Serving up Patriotism Part 1

The 4th of July is just around the corner. Every party will have a table full of red, white and blue decorations and food items. No doubt, someone will bring a white sheet cake topped with blueberries and rasperries to honor our fabric of freedom. This week and next, I’ll offer a few new ideas in lieu of that ubiquitous flag cake.

Here is a super easy and inexpensive salad to bring to your next patriotic pot luck — Patriotic Marshmallow Salad. This is a play on the old-fashioned Mandarin Salad that my mom used to make. Some people might call it Ambrosia Salad. The main ingredients are sour cream, fruit, and mini marshmallows. It might sound like a silly salad, but that’s okay with me. Sometimes a little silliness is just what is needed at a party.  Not every day needs to be gourmet, does it?

The sweet marshmallows tame the sour cream and it is a delight to eat. Be willing to be flexible on the recipe, though. My sweet parents emailed to me the original family recipe and almost every ingredient had included these words of culinary freedom: “or to your likening”. You may want to buy a little extra sour cream to ensure the salad isn’t too dry. The kids will love it. I know I was ‘likening’ it quite a bit.

 

Patriotic Marshmallow Salad

INGREDIENTS
12 ounces mini marshmallows
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chopped pecans
1 16 ounce container of sour cream
1 cup finely diced strawberries
1 pint blueberries

GARNISH
¼ cup finely diced strawberries
Fresh mint

METHOD: In a large bowl, combine marshmallows, coconut, pecans and 2/3 of the sour cream. Stir together until the sour cream coats all of the ingredients. Add more sour cream if the mix appears to be too dry. Carefully fold in the remaining strawberries and blueberries. Over stirring will cause the strawberries to turn the cream a little too pink.

PRESENTATION: Transfer the mix to a large serving bowl, top with the strawberries and mint and serve. Or, fill an angel food cake tin or molded bundt cake pan, and pack in the salad. Unmold and top with the diced strawberries and mint. This is a very cute dessert when served using individual molds. Place a 3” ring mold in the middle of a dessert plate and pack in the salad. Top with diced berries and a mint spring. Remove the mold and repeat on the next plate.

 

Mandarin/Ambrosia

Mark Woolcott Photography; Patricia Bainter Food Styling

INGREDIENTS
16 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drain and reserve juice
8 ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained
12 ounces mini marshmallows
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chopped pecans
16 ounce container of sour cream

GARNISH
8 whole mandarins
Toasted coconut flakes
Fresh mint

METHOD: In a large bowl, combine pineapple, coconut, marshmallows, pecans and 2/3 of the sour cream. Stir together until the sour cream coats all of the ingredients. Add more sour cream if the mix appears to be too dry. Add some of the pineapple juice if needed.

PRESENTATION: Transfer the mix to a large serving bowl, top with mandarin oranges and mint and serve. Or, fill an angel food cake tin or molded bundt cake pan, and pack in the salad. Unmold and top with the whole mandarin oranges and mint. This is a very cute dessert when served using individual molds. Place a 3” ring mold in the middle of a dessert plate and pack in the salad. Top with a whole mandarin orange and a mint spring. Remove the mold and repeat on the next plate.

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