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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DEVILED CORN AND CRAB CASSEROLE - THE UGLY TRUTH

Have you ever attempted to make a dish from a beautifully photographed cookbook?  Did your dish look anything like their dish?  No, and it never will because cookbook publishers employ stylists whose job it is to make the food beautiful.  This is achieved with perfect lighting, food shellac, sometimes glue, oh and they don't really cook the food they just brown it so it looks done, sort of.
The good news is that your dish tastes better.  Theirs, you can't actually eat.

Last night I made a dish from my 1969 Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cookbook - Deviled Corn and Crab.

This was my end result.  Just kidding.  This is the work of the food stylist. 
 Let's begin.
Our assembled ingredients, with my substitutions, more on that later.

Holy cats this is embarrassing.  This is what the casserole looked like after I cooked it and before I added the cracker crumbs.  This is also about the time I considered ordering Chinese take-out.

After the cracker crumbs were blackened browned in the oven.  Still looks nothing like the photograph.

OK, time for the garnish (mid century cooks just loved their garnishes).  You may have noticed that I didn't garnish with hard boiled  egg wedges because obviously that's just gross.  For some reason I thought chopped green chillies would be just the thing to make my casserole beautiful/attractive/passable less disgusting.

Here it is on the plate.  I know.
 I think we can all agree that Deviled Corn and Crab Casserole was a total failure, visually, but how did it taste?  Well, actually it was good.  Quite good.  I'm actually looking forward to leftovers tonight.
If I make this dish again, and I probably will, I'll substitute tuna or smoked salmon for the crab which didn't really stand up to the corn.  Also, next time I'll not boil the eggs but add them uncooked and hopefully the whole thing will be more like cornbread rather than this gelatinous mess.
Please don't let my photos turn you off to this recipe.  Braxton and I agreed that this dish was worth making and worth making again. Take that food stylists, ha!

DEVILED CORN AND CRAB CASSEROLE (WITH MY CHANGES IN BLUE)

1/4 CUP BUTTER
2 TABLESPOONS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR (I USED WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR)
1 TEASPOON PREPARED MUSTARD
1 TABLESPOON LEMON JUICE (I USED LIME JUICE)
1/2 TEASPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
1/2 TEASPOON MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (??? ARE YOU KIDDING???)
1/2 TEASPOON SALT (I LEFT THIS OUT BECAUSE BRAXTON HAS A CLOSE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SALT SHAKER)
DASH PEPPER
(I ADDED A DASH OF ONION POWDER AND CHOPPED GREEN CHILIES HERE)
1/2 CUP MILK (SOY MILK)
1 71/2 OUNCE CAN CRAB MEAT, FLAKED
2 HARD-COOKED EGGS, CHOPPED
1 1-LB CAN WHOLE KERNEL CORN, DRAINED
1 1-LB CAN CREAM-STYLE CORN
1/2 CUP GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE
1/2 CUP CRACKER CRUMBS (I USED WHOLE WHEAT RITZ CRACKERS)

IN SAUCEPAN MELT THE BUTTER; STIR IN FLOUR, MUSTARD, WORCESTERSHIRE, LEMON JUICE, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (!!) , SALT, AND PEPPER.  ADD MILK ALL AT ONCE; COOK AND STIR TILL MIXTURE THICKENS AND BUBBLES.  REMOVE FROM HEAT; CAREFULLY STIR IN CRAB MEAT, EGGS, WHOLE KERNEL CORN, AND CREAM-STYLE CORN.
SPOON INTO A 1 1/2-QUART (LIGHTLY GREASED) CASSEROLE; SPRINKEL CHEESE AND CRACKER CRUMBS OVER TOP.  (I BAKED THE DISH FOR 30 MINUTES, THEN TOPPED WITH CHESSE AND CRACKER CRUMBS FOR THE LAST 15 MINUTES)  BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 45 MINUTES OR TILL HEATED THROUGH.  GARNISH WITH HARD-COOKED EGG WEDGES AND OLIVE SLICES.  (I USED CHOPPED GREEN CHILIES). 
MAKES 6 SERVINGS.

Be brave, I really do think you'll like it.
Have a beautiful day.
Yancey





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