the city chicken

A banana a day
06 21 2008, 9:09 am
Filed under: recipes, TV, vintage recipes

I am a huge fan of Top Chef, and season 4 just finished up two weeks ago. Richard, arguably the favorite to win all season long, choked and came in a disappointing third place.


Throughout every season of Top Chef, the biggest challenge for most chefs has been desserts. They always claim to not be pastry chefs and typically bitch and moan when they are forced to complete a dessert course. This season however, Richard came up with a dessert idea he used a shocking THREE times on the show  – banana scallops with various flavors of ice cream (including bacon!).

Essentially Richard’s banana scallops were just banana slices topped with a good amount of sugar and seared to look like nicely pan seared scallops.


It turns out that Richard isn’t the only one who has tried to spruce up the banana over the years. This picture comes from my Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book, circa 1950:


Yep, banana scallops . . with a hamburger and asparagus. And this isn’t the only place I’ve seen a banana scallop recipe. In my 1952 “Meat Recipes you’ll talk about” recipe book, there is a recipe for Smoked ham slice with banana scallops, the recipe slightly differing from Chiquita’s.

The Chiquita banana book contains a variety of recipes and pictures that I will have to share here. Some are simply hillarious and only about 4 recipes out of the entire book sound decent.

Some of my favorite “recipes” from the book are the ones I call “filler” recipes. They aren’t recipes at all but instead serving suggestions. Example #1: banana ambrosia


Otherwise known as coconut on a plate, orange slices, banana slices (cut pretty) and a sprinkling of sugar.
Or how about the “banana mixed grill”:


This “recipe” calls for 3 tomatoes, three bananas, three hamburger patties, butter, salt, and parsley . . . No, you don’t combine any of it together, you just cook it all on the same grill apparently.

Who would have thought bananas and hamburgers would go so well together.

[disclaimer] I do not endorse nor advocate the eating of any tomato that has not been processed into a jarred salsa or sauce, canned soup, or preserved ketchup. I always knew raw tomatos would begin killing people… it was only a matter of time.[/disclaimer]


Brian’s Birthday and some fondant
03 16 2008, 6:07 am
Filed under: birthday, food, fun stuff, recipes

Brian’s birthday was yesterday and I decided to give him a bit of a themed birthday. Nintendo themed! lol. It was a lot of fun. I made him a card and a “1 up” cake. I thought the “1 up” idea was great for a birthday – if you don’t know anything about Super Mario Brothers, when you get a “1 up” you get an extra life.

This cake took a bit of research – I’ve never made or used fondant before but it was fun learning how to work with it and I will definitely do it again. I used a marshmallow fondant recipe from this website. The cake was a yellow cake with a layer of cherry preserves in between. Chocolate buttercream frosting covered the whole cake and then the fondant. Here are pictures 🙂

A form for cutting the cakes.


The cut cake halves.


Layered and frosted.


The final product. (The eyes are Raisinets).


Brian liked his cake and it tasted pretty good too! The fondant was super sweet but I expected that. We had cake with Brian’s father and his father’s girlfriend after we all had gone out to dinner downtown. Brian and I came back to my place and watched TV for a bit… well, he napped lol. He had to work at 6am this morning. It was a nice day.

I can’t wait for the next birthday now so I can play with another cake!! haha.

mmm mmm good
11 8 2007, 8:07 pm
Filed under: books, food, nostalgia, recipes, recommendations, retro recipes, vintage

So this evening I went to the 1/2 price book store – great place and I found a couple Christmas gifts and I also picked up a little something for myself:

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This book has me doubled over and I am not even completely done looking through it.

So far, my favorite recipe is the cucumber ice salad; the ingredients list includes:
1/4 pound of marshmallows (based on the name of the salad, this should raise an immediate retro red flag!)
1/3 C lemon juice
2 medium-size cucumbers, grated (enough to yield two cups of pulp)
1 tsp. onion, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
3 drops of green food coloring
few grains of cayenne pepper
2 egg whites
1 tbsp. sugar
8 medium sized tomatoes

Scary no?
But wait, it gets BETTER!!!
The details of how to prepare this are pretty intense but here is the basic run down

You melt the marshmallows and lemon juice and freeze that until “mushy”. Most of the other ingredients are mixed together and then you make a meringue out of the sugar and egg whites and fold that into the rest of the ingredients (including the now half-frozen marshmallow mush).
Bounce that all back into the freezer until solid…

Gut a bunch of tomatoes and put the frozen cucumber puke…er… salad into the tomatoes – serve cold.

