The Joy of Spam Folder Cooking

Author: Frances Lou (page 1 of 10)

Arkansas Barbecue Sauce

This week my spam folder brought me Arkansas Barbecue Sauce.  Fred told me there was no way I was going to make this recipe, that all barbecue sauce made in this household was going to be made by him and only him.  He says that because his grandfather had his own recipe and now Fred has it, it’s the family secret recipe.  He refuses to share with anyone the secret ingredient and that includes not telling me.  He goes to the grocery store and comes back with the wildest collection of food and claims that within that is his secret ingredient but he isn’t going to tell me which one it is.  I just roll my eyes at him and laugh.

Anyway, enough about Fred and his Barbecue silliness.  Yes, I do call it that because that’s exactly what it is.  The recipe!

Arkansas Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 cup black pepper
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup red pepper flakes
  • 3 oz Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 qt red wine vinegar
  • 3 oz yellow mustard
  • 1/4 qt white wine
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 oz salt

Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 1/2 hour. Do not cook or store in aluminum, store in glass.

I tried to show Fred the recipe but he wouldn’t take a look at it.  Something about preserving the sanctity of his own barbecue recipe and looking at another one would be sacrilege  I laughed at him and asked him how many beers he’d had that day but he just grumped and stalked off.

I went looking for the recipe on Mr. Google and found it here, but at that page it ‘s called Sara Lee’s Arkansas Barbecue Sauce.  The only thing I know about Sara Lee is she makes frozen cakes.

I was then curious about why it says use glass jars, but I couldn’t find anything online.  If anyone knows, please tell me!

Until next time, toodles!

Ground Lamb Meatballs with a Saffron Sauce

This week my spam folder brought me a recipe, but didn’t even tell me what the recipe was called.  I think that’s rude of it, don’t you?  Spammers, if you’re going to send me recipes, make sure you include the title.  This one is Ground Lamb Meatballs with a Saffron Sauce.  I found that out by asking Mr. Google which led me here.

I also found it in a book entitled 660 Curries and at this Edamam website.  Popular recipe, it seems.

Except it isn’t popular in my house.  I mentioned lamb, Fred made a face and when I added that it had chillies, he suggested we go out for a burger and skip the whole cooking thing entirely.

Anyway, the recipe!

Ground Lamb Meatballs with a Saffron Sauce

  • 8 ounces lean ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
  • ½ teaspoon black cumin seeds, ground
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground Kashmiri chiles; or ¼ teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper) mixed with
  • ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 4 or 5 black cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil or canola oil

Mix the lamb, salt, fennel, cumin, ginger, onion, and garlic together in a medium-size bowl. (I like to use my clean hands to do this, as I can knead and massage the ingredients thoroughly into the meat.) Divide the spiced meat into 10 equal portions, and shape each portion into a tight round. (I usually compress it in one hand, to shape and press it into a taut ball.) As you form them, place the meatballs on a plate.

Pour 2 cups water into a small saucepan, and add the Kashmiri chiles, saffron, cardamom pods, and cloves. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, until the spices infuse the water and turn it into an aromatic, reddish-orange broth, about 5 minutes. Set it aside.

Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the meatballs, arranging them in a single layer, and cook, gently moving them around every few seconds to ensure even browning, until they are seared all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off the excess fat into a small bowl (you can use it in another recipe, as long as its not for vegetarians).

Pour the spiced broth over the meatballs. Raise the heat to medium-high and vigorously simmer the thin curry, uncovered, basting the meatballs every minute or two, until the lamb is barely pink inside, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the meatballs from the broth and transfer them to a serving bowl.

Continue to simmer the broth until it reduces to about ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour this bright red, potent broth over the meatballs, and serve.

Bean Croquettes

So this week my spam folder brought me something that goes into the ‘nope nope nope’ pile.  Bean Croquettes.  It’s in the nope pile because of the amount of work to make these things.  Plus, the format the spammer put it in is just bad.

?Bean Croquettes. Soak 1 qt. of
white soup beans over night. In the morning, drain, cover with fresh cold water,
bring to a boil, drain, and cover with 1 qt. boiling water; boil slowly for
about an[Pg 23] hour. When the beans are tender press through a sieve then add 1
tablespoonful of vinegar, 2 of molasses, 2 of butter, salt and cayenne to taste,
let the mixture get cold, when form into croquettes, dip in egg and in bread
crumbs and fry in boiling fat.

Let’s just look at the amount of work they want me to do.

I’ll start with soaking 1 quart of white soup beans over night.  What do I soak them in . Water?  Salt water?  Rum?  (I like that last idea, rum soaked beans could be a new thing.)

