Monday, July 13, 2015

Playing hookey with recipes

My vegetable recipe collection
I never claimed to be neat or organized
I played hookey tonight and had more fun with what to me is a delightful pastime--looking through recipes. I have my personal collection sorted into types of dishes, each in its own folder. Tonight I was looking for a light salad supper for friends and a layered salad to feed the multitudes--I've promised to do that in a couple of weeks.
Going through my "Vegetable" folder is no quick or small chore. The folder is at the least four inches thick, and tonight I spent an hour or more fingering every recipe. Found amazing things, and was determined not to give up until I got to the end. Sometimes I'd find a recipe I really treasured but have no immediate use for--yet I know to find it next time will take me another hour. I need a professional assistant to do many things--including computerize my recipe collection. The scope of the project boggles my mind almost as much as organizing my bookshelves.
Apparently my curiosity went in spurts, because there'd be a whole group of cauliflower recipes (which I'll eat but don't much like), and then a bunch of Brussel sprouts recipes, with broccoli scattered through. You could almost do a timeline by the recipes in that folder--though some I think of as fairly new have sifted to the bottom. Still at the back are congealed salad directions--mostly congealed gazpacho. Does anyone make congealed salads anymore?
I found several recipes from our late and beloved Aunt Reva--asparagus casserole (canned asparagus but I remember loving it), really good pinto beans, and a chili rellenos casserole that Colin  loves and Lisa fixes to this day. Some from my mom, though most of hers are in my entre folder.
Every time I go through recipes I try to be hard-hearted about what I will and won't cook--and tonight I threw away lots (maybe a quarter of an inch). Like chicken liver salad--dated. Sounds good to me, but I don't know anyone who would eat it with me.
There are countless recipes for potato salad, but I am fixed on one or two that I really love--and so many seem to repeat each other. Threw those out. Also tomato pie--sounds so good but has turned out so unsatisfactory every time I've tried it.
There's a recipe for finger Caesar salad that Jordan and I loved. It was, I think, the original way Caesar salad was served--a dollop of dressing at the base of each Romaine leaf. You picked it up with your fingers and ate it.
You'd be surprised at the variety of layered salads--an antipasto one that calls for roast beef, when I expected salami; a Cobb layered salad; and what I think of as the traditional--with ham, peas, lettuce, Swiss or cheddar, hard-boiled eggs, etc. Another dishes from the past but sometimes I long for it.
As for that casual salad supper? I'm leaning toward tortellini salad with smoked salmon.
Now the evening's gone, it's too late to start something new, so I'm going to read.

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