Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Frozen Fruit Salad

 Before I get down to the "somewhere between solid and liquid" business that the next recipe embodies, I gotta give a "thanks for the Jell-O" shout out to my momma. See, I have A LOT of childhood memories involving the low-calorie jiggly little treat. Every Christmas my mom would make this layered dish with lime, cherry and lemon Jell-O dish (the lemon was whipped with cream cheese so it would appear white). Very festive. But more importantly, that dish was the shit! I mean, I would sneak into the fridge and polish off half a tray, ensuring she would have to make a second one for whatever holiday party it was planned for.

There was also a lime Jell-O cream-cheese pineapple salad I remember frequenting summer dinners, the standard strawberry Jell-O with strawberries and bananas, and once, right after the blue raspberry flavor came out, she made little cups of blue jell-o with gummy sharks strategically placed throughout. Cute, huh? But this Jell-O fascination wasn't just limited to my mom. It was like a bad gene that everyone on her side of the family inherited. My cousin and I used to joke that when you'd go to our family reunions, you best like Jell-O, since 3/4 of the food there was gonna be Jell-O salads. Seriously.

So, I raise a toast to my childhood and offer you my adaptation of “Frozen Fruit Salad,” (WSCC pg. 132) an interesting "salad" that originally include unflavored gelatin, mayo, and canned fruit cocktail. oh, and whipped cream. Truth me told, I was a bit scared when I saw the recipe, but I dove in head first and in the end, while this fruit salad isn't a true Jell-o salad, it is reminiscent of those old Jell-O pops that used to be served after school lunch in the spring. Only fruitier.

1 tbs agar agar flakes
½ cup boiling water
2 tbs cane sugar
1 16 oz can fruit cocktail in syrup (don’t drain it)
½ cup veganaise
1 can soywhip

In a small saucepan, place the agar agar flakes and the water. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Trust me on this. I have heard that “agar agar is scary!” It’s not. Not if you let it just soak for a while. While you agar agar is soaking, mix your fruit cocktail (with syrup) with the veganaise (I know, right! Gross! Who the hell mixes mayo and fruit cocktail?) and place in the fridge. After your agar agar has soaked, bring the mixture to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and stir until the flakes have dissolved. Add the sugar and stir until that has dissolved as well. Pour the mixture into your fruit cocktail/ veganaise mixture until full incorporated and place in the fridge for 5 minutes. While your mix is chillin’, shake the shit out of your can of soywhip (mad props to my roomie Jen who shook that bottle like a polaroid picture). Take your mixture out of the fridge and empty that can of whip into your fruit cocktail/ veganaise mix. Fold the soywhip in, fully incorporating it. Once your mixture is a smooth creamy mix, pour it into a container, cover, and freeze overnight.

The result? The center was a little icy, the salad melted a bit fast, and if I ever make it again, I may up the agar agar, but for a first try it ain't that bad. And the taste? Pure bliss. Really. Cold sticky sweetness tangoing on your tongue. Add some sweet ice tea and it would be perfect for a hot humid day in July, sitting in a rocking chair on the veranda. Whoda thunk?

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