Cool summer salads help beat the heat

Published 12:17 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

“The Salad has a special grace
To brighten all occasions,
There’s nothing that can take its place,
It needs no set equations –
Onions, lettuce, peppers, leeks,
Radishes and cheeses,
A dash of cayenne till it speaks,
Or garlic till it teases;
Herbs and capers on the shelf,
Spice from every nation –
Roll up your sleeves and help yourself,
It is your own creation!”
Mary Cotton Davenport, 1948

In the heat of summer, there is nothing more appealing or appetizing than a cool and colorful salad. Prudence Kinnear, the longtime hostess of the Plymouth Country Club, could do wonders with a salad. For more than 50 years, customers from far and near enjoyed eating her delicious creations.

This first recipe goes well with a steak and baked potato cooked on the grill.

Pru’s Asparagus Salad
Makes 8 individual molds or one medium-size mold

1 package cream cheese; 1 package lemon Jell-O; 1/2 pint boiling water; 1/2 pint mayonnaise; 1 17-ounce can all green Asparagus; 1/4 cup almonds; 1 tablespoon almond extract.

Whip asparagus juice and cream cheese together. Add well-mashed asparagus and mayonnaise. In separate pan, dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. When cool add to cheese mixture. Add almonds and almond extract and place in molds.

The next recipe was one of the most popular on her menu. This salad goes especially well with chicken, turkey, pork tenderloin and most seafood.

Pru’s Black Cherry Aspic
Makes 8 individual molds or one medium-size mold

1 package black cherry Jell-O; 1 cup hot water; 1 tablespoon of good sherry; 1 can grapefruit sections; 1 can sliced pineapple; 1/2 can black cherries.

Dissolve Jell-O in 1 cup hot water. Let cool and add 1 tablespoon sherry and 3/4 cup of juice from grapefruit and 1/4 cup juice from pineapple. Add grapefruit sections, pineapple broken into large hunks and 1/2 can of cherries (seeds removed). Chill and serve.

In Pru’s own words: “This recipe came from a friend in Mobile, Ala., and is easily one of the best I have ever tried. In fact, I had a bridal luncheon and this was the main dish. One of the guests was on a very strict diet, and, observing the recipe’s mayonnaise, refused to eat it. I quickly substituted fresh fruits for her, but she listened to the comments and reached over and took a teaspoon. Then she asked for a helping, which ended up in another helping and finally a request for the recipe.”

Pru’s Hot Chicken Salad
Serves 8 to 10

4 cups cold chicken chunks (cooked and cut up); 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 2/3 cup chopped toasted almonds; 3/4 cup mayonnaise; 1 teaspoon salt; 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated; 2 cups chopped celery; 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced; 1 cup cream of chicken soup; 1 teaspoon minced onion; 1 1/2 cups crushed potato chips; 2 pimentos, cut fine; 1 medium size can mushrooms.

Combine all except cheese, potato chips, and almonds. Place in a large rectangular dish, top with cheese, potato chips and almonds. Leave in refrigerator overnight. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Preparing this a day ahead allows it to season through well.

Until next time … eat well!