Southern Salad Bar

2015-11-05 12.04.48RECIPES #102-108, DAY #130

ORIGINAL RECIPES: Mostly from Greene on Greens and Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, with a couple of my own (which may have started with Betty Crocker)*

TIMING: Each recipe takes around 30 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Mostly easy

TOOLS: Nothing much special, just a few Mason jars

COOK TYPE: There is some boiling involved, but most of these recipes have minimal to no cooking

HEALTH: For the most part, these recipes have way too much mayonnaise and cream. For that reason, I would never make this particular batch together again. But in my defense, Southerners love their mayonnaise. On the other hand, there are plenty of veggies and even some lean protein, and when paired with natural, whole grain crackers and leafy greens, I think we’ll survive.

2015-11-05 12.01.56EXPERIENCE: Every once in awhile, I throw a big party or I cater. In a couple weeks, you’ll get to see how I cook for a big party. Right now, you’re getting a peek at my catering.

As I alluded to above, I made a big mistake with this gig when I accidentally chose salads for my Southern Salad Bar which were all creamy. In a perfect world, there would be some salads with vinaigrette as well, maybe some roasted salads (I had a beet salad on the original lineup), and even a pickle or two. But once I realized my mistake, it was too late.

Still, it was a successful luncheon for 40.

Stay posted for the dessert pie (Sweet Potato and Chocolate Pecan) recipes.

NOTES: I served the chicken salad and pimento cheese (as well as ham salad, see previous recipe) as options for both leafy greens (I chose baby spinach and arugula) and a variety of white and whole grain (and gluten free) crackers. Then I lined up all the veggie salads and finished with the beverages (which–as always–had to include coffee).

The recipes that follow are for a normal amount per salad. They are not written here for 40 people.

***

SIMPLE CHICKEN SALAD WITH GRAPES

  1. In a jar, combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup cream, 4 tablespoons orange juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Close the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated.
  2. Poach or otherwise cook 2 chicken breasts. Cool, (then, if needed, remove skin, fat, gristle, and bones) and cut into nice bite-size chunks. Toss with 1 cup quartered seedless green grapes. Seal it up and keep refrigerated.
  3. When ready to serve, drain any accumulated liquid from the chicken and pour the chicken into a mixing bowl, then top with half the dressing. Toss to coat, then add more dressing until well-dressed. Taste for flavorings.
  4. Serve on lettuce leaves on a platter, or in a nice bowl.

***

PIMENTO CHEESE

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 lb grated sharp cheddar cheese, 8 ounces diced pimento, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/8 cup yellow mustard, and a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Stir and taste for seasoning. (I am always convinced to add a lot more yellow mustard. You could also add minced shallot or onion, or cider vinegar.)
  2. Serve with crackers or bread. I also love to serve it with a wonderful and super sweet strawberry jam.

***

CREAMY PEA SALAD WITH MINT

  1. In a jar, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 minced white onion, 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Close the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated.
  2. Defrost 2 pounds frozen peas (or blanch fresh peas). Combine with a few diced roasted red bell peppers. Seal it up and keep refrigerated.
  3. When ready to serve, drain any accumulated liquid from the peas, and pour the peas into a mixing bowl, then top with half the dressing. Toss to coat, then add more dressing until well-dressed. Taste for flavorings.
  4. Serve topped with roasted pepper slices and mint.

***

CORN SALAD

  1. In a jar, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. (This part is optional: In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon beef broth paste with a couple tablespoons hot water and work together until paste is dissolved. Add to the jar.) Close the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated.
  2. Cook 6 ears of corn and remove kernels from cob (or defrost equivalent sweet corn; grilling would be nice). In a mixing bowl, combine the corn with 1 diced green bell pepper, 1 diced red bell pepper, 1/2 diced red onion, 2 thin-sliced shallots, and 1 large diced tomato. (Out of season, use a top-notch hothouse tomato(es), like Roma or cherry). Seal it up and keep refrigerated.
  3. When ready to serve, drain any accumulated liquid from the corn mixture and pour the corn into a mixing bowl, then top with half the dressing. Toss to coat, then add more dressing until well-dressed. Taste for flavorings.

***

BEST BROCCOLI SALAD

  1. In a jar, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons cider vinegar. Close lid and shake to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss together 3 cups broccoli florets and pieces, 1/2 cup raisins, and a couple tablespoons finely diced, red onion. Seal it up and keep refrigerated.
  3. Meanwhile, cook 4 slices of bacon however you make bacon. You could roast it in a 400F oven, but for this recipe simply chopping it up and sauteing it would be ideal. Set aside to drain.
  4. When ready to serve, drain any accumulated liquid from the broccoli mixture and pour the veggies into a mixing bowl, then top with half the dressing. Toss to coat, then add more dressing until well-dressed. Add 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar and the bacon pieces, then toss again. Serve immediately, optionally garnished with hulled sunflower seeds.

***

ALMOST DAD’S POTATO SALAD

  1. In a jar, combine 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise and 1/4 cup yellow mustard. Add 1 cup finely diced pickles (dill or sweet, to your taste). Close lid and shake to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated.
  2. Bring salted water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add 8 peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes. Cook just until tender but still holding their shape. Drain and shock with cold water, then drain again. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, hard-boil 5 eggs. Cool, peel, and dice. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine potatoes with 1 diced white onion and 4 diced ribs of celery. Add half the dressing and toss, then add more dressing as needed. Gently fold in the eggs and taste for salt and pepper.
  5. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Garnish with parsley or dill.

***

SWEET TEA

  1. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place 15 de-tagged tea bags (black and orange pekoe, like Lipton or PG Tips) in a 1 quart glass measuring cup (like Pyrex).
  3. When water comes to a boil, pour about 4 cups over the tea bags. After 3 minutes, with a wooden spoon, stir 1 cup granulated sugar into the tea until dissolved. After 1 more minute, remove the tea bags. (This mixture can be stored in the fridge at this point, but less ice will be needed to reconstitute. Use some cold water instead).
  4. Fill a tempered, glass, 1 gallon pitcher with ice. Pour the tea over the ice, stir, and taste. Top off with cold water, if needed.

***

*Recipes changed from the originals.

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