Culinary Cardinals: Jack Clark’s Cake

Jack Clark is one of my all-time favorite Cardinals, and I had a huge crush on him during his mid-80s heyday.  I suppose it was his brooding intensity and home run prowess that drew me in as a pre-teen and helped me overlook the unibrow. Even though he looks kind of like Tony Soprano these days, I still find him sexy (or maybe it’s because he looks like Tony Soprano).

I can’t make excuses for some of his self-destructive and Pujols-destructive antics over the years, but I will always have a soft spot for him.  So when I came across the recipe for “Clark’s Cake,” I was eager to try it out. It’s the only recipe that Jack’s wife Tammy contributed to Cooking with the Cardinals.

Here’s the recipe as written by Tammy Clark…

1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines or Pillsbury)
1 cup sugar
1 can (6 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 box (4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 12 oz container Cool Whip
Coconut (optional)

Make cake according to package directions in a 9″ x 13″ pan. While cake is cooling, heat sugar and pineapple until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cake. Prepare pudding as directed on box. Add sour cream; mix together. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Pour over cake. Spread Cool Whip over top; sprinkle coconut on topping, if desired. Refrigerate.

This was super-easy to make. Cooking with the Cardinals was written in 1985, and one issue I’m experiencing with these older recipes is that the package measurements today aren’t always the same. I used a 5.1 oz pudding and didn’t remove the extra 1.1 oz, so my cake got a little sloppy with too much pudding. But can one ever really have too much pudding? You can see in the photo that the pudding almost oozed over the edges of the pan.

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IMG_3586I felt the cake was pretty tasty and rather light, but I can’t say I loved it so much that I would make it again. My boyfriend really enjoyed it, as did a neighbor who called it “Delicioso!”  It is a good cake to bring to a summer BBQ and tastes sort of like a pineapple upside down cake or maybe a pineapple trifle. The sour cream gives the cake a hint of a cheesecake flavor. I think it tasted better the day after I made it, so it’s definitely a cake you could make a day before your party. It tastes better than it looks.

The name “Clark’s Cake” is certainly not very descriptive.  I’d call it “Clark’s Pineapple Power Cake” with the tag line: “Crush that pineapple the way Jack crushed the baseball!”

Jack and Tammy met in a pharmacy and married in 1979. They have three kids: Rebekah, Danika, and Anthony.

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In this Rick Reilly profile from 1991, Tammy said that when Jack got riled up, his eyebrows got darker. I guess his eyebrows got pretty dark when they divorced in 1992. This Riverfront Times story from 2005 talks a lot about Jack’s hard times and his return to baseball, as he was the hitting coach for the River City Rascals at the time. He was the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2001-03 and managed the Springfield Sliders in 2009. In recent years, he’s done some radio broadcasting and a lot of autograph signings.

I prefer to think of Jack’s glory days. Let’s relive this moment and enjoy some cake!

 

 

Game Haiku – 8/29/16 – Cards 6, Brewers 5

Grichuk comes through. Bull-
pen almost erased CMart’s
thirteen-strikeout-day!

Game Haiku – 8/28/16 – As 7, Cards 4

Jaime gets clobbered.
Cards chip away but bullpen,
errors prove too much.

Game Haiku – 8/27/16 – As 3, Cards 2

Despite quality
Reyes start, game is ugly
like the throwback socks

11552169_G

 

Game Haiku – 8/26/16 – Cards 3, As 1

Gyorko’s two-run blast
is plenty, cuz Dream Weaver
gets us through the night.

Game Haiku – 8/25/16 – Mets 10, Cards 6

Cleat interference
should be a thing. Can’t just blame
ump. Waino got shelled.

Game Haiku – 8/24/16 – Cards 8, Mets 1

Carp’s leadoff homer
sets the tone. CMart gives up
one run; Cards score eight.

 

Culinary Cardinals: Whitey Herzog’s Coke Cherry Salad

Coke salad is a popular dish at church potlucks and BBQs. Mary Lou Herzog contributed seven recipes to “Cooking with the Cardinals,” so expect some future blog posts about “Slush Mixture” (a frozen cocktail) and “Green Lima Beans with Celery and Cheese Sauce” (did we ever eat veggies in the 80s without drizzling cheese on top of them?). Mary Lou ties for the lead with most recipes in the book, along with the wives of Bob Forsch and Brian Harper. I wonder if the wives were competitive about this.

