Category: Walnuts

Tiny Waldorf Salads

Is there a salad both more famous (and more mangled) than the Waldorf Salad?  I doubt it.  And because, pretty much since it’s inception, people have been mucking around with it, I thought I would put my stamp on it.  As I have a predilection for little food, I shrank my Waldorf Salad into individual serving sizes.

Waldorf Salad1Waldorf Salad – History

The Waldorf Salad was first made at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 and was, a huge success.  The original recipe only contained apples, celery and mayonnaise  The grapes and walnuts came later but are now considered integral ingredients.

The Waldorf precedes the other classic “American” salad, the Caesar, by 28 years. 

The Waldorf Salad was also immortalised in an episode of Fawlty Towers.  I wonder if this is the only salad to ever have a sit com episode named after it.  If you have not seen this you must.  It is hilarious.  But here’s a taste!

So, celery, apples, walnuts grapes…in a mayonnaise sauce.  Which is pretty much what mine consisted of. 

Waldorf Salad2So how did they manage to get it so wrong in the ’60’s? 

Well, the top three reasons of what went wrong in the 60’s in general are:

  1. Charlie Manson
  2. Massive amounts of drug taking
  3. Gelatine

Now,Manson may be all kinds of crazy but I don’t think we can blame him for this:

Retro Waldorf via Bon AppetitOr this (even though this is kind of pretty)

california-waldorf-salad-gelatin-mold via bon appetitOr, Good Lord, even this:

Retro Waldorf SaladNope, the blame for that lies squarely with 3).  Possibly with a large dose of 2) thrown in

After those horrors i totally understand why the poor old Waldorf Salad is not nearly as popular today as the Caesar salad. The graphs below show internet interest in the words as search terms. 


Kind of makes me wonder why I am bothering to post on Waldorf when it’s so unpopular.  Next week – Caesar Salad! And hit city!

The thing is, Caesar salad  is often awful and the Waldorf salad tasted good.  It’s crunchy and crisp and sweet and nutty.  Nothing wrong there.  The buttermilk dressing I used adds a little tang without being too cloying.  It’s delicious.  And easy to make.  And healthy.  And it’s fun to wrap up the main ingredients in a lettuce leaf like a salady sang choy bau.

What more do you need?

Go and make one now.  You already know how….it’s celery, apples, walnuts grapes…in a mayonnaise sauce.

Pop it all into a lettuce leaf, wrap it up and enjoy!

Waldorf Salad5

Tiny Waldorf Salads
My take on the classic Waldorf Salad
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Salad Ingredients
  1. 2 red apples cored and thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  3. 16 small butter lettuce or cos leaves
  4. 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  5. 45 g(¼ cup) seedless grapes, halved
  6. 45 g(¼ cup) walnuts, toasted and chopped
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  2. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  4. Salt and pepper
For The Salad
  1. Sprinkle the apple with lemon juice to stop it from browning.
  2. Place the lettuce leaves on a serving platter and top with the apples, celery, grapes and walnuts.
For The Dressing
  1. Mix the buttermilk, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  2. Season to taste.
To Serve
  1. Roll up the lettuce leaves to enclose the filling.
  2. Drizzle with, or dip into the dressing.
  3. Enjoy!
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Have a wonderful week!

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Walnut Spice Sandwich Cookies

Oh boy, the A-Z of Cooking is not being kind to me lately! As we near the Z end of the alphabet there seem to have been a lot more fails.  Today we arrived at “S for Spicing it Up” and a Walnut Spice Sandwich Cake which was so dry that I made it into cookies.  The Walnut Spice Sandwich cookies were a big step up from the cake but let’s just say that I won’t be in a great hurry to make them again.  At least they look kind of pretty…in a totally lopsided way!

Walnut Spice Cookies2And oh yeah, I made it back from the city of serial killers intact!  Adelaide was heaps of fun….and it was great to be away with these girls!

