Day Off Number One found me contemplating a box of Knox gelatin. Once ,congealed salads and fruit molds filled the "Salad" sections of the venerable old Southern Junior League cookbooks such as "Southern Sideboards", "Charleston Receipts",and the "Memphis Cookbook". Jello was one of the four food groups back then. Ladies who lunched because they did not have to work ate "Avocado Mousse" at their favorite tearoom. If they lived in Jackson, Mississippi, a friend's cook might have served them "Ginger Ale Salad", composed of canned mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, grapes, and the ever useful crushed canned pineapple.
Here is an example of flavored gelatin in individual molds, waiting for 3 hours of set time in the refrigerator.
And here it appears ready to be composed-
Then, with the help of cold roasted beets flavored with Creole seasoning, pimento stuffed olives. marinated artichokes, a few greens, and the ritual dollop of Duke's mayonnaise, it appears on the table-
A luncheon fit for a debutante.
My molds were not made with Jello mix, but with gelatin powder, pomegranate juice, Ribena Black Currant syrup, and water. If I had had pomegranate seeds I would have added them.
For anyone interested:
1 cup of pomegranate juice and 1/2 cup of Ribena. If you cannot find Ribena use 1/2 cup more of pomegranate juice.
1/2 cup of cold water.
2 small envelopes of Knox gelatin.
Put the juice and the Ribena in a sauce pan and bring them to a boil. Mix the gelatin powder well into the cold water then add the mix to the hot juice and whisk well. Pour into individual molds (Mine were 3 inches), then allow to set in the fridge for two to three hours. Remove them from the metal molds by running a knife around the edge. Holding the mold upside down, run some very warm water over the bottom so that the gelatin mold will drop into your palm. When you serve it surround it with whatever you like, but do not omit the mayonnaise in the middle.
Day Number Two lunch was for a different demographic, and probably not Southern. Clearly not for any ladies trying to keep their figures. Here is food for the potluck, for the fire hall and the logging camp. Food out of the galley on a barge headed from New Orleans to St Louis. A meal that makes the best of 3 yellow potatoes, a small head of cabbage, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese, and a package of smoked sausage I bought for half-price as a Manager's Special at Kroger.
To cook this-
1 small cabbage, shredded in a food processor grater blade.
3 Gold potatoes peeled and shredded, as above.
4 garlic cloves.
Salt, or sea salt to taste.
1 pound of smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch rounds.
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese. Monterrey Jack, Gruyere, Swiss. Any one of them. I used Gruyere. I will bet a milder cheddar might be good.
1 cup of water with a chicken broth cube dissolved in it.
Use two big skillets. Saute the potatoes in several tablespoons of olive oil and in 1/2 stick of melted butter. Toss to coat, add more oil if needed, then salt to taste, but not too heavily. Remove the skillet from the heat when the potatoes are soft and tasty.
Saute the cabbage in the other skillet in 1/2 of a stick of butter and several tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt to taste, then the garlic cloves, diced or crushed in a press. Toss to coat, then add 1 cup of water flavored with the broth cube. Cook on medium heat until the cabbage is cooked through and the broth has been reduced.
Layer half the cabbage on the bottom of a 9 inch casserole or glsss pie plate. Then add 1/3 of the smoked sausage rounds. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese next, then top with all the cooked potatoes. Layer in 1/2 of the remaining sausage rounds, cover with the last of the shredded cabbage, and cover with the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
This should serve 4 large men.