Sunday, April 1, 2007

Chicken Stack-Ups and Fruited Nectar Salad

I know I've been getting quite chatty lately in the beginning of some of these posts, so let's just cut to the chase in today's entry and talk about the food. Up first, Chicken Stack-Ups, followed by Fruited Nectar Salad for dessert. Let's start with the Chicken Stack-Ups shall we?

Here's the mise en place:



The first thing I did was mix the sour cream sauce packet the recipe called for. Well, except the grocery store didn't have a sour cream sauce packet because it is 2007, so I substituted Hollandaise instead. I added the packet into a saucepan of simmering milk:



After whisking vigorously, I added 4 tablespoons of margarine:



After the margarine melted, the sauce was complete. I then chopped up the green bell pepper (the only fresh ingredient in this whole dish!):



To that, I added the canned chicken the recipe called for:



Then, I folded in half of the sour cream sauce... I mean, Hollandaise sauce:



Huh. Kinda looks like something I left on the basement floor of the Sigma Nu house after Spring Fling back in 1987. Anyhoo, the next step was to make the batter for the pancakes. That involved mixing flour, baking soda, and the remainder of the Hollandaise sauce:





Now, it's assembly time! In a baking dish, I followed the recipe to a tee: I did one layer of pancakes, then spread out the canned chicken/bell pepper/Hollandaise sauce mixture, then topped it with another layer of pancakes. I also added some Vienna Sausages because they were on sale and I thought they'd add to the classiness of the dish:



The last bit of work I had to do was make the cranberry sauce for the garnish on top of the Chicken Stack-Ups. It was really hard to do. Thank god the cookbook explained all the steps in excruciating detail:





Also, instead of making the cheese sauce packet I had purchased (I was running low on milk), I decided to melt some American cheese slices on top of the dish instead:



Here's a close-up of the deliciousness that is Chicken Stack-Ups:



Aren't the miniature porcelain bunnies and their musical instruments just darling? It seemed fitting for the photo somehow. Like they're heralding the arrival of such a tasty dinner!

Now that the main course was done, it was time to focus on dessert: a Fruited Nectar Salad. Here's the mise en place:



First step was to make the Jell-o. This involved mixing a lemon Jell-o packet with apricot nectar and water in a saucepan:



After it was done, I let it cool and semi-harden. Then, it was time to mix in the fruit:




[Sing with me: "Libby's Libby's Libby's on the label label label, you will like it like it like it on your table table table!"]

Up next was something not in the book, but an ingredient I felt compelled to add to the Fruited Nectar Salad, as we are approaching Easter -- Peeps. This involved quite a lot of prep work and mad knife skillz:









Look at those sad, pleading Peep faces... it's like they KNOW what's about to happen to them. Poor babies. Not.



I let the Fruited Nectar Salad "set up in the fridge" (Hi, TWoPers!) for about six hours before it was ready to be plated and then served. Here's what it looked like when removed from the mold:



And, here's a final plating of an individual tasting:



Of course, before I go, I must share the usual money shots of how much this food was loved, devoured, and enjoyed by my friends and family:





Happy April Fool's Day.

Seriously, up next week is the Lemon Sabayon-Pine Nut Tart with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream. From the French Laundry Cookbook. I promise.

Chicken Stack-Ups and Fruited Nectar Salad were lovingly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens' "Make-Ahead Cookbook" (1971), a book of recipes prepared and served by women who allegedly loved their families.


35 comments:

basiltherat said...

I was SO sure those were Sandra Lee recipes until I saw the tag.

I've never commented before, but I've been reading your blog religiously and really enjoying it. A friend of mine has the FL cookbook but has never actually tried to cook from it. I've directed him to this blog hoping it inspires him. (And he and I are going to the French Laundry in a couple weeks. Maybe that'll inspire him too.)

spooneroonie said...

You are evil and twisted and I love you for it. You have me weeping with glee at Melting Peeps. Let me guess: your musical selection was by Weird Al?

Deb said...

I totally look forward to the Internets' April Fools Day pranks--um, because I am clearly some sort of unapologetic dork--but this year, only yours had made me laugh. Perfectly executed, utterly vile... great job!

Ovens2Betsy said...

Too funny! (Although I immediately knew it was a joke when I saw the hollandaise packet). Reminds me of the recipes from the 1970s Weight Watchers recipe cards (check them out at http://www.candyboots.com/wwcards.html)

Cheers!
Betsy

Brian W said...

It's really the tiny rabbit figurines that make the whole post.

JordanBaker said...

NICE. I was alternately thinking "this has to be a joke" and screaming "My eyes! The food burns my eyes!" for most of the post.

Based on the presence of sauce packets alone, I'm guessing this is one of the cookbooks Gramma Lorraine taught Sandra how to cook from?

Casey said...

Oh, the lemon sabayon tart is delicious! It's the only recipe from the book I've made until today, when I took the initiative to make the haricots verts salad with tomato confit. Thank you for the inspiration!

AnneofCleves said...

This is a true thing of beauty. The casual, yet thoughtful, inclusion of the spongy little Vienna sausages. The moody and dramatic photography of the Peeps, contemplating their demise. I could weep. But probably not as much as the poor people who might have had to eat that krap (had you been cruel enough to feed anyone that).

Excellent work!

corycm said...

Oh man.
I was on the phone when I read this. The first thing I saw was the first meez photo...it all went downhill from there. My client now thinks I'm completely psychotic with all the giggling. Vienna sausages? Well played, madame, well played.

