By now, I’m on the island of St. Kitt’s, trying to adjust to Caribbean heat and humidity. Today, my little brother turns 24. Today is also the first Wednesday Recipe Swap for Burwell General Store. Wow, there’s a lot going on!
While it may sometimes come along during busy periods in my life, I have loved every single recipe swap since joining the group. I always learn something about a dish or two, about my own cooking, and about the astounding abilities of my co-swappers. This little activity has become so popular (yeah, we’re pretty cool) that Christianna, the swap’s founder, proposed that we split into two groups. There is now a Monday Swap and Wednesday Swap every month. Each group starts with a different recipe, making for even more delicious madness.
As you can see, I fell in with the Wednesday swap crowd. I drooled over the Monday group’s pizza recipes earlier this month. At the time, I already had my own dish in the works, as I knew I’d be in the tropical wilds on the swap date.
I smiled when I saw this months recipe. Ah, jello salad. My mom makes a jello salad, just one but it’s a good one. It incorporates all the wonderful things about jello salads: fruity jello, crunchy things, cottage cheese…I could go on. I actually kind of love it, although I’ve never made it myself.
Anyway, back from that tangent. I didn’t make that salad, or any jello salad. After briefly considering an experiment with agar agar or unflavored gelatin I veered towards simplicity. A simple parfait is much more my style. I carried the citrus and cottage cheese over from the original recipe but needed little else.
I made this for lunch one day last week while I was trying to clean out the fridge and frantically ready myself for three weeks in the Caribbean. Breakfast might be a more appropriate meal for a parfait and it could certainly be a dessert or even dinner with some minor tweaks. The possibilities of varying the grain layer, sweetening the fruit, or maybe adding a layer of wilted kale and some savory spices make this an extremely versatile dish.
My main inspiration was Joy the Baker’s Roasted Winter Citrus. I bookmarked this post last month because I love roasting everything and will try that technique on anything at least once. I’d never tried it with citrus fruit but the idea immediately had me thinking of hot sweet-sour juices paired with something cold and cheesy. I ended up roasted a sliced grapefruit, partly because I’m always looking for different ways to eat that somewhat challenging fruit. Layered with chilly cottage cheese and cooked millet, roasted grapefruit was truly delicious and different.
Look at that soupy cottage cheese running down the inside of the glass. I wished I had my favorite cottage cheese on hand when I made my parfait. Nancy’s cottage cheese is cultured, like yogurt, so it’s tangy and richer tasting, even in a reduced fat version. I love it.
The pineapple in the original Orange Snowflake Salad seemed a little tropical to me. Maybe I just had the tropics on my mind, because knew I had to top my parfait with coconut butter. Coconut butter (like all nut butter) makes everything better, obviously. A more indulgent cook would have put gobs of this incredible spread/topping/syrup between every parfait layer. Next time.
I’m not the only one taking jello salad in a totally different direction!
- 2/3 cup cooked grain (millet was nice)
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- A few wedges of Roasted Winter Citrus
- Coconut butter, warmed in a bowl or pot of hot water so it is a liquid.
- Roast your citrus first, or maybe you have some leftover from another meal.
- In any case, cut fruit out of rinds once it is cool enough to handle.
- Spoon a layer of grain into the bottom of a pretty glass or dish.
- Follow that with a layer of citrus, followed by cottage cheese.
- Repeat layers until you run out of room or ingredients.
- Top parfait with a couple spoonfuls of coconut butter.