Thursday, September 17, 2015

"On Campus Cookbook" and "The Campus Survival Cookbook #1" - Pungent Curry Dip and Meat Loaf and Short-Cut Mashed Potatoes for Back to School

Date I made these recipes:  September 13, 2015 – Back to school!

On Campus Cookbook – For the Non-Kitchen CookQuick, easy, inexpensive dishes for hot pots, blenders, and toaster ovens by Mollie Fitzgerald
Published by:  Workman Publishing
ISBN: 0-89480-775-7
Purchased at Arc's Value Village Thrift Stores
Recipe:  Pungent Curry Dip – p. 51

The Campus Survival Cookbook #1 by Jacqueline Wood & Joelyn Scott Gilchrist
Published by: Quill
ISBN: 0-688-05030-1
Purchased at Hennepin County Library Used Book Sales
Recipes:  Meat Loaf and Short-Cut Mashed Potatoes – p. 90-91

And they're back!  Minneapolis grade and high school students started back to school in late August, college students started back the first weeks of September and now they are all back in the swing of things, studying themselves silly—or so we hope.

We live near the University of Minnesota and over the years have seen an explosion of student housing lining University and Washington Avenues (the main drags).  Sure, there are dorms, but there are also apartments housing all these students and the nice thing is that these apartments give them the opportunity to cook – not that they do, just that they have the opportunity.  And this is a far cry from what I had when I was in school.  (By the way, we watched a student apartment building go up on the corner of Washington and Huron and it is called, I kid you not – "WaHu."  Snort!)

For those of us living in the dorms – a requirement for all freshmen who were not otherwise commuting - we pretty much brought one and only one piece of kitchen "equipment" with us when we moved in:  a (electric) popcorn popper.  This was essential to dorm life as we ate, and ate and ate more popcorn than I care to think about.  That and pizza but we ordered out for that.

Some people had a hot pot to make tea, flavored coffees (just out on the market) or hot chocolate but not many.  It just wasn't a popular item for us.  And PS—even though Starbuck's CEO, Howard Schultz, graduated from my alma mater – Northern Michigan University – four years ahead of me, takeout coffee shops, never mind Starbucks, were light years away from being developed.  Yes, we were dinosaurs.

Mini-refrigerators were in hot demand but those were rented from the university; I can't recall if local stores like Shopko, even sold them but likely not.  I do recall that you had to be at least a sophomore to get your name on the "I want to rent" list and it was first come, first serve.  My roommate and I were tickled to be "awarded" one and used it pretty much to store her mother's delicious baked goods that she made for us on a regular basis (mom lived at an nearby air base).  Actually, the word "stored" is inaccurate, seeing as how nothing we put in there ever lasted that long.  We'd get a knife and start slicing and talking all at the same time until what do you know, the delicious loaf of pumpkin, apple or banana bread or strudel was gone = how did that happen?

During my junior year, I lived in an apartment where my roommates and I ate better but still didn't have much in the way of kitchen equipment.  And during my senior year, I ended up moving back to the dorms – this one intended for junior, seniors and grad students – and there you could either cook in the kitchens on each floor or opt to continue with the school's cafeteria plan which was, of course, horrible, but it was easier than menu planning on your own.

And that about concluded our student cooking endeavors.  If ramen – the staple of students everywhere – was around, we didn't know about it.   The closest anyone came to eating something with noodles in a flavor packet was to make Lipton Chicken and Noodle soup in a hot pot. I recall a few times that the dorm I was living in would host a dinner for T-day or Christmas, but for all I know, it was catered by the school cafeteria, not cooked with our own two hands.  We were too busy studying partying to be bothered, don't you know!

You can tell that times have changed, not only by the heavy marketing stores like Target does for college students, pimping out all kinds of kitchen gadgets that these students just have to have, but also with the publication of more and more "college" cookbooks.  One of the books I'm showcasing here – On Campus Cookbook – features recipes intended for hot pots, blenders and toaster ovens.  Not featured in this book – and that's because it was published in 1984 – are recipes for microwaves, a piece of equipment which has now overtaken popcorn poppers as a dorm/apartment staple.  It's only a matter of time then, until I acquire a "student" microwave cookbook.  (And PS—early microwaves cost a ton of money and also weighed a ton.)

And so to the recipes!  Finding something to make from the On Campus Cookbook was a little challenging because I don't have a blender or a toaster oven.  I do have a hot pot but wasn't in the mood for a "hot" anything given the very warm weather we'd been having.  And so, the curry dip.  One bowl and only a few ingredients works for me. 

The other featured cookbook, The Campus Survival Cookbook #1, broadens the scope of student fare by including menus for different days of the week, as well as "party menus" (well, duh) "survival menus" and "flat-broke" menus (isn't that an oxymoron?) that provide a little something for everybody.  The meatloaf I made was from the "Wednesday, Fourth Week" menu that also included the "Short-Cut Mashed Potatoes" and a "Church-Supper Cole Slaw" (untried).  My only issue with this cookbook is that it was a little hard to read as recipes were crammed onto the page and were in old-fashioned typewriter (remember those?) type.  That said, I flagged several recipes before deciding on the meatloaf and "mash" combination.

All recipes were good and nothing was too difficult so grade and high school kids should consider these as well.  In fact, Food Network's show, Chopped, is currently nearing the end of a teen tournament and last week, had a special college edition.  The requirement for these competitors though, is to transform the ingredients into something spectacular so kids, be thinking about what you can do with curry dip, meatloaf and mash.  "Time!"

Pungent Curry Dip – Makes 2 ½ cups
2 cups mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons very finely chopped onion

Combine all ingredients in a medium-size bowl and stir well.  Served chilled with raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cauliflower, mushrooms, cucumbers...

Meatloaf – serves 2
1 ½ lb. ground beef
3 tablespoons chili sauce or barbecue sauce
3 slices bread, torn up small
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup

Preheat oven to 350.  Championship time for mixing this is 3 minutes, if ingredients are lined up.  Mix and bake it all in the same Pyrex ovenware bowl, or in a bread loaf pan.  (Makes excellent sandwiches, too.)

Measure everything except first two ingredients (beef and sauce) into pan or bowl.  Beat with a fork to mix well.  Add ground beef.  Squish everything together with hands until well mixed.  Pat down until smooth.  Cover with chili sauce or barbecue sauce.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  (Ann's Note:  more like 1 hour, 15 minutes) to ensure the middle of the loaf is done.  Pour off excess fat before serving.

Short-Cut Mashed Potatoes – serves 2
2-4 medium potatoes
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
¼ cup milk (or more)
Salt and pepper

If you have no proper potato masher, or you just can't face the job, this method will get you there.  But, start these before you get going on Meat Loaf.

Scrub potatoes clean and dry them.  (If you can eat 2 each, use 4.)  Place on center rack of oven.  Now mix Meat Loaf and put in oven.  When potatoes have cooked about 1 hour, feel them.  If soft when pinched or pressed with fingers, they're done.

Cut potatoes open.  Scoop out insides onto plate.  Add butter, milk, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Mash well with back of fork.  (You will need extra butter, milk, and salt if you've used 4 potatoes.)  Add a couple of dashes of pepper, mash and mix.  Serve.

Ann's Note:  I had both regular milk and buttermilk in my fridge but I used the buttermilk for extra flavor.

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