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March 17, 2010

Mid-Century Menu – Party Casserole and Surprise Rhuberry Kuchen

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  What a crazy week this has been, but Tom and I still managed to scrape together another stunning Mid-Century Menu for all you avid readers.  This week we chose from Recipes from the Tower Kitchen, which was a pamphlet published by the Detroit Free Press in 1973.  What exactly is the Tower Kitchen? The book has this to say:

Since 1933, when Tower Kitchen opened atop the Free Press Building, its food experts have been helping Michigan women make good things to eat.

Cooking methods have changed in the past 40 years and so has the location of Tower Kitchen – it’s now on the 4th floor.

But more than ever, homemakers are kept up to date on food innovations and Tower Kitchen recipes are tested and re-tested.

In 1943, when war rationing had housewives scrimping, Tower Kitchen told them how to make the most of the contents of a No.2 can. Fort decades later, home economist Toni Bettisworth shows cooks how to add personal touches to prepared foods.

Man, I luv me some history, and this little pamphlet is packed full of great 1970’s food. So which tantalizing dishes did we choose?

Every time I have added green olives to a mid-century dish it has turned out gag-inducingly terrible. Have I learned yet? Ummmm…no. Bring on the olives! Besides, this dish has three (count ’em, three!) different kinds of dairy in it. Wow.

Strawberry gelatin in a Kuchen? Get out of here! As a bonus, this will use up all the frozen rhubarb I have been hoarding!

And we are off!

That lumpy bag on the side is the last of the frozen rhubarb.  Only a few more months until there is fresh!

While I was taking a picture of this, it dawned on my that this recipe is basically a bland lasagna. Who figured this out before I did? Come on, be honest….

Cottage cheese, cream cheese and sour cream together. Yum.

I thought this was kind of pretty.  Looks like a galaxy! The Dairy Way.  

With olives folded in. Cross your fingers, people!

The layering begins with plain, naked noodles…

Next is the cheese mixture.  Is it just me, or do the olives kind of look like eyeballs floating around in there? No? Maybe?

More naked noodles.

And, finally, 2 pounds of meat goop.

Yargh. So goopy. Straight into the oven for that guy.

Hooray for dessert! Here is the crust getting mixed up.

Adding eggs…

And then pressed into the pan.

The topping, which has a good amount of cinnamon in it.  I love rhubarb and cinnamon!

Rhubarb layered on the crust.  Lots of layering in this meal.

Deftly sprinkling on the gelatin. Props to Tom for this great action shot!

Dumping on the crumb topping. And it was ready for the oven!

Scooping out the goo in the middle of the casserole.  It looks even more unappetizing baked.

The first bite!  And yes…it does look a little like entrails.

“How is it?”

“It’s actually really good. Are these olives in here?”

I was stunned, and took a bite.  It actually WAS really good. Different, but good. Even the olives were tasty.  The meat goop top had ended up tasting less like spaghetti sauce and more like sloppy joes, which was a little strange, but the sweetness of the goop tasted really good with the olives. Wow.

All that was left was dessert. I forgot to take a picture of the baked Kuchen, but the jello had thickened around the rhubarb nicely and made a tasty, if sweet, filling. Here is Tom’s reaction:

“Why is this so wet?” 

He was right, it was pretty juicy.  So juicy, in fact, that the topping hadn’t really crisped up at all.  It just tasted like mouthfuls of straight up dough. Which wasn’t terrible, but very sweet. Maybe I shouldn’t have used frozen rhubarb.

The Verdict:

Party Casserole – Great.  Seems like lasagna, but doesn’t really taste like it.  The olives were a surprisingly good touch. As a bonus, the leftovers were even better.

Surprise Rhuberry Kuchen – According to Tom, it is acceptable.  I thought it was good. Kind of a grainy texture from the gelatin and very juicy, but a good way to use up freezer rhubarb when strawberries aren’t in season.

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7 Responses to Mid-Century Menu – Party Casserole and Surprise Rhuberry Kuchen

  1. sablemable Reply

    March 17, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Oh, my! LOL!

    What I want to know is what happens to all these leftovers, Ruth? LOL!

    Big puppies are good to have around at times like this!

    I love rhubarb, too!

  2. Sara in AZ Reply

    March 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I did not *think* lasagna until you mentioned it, and I saw it going in the pan! I may give this one a try now that Tom has OK’d it. 🙂 The olives do kinda look like eyeballs! Happy SP Day! Don’t drink too much green beer. 😉

  3. sablemable Reply

    March 17, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Oh, God, green beer! Makes me feel sick just thinking of it. And I was sick from it about 35 years ago! LOL!

    Ruth, I forgot to mention that I had never heard of the Tower Kitchen before and me being a native Michigander, too! Shame on me, LOL!

  4. RetroRuth Reply

    March 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Sable! Tom eats pretty much everything, if you can believe it. A casserole for 10 people lasted for two days. Seriously! Also, I couldn’t find any other info on the Tower Kitchen, so you many not be the only one who hasn’t heard of it!

    Sara – Happy St. Pat’s to you, too! I didn’t get to have any green beer, but I can’t say that was a big hardship. 🙂

  5. Roxanne Reply

    March 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Ruth–What do you cook when you’re not doing your MCM?

    Even your “yuck” MCM cooking looks better than my regular cooking!

    Do you list your weekly meals any where so I can COPY them???

    • RetroRuth Reply

      March 19, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Hey Roxanne!

      Actually, I am a pretty good cook. I don’t think Tom would keep me around otherwise. He loves a good meal. And…I guess a bad one, too. 🙂 Anyway, I have a ton of cookbooks and recipes crammed into my big freestanding Geneva cabinet, so usually I pick something out of the pile and whip it up for dinner. Tom’s favorites are his mom’s recipes, of course. Love ya, Ann, and your rhubarb pie! Yum! Maybe I should think about showing an actual meal at our house…

  6. Pingback: Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake And Tower Kitchen Recipe Cookbooks | The Mid-Century Menu

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