Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rice and ham that didn't quite stack up

I have a nice little Tofurky "ham" roast to eat, so I started looking for appropriate vintage recipes to make with it. I haven't been feeling all that inspired since I got back from vacation, though, so nothing was looking exciting. (I'll blame my lack of inspiration on my trip to Evolve. Nothing I make will rival their cashew mac n "cheese" or southern fried "chicken.")

The Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cook Book (fifth printing, 1970) had a recipe I kind of thought might be okay with a few adjustments:

It has three things I love: rice, ham, and cheese! But the rice layer looked kind of skimpy-- mostly just plain old rice. And I don't particularly like olives or sliced fresh onions and tomatoes. And I didn't see any point in leaving the ham in a slice if I'd just have to cut it up anyway.

Maybe you've guessed it by now, but I ended up making something so tenuously inspired by this recipe that I wondered whether I should write about it at all.

What the hell, though. I'll post it so you can see just how cavalier I am with recipes.

Poppy's Rice and Ham Casserole

1/2 c. instant brown rice
1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
pepper, thyme, and rosemary to taste
1/2 c. diced Tofurky ham
veggies as desired (I used a handful of sliced mushrooms, some diced bell pepper, and about a quarter bag of Kroger frozen Fiesta vegetables)
1 Tbs. milk
1 egg white
1 slice cheese (I used Muenster.)

Combine rice through ham in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook for about five minutes and then add vegetables. Continue cooking until rice is tender and vegetables are partially cooked.

Meanwhile, mix milk and egg white. Pour milk mixture into rice mixture and stir to combine. Pour into greased individual casserole dish. Bake 10 minutes at 350. Then add cheese slice to top and bake 10 minutes more.

Here's what it looked like in the cookbook:

Very neat little piles with a topper that looks like it belongs on a sea creature or something. I didn't have any gelatin salads just lying around (as people in the '70s did), so I didn't bother with their serving suggestion either.

And here's my version:

Yeah, looks almost nothing like the original because I skipped the whole "layers" thing. How did it taste?

Meh. It was surprisingly dry. I figured the egg-and-milk mixture would make it kind of custard-y, but it somehow seemed to lock all the moisture up so the whole thing seemed kind of sawdust-y. The parts on the top that were covered with cheese were pretty great, but the rest was just okay.

Would it have been any better if I had come even close to following the directions? Maybe, but I kind of doubt it. So much for that experiment, and now I'm feeling even less inspired.


  1. I have that book too! I'm sorry that yr stack ups didn't measure up 🙁

    1. At least it wasn't terrible. I'll give it that.