Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Salad Days

Mondays seem to be my food creation days; at least, the last two Mondays have been.

July 9th: I was gearing up for tech/dress rehearsals for "Cymbeline". I also had a bunch of raspberries that needed to be baked into something, and a birthday party post-rehearsal. And thus, Chocosagna was born.

I was all crisped out, and thinking more of a raspberry bar-type dessert, a sweet finger food if you will.  I started with a yellow cake mix, one egg, and one stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted. Mixed them together and pressed the shortbread-like dough into a 9x13 pan for the base. I had mixed the raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups) with a bit of sugar to sweeten them, so I poured the berries and resulting juice onto the crust; then sprinkled about 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and 1 cup of dark chocolate morsels over the berries; and poured a can of sweetened condensed milk over the whole thing. Popped it into the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. When I took the pan out of the oven, I decided to swirl the melty chocolate chip morsels over the whole concoction; in hindsight, it would have been better to leave the morsels alone. Anyway, the bar/cake/dessert was gooey, so I put it in the refrigerator to chill and firm up.

After rehearsal, I cut the bars; because the chocolate layer had hardened in the fridge, it was kind of....messy to cut through. Messy, but tasty! I left a few bars for the kids, and took the rest to the party. When I removed the cover, our host Matt thought I had brought an overbaked lasagna - the chocolate layer looked a bit like burnt cheese, the raspberries like red sauce, and the crust like noodles, I guess. My dear director friend was the first brave soul to try it - he loved it! As did the others who gave it a go. A definite winner.

UPDATE: My dear director friend was also busy feeling me up during the party - I almost dropped the dessert when he played grab-ass with me. Then he wanted me to "rub my gorgeous body against him" when he gave me a good-bye hug. This was just before the second time he dumped me.

When I make this again - and I will make it again - I'll put the sweetened condensed milk on the crust first, then the berries, nuts and chocolate chips. And I won't spread out the melted chocolate. Maybe a little drizzle of white chocolate to top everything off!

July 16th: Hot, hot hot! It's still so hot! A cold supper was in order; lunchmeats and cheeses, crusty french bread, and Damn Good Potato Salad. Which meant boiling potatoes in the morning, before it got too hot
outside; also hard boiled some eggs while I was at it.

Damn Good Potato Salad
3 lbs. size "b" potatoes ( the little red-skinned ones)
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
mayo/vinegar dressing

I peeled most of the skin off of the potatoes; I had some sprouting and eyes that had to be removed, and I cut them in half. Dropped them in a large pot of water, boiled them until tender. I saved some of the potato water (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) before draining the potatoes; as they cooled slightly, I whisked together the reserved water, about 1/4 c. white wine vinegar, about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (the last of the bottle!), and several splashes of worchester sauce. Once I could handle the potatoes, I cut them into bite-size pieces, then poured the vinaigrette over them, stirred it all up so all the potato bites would absorb the liquid, and put them in the refrigerator to cool for several hours.

Just before serving, I mixed together some (maybe 3/4 cup) mayonnaise (mayo, not Miracle Whip (mayo, always mayo, gentle reader)), a couple tablespoons of spicy brown mustard, some more white wine vinegar and worchester sauce, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and some Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt. I mixed the dressing with the potatoes, added the hard-boiled eggs and green onions, and served up my Damn Good Potato Salad.

The rest of last week was costume creations for Cymbeline; I'll post about them later (and at least I have photos of the items!)

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