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Serving Food Attractively: Salads II
PEARS: Tint a number of canned pear halves pink and an equal number green by allowing them to stand in their own juice in separate dishes, one tinted pink, the other green. Use pure fruit coloring. When the desired color is obtained, drain, then fill cavity with well-seasoned cream cheese and press one pink half to a green half. Use a sprig of mint at stem end and a whole clove at blossom end. Place in bed of greens.
Tint two pear halves yellow, two pink, and two green. Fill the cavities with cottage cheese. Fasten the halves of the same color together. Insert a piece of green pepper for stem and clove for blossom end. Arrange in border around a salad.
Turkey: Place a large canned pear half, cut side down, on lettuce. (If medium or small pear halves are used, fasten the two halves together with cream cheese for the body of the turkey). Use plain or roll in graham cracker crumbs or ground nut meats. Fit two thirds of a pineapple slice over small end of pear for the tail and insert a segment of red-skinned apple, 1/a to 3/a inch wide and 3 or more inches long, through large end of pear for the neck. Place a cherry on top of the apple wedge for the head and a piece of date for the beak. Let a tiny piece of red cherry dangle over beak for the wattle of the turkey. Very effective when served as an individual salad.
Fill tinted canned pear halves with cheese balls that have been tinted a contrasting color. The balls may be formed with two or more kinds of colored cheese.
Fill pear cavity with Bing cherries, blueberries, raspberries, or other small fruit in season.
Fill pear cavity with fruit gelatin cubes or shirred gelatin, blending two or more colors together. To shirr gelatin, mold a thin layer in a shallow pan. When firm, cut with the prongs of a fork.
Easter Bunny: Use large canned pear half. Place cut side down on shredded lettuce. Insert two cloves or tiny pink candies for eyes at small end of pear. Use fruit coloring to paint a pink streak down middle of blanched almonds for inner part of ear. Insert two of these streaked almonds in back of the eyes for ears. Place a piece of raisin or maraschino cherry in the pear for the mouth. Cut the dry powdered surface from a tender marshmallow and use the cottony ball remaining for the tail.
PERSIMM0N: Cut persimmon into cubes and marinate in French dressing. Drain well and place on top of a light-colored salad.
Slice a persimmon and place a small pitted prune, plain or stuffed, in the center of each slice. Arrange in groups on large salad tray.
Cut a persimmon petal fashion and arrange on large buffet salad. Use a crosswise slice of date or prune as the center of the flower.
PINEAPPLE: Place a slice of cranberry jelly on a slice of pineapple; top with cream cheese forced through a pastry tube.
Color pineapple green, red, or orange by allowing pineapple rings to stand in pineapple juice to which fruit coloring has been added. Use slices whole or cut in wedges.
Candles: Cut a banana in half crosswise and use a half for each candle. Stand the banana in the center of a pineapple ring. Top with mayonnaise and maraschino cherry. Arrange on large salad tray. Birthday candles placed in candy candleholders may be inserted in pineapple ring and lighted just before serving. Arrange in groups of three at each end of a long salad tray.
Place ripe olives or Bing cherries in center of pineapple ring with a sprig of mint. Top slice of pineapple with cone-shaped scoop of cottage cheese. Alternate green pepper and pimiento strips around cheese in spiral fashion.
Insert whole cloves in outer edge of pineapple ring near rim on top of the slice, or use cloves to form design on top of the slice.
Pineapple Fingers: Use canned or candied pineapple. To make candied pineapple, boil 2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup syrup, and 1 cup water together until the syrup spins a thread when dropped from a spoon (234-236° F.). Add dry pineapple slices or fingers to the syrup and cook until fruit is clear. Remove from syrup, drain, spread on wire rack to dry until fruit is no longer sticky. Pack between sheets of waxed paper and place in a tin box or glass jar until ready to use.
POMEGRANATE SEEDS: Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over salad or mix with tossed green salad. These seeds may be used to simulate holly berries, combined with citron leaves, and arranged around pear cavity or on pineapple ring.
PLUMS: Arrange fresh whole plums singly or in groups on large salad trays.
Cut large, firm plum in half lengthwise, remove pit, and stuff the cavity with well-seasoned cottage cheese.
Section prune plums lengthwise and arrange on salad in petal fashion. Use a tiny round piece of fresh orange rind for center of flower.
PRUNES: Stuff pitted prunes with creamed cottage cheese, marshmallow, chopped dates, nut meats, pineapple, or orange sections.