You do have to wonder why these dishes are called “salads.” This one is so sweet that it’s really better as a dessert.

Here’s the recipe:

1 large pkg cherry Jell-O
1 can (#2) pineapple tidbits
1 can (#2) bing cherries and juice
14 oz warm Coke
1 cup walnut pieces

Drain juice from fruits (2 cups) into pan and bring to boil. Pour over Jell-O in bowl; stir until Jell-O is dissolved. Add Coke, then pineapple, cherries, and nuts. Refrigerate. 

“Can be topped with Cool Whip. Very good with Mexican food.”

IMG_3461I had no idea what “#2 can” meant, so I googled it. Apparently, cans used to be commonly numbered, and a #2 can held 16 oz. The recipe is simple, and the Jell-O mixture takes on a frothiness once you add the Coke. The only problem I had with this recipe is that it took forever for the gelatin to solidify. I chilled it five hours, and it was still not totally set when I unmolded it. It was sort of a leaning tower of Jell-O. It tasted much better the next day when it was fully set.

I’ve made Coke Salad before, according to a recipe of a friend’s mom, and that recipe contains no pineapple and instead contains cream cheese. It also uses hot water, not the fruit juice from the cans. No offense to Mary Lou, but I prefer my old version because of the consistency and because it’s not sickeningly sweet. You can find many variations of this recipe online.

Whitey and Mary Lou have been married 63 years! Here’s their pic in the cookbook, circa 1985.

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Here’s Whitey and Mary Lou in the parade for his Hall of Fame induction in 2010.

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When she wasn’t cooking, Mary Lou sometimes cleaned windows – but these are the only windows she would clean!

 

Culinary Cardinals: Red Schoendienst’s Favorite Stew

Mary Schoendienst shared a few recipes in “Cooking with the Cardinals,” and last night I made her beef stew recipe, which is described in the book as “Red’s Favorite Stew.” It was a big hit! My boyfriend went for seconds and thirds.  The dogs were salivating for hours over the smell while it was cooking.  I’m not really a big beef stew fan, but I did enjoy it.

Here’s the recipe.

3 lbs beef stew meat, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 red onions, sliced
6-8 ribs celery, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
6 large carrots, cut in 3/4 inch pieces
1 1/2 tbs sugar
3 tbs tapioca
2 cans (16 oz each) stewed tomatoes and 1 can water
1/2 cup red wine
Pepper and Accent to taste

Brown meat and place in bottom of deep casserole. Layer sliced onions, celery, and carrots on top of meat. Mix together sugar, tapioca, tomatoes, wine, pepper and Accent. Pour tomato mixture over meat and vegetables. Cover and bake for 4 hours at 300 degrees. Stir every hour. Serve over rice or buttered poppy seed noodles. Serves 6-8. 

0043000228020_CL_version_type_largeThe only trick of this recipe was finding tapioca. I had to ask four staff members at Ralph’s before one of them consulted the longest-tenured cashier who directed him to it (next to the Jell-O pudding version of tapioca). I’ve never cooked with tapioca before but it comes in powdery crystal form and functions to thicken the sauce for this stew. Now I have a box of the stuff, since I only needed three tablespoons for this recipe. I guess there’s some pudding in my future.

Mary didn’t specify how big the casserole dish needed to be, and 9 x 13 is the biggest dish I had. After the stew was cooking for an hour, it started to bubble over and spill onto the bottom of the oven. When I opened the oven, a lot of smoke came out, and the smoke detector went off. I recovered from this setback by opening the windows and then transferring half of the stew into a smaller casserole dish.

Four hours is a long time to wait for dinner, but it was worth it. I imagine one could also prepare this stew in a crock pot and leave it cooking on low all day.  The meat was very tender, and the sauce was rich. I’m pretty sure Red enjoyed this stew on a winter day in the offseason, because I certainly wouldn’t have had the energy to play or coach right after eating it.

 

IMG_3481Unfortunately, Mary passed away in 1999. Mary and Red were married for 48 years and had four children. Red visited Cardinals Spring Training this year even though he is 93 years old now. As a player, manager or coach, Red has worn a major league uniform for 71 seasons! Longevity powered by beef stew!

 

 

 

 

Game Haiku – 8/23/16 – Mets 7, Cards 4

Mets pound Jaime. Niese
exits quick. Cards waste chances
to score off bullpen.

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