Monday, July 23, 2012

Frozen Fruit Salad

More hot weather....inventing new and creative ways to stay cool in a town that has no public swimming pools...why not frozen treats? Move over's time for frozen fruit salad!

Frozen Fruit Salad is one of over a dozen Jell-O-based recipes in the notebook. It's a recipe I actually remember Grandma making for a special lunch in honor of our French foreign-exchange student Marion who visited for two consecutive summers while we were both in high school. Grandma had always served wonderful family dinners but this may have been one of the few "luncheons" I had the pleasure of enjoying. Now the word luncheon sounds a bit formal in this case (its connotation is usually bridge club, church circle, etc.) because on this occasion it was merely Marion, Grandma and me at the dining room table on a hot summer afternoon. Grandma made a corned-beef and noodle casserole, sliced some thick fresh tomatoes and presented this creamy lime frozen Jell-O salad on a lettuce leaf. Tres chic, non?

The salad appears three times in the notebook -- once as a recipe, again in a list of what I presume are favorites listed on the last page, and in a margin of a specific luncheon menu dated April 13. The April luncheon has a guest list of sixteen -- whittled down from 20, four ladies were "out of town" or  had "other plans" according to the notes. The menu of the day:

Salad Sandwich Loaf
Frozen Salad
Potato Chips
Broccoli with Creamed Celery
Relish Tray
Strawberry Angel Food Refrigerator Dessert

The recipe for the salad itself comes from a friend of Grandma's known simply as Peake. Not Mrs., just Peake. The recipe is actually written on the page with ink, not clipped from the paper. It's also above the recipe for the Salad Sandwich Loaf Anyway (blogging it another day), here it is:

Frozen Fruit Salad -- Peake

1.      1 pkg. lime Jell-O
         2 scant cups water      -- chill

2.      Add small can crushed pineapple
         1 pkg. cream cheese mixed with
         1 T salad dressing                          -- white cherries?

3.      Fold in 1 cup whipped cream
         Maraschino cherries
         1/2 cup pecans or almonds

Ok -- not a lot to go on here but it's Jell-O. What could go wrong? After all, Grandma put everything in steps. I checked out similar recipes online for guidance and they weren't that different so I forged ahead.

1. One MUST dissolve Jell-O in boiling water and then add the cold water. I could do that, so i did.  I used the small 3-oz size lime Jell-O and I cut back on the water a bit, like notated, presumably to concentrate the lime flavor. I chilled.

2. Well, I chilled too long. It was pretty set up and wiggly when I came back to the fridge but I forged ahead. I plopped in the pineapple first and then in a different bowl I whipped up a small brick of cream cheese (that's the size they had then, right? The square?) with a tablespoon of mayo. I was out of Miracle Whip. No white cherries, it looked like an afterthought in the margin anyway. I dumped the dairy mixture in. Oh no. Curds. Yep -- the cold Jell-O hitting the dairy of the cream cheese made curds and that's a different Jell-O recipe altogether. So I hauled out a whisk and beat the &@#$ out of it. That helped.

3. Cool Whip went in, cherries, NO NUTS. I didn't care for the almonds in the Cherry Jell-O recipe from May (see archive) and then I poured it into a square Pyrex pan and froze it solid -- full of promise.

Today was in the high 90s -- nothing more refreshing than some frozen lime Jell-O right? 
Unfortunately the salad tasted nothing like I remember. The lime flavor was barely noticeable, it was slushy (good) but the slush tasted like water (bad). I have no idea how I messed this one looks good right?
 Possible answers -- larger Jell-O, larger cream cheese, more whipped cream. I plan on asking the family if they remember the dish and I will hopefully be able to reattempt. With a summer as hot as this we may still require creative refreshment.

Frozen Fruit Salad -- One out of Five Soup Cans

1 comment:

  1. My favorite part is when the curds didn't deter you - just beat the @#(*$&@#&$ out of it. That. is. awesome. Love it! Great post. Best of luck finding the missing link!