The Joy of Spam Folder Cooking

Month: April 2017

Vietnamese Beef, Green Papaya, and Noodle Salad

This week, the spam folder was… interesting.  They didn’t give me a name for the recipe, so I had to google.  Apparently it is Vietnamese Beef, Green Papaya, and Noodle Salad.
This recipe isn’t from a book that I could tell, I found it listed on four different websites. I wonder if the spammer was just hungry and was making dinner and decided ‘hey, I’ll add my recipe to the spam, that’ll work!’

I can tell you that Fred was absolutely uninterested in me making this… ever. He saw the chiles on the recipe and said ‘No. No. Absolutely not. No.’ Considering cilantro tastes like soap to me, I wasn’t that interested in making it either.

Vietnamese Beef, Green Papaya, and Noodle Salad

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 fresh hot Thai red chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp finely minced lemongrass
  • 1 tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 12 oz (350g) filet mignon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 oz (200g) cellophane (mung bean) noodles
  • 9 oz (250g) green papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

To make the dressing, mix together the lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, mint, chiles, lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar.

Preheat the broiler. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Broil for 3–4 minutes on each side, until medium-rare. Transfer to a carving board and let cool. Carve into thin slices.

Soak the noodles in a bowl of very hot water about 10 minutes, until softened. Drain well and rinse under cold running water. Cut into manageable lengths with kitchen scissors.

Heap the noodles, papaya, and steak in a platter. Add the dressing and peanuts and toss. Serve immediately.

Until next time, toodles!

 

Cocoa Fudge

My spam recipe was so SO so very kind to me this week.  I mean, just delightful.  It brought me a recipe for Cocoa Fudge.  What could be nicer?  Fudge!  Awesome!

I’ve never had much luck making fudge for some reason, but in the interests of writing this, I decided I’d try again.  I mean, normally fudge for me turns out runny rather that fudgey, but maybe this time I’d get it right.  It couldn’t hurt to try, right?  I mean, fudge isn’t going to burn my kitchen down.

Cocoa Fudge

  • ¬Ω a cup of milk,
  • 3 level tablespoonfuls of butter,
  • 2 ¬Ω cups of powdered sugar,
  • 6 tablespoonfuls of Baker's Cocoa,
  • Pinch of salt,
  • 1 teaspoonful of vanilla.

Mix all ingredients together but vanilla; cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to boil, then cook slowly, stirring occasionally, eight or ten minutes, or until it makes a firm ball when dropped in cold water. When cooked enough, add the vanilla and beat until it seems like very cold molasses in winter. Pour into a buttered pan; when firm, cut in squares. Great care must be taken not to beat too much, because it cannot be poured into the pan, and will not have a gloss on top.

So the recipe says to stir “eight or ten minutes, or until it makes a firm ball when dropped in cold water”.  Personally, I think it’s one of those unmentioned sins to  drop fudge into water and not eat it.  That’s just wrong in my book.  So I decided to ask my favorite search engine if there’s a particular temperature that I should be heating it to, rather than dropping the fudge into the water.

Wouldn’t you know it, there was! It’s called the firm ball stage.  That’s truly a shocking name, right?  You want to drop it into the water and get a firm ball, so call it a firm ball stage.  According to that web page, that’s around 245° to 250° degrees.  I pulled out my trusty candy thermometer (that normally only gets used around Christmas) and put it to work.

This is what it looked like when I put everything into the pan, not very appetizing, is it?  I did change the recipe slightly, rather than using Baker’s Chocolate I used my favorite Ghirardhelli chocolate, but that shouldn’t change anything, right?

The Beginnings of Fudge

The Beginnings of Fudge

Anyway, after it cooked for a while it looked like this:

Cooking Fudge

Cooking Fudge

Once it finally reached the 250° mark on my thermometer, I added the vanilla extract and started stirring.  I’ve never played with molasses in the winter, so I wasn’t quite sure what I was aiming for.  I went for the ‘kinda stiff to stir but still stirable’ as my guide.

