Saturday, June 25, 2011

Barbecue Bean Salad aka 3 Bean Salad

Recently, I was invited to a barbecue, and what better place to turn than Better Homes & Gardens' 1963 classic, “Barbecues and Picnics”. I do already have several tasty cold bean salad recipes (variations on the great Three Bean Salad), but I always enjoy trying new ones. And this one is particularly tasty – even 6 year-olds like it!

I couldn’t find wax beans, so I used white beans – and I had to use 2 cans to make the proportions /colors look right. Also, I cut the sugar a bit, added more pepper, and I added sliced red onion. OK, to be honest, I did my own rendition of it, but I’m sure it would be just as good exactly as written. In fact, I liked it so much that I made a second batch for dinner the next night. So easy and tastes of summer.

“Barbecues are such delicious fun – plan one soon!” – so instructs the book – and I say, YES INDEED!

Barbecue Bean Salad

1 1-pound can (2 cups) cut green beans, drained
1 1-pound can cut wax beans, drained
1 1-pound can kidney beans, drained
½ cup chopped green pepper

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup salad oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Combine vegetables; toss likely to mix. Combine sugar, vinegar, and salad oil; pour over vegetables. Add salt and pepper; toss lightly. Chill overnight. Before serving, toss again to coat beans with marinade; drain. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Salad Bowl

“The enticing salad on the cover,” proclaims Better Homes and Gardens in the 1969 edition of their “Salad Book”, is "perfect for celebrating summer!" Enticing, maybe if those were marshmallows rather than cauliflowers… No, it’s OK, I love salad! And in summer, I actually crave it. (With or without marshmallows.) I tend to make the same salad over and over again, so it’s always great to find a new one, and this one was easy and tasty, so I’ll make it again for sure. NOT that I can say that for everything in this book, but really, that is part of the fun.

I also find that one of the true tests of parenthood is what you can get your kids to eat, and I am delighted to report that my 6-year-old daughter said she loved this, giving it “two thumbs up” after she carefully extracted the bell pepper slices.

The real fun was letting her use the salad spinner to play our new game: Salad Spinner Race (since I have 2 that match), where we pretended the salad spinners were high performance vehicles, and gleefully revvvvved their engines! It was a party till the lid flew off one spinner and crashed into the fridge, sending a shower of little magnets and kid art all over the place…

Ahh, the joy of cooking!

Summer Salad Bowl

Leaf lettuce
4 cups torn lettuce
2 cups sliced raw cauliflower
1 cup bias-cut celery
1 cup sliced radishes
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
Italian salad dressing

Line salad bowl with leaf lettuce. Arrange lettuce, cauliflower, celery, radishes, and green pepper in bowl. Sprinkle cheese over. Serve with Italian dressing. Serves 8 to 10.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Trident’s Special Health Shake

I was overjoyed to receive this amazing 1973 McCalls recipe box as a gift, and even more-so when I found a card from my dad’s all-time FAVORITE restaurant, The Trident, in Sausalito, CA. We’ve been going there lately for father’s day (it is now called Horizons, but thankfully the Way-Out interior remains the same) but my parents had been going there since 1965 when they had their wedding rings custom-made by a local artist and needed lunch. Honestly, from the outside it looks like a boat shop, but inside, it is a late 60s psychedelic wonderland!

In the early 70s, my dad (and the nation!) got really into the Health Food thing (which was nothing new to my mom, since her folks had gotten into it in the 40s) and he began making, and experimenting with different versions of, Health Drinks. I loved them, and quickly learned to make them myself, following whatever new adaptation he was using at the time - except I think I skipped the raw-egg phase that arrived courtesy of the whole weight-lifting / macho trend. His original recipe is still something I make today, and I enclose his recipe here as the epitome of what has since become knows as a “smoothie”.

And so in honor of my dad, for father’s day, I made The Trident’s Special Health Shake, and I noticed the massive similarity between the two recipes. Was this coincidence? Had my dad dined at The Trident often enough to memorize the recipe? Or could it perhaps be that everyone and their entire extended family was making these very same things across the nation at that time, while wearing Adidas tack suits and driving Le Cars? Either way, you too can get into the “health food thing” of yester-year (no Kombucha yet, folks!) with a few fruits, some wheat germ and your trusty blender. Vroooooom!

