One of my first memories is looking up at everyone’s legs from under a table in a restaurant trying with the best of my toddler -self skills to get out of the rather restrictive dress and shiny black shoe ensemble I was dressed in for some sort of event, probably one of those random times during my childhood when we went to the Greek Orthodox church or to the ward with Grandma Marion. I remember being snapped up right as i was unbuckling my shoe, by my mom, when I looked up a waitress handed me a balloon, with the “Dee’s” logo on it, growing up in Ogden, Utah, visits here were like a rite of passage to the developing Ogdenite. Dee’s also always had suckers in the front “for the road”, which my sister Georgia and I would play a game with, we would throw them in the road and whoever’s got smashed by a car first got their wish, Dee’s was on Washington blvd, or the “Vard” as we called it, it was the street the kids cruised on to meet potential love mates before tinder, or instagram existed, it was on the way to the Ogden Mall which was quite fancy in the 80’s and into the early 90’s, even being the location of the Tiffany “I think we’re alone now” music video…wow, seeing that typed out looks pretty hilarious, but I digress. The waitresses well into the early 2000’s wore old school waitressing uniforms with pink or blue pinstripe and lil’ hats, I always wanted to work there so I get my hands on one of those dresses and style it al’a Courtney Love (the debut “Hole” album years). I never got that chance but we did have our own restaurant across the street and many times after service some of us would go over and eat dinner there, you never want to eat at the joint you can eat at for free…LOL. The food was never great, this wasn’t like a “Jean George” moment, this was red state, plastic plate, bland, diner grub….but honestly, it was consistent, affordable, and not what we were serving at our place so I more than once enjoyed it! A good go-to order was the “chicken teriyaki burger” or you could have it with a beef patty…but something about the chicken made me feel more healthy. I am sharing my version of it, as I do feel sad that after 36 years as an Ogden institution, there before I was even born, and basically a place I went at least a few times a year my whole life closed down permanently a few years back. The owner just closed it one day, leaving all his long time employees and customers in shock. Times change, tastes change, and people die that is why it is important to always pay respect to the places of that past, regardless of how benign they seemed at the time:
You will need:
2 chicken breasts, split in half this will make four sandwiches, I brined mine for a few hours in pickle juice, but you can just salt and pepper them…Dee’s didn’t brine theirs. Or alternately you could use any meat or non meat “patty” you like.
4 slices of swiss cheese
4 Tbsp. Teriyaki sauce, choose your favorite.
1 cup of sauteed mushrooms, I think they used canned ones, so no judgement here…do you boo!
4 Sesame hamburger buns, lightly buttered and toasted for maximum authenticity.
Grill your chicken or pan sear whichever, cook it!
When your chicken or patty is to your liking, top with mushrooms, sauce and then top with cheese, yes, in that precise order or give up on the whole endeavour as it won’t be right, ok that is dramatic but there is method to the madness, cheese hold the mushrooms in like corset, “fat man in little coat style” and part of the beauty of this simple thing is the right bite, you need each ingredient in each bite to enjoy it fully.
Put it on the bun and add some lettuce and tomato if you like.
Nostalgic pleasure is sometimes the best kind, without a backstory a recipe means nothing, without feeling you really can’t cook and enjoy it all that much. Make things that ground you and remind you where you have come from so you can put that energy into your future….wow, I crown myself the “Queen of runon sentences” but we are on a budget here so I don’t have a copywriter. Happy cooking!
R.I.P. Dee’s Family Restaurant
3360 Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401
I get so caught up in nostalgia, I have a special loyalty to somehow represent a period of time that is long over. I don’t ever really “get over” things, I carry these memories like an emotional weight vest. Some are good, many are bad, it helps to have both to remember why the “good ones” were good, balance. I drank an entire french press of coffee just now and the caffeine is surging through my veins as I listen to the eerie carnival sound of “The Cure”. God I love youtube….I know there are better ways to listen to music, but I love how many of the videos are uploaded with a touch of why the uploader, published it. I want to know everything about why someone else feels love for the things I love, you figure they gotta have great taste! At least in one song. I have endless weird playlists of songs that represent my psyche, some are great, some are not, but each melodic entity helped form who I am in one way or another. Sometimes when I go down the youtube rabbit hole I rediscover songs, and that is always exciting because with the song comes a slew of memories…..sometimes I will put my prize on my list, unless it releases the memories that are too painful for daily air play, then I will listen to in once and work hard to try and forget it, but it’s inside and next time it finds it way into my ears, I will feel its presence along with the fluttery feeling inside my stomach and the related anxiety surge. At least I know i’m alive! Speaking of anxiety, when I get loads of it baking helps me relax, as do cleaning tasks, so I decided to clear my freezer out of over ripe bananas I save to make banana bread and make….BANANA BREAD! (cue trumpet playing out triumphant victory tune)
I can in no way, shape, or form take credit for the recipe. I do, like everything I cook, put my own spin on it. This is the recipe.
