I have been neglecting you dear blog. I don’t have any excuse other than I have just felt very unfunny lately. No-one wants to hear vague complaining and passive aggressive sadness – That’s what Facebook is for.
Luckily, I have the lovely Pie A Thon to drop kick my butt back into it. Nothing is funnier than watching people you care about eat something from a long forgotten mid-century recipe that never should have been made in the first place! I do that AND THEN take photos of it for everyone to cherish.
I was assigned Star Gazy Pie – 1954 – Pan Am Airways
Along with a little background info –
This is from The Complete Round-the-World Cookbook, published by Pan Am Airways in 1954 (the cover’s not as interesting as the route map they used for the end papers so that’s what I’m sending). They had their various employees get recipes from everywhere Pan Am sent planes to and compiled them into a book, sorting them all by country. This is from the UK chapter.
So, I was excited. My eyes read BACON and then stopped. Literally just DID NOT SEE ANY OTHER PART OF THE RECIPE.
You guys, there is fish in it. I do not DO fish. I seem to get ASSIGNED fish fairly often though *cough Vincent Price Cook-along cough*.
Who was I going to get to try said pie? Where was I going to buy this little fishy ingredient? HOW AM I GOING TO TOUCH FISH. My dad, being the most helpful, told me that I could go try to catch them off the dock in Oxnard. Swell, And for those of you who are not familiar with this little California seaside town, eating anything caught off the dock in Oxnard MAAAYYYY not be the greatest idea. Because of this Magic/barftastic ingredient I totally put the whole thing off until the day before it was due. Ahhh, high school memories.
I did have ONE friend who agreed to eat it! “I like mackerel!” He said! “I will still be your friend even AFTER I eat the pie!” He said! “I will eat the WHOLE THING!” He said! I should have gotten that in WRITING. Remind me that for the next recipe exchange, will ya? You’re a peach.
Before we dive in to the whole recipe, cooking show, barf reaction shots I need to confess something to you. I didn’t find the mackerel. I only went to ONE STORE the day I needed to cook it and they just didn’t have it. I was kinda HOPING they wouldn’t and I did ask (and received a WHY WOULD YOU WANT THAT face from the butcher) so I had to substitute it with Cod. To me having to cook ANY fish is gross. I am sure the cod is LESS GROSS in the world of fish but as I am typing this to you right now I can smell hint of fish lingering in the air and I just do not care for it. Cooking fish is my kryptonite. Bleh. I also didn’t find Tarragon Vinegar. Can someone please enlighten me to whether this product is still made and WHAT you would want it for.
So the recipe called for tarragon vinegar. They did not have that so I made a bootleg version that prob didn’t even do anything flavor wise. Ladies and gentleman – dried tarragon in white vinegar. I am sure if I did my homework ahead of time and actually let this steep for more than the 15 mins I had it going it might resemble this ingredient but homework is hard. Such a slacker!
Butter and add half of the recipes allotment of breadcrumbs to a casserole dish. No specification as to what size so I used this pyrex. I also used some parchment paper because NO FISH IS GOING TO TOUCH THIS PAN, ya dig? Also maybe this is a grand time to preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Next, the best part of all the vintage recipes. Butter. Glorious butter.
I have the butter going and THEN I remembered I wanted to cook the bacon first, you know to get all the bacon goodness on to the evil fish. So…
I put the bacon INTO the melted butter. Evil genius/total idiot. Cook the bacon sort of ( half cook it because you are gonna dry it all to hell when it goes into the oven FOREVER). I love you bacon.
THEN lightly brown the fish (I used cod – pretend it’s THE OTHER FISH)
Then chop some parsley – and add your spices and salt and pepper. WARNING: I should have SKIPPED the salt in this step. They asked for a lot! Not totally sure why all of a sudden I decided to be a rule follower. Too much fucking salt.
Put the fish in your dish!
Add the remaining breadcrumbs. Seems like too many breadcrumbs.
Mix egg yolks with the “tarragon” vinegar. Everyone gets in the pool.
I made the dough in the food processor. I hate making pie dough. HAAATTTE – usually I cheat and buy one. See examples here and here for past pie dough crimes.
I hate you too rolling pin. HATE.
This beast is ready to go into the oven for 1 3/4 hours. Yea. Almost 2 hours to just really DRY THE PISS out of it. Also, look how damn festive I am.
We also had this plan B, plus sausages. Don’t look at me like that.
Family dinner is set. Clearly we made other things and are not relying on this pie to sustain us.
This is Jeff. She is forced to wait in the yard while we do our scientific experiments!
In a surprise turn of events everyone took a little to try. Two of these lovely people are essentially vegan but were willing to try it for the cause/blog.
Josh: Tastes Scandinavian (I’m Norwegian) Tastes Minnesotian – It’s really good with ketchup.
Stefania: (who is normally vegan!) BLEHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Tony: It’s VERY British – Lemon makes it a little better. If it was bacon & egg OR bacon & fish it would work. One of the ingredients isn’t playing together.
Lisa: Agreed! (with tony)
Rafa: Second bite was the seasoned bit.
Josh: (Whispering) Try it with ketchup.
Lisa: It’s VERY salty.
Rafa: You all sound very British right now.
Susie: (I don’t usually try these experiments) It’s fine, it’s edible.
Josh: I like it!
We didn’t give any to Jeff, even though she seemed interested.
Verdict: So very dry, so very salty, but edible. The bacon helped but the lack of moisture plus the ton of breadcrumbs ruined this dish. Josh liked it and requested the recipe. I always think I make these things wrong in the end.
I love doing these recipe exchanges! Please check out what my fellow explorers had to cook up!
Thanks for stopping by friends – here is your homework:
• Would YOU make this pie?
• What makes this a pie? The crust?
• Do you have a recipe that everyone hates but that you love with ketchup?
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