I am so happy that it is finally getting cooler in Southern California. As a matter of fact, there was thick cloud cover this morning, and I had to wear a sweater. It was a good day for soup.
After making Crab Salad with Thousand Island Dressing, I had a half a package of crab left over. I also had some cream left over from making something else. I knew I needed to use that crab, I needed to use the cream, and I wanted something warm. I have always liked crab bisque, so I decided to make that.
I had this brilliant idea when looking in my pantry and spying a can of Great Northern white beans. I didn’t have that much cream, and I really wanted the soup to be filling. To compensate for not using real crab, or real crab stock, I added a little anchovy paste for flavor. Both additions worked beautifully. Honestly, if you wanted to, you could omit the cream completely, as the beans do a fine job of thickening without all those calories.
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.
Thousand 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!
When I was a little girl living in Germany, my mother used to get frozen crab cakes. I loved them. A few years ago, I found a package of Zatarain’s crab cake mix, and I made it with imitation crab. Yup, you heard me right – imitation crab.
Here’s my thoughts on imitation crab. What is imitation crab? Imitation crab is made from surimi, a concoction of fish, usually pollock, a binder and flavoring. I never think of imitation crab as crab, I think of it as Krab.
I went to the market yesterday, and stood there thinking about what to make for Friday Food. Krab was on sale, and there was a nice package of small bay shrimp on sale as well. Since I was going to be making this for Amber’s family as well as mine, I got both, and thought I would mix them together.
A lot of people don’t like meatloaf. I don’t blame them, I hated meatloaf as a child because it was bland and the only thing that was even a tiny bit tasty was the dried ketchup on the top. That all changed when I went to dinner with a friend who raved about the meatloaf and Cowboy salad. I tried it, and I was a convert.
What made this meatloaf different was that it was spicy, and it had little pieces of vegetable inside. I loved it. The restaurant is long gone, but the meatloaf is here to stay.
Of course, the best thing about meatloaf is the sandwiches the next day. Some people heat up the meatloaf, some people, like me, do not. For me, there’s nothing better than a thick slice of cold meatloaf on a slice of crusty sourdough bread, slathered with mayonnaise.