Flour’s Famous Banana bread:
1½ cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour instead, it was super tender)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I upped this to a full teaspoon)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar(I just did 1 cup and then topped each loaf with a piece of fresh banana and sprinkled with turbinado sugar)
½ cup vegetable oil
3 ½ very ripe medium bananas (1 1/3 cups mashed)
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used macadamia nuts instead and added them to the top before baking along with some toasted coconut, turned out great!)
Heat the oven to 325ºF degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Or whip by hand with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.)
With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil. Be sure NOT to pour the oil in all at once; add it slowly so that it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you’ve just beaten into the batter. This took about 1 minute.
Add the mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts by hand until thoroughly combined, so there are no more flour streaks in the batter.
Pour the batter into a buttered 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the top of the banana bread is golden brown and springs back when you poke it in the middle. If your finger sinks when you poke it, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then pop out of the pan and serve. Keeps for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, tightly wrapped. Or store in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks and defrost overnight at room temperature.
This recipe is in weird in that, you make a sweet aioli with the eggs, sugar, and oil. I think that is the trick to its perfect texture. I used four smaller loaf tins, but if you use a large loaf pan just make sure you don’t under bake!!! Under cooking is the worst thing you can do to this and the only way it will be a disaster, besides burning it. I think this would bake up lovely as a layer cake alternating the tender cake with cream cheese frosting! A great base for seasonal fruit, like using berries since it’s summer. Or make it just how it is….you can’t lose and baking is good for stress levels! Happy baking!!!
Following your passions is essential to living life, but in order to do so you really have to throw insecurity out the window. Every time I do something that is overwhelmingly frightening, even if the end result isn’t what I hoped for, I always grow as a person. Personal growth isn’t this warm, fuzzy, opioid feeling…usually it’s more like this aggressive, anxious feeling that makes you check your prejudices at the door and see the world in a new way. In reality all the things we do are just a distraction from the true questions of the universe. Things are nice, acclaim is great, but like beauty it’s fleeting. If you are lucky you will end up wrinkled and wise, not botox-ed and silicon-ed, the goal of finding yourself is not something you can artificially achieve, its a journey that ends only when you die. Death is the great equalizer and doing whatever makes that knowledge tolerable is probably the best advice I feel there is. Don’t forget our mortality puts us all at the same level, those who have enough empathy to get over their own fragile egos are way more impressive to me than someone who owns a private jet. I do think self preservation is essential, but too much of it will leave you exactly where you began.
Speaking of distractions….who wants a cookie? This month’s degustabox was full of wonderful things. I used the King Arthur’s chocolate chip cookie mix to make cookie cups (just drop the dough into mini muffin pan and cook 12 minutes, after they are done use a spoon to press down the center) which I filled with nutella and M&M’s my son had a play date today so this made me look like the “coolest mom ever!” so using a shortcut here and there to achieve your goals is good! Especially when the shortcut is this cookie mix, which uses all natural high quality ingredients, I was totally impressed. I made an excellent tomato sauce with the Mutti sauce, and goya olive oil I received. We devoured the tasty “brownie batter” Thinsters….although I would recommend just calling them “brownie” as they are quite crisp so “batter” may not be the best way to describe them. The Karma wellness water reminded me of Japanese ramune sodas, only in the way you press the top to release the vitamins, it tasted slightly sweet which made it more like a soft drink than water per se, I am guessing I would need to drink more of this to experience the full benefit. I really enjoyed the Waffle Waffle, I heated mine up, and it was very tasty and done in traditional Belgian style, so it was chewier and denser than your run of the mill waffle. These products were the standout for me this month, happy cooking!!!
As a young child I remember one thing about Sunday nights in my hometown….Chicken Gumbo was the soup du jour at China Nite. It was my favorite thing in the whole world, and once I saw what a traditional gumbo actually was, the only resemblance to my my childhood fav was okra. Continue reading “Chicken Gumbo China Nite Style”
Personal morality and business just don’t mix….it’s honestly way too subjective, and limiting your clientele based on dogma is really selling the business owner short. I have patronized businesses that probably don’t agree with me politically, socially, or religiously. Continue reading “Oven “fried” chicken sliders”
Do you need a drinking buddy? Sure we all do…and today I’m inviting ham and a loaf of french bread in tube that I got free with a coupon and some cheese! Continue reading “Ham and Asiago pinwheels”
Weeknight meals, can be repetitive or sometimes a little boring….especially when you are trying to please everyone with one dish. I think this one does the trick. Most everyone loves alfredo pasta with chicken and broccoli, it is probably one of the most ordered dishes in Italian American restaurants. Continue reading “Broccoli chicken alfredo skillet”
Well school hasn’t even been out a week and already Ava is going stir crazy! My kids love to play “Minecraft” and watch “Youtube” but I do think it is important to try and do some stuff the good old fashion way! When I was a kid me and sisters loved going and having adventures at the park. Continue reading “Analog Summer fun: Picnic in the park.”