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!
Two weeks ago, I was asked if I would cook for Ascencia again, and I said yes, what day? The date was the same as my birthday, February 16, 2013, and also the same day as the Golden Dragon Parade in downtown Los Angeles. What a perfect thing! Birthday, Parade and Cooking – all in one day!
Since I was going to the parade, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the Chinese New Year by making Asian food for the folks at Ascencia. I knew there were two large pork roasts and a mess of chicken wings already in the freezer, and lots of rice. No problem, all I needed was the stuff to make fried rice, and an Asian coleslaw to go with it.
The secret to good fried rice is that the rice has to be a day old. Why? Because freshly cooked rice is already full of moisture and will not absorb the flavored oil in which it is fried. What can you do if you don’t have day old rice, and you’re just going to die if you don’t have fried rice? Well, you can get a package of precooked rice that you would heat up the microwave, and use that instead. It’s not quite the same, but will do in a pinch.
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. Continue reading →
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.