Friday, January 23, 2009

Blog Party #42: Tiki Two

When Stephanie announced that the theme for this month's Blog Party would be Tiki Two,

Blog Party #42:  Tiki Two

I immediately ran for my bookshelf and pulled out my 1959 copy of the Better Homes and Garden Holiday Cookbook.

BHG Holiday Cook Book

and flipped to the section on a Polynesian luau where I knew I would find a proclaimed "Island Feast" courtesy of the king of Polynesian fare, Trader Vic.

Trader Vic's Polynesian Luau Menu circa 1959

Unfortunately, after perusing the recipes and settling on the Kona Chicken in a Coconut smothered in Trader Vic's Susu Curry Sauce, I realized that I didn't have half the ingredients on hand. Meaning that dish, no matter how good it sounded, was not going to be able to be made for Blog Party #42 as I'm in the middle of the winter version of The Pantry Plan.

As it turns out, I had the perfect dish to bring already on my Cookbook Casting Call menu for this week, sweet and sour meatballs from the 1986 Betty Crocker's Cookbook!

Blog Party #42:  Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These meatballs are a remembered family meal from my childhood. I would often come home from evening swim team practice in the middle of the winter and walk into the house to smell that sweet pungent smell of the sauce wafting from the kitchen. I would toss my bag with my wet towels and swim suits down on the floor and sprint into the kitchen to make sure bubbling in the pan would be one of my favorite dishes my mother made.

To be fair to the Cook Book Casting Call, the sweet and sour sauce used for this dish is actually found in the 1968 version of the Betty Crocker's Cook Book as by 1986, sweet and sour and for that matter "Polynesian" cooking was so yesterday. But, the meatball recipe in the 1986 version of the BCCB is the same as from the 1968, the only difference is that the 1986 version recommends using very lean ground beef, as by then, healthier ways to cook old favorites were starting to make their debut in main stream American cooking.

Instead of serving these meatballs over rice, I'm going to put them in a big 1950's chafing dish,

1950s Style Copper Chaffing Dish

and put a tiki glass

Tiki Glass

full of bamboo skewers next to it for you to spear a meatball, a piece of pineapple and a piece of green pepper!

The cocktail I'm bringing to the Tiki Two Blog Party is the Aloha Bubbly; basically, a poor man's champagne. It doesn't photograph really well, especially when you stick it in front of a big red towel with a big white tropical flowers on it!

Blog Party #42: Aloha Bubbly Cocktail

But it was pretty tasty and I'm not a huge a fan of pineapple juice. I made this by reserving some of the pineapple juice from the can of pineapple chunks I used in the sweet and sour meatballs.

I can't wait to see what other Polynesian delights I get to sample at the party. There is still a little time for you to show up and delight us all. All you need to do is post something by midnight tonight in the Tiki Theme and email a link to your post to Stephanie!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
from the Betty Crocker Cookbook (meatballs from 1986 version, sweet and sour sauce from 1968 version)

For Meatballs:
1lb hamburger
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (I used some plain panko I had in the pantry)
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Mix ingredients; shape into twenty 1 1/2" balls. Cook in a large frying pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until brown, about 20 minutes. Or cook in ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish, in 400 degree oven until light brown, 20 - 25 minutes.

For Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 large can (20oz) pineapple chunks in own juice
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 small green pepper, coarsely chopped

Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in large and deep 12" skillet with lid. Stir in pineapple and juice, vinegar and soy sauce. On medium heat, heat to boiling, stirring constantly and reduce heat. Add meatballs. Covver; simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened. Stir in green pepper. Cover and simmer until green pepper is tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes.

Serve over steamed rice, brown or white.

Aloha Bubbly Cocktail
2 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 tsp powdered sugar
2 ounces club soda
2 ounces dry white wine

Pour pineapple juice, powdered sugar, wine and club soda into an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake to mix and pour into champagne flute. Garnish is pineapple and orange wedge.