Stand three blanched toasted almonds upright in pitted prunes. Place on a slice of fruit or in bed of greens.
RAISINS: Use dark or light raisins, dried or steamed, singly in design, or in groups on fruit slices or salad greens.
RHUBARB: Peel rhubarb as thinly as possible. Peel will curl up naturally. Arrange curls on bed of salad greens.
BEANS: Cook whole green or wax beans cut in julienne strips. Marinate in sweet-sour dressing and drain. Use as a garnish on vegetable salads, or combine with cooked julienne carrots.
BEETS: Slice sweet pickled beets, then cut into crescents, stars, animals, or other shapes. Place on or around salad just before serving.
Cut a slice from root end of cooked beet, scoop out pulp, and fill with any desired salad or salad dressing.
Stuff beet cups with cream cheese or gelatin of contrasting color. When firm, cut in slices or sections and use around meat, fish, or vegetable salads.
Cut lattice slices with a fluting knife. For directions, see lattice potatoes in directions for potatoes in fish section.
Cut beet slices crosswise with a fluting knife, to form julienne strips.
Shred raw or cooked beets. Be sure to follow grain of beet when shredding. Arrange in mounds or combine with raw shredded turnips to form border.
BROCCOLI: Cook fresh broccoli until tender but firm. Separate floret for individual salad, or use large bunch for large salad tray. Marinate broccoli before using.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Cook, drain, marinate in sweet-sour dressing, then drain again. Serve whole or sliced on salad.
CABBAGE: Chop raw red and green cabbage and marinate in sweet-sour dressing, or juice from sweet-sour pickles. Drain, then form into nests, using each color separately. Alternate red and green nests around salad tray. Fill nests with marinated vegetables, meat balls, or cheese balls.
CARROTS: Shred carrots with the grain of the vegetable. Top salads with small bunches of shredded carrots or form border around salad.
Cut a carrot in half lengthwise, then cut very thin lengthwise slices from middle portion. Fringe edges of both sides of slice about V4 inch deep. Cuts may be made either straight or diagonally. Curl slices, fasten with a toothpick, and place in ice water to chill.
Make nests with shredded carrots, fill with plain or tinted melon balls, cream-cheese balls, or balls cut from other suitable vegetables.
Sprinkle grated carrot over salad.
Flowers: For brown-eyed Susans, cut a 1/8 inch slice from large end of carrot. Place a daisy cardboard pattern on top, trace, and cut. Place small round piece of date or truffle in center of flower. For variation of this flower and for carrot jonquils, see directions for flowers in meat section.
For other flowers, cut carrot slices with various flower cutters. Fasten each flower to end of toothpick and arrange in salad greens.
Press a shrimp cutter through center of large carrot. Cut in 2-inch sections, cook, or use raw as a salad garnish. For variety, unwind shrimp strands and rewind with potato shrimp cut in the same way.
CELERY: Pull a 4-inch stalk of celery through a carrot ring. Fringe each end of celery stalk down about 1 1/2 inches on each side.
Stuff celery with tinted cream cheese, using layers of different-colored cheese. Cut in slices to obtain a rainbow effect and scatter over salad.
CHIVES: Chop fine and sprinkle over salad.
Cut chive stalks in rings; scatter over light-colored vegetable salad.
CUCUMBERS: Score a peeled cucumber with a fluting knife or by drawing a fork lengthwise over outer surface. Slice, and marinate in French or sweet-sour dressing. Drain, then arrange on salad and sprinkle with paprika.
Form cucumber chain by cutting slices from peeled or unpeeled cucumber about 1/8 inch wide. Remove pulp to form rings. Make one cut through the rind in all but the first ring. Fit one ring into the other through the cut in rind. Arrange around salad.
Baskets: See directions for cucumbers in fish section.
Boats: Use a 4- to 5-inch cucumber. Cut off a lengthwise slice; scoop out center portion. Fill with combination salad. Carve oars out of carrot slices and fasten to side of cucumber boat. Cut sail from turnip slice.
Cucumber Twists: See directions for cucumbers in fish section.
Cucumber Curls: See directions for cucumbers in fish section.
Cucumber Water Lily: See directions for cucumbers in fish section.
Cucumber Rose: See directions for cucumbers in fish section.
Arrange three slices of scored unpeeled cucumber on salad plate and top with a round mold of tomato jelly. Place a few mint leaves at base of mold and two or three leaves on top.
Score any firm vegetables, slice, and combine in groups of three or more slices of graduated sizes. Use scored, unpeeled cucumber slices in these groups.
