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
Wasn’t the eclipse amazing!? The media had made it out to be this epic traffic disaster, which it ended up being not so bad, not any worse than our usual PDX traffic! Work was crazy this weekend, however, I think the solar eclipse made everyone crave our food! Lines started outside before we even opened and didn’t stop! Aside from my usual cooking tasks, I also help bottle our signature sauce. We have to wait till we close one night a week to prepare and hand pour over 300 bottles!
The bottled sauce makes it easy to prepare Khao man gai at home if you aren’t local, but I have found that it is amazingly versatile for other applications as well. I recently used it in perhaps, the best cold noodle dish ever! The sauce already has the perfect balance of acid, heat, sweetness, and salt, so it can serve as a short cut to making amazing dressings or even to use as a marinade.
From peeling the ginger to putting on caps there is no part of our sauce process that doesn’t have the human touch, it isn’t an easy process, but the final result makes it well worth the effort and is a labor of love from start to finish, there aren’t too many products available that can really give you a similar experience to what you would have physically in the restaurant, and I am very proud to be a part of it.
Nong has been bottling her famous sauce for three years and bottles are available in many stores in several states and online through the website. As you can tell from the photo above there is a very good chance that Nong herself helped to bottle the sauce you buy! Large batches of carefully prepared, temped, and authentic sauce are cooked in a large free standing stock pot, we have to maintain a certain temperature to ensure the best product arrives ready for you to eat.
To make your own “Nong’s Noodz” you will need:
8 oz of noodles, I used dried wheat ramen noodles but you can choose your own adventure (rice noodles, zucchini noodles, even dried spaghetti would be great). Just make sure to cook them al dente and cool them.
1/4 cup Nong’s Khao Man Gai Sauce
1.5 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp water
1 cup veggies of choice, I used pea pods and shredded carrots but I bet jicama would be great as well!
I also added Japanese “Schichimi togarashi” pepper sprinkled on top and bit of fried garlic, both are great but optional.
Blend the tahini, Nong’s sauce, and water together until emulsified. Pour emulsion over cold noodles and top with veggies of choice, garnish with herbs or anything you like!
Dead simple. Noodz to build a dream on and did I mention they are vegan?! A little bit of love from the Nong’s crew in Portland, Oregon! Happy Cooking!
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!!!
I bought a 20 pound turkey, and cooked it recently just to explore ways to utilize holiday leftovers without getting bored. I remember as a kid getting so burnt out on the microwave heated plates of Thanksgiving spread we would eat for the week after. The stuffing was half cold and mushy, the gravy congealed, the green bean casserole a hot mess, the clumpy taters had seen better days and all of it topped off with a helping of chalky leftover turkey meat. My mother never let us waste an ounce of the meal she would prepare, and I love her for it, but I do recall wishing for another way to eat the turkey…of course there is Turkey soup which I discuss at the bottom of that post about the turkey my mother always made, which is the recipe I used, but I wanted to explore other ways. Continue reading “Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey recipes that are anything but boring!”
So I fell victim to the interwebs this week. I clicked on this article about pasta that supposedly serves as an aphrodisiac and how that particular author thought it was full of shit. Always one to be interested in the power of food, and a lover of all things “old wives tales” I decided I must make it! Continue reading “Sexy Penne for baby making”
As much as I try to venture into other cuisine, I always go back to Greek food. Growing up in a American Greek restaurant/lounge family has left its mark on every facet of who I am. I honestly never wanted to be a cook, seeing the ever so NOT glamorous side of it, I always wanted to be something else, something people notice, respect, someone special. In other words, for a long time I tried to be something I wasn’t. Pleasing others is such a hollow endeavor, most the time they only notice when you don’t do something they want, and what you realize is the folks who are worth it, like you even when there isn’t something in it for them, or when you are wearing your ugly night gown eating cheetos on the couch, watching netflix, relationships shouldn’t be a constant task of following rules or keeping your opinions to yourself to inflate someone’s delusion….if you have those types of relationships, romantic or platonic….run….like the wind! When I gave into my purpose, I finally started to find who the hell I am. Continue reading “Greek Hasselback Potato bake”
Lemme tell ya a lil story….its 2006, it’s the Nicholas food show at the South Towne (why the “e” at the end?) expo center in Salt Lake City, UT. Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” is the hit of the moment, blaring from the 90’s Ford Taurus I caught a ride in with my fellow culinary students (we were totally the “Bad News Bears” of the event for sure) dressed to the nines in our Happy Chef gear, Continue reading “One-Pot Red Wine Pasta”
Yep, last week sucked royally…haha! With trying times often comes a period of growth, I guess like “April showers brings May flowers” well add about four more months to the “showers” part if you live where I live. Cancer, racism, sexism, judgmental bias. Continue reading “More Thai inspired noodles…Be like Lillard, and I think i’m ready to move to Uruguay.”
Jarom gave me the news last night about Ziggy Stardust/goblin king/style icon, disbelief,shock, as impossible to me as a pink unicorn walking over Cathedral bridge, he always seemed not human, immortal.From what I have read, he made the last album fully aware of the fact he had cancer and the end was near, like Mozart wrote “Requiem”, his final album is his last gift to humanity, it captures the heavy emotions that come with crossing over to the non-physical realm…with style I might add… what a legacy! Continue reading “Turkey thigh pot pies and why David Bowie is the Mozart of our time.”
Taco Time is anytime.
Blergh! I think I watched too many documentaries in the last week, not since my “Issues in Globalization” course in college have I felt so powerless, but kind of empowered at the same time. Some folks say that ignorance is bliss, and for some situations Continue reading “Crock pot carne guisada (Mexican chuck Roast) tacos”