Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Pig Out with Peg - Secrets from the Bundy Family Kitchen" - Middle Age Spread (shrimp spread)

Date I made these recipes:  June 8, 2015

Pig Out With Peg – Secrets from the Bundy Family Kitchen by Peg Bundy as told to Linda Merinoff
Published by:  Avon Books
ISBN: 0-380-76431-8
Purchased at Arc's Value Village Thrift Stores
Recipe:  Middle Age Spread – p. 56

Today's Random Thoughts on Recipes:

1)     I should have made the meatloaf.
2)     I realized I don't really like nutmeg.
3)     What have I ever done to cream cheese to make it hate me so much?
4)     It's a terrible day when your Cuisinart "turns" on you.

Ooof!  Folks, I am on a dangerous roll here.  The last few blog posts have included some very easy recipes and yet, if there is a way to screw them up, I seem to have found it.

Take the Jell-O recipe from the end of May.  The recipe said to add Jell-O to your smoothed out cream cheese but when I did it, the mixture got all chuncky as if I substituted cottage cheese instead.  I did not.  The taste was great but the appearance was not like the example in the photo.

Then today, I made this very easy shrimp dish.  I gathered all my ingredients, straight out of the refrigerator, threw them all, as directed, into the Cuisinart, and then pressed the "On" button.  I noticed that the cream cheese that I added got stuck and instead of just turning the machine off, I took two seconds out of my day to turn to grab a spatula to un-stick the cream cheese and boom – instant puree!  Waaaaaaaaa!  So instead of making a middle age spread, it seemed I inadvertently made a middle age dip.  But isn't that the way things go where your body is concerned?  One minute, it's all looking good and then next minute, gravity hits and it's all looking terrible and worse, it's all heading for the floor at the speed of light.

Which is why, I suppose, this makes this the perfect dish for our fictional Peg Bundy.

I never watched the TV show, Married with Children, but that didn't mean that I didn't keep track of things.  And so when I had the opportunity to snap up the cookbook, Pig Out With Peg [Bundy], I snapped it up.  And then all I needed was a reason to cook from it and...

...and on Memorial Day, I broke my self-imposed 12-year boycott of going to a movie theater (long story, best told over cocktails), and went with a friend to see Pitch Perfect 2.  I only got around to watching Pitch Perfect this winter, recording it on my DVR, and was amazed at how much I liked it.  Sometimes the movie hype is so high that I'm often left wondering why I bothered but luckily, this was not the case for this movie or the sequel.

At any rate, so there I was, in a theater at 10:10 a.m. (the first showing was at 9:30 but I refused to get up that early on a day off) for Pitch Perfect 2, and who appears on screen by "Peg Bundy," also known by her real name – Katey Sagal.  Katey plays the mother of a new "Bella" ( of "The Barden Bellas," the university's a cappella group) and appears at the beginning and end of the movie.  When I mentioned her appearance to my husband, he reminded me that she is a bona fide singer, having done backup vocals for Bette Midler as one of The Harlettes.  Well, that works for me! 

At any rate, the movie was – as the saying goes – "Aca Awesome!"  Once again, I set myself up for disappointment because sequels often do that to a gal, but this was funny.  And may I just say that the guest appearance by my Green Bay Packer's O Line (Offensive Line) was Oscar worthy?  It was.  Not that I'm biased or anything.

So while Pitch Perfect 2 (and Katey) were indeed awesome, the same cannot be said for this recipe for Middle Age Spread.  Sigh.  Where to begin?  How about with the first thing I said above:  I should have made the meatloaf.

A lot of recipes in this book sounded really good, including the meatloaf, but nooooooo, I just had to make this recipe for Middle Age Spread because, well, the name says it all and just cracked me up.  This should have been an easy-peasy recipe had it not been for the Cuisinart turning all evil on me.  Because "spread," the operative word in that recipe moniker, was not what happened when I switched on my Cuisinart.  Oh no—we're talking Middle Age "Dip."  Any resemblance of shrimp, an ingredient that should have stayed chucky, was gone.  And I tell you what, [working with] cream cheese is turning out to be like dealing with a little kid:  you turn your back on it for two seconds and all hell breaks loose, namely, the "liquidation" of my recipe.

And then there's the nutmeg issue and we need to discuss this because the more I look at this recipe, the more I am convinced that "Peg" meant to say something like add a teaspoon of "Old Bay Seasoning" or "Cajun seasonings" or something with a bit more zip.  Because nutmeg?  It does not go with shrimp.  In fact, the thought of the two together right now does not please me at all.  But I do have to give it credit for making me realize, all these years later, that nutmeg is not a good spice match for me.  I don't like the taste of it, much in the same way as I don't like Marjoram nor do I care for Tarragon.  So there – I have now hit the "spices I hate" trifecta.

So.  Were I do to this entire thing over again (not bloody likely), I would substitute that teaspoon of nutmeg for Old Bay or something more pleasing to my palate.  My husband liked this recipe but let me just put this out there:  he's a guy.  That's not to say that he doesn't have a discerning palate, he does, but in this case, we had to agree to disagree.  And this, of course, means all the more spread/dip for him, am I right?

Oh, and were I to make this again, you can bet your sweet bippy that I will not turn my back on my Cuisinart again.  Will not.

Middle Age Spread – Makes 2 ½ cups
½ pound cream cheese
3 cups cooked tiny shrimp (about 10 ounces)
½ cup sour cream
2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper to taste

Toss the cream cheese, shrimp, sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and nutmeg into a blender.  *Sure you can use a food processor if you got yourself one for your husband's birthday.  Run the machine until everything's mixed but you still have specks of solid shrimp.  Add as much Tabasco, salt and pepper as you like.

*Funny she should mention gifts we got ourselves for our husband's birthday:  this year, my husband and I were in NYC for his birthday and of course, no trip would be complete without a stop at my favorite cookbook store, Bonnie Slotnick's.  Andy joked then "So how many cookbooks did Ann buy for your birthday, Andy?"  He knows me well.

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