And this is what it looked like when it set!

Fudge!

Fudge!

 

Fred said it tasted like sugar… with a side of chocolate.  He said next time, make fudge with more chocolate.  I was just happy that my fudge wasn’t soup!

South Dakota Sunflower Seed Cookies

This week, my spam folder was kind.  No liver, for one thing.  No prunes, for another.  Instead, we get Sunflower Seed Cookies from South Dakota. Cookies are a good thing!  Prune cookies are a bad thing.  I’m guessing someone has made that recipe and… looks like I’m right.  Spiced Prune Cookies.  So not a good thing in my opinion.  That’s one of those things that shouldn’t exist.

Anyway, back to this week’s recipe. This recipe was a bit odd to me, there’s no eggs. I always think of eggs as the glue that keeps a recipe together, and the lack of eggs was just weird.

The recipe!

South Dakota Sunflower Seed Cookies

  • 1-1/2 cups margarine, softened
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cream sugar and butter or margarine. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Then add coconut and sunflower seeds. Mix well.

Shape into one inch balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 15 minutes or until delicately browned.

Makes 2 -3 dozen.

I had to try it out, of course. I do love sunflower seeds. The recipe didn’t say what kind of sunflower seeds to use and by that I mean should I use roasted or unroasted? I went with roasted because, well, they’re my favorite. I also ate the leftover seeds, which made it just perfect.

Once I put everything in the pan, it looked like this:

Sunflower Seed Cookie Dough

Sunflower Seed Cookie Dough

It doesn’t need to eggs to be glued together, so that was nice. I took a picture of the pan in the oven. It came out slightly tilted because I was leaning over to take it:

Baking Sunflower Seed Cookies

Baking Sunflower Seed Cookies

And once I pulled them out of the oven, they looked like this:

Sunflower Seed Cookies

Sunflower Seed Cookies

The recipe said it would make 2-3 dozen cookies. I got 5 dozen cookies out. Good thing both Fred and I thought they were delicious! He said they reminded him of pecan sandies, only with sunflower seeds and coconut. Then he asked me if they were healthy. I just laughed at him.

North Carolina Chopped Barbecued Pork

My spam folder brought me a recipe for North Carolina Chopped Barbecued Pork this week.  I loooooove Barbecued Pork.  Fred makes it every once in a while and it is so good. I don’t know what his recipe is because he won’t tell me, in fact, he’ll even go to the grocery store for the ingredients to keep from telling me what’s in it.  How’s that?  He won’t go to the grocery store for any other reason, but when it comes to his barbecued pork, he’s there.

I told him about this week’s recipe and he insisted that I not make it.  He said that the only barbecued pork that will be in his house is his own recipe.  I reminded him that I live here too and that he was just being too silly for words, but I’d go along with it.  This time.

The recipe!

North Carolina Chopped Barbecued Pork

  • 1 1/2 lb Pork shoulder roast
  • 1/2 ts Salt
  • 1/2 ts Celery seed
  • 1/16 ts Cinnamon, ground
  • 3/16 c Vinegar, cider
  • 1/4 c Catsup
  • 1/4 ts Chili powder
  • 1/4 ts Nutmeg, ground
  • 1/4 ts Sugar
  • 1/2 c Water
  • Vinegar, cider; to taste
  • Sauce, Tabasco; to taste

Brown roast in a small amount of fat and place in a Dutch oven. Mix the next 9 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over roast and cover. Bake in a preheated 325^ oven, 40 minutes to the pound, until done, basting occasionally with drippings. Transfer roast to a chopping board. Remove meat from the bone and chop into fairly fine pieces. Season to taste with additional vinegar and hot sauce. Serve hot with coleslaw and corn bread.

Fred swears that this recipe is different from his, but of course, he won’t tell me how different.  I tried the ‘I want to make it after you die’ trick and he told me that his recipe was going with him to the grave.  He is such a silly man sometimes.

Until next time, toodles!

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