If you’ve spent any time on pinterest recently, you’re sure to have noticed the current mason jar craze taking over feeds everywhere. Oh, you haven’t seen this?!? Well maybe I just have a few jar-crazy friends 😉 Sadly, I too have now become another statistic to the mason jar epidemic.
It started innocently enough. The polar vortex has been bringing lots of cold air to my little slice of heaven in the south, thus I have been eating an inordinate amount of soup as of late. Soup is one of those weird things that I typically don’t think of as a ‘meal’ except when I am sick. Lately though I have actually been craving it, which is totally bizarre for me. Along with all this soup I still wanted something of substance to crunch on, thus the idea of a pairing salad with it. I know, revolutionary, right? Watch out world, I’ll be figuring out this whole ‘internet’ thing next!
Now I kept seeing these pins for salads in mason jars claiming that they stay fresh for days, and I finally had a friend share a post that made some sense for me out of these claims. It detailed how to layer your jar salad to keep things from becoming soggy and unappetizing. So off to the store I zoomed for salad fixing and some jars* to try this out.
So, according to eHow, the proper way to layer your mason jar salad (from bottom to top) to keep them fresh is as follows:
- Dressing (your wettest ingredient)
- Marinade-able ingredients. Examples are dried fruit, picked veggies, and/or root veggies like carrots, onion, or radishes.
- Wet Ingredients. Such as cucumber, tomatoes, corn, apple, or anything else that would make the lettuce go soggy.
- Dry Ingredients. Beans, meats, cheese, whole berries, etc.
- Lettuce and toppings. I am still experimenting if its works better to do croutons bellow or on top of the lettuce. This is also where you can include such things as edible flowers, nuts, or tortilla strips.
*Jars – I never realized how many different types of mason jars there are. I went with a wide-mouth quart jar, which has turned out to be just perfect. Easy to get things in and out of, and makes a good main entree salad serving size.
The great thing about these salads is, once you get the basics of layering down, they are infinitely customizable. Below are 4 salads I have made recently that I came up with off the top of my head. Don’t like something in my version, no worries, kick it out and replace with something you do like!
Hard Boiled Egg slices
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Strawberry Fields Salad
Honey Roasted Almond Slivers
Feta Cheese Crumbles
Update: After trying several iterations with the croutons in different places, I would definitely recommend them on top, or carried separately (I know, hassle). If your salad is not going to sit long before eating, they will remain mostly crunchy on top. After 24 hours in the jar however, then get kind of soggy. Personally, I just brought a small sandwich bag of them to my office to add at the time I devour my salad.
I am sorry to inform you that I do not like beer. Yes, I know. Go ahead and give me the funny looks and try to stifle your gasps. Really, I wish it wasn’t this way. For one thing, it would be a much cheaper night out if I could just swill a couple of beers to get a buzz. Also I wouldn’t feel so excluded from the cool kids club if I could knock back a few at a party. Kegs stands look fun, but I just could never do it knowing beer would be what was being shot into me.
I promise it’s not for lack of trying. I feel like I have tried and gagged on just about every brew out there. I’ve tried it from cans, bottles, kegs, even a beer funnel…no dice. It just tastes horrible to me. Bitter, sour, rotten water with a fizz. The one exception to this is lambic beers, but for those not familiar, these are dessert beers with sweet and fruity flavors that tend to be very heavy and filling. I think most mainstream beer drinkers would only call a lambic a beer by technical definition and only if someone was twisting their arm.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge my friends their enjoyment of the hops and barley beverages. I am envious to be honest. Whenever I host a party, I always think to get some beer to please the majority of those guests who like to imbibe. I just keep my bottle of Canadian whiskey discretely off to the side. Or if I am partying at their abode, bring the travel flask with my favorite brand of social lubricant.
Now, to the crux of this issue. I hosted a few gathering over to winter season and have some lingering liquid leftovers taking up space in my fridge. Since I have no inclination to drink these and my great-depression-era-survivor-instincts instilled in me by my family cringe at the thought of just pouring the innocent and still good beverages down the drain, I have been trying to figure out how to use these up in a non-offensive, and hopefully yummy way.
Here’s a list of a few recipes I’ve found, some of which I’ve tried, which all use beer as an ingredient. If you have any recipes using beer, please share. I really would like the space in my fridge back!
- Taco Pasta Toss – This is a great twist on an all-time favorite in our house. This is substitutes one carb for another, replacing the taco shells with pasta. The flavor of the beer really enhanced the spice combination, raising it up to a new level. You wont want to use that packet taco seasoning ever again.
- Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak – Another delicious favorite in our house. Great for the grill on a hot summer night. The citrus flavors combine in a delightful way with the tang of the beer.
- Irish Car Bomb Bread Pudding – Made by our friends over at Foodwhirl, I don’t think this decadent dessert would last long in any household…Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, whichever.
- Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops – I’ve tried a very similar recipe to this one, but with coffee instead of beer. I think these beer chops look absolutely mouth-watering. I will be testing these on our grill very soon!
- Fish and Chips – The classic beer batter on a fresh piece of fish with some perfectly cooked potatoes, it’s no mystery why this recipe has endured for hundreds of years. Bite into this and you can almost hear the gulls cry at the wharf’s edge.
- Beef Carbonnade – Beef and noodles is a staple in our house. Everyone loves this combination. Rather then just grab a box with that creepy glove puppet and add a little cheap ground round, why not try and whip up a batch from scratch. Plus, this version has BACON!
- Red Cabbage, Apples and Sausage Recipe – I found this recipe last fall during Applepalooza. It combines so many of my favorite things, how could it go wrong?