Mission Accomplished! The Cindy McCain (Or Is That The Food Network) Recipe Challenge

Mission Accomplished! The Cindy McCain (Or Is That The Food Network) Recipe Challenge

Faith Durand
Apr 15, 2008

Remember when we posted the Cindy McCain recipe challenge? We said that any patriotic reader who made all seven of the recipes listed on McCain's website as "McCain Family Recipes" would receive a Democrat or Republican candidate BBQ apron of choice.

Well, did you hear the news today? Apparently if McCain's recipes are family recipes, they became so very recently, since at least half of them were lifted straight from Food Network's website!

Regardless of who made up the recipes, one enterprising good cook of a reader tested them all out for our benefit. Here are photos and a review of each, along with links to the originals (the REAL originals).

The recipes have (mysteriously) disappeared from the McCain website since the brouhaha this morning, but we found them in the Internet Wayback Machine and link them here with their originals at Food Network.

Here the recipes and bobcatsteph3's comments!

Homemade Guacamole This recipe was the reason I'd decided to take on this recipe challenge. I'd never made guacamole before and had purchased my first avocados two days before seeing the recipe challenge post. I was looking for recipes while they ripened and figured it was kismet that Cindy McCain should share hers, so here we are. Very tasty, and I'm already on the hunt for more avocados. I did add a jalapeno to mine as I enjoy the spicy!

Farfalle Pasta with Roasted Turkey, Peas, and Mushrooms
Original: Food Network, courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Very quick and easy to make, I used cooked turkey instead of turkey sausage, because that's what I had on hand, but I'm sure the sausage would taste good too. This is an easy weeknight meal to put together.

Ahi Tuna with Napa Cabbage Slaw Original - Food Network, courtesy Kathleen Daelemans Here in small town Ohio, Ahi Tuna isn't quite the "catch of the day!" So I made potstickers instead to accompany the slaw. I also don't have black sesame seeds, so I used toasted sesame seeds and almonds, and added some rice wine vinegar to the dressing for more of a sweet kick. It was a great side dish for the potstickers and I'm sure would taste great with fish as well.
Rosemary Chicken Breasts and Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon Probably my favorite meal of "Cindy's" recipes. The chicken breasts were moist and flavorful, and the spinach salad was awesome. I did add hard boiled eggs because who doesn't love eggs with bacon!? The only thing I didn't quite understand was what to do with the 4 cloves of garlic that I cooked the chicken with!
Shrimp Scampi and Whole Wheat Spaghetti The recipe is for canned crabmeat which I'm not a fan of, so I used shrimp instead. Also added a can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes and cracked red pepper to give this more body and kick. I flambéed the shrimp which was A LOT of fun, and the longest part of this recipe is cooking the spaghetti! Will definitely be making this again.
Mixed Fruit Tart The only recipe in the bunch I found to be a total dud. It could just be a matter of taste/preference but I did not enjoy the consistency of the yogurt with gelatin. It became a very dense glob and seemed to lose all its vanilla flavor too. When looking over the recipe it didn't make sense to me to use gelatin, I wondered why not just put the yogurt over the crust and top with fruit, and if I made this in the future that's what I'd do. Perhaps the fruit would sink into the softer yogurt, but at least it wouldn't be a weird glob of nothingness! I also couldn't find good peaches, so strawberries and blueberries were it. I thought the granola/graham cracker crust sounded quite tasty, and it was, but the tough yogurt really ruined this dish for me. Never again, sorry Cindy! The best part about it was that I only made tartlets, so no one had to take too much in at once.

Passion Fruit Mousse
Original: Food Network, courtesy Gale Gand
A very tasty dessert, though much better suited for warm weather! To be honest the passion fruit nectar (maybe puree has a more pronounced flavor but again, small town women can't often find these "exotic" ingredients) tasted like pineapple orange juice to me, I think I'd substitute for pineapple juice if I could find passion fruit nectar and mix that with the OJ. The kiwis were a sad looking wrinkly bunch at the store so I only caramelized bananas for the top but this really made the dish. They added a sweet little crunch to the smooth mousse and blended quite nicely. This will be a great addition to our summer menu.

Great job, bobcatsteph! Thank you for taking the bullet for us all. We must admit that the warm spinach salad sounds pretty good; maybe we'll put our own twist on it soon. But we'll make sure the recipe is original. Since this whole debacle was obviously the work of an intern (as indeed the McCain campaign is stating) we wonder where the other ones are from! Anyone figured it out yet?

Exciting day - not so often that minor political scandals fall into our kitchen territory!

(Images: bobcatsteph3)

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