AdelaideAh, but I digress.  Where were we?  Oh yeah….Walnut Spice Sandwich cookies not cake.  Walnuts, spice.  Kind of meh…let’s not speak of them again…

Walnut Spice Cookies3Except for this.  Just in case you think it’s me, here is the picture of the so-called cake from The A-Z of Cooking.  I feel the dry texture of the that prompted me to turn my “cake” into cookies is as well represented here as it is in my efforts. 

Walnut Spice Sandwich CakeAm I right?  You might be wondering why i chose to make something that looks quite so unappetising. Well, so am I.  The main reason was that there were only three recipes in this section.  The cake, a beef curry and a rice casserole.  Given I posted a curry not so long ago that  was out. And the rice casserole was loaded with green pepper which I don’t really get along with.  The cake seemed like the best option.  In retrospect the rice casserole sans the green pepper  might have been a better choice. 

The second reason was that the method of making it was somewhat weird.  I’ve made a LOT of cakes in my life and this was the first where I had to beat the eggs and sugar in a double boiler.  And you know what?  As the results prove there’s probably a very good reason why this doesn’t happen more often!  If you would like to make a cake via an odd method here’s the recipe:

Walnut Spice Sandwich Cake RecipeComing up next time, another “souper” pick from  The A-Z of Cooking.  Til then, have a fabulous week!

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Pear and Blue Cheese Salad: 1977 v 2015

Last time we spoke I was making a mad mix of ginger beer pickled pears for my Christmas Day Pear and Blue Cheese Salad.  If you follow my Instagram, you would already know how this turned out.  If not, take a look!

Pickled Pear & Blue Cheese SaladI am amazingly proud of this.  It looks so pretty and festive and it tasted just as good as it looks! 

The ginger beer pickled pears were great. They were so tasteless raw, it was like chewing cardboard.  The ginger beer pickle not only  added some flavour but also made them taste more pear-y.

 Pear & Blue Cheese Salad2

For the salad, I used a supermarket bought mixed leaves, toasted walnuts, some crumbled blue cheese and some red currants to add some festivity!

I kept the skin on the pear during the pickling but took it off for serving. 

For the dressing I mixed some of the pickling liquid with some olive oil.  And then promptly forgot to take it to mum’s.   She had some bought dressing which we used on the day but I actually think the one I made was better.

Pickled Pear & Blue Cheese Salad3My Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad was inspired by a recipe in the A-Z of Cooking for a Pear and Blue Cheese Salad.  I didn’t copy it totally first because of the issue with the pear.  But also I felt that the combination of blue cheese and mayo would make my salad too heavy.  We have been in a heat wave and so for me the lighter dressing kept the salad more lean and the increased acidity worked well in the heat. 

Here is that recipe, you’ll find my recipe for the Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad at the bottom of the page.

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad collageI may be am totally biased but I’m calling my 2015 version of a Pear and Blue Cheese Salad the winner in this bout of retro v modern.  I absolutely loved it.  But you know what?  Try them both and let me know what you think!

Meantime, I have half a jar of saffrony-gingery-chilli-ish pickling liquid left over.  Fruit and sugar and vinegar  =  a shrub does it not?  I’m researching as we speak.  This could be the gift that keeps on giving.  It’s a dirty job but someone is going to have to taste test cocktails made with the pear and ginger shrub to find out which booze it goes best with.  I think it can go three ways – keep it lean with some vodka, make it sparkle with some prosecco or play to the spicy notes with some spiced rum.That’s where I’m heading anyway. 

Pickled Pear Juice and Dressing.Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions will be gratefully received. 

I’ll try to get it right before NYE.  Speaking of which, what are your plans? The fussiest eater in the world is working so it’s me on my lonesome.  Which is perfectly fine by me.  I am working during the day so will use the evening to prepare a Bridget Jones curry buffet for the following day when my friend Ali is coming over for what has become a New Year’s Day tradition. 

Hopefully,the ratio of cooking vs shrub testing stays on the right side and I don’t end up  doing the full Bridget Jones couch routine!

