Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sailor's Delight Salad

invented by Dr. Bobb!
A couple of months ago, I took a stab at inventing my own gelatin salad (a trendy orange/basil/jalapeno concoction).  It sounded swell on paper, honest. The results were filmed, but will likely never see the light of day; the filming happened the same day as Lime Turkey Mold, which resulted in Dr. Husband's first (and only-so-far) taste-and-purge, and so it's a bitter memory for us both.

Now, though, I feel a bit more prepared for recipe creation, and instead of trying to be all artsy-fartsy I stuck to basics, and limited myself to ingredients I had on hand.

Since it contains cabbage, this salad is obviously based on the classic Perfection Salad, a staple of church suppers and school cafeterias well into the 1970s.  Perfection Salad's existence can be traced back to at least 1905, and almost always involves cabbage, and sometimes olives, pimientos, lima beans, carrots, celery, pineapple...essentially whatever old crap you might have in the icebox and want to foist off on your unsuspecting family or guests.

Usually the salad is presented in lemon or lime flavored gelatin (or, originally, in unflavored) but I didn't have either of those flavors on hand, so I went for color palate.  Which brings us to the name, "Sailor's Delight". My grandmother Mrs. White, had the climatological acumen of most turn-of-the-20th-Century farmgirls of her day, and one of the surefire ways to predict tomorrow's weather was by the color of the sunrise and sunset - i.e.,  "Red at night, sailor's delight; Red at morning, sailors take warning." (Her method of telling when a cloudy day would turn sunny - "It'll clear up if there's enough blue in the sky to patch a Dutchboy's pants" - is not quite as reliable, I'm afraid.)
So, Sailor's Delight, because it's red. Also, the vitamin C in the beets and cabbage will prevent scurvy!

On to the recipe:
1 box (3 oz.) orange gelatin
1 box (3 oz.) cherry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 can beets, diced

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add salt, vinegar, lemon juice, and cold water. Arrange cabbage and beets in a rectangular baking dish. Pour over gelatin mixture. Chill until firm. To serve, cut into squares; top with mayonnaise if desired.

I know what you're thinking, and quite frankly, I had my doubts too.  So what did Dr. Husband think?
Don't forget you can come and hear us sing, if you're near the Eastern panhandle of West Virginia!
If you can't make it, then come two days later in Annapolis!
And if you happen to be in the North Carolina Research Triangle, and can do without hearing Dr. Husband, then come hear me in Chapel Hill!
Our Rating: One Screaming Husband!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Monterey Soufflé Salad

contributed by Star-Kist Tuna, ca. 1955
Welcome back!  Thank you for all your kind encouragements during the 12 Days of Kitschmas, and, thank you to my legions of fans who were thoughtful enough to send me this Buzzfeed article listing "21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes." Upsetting?!? Clearly Buzzfeed, whomever that might be, is reflexively reacting to the listed ingredients and not going to the trouble of making and tasting the recipes, like I do for you.  In fact, #21 on their list, which they labeled with a horrified "?????????", has already been made, tasted, and Dr. Husband-approved in the Historic test kitchen!

So, for our inaugural post of 2014, I've made another "horrifying" dish from Buzzfeed's list, #14, Monterey Soufflé Salad. (I've had dozens of requests to do #2, Ham and Bananas Hollandaise...which I will do, but I had the ingredients for Monterey Soufflé Salad in the house, and I'm lazy, so there.)

While assembling the dish, I formulated a theory, the theory being that fish combined with gelatin in delicious, and will please a man's palate. For support, I offer these past dishes, as well as today's offering. (I am willing to admit the possibility that it might be the mayonnaise that gives these recipes the edge, but...)

Here's the recipe, as presented in Star-Kist Tuna promotional materials, circa 1955:
1 pkg lemon-flavored gelatin
1 cup hot water and 1/2 cup cold water
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/2 cup Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
1-1/2 can Star-Kist Tuna
3/4 cup chopped cucumber or celery
1/4 cup sliced stuffed olives
2 tbsps chopped pimento
1/2 tsp grated onion

Dissolve gelatin in hot water. Add cold water, lemon juice, real mayonnaise and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend well with rotary beater. Pour into refrigerator freezing tray. Quick chill in freezing unit (without changing control) 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm about 1 inch from edge but soft in center. Turn mixture into bowl and whip with rotary beater until fluffy. Fold in remaining ingredients. Pour in 1-quart mold or individual molds. Chill until firm in refrigerator (not freezing unit) 30 to 60 minutes. Unmold and garnish with salad greens and serve with additional real mayonnaise, if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings.

I did use the name brand tuna and mayonnaise as directed. The only alteration I made was cutting back on the amount of pimiento, as I often find that the flavor overpowers the dish.

Also, it's my first try at whipping partially-chilled gelatin - you'll hear Dr. Husband comment on how light and fluffy the dish is, and that's why! There are lots of extended gelatin techniques I've discovered in old cookbooks, which I'll be sharing this year, so stay tuned.

Anyway, what did we think?

A couple more items of business:

If you're near the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, you can come hear Dr. Husband and I sing!

You can also like and follow us on Facebook, or on Feedspot if that's more your speed. (I'm determined to become an internet sensation by the beginning of summer, so your support is always appreciated. Tell all your friends!)
 Our Rating: One Screaming Husband!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)