March 24, 2011

What Has Holland Ever Done to You, Ms. Berry?

I ask because Ms. Berry, author of 300 Sensational Salads, has named this next concoction Holland Salad. Why? No clue, unless residents of the Netherlands have a previously unnoticed fondness for dicing, mincing and shredding sour foods. How would you like it if we renamed it Lucinda Salad, huh? Yes, that's right, I went there, Ms. Lucinda Berry.

1 cup diced cooked veal or beef
1 large sour pickle, minced
1 large apple, peeled and diced
1 cup diced cooked potatoes
1 small onion, minced
1 TBS. vegetable oil
1 1/2 TBS. vinegar
2 TBS. mayonnaise

Mix first 5 ingredients. Combine oil, vinegar and mayonnaise; add to meat mixture and mix well. Garnish with additional mayonnaise, sliced hard boiled eggs and shredded pickled beets.

March 19, 2011

Wheel of

300 Sensational Salads by Lucinda Hollace Berry (Ventura Books, 1982) is a bit more contemporary than many of my vintage cookbooks, but Lucinda's talent for making unlikely combinations of foods into salads qualifies these recipes as Frightening Food. I suspect that she is either a citrus farmer or a shill for the citrus industry, because an astounding number of these recipes include citrus fruits.  And most of those seem to be a random addition to an otherwise normal recipe.  I envision Lucinda spinning the Wheel of Fruit to choose which random citrus product she will include in each dish.  For example, Hot Grapefruit Bean Salad - which appears to be a regular 3 Bean Salad, but with Grapefruit.  Or Grapefruit Tuna Salad with Grapefruit Dressing. How about Tutti Fruitti Stuffed Tomatoes - featuring oranges and apples?  Orange Pea Salad?  Grapefruit Remoulade Dressing?  I think this one takes the prize for the most unlikely combo - chili sauce, hard cooked eggs, horseradish, mayo and frozen grapefuit concentrate.  This is to be served over Florida Seacoast Salad, which includes grapefruit concentrate and fresh grapefruit sections in there with the lobster, shrimp and green beans.  Sounds like a good way to spoil a good meal of shrimp and lobster, to me.  What do you think?


1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 cup salad oil
1 can (6-oz.) Florida frozen concentrated grapefuit juice, thawed and undiluted, divided
1 1/2 cups lobster meat
2 lbs. raw shrimp, cooked and cleaned
2 cups cooked macaroni shells
1 package (10-oz.) frozen cut green beans, cooked crisp tender
1 1/2 cups sliced clelery
1/4 cup diced pimiento
1/4 cup diced green pepper (optional)
3 cups Florida grapefruit sections, drained
Salad greens

Combine salt, pepper, dry mustard and salad oil in a bowl. Add undiluted grapefruit juice concentrate, reserving 2 tablespoons for dressing. Add lobster meat and shrimp; refrigerate several hours or overnight, turning once or twice. Combine cooked macaroni, green beans, celery, pimiento and green pepper; mix well. Drain seafood and add with grapefruit sections to macaroni mixture; toss lightly. Serve over crisp greens with Grapefruit Remoulade Dressing. Serves 8


1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tbsp. Florida frozen grapefruit juice concentrate (reserved from salad)
2 tsp. horseradish
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients.  Yield: 1 cup

March 16, 2011

A little Hawaiian, a little German

Today's recipe is a bad recipe from a good cookbook, the Saint Maurice Parish Cookbook.  I have two editions of this cookbook.  The 1978 version is in such bad shape that I have it in a plastic bag to keep the pages together; the newer, undated version is still holding its own. This cookbook is a good source for tried-and-true everyday dinner recipes and for ethnic specialties.  While I searched for the recipe for the Strawberry Pretzel Salad that I have been craving, my wandering eye was captured by this unlikely - and unappetizing - salad recipe:


2 c. drained kraut
1 large can pineapple chunks
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. seedless raisins
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar

Toss together overnight. [This direction is verbatim.  I picture the weary housewife tossing these ingredients all night while the rest of the family soundly sleeps.]

