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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Homemade Charcoal Chimney Starter, Burgers Topped with Cheddar and Coleslaw

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Raleigh Burger - Coleslaw Cheddar on a Kaiser Roll

Raleigh Burger – Coleslaw Cheddar on a Kaiser Roll

There used to be a wonderful coffee-shop in Santa Monica called Nick’s. One day, I went in there and ordered something called a Nick Burger. It had coleslaw and swiss cheese on it. It was so juicy you had to eat it over the plate. It became my favorite burger, and tonight, I decided to recreate it, with a little zip.

I’ve been becoming very brave of late with my Weber. First I started out with Match Light coals because they were pre-soaked, and easy to get started. Then, I graduated to using charcoal fluid and regular coals. Then today, I realized I had run out of fluid, and the corner store was closed. I knew that there are specially made charcoal chimney starters, and I thought I could make one from scratch. It wasn’t difficult at all making a homemade charcoal chimney starter. No more relying on charcoal fluid for me!

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Marinated White Asparagus

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Marinated White Asparagus

Marinated White Asparagus

My son and I love asparagus, especially the long thin ones. We like them with butter, lemon and pepper. I’m always excited when they’re in season. Asparagus are good for you, they are have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities that can help with heart disease, diabetes, and may help prevent certain cancers. Not bad for a vegetable that sometimes makes your bathroom smell like asparagus!

When I was a child, my mother would sometimes bring home the white asparagus in the can. That was a big treat – except it didn’t have much flavor. When I saw white spears that looked a lot fresher and nicer than their green brethren, I knew I could so a lot better, so I decided to bring them home and marinate them.

One of the ingredients in this recipe is True Lemon. If you haven’t tried True Lemon yet, do it. True Lemon is crystallized fresh lemon juice and oil. It doesn’t have that bottled lemon juice flavor, and since it’s dry, it won’t affect your recipe in the way that lemon juice can. It’s also great because you can carry it with you and put it in water or other drinks as you desire. Right now, they’re even having a special promotion and will give you a free box if you spend more than $10.00.

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Mexican Feast – Coleslaw, Black Bean Dip and Taquitos with White Sauce

Mexican Feast

Mexican Feast

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This afternoon when I was at the local store, I had a taste for Mexican food. I already had frozen taquitos in my freezer (I’m too lazy to make them myself), so all I needed was avocado. Well, surprise, surprise my little store didn’t have any, so I decided to make the white sauce similar to the fish taco white sauce at Rubio’s.

I also had some cabbage in the refrigerator. I love cabbage and it’s very good with Mexican food. I picked up a can of black beans so I could make the same black bean dip I used for my Black Bean Tacos.

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Hot Tin Roof Salad – Composed Grilled Steak Salad

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I loved the movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives. It just seemed the weather was so hot and humid in that movie, kind of like it was today in Glendale, California. Spane, Amber’s children and a friend all had a wonderful time playing in the neighbors pool, and as I watched them, I thought that a steak salad would be the perfect end to a perfect day. I decided to call the salad Hot Tin Roof Salad because it was so hot and steamy here, just like in the movie.

With that being said, one of the wonderful things about summer is all the great, fresh vegetables. Tomatoes are sweet and pop juice into your mouth. Lettuce is really crisp and the greenest of green. The little Persian cucumbers I get at the local Armenian store are tender and flavorful – not like their large watery English cousins with the waxed skins that always seem to come up on you later. Buttery Haas avocados are also plentiful – did you know that all Haas avocados come from one single tree that died at the age of 76 in La Habra Heights, California?

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