Editor’s note: At the Table with the Gabels offers delicious recipes and tips from Vanessa Gabel and her daughter Caitlin of Danville.
Kaitlin: This has to be one of my all-time favorite recipes. I always mention how I love different textures, and this dish has so many different textures that work perfectly together. Since it has walnuts, or pecans, it has a bit of crunch, but the addition of marshmallows and whipped topping also makes it fluffy and tangy. This recipe is perfect for picnics because it’s super easy and cheap, not to mention it’s a foolproof hit. This is one of those recipes kids can help with since there’s no sharp objects or heat involved, and there’s little or no prep time required, so it works for busy families too. This is also a great last minute recipe because most of the ingredients are common so there’s a chance you already have it on your shelves and don’t really need to refrigerate it for a full 2 hours because it’s already pretty cold when the ingredients have been added. We have, and will continue to make, this one of our go-to recipes for a picnic, or even a quick snack at night or on a hot day.
Vanessa: Until recently, I had no idea this recipe was called Watergate Salad. I’d see it on picnics and enjoy as much of it as I could, because I probably wouldn’t have it until the next day. So how is the Watergate salad called? Sounds like a silly name. There are rumors that around the time of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, a chef from the Watergate Hotel printed this recipe in a newspaper with the name. We may never know for sure. But we know it’s a hit and it should be served at your Independence Day gatherings.
If you want to make sure people get their “fair” share, serve them in small dessert plates. Then add some whipped cream and cherries for a whimsical flavour. The cherry adds another layer of texture and a fun pop of color that we love. Or use some small jars with lids. It’ll be easy to keep on ice, won’t take up much space, and will be easy to grab and go if your paper plate is full of other delicious dishes! Quick tip: Store leftover marshmallows in the freezer. It will keep them fresh and won’t stick together in the heat of the kitchen cupboard.
3.4 oz package of instant pistachio pudding mix
8 oz can of crushed pineapple with juice
1 small cup of marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or chopped pecans
1/2 (8 ounce) bowl, whisked, frozen, thawed
1. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, pineapple, juice, marshmallows, and nuts. fold in the skin.
2. Refrigerate for 2 hours.