Monday, October 22, 2012

I Have a (cornbread) Beef With Betty.

I hate to say it, but Betty let me down tonight.

We had our first "winter storm" today in Northern California, which basically means it was a bit windy and it rained a bunch.

Looking out my office window this morning, I suddenly had a severe craving for chili.  I knew I needed to get groceries today, so I got online and put in my order. Raley's (our local grocery store) has this wonderful option where you can order all of your groceries online, tell them when you want to pick them up, and when you arrive, they load up your trunk. You never have to set foot inside the store. It's awesome for times when I just would rather not deal with the crowds of people.

So, I got all of my chili ingredients and then I thought my husband might like some cornbread. I knew that I was in no mood to make it from scratch, it being Monday and all. Perusing the cornbread mixes, I found one by Betty Crocker.  Can't lose, right?

I followed the directions EXACTLY.  Milk, an egg and melted butter. Mix until the powder just becomes wet. I opted to bake mine in an 8" square pan.  I noticed when I poured in the batter that it barely covered the bottom of the pan and spread it out the best I could.

This is what happened.

It tastes alright, but it clearly doesn't look like the packaging - not by a long shot. Had my husband hold his tape measure up, so I could show all of you the results. Call me crazy, but the cornbread in the picture on the packaging definitely looks thicker than one inch!

I don't know what went wrong, but I do know that next time, I'll suck it up and make it from scratch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Caramel Sticky Buns

Betty describes these buns (as found on page 54) as "Something new, sticky buns in muffin cups."

This is a decent recipe that does need some tweaking. I have to remind myself that this version of the cookbook came out when women were learning to balance home cooked meals with working outside of the home.

Why were Betty's baked goods so much better than her savory dishes?  We'll welcome your theories in the comments section.

As you can see, prep for this recipe was a breeze!

Brown sugar and butter gets melted together in the oven:

Mix up your dough and put it on top of the sugar/butter combination:

They came out more crispy than I thought they would and not very gooey or sticky. Maybe a shorter baking time is needed?  Also, I'd probably use pecan pieces rather than the pecan halves the recipe called for. They didn't really want to stay put.

In the end, they were very light and crunchy pecan buns, which I served for breakfast with fresh pineapple. It was a tasty breakfast on a snowy, but sunny morning in Wyoming!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Betty's Chocolate Pie Deluxe

I loved the name of this pie. Not just "Chocolate Pie," but "Chocolate Pie Deluxe."  Really basic ingredients for a really yummy (and rich) pie.

The recipe called for marshmallows, whipping cream, milk, chocolate candy bars and a homemade graham cracker crust.  Without thinking, I purchased Hershey's Special Dark bars even though it called for milk chocolate. I'm really glad I made this mistake.

I got to make my first "from scratch" graham cracker crust! Who knew it would be so easy? And I was thanking the Lord for my Cuisinart. I couldn't imagine grinding up the crackers any other way. Butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs. What I loved about it (and the first thing my husband commented on) was that it made a really thick crust.

Next you beat the whipped cream in a chilled bowl...that was set aside in the fridge for later.  Time to melt the chocolate, marshmallows and milk!

Now, it's time for the assembly.  You just have to stir the chocolate once it's cooled and fold it into the whipped cream...then pour in your pie shell!

Betty warns you that the pie is pretty decadent and she isn't lying.  One tiny sliver is all we could manage...and then we shared as much as we could with friends.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Duckling A L'Orange

You can find Betty Crocker's recipe for Duckling A L'Orange on page 287 of the cookbook.

It turned out quite tasty, but the sauce was a bit on the tame side.

Some pretty nice ingredients to start with! The recipe didn't specify dried or fresh tarragon, so I went with fresh.

This is the sauce used to baste the duck. Some was set aside and thickened with cornstarch. Nowadays, I'd just make more of it and let it reduce naturally

His little wings were crunchy, but very tasty. I saved the fat that was left in the pan. I'm sure I'll find a use for duck fat...yum!

It turned out pretty good and went well with Betty's recipe for red cabbage!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Bitchy Crocker Project is Born

One of my favorite cookbooks growing up was my mom's copy of the 1972 version of "Betty Crocker's Cookbook." A few weeks ago I was lamenting to her that I didn't have a copy and when we see each other over Thanksgiving, I was going to get to work scanning my favorites. Our conversation that night led me to eBay where I found a really good copy of the cookbook, bid and subsequently won the auction.

Once it arrived, I started going through the recipes amused and a bit aghast. As an adult, I don't think I've ever purchased a container of Crisco, but I remembered it being in our home growing up. Mom and I started chatting and before we knew it, we had come up with an idea to cook our way through the book. Now, we know this wasn't a terribly original idea, but how fun would it be to spin it a bit and become the "Anti-Julie & Julia Blog?"

It then occurred to me that my mom often referred to Betty as Bitchy Crocker, and so our blog was born.

Here are the rules so far:

1) There is no time limit. We figure trying to get all of these done in a year is crazy talk.

2) The recipes must be cooked according to the directions. We can only veer off the path (so to speak) once we have tasted the end result. And thus far, we have concluded that the 70's didn't like flavor.

A couple of weeks into this and we're starting to realize that Crisco, food dye and jello molds are going to probably consume our lives at some point. And what the heck is a corn stick pan?

Our husbands have already assumed (correctly) that they will be taking baked goods to work with them.

Over a thousand miles separate us, but I anticipate this project making us even closer (as long as SHE cooks the BBQ Lima Bean recipe!). We hope you'll follow along, learn something about the culinary delights of the 70's and most of all, have fun!