Sunday, October 26, 2008
Back again for more on that handy kitchen gadget, the blender. It has been dethroned by the food processor for just about all aspects of food prep except Daiquiri-making, but before the food processor came into common household usage (for you youngsters out there, that would have been the mid-1980’s), the blender was the appliance of choice.
I have both a blender and a food processor (two food processors, actually, one big and one small) and I have to admit that for making sauces and drinks the blender has no peer.
These recipes are from a 1971 Better Homes and Gardens specialty cookbook that belonged to a lady who was a good friend as well as the spousal unit’s mother. She was a wonderful human being and a damn fine cook.
Garden Row Salad
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 large cucumber
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 ½ cups croutons
4 ounces sharp natural cheddar cheese, cut into cubes (1 cup)
½ slice bread, torn in pieces
2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
Put carrots in blender container; cover with cold water. Blend until coarsely chopped. Drain. Layer carrots in bottom of glass salad bowl.
Halve cucumber lengthwise; remove seeds. Cut cucumber in pieces; put in blender container. Cover with cold water. Blend until coarsely chopped. Drain. Layer cucumber atop carrots. Place tomatoes atop cucumbers.
Put celery in blender container; cover with cold water. Blend until coarsely chopped. Drain; layer celery atop tomatoes. Place croutons atop celery layer in bowl. Wipe blender container dry. Put cheese and bread in blender container; blend until coarsely chopped. Arrange cheese, egg slices, and bacon atop salad. Before serving toss with dressing. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
This salad was born of the blender—no one but a restaurant chef would have made it by hand—and could be seen at potluck dinners all over this country for about 25 years. It was very fashionable, which is why those of us who prowl garage sales and thrift stores so often run into those high-sided glass salad bowls. It would have been served with a blender-made dressing, Thousand Island or French, or this one that used to be a favorite of mine.
Green Goddess Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup dairy sour cream
1 sprig parsley
1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets, drained
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Put all ingredients in blender container; blend until smooth (when necessary, stop blender and use rubber spatula to scrape down sides). Makes 1 ¾ cups.
(I do not eat anchovies by choice, which leads me to believe that my mother must have left those out back when she was making this for us).
If you have no reason to fear raw egg yolks (they are not for the very young, the very old, or the health-compromised), you can make the mayonnaise that goes into this dressing. Homemade mayonnaise is sinfully rich and egg-y. I am a bit dubious about this recipe, though; during the year I lived in Paris my boss, Mme Dubois, made mayonnaise regularly and I seem to remember she used only an egg yolk, lemon juice instead of vinegar, and oil.
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Put egg, vinegar, salt, dry mustard, paprika and cayenne in blender container; blend till mixed. With blender running slowly, gradually pour half of the salad oil into blender container (when necessary, stop blender and use rubber spatula to use rubber spatula to scrape down sides). Add lemon juice to mixture in blender container and slowly pour remainder of salad oil into blender container with the blender running slowly. Makes about 1 ¼ cups.