The Trident’s Special Health Shake

1 cup crushed ice
1 cup yogurt
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp raw sugar
1 Tbsp wheat germ
½ cup fresh strawberries sliced or ½ pkg (10 oz size) frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
½ cup cut up fresh papaya (if available)
1 cup cut up cantaloupe
Fresh mint leaves

1. In blender, combine half of al lingredients and blend until smooth. Turn into chilled pitcher.
2. Blend remainder of ingredients and add to pitcher. To serve, pour into chilled glasses. Garnish with mint.
Makes 8 servings.
Note: If desired, use more strawberries to give a brighter pink color. If fresh strawberries are too tart, add sugar to taste.

Carrie’s Note: I omitted the sugar because it was plenty sweet enough!

Jack’s Health Drink

½ cup frozen berries (est 6 strawberries)
Cover with fruit juice (cranberry preferred)
¼ cup water for 1 cup liquid in all
2 Tbsp vanilla or plain yogurt
1 banana
* blend
2 heaping Tbsp protein powder
1 Tbsp wheat germ
* blend
2 Tbsp honey
* serves 1 or 2

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheddar Cheese Souffle

My mom used to make soufflés often, and what I remember most about them, rather than the taste or even whether I ate them at all, was that while they were baking, both me and the dog had to stay out of the kitchen. There was so much drama involved in a soufflé: Will it rise? Will any children or pets be killed? The dish has even been compared to the invention of aircraft, so if you need to put on a show, try a soufflé.

Other than the business of not causing the soufflé to fall, I knew from helping my mom that they were not too complicated to make, and so, when I recently had a surplus of cheese, I set out to make a cheese soufflé. I turned to my favorite publishing house, Nitty Gritty Productions, and their 1972 “Souffle and Quiche - a 2 in 1 cookbook” by Paul Mayer, which instructs that “a soufflé is anything which, when mixed together, placed in a dish and baked – if done properly – lifts itself by means of expanding air incorporated into beaten egg whites, above and beyond the confines of the dish in which it was originally placed.”

I very carefully mixed everything and put together the soufflé… but I got one (hugely important) element wrong. I couldn’t find my soufflé dish! So I used a large casserole dish I had which was the project’s downfall. Had I only paid attention to the book’s introduction, where Mr. Mayer provides 5 tips for sure-fire soufflés, number 1 being: “Select a dish of the proper size. No use at all in making the most delicate of soufflé batters and then putting it into a dish so large that no matter how high it rises, it cannot reach the top. The soufflé will look awful but taste fine.” Exactly! Sigh. At least I can say that I can make a soufflé (easy, tasty and totally worth it) and next time, I’ll find the proper dish and rise to the occasion!

Cheddar Cheese Souffle

6 cup, well-buttered soufflé dish
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
¾ cup milk
Salt and cayenne pepper
4 egg yolks
1 cup (4oz.) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Pinch dry mustard
6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt butter in top of double boiler over direct heat. Remove from heat. Stir in four. Gradually belnd in milk. Season with salt and cayenne pepper> return to very low heat. Stir constantly until mixture barely begins to thicken and resembles a medium cream sauce. Remove from heat. Continue stirring a moment while sauce thickens a little more. Add egg yolks and cheese alternately. Place over boiling water. Stir constantly, to prevent curdling, until cheese is melted. Transfer to a large bowl. Season with mustard. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Thoroughly fold into cheese base. Pour into prepared dish. Bake in preheated oven 17-20 minutes. Serve at once.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

“You no longer have to spend hours toiling in the kitchen to make an elegant, luscious dessert. Now, Just Desserts shows you how to whip up scrumptious treats in under 15 minutes!” YES! Talk to me like an info-mercial, I am a sucker every time. Actually I am usually quite happy to spend more than 15 minutes on things, but in this case I was looking for something fast and fun for kids to make. And for kids to subsequently ravage in much less time!

Susan Katz, who also authored an entire book on yogurt, offers in her 1978 “Just Desserts: Fast but Fancy” several quick and tasty pies, but we chose Ice Cream pie to celebrate the coming of summer. And just because, heck, it sounded good.

I used a pre-made pie crust (heavens!) and the only thing I changed was the flavor of ice cream, because I’ve never seen butter-almond flavor, and Ivy requested plain vanilla. I suppose even chocolate would have been good, too, though the layer of near-fudge on the bottom of the pie handled the chocolate requirement nicely. This turned out to be a super fast and yummy pie, and my Tupperware Cake Taker made it a cinch to transport!

Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust
2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 pint butter-almond ice cream

Put all ingredients, except ice cream and pie crust (ed: really? Hah!), in blender and blend until smooth, or beat well with an electric mixer. Pour into crust and chill until thoroughly cooled. Just before serving, spoon softened ice cream on top.