Recipe: Green Goddess Chicken Salad

ggcs

I realized that it’s been awhile since I posted a real recipe!  I made this last week for dinner, and I have to say it was absolutely delicious.  It was the cover shot on this month’s Food & Wine magazine.  It’s not an every day meal, as I wouldn’t call it exactly “diet friendly” but sometimes you just gotta enjoy things that are good, regardless. (It’s especially good if you use fresh herbs from the garden, like I did.)    Don’t skip the anchovies – even if you don’t like them – it is intergral to the taste of the dressing.  Also, I couldn’t find piquillo peppers to save my life, so I used pickled cherry peppers instead.

Enjoy!

GREEN GODDESS CHICKEN SALAD

SERVES 6

Ingredients:

2 oil-packed anchovies, drained
1 garlic clove
1/2 c. packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
1/4 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1 TBS. fresh oregano leaves
3/4 c. mayonnaise
2 1/2 TBS  fresh lemon juice
2 TBS fresh snipped chives
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. loaf of ciabatta, bottom crust removed, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 2 lb. rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat pulled into bite size pieces
3 inner celery ribs, with leaves, thinly sliced
8 piquillo peppers from jar, drained and quartered
1/2 c. pitted kalamata olives, halved

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the anchovies, garlic, parsley, basil, and oregano until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and process until smooth. Fold in the chives; season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the ciabatta with the chicken, piquillo peppers, celery and olives. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead:

The dressing can be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated.

The Mystery of Disgusting Gelatin Recipes Solved!

ss

I noticed I got a lot of traffic yesterday from jezebel.com, so being curious I went to the site to find out why.  Turns out they had a blog post about one of my favorite subjects: revolting recipes!  And, someone was nice enough to link to my mother of all revolting recipes: The Liver Sausage Pineapple.

The best part about the post, besides the recipes involved (Corned Beef Jello Salad! Tic-Tac Pie! Tuna Twinkie Soufflé!) was one of the commenters explained why molded salads were so popular in the 50s and 60s, something I have pondered for a long, long time.

Before the postwar era, jelled molded foods were rare and special, as they required a long process involving grinding and boiling for hours of hartshorn(antlers) or isinglass(from the swim bladders of sturgeon and cod. Mass production and and a newly prosperous middle class led to the invention of prepared gelatin powder and home refrigeration, which is why molded salads and icebox cakes exploded in popularity in the 50s. Clearly, tastes have changed since then.

Hooray!  The mystery is solved!  (Except for the fact that they are still completely disgusting.)

jezebel.com:  The Most Revolting Dish Ever Devised

Mac & Cheese Stuffed Peppers

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There’s something strangely alluring about this fine recipe I found in my new 1965 Dinner in a Dish Cookbook.  It’s macaroni & cheese mixed with ham and stuffed into green peppers.  Maybe I’ve been staring at disgusting vintage recipes too long, but I think this sounds good for some reason.  A hell of a lot better than Jello & Tuna Pie!

I guess it’s all relative.

Yes, it’s a Tuna & Jello Pie!

pie

I never thought I would find a disgusting vintage recipe to top the famous Liver Sausage Pineapple, but dang if I didn’t find one that is just as repulsive – and maybe, just maybe –  a little bit more.

Voilà the “Summer Salad Pie” – a concoction listed as “pretty as can be” in my 1965 Betty Crocker’s Dinner in a Dish cookbook.  Um, not so sure “pretty” would be the word I’d use to describe it, but I’m not a cookbook editor – so what do I know?  Basically this pie is made up of a lemon jello layer with tomato sauce, celery, olives and onion, in a cheese crust topped with tuna salad.  Yes, tuna salad.

Don’t get me wrong – I love tuna salad.  I just don’t love tuna salad on top of jello in a pie shell.  What is the fascination with gelatin?  Why must it be used in every other recipe in 1965?  Was Jell-O thought to be space-age?  Was it a favorite at Camelot? Were we using it to show the Commies who’s boss?

All I know is that this has got to taste like Barf Pie – summer or not.

slice

The Burger Beef Tiara!

tiara

Something’s wrong here.  How can you have “Tiara” in your name, but be such a boring recipe?  It’s basically chili mixed with canned green beans with a ring of canned biscuits. Big fucking deal!  I feel I have been misled, Mr. Recipe Name Maker-Upper.

