If it's still in the 90s in the daytime and 70s at night, it's still Summer and it's hot, I don't care how many Autumn pictures I see on Pinterest.
It's still aspic weather in the South and will be in my house as long as the hot weather lasts, although I've been known to serve tomato aspic on Christmas Eve.
I did one post on it at my other blog back in June but MFK Fisher helped me take my recipe to a whole new level when I made her Gazpacho Salad this week.
It turns out that hers was just a fancier name for it and I guess that gazpacho salad does sound more gourmet than tomato aspic.
The recipe for the basic tomato aspic is back on my blog post here but I updated it with Fisher's recipe in Joan Reardon's delightful book on her called M. F. K. Fisher among the Pots and Pans.
I added 1 cup of beef consommé, 1 red sweet bell pepper diced, 1 sweet red onion, chopped, and 1 cucumber peeled and diced. And I added a couple of chopped jalapeños from my garden. All of these chopped vegetables were so good in the salad!
And I added a cup of chili sauce, something I saw somewhere, can't remember where, and thought would be good and was it ever! Extra spiciness!
I didn't make her dressing of 1 clove garlic mashed into 1/2 cup olive oil with salt and pepper because we love my own dressing of mayo with a little olive oil, lemon juice and snipped basil so much.
I know from emails on my other post that very few of you like aspics. But I stand with Julia Reed (I love her column in Garden & Gun) when she wrote in her cookbook Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties that we congeal everything in the South.
Her mother once "had a four-day house party during which she served an almost exclusively gelatin-based menu...crabmeat mousse, a strawberry mousse, two kinds of tomato aspic, and a charlotte russe."
I would have been a happy member of that house party!
Now I can just bet that no one is going to try the Gazpacho Salad recipe and I'll put money on not one of you trying the entree of our meal. But you might just like my dessert recipe, so hold on.
Are you asking what in tarnation is that ugly entree? I never said I was a food stylist but believe it or not this was good.
On a slice of pumpernickel for each of us I spread avocado mashed with a little lemon juice, next I put on some good wild caught canned sardines, next went thin slices of cucumber with black pepper and a squirt of lemon juice and then I topped it off with jalapeño slices.
And there was our dinner. I know that Poppy loves sardines, although hers are fresh caught ones from Crete. Anyone else out there like these protein packed little fish?
What about pecan pie? That purple is just a sprig of Joe Pye Weed hanging over the pie from a vase on the table.
Have you ever tried an Authentic Pecan Pie? One without nasty corn syrup in it?
I've had this recipe for years and the clipping said it was by a Carolina cook. "And don't ever use corn syrup! That ruins the consistency. Authentic pecan pie is jelly-like, translucent with sparkle. Just start with a pound of brown sugar, then add three eggs, about two eggshells of milk, a big splash of vanilla, some salt, and a lot of pecans."
I baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Easiest pecan pie ever and you wouldn't believe the good flavor. I have several recipes for pecan pie but RH says this is his favorite.
Is this a weird meal to you? I told my friend Tammy that I've lived long enough and tried so many diets over the years that I'm tired of it all now. And I'm tired of meat and 3 menus. I'm tired of pork, and beef is heading that way too. Chicken's okay once a week but it is fish and seafood that I love the most, and when we're eating out of the pantry and cutting back on trips to the market then sometimes canned sardines, salmon and tuna fish do just fine.
And I think I could eat an aspic at every meal.
I only had a small piece of the pecan pie and left the rest to RH, and he took a slice to Zack.
And maybe, just maybe, I've been influenced by MFK Fisher's thoughts in Serve It Forth.
For many old people, eating is the only pleasure left...And between gobbling down an indistinguishable mess of heavy meat and bread, or savouring a delicate broiled trout or an aspic full of subtle vegetable flavours, how few of us would choose the distressful insomnia that follows the first for the light easy rest of the second?
Rainbow or brook trout is my very favorite fish and I have an excellent recipe from Judith Jones for that.
I wonder if RH would agree to trout and pecan pie for Thanksgiving Dinner?
Oh, and thank you so much for ideas for using the copper gutter in the garden! I think that RH is now thinking about making it into a water fountain if he can find a pretty basin for the water to fall into.