Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm not fat, I'm FLUFFY!

Here we are again on cranberry lane! (Is that a space on the Candyland game? It should be.) Have you tried cranberry chicken yet? Are you anxious for favorite cranberry recipe #2? I am! I haven't stopped thinking about it since I posted the first recipe a couple of days ago. I should clarify that just because this recipe is the second one I am posting does not mean it is any less a favorite than the first. It is equally as delicious and dear to my heart.

Many years ago I was part of a great group of friends that continually frequented plays and concerts in the Salt Lake City area. We saw and heard some fantastic performances! Before attending any event, we always went out to dinner. We even had a rotation for who had to choose where we'd be eating The Roof restaurant at Temple Square became a favorite of the group. While it was too expensive to eat at on any kind of monthly basis, we did make sure we at there every Christmas season and usually for Valentine's Day. Now, if you've been to The Roof buffet before you know the high price is well worth it. The bite size sampler foods, soups, vegetables, peel-and-eat shrimp, rotating main dishes, prime rib and heavenly desserts combine to create a culinary masterpiece. I could make a list of 20 foods there that I adore. And guess what? One of those is a cranberry recipe--CRANBERRY FLUFF SALAD!

(picture from The Albert Lea Tribune via Google)

While the majority of the buffet items at The Roof rotate, a few of the salads remain the same visit after visit. Luckily for me, the cranberry fluff salad is one of those. Rarely did I roll out the door leave after dinner there without saying to myself, "I have got to figure out how to make that salad." It is a perfect blend of tart and sweet, creamy and crunchy. After a couple of years it finally occurred to me that I actually owned a copy of the now out-of-print original Lion House recipes. Since the salad never rotated off the buffet, it must be a classic for the restaurant and might be in the very book I'd owned all along. Guess what? IT WAS! Imagine my joy! Now that I have it, and am still as in love with it as I ever was, I want to share it with you!

Lion House Cranberry Fluff Salad
2 c raw cranberries, ground
1/2 c sugar
2 c diced apples
1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans
3 c miniature marshmallows
1/4 t salt
1 c heavy cream, whipped
Combine cranberries and sugar; cover and chill overnight. Add apples, nuts, marshmallows, and salt. Fold in whipped cream. Chill. Makes about 12 servings.

This dish is a great alternative to a fruit or a jello salad. It would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner! (I may need to put it on my menu this year.) Since I know you are all anxious to make this delightful dish, let me pass along a couple of things to be aware of.

First, the sugar will bring out the natural juices in your cranberries as they sit overnight. (Ever heard of the term "maceration"?) The juice is what gives your salad it's lovely pink hue. To get your cranberries nice and fine, give them a spin in a food processor. Second, I never peel my apples. You can peel yours if you'd like, but I don't mind the skin (think off all those vitamins!) so I don't take the time. Third, the original recipe calls for walnuts, but I listed pecans as an alternative. My dear hubby is allergic to walnuts, so I always substitute pecans. And finally, make sure you don't sweeten up your whipped cream out of habit. Your berry and sugar mixture will do that for you.

Oh yeah, one more thing. There are several versions of this salad that use crushed pineapple. I've never tried it that way. While I'm sure it's tasty, I am going to cling to my original version for now.

So there it is, cranberry recipe #2. Does anyone else want a bowl right now as much as I do?

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