After I do that, I add water, boil, and drain.  Then I add 1qt of boiling water to the beans again and let it boil for an hour.  Why can’t I just boil the whole thing for an hour?

Once the beans are tender I press through a sieve.  It takes all of that to make tender beans?  I can just over boil the lima beans for a bit and get mush, but with this I have to soak for a night and boil  for an hour.  I wonder what these beans are made of, small rocks?

Anyway, I push it through a sieve and add stuff, then I let it get cold.  I assume I can hurry that part along by using the refrigerator, but who knows, maybe they want me to put it in a pot of ice and just wait.

And now once I’ve done all of that I can fry them up in hot fat to make the croquettes.  It sounds like a vegetarian hamburger made of white soup beans and I can promise you that is something I’ll never get Fred to eat and considering the amount of work, something I will never be making.

Mississippi Cornbread

I think I mentioned before, I love cornbread.  I was very happy when my spam folder brought me a new recipe for cornbread, this one is called Mississippi Cornbread.  It’s a bit different from most cornbreads I’ve made, but in the interests of writing this blog I gave it a shot.

The recipe!

MIssissippi Cornbread

  • cup buttermilk (or 7 ounces of milk + 1 ounce vinegar or lemon juice, mixed and left to sit for about 30 minutes until curdled. If you're in a hurry, mix the milk and vinegar or lemon juice and microwave it for 20-30 seconds on high power.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (if you're at high altitude, use 1 teaspoon baking powder, else the cornbread will rise too high, then fall)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon drippings or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar (optional
  • 1-4 finely chopped jalapeno or chile peppers, no seeds (optional)
  • 2 cloves finely minced garlic (optional)

Pour drippings or oil into an 9-inch square baking pan.

Heat pan in a 450 degree oven until oil is smoking hot.

While pan is heating, mix dry ingredients and any of the optional ingredients in medium-sized bowl.

Beat egg into buttermilk.

Add liquids to dry mixture, just until blended.

Do not overmix!

Carefully remove the smoking pan from oven and pour cornbread batter into pan. If the oil is properly hot, then the batter will sizzle as it hits the oil. (This sizzle is what makes a nice, crunchy bottom crust.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown.

Cut into wedges. Serve with butter or margarine.

Note 1: The batter will begin to rise as soon as the liquid and dry ingredients are mixed, so mix them right before you remove the hot pan from the oven.

Note 2: If you use a 10" round cast-iron skillet instead of the 9" baking pan, you should double the recipe without doubling the oil. If you don't double the recipe for the 10" skillet, your cornbread will be very thin.

As you can see, the recipe calls for jalapenos if I was so inclined.  I wasn’t, mainly because I didn’t have any in the house and also because I was pretty sure Fred wouldn’t touch them.  Though he did run off with one of those scones

It’s a weird recipe though, most of my cornbread recipes have some flour in them, but this one has none.  I read it repeatedly thinking I was just missing the word ‘flour’ but, no flour.  Weird, right?

I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I made it with the vinegar while I was waiting for the oven to heat up.  Here’s a picture.

Making buttermilk from milk

Making buttermilk from milk

Then I put the dry ingredients together, and took a picture of that.  I was still waiting for the oven to warm up and rather bored.

Mississippi Cornbread dry ingredients

Mississippi Cornbread dry ingredients

The oven finally hit 450 and I put my 9″ pan in.  And of course, I took a picture of that too.

Heating up a pan

Heating up a pan

It’s blurry because I took it quickly after I opened the oven door.   Open, shoot, close gives blurry picture for future reference.

Then I waited… and waited… and waited…

The pan never started to smoke, but the oil was turning kind of brown, so I dubbed it ready.  Plus, I was bored.  It’s really boring watching a pan in an oven and hoping that it’ll start smoking.  Every time I opened the oven to check, my eyes started watering, so I figured it must be close.

I didn’t take a picture of pouring the batter into the pan, but I can assure you it did sizzle quite loudly.  I assume that means I got it hot enough, even though I didn’t actually see smoke.

And this is the finished product, pretty, isn’t it!

Mississippi Cornbread

Mississippi Cornbread

Fred said it was tasty and ate 3 pieces.  I think we can call this a success.

Sour Rabbit

This week, my spam folder brought me a recipe for rabbit.  This is this third one.  I think I’ve made it rather clear that I will not be making rabbit.  No matter what the recipe is, I will not be making it.  Rabbits are cute and cuddly and I just can’t do it.

The recipe:

Sour Rabbit

  • Cut the rabbit and then place in a china bowl and add
  • One cupful of chopped onions,
  • One bunch of potherbs,
  • One teaspoonful of sweet marjoram,
  • Six cloves,
  • Five allspice,
  • Two bay leaves.

