Dee’s inspired teriyaki chicken burger

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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

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey recipes that are anything but boring!

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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!”

“Chi-town” style Italian beef for slackers.

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Fall is drifting in as Summer exits stage left, and it’s a stunning change for sure. If you are hoping for a post about pumpkin spice flavored things, or to see a picture of a set of hands and canvas aproned torso, forming savory scones, you have made the wrong turn at Albuquerque (Bugs Bunny reference, in cause you are a reader under the age of 30) and find the 10’s of 1000’s of other posts available with that. Continue reading ““Chi-town” style Italian beef for slackers.”

Burrata and Broccoli raab crostini

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If Heaven had a flavor it would be burrata….wow…when you think of the real down and dirty porn of food…think this sultry Italian cheese. Burrata is a type of mozzarella with a soft, delicate, center. Fragile to the touch it makes fresh or cooked vegetables or starch sheerly opulent. I was going to the store to buy a nice healthy selection of veggies to make a cold salad when I spotted it…oh yeah and the salami. Continue reading “Burrata and Broccoli raab crostini”

Grecian bowl of yummy!

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So I love me some “Buddah Bowl” which is basically a big bowl of healthy vegetarian stuff topped with tahini dressing and eaten with good conscious. There are some great options here and even carts dedicated to the art of “The Bowl”. I love eating this way and it feels substantial and healthy. Continue reading “Grecian bowl of yummy!”

Spanikopita Grilled cheese

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Spanikopita is a delicious spinach and feta savory pastry that is wrapped in crispy, butter laden, phyllo. Several different cultures have their own version of this treat, we are Greek so ours is very Mediterranean. A great thing for lunch or a snack, it isn’t always easy to find the time to make the whole pie, or work with the phyllo or even pre-heat the oven for that matter. I found a way to have all the flavor of the original with the ease of a sandwich, I was inspired by when I was in Rome and went into a panini shop where they had paninis filled with just cooked spinach and buffalo mozzarella, they were a cheap and delicious lunch on the go for the broke, American, back packer. With that in mind, I decided that Spanikopita grilled cheese would be a no-brainer for a recipe.
Makes two
You will need:
4 slices of good quality bread, I used a Sicilian loaf studded with sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon softened butter
1 10 oz bag of baby spinach, or if you buy in bulk two big handfuls
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 teaspoon dill
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
4 thin slices of provolone
pinch of salt
a few cranks of fresh cracked pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Plug in panini press, I’m ghetto fab so I use my default early 2000’s wedding gift “George Foreman grill”, you can also heat a skillet over medium heat and grill it that way your choice. Divide butter evenly between four slices of bread, spread thinly on one side of each slice. In a medium skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat, add garlic and shallots, cook four minutes or so till the garlic is golden brown. Add spinach, pinch of salt and pepper, cook a few minutes till spinach is wilted and most of the moisture is cooked out, add dill and feta, turn off heat, mix. Assemble sandwiches by placing two slices of bread butter side down on your press, or pan, add one slice of provolone to each, next divide spinach mixture in half and place on half on each slice, top with other slices of cheese and slices of bread, making sure butter side is up. Put the lid down on the panini press and cook about five minutes or until golden and bubbly or if using a pan flip after about five minutes, cook other side for three. These are a fun alternative to replace the usual grilled cheese and tomato soup you know and love.