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Monday, April 22, 2013

Recipes from the Blue Plate Cafe

One of the joys of writing the Blue Plate Mystery Series, for me, is a chance to talk about food and include some recipes. So there's a recipe section at the back of Murder at the Blue Plate Café. Naturally I attributed them all to the fictional Gram, who owned the café for years until her sudden death. In truth one of those below is my own version of chicken salad, but I attribute it to Kate because she added it in an attempt to lighten the café menu. The sheet cake came from my late dear friend, Reva Ogilvie. Reva and I used to argue whether it was a sheet cake or a sheath cake. I insisted it's a sheet cake because you make it in a sheet pan; she persisted in calling it a sheath cake. Either way, we'll continue the fiction and call most Gram's recipes. These would be the great basis for a lunch menu, maybe with the addition of fruit and bread.

Kate’s Chicken Salad

Kate is a purist about chicken salad. She doesn’t believe in adding pickle relish, grapes (too much like bistro food!), or nuts. This makes great sandwiches.

4 whole chicken breasts, poached and diced
Juice of 2 large lemons
8 scallions, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
Salt and pepper
Mayonnaise to bind (do not use that low-fat stuff) or equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream

Optional: stir in some blue cheese. So good!

Flake chicken in food processor or dice, according to your preference—Kate flakes it; add diced scallions, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and mix. Add mayonnaise a bit at a time, blending thoroughly. It should hold the chicken together but not make the mixture soupy. The pure chicken flavor should dominate. Serves about 12. Can easily be reduced for home use; just start with one whole chicken breast or even a half.
Gram’s Sheet Cake
Follow the directions carefully because this goes together like no cake I've ever made.
2 sticks butter or margarine
4 Tbsp. cocoa
1 c. water.
 Bring these ingredients to a boil and add:
 2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
Mix and add:
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
 Mix and bake in a greased rimmed cookie sheet at 400° for 20 minutes.
Separately combine in saucepan:
 1 stick butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa
6 Tbsp. milk
Bring to a boil and add:
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 c. chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla
Spread over hot cake.



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