Monday, June 5, 2017

"Martha's Got Nuthin' On Me" - Papa's Shrimp Cocktail - a tongue-in-cheek ode to Martha Stewart and her "fields"

Date I made this recipe:  May 30, 2017 –a tongue-in-cheek ode to Martha Stewart and her "fields."

Martha's Got Nothin' On Me by Dish & Flow
Published by Left Field Ink
ISBN: 0-9664737-0-1; © 1998
Recipe:  Papa's Shrimp Cocktails – p. 41

I often remark that I have a cookbook for everything and I swear, this one was just waiting for me to find it just after I had myself a little hilarious rant about Martha Stewart on Facebook

Frequent readers know that I have a love/hate relationship with Ms. Stewart (hereinafter "Real Martha.")  While I appreciate some of her recipes and her cookbooks, she is just a tad precocious, especially when it comes to the "to-do" calendar she calls "Martha's Month," featured in her magazine, Martha Stewart Living.

I think we can all agree that most of Real Martha's to-do's in no way resemble the average persons.  Plus, let's not kid ourselves:  Real Martha has "people" to do these things for her.  ("People. People who need people....are the luckiest the world.....")

This then, is my Facebook post from May 25th which set off the hilarious responses listed below.  You should know that I included a photo of "Martha's Month" from the June issue and some comments below reference Real Martha's other to-do's:

"So while I was waiting to get my hair cut, I looked through Martha Stewart Living and...sigh.  I have a love/hate relationship with this woman and today the needle moved toward "hate."  Why?  Even though you may not be able to read this, please note that on 6/5, her to-do is "mow fields."  Not lawn, or even "field" singular but "fields" plural.  For the record, Andy and I have a lawn and he mows it because I don't mow (allergies).  Martha likely doesn't mow either, but likely not due to allergies.  No, someone like Martha has people to do that for her.  People who need people...And fields. Plural."

Then the replies started:
Ann B:  I came to respect her when she made homekeeping respectable again.  But she does have staff.  I think most everything is easier with staff.
Me:  If I could afford "people," trust me, I'd have "people."  I specifically want someone to dust This Old House and I would be happy.  A friend of mine became a fan when she learned that Martha grew her own grass for her Easter baskets. Might have also smoked some as well.  Just sayin'... (Ann's Note: I got a few chuckles from that one.)

Bonnie M:  "The peasants tend the fields."
Me:  "They do indeed.  They will also be busy on the 15th [of June] planting the SECOND crop of beets.  I mean really Martha, like one crop of beets isn't sufficient?"

Annette K: "A whole day to clean outdoor light fixtures?  I could clean my one outdoor light fixture in two minutes."
Me: "I don't "do" outdoor fixtures.  Please, they're outdoors, they get rained on and snowed on and that's "clean" enough for moi.  But Martha likely has a billion outdoor fixtures so she would [have her people] dedicate an entire day to cleaning them."
Annette K:  "You'll notice I said 'could' clean."

Jeff H:  "Ann, the solution is within your grasp.  Simply rename Andy "People," and then on 6/5 in your calendar write "Have people mow the field."  Then it should be easier to relate to Martha's Calendar."
Me:  "Well that's hilarious!  But don't forget, it's field(s), not field.  Of course, we have to first find ourselves a lone field and then figure out how to double it.  As always, Martha complicates everything!"
Jen R:  "Ann Verme, front yard is field 1 and back yard is field 2...fields, there you go."
Me:  "And now I can sleep at night.  As always, thanks Jen!"

Alec S:  "I could get by with "stocking up on summer wines"... (Ann's Note:  So could I!)

My friends are nothing if not amusing and creative. I bet Real Martha never thought of some of this stuff!  That said, Real Martha pays attention to details whereas these Martha Wannabes did not.  None of the recipes in the cooked contained a yield, something that absolutely drives me nuts.  Could I make some assumptions based on the amount of ingredients called for?  Yes, but why?  Real Martha would never do that to me.  Or Real Martha's people.  Just sayin'.

Also irksome is that the Table of Contents is filled with cute little chapter names such as "Rabbit Food," "Udder Decadence," and "Flo's Corner" which are all well and good except they don't list what recipes are contained in each one.  This is not good.  Real Martha is frowning.

Although my usual MO is to make main dishes, this time around I was more interested in Appetizers and so selected the shrimp cocktail and folks, let me just say that we were "in the weeds" before we even got started.
The recipe contains all of six ingredients:  Bay Shrimp; cocktail sauce; diced celery; 1 tsp horseradish;  ½ tsp dry mustard, and 2 dashes of black pepper.  We are not told how much shrimp to buy nor how much cocktail sauce to use, but we are told in the narrative that you need ¼ cup of diced celery in the bottom of each shrimp cocktail glass (I used far less).  Since I was serving this with some other food, I didn't want to stuff myself with too much shrimp and so out of the half pound I purchased, I gave us four shrimp each for this serving and we still had some left over.

Now that I figured out the shrimp and the celery, I turned my attention to the sauce which needed some adjustment.  Since the authors didn't say how much sauce to use, I used about a quarter of the bottle, maybe even less.  I was loathe though, to add the amount of horseradish called for in the recipe because shrimp sauce contains horseradish so I adjusted the amount to ½ tablespoon.  I also cut the mustard and pepper in half.  The result was still nasal-clearing so I'm glad I made that call because too much of a good thing like horseradish is still too much. Real Martha would be the first one to say that an excess of horseradish is not in fact, a "good thing."  Real Martha loves "good things."

By the way, should I have scalded my esophagus, Real Martha probably has a cure for that, likely involving planting a large garden of fresh herbs to be used in some fancy schmancy poultice or something because that is what Real Martha does.  Real Martha also pronounces the "h" in "herbs" and she is the only one to do that but then again, this is what separates Real Martha from the Martha Wannabes.

Now you may be asking yourself why I didn't just wait until June 5th to make this dish as an homage to Real Martha, but keep in mind "I'll" be moving the field(s) that day and won't have time to cook so it's now or never.  Enjoy!

Papa's Shrimp Cocktail- serving size unknown
Bay Shrimp (Ann's Note:  I purchased a half pound – about 20 shrimp)
Cocktail Sauce (Ann's Note:  I used about a quarter of the bottle)
[1/4 cup diced celery per serving]
1 teaspoon horseradish
½ teaspoon dry mustard
2 dashes of black pepper

Prepare a shrimp cocktail for each guest.  Any type of glass will do as long as it's not too tall.  Special shrimp cocktail glasses are the best, though.  If you have some, add some crushed ice to the bottom glass, then place the cocktail glass inside.

Place about ¼ cup of diced celery at the bottom of each shrimp cocktail glass.  Top with shrimp.

Mix cocktail sauce and seasonings.  Spoon on top of shrimp.

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