Friday, May 28, 2010

Glass Serving Dishes

As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
Burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.

-Homer, Iliad

I've been reminiscing about my maternal grandparents in the last few weeks. I showed you their house and the china that was my Grandma's and is now mine. And I gave you her meatloaf recipe (which I've tinkered with and made my own) and gave away a set of her old milk glass relish plates.

Today I want to show you a set of serving dishes I picked up for myself when I was at their house helping clean things out a little bit. I have absolutely no idea where they came from, who they were made by or how old they are. They could be as new as 7 or 8 years old and have come from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Or they could be 30 or 40 years old. Whatever the case, I thought that the design in them was pretty and glass goes with everything. I don't have very many serving dishes because I like everything to match. My everyday dishes didn't have a matching serving set available, and I didn't want to mix it up, so I make due with the bowls and plates from the set for serving dishes. But now I have a pretty set of larger dishes for serving.

We were invited to a little barbecue tonight. I thought this would be the perfect time to use my new serving dishes because it would be very poor manners indeed to show up empty handed. So LadyBug and I donned our aprons and spent a couple of hours in the kitchen. We baked a Texas Brownie Sheet Cake, adding the little nonpareils sprinkles at her suggestion and then we put together a really fun fruit salad.

LadyBug and I had so much fun in the kitchen today. Unfortunately, no one was around to photograph our fun. I would have loved to show you the two of us together at work because it was a nice afternoon. We worked at her pace and she was so interested in learning new things, like how to use the can opener or how to peel the kiwi {hint: use a potato peeler} or how to remove the stems from the strawberries. She commented on what we were doing and asked questions as we went along and was so eager to help. She is a very restful person to be around, observant, clever, never impatient and always willing to do her best. She is pretty amazing and I love it when she helps.

I love this fruit salad for taking places because it is cool and refreshing and always gets such compliments. Until now, though, I never had a pretty bowl to show it off in. I always used a large, opaque Tupperware Thatsa™ Bowl because I'm always taking the fruit for a large crowd {have I mentioned? Mr. Bug has seven siblings, all married with kids. Lots of kids}. But tonight's party was smaller and so I decided to use my pretty glass bowl.

Layered Fruit Salad
In a large bowl layer:
• Seedless grapes, washed and stems removed
• 1 large (29 oz.) can sliced peaches, drained or two fresh peaches, peeled and sliced or two fresh nectarines, peeled and sliced or two fresh mangoes, peeled and cubed
• 1 container fresh strawberries, washed, stems removed and quartered
• 2 large (20 oz.) cans pineapple chunks, drained (save juice and soak banana slices in it) or 1 fresh pineapple, cored and cut into cubes
• 3 medium bananas, sliced and soaked (a minute or two is plenty, but more doesn't hurt) in pineapple juice or other citrus juice (lemon or orange)
• 2 large (15 oz.) cans mandarin oranges, drained or four small (8 oz.) cans mandarin oranges, drained
• 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
• 1 cup raspberries, washed

Cover and refrigerate two or three hours (overnight is OK) before serving.

• I like to make this salad the night before I'm taking it somewhere if we're going early in the day. That way it has time to chill. The bananas aren't a problem as long as they've been soaked in pineapple juice and you put them down towards the bottom of the salad (they are between the pineapple and mandarin oranges on purpose).
• This salad is obviously best when fresh fruit is in season, but it is delicious year-round. Some of the ingredients may not be available fresh, but frozen or canned fruits work well. When using frozen fruits, make sure to get the fruit only and not fruit frozen in juice or syrup.
• To make a really large salad (like in the 32-cup Tupperware bowl), start with watermelon cubes at the bottom of the bowl. I usually just get a small (bowling ball sized) watermelon and use about half of that.
• Use whatever color of grapes you want. I happen to like red grapes best, but when I make a large salad, I use green and red for added color.
• When using canned peaches, cut the slices in half length-wise making two slices from each one. I do this because they are too big to be nice bite-size pieces how they come in the can.
• When doing a larger salad, increase the strawberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, kiwi fruit and raspberries by a factor of one.
• When raspberries are not in season, put the strawberries on top of the mandarin oranges instead of lower down in the salad. The red looks pretty with the green kiwi fruit on top.

And for those of you who insist that it isn't fruit salad unless there is a little fluff to go with it, you can serve this fruit dip on the side (but you really don't need it).

Fruit Dip
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 container (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
2 tablespoons orange juice

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, marshmallow creme and orange juice with a hand mixer until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with fresh fruit.


QuiltNut Creations said...

yummy! they both look so good. and i love the dishes.

Shay said...

Im ashamed to admit I've never thought about layering fruit salad and yours looks so good! Totally stealing that idea for my next picnic or party. Can't do the dip - we're marshamallow creme/fluff deprived in Australia. (sigh)

Your dishes are lovely, but the best thing for me about this post was how much fun you and LadyBug had in the kitchen.

Jennifer Lovell said...

I agree, while I read about you and Ladybug in the kitchen (ha ha, I almost just said her real name! oops!) I was envisioning you two having so much fun, and giggling and even throwing flour at each other. I hope you can get some you+Ladybug pictures together soon.

Thanks for the tip about soaking the bananas in juice--I don't think I ever knew that!

Your bowl was perfect for your very pretty salad. Yum!