RIP: My Cookbook Collection

sad

Remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about the incompetent plumber who supposedly came to do maintenance on our appliances and instead started a leak that ruined all my vintage cookbooks?  Well, I finally had a chance to go through them and figure out what’s what.  

Out of my collection of about 50 vintage cookbooks, about 20 of them are ruined and will have to be thrown away.  The only good news is that the two really old and rare ones I have, although damaged,  were spared enough to keep – my 1930 Fannie Farmer Cookbook and my 1945 Joy of Cooking.  The bad news is that most of the ones that were ruined were my Betty Crocker collection, which happen to be my favorites.  Most of them can be replaced as they are in plenitful supply out there, but two of them, my 1956 Picture Cookbook and my 1961 Picture Cookbook were in great shape and I am sad to lose them.

Did I mention the guy who did this is a dumbass?

Island Food: Beef Pate Recipe

pate

One of my favorite things to be found in the Caribbean is pate (pah-tay – not to be confused with French pâté).  Known all over the Caribbean by many different names: patties, empanadas, pastelitos – they are known as pates in the Virgin Islands and Haiti.  Basically a Caribbean Hot Pocket, the pate can be stuffed with a variety of fillings such as chicken, conch, saltfish, goat or cheese – but my favorite is the beef pate.

The best place is St. John to get pates is Hurcules Pate Delight, located in a small white shack across from the Lumberyard in Cruz Bay.  The proprietors aren’t always the nicest, but it’s worth putting up with a little attitude to get your hands on one of their delights.  Also, the Mojo Cafe has started selling pates, although I haven’t had one from there yet, so I can’t comment on how good it is.  But, hell – it’s deep fried meat – how can it be bad?

West Indian Beef Pates 

Dough:

  • 5 cups flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup water

Pate filling:

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 small stick celery, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons green bell pepper, chopped
  • Dash oregano
  • Dash black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • Dash parsley flakes
  • Dash garlic powder
  • ¼ small hot pepper, chopped (or to taste)

METHOD / DIRECTIONS:

 

To make dough:

Place flour, shortening, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add enough water to make dough. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes. Let dough sit for 20 minutes.

To make ground meat filling:

Cook beef in a large frying pan with onion, celery, bell pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, parsley flakes, salt, tomato paste, Kitchen Bouquet and hot pepper. Continue cooking until ground beef is well cooked and vegetables are tender. Stir often while cooking to blend ingredients well. Use a large strainer to remove excess fat from the meat mixture. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll flat and place 1-1/2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture into center of flattened dough. Fold dough over filling using a fork to seal ends so that the filling is completely sealed inside like a turnover. Use dough cutter to cut excess dough around the pate to give an even shape. Deep fry in vegetable oil or shortening at 360 degrees until golden brown.

Foods I Love: Biscuits & Gravy

bng

Lord help me, but how I love a big plate of Biscuits & Gravy.  Could there be anything worse for you on the planet?  No, that’s why it tastes so good.

Biscuits and Gravy is the quintessential Southern breakfast – made with fluffy hot biscuits and white floury gravy over the top.  The gravy must have the perfect mixture of grease and spice, as there is nothing worse than gloppy, tasteless white glue atop your biscuits.  And, you must have your biscuits and gravy from either a well-versed Southern home cook, or a small greasy spoon diner – if you eat biscuits and gravy out of a box from the supermarket, then I am afraid you are a tool.

I searched the web for a good biscuits and gravy recipe, and figured the best one would be from Southern Living as their readers wouldn’t stand for an inferior version.  Enjoy!

 

Gravy:

Yield

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 8  ounces  pork sausage
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/3  cups  milk
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  pepper

Preparation

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove sausage, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

Whisk flour into hot drippings until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Stir in sausage, salt, and pepper.

