Monday, March 23, 2015

Railroad Diner Car Tossed Salad

     An Old Fashion Railroad Dining Car Style Salad With A Maraschino Cherry Flavor! 
     In the days when railroad travel was king, diner cars served some stylish food.  There are not many diner cars operating in today's age, like there once was during the grand old days of railway travel.

     My grandfather, who was a chef in the 1930's through the 1960's, made this Railroad Diner Car Tossed Salad for us a few times.  He described this salad to us kids as being "classy railroad food!"
     The only place that I have seen this salad offered on a menu in recent years was at the Plaza Casino Resort in downtown Las Vegas.  The Plaza Casino was formerly named The Union Plaza.  The Union Plaza was the passenger train station in Las Vegas for many years.  Railroad Dining Car style cuisine was a running theme at the Plaza Casino Buffet for many years.
     The Union Pacific Railroad Company currently has a hub in Las Vegas, but only has a freight depot in this general area.  A brand new high speed train system is now operational in North Las Vegas.  Hopefully the old days of railroad dining cars will return.

     Buffalo Bill's private rail cars are on display on Main Street between the Plaza Casino and the Main street Station Casino.  A view of the dining car kitchen can be seen through the window.  Diner Cars in the early 1900's had very compact small kitchens.  Diner Cars in the mid 1900's had only slightly larger kitchens.  An cramped railroad diner car kitchen usually only had enough room for one or two cooks.

     Those are not cherry tomatoes in pictures of today's Diner Car Salad.  They are Maraschino Cherries!  A small amount of Maraschino Cherry Juice flavors the salad dressing.
     Why Maraschino Cherries?  If you can picture a tiny railroad dining car kitchen, with very little storage space, then the Maraschino Cherries fit the bill.  Maraschino Cherries are a nonperishable item that takes up very little space in a tiny kitchen.

     This recipe yields 1 large salad portion or 2 medium size portions!
     Railroad Diner Car Salad Dressing:
     Place 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add 1 pinch of onion powder.
     Add 1 small pinch of garlic powder.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of maraschino cherry juice.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     The dressing should be thin and creamy with a hint of sweet cherry flavor.

     Railroad Diner Car Tossed Salad:
     Step 1:  Place 3 cups of chopped romaine lettuce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/3 cup of each of these thin sliced vegetables: 
     - peeled cucumber 
     - onions, 
     - red bell pepper
     - green bell pepper 
     - celery 
     - carrots. 
     Add 1/3 cup of sliced tomato end pieces. 
     Add 1 or 2 sliced green onions.  
     Add 10 to 12 maraschino cherries that have the stems removed.
     Step 2:  Pour the  Railroad Diner Car Salad Dressing over the salad in the mixing bowl.
     Toss the salad ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Mound the tossed salad on a plate and try expose a few of the maraschino cherries on top of the salad, so they can be seen.
     This is a cool and refreshing salad with a flavor that appeals to both the young and the old.  The sweet maraschino flavor is a welcome surprise to a weary traveler.  The dressing is creamy and the flavor deliciously old fashioned! 

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