Monday, March 26, 2012


I have dutifully noted that boiled hot dog wieners are not an appropriate way to celebrate the end of a too-long hiatus (which is ongoing for our poor gal Betty Draper), and thus this week found us joining the well-coiffed pack of other Mad Men fans in diving headlong into recipes once forgotten. Hearts of palm salad, Chicken Kiev, an impromptu parfait – all resurrected by Don Draper’s devastating charm. That man’s powers are limitless…unless you’re talking about sexing up a baked bean ballet.

Sardi’s Hearts of Palm Salad

This recipe was taken from the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, an interesting read into the period of that time, particularly for those that don’t have time to scour vintage bookshops for old Good Housekeeping recipes.

Sardi’s should need no introduction, but here’s a vintage ad featuring the restaurant:

For the salad:

6 lettuce leaves
6 whole pieces of hearts of palm (generally 1 can’s worth), drained and sliced into bite-size chunks
6 thin slices of pimiento (which are amazingly hard to find; sub in roasted red bell peppers if you need)
6 springs watercress
2 cigarettes (optional)

For the vinaigrette:

½ a dill pickle, finely chopped (about 2 tbsps worth)(I used less, based on how much vinegar is involved)
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp finely chopped (near minced) capers
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped pimiento (again, sub in red bell peppers if needed)
1 tsp finely chopped hard-boiled egg white
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white vinegar

For the vinaigrette: add all ingredients together and mix well. Refrigerate.

Assemble the salad as best you can – bonus points if you can get that 60s plating esthetic just right (I’m thinking the watercress for garnish). Stir up the vinaigrette and dress at will. Smoking during preparation will only enhance the intrigue.

The Chicken Kiev

I won’t get into the odd history of this dish in too much detail, considering how well Alton Brown camps it up. We also took the recipe from Mr. Brown, though instead of frying we opted for baking (having a smoke alarm right beside the stove will do that).

8 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 large whole eggs, beaten with 1tsp of water
2 cups breadcrumbs (use panko if frying), plus ¼ cup for filling
If frying, vegetable oil
4 cigarettes
1 identity crisis

For the compound butter, combine the butter, herbs, salt and pepper in a mixer, then place on plastic wrap or waxed paper and roll into a small log for freezing. Ice it until frozen.

Flatten the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap to about 1/8 inch thickness, and season as necessary with salt and pepper (go sparingly since there’s salt/pepper in the butter).

Lay one chicken breast flat on a new piece of plastic wrap and place ¼ of the compound butter and 1tbsp of breadcrumbs into the centre. Use the plastic wrap to roll in ends of the chicken breast into a log, encasing the butter completely. (We used toothpicks as well to help out.) Refrigerate for a couple of hours if you have the time; this will help keep it from unravelling while cooking.

Place egg and water mixture into a pan for coating the chicken breast, then coat with the breadcrumbs at will.

If you’re frying, heat ½ inch of the oil in a sauté pan until it reaches 375F. If baking, heat the oven to the same temperature. Cook the chicken breasts until golden brown, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Smoking during preparation will only enhance its intrigue. An extra glass of scotch will erase those painful memories. Not even your parents love you, Dick Whitman.

Considering I’m the It Girl has a real aversion to Jello, she dreamed up this parfait, which requires:

Vanilla pudding
Canned fruit
Whipped cream
Crumbled cookies
5lbs sexual devastation

Put yourself into a Betty Draper state of mind, and get premade everything. Of course, since this usually goes against everything we currently do, we had no idea that Jello Pudding cups were discontinued (or at least impossible to find), but that instamix is still avail. We still made our own whipped cream though, cause that fake petroleum product stuff is just too hard (and expensive) to stomach.

Construct it all in layers. Serve with ambition: as they say, “stability is just a step between success and failure”!

the clutterer Web Developer