Bird of Paradise Salad

I have actually made this for a MOPS luncheon. It is impressive and adorable. I make it using my mother’s curried chicken salad recipe.

Bird of Paradise Salad

“This exotic Hawaiian hybrid makes a festive appearance at a luncheon. ”

Split a fresh pineapple in two lengthwise. Scoop out the centers, discarding the core. Chop the remainder, keeping enough to form a bird’s head. Fill with mixed fruits or fruited chicken salad.

Mama’s Curried Chicken Salad

1 cup diced cooked chicken
2 diced apples
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup halved grapes (green and red look nice)

Mix together all ingredients except grapes.

Fill the hollow in the bird’s back with the chicken mixture. Attach the pineapple head with a countersunk toothpick. Use grapes to “feather” the back of the bird. Use cloves, pomegranate seeds, or grape pieces as eyes.

Breast of Chicken Perigourdine

I don’t know about you, but cooking isn’t high on my list right now. With end of the school year activities and the unpredictable heat, cooking is more assembling something for dinner with as little heat as possible.

If you happen to run the air conditioner and need a company dish–this one from my great-grandmother’s files works as a lovely fancy dish. Use fresh truffles and mushrooms if your farmer’s market is in season and has them. (Our farmer’s market woefully doesn’t start until the LAST Sunday in June.) The recipe truly does forgive all types of mushrooms. The result: a rich and delicious dish to feed your guests.

Breast of Chicken Perigourdine

8 whole chicken breasts
1 can condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1/4 cup dried mushrooms
1/2 cup water
2 canned truffles, cut up
3 tablespoons dry sherry
butter or margarine
8 large mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablesp0on light cream
2 egg yolks
Dash cayenne
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Bone the chicken bones (or have your butcher do it.) Simmer bones in chicken broth, covered, about 1 hour. (or substitute your rich chicken stock of choice) Discard bones. Let dried mushrooms stand in water 1 hour and the truffles in sherry for an hour. In a small amount of butter in your large oven safe skillet, brown chicken breasts on both sides, adding butter as needed. Remove. Add more butter to skillet and saute sliced mushrooms until golden, remove.

Into drippings in same skillet, stir flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, dried mushrooms plus liquid, 1 cup chicken broth (add water if necessary, to make 1 cup), light cream. Cook, stirring, over medium heat till thickened and smooth.

Place chicken breasts in sauce and simmer gently, covered, about 2o min or until chicken is tender. Add truffles with sherry and drained, sauteed mushrooms.

Meanwhile preheat broiler 1o min. Make hollandaise sauce; beat egg yolks in small bowl till thick; add 1/4 teaspoon salt and cayenne. Add 1/4 cup melted butter, about 1 teaspoon at a time, beating constantly. Combine remaining 1/4 cup melted butter and lemon juice. Slowly add, about 2 teaspoons at a time to yolk mixture, beating constantly. Spread over chicken. Run under the broiler a few minutes to brown. Makes 8 servings.

Mock Chicken Salad

For a couple where one person loves food and the other just will eat…sometimes, we have a romance that involves food in the oddest ways. Perhaps not. Doesn’t everyone have a food story that also speaks of love?

One of the recipes Denise loves is my mock chicken salad. I make it with tofu. Once upon a time I used Yves Chickn for it, but that became unavailable. It started as a recipe either in my mother’s curried chicken salad (known as “Bird of Paradise Salad” ) and at a vegetarian restaurant (The Laughing Seed) in Asheville, NC restaurant where we landed on a mommy weekend early in our relationship.

We sat as vegetarians in a restaurant full of options just for us and couldn’t make a decision. Vegetarians usually have it easy in the south–if there is a vegetarian option, there will be only one. Denise decided on the Mock Chicken Salad and when it came I said “Oh! It is just like my mom’s–except she uses chicken.”

I then went home to find a vegetarian mock chicken salad, but decided to create it from how my mother made her chicken salad.

It makes me laugh when I see recipes like the following for Mock Chicken salad. (and isn’t the picture a winner?) I so wouldn’t think “Hey, I am out of chicken, how about I make chicken salad out of veal.” Note, it does also recommend pork which I sometimes have left over. On the other hand, the whole shaping into balls totally makes this a no go in this house–even if the walnut eaters and olive eaters were the same people.

Mock Chicken Salad

2 cups cold veal or pork cut fine
3/4 cup finely cut celery
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped olives
Mayonnaise
Lettuce
Mix meat, celery, nuts, and olives.

Add enough mayonnaise to moisten and shape in small balls. Arrange these balls on lettuce on individual salad plates. Garnish with olives and mayonnaise.

(Another recipe from January 1923, from a feature called “Winter Salads” in Modern Priscilla.)

Mushroom Club Sandwiches

I have a fondness for club sandwiches. I blame a childhood where such things were ladylike and fancy. Of course, I failed at ladylike anything…but I sure did like some grown up lady food. I couldn’t figure out the dresses, heels, discussions or make-up. I didn’t quite understand why all the ladies didn’t have “jobs” but never had a minute to spare. I did understand the club sandwich, but not why it was marked “lady food.”

I still like club sandwiches. My love does not…but I aim to convince her with…the MUSHROOM club sandwich! Yes! A mushroom club sandwich. Coarse cut butter fried mushrooms instead of the original chicken. I need to investigate the peppy mayo though. Because I live with an anti bacon person…I have to skip that too…making it a vegetarian dream sandwich. You know why? Because a little bit of olive makes a fine substitute for bacon when it comes to vegetarians.

I will start with the “Original” club sandwich and continue with the mushroom. Look at the photo though for the Turkey, Duck, Goose, Tongue, Roast Pork, Lobster, Salmon, Flounder Cheese, Boston, or Oyster Club sandwiches.

The Original Club Sandwich

3 slices toast
Butter or Margarine
Lettuce
Mayonnaise
2 slice cooked white chicken meat
2 crisp cooked bacon slices
2 slices tomato

Toast the bread and spread with butter or margarine.Cover one slice with chicken; spread with mayonnaise and top with a lettuce leaf. Place bacon and tomato slices on top. Cover with the remaining toast slice. Fasten securely with 4 wooden toothpicks. Cut the sandwich diagonally into 4 triangles. Stand them upright on a plate. Garnish with pickles, olives, or halved slices tomato.

Mushroom Club Sandwiches

Make according to directions for the original club sandwich; but use instead of chicke, a layer of coarse-chopped butter-fried fresh mushrooms. Add a little chopped scallion or minced olives and use “pepped up mayonnaise”

Better Cooking Library, Sandwich and Party Snack Cook Book, 1964