ONIONS: Interlace white or tinted onion rings on tossed salad.
Fill nests of greens or shredded carrots with pearl onions. Or arrange onions in border around salad.
Scatter bird's-eye onions over salad.
Marinate cooked onion cups and fill with cubed pickled beets. Arrange in groups of three on large salad tray.
PARSLEY: Chop parsley and sprinkle over salad.
Arrange sprigs or tiny sections of parsley in appropriate setting on salad.
PEPPERS: Fill red or green pepper cases with gelatin salad. When firm, slice or cut in wedges and arrange around large salad.
Fill pepper cases with cottage cheese and cut in slices or wedges. Use as garnish for salad tray.
Gut pepper cases in half, remove seeds and membrane, scallop edges, and fill with marinated vegetable balls.
POTATO FLOWER BASKET: Peel large potatoes and slice paper thin. Cut into strips 1 inch wide and 2 1/2 inches long; cut one end to a point. Place seven petals in outer part of small frying basket; hold in place while inserting inside basket. Fry in deep fat to a golden brown. Remove carefully from basket. Serve colored cheese balls or melon balls in the potato basket. Arrange on large salad tray.
POTATO CHIPS: Dip half of each potato chip in cream cheese-mayonnaise dressing which has been flavored with horse-radish and onion to suit taste. Arrange around salad. To make dressing, cream 1 3-ounce package of cream cheese until light and fluffy, mix well with 1/2 cup mayonnaise, then add 1 tablespoon (more or less, as desired) of horse-radish and 1/2 teaspoon grated onion. Add salt if necessary.
Dip edges of potato chips in paprika, then form flower design in center of each chip with tinted cream cheese forced through pastry tube. Place in groups at end of salad tray.
Dip edges of potato chips in mayonnaise, then in paprika or chopped chives. For variation, dip edges of chips in softened colored cream cheese.
RADISHES: Radish Rose, Tulip, or Fan See directions for radishes in appetizer section.
Water Lily: Outline five petals on the surface of a radish to resemble a water lily. Use the stem end as the base. Cut petals down to within 1/4 inch of the base. Scoop out pulp. Insert a round of red radish peel or orange peel for center of flower. The large end of white icicle radishes may be cut in the same way, Chill in ice water; drain; dry; dip edges in paprika.
RUTABAGA: Jonquils See directions for flowers in meat section.
SCALLIONS: Trim scallions, then slice or chop and scatter over salad. Scallions are both attractive and tasty on tossed green salads.
TOMATOES: Cut a small or medium-sized whole tomato in five sections, starting from blossom end and cutting far enough to spread sections slightly (a little more than halfway). Sprinkle sieved cooked yolk in center of flower thus formed.
Cut tomato in wedges and arrange petal fashion around half of a hard-cooked egg. Stand egg half on end so yolk is in view.
Tomato Rose Cup: Trace petals or deep scallops on a firm ripe tomato. Cut tracings with a sharp knife. Scoop out center sufficiently to hold thick salad dressing.
Tomato Cheese Rose: Use medium-sized tomato. See directions for tomatoes in appetizer section.
Tomato Candle: Peel a medium-sized, firm tomato and place in lettuce cup, blossom end up. With an apple corer remove enough pulp to admit one marinated asparagus tip. Cut a handle for the candleholder from an unpeeled cucumber slice. Insert in the side of the tomato. If cucumbers are not available, make the handle out of green pepper.
TRUFFLES: Chop or cut in fancy shapes. Used mostly for accent and to bring out the other colors in flowers or designs.
TURNIPS: Daisies and Narcissus See directions for flowers in meat section.
Tulips: Use a turnip about 3 inches long and about 2 inches wide at the base. Trace five tulip petals on the surface of the turnip, using the stem end as the base of the flower. Cut the petals with a thin, sharp knife, then place in ice water until ready to serve.
Cut animals or other objects from turnip slices. Use fancy cutters or place a cardboard pattern on the turnip slice and cut out design with a sharp knife. Place turnip cutouts on top of molded salad of darker background, or mold them into the salad in some attractive design. With a shrimp knife cut two long curled sections from a cooked turnip. Unwind, and interchange colors with cooked beets cut in the same manner.
VEGETABLE CORSAGE: Make narcissus, daisies, jonquils, and brown-eyed Susans out of turnips, rutabagas, and carrots. (See directions for flowers in meat section.) Combine with parsley or mint leaves and arrange on large salad tray.