Tag Archives: Megan from Wanna Be A Country Cleaver

Salad Week: Toughie’s Apple Salad

It’s Salad Week! What a glorious way to celebrate Spring. Once again, my blogging partners in crime and I are co-oping a food themed week and this time salads are the stars. And honestly after a big sugar-filled holiday weekend, who couldn’t use a few new salad recipes, am I right?

In our salad week discussions, the topic of retro salads came up as well as salads made with unconventional ingredients. Examples: Twinkie Salad and aspic. Does anyone even know what aspic is anymore? The retro salads of potlucks past struck a chord with me, so today I’m featuring one of my mother-in-law’s fruit salads from the 1950’s. It has a few unexpected ingredients, but they all come together beautifully to make an old-fashioned potluck favorite.

For the record, my mother-in-law is a gem. She’s spunky and funny and I love her very much. Her nickname is Toughie, and this is Toughie’s Apple Salad.

Toughie’s Apple Salad:
4 crisp apples, peeled & chopped
1 small can of crushed pineapple
1 small can of pineapple tidbits
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
the juice of one fresh lemon
the juice from both cans of pineapple
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

To start, peel and dice the apples and toss them into a large mixing bowl. Open the cans of pineapple and drain the juice, reserving it for the custard dressing; toss the drained pineapple into the bowl with the apples.

In a saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, mustard, lemon juice and the juice from both cans of pineapple. Cook over medium heat, whisking often to prevent lumps, until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. If you’re in a hurry, pour the custard into a bowl and pop it into the fridge to chill.

Once the custard is cool, pour it over the fruit and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into your serving dish, then sprinkle the coconut and cheese over the top. Serve cold as a dessert salad.

My thoughts: Yes, it’s weird to put a little yellow mustard in a fruit custard, but the surprising thing is you don’t taste mustard in the finished product. It gives it a bright little tang like lemon zest would. So while it sounds weird, don’t leave it out. It really adds a zing. Cheese also throws some people off when they see this fruit salad. Is it necessary? Probably not. There’s really not enough of it to have a strong impact. What it does do is give you a nice contrast between the sweet of the fruit and the sharp cheddar when you take a bite. And speaking of sweet, this custard is very sweet. I was a good girl this time and stuck to the recipe as Toughie intended it, but the next time I make it I’ll be cutting the sugar down to a 1/2 cup or maybe even a 1/4 cup. If you prefer less sugar and more natural sweetness in your fruit salad, I recommend you do the same.

Now, on to the rest of Salad Week. Don’t forget to visit my lovely friends throughout the week as they share a few introductory salads to whet your appetite. Then on Saturday April 14th, we’ll all be posting salads in a big Salad Week Extravaganza – much like the grand finale of a fireworks display. In addition, there will be a linky party over at Allison’s place so you can not only see all of our salads from the week, but you can add your own favorites, as well.

Salad Week bloggers include:
Allison – Decadent Philistines Save the World
Jeanne – Inside NanaBread’s Head (hey, that’s me!)
Lauren – Climbing Grier Mountain
Kat – Tenaciously Yours
Kirsten – Comfortably Domestic
Megan – Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Madelyn – La Petite Pancake
Monica – The Grommom
Carrie – Bakeaholic Mama



Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

I put the Ice Cream in Cake Week

Wahoo! It’s Cake Week! I love these collaborative cooking weeks. I get borderline giddy with anticipation to see what my friends will be making. Those girls never fail to impress. For my contribution to Cake Week, I chose the ice cream cake category. Why? Because I like to shake things up, and because I promised myself that I would keep trying new things as my carry-over mantra from 2011. Hence, I give you my very first ice cream cake. Or cakes. I made them individual serving size, and here’s how it all went down.

Ice cream wrapped in a chocolate cake hug & smothered in more chocolate.

What you’ll need to pull this off:
1 cake mix + the oil, eggs & water to go with it
2 pints of your favorite ice cream (I chose two flavors)
2 bottles of Magic Shell chocolate ice cream coating
Candy melts, nonpareils, or other decorative touches
Heart-shaped cookie cutter (or round, square or other)
Parchment paper & various baking pans

1. Starting with a dark chocolate fudge cake mix (yes, a cake mix), I mixed it according to the package directions except for one small thing. I substituted 1/4 cup of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup for 1/4 cup of the water. Because nothing compliments chocolate like more chocolate.

