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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Ascencia Salad – Tuna, Broccoli and Bean Salad

You never know what life is going to give you, and tonight, the very first night of the New Year, I received something that made my heart leap with joy. I got to cook dinner for 40 people!

When the guest chef did not arrive, I asked if I could cook dinner, and my friend said, “Yes”. First I looked in the pantry, and was amazed to not find any of the things I usually have in my pantry, like onions, or potatoes. There was a lot of pasta, and a lot of spaghetti sauce, frozen turkey sausage, frozen garlic bread, many cans of tuna, two cans of kidney beans, one can of pinto beans, and a can of chopped tomatoes. No problem! The Good Plate to the rescue.

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Ham Steaks with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Pilaf

Recipes in this Post Ham Steak with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Rice Pilaf

Sometimes, you need a little Christmas, right this very minute. That’s why we love ham steaks, because you satisfy your craving for a good piece of ham, without having to cook a whole ham. If you’re lucky, you even get to have the bone with the luscious marrow.

When I make a whole ham, I usually make a glaze of Russian mustard and Sour Cherry preserves. It’s sweet and a little hot, and definitely wakes up the ham. One of the traditional gravies for ham steak is Red Eye gravy, which has, you guessed it, coffee in it. I wanted to incorporate both.

Since The Good Plate is all about deconstructing packaged foods, and one everyone likes a lot is Rice-a-Roni. Rice-a-Roni is rice pilaf, but with way too much salt and other preservatives. There’s no need to use the box, just get the ingredients together and make it from scratch – you know what’s going in it, and you can add whatever you want.

Over the weekend, I made a salad with a new dressing. It was fresh dill and lime, and Amber absolutely loved it. She asked for it again tonight, so I’m including the recipe for it here.

Remember, if you’re having a ham steak, and you don’t want your bone, just give it to me!

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Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some left over grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier, and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein rich salad on a hot day.

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Grilled Asian Orange Cornish Hens with Asian Vegetable Medley Salad

Recipes in this PostGrilled Asian Orange Chicken with Asian Vegetable Salad

It was almost Labor Day, and in Southern California, you know that it is going to be hot through the holiday. Such days are excellent for barbecuing, but I get tired of regular barbecue sauce, and I didn’t feel like having Highway Chicken either. What to do, what to do?

I remembered I had some packets of True Orange that I hadn’t even tried yet, so I thought I would make an Asian orange glaze for the chicken. Then I thought that Asian green beans would be good – but it was too darned hot – so went to the freezer to see if we had any green beans. No luck, but we did have a package of frozen Asian mixed vegetables. Asian Vegetable Medley salad was the way to go.

If you haven’t tried the True Citrus products, you’re missing something wonderful. There is True Lemon, True Lime and True Grapefruit, as well as lemonade. The product comes in little packets, and has no preservatives, just crystallized citrus. It’s wonderful for making sauces because there is no extra liquid. All are wonderful in water, or mixed to make drinks. I have plenty of recipes, just have a look.
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Artichoke, Avocado and Shaved Parmesan Composed Salad

Recipes in this PostArtichoke, Avocado, Shaved Parmesan Composed Salad

A very long time ago, a friend took me to a wonderful restaurant where Santa Monica Blvd meets Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood, California. The restaurant was called Figaro, and my friend said I should order his favorite salad. I don’t remember what it was called, but I have always remembered how good it was.

Years later, when this same friend came back into my life, I told him I had a surprise and presented this salad. He was so happy he almost wept, saying he never thought he would have that salad at Figaro’s again – as the restaurant had closed quite some time before.

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