I will not be posting a Saturday Sweet today as this is the day to post for this month's Eating the Alphabet Challenge hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic. You can, however, find a recipe for a Double Berry Giant Eclair in Thursday's post.
The letters for June are I and J, and they are, indeed, a challenge. The only two vegetables I could think of were iceberg lettuce and jicama.
Although it is somewhat looked down upon now, when I was growing up in the late 40’s and 50’s, iceberg lettuce was the most common lettuce found at the grocery store so people ate a lot of it. Creative cooks dreamed up many ways to serve it. After all, this was the era of peach and pear halves made into faces and bananas made into candles.
In my area of the country, a popular “ladies’ lunch” dish was Stuffed Iceberg Lettuce Salad. This dish consisted of cream cheese and other ingredients that were combined and stuffed into a cored head of lettuce. The whole thing was tightly wrapped, chilled for several hours or overnight, then sliced for serving. Generally, the slice of lettuce was smeared with a mayonnaise-based red dressing. Because the slice of lettuce was cut up and everything mixed together to eat it, this was also sometimes called a Knife and Fork Salad.
In the spirit of reviving an old favorite, today I am sharing a recipe for Stuffed Iceberg Lettuce Salad. I have included two dressing choices, one for vegetable salad and one for fruit salad.
When selecting a head of lettuce to stuff, look for one that is heavy for its size and that has the core centered as much as possible.
The stuffing mixture is very flexible so if I have an 8-oz. package of cream cheese on hand, I use half of it. If I have to buy cream cheese, I sometimes just buy the 3-oz. package. Either can be used.
Almost any ingredient that one wants can be mixed in with the cream cheese. Vegetables such as grated carrot, minced onion, peppers, tomatoes, radishes, celery, cucumber are common. For a fruit salad chopped fresh or canned fruit such as apples, cherries, peaches, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges or strawberries can be used. Usually nuts are added to this. Chopped cooked chicken, ham, tuna, salmon or bacon can be added for a more main-dish salad. Consider the recipe below just a basic guide.
1 medium head Iceberg Lettuce
3-4 oz. cream cheese, softened (regular, low fat or fat-free)
2 T. minced onion, regular or green
2 T. minced red pepper
2 T. chopped black olives
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except lettuce in a small bowl and mix until well blended. Set aside. Smack core of lettuce against the edge of a counter to dislodge it. Twist and remove the core. If cavity does not seem big enough to hold all the cream cheese mixture, reach in and remove additional lettuce with a clean hand. Stuff the cream cheese mixture tightly into the lettuce cavity. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill several hours or overnight. At serving time, remove from refrigerator. Cut into thick slices with a very sharp knife. Lay on serving plates and smear lettuce with a thick red dressing such as the ones below. Makes about 4 servings.
Quick Red Dressing (for vegetable or main-dish salad.
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. chili sauce or ketchup
2 T. pickle relish
1 t. lemon juice
Combine ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Chill to blend flavors. Makes about 3/4 c.
Cranberry Dressing (for fruit salad)
1 c. jellied cranberry sauce
1 c. mayonnaise
2 T. lemon juice
1 c. whipped cream (opt.)
Beat cranberry sauce and mayonnaise with an electric mixer until well blended. Stir in lemon juice. Chill to blend flavors. For a richer dressing, fold in whipped cream. Makes 2 -3 c.
There is still time to join in the fun and help us finish up the rest of the alphabet. You can find all the necessary details on Brenda's Eating the Alphabet page.
Click on the links below to see what other bloggers have dreamed up for the letters I and J.
Linking to these great parties:
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Strut Your Stuff
Share Your Creativity
I'm Lovin' It
What'd You Do this Weekend
Mix It Up Monday
Recipe Sharing Monday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday
On the Menu Monday
Make the Scene Monday
Mop It Up Monday
Sweet Sharing Monday