Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Detroit's Legendary Maurice Salad Dressing

New York City has Macy's,
Chicago had Marshall Field's,
Here in Detroit, our Grand Dame of department stores was J.L. Hudson.

For over a century, the J.L. Hudson Department Store on Woodward Ave. was more than just a store--it was a Detroit icon and a world-class cultural treasure. At 25 stories, it was the world's tallest department store, and second largest (after Macy's in N.Y.C), and was at one time home to the most exceptional offerings in shopping, dining, services, and entertainment.

The store prided itself on stocking everything from grand pianos to spools of thread. In addition to departments offering fashionable clothing and home furnishings, the original Hudson's store featured an auditorium, a circulating library, a magnificent place called "Toytown", and the world's largest American Flag.
To read more about this magnificent department store, check out this book: Hudson's Detroit's Legendary Department Store.

Now this blog is not about shopping, it's about food. Hudson's downtown location housed many culinary retreats for hungry guests. The thirteenth floor was home to several restaurants, including The Pine Room, The Georgian Room, and The Early American Room, which later evolved into The Riverview Room. The store also offered a tearoom, snack bar, bakery, and fine wine shop, among other specialty food and dining venues.
Though Detroit's downtown gem closed in 1983, many of its culinary traditions have been passed on to its other Hudson's locations. Now under the Macy's name, and before that, Marshall Field's, Hudson's favorites continue to delight beyond Michigan.

One menu item from Hudson's, in particular, was the Maurice Salad. Who was Maurice? Some say he was a chef at Hudson's, where this salad made its debut, though no one knows for sure. While Maurice's identity may have faded into obscurity, his chef's salad with this lemony-mayo dressing remains the number-one seller in all of Macy's Michigan restaurants known as "The Lakeshore Grille". Bottles of this famous dressing can be purchased in all of Macy's Michigan locations, and now you can make this delicious dressing yourself!

Look for small bottles of onion juice in the spice section of many supermarkets. If it's not available, grate a piece of onion and squeeze the pulp through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer.

To make this wonderfully easy and tasty dressing, you'll need:

2 teas. white vinegar
1-1/2 teas. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 teas. onion juice
1-1/2 teas. sugar
1-1/2 teas. Dijon mustard
1/4 teas. dry mustard
1 cup of mayonnaise (homemade or store-bought)
2 Tbls. chopped, fresh parsley
1 hard-cooked egg, finally diced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, onion juice, sugar, Dijon & dry mustard's in a bowl and whisk well to dissolve the sugar.

Now whisk in the mayonnaise, parsley and egg. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Use this as a salad or sandwich dressing. Keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Now if you'd like to make the official Maurice Salad, as served at Hudson's, in a large bowl, combine 1 lb each of cooked ham, turkey breast, and Swiss cheese all cut into thin julienned strips and 1/2 cup minced sweet pickles. Toss lightly, add the dressing and fold together. Shred one head of iceberg lettuce and arrange a bed of shredded lettuce on 4 salad plates. Top the meat & cheese mixture onto each bed of lettuce and garnish each salad with 2 pimento stuffed green olives, and a couple hard-cooked egg slices. Serve at once!


Mayonnaise was invented in 1756 by the French chef of the Duc de Richelieu. After the Duc beat the British at Port Mahon, his chef created a victory feast that was to include a sauce made of cream and eggs. Realizing that there was no cream in the kitchen, the chef substituted olive oil for the cream and a new culinary creation was born. The chef named the new sauce "Mahonnaise" in honor of the Duc's victory.

Mayonnaise is a process of forcing egg yolks to absorb a fatty substance, oil in this case, and to hold it in to a thick and creamy suspension. But as the egg yolks do not have to be warmed, the sauce is that much simpler to make. You can make it by hand, blender or food processor. I've used the food processor as it produces a larger and better sauce.

Since homemade mayonnaise is uncooked, be sure to use the freshest eggs possible, and ones that you are reasonably sure are free from salmonella. Homemade mayonnaise will last three to four days in the refrigerator.
One should also exercise caution when serving homemade mayonnaise to young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Mayonnaise is used as the base for other sauces, such as tartar sauce and thousand-island salad dressing. Aioli is garlic-flavored mayonnaise. Another classic emulsion sauce is hollandaise, which is a cooked mixture of butter, egg yolks and lemon juice.

To make 2 cups of mayonnaise in the food processor, fitted with the steel blades, you'll need:

1 egg and 2 egg yolks (at room temperature)
1/4 teas. dry mustard
1/2 teas. coarse salt
Freshly squeezed lemon juice and/or white wine vinegar
2 cups of the best quality olive oil and/or vegetable oil
Additional salt, pepper, lemon juice or wine vinegar as needed

Process the egg and yolks for 1 minute.

With the machine running, add the dry mustard, salt and 1 teas. lemon juice or vinegar

With the machine still running, start adding the oil in a stream of droplets, continuing until you have used half the oil and the sauce is very thick. This is a VERY important step. Add the oil too quickly and your sauce will break, and you'll have to trash the whole thing! I believe most food processors have in the top of the food pusher, a small "pin-hole" like mine does (I believe is a standard on Cuisinart processors). This is what that pin-hole is for, adding oil or other liquids in a very thin, slow stream.

Thin out with lemon juice or vinegar, then continue with the oil. Season carefully with more salt, pepper, lemon juice and/or vinegar.

The mayonnaise should be chilled and used within 3-4 days. As mentioned above, you can use this mayonnaise as a base for other sauces and dressings

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mario's Weekend Cooking Challange: Spinach Torta via Hoboken!

Mario's Weekend Cooking Challenge is a new Facebook Group for people to get together, once a month and cook the same recipe, compare notes and discuss outcomes. It is put together by Mario Bosquez host of "Living Today" on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius 112 & XM 157

The first challenge recipe is "Spinach Torta via Hoboken. A recipe adapted from
The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family”, by, James Beard award-winning author, Laura Schenone. Get the complete recipe here: Spinach Torta via Hoboken.

4 packs of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and completely squeezed of all liquid. I found placing the spinach in a cheesecloth and "wringing" it out complete the easiest way to do this.
A bar of cream cheese at room temperature, some eggs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley, to taste.

To start, you want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a 9" x 11" Pyrex-type dish, brush 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom and sides

In a the bowl of a mixer, whip up the bar of cream cheese until smooth. Then add all the beaten eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, pepper and parsley.

Mix this well until smooth and thick.

Divide the mixture in half. Mix one half with the spinach. Evenly spread this spinach-cheese-egg mixture in the prepared pan.

Cover the spinach mixture with the remaining half of the egg-cheese mixture.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Let cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Serves 10 to 12 as an appetizer or side dish. Also makes a great light lunch!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Mixing Bowl Is A Year Old!!!

This blog has reached it's first year! I started "The Mixing Bowl" while trying to find creative and different ways to occupy my time after having been laid off from my job. The idea of this blog came from the many requests from friends and family members always asking "how do you make this?" or "If I wanted to try cooking this, how would I go about it?" Although I haven't posted as much as I would like, I plan on many great things in the future including "toying" with the idea of a "video blog" of actual cooking demos.

The first post to "The Mixing Bowl" I did was a "re-post" from my old blog on MySpace on Canning Tomatoes. Though this is a late summer project, feel free to revisit the blog entry and who knows, you may want to try this "labor of love". It's truly rewarding!!

Thank you to those who are regular readers, and hope to gain more in the coming years!!