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A Recipe search...and a Story

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posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 08:58 AM
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When I was a kid we used to go to this little hole in the wall hotel / restaurant in Goodland, FL called Alex's. Goodland, back then, wasn't really even a 'town', it was more like a scorch mark in the Everglades and mangroves. Probably more akin to a "camp" than anything. (This was back in the mid'60's to early '70's in SW FL).

Alex's had the best food on this planet (hands-down)! Fresh stone crabs by the ton...Pompano, Snook and Grouper that would make even the hardest man cry it was soooo good. (And yes, you could actually get Snook in a restaurant then!) (Hell, I don't even think you can keep one anymore).

On top of that they used to have fresh rolls with homemade guava jelly which were out-of-this-world!! But one of the real highlights was the salad. There was this waitress, Ginny, who was this old gal with an infectious smile and she'd always be our waitress. She had invented a salad dressing which involved Campbell's tomato soup. She always said the recipe was really simple, but a secret. The only thing she'd ever say about it was that it had tomato soup in it. And with a wink she'd say the rest was a secret. Not even the owners (Marge and Alex) knew exactly how she made it. It was fabulous beyond description, enough so that it would make a carnivore like me want to become a vegetarian! Seriously, it was that good! It was the perfect combination of tart, sweet with just a hint of savory. The best way I can describe it is, it had "bite".

Sadly, Ginny took the dressing recipe with her to her grave. RIP, Ginny!

I've tried to reverse engineer this salad dressing recipe for nearly 50 years since then to no avail. I've come close (very), but it's not exact. Probably the closest I've ever gotten was just last night. The flavor was almost there, but the color was off. I've tried everything, thousands of different times, but I still can't get it.

The basic dressing ingredients seem to be Campbell's condensed tomato soup, cider vinegar, oil, chopped onion, sugar and salt (and maybe some garlic). The real-deal was a dark tomato color (like Catalina), it was very smooth (no lumps or chunks). It was thin, thinner than your standard French or Catalina dressing.

My current version I tried last night was...

-1 can condensed tomato soup (Campbell's) (Ginny always made a point of saying it HAD to be Campbell's...for some reason).
-1 onion chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced (maybe a little less)
-1/2 Tsp of salt
-1 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/2 cup honey

All this goes in a blender and gets blended until smooth. This is very, very, close in terms of flavor, probably the closest yet, but the color is wildly off (this comes out bright orange whereas the real-deal is a deep red color). If you want to try a delicious salad dressing you can use the one above, but it's not quite to Ginny's recipe.

So, after a very long post, I'm wondering...does anyone have any ideas on how I can get to Ginny's secret recipe salad dressing??


edit on 10/13/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: spelling




posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 08:59 AM
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And so a little side note about Ginny might be in order here too...

Ginny was this gal who, at the time, was probably in her mid to late 60's (maybe even early 70's). Never married, but you could just tell from looking at her that she was one GOOD looking woman when she was younger. Nice as the day was long, always cheerful with this twinkle in her eye.

Shells, Ginny LOVED shells, and she made all kinds of her own jewelry out of shells. Her days were spent combing the beaches of southern Florida for shells (which there were quite a few of back then). What shells she couldn't find herself she bought from probably one of the World's best shell stores I've ever seen (just this run down warehouse with racks of shells stacked floor to ceiling). The jewelry always had a message, some meaning, like a riddle. Just a few minutes with her and you could tell this Ginny was a pretty sharp gal (like very). I can remember Mom always trying to figure out what the riddle was. She rarely ever wore the same piece twice. Each piece had this "oh yeah, now I get it" sort of riddle to it. She rarely ever talked about it, or brought it up, but if you knew her she'd always gladly play along. She was an enigma just like the jewelry she made, a riddle.

There's more than just a bit of irony about her salad dressing recipe. Like her jewelry, there was a story there, but you could never quite put your finger on what it was.
edit on 10/13/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 09:10 AM
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I don't know, but this one has paprika (which could help with the color), and Worcestershire sauce.

www.thespruce.com...



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 09:30 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk




but the color is wildly off (this comes out bright orange whereas the real-deal is a deep red color).

If the flavor is there...
Maybe,
Food coloring?
I would go with red.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 09:39 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

This reminded me of 2 things; my mothers saladdressing, and that I was supposed to call her 20 minutes ago.
About the dressing-part, or vinagrette that mom mixes.. It is Absolutely fantastic. Her Salads (all greens) has been loved by friends and family alike. Problem is I can never, ever get the right mix myself. Even though she allows me anytime to look over her shoulder. She does not use any measurements, she just looks at the amount of salads and veggies to dress..
Dont know if Ol Ginny had measurements, but my point is, a sauce that special probably holds secrets only Mums and Ginny knows about!
Good luck with your hunt!



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 09:40 AM
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a reply to: kaylaluv

Hmmm...the color looks about right, maybe a little lighter than the my target, but close. The consistency appears to be too thick though. I wouldn't say this dressing was 'watery', but it was definitely very thin. Not sure about the Worcestershire though. That has a pretty pronounced flavor, and I don't recall that flavor in the dressing.

I'll give it try though, sounds good.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 09:42 AM
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a reply to: butcherguy

There was nothing artificial about Ginny, so I'm pretty certain there wasn't any kind of artificial anything in the salad dressing including food coloring. No, there's a way to get there, I just need to find the path.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 09:56 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: kaylaluv

Hmmm...the color looks about right, maybe a little lighter than the my target, but close. The consistency appears to be too thick though. I wouldn't say this dressing was 'watery', but it was definitely very thin. Not sure about the Worcestershire though. That has a pretty pronounced flavor, and I don't recall that flavor in the dressing.

I'll give it try though, sounds good.



When I was in the restaurant industry I worked with an old chef once he told me that it's not the cooking that's the hard part it's the mise en place, expect when it comes to sauces and dressings (He was one of those old school classically traind French chefs).

If you remember it being watery and not thick, it most likely did not have a high fat content, ie olive / grape / vegetable oil etc. A good way to lighten up a dressing is to just simply add water, and then as the blender or hand emulsifier is mixing in all the ingredients slowly add some water, and then slowly add oil, until it's the right consistency. Might help.
As for the dark color, unless they changed their recipe for the condensed soup, I am not sure. Only thing I can think of is maybe using brown sugar instead of white sugar, or Worcestershire sauce.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 10:09 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

At the risk of being rejected as a poor guesser, may I venture to suggest the addition of some sweet red paprika powder?

Or maybe mayonnaise or a bit more oil?
edit on 13 10 2017 by surnamename57 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 10:22 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk


Maybe it's missing some dried mustard powder? Anyhow, here is a bunch of different Tomato Soup Salad Dressing recipes. I also believe that the tint of tomato soup might have gotten a little bit lighter thru out the years compared to it's color in the 60s 70s.


Good luck trying to nail it down.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 10:29 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

try ketchup. It has the darker color, and some of the same ingredients. Plus the key is, she said it was simple, so it had to have some easy to find ingredients.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

If you’re they’re tastewise it sounds like colour is your only thing left to perfect. You could try replacing half the honey with molasses (treacle to me), that’s dark brown and would tone down the colour and add some interesting undertones to the flavour.

Gonna give it a try, I hate salad and the only thing I can find to make it taste better is a juicy burger.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 10:54 AM
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A chef friend of my wife (who is also a 'Chef') suggested beets, specifically pickled beets, and this sounds like an excellent suggestion.

I may try that next.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 11:10 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: butcherguy

There was nothing artificial about Ginny, so I'm pretty certain there wasn't any kind of artificial anything in the salad dressing including food coloring. No, there's a way to get there, I just need to find the path.




Not all food colors are artificial.
As you mentioned above, beets are a natural red food color source, specifically red beet powder.
edit on b000000312017-10-13T11:29:41-05:0011America/ChicagoFri, 13 Oct 2017 11:29:41 -05001100000017 by butcherguy because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 11:29 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

My Granny had a homemade dressing that everyone loved. I make it now with my own twists to it. She used garlic salt in hers as did a lot of people back then. I have tried using fresh garlic and it wasn't the same. That might get your flavor where you want it. It does make a difference. Hope maybe this helps. I love cooking and know how you feel about getting it just right.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 12:08 PM
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Are you putting it in all in together or are you emulsifying it? Try slowing pouring the oil in as you blend.



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 07:34 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I a wondering of soup was the only pre-made thing she used in it. Perhaps she used, instead of vinegar, onion, etc, some sort of BBQ sauce, as well? Some honey, for the sweet, that for the tang, and a soup base? Sounds interesting, at any rate!!



posted on Oct, 13 2017 @ 07:40 PM
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originally posted by: DrBobH
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

If you’re they’re tastewise it sounds like colour is your only thing left to perfect. You could try replacing half the honey with molasses (treacle to me), that’s dark brown and would tone down the colour and add some interesting undertones to the flavour.

Gonna give it a try, I hate salad and the only thing I can find to make it taste better is a juicy burger.


[b]That's what treacle is??? Been wondering about that for eons now! No idea why I never just looked it up, but cool. Molasses, eh?

You know, to the OP, how about something even darker, along those lines, like good old-fashioned sorghum? It's still molasses, and definitely sweet! Had older family members that would use it on biscuits, even.




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