We rented half of a really cute (and brand new) duplex. Today it would be called a townhome because it was three floors. To this day, I have such fond memories of those four years and our landlords Al and Betsy have a lot to do with those memories. Al and Betsy are in their 80's now.
One summer afternoon we went to their beautiful home on acres and acres of land with a lake right outside their back door. I will never forget the dinner we had. Barbecued ribs, corn on the cob and Betsy's special salad. My recipe card says, "Betsy's salad." For you, I've renamed it Oriental spinach salad.
I remember sitting on their deck eating this meal and thinking, "This is heaven and I don't think I've ever eaten anything so delicious." I'm sure the atmosphere and the wonderful company had everything to do with it. Betsy's salad was so good it became a family favorite. My recipe card is written in her hand and I treasure it.
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups vegetable oil
Blend these 5 ingredients in a blender.
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cans drained beans sprouts
2 cans drained sliced water chestnuts
Let set overnight.
Just before serving, tear spinach, washed and drained.
Garnish with hard boiled eggs and crispy crumbled bacon. Top with chow mein noodles if desired.
That's it. It's that simple.
Here are the ingredients for the dressing. I didn't have a red onion so I used what I had on hand. The red onion makes it prettier but onion is onion and this worked for me.
You'll notice the jar I use.
Drain the bean sprouts and water chestnuts and place them in your air tight container with the chopped onion. Pour the contents of the blender into the container and close it.
This dressing must sit at least overnight. The bean sprouts and water chestnuts and onion need to marinate. It's OK to let it sit on your kitchen counter overnight. No need to refrigerate. Yet.
I soak my spinach in very cold water for about an hour. I usually buy baby spinach in a bag because it's already washed and cleaned. Obviously if your spinach is loose packed you'll want to thoroughly rinse it because loose packed spinach is usually very sandy.
Spin it dry. With your salad spinner. Which I'm sure by now you know is a kitchen necessity. LOL
After I've soaked it and spun it dry, I place the spinach in a big bowl and refrigerate it for a while to make it nice and crispy cold.
It's almost time for dinner and assembling this special salad is a piece of cake. Or salad. Here are the garnishes. Crispy fried bacon, sliced boiled eggs and rice noodles. The recipe says chow mein noodles but we prefer the lighter, more delicate rice noodles.
Just place the cold spinach in a bowl and using salad tongs, place a hefty amount of the marinated vegetables on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with crispy bacon and noodles and arrange eggs around the sides. Actually, it's OK to chop the boiled eggs and sprinkle those too. Rob happens to prefer the eggs in wedges so I do it this way.
Here's our salad. To us, it's very special because it's Betsy's salad and she's special to us.
And here's a thought. You could so eaily turn this into a lunch salad, a full meal. All you have to do is add some sliced broiled chicken. Think Applebee's. Seriously, this salad is a good foundation for a simple but delicious lunch. Next time you're having your girlfriends over, try this. They'll think you're amazingly clever. :-)
So here's the dinner I served for this Memorial Day. This is Betsy's salad, corn on the cob, barbecued pork ribs (my secret recipe - melt in your mouth - to die for) and Red Lobster's Cheddar bay biscuits.
This is the dressing I had left over. This is going into the fridge and sometime within the next couple of weeks, I'll simply boil some eggs, fry a little bit of bacon and Rob and I will have this salad again. The dressing keeps for weeks in the fridge.
Also, keep this in mind. I made individual salads because it was just the two of us tonight. But for a family get together, I'd put a lot of spinach in my huge salad bowl, top it with all the marinated vegetables and toppings and let everyone use the tongs to serve themselves. It's just as good, either way.
And then Cameron showed up today. LOL And he and Chelsea were delighted with the new baby pool I bought Saturday. You know, Cameron isn't inclined to get INTO the pool yet. I put it out early this morning and put a few inches of water in it. I wanted the hot western Colorado sun to heat the water and it did. But Cameron is still skittish about being in a lot of water. He's only recently graduated from baths in the kitchen sink to baths in the *gasp* bathtub. So we're not pushing it. I do NOT want him to be afraid of water the way I am. Did you know, I can't swim? I'm too afraid of water. And I'm sure it goes back to my childhood.
I told his skinny mommy (smile) that by the end of this summer we won't be able to drag him out of the "pool." I tell you, I forgot the pleasures of having a little one around - a little one who thinks water hoses and sprinklers and simple baby pools and anything that gets you (and everyone around you) wet is fun. Check out his big boy swimsuit. Not that it got wet but still. Oh my word, I'm in Nana heaven.
And then look what Rob did! He caught one of my sweet hummingbirds in flight!
And he caught it sitting still. I swear, I've never seen one sitting still, perched anywhere. They're so fast and so fleeting, I was beginning to think my hummingbirds were just a figment of my imagination. I'm so thrilled he did this. I know it's not the best photo but my word, he did it!
Not that babies and pools and hummingbirds have anything whatsoever to do with Oriental spinach salad unless you're me. Then they have everything to do with it. LOL