Sunday, July 30, 2006
Grease is the word...not the dessert!
This afternoon, we attended a local theater production of Grease at our little restored old theater house downtown. They sponsor theater camps for elementary, middle, and high school age students, and this production was performed by the high schoolers. They put it together in 3 weeks (albeit 3 loooooong grueling weeks of 9-5 rehearsals), and it looked like they were having great fun. Minimal stage sets, but they did have a cool old Ford that they wheeled out for the "Greased Lightning" set. The Man was disappointed that they didn't slip in the "hickey from Kenickie" line, which is a classic--"A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!" (You gotta love that imdb.com!!)
After the show, we trooped over to a friend's house (her boys were in the show and did a fine job!) for some chowin' and chillin'.
I brought the banana pudding and another Southern dessert staple: Strawberry Pretzel Salad. (Why it's called "salad," I haven't the foggiest idea; there is absolutely nothing green in it. Could be that "salad" is a reference to congealed salad...which is a whole 'nother post, I'm sure!)
Anyway, here's the lowdown on the Strawbery Pretzel Salad, Dessert, Delight, whatever you choose to call it. It's actually pretty tasty, and it's got that whole sweet-salty thing going on, which is highly addictive.
Strawberry Pretzel Dessert
2 cups crushed pretzels
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup whipped topping (see note)
2 heaping cups sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 package (6 ounce) strawberry flavor gelatin
2 cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 400° F
Crush pretzels with rolling pin, food processor, or whatever method. Mix in sugar and softened butter. Spread onto bottom of 9 by 13-inch baking pan; press down and spread evenly with spoon. Bake until just lightly browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Thoroughly mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and whipped topping and spread over crumb crust when it has completely cooled. Dissolve strawberry gelatin in 2 cups boiling water. When cool, add strawberries and leave to thicken slightly. Then spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until firm before cutting into squares for serving.
Note: You can use Cool Whip in this recipe or a whipped topping made from a mix such as Dream Whip works fine and isn't quite as rich. I don't think real whipped cream would hold up at all, and besides, you're making a Jell-o item--it screams "pre-fab" topping. The Dream Whip takes a little extra time to prepare, however. You can whip it up with milk and vanilla in the electric mixer and, removing any extra topping not needed, mix the topping, cream cheese and sugar in the same bowl.
Also 9-ounce package of pretzels is more than enough. The stick style is easiest to crush.
Credits: You Made It in Southwest Florida by Lillian Austin - out of print (Donning Co Publishers)
From the Western Civilization is STILL Declining Department:
Okay, the scariest thing I've seen lately might be the Twinkie Cookbook, with recipes like:
Pigs in a Twinkie
Pumpkin Twinkie Bread Pudding
Peanut Butter and Jelly Twinkie Cake
"Pigs in a Twinkie"...I don't even want to know.