2. I covered a sheet cake pan with parchment paper and spread the cake batter in a thin layer (about 1/4″). That sounds thin, but the batter puffs to about 1/2″ when it’s done. I baked it at 350F until the cake was slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick came out clean. Once out of the oven, I let it cool to room temperature, then slid the entire sheet pan into the freezer for at least one hour so the cake would be firm enough to cut without falling apart.

3. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, I cut the cake into 8 hearts (each about 4″ wide) and placed them back in the freezer while I prepared the ice cream. Note: to make 4 individual-size ice cream cakes, you’ll need 8 cake cutouts and 4 ice cream cutouts in whichever shape you choose.

4. For the ice cream layer, I selected a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. I softened both in the microwave for 30-40 seconds, stirred to loosen them up, then poured each pint into a parchment-lined pan. I spread the ice cream into a 1/2″ thick layer and placed both pans back into the freezer to firm up.

I 'heart' cake and ice cream.

5. Once the ice cream was firm, I used the same cookie cutter to cut the ice cream into heart shapes. I then stacked an ice cream slice onto 4 hearts and topped them with another cake heart. I pressed ever so lightly to set the layers together, but not so hard as to cause the ice cream to squish out. I popped it all back into the freezer to firm up again. As you can see, these take very little work, but a bit of time as each stage goes back into the freezer to set up.

6. Once the ice cream cakes were good and cold, I removed them one at a time and covered them in Magic Shell. Ever used Magic Shell? It’s liquid chocolate in a bottle that sets up into a hard chocolate shell when it hits cold ice cream and it makes a lovely, smooth coating for ice cream cakes. Again, they go back into the freezer for 10 minutes, or until the Magic Shell is firm.

7. To decorate, I melted pink candy melts over a double boiler, then scraped it into a baggie, snipped off the corner of the bag, and quickly piped decorative touches on the cakes. Some got crisscrossed hash marks (as seen above) and some got piped pink hearts. The hearts got a liberal sprinkling of pink nonpareils because they look so pretty. And what girl doesn’t love pastel nonpareils?

Pink candy melts and nonpareils make everything prettier.

8. Once they’re done, store your ice cream cakes in an air-tight container in your freezer. To serve, simply plate about 5 minutes before serving. Well, I say 5 minutes because I live in Houston and it’s always warm down here. If you live in a colder climate, set them out about 10 minutes before serving.

The great thing about this simple version of ice cream cake is that it’s limited only by your imagination and the selection of cake mixes and ice cream sold at your neighborhood store. Pick your favorite ice cream, then pair it with a complimentary cake mix, and you’ll be off to the races. Strawberry cake with banana split ice cream? Why not? Fudge cake with coffee ice cream? Sounds divine! Butter cake with pecan praline? When should I come over? Now go forth and bake, my minions. Bake and slather cake layers in ice cream. You’ll be surprised at how easy these are to make.

Don’t forget to check out this week’s posts from my fellow bloggers:

MondayFilled Cupcakes from Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic
TuesdayMolten Lava Cake from Mads at La Petite Pancake
Wednesday – Ice Cream Cakelettes from NanaBread (hey, that’s me!)
ThursdayPetite Bundt Cakes by Kat at Tenaciously Yours
FridayPupcakes from Allison at Decadent Philistines Save the World
Saturday – Ombre Rose Cake from Megan at Wanna Be A Country Cleaver

Now for the really fun part. Kirsten, our fearless leader, is celebrating Cake Week with a linky party. If you have a favorite cake recipe you’ve blogged about, click here to link up and join the fun. If you’re more of a cake lover than cake blogger, drop by! It’s a great way to add new recipes to your repertoire. Just click any link photo to open the blog page and view the recipe. It’s like finding a collection of cake recipe cards, but more fun and with better photos!

Now if you’ll excuse me, this girl’s got a date with an ice cream cake.

If you need me, I'll be hiding in a closet so I don't have to share. Sorry, honey.


Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes