Monday, March 05, 2007

WCC #14: A Salad By Any Other Name...

...would still taste like salad. Unless, of course, you use gelatin to make that particular salad. For this edition of Weekend Cookbook Challenge, I decided to take a bit of a retro approach to the Salad theme.

I dug out my vintage Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks (Copyright 1963), and selected the volume entitled Lunches and Brunches. The clever subtitle is "Luscious lunches, best brunches". Whoever thought that one up MUST have been getting paid the big bucks.

This entry is based on the 'Make-ahead Luncheon' found on Page 13 of Lunches and Brunches. I say 'based on', because I didn't make the entire menu suggested for this luncheon. What I did make was:

Chilled Tomato Juice
Ham & Swiss Roll-ups
Devilled Eggs

and the pièce de résistance:
Confetti Relish Mold

Sounds so good, you can almost taste it, hmmmmm?

The devilled eggs are pretty self-explanatory, and the ham & swiss roll-ups are just that - a piece of cooked ham, a piece of swiss cheese, some grainy mustard, a little wasabi, and ROLL UP. The recipe calls for horseradish, but I don't have any, and wasabi is basically horseradish on crack anyway, so I used (a tiny bit of) the wasabi.

The Confetti Relish Mold was the fun part. For all you fine people who are just dying to make a gelatin-mold salad, here's the recipe as printed in the book:

Confetti Relish Mold
serves 6

2 beef bouillon cubes
1 3-oz package of lemon-flavoured gelatin
1 C boiling water
2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 C dairy sour cream
(as opposed to library sour cream, maybe?)
1/2 C chopped unpared cucumber
(I peeled it anyway)
1/2 C finely chopped green pepper
1/4 C sliced radishes
2 tbsp sliced green onions

Dissolve bouillon cubes and gelatin in boiling water. Add vinegar and salt. Chill until mixture is partially set.
Add sour cream, beat smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into a 3-cup mold. Chill until mixture is firm.

OK, that was what the book said. This is what I actually did. I made a few common-sense (to my mind, anyway) substitutions. Instead of boiling water and bouillon cubes, I just used Campbell's Beef Broth, and instead of tarragon vinegar, I used white wine vinegar with 1/2 tsp of tarragon leaves. Oh yes, instead of the dairy (!) sour cream, I used plain yogurt.After boiling the broth, dissolving the gelatin (lemon-flavoured Jell-O), and adding the vinegar and salt, I put the saucepan into the fridge for about an hour. I then added the yogurt, and used electric beaters to 'beat until smooth'. I then added the rest of the stuff, stirred to combine everything, then poured the mixture into five individual little glass bowls. I don't have a jelly mold, and since I don't plan to ever make this again, I didn't think that there was any point to buying one. Since I had several of the little suckers, I decided to experiment a little bit. I put two of them into the freezer, and the other three went into the fridge.

I really wasn't sure how long they would take to set properly, but after three hours, they seemed fine. The book provides helpful tips for turning out a jelly mold:

Loosen edges with top of knife. Place platter over mold; invert. Wring towel out of hot water; lay over mold. Lift off mold.

Whaddaya know, it worked. I don't know why the beef flavour was included, because the lemon completely overpowered it. The jelly tasted about how you'd expect: creamy lemon jello with crunchy bits in it. Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad.

A big thank you to Tami at Running With Tweezers for running this event, it's always fun to look through the old cookbooks.


Skeezix said...

That jello mold thing terrifies me. Why was food suspended in Jello ever the height of of sophistication?

Ian said...

... they call me Yello Jell-O...

heh. Oh, come on. Think of it like an archaeological dig.

...and now we move into the gelatinous strata of the mold, and wait!... is it... could it be... Yes! It's a piece of radish, and perfectly preserved, too..

Skeezix said...

Oh my god. That sends shivers down my spine.

Plume said...

My mother had a book of world cuisine and there was such a salad in the "USA recipes" section (in french ;-)).
There was marshmallows in this salad, too.
I was totaly facinated by this recipe in a "OMG, some people actualy EAT this!" way.

Anne said... made a mold! I only ever did that in school...I can't bring myself to actually eat the stuff.