Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Avocados and Shamrock Bread for St. Patrick.

May I give you, in honour of the day, a St. Patrick-inspired dish? I love avocado in almost any shape or form, and luckily I live in a climate where they grow well and are available cheaply. I do not feel the same about jellied salad however, although I admit to a morbid fascination with the concept, even t0 making one – once. It was tomato-based with sliced pimento-stuffed olives, if I remember correctly. You may feel entirely different about this particular ‘salad,’ and even though I feel that this recipe is an insult to the wonderful avocado which needs no such gilding or fiddling with, and certainly no silly re-naming as ‘calavo’, I give it to you with good St Paddy’s day wishes. Think of it as amusement, if you are with me on the sheer nastiness of the idea. And what on earth is ‘Jell Well’ anyway?

Calavo Erin Salad.
1 package lime cube flavored Jell Well
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
Few drops green food coloring
1 calavo
Lemon juice
Salt to taste
Shredded lettuce
1 package cream cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon mustard
Pour boiling water over gelatin and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add cold water and a few drops coloring, if a deeper green is desired, and stir until well blended. Pour into four molds; set in cool place until firm. Cut calavo crosswise into four equal rings and twist slightly to loosen from seed. Peel and sprinkle cut portions with lemon juice and salt. Place on beds of shredded lettuce and unmold gelatin onto centres of calavo rings.
Combine cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice and salt to taste: blend thoroughly and use to decorate edges of calavo rings and top of molded gelatin. Serve French dressing separately. Serves four.
Los Angeles Times of March 15, 1935

I am not at all equivocal about bread, except for the fluffy white type with the texture and taste of polystyrene meat trays -which does not count really, as it is hardly worthy of inclusion in the great category of breads of the world. In honor of bread, may I give you a recipe for some lovely Shamrock Rolls? The recipe is in From Twenty lessons in domestic science: a condensed home study course, glossary of usual culinary terms, pronunciations and definitions, marketing, food principles, functions of food, methods of cooking, etc. (1916) by Marian Cole Fisher (formerly of St. Paul Institute of Arts and Sciences, Chautauqua Lecturer.)

First, you have to make a basic soft dough:

Roll Dough
2 ½ cups water or milk, or both                      6 cups flour
¾ cup sugar                                                     ½ cup shortening
2 eggs                                                              1 cake yeast
1 tablespoon salt                                             2 mashed potatoes or ½ cup flour scalded

Preparation: First make a sponge with the potatoes or scalded flour and the sugar, dissolved yeast and enough of the flour to make a stiff batter. If compressed yeast is used the sponge will be ready in half an hour.
Add to the sponge the egg whites and one yolk well beaten, together with the melted shortening, salt and the balance of the flour.
Knead well about five minutes, return to bowl, brush top with shortening, cover and set in warm, steamy place until double in bulk.
The dough may be worked down again without taking from bowl, or it may then be made into desired form.
The extra egg yolk is reserved to mix with one-quarter cup of water or milk to brush the tops of the rolls before putting them in the baking oven.
Of flour not rich in gluten more than six cups may be required but care must be taken to have the roll dough softer than for bread.

Use recipe and method for roll dough as given above. Mold into balls of dough slightly larger than walnuts, allowing three of these to each well-greased gem pan.
Brush the palms with melted shortening and deftly roll each ball of dough between the palms, dropping into the gem pans. Let them rise in warm steamy place, and before putting in the oven brush with a mixture of egg yolk and water. Bake in moderate oven twenty minutes.
Upon taking from the oven brush with melted shortening.


tess said...

:-) I remember Jell Well -- it was a competitor of Jello brand, which I haven't seen in the shops in decades.

Piet said...

Calavo is the trade name of the California Avocado Growers Cooperative. Why the L.A. Times would use it to refer to the fruit is beyond my comprehension. Judging from the recipe, it sounds as though they're specifying the Hass variety, which is rounder than the Fuerte - the latter is more like a pear in shape. But jelled salad on avocado, no matter what you call it? No, thank you, and especially not with that mixture of cream cheese and mayonnaise.