Welcome back Mad Men, we’ve been waiting for the season six premiere and through the first several episodes you have not disappointed.
Fab fashions, now getting hipper in the late 1960s, and still plenty of smoking and drinking. Martinis, Manhattans and even a Blue Hawaii.
And the food?
Oh, my. Everything from Hawaiian poi to Ritz crackers and fondue. I really need to get a fondue set. Again.
Sadly, my mom never attempted French classic foods. We were not Mad Men material.
The late '60s were a time of transition in American food. World influences were starting to sneak into American kitchens along with the new and prepackaged items. (See Ritz crackers, above.) Stuff like Tang along with Lowry’s Taco Seasoning Mix were sneaking into mothers’ grocery carts along with fresh items for recipes from Julia Child’s cookbook.
Not sure if Peggy actually had time to cook beef bourguignon, one of Child’s most popular dishes, but millions of American housewives were trying out the recipe for the aromatic beef stew.
Here in Houston, in modern times, one of the best places to try it is L’Olivier Restaurant where chef/owner Olivier Ciesielski dishes it up alongside some of his more contemporary dishes. He says it was one of the first dishes he learned to cook at culinary school in Burgundy.
Sadly, my mom never attempted French classic foods. We were not Mad Men material. We ate tuna casseroles with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and salmon patties (which I latter learned to call croquettes). But there was a fondue pot in the late 1960s, mostly reserved for company.
And I do recall Green Goddess dressing from somewhere, which is why I love the Green Goddess dipping sauce with the chicken skewers at Giacomo’s cibo e vino.
And there was another dish that got trotted out for special occasions: Jell-O salad.
Sometimes called by the less appetizing names of gelatin, jelly or congealed salad, but always made with Jell-O packets, this jiggly dish was festive, if not always tasty. Whoever thought up mixing Jell-O with vegetables and stuff must have been heavy into the martinis.
But, it still survives and can occasionally be found at Luby’s Cafeteria. And, thanks to Luby’s, we’re even including a recipe below for your next Mad Men viewing party. But you probably don’t want to make it as a side to the beef bourguignon.
Olivier Ciesielski’s Beef Bourguignon
6-oz piece of chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 lb lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 carrot, sliced
2 onion, sliced,
salt and pepper as taste,
2 tp flour, 3 cups of Burgundy red wine, 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock,
1 tps tomato paste,
2 cloves garlic(chopped),
1 spring of thyme,
1 bay leaf, l
3 1/2 tps butter,
herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter
teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth),
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and
1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1
1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a large casserole. Working in batches, brown the stew meat well on all sides, removing as you go. When the meat is done, cook the carrots and onions in the same pot until tender and lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook one minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Pour over the wine and the stock. Add the bouquet garni.
Return the meat to the pot, cover, and transfer to the oven until the meat is very tender, about two hours. While the meat cooks, prepare the garnish: Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry. Heat the oil, in a pan and brown the bacon, and remove.
Finally, brown the mushrooms, and remove. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup water, reduce, and then pour over the garnish. Set aside. When the meat is done, remove it from the pot. Strain the stock, discarding the vegetables. Pour the liquid back into the pot, and boil until thick enough to coat a spoon. Return the meat to the pan and add the garnish. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Serve.
Luby’s Dan Phalen’s Lime Congeal
Serves 33 (party time!)
1 1/2 quart boiling water
1/2 lemon Jell-O 24 ounce package
1/2 lime Jell-O 24 ounce package
3 cups mayonnaise
3 cups whole milk
4 pounds of ice
4 gallons cold water
2 3/4 cup cottage cheese
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 quart crushed pineapple
1 Tbsp horseradish
Place Jell-O into a 1-gallon plastic container. Add boiling water, slowly and hand whip.
Hand-whip mayonnaise and milk until fully combined. Add Jell-O mixture and hand whip.
Place ice and cold water into a large salad mixing bowl to create an ice bath.
Set mixing bowl into ice bath.
Place cottage cheese, pecans, pineapple, and horseradish into the mixing bowl and mix with rubber spatula until fully combined.
When thickened, remove from ice bath and add cottage cheese and mix.
Immediately pour into congeal molds, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
Decorate with whipped cream topping.