Side note: St. Maurice is the parish where I went to Catholic school in the sixties, with the nuns in full habit, and no girls in pants (my mother was called to bring a skirt to school the day I daringly wore culottes!). The correct pronunciation of the name in Pittsburgh is mahr-iss, not mah-rees or mor-ris. St Maurice was an Egyptian who led the Roman Theban Legion in the 3rd century to an area that is now part of Switzerland. The legend is that his entire legion of 6,666 men was ordered killed by Maximium for their refusal to battle fellow Christians; St. Maurice became the patron saint of soldiers, swordsmiths, and armies. Also, as per Wikipedia, "he is also inexplicably the patron saint of weavers and dyers, and is invoked against menstrual cramps."  Hmmmm.

PB & What?

For our last in the series from The Lunchbox Cookbook, I'll be sharing some options for making a peanut butter sandwich "special."  My kids think I am weird because I was happy to find a peanut butter & pickle sandwich in my school lunchbox.  Other people I know have enjoyed peanut butter & potato chip sandwiches or the more typical peanut butter & banana sandwiches.  But as usual, these choices pale beside the inventive combinations devised by those creative cooks at the Culinary Arts Institute.  Here are a few of their suggested combos for topping your basic white bread:

Hearty PB Filling - 1/2 cup PB, 1/3 c. deviled ham, 1/4 cup  finely chopped green pepper, 2 TBS. salad dressing, 1 tsp. minced onion. Deviled ham mixed with PB - a combination made in hell!

Special Peanut Butter Mix - 1/2 cup PB, 1/4 cup  finely grated carrot, 2 TBS. chopped raisins, 2 TBS. salad dressing. PB sandwich = good. Carrot-raisin salad = good.  PB & carrot-raisin salad sandwich = bad!

Royal Olive Filling - 3/4 cup PB, 1/3 cup pitted, chopped olives, 3 slices crisp bacon, crumbled fine, 3 TBS. cream.  Brought to you by the same royal chef who came up with the 4 and 20 blackbird pie.

No, I have no idea why.  I wonder if that's true for PB&deviled ham?

March 15, 2011

The Answer is....

Molded Tuna Salad

2 7-ounce cans of tuna, flaked
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup chopped stuffed olives
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups mayonnaise

Toss tuna with next three ingredients. Soften gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes, dissolve over hot water [on top of a double boiler] and add to mayonnaise gradually, stirring constantly. Fold into fish mixture.Turn into mold and chill until firm. Unmold on lettuce. Serves 6 to 8

The caption for this photo from 200 Different Fish and Seafood Recipes (Culinary Arts Institute, 1971) says," Conjure this Molded Tuna Salad out of your refrigerator when guests are hungry." Hmmm...I guess that means you should have one on hand at all times.  I'm thinking that guests might be happier with many other choices - frozen pizza, for example. Not to mention that the aroma of Tuna Salad would probably become one with the fridge after a while, imparting that tangy chicken-of-the-sea scent to all your refrigerated food.  Tuna-scented raspberry cheesecake, anyone?

March 10, 2011

Beans in the Bag

Todays Frightening Food is based on beans, beans, the musical fruit.  As a devoted reader of "tea cozy" mysteries, I know the British consider beans on toast a part of the "Full English Breakfast". Both the toast and the beans are warm, and although I won't be adding this to my breakfast repetoire any time soon, it doesn't sound bad. 

Full English Breakfast, in it's original form (left) and the crocheted version (right) that you can take with you anywhere

What does sound bad is cold baked beans for lunch. As a sandwich filling. This confirms my suspicion that "sandwich filling" and "leftover surprise" are synonomous.  As if the beans alone wouldn't make the bread soggy, the addition of chili sauce assures that your lunchtime treat will be limp as a wet noodle.

Baked Bean Filling
1 cup canned baked beans in tomato sauce, drained                         
1/3 cup chopped sweet pickle
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion

Blend, mixing lightly but thoroughly.

