Tossing Up Two Waldorf Salads

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - April 27, 2005
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The Hawaii Theatre’s “Live at the Rainbow Room” gala at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental on Friday sold out before the end of last year thanks to the efforts of co-chairs Rod and Sharon McPhee. Rod McPhee, former president of Punahou School and one of the most admired and active community citizens ever, left the successful fundraiser as part of his legacy, making sure all the tables were sold before his untimely death last month. He even made sure to have just the right co-chairs to ensure a smash hit, handpicking Punahou grad Kenwei Chong and wife Florence to serve.

The Maile Ballroom will be transformed into an art deco supper club atmosphere reminiscent of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York.

Joey Caldarone will be the evening’s host with songstress Sherry Chock Wong and crooner Rex Nockengust — who actually performed at the Rainbow Room — and Kit Samson for music and dancing. The gala evening includes cocktails, a silent auction, dinner and dancing. In addition, attendees will pay tribute to Hawaii Theatre chairman Bob Midkiff, who spearheaded the restoration campaigns for this classic jewel downtown.

To say “mahalo” to the McPhees and the Chongs, as well as all the Hawaii Theatre supporters attending this year’s gala, here’s a dedication and a New York-inspired recipe for Waldorf salad.

Waldorf salad was first created at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 by the maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirky and was an instant success. Oscar had a 40- year career and served every United States president in office during that time. He also helped to set standards for fine dining that are still practiced today.

Originally this salad contained only apples, celery and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts later became an essential part of the dish. The salad is traditionally served on a bed of lettuce.

Turn the salad into a main dish entree with the addition of strips of chicken breast, turkey or fish. All that is needed are some crusty rolls to complete the meal. For a sweet salad, mini marshmallows may be added. The recipes below are for the traditional original salad, and one that I have embellished that is a favorite with my family.

TRADITIONAL WALDORF SALAD

• 2 cups chopped apples (may use any favorite apple), sprinkled with 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1 cup chopped celery

• 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise (may use light or reduced-fat mayonnaise)

• cup walnuts (optional)

Mix apples with celery, mix in mayonnaise and toss to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Makes four servings.

DIANA’S WALDORF SALAD

• 31⁄2 cups chopped, peeled apples tossed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1 cup finely chopped celery

• 1⁄3 cup golden raisins

• 1⁄3 cup green seedless grapes, halved

• 1⁄2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

• 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt

• 2 tablespoons orange juice

• 2 teaspoons honey

•1 ⁄4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In large bowl, toss the apples with celery until well-combined. Add raisins and grapes and toss lightly.

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt and orange juice until mixed well. Add honey and stir to combine. Add dressing to salad and toss lightly. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Makes eight servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving (without nuts):

Calories: 260

Fat: 3 grams

Cholesterol: 3 milligrams

Sodium: 140 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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