Pork Loin Roast with Tangy Lemon Sauce

Pork Loin Roast with Tangy Lemon Sauce and Couscous SaladPork Loin Roast with Tangy Lemon Sauce

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Labor Day is such an important day to remember those who fought for good working conditions and a living wage. It’s also a fine excuse to make some good food. Whilst looking through Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, I came across a recipe for pork roast which gave me the idea to make this pork loin roast with tangy lemon sauce.

Pork loin roast is one of my favorite meats. I like mine on the rare side, just pink on the inside. I usually give the end slices to Spane because he likes his a little more cooked. There is no excuse for serving a dried out, gray colored roast of pork. Armed with a good instant thermometer, you can serve perfect pork at 140 degrees. Just make sure to let the roast rest for about 10 minutes before carving it. I use an electric knife because it makes the nicest slices.

If you want to make this on the grill, more power to you! Pork roast is great on the grill, but you have to use the Indirect method. This means you put a pile of hot coals on one side of the grill, and a pan of liquid under the meat, which gives the meat a nice, steamy place to slowly cook. If you want, you can use beer, wine or fruit juice for the liquid.
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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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Crab Bisque

Recipes in this PostCrab Bisque

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.

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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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Seafood Stuffed Avocado with Marinated Asparagus

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Shimp and Crawfish Nestled in Avocado - Asparagus Flanks Each Side

I am so happy that the warmer weather is here, and salads are the way to go. Composed salads made by stuffing a fruit or vegetable are a favorite in our house. I found crayfish at the store, and bought some shrimp to go with it. Since we usually eat seafood on Fridays, using the shrimp and crayfish to stuff an avocado seemed like a perfect idea. Spane and I also love asparagus, which looks lovely on a plate. It is also the year that Haas avocados are plentiful.

Avocados produce fruit prolifically every two years, that’s why they are expensive one year, and really cheap the next. Did you know that all commercial, fruit-bearing Hass avocado trees have been grown from grafted seedlings propagated from a single tree? The tree was grown from a seed bought by Rudolph Hass in 1926 from A. R. Rideout of Whittier, California. The mother tree stood for many years in front of a residence in La Habra Heights. The tree died when it was 76 years old and was cut down on 11 September 2002 after a ten-year fight with root rot. Two plaques by the private residence at 426 West Road mark the spot where it grew. Because of the avocado, just about any food with California in the name has avocados. I love ’em.

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