Now cover, using a mixture of two parts vinegar and one part water. Set in a cool place for three days, turning the rabbit over every day, then put in a casserole dish or stewing pan and cook until tender. Thicken the gravy. Serve potato dumplings with this dish, or it may be eaten cold.

Aside from the fact that they want me to cook a rabbit, let’s start with the fact that I put the rabbit in a bowl and leave it there for three days.  Of course, I turn it every day, but still, I put meat in a bowl and leave it for three days.  For some reason, that just screams to me ‘you’re going to get food poisoning!’.

This recipe came from Mrs. Wilson’s Cook Book, of course.  That does date from 1920, so I guess the idea of germs and don’t leave your rabbit in a pot for 3 day didn’t apply at the time.

I did some more reading on Mr Google and discovered that Rabbit Stew is also known as Hasenfeffer or Hasenpfeffer, depending on who you ask.  I guess it originally was a German recipe.

Anyway, until next time, toodles!

Chocolate Jelly

My spam folder was a tease this week, it brought me Chocolate Jelly.  I love chocolate.  My friends know that the way to my heart is through chocolate with extra chocolate on the side.  I love milk chocolate, I love dark chocolate, I love chocolate period.  But Chocolate Jelly?

I thought I’d give it a shot because maybe it was an old recipe and when they said jelly they meant something else.  It turns out, no, they meant jelly.  Actually, the recipe looks more like jello to me, but still.  Chocolate jello is not a flavor I want to try.

The recipe!

Chocolate Jelly

  • 1 pint of boiling water,
  • 1/3 a package of gelatine,
  • 2 pinches of salt,
  • 2 level tablespoonfuls of sugar,
  • 1 ¬Ω squares of Baker's Chocolate,
  • 1 teaspoonful of vanilla.

Put the water, salt and chocolate in a saucepan.

Cook, stirring until the chocolate melts, then let it boil for three or five minutes.

Soften the gelatine in a little cold water and pour the boiling mixture over it.

Stir until dissolved, then add sugar and vanilla.

Pour into a mould and set aside to harden, serve with cream and powdered sugar or sweetened whipped cream.

I like Jello, especially cherry and strawberry jello.  The idea of Chocolate Jelly or Chocolate Jello does not appeal to me at all.  I thought it might just be me, so I decided to ask a co-worker what he thought of the idea.  His response?  Oh no.  That sounds wrong.

So it isn’t just me that thinks this is a bad idea.

This recipe did come from The Project Gutenberg EBook of Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes and Home Made Candy Recipes which does sound like a book that I would like a lot, but still, jelly that’s chocolate?  Just no.

I did find a Chocolate Cookies recipe in that book I will try, real soon.

Until next time, toodles!

Apple Cake in a Jar

This week my spam folder brought me something I had never heard of before, nor had I ever considered it.  Apple cake in a jar.  You read that right, you make apple cake in a jar.

I have to admit, I had to reread the recipe like three times to be sure that’s what it wanted, it wanted me to bake apple cake inside of a jar.  In the interests of ‘you have GOT to be kidding me, this will never work’, I gave it a shot.

First, the recipe!

Apple Cake in a Jar

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups grated apple
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease the insides of 8 straight-sided wide-mouth pint canning jars. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat in well. Add flour alternately with water and mix until smooth. Fold in apples, raisins and nuts.

Fill jars 1/2 full of batter, being careful to keep the rims clean. Wipe off any batter that gets on the rims. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, sterilize the lids and rings in boiling water.

As soon as cake is done, remove from oven one at a time, wipe rims of jars and put on lid and ring. Jars will seal as cakes cool. Place the jars on the counter and listen for them to "ping" as they seal. If you miss the "ping", wait until they are completely cool and press on the top of the lid. If it doesn't move at all, it's sealed.

So I started by putting the batter together which wasn’t that difficult really.  This is what it looked like:

Apple Cake Batter

Apple Cake Batter

In other words, it looks like cake batter.  It isn’t really exciting, until I put it in jars.

Apple Cake Batter in a Jar

Apple Cake Batter in a Jar

I was positive that I was going to end up with glass all over my oven, but ,I decided I’ve gone this far, I might as well finish it up.  While it was baking, I boiled the tops.

Boiling Jar Tops

Boiling Jar Tops

Once it finished baking, I took it out and put the tops on as the recipe said.  I was shocked, everything worked!


Apple Cake in a Jar

Apple Cake in a Jar

I took them into work because I wanted to have the pleasure of handing them out and seeing the looks on people’s faces.  They were greatly entertaining, because most people were very confused.  Apple Cake in a Jar blew people’s minds.  According to everyone, who tried the cake, it was very tasty too!

Until next time, toodles!

