We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Retro-Style Thanksgiving: Mom's Cranberry Fluff Salad

by Linda

"Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether is was our 
mom's homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a 
way of transporting us back to the past." — Homaro Cantu

   Recently when questioning our mother about the origins of one of our families long standing accompanying dishes to our family's Thanksgiving menu, she said that she does not really remember where the recipe came from. She said that she remembers making it one year, and the kids were wild for it—particularly our cousin Larry.

   I remember that it was one of those sides that became part of our traditional menu. So much so that it is still being made for our gatherings today. Michelle and I made it this past year when my son Jordan and I joined the family for a Southwest Thanksgiving holiday when we all gathered in Tucson to celebrate the day.
   This past year as I quickly chopped the cranberries to an even minced consistency in the food processor, I reflected on the days when I was a girl and helped our mom prep the cranberries on Thanksgiving eve with an old-fashioned meat grinder which was clamped tightly to our bread board in the kitchen on the farm in Lompoc. I loved the popping noise they emitted as the berries were crushed by the augur and then forced out the mouth of the grinder into a bowl.
   More dessert than a real salad, but still fifty times better that anything made with gelatin (however our niece Avalon vehemently disagrees with this bold statement as she absolutely adores molded berry spiked red Jello® on the Thanksgiving table) this fluffy pink side has remained unchanged and beloved by our family, and is now considered by us to be part of the requisite heritage sides for the big feast. Make the young and old happy at your house by giving it a place on your Thanksgiving buffet this year. It is a beautiful addition to a Christmas menu as well.

Down home, nothin' fancy Thanksgiving buffet. Just good eats and no fuss.
Cranberry Fluff
by Michelle
   Aside from being a beloved national holiday, I suspect most people adore Thanksgiving because it is a perfectly balanced meal flavor-wise: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. The meal is an umami flavor bomb. To help contribute to the sweet portion of the meal, the favored combination is typically sweet potatoes or yams and cranberry sauce. Although it fell out of favor for awhile on our Thanksgiving table, I was reminded again last year of the joy of having Cranberry Fluff in addition to Cranberry Sauce on the menu. The sour portion of the meal is brought to the plate with Tangy Four Bean Salad, which we like to make Paleo-Friendly with a honey syrup and red wine vinegar marinade.
   The minced cranberry/marshmallow/sugar mixture for this dish needs to be made and then rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours before assembly of the final salad, so plan accordingly.

2 cups raw cranberries, ground
2 cups tiny marshmallows
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups peeled, diced tart apples (such as Granny Smith)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2 cup seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup broken walnuts or pecans
1/4 tsp sea salt

Garnish: There is a note on the recipe card to trim each serving with a cluster of green grapes, if desired.

1. Combine ground cranberries, marshmallows and sugar. Cover and chill overnight.
2. The next day, add apples, red grapes, walnuts and salt. Fold in whipped cream. Chill. Turn into serving bowl, or as presented in the 1950's and '60s, spoon into individual lettuce cups. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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