The Covered Dish - Mandarin Oriental Salad

July 21, 2023

Last weekend my husband, Ervin, and I spent a crazy weekend up at my Dad’s home in Lewistown, Missouri. We spent a couple of days working at my dad’s home trying to pull things back together. Many of you may recall back in December of 2022, Ervin took my dad back home and walked into a huge waterfall, yep, the pipes had frozen, and it’s taken a while to get the work completed. I’ll be back up north again real soon, as we endeavor to pull the house back together. Gotta’ be ready for business men’s appreciation weekend in September.
It didn’t seem like we were getting anywhere, but I’ll say by the time we cleaned up Monday morning and started for home, you could tell all of us had made a good dent. We rewarded ourselves by going out to eat. In Northeast Missouri this can be a real adventure because you have to drive ‘somewhere’! One evening we went to Canton, Missouri and on Saturday night we traveled to Arbela, Missouri to eat catfish. It wasn’t the catfish that set our hearts on fire, instead it was the fantail shrimp! The salads were from scratch and the bounty was ample. For dessert we enjoyed a pineapple cake, which I have been instructed to re-create! I’ve started, did my research, and I’ll give it a whirl real soon. The Arbela Catfish House has been there for 50 years. I never ate there before last week. It is rated in the top 15 places to enjoy good catfish in Missouri.

I didn’t realize how tired I was until I returned home and become a couch potato every night after work. I was truly lacking motivation. I brought home the keys and piano bench from my parent’s home. The ‘flood’ total ruined the piano. Now I’m busy making things with the keys and bench. In our home the piano was the center of everything. Mom was a talented pianist, both my sister and I took lessons. I will never achieve the level of talent mom had, even though I taught vocal music. She could sight read like a dream. I’m making a table that has a shadow box on top containing memories of mom, piano keys and music. The bench I am refinishing (it was blonde) and making it into (2) beautiful benches. It pays to have a good friend who is an upholsterer, and enjoys all my projects!!!

Hopefully this week I will at least get my sanding completed. The heat may slow things down a bit, but I’ll keep plugging away.
The salad this week is one of my all-time favorites. With the recent heat wave and more coming, this will be refreshing at the dining table. If you don’t want to make the dressing from scratch there are alternatives listed.
It’s a good time for pasta salads, cream salads and marinated vegetables during the extreme heat. I’m cooking a meatloaf tomorrow night, but don’t plan to heat up the kitchen too much this coming week. While I was home; our neighbor, Courtney, came over with pickles and zucchini for me to bring back with us. Tonight I fried zucchini for Ervin, and marinated the cucumbers. Courtney has no idea how much I appreciated the vegetables. A little later in the week it will be a chicken zucchini casserole! Then I’m thinking a BLT night may be on the menu.

I’m working on a new seafood casserole recipe. It may not be ready by next week, we shall see. It’s all sketched out, I just need to do my first test run. The laundry is calling and so is bedtime. Have a good week and don’t push yourselves too hard during the high temperatures.
Simply Yours, The Covered Dish.

Mandarin Oriental Salad

Romaine and Bibb lettuce

Red Onion, thinly sliced in rings

Mandarin oranges, drained or ‘in-season’ oranges & clementines

Toasted English Walnuts

Chow Mein Noodles

Toast English Walnuts on parchment paper inside a rimmed pan. I toast mine at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes. You can easily season the nutmeats and make them savory or sweet. Allow to cool. Prepare lettuces on salad plates and top with the oranges, onion, walnuts and dry noodles.

My favorite commercial salad dressing is a light Asian Sesame dressing, however I think you’ll enjoy my orange vinaigrette equally as well. The walnut oil used in the dressing will give the host something new to experiment with.
Orange Vinaigrette

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, (Usually 1 orange)

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon orange zest

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon walnut oil

Mix the honey with the orange juice and heat in the microwave just allowing the honey to soften and mix. (Maybe 30 seconds.) Remove from microwave and add all the ingredients, whisking or shaking to blend. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes about 1/2 cup of the dressing.