Have a fabulous week! 

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Here is my recipe:

Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pear, cored and thinly sliced, peel on
  • 1 birdseye chilli
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ginger beer
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 cups mixed leaves
  • 50g blue cheese crumbled
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for salad dressing
  • red currants to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Toast the walnuts until golden. Set aside.
  • Combine the gingerbeer and the vinegar in the a small saucepan.
  • Add the chilli and bring to the boil.
  • Add the pears and the saffron.
  • Lower the heat and poach the pears in the liquid for around 5 minutes. The pears need to be cooked through but not at all mushy. If they are not cooked in the 5 minutes, turn the heat off but keep the pears in the hot cooking liquid until they achieve the right level of doneness.
  • Once done, drain the pears but keep the ginger-vinegar liquid. Place the pears in the fridge to cool down while you make the rest of the salad.
  • Spread the mixed salad greens over a plate.
  • Sprinkle over the walnuts and the crumbled blue cheese.
  • Remove the peel from the pears and spread the slices over the greens.
  • Top with the red currants, if using.
  • Make a dressing by mixing 1/2 tbsp of the ginger-vinegar liquid with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season to taste and pour over the salad.
  • Enjoy!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/12/29/pear-and-blue-che/

 

Jane Grigson’s Watercress and Orange Salad

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Ok, so not exactly true for Melbourne, although it has been a fairly shitty summer.  But certainly for my friends in the States, it must feel like that.  But hopefully, this Watercress and Orange Salad will bring you some virtual sunshine.

Watercress and Orange Salad 5
Watercress and Orange Salad 5

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

 This is a very cool salad from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.. I think it looks like a big, beautiful sunflower. And not only is it pretty; it is super tasty too.  How could it not be – peppery watercress, tangy sweet orange, earthy toasted walnuts and salty olives. And it looks so 70’s.  I think it’s the combination of green and orange….

Here is the original recipe from Jane Grigson:

Orange and Watercress SaladAnd here is the original version:

Jane Grigson's Watercress Salad
Jane Grigson’s Watercress Salad

This is very simple to put together.  Line your plate with watercress and start piling in your ingredients.  The worst bit if you do it in the circle is stripping all those watercress leaves.

Watercress Salad LeavesLike a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel…

 Watercress Salad Leaves2Never ending or begining on an ever spinning wheel….

Watercress Salad Leaves3I found the best way to get the orange slices as thin as possible was to cut them with the skin still on, then cut the peel and pith away with a pair of kitchen scissors.

 Oranges for the watercress saladThen just add your walnuts and / or olives. 

Before serving, a grind of pepper and a splash of vinaigrette made with some sherry vinegar and voila!!!  Or should I say “Velado!” because this really has a Spanish feel to it.   

I had this with some grilled salmon the first time I made it and it was delicious!!! The second time I had it with some prawns and it was, again super.  I would love to try it with duck as per Jane’s suggestion. 

And I made it a third time but this time tweaked the recipe a bit – I added some feta cheese and a teeny bit of red onion.  This time, I had it with a lovely sourdough baguette for a light lunch and it was perfection!!!  And yes, I made this three times in about ten days.  It’s that good.

Watercress and Orange Salad 6
Watercress and Orange Salad 6

 So far, Jane Grigson’s recipes are turning out to be amazing.  I am a little disappointed that it is now March and we have another book to focus on at The Cookbook Guru.  But wow!!!  What a book!!!  I am super excited about stepping across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco for my next venture with The Cookbook Guru!!!

 And, if you are struggling through a long cold and lonely winter either physically or mentally, here is a little anecdote that may help.

Back in 1969, there was not much joy camp Beatle – there were personality clashes, legal battles, business disputes….things were going to hell in a handbasket.  But in the midst of all the problems, all the trouble and strife, George Harrison (by far my favourite Beatle) walked into Eric Clapton’s garden with an acoustic guitar and wrote, to my mind anyway, one of the most beautiful, hopeful songs ever written.  In the midst of adversity and all that…

And just to tie it all in together, here is George singing  that song with some Spanish subtitles.

