Wedge Crab Salad with Louis Dressing

Wedge Crab Salad with Louis DressingRecipes in this Post

When I was a little girl, wedge salads were all the rage. I hated them because I couldn’t figure out how to eat it. Luckily for me, they came back, and I love them.

I did a big shop on Friday, and almost forgot to get something for dinner, so I picked up some crab and some asparagus. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but when the produce truck that comes to my neighborhood honked his horn, I ran out and got a nice head of iceberg lettuce to make my wedge crab salad with Louis dressing.

People confuse Louis dressing with Thousand Island and Russian dressing. It’s actually completely different, and done well, quite tasty.

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Coleslaw with Microwave Boiled Dressing

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To Boil or Not to Boil

The good thing about boiled dressing and cabbage is that once the hot dressing hits the cabbage, it immediately wilts it. That’s a good thing if you sometimes don’t want your coleslaw to feel like eating tasty tree trunks. The other good thing about a boiled dressing is that the coleslaw has to refrigerate to get to serving temperature, and while it’s doing that it’s absorbing all that flavor.

Coleslaw made with mayonnaise dressing is great, too, especially if you have other vegetables like carrots, or fruit, like raisins or pineapple in it. Then you don’t want to necessarily use a hot dressing. The hot dressing is also a lot richer than its cold brethren.

Too Hot to Boil Anything!

Considering it’s a holiday, I wanted to have the richness, but I also didn’t feel like standing over a hot stove. Well, I came up with a solution. The Microwave is my friend, and your coleslaw’s friend, too. Boiled Dressing without the fuss!

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Summer Bean Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise

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Hellman’s Mayonnaise in California

Hellman's in California with and Bestfoods MayonnaiseWhat!!!!! What did you say? Hellman’s Mayonnaise in California? Well, actually, no it was Hellman’s Sandwich Spread in Glendale, California.

Spane and I were at the 99 Cents Only store on our way to visit Alexandria’s Archives‘s President, and stopped at the store to get a Danish or something, and I spied these jars of Hellman’s. I was amazed, and then found a jar of Bestfoods next to it. I couldn’t help take a picture, considering that I will probably never see the two brands together in the same place, unless I take it upon myself to start rock climbing or something. Don’t get your hopes up, folks, this was a jar of Hellman’s that will expire in August, 2014, just a few weeks after this post. So, no, we won’t be buying that.

I have to say I was flabbergasted when I found Hellman’s in Glendale. I told Spane that the jar was very, very far from home. Hellman’s is typically not sold west of the Rocky Mountains, where Best Foods is sold. The ingredients on both are the same, while some people prefer Best Foods because it is perceived to have a more tangy flavor, more vinegar. Wikipedia has an interesting article about the history of the popular condiment.

Mayonnaise is a great starter for sauces, including my Summer Bean Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise. It also has a host of other uses, but we will talk about those another day.

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Thousand Island Dressing with Balsamic Toasts

Recipes in this PostThousand Island Dressing with Balsamic Toasts

Why would anyone want to write about Thousand Island Dressing? It’s yucky! It’s that reddish stuff that sits on the salad bar and congeals because no one wants it, and rightly so. It’s the “secret” sauce on the Big Mac, and has become so common that you probably don’t even notice it on your sandwich anymore. That’s a pity, because this is a grand dame of salad dressings with an interesting and honorable history.

One of the Thousand Islands only supports one tree and two bushesThousand Island Dressing is named for the archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River. Some of the islands are very small indeed. The one pictured above supports a single tree and two bushes. The dressing was popularized by May Irwin, a Canadian vaudeville star in the 1890’s. She had a home in Grindstone Island, one of the Thousand Islands. She said that the dressing reminded her of the Thousand Islands, and enjoyed the dressing so much that she requested the recipe from Sophia LaLonde, a fishing guide’s wife who frequently made the dressing for her husband. Miss Irwin then gave the recipe to George Boldt, the proprietor of the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, who instructed his the hotel’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the menu. In 1950 the dressing became a standard, and started its decline into the gloppy mess we have today.

One of the things we do at The Good Plate is to reconstruct packaged foods, so they taste better, and don’t have the preservatives common in packaged foods. I knew that venerable Thousand Island Dressing deserved a better place, and making it from scratch would make it one of my favorites, especially for sea food salads.

I made a crab salad for the dressing, and some Balsamic Toasts to go with them. This was in the midst of Spane and his friend making Play Dough on the stove. There are little bits of homemade Play Dough all over the place. Time to clean!

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Antipasto with Original Brown Derby Salad Dressing

Recipes in this PostAntipasto with Original Brown Derby Salad Dressing

Sometimes it’s a terrible thing to get old enough to remember wonderful restaurants that have closed down, notably The Brown Derby in Hollywood and Little Joe’s in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Brown Derby

When I was a little girl, I was lucky enough to have my mother take me to the Brown Derby in Hollywood. My mother had Cobb Salad, I had curried chicken. We each had a taste of the other’s dinner, and I loved the presentation and flavor of the Cobb Salad. Later in life, I was disappointed to find Cobb Salad made with huge ingredient pieces, it’s a chopped salad, for goodness sake, so all the pieces should be small.

There is a plethora of recipes for the original Brown Derby salad dressing. Even today, just looking so see what others put in their dressing, I came across at least 3 that were completely different. You may ask yourself, how do I know that The Good Plate’s recipe is the right one? Well, this recipe comes directly from The Brown Derby Cookbook published in 1949. The recipe for the famous Grapefruit Cake is also in that book, although my recipe differs in the icing and decoration.

Little Joe’s

When I was in college dating, my boyfriend and I got lost in Downtown Los Angeles. We were hungry, and stopped for lunch at Little Joe’s near China Town. I had an antipasto salad, and it was wonderful. I went back many times to Little Joe’s and especially enjoyed that salad, and their Spaghetti Bolognese. I will be writing about that sauce at another time, when it gets cool enough.

Composed Salad

I love composed salads. They look wonderful, and are large enough to be a stand alone meal. I bought some Mortadella, provolone and salami to make sandwiches for our picnic, and have left overs. I also have some nice lettuce, a giant tomato, avocado, peperoncini, Kalamata olives, and Persian cucumbers. So I am going to take from the two restaurants I loved the most and make something new. Enjoy!

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