 

Biscuits:

Yield

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup  cold butter
  • 2 1/4  cups  self-rising soft-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4  cups  buttermilk
  • Self-rising soft-wheat flour
  • 2  tablespoons  melted butter

Preparation

1. Cut butter with a sharp knife or pastry blender into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle butter slices over flour in a large bowl. Toss butter with flour. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Cover and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour. Fold dough over onto itself in 3 sections, starting with 1 short end. (Fold dough rectangle as if folding a letter-size piece of paper.) Repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing into a 3/4-inch-thick dough rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).

3. Press or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place, side by side, on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased jelly-roll pan. (Dough rounds should touch.)

4. Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

 

 

Eggs Benedict: Best Invention Ever.

ebenny

God, I love Eggs Benedict.  I completely hate poached eggs in any other incarnation, but when they are nestled atop a toasted english muffin with Canadian bacon and the perfect Hollandaise sauce – pure heaven!  I think I first fell for the Benedict in college when I dated a guy that worked at the Pour la France chain in Aspen where they had three or four different benedicts on the menu.  I used to sit at the bar and get them for free, so I ate one practically every day he was working. (I also discovered the Mimosa this way.)  My favorite was the Veggie Benedict, which was avocado & tomato instead of bacon. The guy was a total tool – I think I kept on seeing him because I enjoyed the free Benedicts.  Yes, I was an Eggs Benedict Whore.

Anyway, my love affair with the Eggs Benedict has endured long past my days in Aspen.  When you get a really good Eggs Benedict, there is nothing better.  When you get a bad Eggs Benedict, there is nothing worse.  The best Eggs Benedict I have ever had was at the Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida.   The secret to great Eggs Benedict really lies in the Hollandaise, an unforgiving sauce that you must make from scratch – anything in a bottle is nothing short of an abomination.  I have had the best luck with the basic Hollandaise found in the eponymous Mastering the Art of French Cooking from one Julia Child.  I have included her sauce below, along with her recipe for classic Eggs Benedict.

 

 
FOR THE HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or more, if needed
6 to 8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
Salt
Freshly ground white pepper

FOR POACHED EGGS
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar per 2 quarts water
4 large eggs, the fresher the better

FOR THE EGGS BENEDICT
4 slices English-muffin halves
Butter
4 thin slices Canadian bacon
Thin slices of black truffle (optional)
warm poached eggs
1 cup Hollandaise Sauce

MAKE THE HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

  1. Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale (this prepares them for what is to come).
  2.  Set the pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook. To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue.) As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.
  3. By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want.
  4.  Season lightly with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.

POACH THE EGGS

  1. Fill the pan with water to a depth of 2 inches or so, add the vinegar, and bring to a slow boil.
  2. Rapidly crack and open each egg into the water, holding the shell as close to the surface as possible. The eggs will cool the water; adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer. After a few moments, when the whites have just begun to set, drag the back of the slotted spoon gently across the top of the eggs, to move them off the pan bottom so they don’t stick. Cook the eggs for about 4 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.
  3. To test for doneness, lift 1 egg from the water with the slotted spoon and press both white and yolk. The whites should feel fully set but not too firm, and the yolks very soft. Poach longer for firmer eggs.
  4. When set the way you like them, remove the eggs from the saucepan with the slotted spoon or strainer and immerse them in a bowl of warm tap water to wash off the vinegar. Set the spoon on a clean towel (or folded paper towels) for a moment to remove excess water, and serve eggs immediately.

ASSEMBLE THE EGGS BENEDICT

  1. Just before serving, toast the bread circles or muffins lightly, butter both sides, and warm the ham and the optional truffle slices in a frying pan with a tablespoon of butter.
  2. Center a toast round on each warm serving plate; cover with a slice of ham and then a poached egg. Spoon hollandaise sauce generously over each egg and top with an optional warm truffle slice. Serve immediately.

A Moment of Silence for My Vintage Cookbook Collection

So we had a leak due to some dumbass that came to perform “maintenance” on our appliances.  He managed to crimp the line and then leave the power on an icemaker that hasn’t worked in two years, so the water from the icemaker line leaked through the ceiling down to our butler’s kitchen where I keep all my vintage cookbooks.  Needless to say, most of them are completely ruined.  I was going to take a picture, but it makes me too sad.

Thanks a lot, asswipe.  I’m still pondering whether I should post your name out here for all to see.