Keep barf baggies handy.

One of my favorite blogs, Nacho Underpants, has a recent post that also had me rolling in laughter – ham and bananas hollandaise.

Eat your heart out Ted Allen, this is the food that I wanna eat!!!

On a more realistic note, there really IS a recipe I do want to eat and SOON. Salted caramel cheesecake

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Picture is from Cream Puffs In Venice and although I normally don’t like using the pictures from other bloggers, I couldn’t help myself this time since this picture caused a bit of chaos in my Constitutional law class today as the people surrounding me all suddenly caught sight of it at the same time and all exclaimed “What is THAT!?” 

My mouth waters every time I see that picture…


vintage magazines
07 17 2007, 9:01 pm
Filed under: 1940's, ads, food, recipes, vintage

Over the last two years or so I have found myself rather intrigued with vintage women’s magazines. Most of my favorites come from the war years particularly because of the rather insane recipes that were printed at that tme because of the shortage of certain foods (mainly good cuts of meat). The majority of the ads play up to women’s desires to be married (or to stay married!) and some of them are just plain hilarious. Other ads make it clear where some of the sayings and general cultural ideas originated. I plan to share some of the ads and recipes here over time.

*Note on the recipes (which I will be sure to reiterate as I post them)  While many of the recipes may be some that you have been looking for and some may help describe techniques not as often used anymore remember that these recipes generally were printed in the 1940’s in promotion of products that were new at the time. Note that just because the name of the product looks familiar, portion sizes, flavors, and ingredients can and do change over time. No recipes have been tried by myself and some …. well, should never be tried by anyone! However I will be sure to print the “good” recipes along with the funny/scary ones as there are plenty that sound wonderful and some that I am sure there are people out there searching for!*

And now for a fun starter recipe:

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Spam Upside Down Pie: Line bottom of well-greased 8-inch ring mold with Spam slices. (The Spam cooks to a beautiful golden brown, adds its own special flavor.) Cut more Spam into small cubes and add to dry ingredients of a standard baking powder biscuit recipe – home made or ready prepared. Add liquids pat dough into mold, bake 40-45 minutes at 425 degrees F. Turn onto a platter. Fill center with…Tart Cheese Sauce: Blend 1/3 C flour into 1/3 C melted margarine, stir in gradually 2 1/4 cups milk. Heat and stir until smooth and thickened. Add 1/2 pound grated American cheese, 1 tsp prepared mustard, 1/8 tsp Worcestershire, 1/4 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt. Cook in double broiler until cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Serve hot over Spam Upside Down Pie. (Or substitute spicy Spanish or horseradish sauce.)

A Del Monte Recipe from a 1943 Ladies Home Journal – This one just seemed like over kill to me for peaches and cottage cheese…

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And now for one of my all time favorite ads that I have come across so far – a portion of an ad for Ivory Bath Soap from Life Magazine, April 27, 1942 (which btw, a yearly subscription to was $4.50).

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And now just for the contrast, a quick Jell-o recipe that actually sounds easy (almost non-existent back then!) and good!

Easter Glory Whip:
1 package Strawberry Jell-o
1 1/3 cups hot water
2/3 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup cream, whipped
3/4 cup well-drained canned crushed pineapple
1/4 cup quartered maraschino cherries
cake cubes

Dissolve jell-o in hot water; add pineapple juice. Chill until slightly thickened. Reserve 1/4 cup mixture for garnish. Place remaining jell-o in bowl of ice and water and whip with rotary egg beater until fluffy and thick. Fold in whipped cream and fruit. Turn into serving bowl. Place slightly thickened Jell-o by spoonfulls on whipped mixture. Garnish with cake cubes. Chill. Makes 6-8 servings.

Hope you all enjoyed this little snippit of the past!!