The Lunchbox Cookbook, The Culinary Arts Institute, 1955

March 9, 2011

Lunch for Superman ©

 You have no doubt wondered,"What does Superman carry in his lunch box?"  No? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.  The secret is revealed in The Lunchbox Cookbook, thanks to the investigative prowess of those clever cooks at the Culinary Arts Institute. It has to be something that a busy superhero can eat on the go - a sandwich is the obvious choice.  And it has to provide lots of energy and a healthy dose of protein and vitamins to keep those muscles ripped. Superman may have watched a Popeye cartoon or two, because it turns out that his sandwich of choice is made with spinach dip!?  Chopped peanuts add the punch of protein and are probably the only thing solid that's left of this sandwich by lunchtime, unless it was made with a really firm bread. Sadly for our superhero, I suspect that Martha Kent would choose WonderBread ©.

Superman's Delight

1-3 oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh minced spinach
1/2 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped (skins removed)
2 tablespoons of milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Mash cheese with a fork. Gradually blend in milk or cream. Blend in remaining ingredients.

The Lunchbox Cookbook, The Culinary Arts Institute, 1955

March 7, 2011

Long Time, No Blog

In my last post, on December 10th,  I had barely touched on the wonderful choices in the Lunchbox Cookbook, when BOOM, one thing after the other, after the other, after the other, and here we are at March 7th!  Let's not waste another minute! I'll delve right back into some of the frightening choices offered under the heading "Sandwich Fillings", in which we are advised to "be certain that they [sandwiches] serve their purpose as a planned course of a complete meal." Judging by some of these combos, I think I can make the case that their true purpose is to empty the fridge of leftovers. 

Exhibit A: Orange Cheese Spread
Orange- not the color orange, but the flavor orange.  This quick-to-fix spread mixes 1/3 cup of grated swiss cheese with 1/2 cup of orange marmalade and two tablespoons of cream. You have no doubt said to yourself on many an occasion "All I have in the fridge is swiss cheese and marmalade - but what a terrific combination!" No?  Me neither.  Maybe a toasted cheese sandwich. Or a jelly sandwich. But it takes a special kind of culinary mind to see grated swiss and marmalade and think, "Sandwich spread!"

Exhibit B: Ideal Cheese Filling
Cream cheese (3 oz.) chopped stuffed olives (1/4 cup), crumbled Blue or Roquefort cheese (3 tablespoons)....not bad so far. But it needs a little something else, something to add a bit of creaminess. Oh, what the heck, let's just finish off those last few tablespoons of French dressing! Hmmmm....maybe not.

Exhibit C: Citrus Special 
1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tsp. grated orange peel and 1/3 cup of moist, shredded coconut.  A lot like a Pina Colada, except with peanut butter instead of pineapple.  An obvious substitution.

Exhibit D: Salami Filling
You might be wondering what's so odd about a salami sandwich - but note, this is a salami filling sandwich and therein lies all the difference. Chop up your salami (or just put it through your food processor.) until you have about 3/4 cup.  Add: 5 tbsp. salad dressing [ i.e. Miracle Whip], 2 tbsp. each of chopped sweet pickle and finely chopped celery, 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard and 1/4 tsp. onion salt. Voila! A sandwich that changes ordinary salami into a lumpy, pinkish paste.

Exhibit E: Garden Fresh Filling
Cabbage, carrots, salad dressing.  What to make of these produce drawer leftovers? Duh - coleslaw, you say? What a dim imagination you have! These ingredients obviously belong in a sandwich.  Chop up about a cup of the cabbage, toss in 1/2 cup of grated carrot, a few tablespoons of salad dressing, a sprinkle of celery salt.  Well, yes, that is exactly how you make coleslaw.  But one special ingredient turns this simple coleslaw into Garden Fresh Filling - 2 tbsp. of chopped peanuts.  I, for one, am always trying to come up with ideas for using up that big peanut crop in my garden. Problem solved! And, bonus - that sandwich bread should get nice and wet by lunchtime.

Side note: why is the only person on this flyleaf who appears to do physical labor the portly one?