Cooking Like June - Making Ward a Steak Dinner

The last little bird is leaving the nest. Since I've been used to cooking for a passel, including a teenage boy and all his friends, cooking for just two has been a bit of a challenge.  All my pots and pans are too big and I end up with way too many leftovers. I decided to revisit a cookbook that my husband's aunt gave to us as a wedding present.  A circa 1958 Betty Crocker "Dinner for Two".  It was vintage even on our wedding day! It was written for "brides, business girls, career wives, and mothers of married children."

"We hope that this book will be a help and an inspiration to you small-home-makers in planning day-after-day easy, interesting, and healthful dinners."

Let's see how "career wives" friendly this cookbook really is! My first menu was the first in the American Favorites section - Broiled Steak.

Can I just say right now, the illustrations are amazing!  Cowboys and a herd of cows!!

My first thought when I looked at the menu was, "I have to make an apple pie on a weekday!?" Then it dawned on me that I don't have to run anyone to dance class or guitar lessons and if the husband starts getting cranky, I just just ply him with a martini and peace will be restored.  That's what June would do, right? I distinctly remember Samantha on "Bewitched" greeting Darren at the door with a pitcher of martinis (and really great eyeliner).  I think that can't be a bad thing.

First, I make the pie and get it in the oven.  I do NOT make my own pastry.  I got the roll-out kind from the refrigerated section and don't feel at all guilty.  Slicing all those apples is work enough. I also got the steaks out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

I was concerned about the omission of a thickening agent in the recipe.  You know, a little flour or cornstarch to soak up the liquid from the apples?  I trusted BC and went right by the recipe but I should have gone with my instincts.  The pie was tasty but watery.

Still, it looked fab!

Instead of French Potatoes, I went with Hassleback Potatoes.  Much easier than slicing up fries.  All you do it take small potatoes and put them in the well of a wooden spoon.

Then make small slices down the potato.  The spoon stops the knife from going all the way through.

Put your potatoes in a baking dish sliced side up. Melt a tablespoon of butter with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and pour over the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.

I put them in the oven with the pie which had been cooking for about 10 minutes.

Next, I make the salad dressing.  BC made a big deal about tearing and chilling the salad greens ahead of time, but nowadays all we have to do is open a bag.

The dressing I did straight from the cookbook and, once again, I was sorry I did.  It had so much salt I thought one of us was going to have a hypertensive episode.  I even left out the "dash of flavor extender" which is good old MSG.  My mom put that on everything.

There was a little extra time before the steaks went on the grill so we did what any red-blooded American in the 50's would do, we had a martini.

The Mr.Ville special Kitchen Sink Martini!

I opted to not broil the steaks because 1) I have never broiled a steak in my life and 2) I had no oven room left. I guess back in the day they didn't have the convenience of a gas grill.

Everything finished at the same time and we set down to a great, but salty, meal.

The red wine was added purely for medicinal purposes.

I was surprised how easy it was to get everything done.  Even after a leisurely conversation filled meal, we were finished and washing up done by 7:30.

June would have been proud, I think.

Next week I attempt fried chicken complete with mashed potatoes and gravy.  Fingers crossed!