Monday, October 29, 2007


One of the biggest advantages of getting older is having more memories. One of my fondest memories of my childhood was Halloween trick or treating. Times were different then. We would actually go from house to house in groups, with usually no adult supervision. No need to, the neighborhoods were full of kids and parents were standing at their doors passing out candies and all of the porch lights were on. I would meet with my buddies and we would go up and down the streets begging for goodies. Almost no one wore a commercially made costume, certainly none of my gang. Costumes were homemade; a little coal on your face, some old clothes and you were a hobo. Put a sheet over you and now you're a ghost. We didn't carry any little cutesy pumpkins, we hauled big shopping bags. Trick or treating then was a two day affair. Halloween eve and Halloween night. Darkness didn't stop us but the unofficial rule was no knocking on doors after nine.

The treats were great and the best houses gave out homemade cupcakes, brownies and chocolate chip cookies sometimes still warm. Today if you give a kid something that was not hermetically sealed you probably would get a visit from homeland security. I remember the candy corn, candy bars (Oh Henry was my favorite) and gum. The cheapies gave you a stick of gum while the big spenders let you have the whole pack. Sometimes people actually would throw coins into our bags. In those days you could actually buy things for a penny! Some nights the pickings were so good that you would have to go home and unload. and then go back out. The best part - trading something you didn't like for something you wanted. Yep getting old, talking about the good old days.

Location - Ohio .... late forties early fifties.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Birthday Duck

The Babies turned one. I made them a duck shaped cake born out of a pound cake and banana bread recipe combined. It was tasty and duck shaped, what more could a one year old want? What more could two one year olds want? We let them at it unencumbered by spoons, bibs, or reasonable portion sizes. So much mess was never more happily made.

Banana Duck Cake

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound (2cups) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
3 sticks butter
2 ripe well mashed bananas
1/2 cup milk set out for a half hour with ½ TBSP white vinegar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

Need: One Duck Cake Pan (I got mine at Michaels)

Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder
into a large mixing bowl.
Stir in sugar and salt with a large spoon.
Next add the butter, melted partially in the microwave or softened at room temperature.
Mix in the mashed bananas.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Mix with mixer or beater on slow.
Slowly add the vinegar-milk, and then the
vanilla extract.
After it is thoroughly stirred, turn the mixer up to medium for a few minutes,
and then mix on high.
If the mixture is a little thick, add just a touch more milk.
If you don't mix things thoroughly you will have lumps that will
form air bubbles in your mixture and leave holes
in your finished cake

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Take your Duck cake pan and thoroughly oil it with
butter, pam, or shortning. Just make sure it’s greased up in all the nooks and crannies.
Then lightly flour the oiled pan.
Shake the excess flour from the pan.

Pour 5 and ½ cups of cake batter into the bottom half of the Duck pan (the part without the small hole). Fill it to the brim.
Snap the top part of the cake mold on top and tie it to the bottom with cooking twine or string (I used something left over from Thanksgiving). This will keep the mold together when the cake rises.
Put any leftover batter in a greased and floured cupcake pan.
Bake the cake for one hour and twenty minutes.
Check your cake to see if it’s done, especially during the last 20 minutes.
When you think it is done, stick a wooden toothpick into the hole in the top part of the cake mold. If it's dry when you pull it out,
the cake is done.

Allow the cake to cool 5-10 minutes in both sides of the pan.
Gently take the top part of the mold off and set aside.
Let cool another 5-10 minutes and then place the top part of the mold back on and
Turn cake over gently to get it unstuck from the other side.
Let cool thoroughly for about 3-4 hours with both sides of pan on the cake.
Put cake in mold upright on a decorative plate (I just covered a plain plate in foil) and remove each side of the mold carefully.
Hopefully your duck will stand upright.

Decorate with frosting and love.

Friday, October 19, 2007

True Confessions

They call me Father, but I wear no white collar or have a halo over my head. However when I lived in Miami, Florida during the mid seventies I was introduced to two lovely dishes. One was cool and sweet named stone crabs and the other tart and tasty called key lime pie. This romance began on Miami Beach at the legendary restaurant Joe's Stone Crabs and grew stronger through the years. After I moved away from Florida, stone crab claws were not easy to come by and the key lime pie I tasted was a weak imitation of Joe's recipe made with real key limes. In recent years thanks to Fedex overnight delivery, people could order directly key lime pie and stone crab claws from Joe's. A few years ago Joe's formed a partnership with the "Lettuce Entertain You" group and "Icon". Restaurants were opened in "the windy city' Chicago and "sin city" Las Vegas.

The restaurants are called Joe's Seafood, Prime Steaks and Stone Crabs. The Las Vegas location is in the Forum Shops at Caesers where there is convenient valet parking. The main dining room has a club like atmosphere where you will be expertly served by a tuxedo clad waitstaff. There is also a bar/lounge and counter to eat at. They are open for lunch and dinner and reservations are recommended. Everything is ala carte and sides are served family style to be shared.

