of.  As she said in the cookbook:

"I hope this doesn't destroy any illusions, but cooking on television usually has to be faked because of the time and intercutting and camera angles and whatnot.  However, one does like to make it look as legit as possible.  Unless something specific was indicated in the script, I tried to be cooking something generic that would keep me in one place and give me something, like stirring, to do – I did a lot of stirring over 117 episodes.

The stove was actually hooked up, so I liked to have something in a saucepan that would steam and that I could taste or add salt and pepper and stuff to.  Dinty Moore stew worked I found.  In later years, when my acting was less pure, boiling water worked just as well."

Exactly!  It was all done in the interest of acting and given all the Brady shenanigans, it's no wonder Alice didn't really have time to cook.  This book includes a lot of little sidebars about the cast, the script, the dialog and of course, the recipes.  Many are named for characters or episodes like "Tightened Braces Tomato Soup" (remember when Marcia got braces?) or "Peter's Volcanic Mushroom Sauce" (Remember Peter's science project?  I bet they were cleaning that volcanic mess off the set for years!).  Still, tempting as they all were, it was the "Fillmore Flank Steak with Garlic-Ginger Sauce" or it was nothing at all.  You won't be disappointed.

By the way, can I just say that I so wanted to have that Jack and Jill bathroom that the boys and girls shared on that show?  So cool—and so 70's!  And then I also wanted all of Marcia's cool clothes.  Then I seriously wanted Jan to quit whining ("Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!") but other than that (and perhaps a few other things)....

By the way, actress Ann B. Davis will be 88 years old on May 3rd – you go, Ann! 

Fillmore Flank Steak with Garlic-Ginger Sauce – makes about 6 servings
1 cup olive oil (Ann's Note:  This is a bit much and I had to pour some off)
8 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh ginger root
5 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 white onion, minced
1 ¼ cups dry white wine
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon leaf oregano
¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 2 ½-pound flank steak

In a medium-size skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, ginger, and carrots, and sauté for 10 minutes.  Stir in the onion and sauté 2 minutes more.  Add the wine, water, and oregano, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Rub sesame oil into both sides of the steak.  Broil for 5 minutes per side.  Cut the steak diagonally into thin slices.  Arrange the steak on a platter and spoon the sauce over.

Ann's Note:  If I had six kids, a husband and a wife and a dog to cook for, I doubt I would be as anal about mincing and chopping as I am but I find it to be the most relaxing thing ever.  I'm certainly not Food Network worthy, but I'm no slouch, either!

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