Let’s play our own blog version of Iron Chef combined with Chopped. I challenge you to make a Fall Salad. The challenging part is that you have to use the wicker basket of ingredients listed: the word “warm“–this can apply to spiciness, temperature, or color; beets; and Dark Chocolate. The rest is limited by your imagination. I might give it a try also. Send in your recipes (and if you have them some photographs) to here. Or add your recipe in the comments section. For those of you that prefer regular mail, contact me for my mailing address here. The Grand Prize will be a Garden Basket to help you out with your Thanksgiving Dinner.
Since y’all seem a bit shy about sending in any recipes, let me show you my take on the Fall Salad Contest. I took a lot of risks, and you will have to decide about the results. Remember the virtual wicker basket included the items: warm, beets, and dark chocolate.
My Whit’s End Friendly Food Fight: Entry 1 (and only 1)
A little history. I grew up in South America. I was two when my parents moved to Lima, Peru where we lived in a Kelly Green, second-story flat. It was home for five years before we moved to Limeira, Brazil. Growing up, I have the best and most vivid memories of a couple that played a large role in our lives. We called them Tio Raul and Tia Maria–aunt and uncle. Tia Maria was the classic Spanish lady. She had caffe-o-lay smooth skin with a few freckles that peeked out from behind her face powder. She wore mantillas (Spanish lace) to los reunions (the meetings), and always smelled of expensive perfume. On occasion we would be invited to their uptown apartment for a meal. We received the usual “company manners” lecture before arriving as my parents were missionaries, and we most often dined in huts with hard-packed dirt floors. From my fuzzy, young memories, I have a recollection of a salad we ate in Tia Maria’s dining room with the large gold-plated sun-burst mirror. Tia Maria was an excellent cook.
I call my entry, “Tia Maria’s Molded Beet Tiramisu” –with a warm dressing. I had to use the word “warm” somewhere.
Now hold on to your mantillas (Spanish lace) as this salad will stretch your definitions of salad.
Start by washing up some potatoes. Potatoes are absolutely amazing. So amazing that I broke into poetry.
Ode to the Potato
Ode to the Potato with too many green eyes
Your skin is brown and bumpy,
but what treasures lie inside.
Ode to the Potato baked, boiled, or fried.
Your versatility cannot be denied.
High poetry let me tell you. This poem is an example of why my parents paid for me to attend a private college. Please respect my copyright rules and don’t plagiarise it.
The Potato Fight Song: Hail to the Potato Valiant, Hail to the conquering Hero, Hail, Hail to Po-ta-toes, the heros of All Time.
I will refrain from further refrains from any Michigan Fight Songs.
Peel the potatoes and cut into pieces.
(Be advised before proceeding that subliminal messaging may occur.)
Boil the potatoes as we are going to mash them with some milk, a little butter, lots of Kosher salt, a big ole dab of cream cheese, followed up with a pich of pepper. When you have finished mashing this low fat concoction, scoop half of it into an 8X8 Pyrex dish. My 8X8 Pyrex dish was socializing with some Chicken Pot Pie, so I had to use this glass dish.
To get the potatoes smooth, spray the back of a wooden spoon with some spray oil. (I LOVE SPRAY OIL!!)
Now put one hand on your mantilla and one hand over your mouth (lest you exclaim in surprise) as this is the next ingredient.
No. It isn’t the Canadian Steak Seasoning. That was just inserted as I am feeling bad about missing the Canadian Thanksgiving and wanted to let them know that they were being thought about. The ingredient we want is a can of mixed vegetables–this from a girl who won’t eat store-bought corn as I am spoiled by farm fresh corn. Slowly lower both hands and turn the can over.
If you would like to dice up and cook from scratch all these veggies, go put on your apron, and I’ll see you next week. Really, this can tastes great in this “Molded Beet Tiramisu.” If you want different veggies, shop around until you find a can with the veggies your family will eat. Avoid any that have diced potatoes for this salad.
Drain the can of veggies.
Now you were duly warned that this recipe would stretch your definition of “salad”, so keep coming with me.
Enter the Beets. You can use a can of canned beets or fresh beets. I cooked some beets in foil for about an hour the evening before at 350; a trick I learned from a Canadian. Either way, get those beets. Beets are beautiful. Beets are delicious. Beets make me break out in poetry.
Ode to the Beet
Oh lovely Beet, you can’t be beat.
. . .
Cube up two beets, and add them to a bowl along with the drained mixed veggies.
The beat-veggie mixture will be a mayonnaise based salad. I had some of my Kick’n Apple Cider Dressing left over from my Smokey Pear Fall Salad, so I used it. I needed to add the word “warm” to my recipe, so here it is. Add some Mac-Ill-hay-Knees. (Also known as Tabasco to non Southerners.)
Let me show you a little video clip about this amazing Heat. It is produced right near where my mama was born–Avery Island in Louisiana [Lou-zhee-ann].
Tabasco sauce has been made since just after the Civil War. Click on this link to hear about how Tabasco Sauce is made. http://www.tabasco.com/popup/auth_audio_tour/ If it doesn’t convert you to using only Tabasco sauce, then you are a hard sell indeed. One more interesting fact is that the Tabasco bottles are vacuumed filled–meaning the sauce is sucked in.
After adding some heat to your mayonnaise dressing, sloop a dollop onto your beet and veggie mixture.
Stir gently as the beets give everything their beautiful pink color. Now admit it, you want to snitch a bite.
This mixture is going to be your second layer of your “Tia Maria Beet Tiramisu”. Lay this layer down gently and with the back of a sprayed-with-oil wooden spoon press the mayonnaise veggies into the mashed potatoes. You are just trying to get the layers to stick together, not to squash the veggies all the way down.
Here’s a side view.
Take the rest of the mashed potatoes and dollop them on top.
Once again, spray the back of a wooden spoon with spray oil, and ever so gently spread the mashed potatoes out. You want three distinct layers, not a big mixed up mess, so work gently.
Chill this salad for at least one hour.
We are still missing the Dark Chocolate. Now the original “Tia Maria’s Molded Beet Salad” never included a dusting of cocoa powder, but this isn’t any salad, this is a “Tiramisu Salad”, so when you carefully serve up a square of this molded salad, dust the plate and top of the “Molded Beet Salad” with cocoa powder.
Now take a bite.
So there. I went out on a limb with this one. I’d love to hear from you and your Fall Salad Recipes.
P.S. Send in your recipes (and if you have them some photographs) to here. Or add your recipe in the comments section. For those of you that prefer regular mail, contact me for my mailing address here. The Grand Prize will be a Garden Basket to help you out with your Thanksgiving Dinner (sorry about the timing Canadian readers) filled with a rooster printed tea towel; a gravy separator; a hot mit; green bamboo salad tongs; an amber, glass, turkey-shaped, mini dish; a turkey baster; and a “Scape and Clean” to help with the clean up.
Second place will be a rooster printed tea towel, a turkey baster, and a “Scrape and Clean.”
Third place will be a turkey printed tea towel, a Happy Chef spoon, and a “Scrape and Clean.”
Why did I do this? Just to add a little excitement in our lives. For us to think about something other than the laundry pile and pile of bills. For fun. For creativity. So even if you have never commented before, why not give this challenge a try. The only thing lacking is a good name for the challenge. The Virtual Whit’s End Wicker Basket Challenge? My Whit’s End Friendly Food Fight? Plate Up or Step Down? Give it a name in the comments section along with anything else you would like to add. Let’s give this contest the closing date of Sunday, November 13. That would still leave me a week to get the prizes to you all in the mail. Click “subscribe” to stay current of the latest develpements.
Looking forward to the entries,