The menu features fresh seafood flown in daily, prime steaks, chicken and veal.
Some recommendations are:
appetizers - crab and artichoke gratin, oysters Rockefeller
soups and salads - stone crab bisque
entrees - halibut, salmon, grouper
entrees - hand cut steaks, lobster, liver
sides - any potato dish, creamed spinach. fried asparagus
desserts - banana cream pie with foster sauce
And of course stone crabs and key lime pie.
Stone crabs can be eaten hot with melted butter but most people eat them chilled with Joe's signature mustard sauce. (so very, very good)

The last time I bit into their key lime pie I closed my eyes and swore I felt an ocean breeze right here in the middle of the desert. What started as a romance years ago has become a life long affair.

location - Forum Shops at Caesers
telephone - 702-792-9222

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Food for the Soul

Family of Food has been a little bit short on LA restaurant reviews lately, so when pondering the possibilities, I realized that I have never written up one of my favorite valley joints. Chili My Soul is a mecca for the Chili enthusiast. They make over thirty different types of Chili and usually around half are available at any one time. No matter what your Chili tastes are, they probably make one you'll love. They do vegetarian, turkey, meat, chicken, with beans, without, spicy hot, and tenderly mild. How will you ever make up your mind of which Chili to get? They let you sample the chili like you were at the local ice cream shop. One of my favorites is BLANCO Y VERDE a mild chicken chili with a white bean. If you can't choose, they will let you do a "split" putting two flavors side by side. Check it out.

Chili My Soul
4928 Balboa Blvd.
Encino, CA 91316

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Birthday Treat

It's been hard catching up, as Daughter of Food is a busy woman, but I had some time to make these cupcakes for my hubby's birthday. The cupcake was not great, but the lemon curd on top was terrific, so I will share the recipe for that here.

Recipe for Lemon Curd
1/3 cup white sugar
one lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter

Make a double boiler by selecting a heat resistant bowl (like a Pyrex bowl) that fits onto a saucepan without touching the base.
Put water into the saucepan and the bowl on top of it and simmer gently.
Grate or zest the rind of your lemon, save the lemon for its juice.
Place the sugar and zest of the lemon in the bowl over the simmering water. The sugar will start to caramelize a bit as you do the next step.
In a different bowl put the lemon juice and the 2 eggs. Beat together.
Add to the bowl on the heat, stir. Cut up the butter into cubes and add to the bowl of lemon mixture.
Stir till it all and let the mixture simmer for 20 mins. until it is pretty thick , stir frequently. Cool and use for cupcakes.

Monday, October 8, 2007

diet rules for cheaters (unknown)

If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled out by the diet soda.
When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't eat more than they do.
Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.
If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
Movie related foods (Milk Duds, Buttered Popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) do not have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.
Cookie pieces contain no fat — the process of breaking causes fat leakage.
Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples are peanut butter on a knife while making a sandwich and ice cream on a spoon while making a sundae.
Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and white chocolate.NOTE: Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.
Foods that are frozen have no calories because calories are units of heat. Examples are ice cream, frozen pies, and popsicles.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

this ain't your big mac

The cover of the menu reads:

" From "le bouef", "le poulet", "l'agneou', "le saumon","legumes" .
The combinations are endless.

Are we talking beef wellington , chicken kiev, rack of lamb, grilled salmon or a vegetable terrine? No we're talking burgers! These gourmet burgers can be found at LE BURGER BRASSERIE located in Paris Hotel on the promenade next to the entrance to Bally's.The restaurant is a comfortable sports grille with one of the largest TV screens I have ever seen. Some nights there is a DJ or karaoke.

You will find fun appetizers, salads,imaginative deserts and good selection of beers and wine.

But I want to concentrate on the burgers. There is a choice of fresh baked buns along with dozens of toppings to design your own burger.

These are some of the combos suggested on the menu.

Le Paris - a beef burger with brie cheese, grilled onions and smoked bacon on a caramelized bun.
Le Bleu - a beef burger with blue cheese, avocado and bacon on a Parmesan bun
Lamb, chicken, salmon or a veggie burger can can be substituted for beef. Try the lemon aoli sauce on a salmon burger. What is a burger without fries? Choose from shoe string, steak or waffle. The potato orders are meant to be split.

Burger bars are popping up all over the country and many chefs have added a signature burger to their menus. At LE BURGER BRASSERIE the signature burger is called the $777.

$777 Burger - Kobe beef, lobster, brie cheese, crispy prociutto and 100 year old balsemic vinegar. This burger feast is served with a bottle of Rose Dom Pergnon champagne. Why the unusual name - guess.

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