It’s time for another Gourmet Gerde!
Let’s talk about school lunches. For many, the words “school lunches” bring up bad memories. But to be fair to those hard-working ladies in hair nets and orthopedic shoes, they had to begin their lunch preparations before dawn. That means the jello had to be chilled and cut into blocks by the time the sun was burning off the morning dew. Of course it would be chewy by lunchtime! And every child had to have their greens. The only alternative to spinach and broccoli in my day was to send the class out to graze. And who had the time to pick every little feather off the chicken wings?
I used to look at those lunches with longing . . . envious of every complaining child who ate them. Envious because my mom made me Moppel Katze to bring for lunch. This is a phonetic spelling. When I use google translate, it says that I am saying “Moppel Cat” in English. When I look for the German way to say, “Little Dog’s Vomit”, it says, “Kleinen Hund Erbrechen.” None of which is what mom called it. She said we were eating Moppel Katze and in German that means little dog’s vomit.
I think she made it up. It was a way to get rid of leftover peas and Spam chunks.
I will now give you Mom’s unofficial recipe for Moppel Katze Sandwiches:
1. Line up two pieces of bread for every child in the family.
2. In a large plastic bowl mix together cold peas, random chunks of Spam, and enough Miracle Whip to disguise it into looking like Elmer’s glue and boogers.
3. Plop it on the bread.
4. Slap the two pieces together.
5. Gift wrap the sandwich in a paper towel.
5. Shove it in a brown paper bag.
Serving tips: If you get too hurried or distracted with other household chores, it is perfectly fine to miss plopping the vomit on a sandwich or two. Just bundle the two pieces of bread together without looking, wrap in paper towel anyway, and insert into bag. The fortunate child will not complain when they unwrap their surprise. Though they may be hard pressed to explain to people why they are eating two pieces of bread for lunch. But not as hard pressed to explain why they are eating a pea sandwich.
And yes, it does look like a little dog threw up. (I love my mom, but only Jesus was perfect.)
And now for a real recipe, donated by Sarah Baur in Montana:
Spinach Mushroom Quiche
pie crust mixed up for 2 crust pie
2 tbsps. butter for sautéing
1 lb. shrooms, thinly sliced
2 10 oz. packages frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 lb. Swiss cheese, shredded( 2 cups)
About 2 hrs. before serving:
1. Prepare pie crust. On lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into 17” by 15” rectangle, use to line 13” by 9” baking dish. With fork, make a decorative edge. Cover and refrigerate.
2. In a 12” skillet over medium heat, in 2 tblsp. butter, saute mushrooms and onion until tender, about 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat, stir in spinach, set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 425. In small saucepan over low heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. In medium bowl with wire whisk, beat eggs with cream, milk, flour , salt, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and melted butter.
4. Spoon spinach mix evenly into crust, sprinkle with swiss cheese; pour egg mixture over cheese. Bake 15 mins. Turn oven control down to 325 and bake 40 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 12 main dish servings.
Tips: This recipe can be halved. I also like to do the regular portion but make it into to 10” quiches, using to 10” pie pans. I prefer the Crisco pie crust recipe. A chef friend of mine recommended I try it years ago as a good all-purpose pie crust recipe. He told me then that I could find the recipe inside the label of a Crisco label. This recipe has proved to be a good one for breaking down the prejudices towards quiche, especially among the male population.
Do you have any of your own school lunch stories you want to share? You could even tell us about the time you accidentally threw your retainers – or someone else’s – away when you dumped your tray and turned it in. It’s all good.
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