I'm not the guy who usually expresses himself in the form of emoticons, but this one is warranted:

D:

I'm pretty sure that's the face I made. Because someone, somewhere probably ate that...

Keep up the posting!

Diner Girl said...

Basil: Welcome! And glad you're enjoying the blog.

Spoonie: I wish I had been listening to Weird Al, but oddly enough I was listening to Paul Anka's "Rock Swings" album.

Deb: thank you, thank you. ::: bowing :::

Ovens: first of all, LOVE the name. And, yes, I am very familiar with Wendy's WW recipe card collection at Candyboots.

Brian: I know -- aren't they strange? I forget where I got them. Some elderly family member who is no longer with us, I'm sure.

Jordan: Yes, I'm sure this is one of Gramma Dicey's cookbooks. Isn't it sad that SLop would still make something like this and call it "gor-may?"

Anne: Thank ye, thank ye. :) Hope you're doing well.

Cory: Glad you liked it, and I'm a big fan of clients having warped perceptions of me/you. It happens all the time on my end.

Kitt said...

Total double-take on the mise en place ... canned chicken?!?

Then the penny dropped.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Happy April!

Ovens2Betsy said...

Thanks Diner Girl! I actually used to be in your line of business until I decided to give it up to follow my passion for cooking. I'm now a personal chef, and Ovens to Betsy just seemed the most appropriate name!

rob said...

Absolutely brilliant! My face was scrunching into a "WTF is the woman doing?" grimace as I read your post, plus terror that I'd somehow overlooked this dreadful recipe in the FL cookbook. That fruit nectar salad resembles vomit before it's eaten.

pdxblogmommy said...

Those bunnies are almost as good as the freakish mushroom people from the WW cards.

Nicely done.

Now if I could find that Jesus plaque...

Anonymous said...

I weep for those peeps.

I just found this blog a few days ago and have been inspired to try more ambitious recipes. You make it look completely doable. And I'm going to have to buy the book if only for the Chocolate/Peanut Butter truffles.

Great job!

Diner Girl said...

PDX: "And then, he died."

Kitt and Rob: Thanks! :)

Randi said...

So effing funny!!

Tony Greaves said...

You are too much. I was a little slow on the take, but kept thinking, what a terrible recipe, but when you brought out the vienna sausage, I thought, "She's lost it now."

You are doing a wonderful job.

recordkitten said...

I bow to your awesomeness. However, WHERE WAS THE COCKTAIL??? A meal this thoughtful and delectable merits a cocktail.

I am going to serve my family your delishus fruited nectar salad. However, we hate marshmallow peeps. would the pink bunny peeps work?? I'm making Sandra's lovely Nook-u-lar pink Bunny cake for dessert.

ann said...

The jello salad with the peeps actually made me a little sick, in a good way. If I was a coarser woman I would be swearing right about now, saying how utterly brilliant that post was!
Someone recently found my blog with a search term asking for a recipe for pickled red beet & marshmallow salad. I can only hope it's all bound up with lime flavored jello.
*shiver*

Anonymous said...

Oh my God Carole you are too funny! As someone who right now works retail where, until recently there has been an overabundance of peeps, you had me rolling! I have threatened to 1. find the nearest microwave and nuke the little bastards or take a lighter to the damn things. Melting them never entered my mind, very, very funny!

BTW, did you catch Michael Ruhlman's April Fools Day joke? I think he had alot of people going.... Thanks for the laugh!

Seppo said...

I laughed 'till I cried. I think it's better because I *didn't* see this on April 1st. I'm scrolling down, thinking, "Nice... that looks delicious... that looks great... I can't believe she took the time to make that... WTF?!?!?!?"

Awesome.

suzanne said...

in keeping with this post
I feel compelled to report
that,
in the instructional mode,
with an 11 year old male cook-in-the-making
I was explaining Knox Gelatin
and I said
you could gelatinize anything
even urine I added . . .

and so it came to be
with all of us contributing
the necessary liquid

no takers, though,
on sampling the end product
but of course
it jelled perfectly...

Anonymous said...

Wow. Carol @ @Home. "I see what you did there". Nice work.

Bob

greensgal said...

Brilliant!

alane said...

I. Want. That. Cookbook.

Anonymous said...

As a chef and culinarian it never fails to amaze me what the American public will actually consider putting in one's mouth and you said it with such toungue in cheek humor!! I look forward to more

Beanie said...

Great mother of toast, that was scary! I had to check the date...

Anonymous said...

Sniff...tear...gag...all my favorite emotions! You are special. I loved it!

peter said...

I'm so glad I didn't read this while I was driving. Nice work.

Bad Home Cook said...

Jumped to your blog from Ruhlman...thought for a brief moment I had some competition.....then realized you do know how to cook. (Even Peeps.)

I bow so low, madame.

Anonymous said...

Woot!

Nosaby said...

I have just found this blog and have gone back to the beginning to read through. Loving it so far. And then I came to this post and almost vomited! Hilarious.

Paula Pereira said...

I knew this had to be some sick, twisted joke! HAHA That recipe is just wrong on so many levels!

Anonymous said...

I bought the French Laundry cookbook a few months ago and I've only made certain pieces of recipes to add some oomf to my own. I have read all of your blog posts and have enjoyed reading them, but when I came to this one...I honestly did not think it was a joke...I almost went to grab my copy of the book to find this recipe. I had been showing a girl at work how delicious and fresh these preparations are and when she saw the packaged hollandaise mix she was all like "I told you that it was just as good from the packet" I was shocked, backpeddling, I was freaking out...how would I convince these feeders that I was right about food and they were wrong. Then you saved me. thanks...