All together now

Sol, sol, sol
Ahí viene

Have a great week.  I hope all your clouds have silver linings.

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Artichokes – Delicious Vegetable or WMD?

Artichokes didn’t feature on the menu when I was growing up.  I’m also not overly fond of the ones you get in the deli which taste more of the vinegar they come in that anything else.  So, I had actually never eaten a fresh artichoke until last year…I‘m not sure what prompted me to buy some because let’s face it, they’re not an attractive proposition.

Water Lily Lamb Salad
Water Lily Lamb Salad

I don’t mean the way they look, that’s awesome  – the amazing colours, the gorgeous mix of purple and green and their sculptural shape…

Artichokes

They are almost like something that should be in should be in a bouquet rather than on your plate and, just to prove that point, here’s one I prepared earlier….

Artichoke-Kale-bouquet
Artichoke-Kale-bouquet

 

Gorgeous.  And functional.  If you get a little peckish…pull off a leaf and have a nibble.  Win. Win.

So, when I say they are unattractive, what I really mean is that they are hard work.

Imagine trying to explain the artichoke to someone from another planet…

“Well you’ve got to trim off the leaf tops with scissors, then brush them with lemon so they don’t go brown”

Yeah but if you didn’t cut them, you wouldn’t have to…

“Never mind about that.  Then you have to scrape out the choke…

Scrape out the what?

“The choke…it’s kind of a hairy bit at the bottom…”

It has a hairy bottom? And you EAT this?

Uh Huh.

Removing the Choke
Removing the choke

Why’s it called a choke?

Not sure but if you don’t remove it all sometimes the fuzz can get caught in your throat and apparently it can be very painful.

Oh my God.  This hairy bottom vegetable wants to kill you. You humans are bonkers.  Anyone else would run a mile from this thing…There’s no way I”m eating that.  Might come in handy as a weapon though…

Ok, so I”ll just dip these deliciious leaves in melted butter and eat them myself shall I?

What?

That’s a traditional way of eating them.  You dip them in melted butter and then you drag ’em through your teeth…

Melted butter you say? Ok, I’m in.

Artichokes with Parmesan Butter Sauce

Why aren’t more foods dipped in melted butter?   As far as I can ascertain the only things that are regularly dipped in butter are artichokes and lobsters both which are pretty good anyway. Why aren’t we doing this with some of the revolting  stuff (beetroot springs to mind) to make it taste better?  I guarantee more people would like Brussels Sprouts if they came liberally doused in melted butter.  Just saying.

Anyway I digress.  You know what is also good?  Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…but a few more of my favourite things are mayonnaise, lamb and capers.

And all of these delicious things can be found in the Nancy Spain recipe for Water Lily Lamb Salad.  And this time, I really did prepare one earlier….

 

Water Lily Lamb Salad 2
Water Lily Lamb Salad 2

Apart from the cutest name ever, the Water Lily Lamb Salads are pretty damn good and would make a great starter for a springtime lunch.  It’s such a lovely way to present the meal as well…albeit, I cooked my artichokes for the full 25 minutes as recommended by Nancy and they kind of fell apart, hence my slightly awry water lillies in the photos!  Tasted great though.   Still, I’ll cook them a lot less next time.  You could sub in chicken for the lamb as an equally deliciious variant.  Or an egg salad would be incredible…

And, if you needed any further incentive to eat artichokes, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the Artichoke Queen Of California in 1947.  And look where it got her…

No, not dead of a barbiturate overdose  at the tender age of 36…wow, you people are cynical…

Marilyn Monroe - Artichoke Queen
Marilyn Monroe – Artichoke Queen

I”m going to be spending my week hanging around greengrocers, waiting to be crowned queen of something.

Then again…why limit myself to produce when I can crown myself

qofe

It’s your week, may as well make it awesome.

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