Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lime Jello Salad . . .

... or Mouldy Moldy Salad, as we kids used to call it to tease our mother. My mother served this Jello salad at Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can clearly remember those holidays. She must have started sometime in the 50s, as the WearEver aluminum ring mold that's shown here is what she always used and it comes from the late 50s. In my family, not having this molded gelatin concoction at the Thansgiving table would border on the unforgiveable.

On the handwritten 3x5 recipe card, it says that the recipe came from Jeanne Bryant, a friend of my mother's from our church potluck dinners that we attended on Sunday nights in the Fellowship Hall of the Davis Community Church (what memories I'm having!). From the first time my mother put this on our dinner table, she was not allowed not to make it every holiday season. We children would jump up and down in her kitchen chanting "mouldy moldy salad! mouldy moldy salad!", at which my mother would pretend to be annoyed. The salad always appeared on her Thanksgiving table; of such are loving memories and traditions made. My mother is gone now and although it's been a number of years, I'm particularly missing her as I write this.

I inherited my mother's mouldy moldy salad ring mold and every Thanksgiving I bring it down from the top of my kitchen cupboard, wash and dry it and set it out to receive this time-honored, if a little old fashioned, treat.

Before I assembled the recipe today, I thought of low carbing it by using diet Jello and reducing the fat content by using low or no-fat ingredients. Not only could I just then feel my mother cringe at such blasphemous thoughts, it occurred to me that some things are sacrosanct and just shouldn't be messed with. When the salad is un-molded for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I'll take a photo and put it on this post. Note: 11/2008, it took 2 years, but I finally remembered to take a photo.

Lime Jello Salad (or Moldy Salad)
Recipe courtesy of Skip Hills via Jeanne Bryant
1 large package lime Jello brand gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 #2 can* crushed pineapple in its own juice
1 cup canned milk, such as Carnation
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped finely
In a large glass or ceramic bowl, dissolve the Jello in the boiling water, stirring until all the gelatin has melted and the liquid is clear. Allow to cool to below lukewarm.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients, gently using a wire whisk. Having a few lumps of mayo here and there is part of this salad's charm.
Pour into a 12-cup mold of your choice and chill until the gelatin is completely set.**
To un-mold, fill your kitchen sink with about 3 inches of very hot water.
Quickly dip the mold into the hot water, half-way up the sides, for just a few seconds, taking care not to splash water onto the gelatin.
Take the plate or platter you wish to present your molded salad on and place it over the top of the mold.
Holding the mold and the plate firmly in your grasp, flip the whole thing over and give it a quick up and down shake.
The gelatin should gently drop onto the serving plate. If it doesn't, repeat the process with the hot water dip. It's important to not leave the mold in the hot water for more than a few seconds as it will melt the gelatin at the edges and compromise your presentation.

Cook's Notes:
* This is what the recipe says, a number 2 can. Since I don't know what size that is, I've been using a 20-ounce can and it has worked just fine.
** This gelatin mixture will set up much faster than regular jello because less liquid is used. I put it in the fridge just over an hour ago and it's already set. It will hold, unmolded in the fridge for several days.