Cocoa Sauce

This week, my spam folder brought me a recipe for cocoa sauce.  I have no idea what one would do with this.  The recipe says it would go good with cottage puddings, Dutch apple cakes and steamed apple puddings.

First, chocolate and apple don’t go together in my opinion.  I don’t know why, but the idea of covering Dutch apple cake (which is something I must try) with chocolate sauce just turns my stomach.  This is just wrong.  So I didn’t make the sauce, because I couldn’t figure out what I would use it for.  Maybe a replacement for chocolate syrup if I make brownies with ice cream? That could be interesting.

The recipe!

Cocoa Sauce

  • 2 tablespoonfuls of butter,
  • 1 cup of boiling water,
  • 2 tablespoonfuls of flour,
  • 4 tablespoonfuls of sugar,
  • 4 teaspoonfuls of Baker's Cocoa,
  • 1 teaspoonful of vanilla.

Melt the butter in the saucepan; mix the flour and cocoa together and stir into the butter; add gradually the hot water, stirring and beating each time; cook until it thickens.

Just before serving, add the sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt, if necessary.

Use more cocoa if liked stronger.

It doesn’t quite look like frosting, it’s warm.  It’s not hot fudge, it’s too watery.  It’s one very weird recipe.

Until next time, toodles!

Household Stock

This week  my spam folder brought me a recipe for Household Stock.  I don’t know about you, but I buy my stock at the grocery store in the soup aisle.  I don’t make it.  My mother used to, but then she was a stay at home mom who could leave a pot simmering on the stove for 4-6 hours and keep half an eye (sometimes quarter of an eye, depending on my brothers) on it.  I’m rarely at home that long and when I am, I don’t want to watch my stove for that long.  It was bad enough making the Sally Lunn!

Anyway, enough about that  The recipe!

Household Stock

  • 3 qt. cold water
  • 3 lb. meat (trimmings of fresh meat, bones, and tough pieces from roasts, steaks, etc.)
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 4 cloves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • Herbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pour the cold water over the meat and bones and put them on the fire to cook.

When they come to a boil skim well.

Then cover and simmer 4 to 6 hours.

Add the onion, cloves, peppercorns, and herbs and cook for another hour.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Strain and set aside to cool.

Remove the fat.

My other problem with the recipe, it assumes I have 3 pounds of meat just sitting around not used.  With only me and Fred in the house, that just isn’t the case.  I buy just enough to feed us, usually with left overs for lunch the next day.  My mother bought a half a cow to feed us, but then, I had three brothers and they could eat enough between them that that was necessary.  Fred and I don’t eat that much.

I also don’t like that the recipe doesn’t tell me what it means by ‘herbs’.  That could be anything!  I’m not that good of a cook, I need a decent recipe to follow.  A recipe shouldn’t say just ‘herbs’ it should tell me which ones.   It also says to put it on the fire.  I have a gas stove, but you still need to tell me how much fire!

I did find the recipe here along with some more information:

. Household Stock. — If it is desired to make a stock that 
may be kept on hand constantly and that may be used as a founda- 
tion for various kinds of soups, sauces, and gravies, or as a broth 
for making casserole dishes, household stock will be found very 
satisfactory. Such stock made in quantity and kept in a sufficiently 
cool place may be used for several days before it spoils. Since most 
of the materials used in this stock cannot be put to any other par- 
ticularly good use, and since the labor required in making it is slight, 
this may be regarded as an extremely economical stock. 

Rhubarb and Raisin Conserve

This week my spam folder brought me a weird one.  Rhubarb and Raisin Conserve.

I think I’ve mentioned before, I couldn’t find rhubarb at the grocery store.  Which means I couldn’t make this recipe.  My other question, what in the world is a conserve?  I’ve heard of jams and jellies and even marmalades, but no conserve.  I asked Mr. Google (so helpful, Mr. Google) and found out that a conserve is a jam made from a mixture of fruits.

The recipe!

Rhubarb and Raisin Conserve

  • Wash and peel and then cut the rhubarb into one-half inch pieces. Measure one quart of the cut pieces and place in a baking dish, adding
  • One cup of seeded raisins,
  • Two cups of sugar.

Do not add water; cover and cook until the fruit is tender, usually about forty minutes.

I’ve made preserves before (I love blueberry preserves, especially when the blueberries are fresh picked) but this is a new one on me.  Rhubarb, raisins and some sugar in a pot, then cook down.

I found it interesting that the recipe didn’t mention how to can them.  I assume it’s like the preserves, where I put them into jars and then boil the jars for ten minutes and let the tops pop (which is probably my favorite part of making preserves).  I’d assume it tastes good on fresh baked biscuits, but it doesn’t give me any hints for serving either.

Until next time, toodles!


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