Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hudson's Maurice Salad

When I was in high school, the first job I ever had was at Oakland Mall.  I was a waitress at Olga's Kitchen, and I even though it was a bit of a drive from my house, I liked hanging out at the mall, even during Christmas.   While I never really got tired of eating at Olga's....I still like eating their freshly tossed Greek salad with exactly one olive placed on top like a cherry on a banana split, and their delicious Olga bread  (many moons ago, I clipped the recipe for it out of the Detroit Free press) it was always special to eat at the mezzanine restaurant at J.L. Hudson's.  Hudson's was Detroit's fancy department store, it morped into Dayton-Hudsons, then into Marshall Fields and now it's Macys.  Somewhere along the line, the nice restaurants faded away into a deli counter.    I remember the salads the best at Hudsons, specifically the Maurice Salad, which is somewhat of a Michigan legend.  I am not a huge fan of mayonnaise based dressings, but I make the exception for this salad.  There is something magical about the combination of the sweet gherkin pickles and the dressing and Swiss cheese that is perfect.    The recipe was printed a while ago in the Free Press, but at a whopping 750 calories per serving, I wanted to make something I could eat at lunch regularly.   So here is my everyday version...brought down to a more reasonable 450 calories.

Maurice Salad
Serves: 6


2 teaspoons white vinegar
1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ teaspoons onion powder
1½ teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup mayonnaise, reduced-fat
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 hard-cooked egg, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound ham, julienned
1/2 pound cooked turkey breast, julienned
1/2 pound Swiss cheese, julienned
½ cup slivered sweet gherkin pickles
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
pimiento-stuffed green olives for garnish (optional)


To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl combine the vinegar, lemon juice, onion powder, sugar, Dijon and dry mustard; whisk well to dissolve the sugar.

Whisk in the mayonnaise, parsley and egg, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, combine the ham, turkey, cheese and pickles and toss lightly. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently fold together.

Arrange a bed of lettuce on each plate. Top with the meat and cheese mixture and garnish each serving with 2 olives and serve.

Now, if I could just find their recipe for Waldorf  Salad....

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

In my mind, there are two iconic hippy restaurant cookbooks....

The first is the Bakery Lane Soup Bowl Cookbook, originally published in 1976.   The Bakery Lane Soup Bowl was a restaurant in Middlebury, Vermont, and while not everything in is the stereotype earthy food  (tofu, etc) it is so cozy and inviting in a 1970s kind of way you want to start cooking immediately upon reading it the first time.   I looked for the book used for years (long out of print) before I found it finally.   After much googling, I found that they owners closed it and moved to Arizona and opened a restaurant called Maude's (after their cat) but that one is closed now too.   But the cookbook is a keeper!

Secondly, like Middlebury, Vermont, (a college town) there is Ithaca, New York and the iconic Moosewood Restaurant.   The Moosewood still exists without one of the original members of the collective that started it, Mollie Katzen, but she wrote their first cookbook and I think it's their best.   I loved Mollie's hand lettered recipes and hand drawn pictures.   The cookbook is definitely more hippie style....i.e. vegetarian, tofu, etc.   But just like Bakery Lane, it makes you want to cook something right just from reading it.   The recipe for vegetarian chili in this book is the best I've tasted anywhere.  

Since acquiring the Bakery Lane cookbook, I've been wanting to make the Fresh Apple Cake recipe, but never got around to it until today. At the beginning of the dessert chapter, the authors claim their desserts are worth the calories, and I think it's true.    Facebook, via the King Arthur Flour post, reminded me of it this week, so I decided to make it for a brunch I was hosting with my friends Patty and Ellen.   Perfect for a fall day....

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples
1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan. To make the cake: Mix all of the ingredients except the apples and nuts in a large bowl. Beat until well combined; the mixture will be very stiff, and may even be crumbly. Add the apples and nuts, and mix until the apples release some of their juice and the stiff mixture becomes a thick batter, somewhere between cookie dough and brownie batter in consistency.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing it with your wet fingers. Bake the cake for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few wet crumbs clinging to it.   Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool completely; don't remove the cake from the pan.

To make the frosting: Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts. Add the milk, bring to a boil, and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat well; if the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners' sugar. Spread on the cake while frosting is still warm.