Freshly Picked and Marinated

Veggies marinatedMarinated vegetables usually remind me of mushrooms dripping with oil, plus already-soggy white bread on the side. Yet a 1980s recipe from the Richmond Times-Dispatch tempted me because in the past month, I’ve eaten enough crudités to feel like Peter Rabbit. This Marinated Vegetable salad, sent in 30 years ago by former Times-Dispatch food editor Jann Malone, comes from Great Ideas for Barbecues & Summer Meals (Family Circle, 1983), the same book where I found the candied tomato recipe from my friend’s mother. Though the recipe goes back at least 30 years (the dressing comes Malone’s father, so it probably goes back farther than that), it managed to update my ideas about marinated salads.

PeppersThe practice of flavoring and preserving vegetables in vinegar goes back to ancient Greece and Rome, according to Early Virginians, including Thomas Jefferson, also ate pickles. Interestingly, a whisked-together combination of oil and vinegar did not become known as “French” dressing until around 1900. But now many American restaurants call it vinaigrette. Times change, but not the basic concept of the dressing.

The marinated salad recipe would work well with almost any kind of late summer vegetables (except tomatoes, which would get too mushy). The veggies turn out crisp-tender instead of soggy. Pick, steam, marinate. Just give yourself several hours to let everything chill before serving.

Marinated Vegetable Salad with Ralph’s French Dressing (1983)
Serves 8
For the dressing:

1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3-4 drops Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup oil

Combine all dry ingredients in a salad dressing container or small glass jar. Add the vinegar and shake well. Add the oil and shake well. Chill before using. Makes about 1 cup

For the salad:
1 large green pepper [I used a yellow bell pepper]
3 carrots
2 small yellow squash
5 green onions
1 cup cauliflower flowerets
1 cup broccoli flowerets
1 cup 1-inch cut green beans
1 cup sliced mushrooms

  1. Seed the pepper and slice into thin strips. Slice the carrots and squash into thin rounds. Thinly slice the green onions, using both the white and green parts.
  2. Lightly steam all the vegetables except the onions and mushrooms for no more than 3-4 minutes. Dump the vegetables into a colander and run cold water over them to halt the cooking process.
  3. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl or jar and pour the dressing (from recipe above) over them. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Drain before serving. The salad looks nice and travels well in a large glass jar.
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Hot Day, Warm Cucumbers!

cucumber saute doneWhen someone left a box of free garden-grown vegetables in the plaza at Chautauqua, I couldn’t resist stashing a few in my bag. Grateful that a generous stranger shared the August bounty, I challenged myself to do more than slice the cucumbers into a salad. The Cucumber Sauté recipe in the Eating Healthy Cook Book (Better Homes and Gardens, 1986) came together quickly enough to avoid steaming up my kitchen Continue reading

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Candied Virginia Tomatoes From a Surprising Source

Tomato jam done

Inside a booklet that promised nothing more than Great Ideas for Barbecues & Summer Meals (Family Circle, 1983), I ended up finding a recipe for Thomas Jefferson’s Candied Tomatoes sent in by someone I knew quite well — the mother of my closest childhood friend in Richmond, Virginia. Continue reading

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In My August Kitchen

IMK Aug soupGreetings from my summer kitchen in Chautauqua, New York! Thanks, always, to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this international forum. My summer headquarters, about 10 miles south of Lake Erie, is located in prime Concord grape growing territory. The grapes are not yet ripe, but blueberries grow in profusion. Continue reading

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An Updated 1970s Cocktail

Lemon Lime Cocktail 2On a hot day, you can’t go too far wrong with lemon juice, lime juice, mint, and something fizzy. Continue reading

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One hour, 400 Mushroom Sandwiches

Mushroom sandwich board

mushrooms close up

A grilled sandwich with cooked mushroom filling may not sound like a must-have lunch, but tradition always rules at the Chautauqua Institution Continue reading

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Waldorf Salad with a Midwest Twist

Salad - Marvin House finishedMy summer base in western New York puts me closer to Cleveland than to the east coast, so I have a new radius for recipes to try. Since Empire apples are already being sold at the farm stand down the road, I decided to give the Missouri Waldorf Salad from the Marvin House Cookbook a try. Continue reading

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