Thursday, June 10, 2010

Double Take: Peach-Congealed Salad


Since no two friends can like all the same foods, it is inevitable that some things in the USL cookbook would appeal to either Mel or I but not both. I have a food intolerance to mushrooms. Therefore, all mushroom-centric dishes are in Mel's court. Anyway, I picked 3 different recipes. One I got bored of and couldn't motivate myself to prepare (much less eat) it. The second I messed up and then fixed. However, the explanation will have to wait for another day. As a result, today's "Ew I'm not making that" is Peach-Congealed Salad.

I'm kind of picky about mucilaginous (gooey, slimy) foods. Certain textures are more than I can swallow. However, there's a jello salad my mom makes that I like. She started making it when I was in first grade, shortly after my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. At that time, there were few "sweet" options for diabetics. Her mixture was a combination of small curd cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and sugar free pistachio pudding. Describing it doesn't sound like all that much, but we really came to like it. It wasn't pound cake, mind you, but we liked it. When I saw the congealed salad in USL, I thought, why not? Maybe it would be good too.

Since its copyrighted, I'm not going to post the recipe but I'll describe it for you. It'll give you a good idea of it anyway.

The Process:

Combine milk and nearly half a bag of large marshmallows in a small pot. Turn the oven to a low setting (I used 4) and melt the marshmallows.

Meanwhile, toss pecan halves into your handy food processor (or grab your favorite mallet) and prepare crushed/chopped pecans. I suppose you could purchase toasted crushed pecans but they didn't have them at our store. To toast the pecans, toss them in a frying pan with NO OIL. Turn the heat up to medium high and toss the pecans. When they smell toasty, they're done. I realize "smell toasty" sounds ambiguous. Basically check on them and flip them for about 3-4 minutes. The smell of the nuts will change and they'll be done. Toss the nuts into a bowl with a can of crushed pineapple and about a third of a bar of cream cheese. Stir together well.

Don't forget your marshmallows and milk! Stir them around. When the marshmallows are melted, add a small packet of jello mix. (I strongly encourage you to use 2 small boxes and don't use sugar free. Otherwise, the flavor will be lacking). I chose peach. Stir until the jello is dissolved. Then combine with the cream cheese mixture. Stir well and place in your fridge until completely cooled.

Meanwhile (back at the ranch..If you get this reference, awesome!) pour a cup of whipping cream and whip until it forms stiff peaks. If you're worried about making a mess, pour it into a pint jar, cap with a lid, and shake. This is an excellent job to keep someone busy for a few minutes. It also works if you don't want to wash the mixer pieces or you don't want the noise to scare cats. Anyway, shaking takes about 10 minutes, the same as beating with a mixer.

By this point, your cream cheese/jello mixture should be cool. Fold the whipped cream into it, and return to the fridge to chill for 6 hours. Tada. You can use a mold but I just used an 8 cup tupperware container. It only took up maybe 4 cups worth of space but I wanted to be safe.



Taste test: So-so... not bad but less than awesome. I could smell the peach flavor but couldn't taste it. Bummer. I think I'd actually be willing to try again with either stronger flavor or doubling the flavor. The texture and other ingredients reminded me of the salad my mom makes. However, hers does not set as firmly.

Be sure to head over to Mel's Fabulously Fun Food to see what she whipped up that I didn't.


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