12 Apr

Oh, hello 1960s era steakhouse…

We recently fully embraced the retro steakhouse experience, unabashedly wallowing in artery-clogging classics. No regrets!


And while we partook of these butter-drenched, garlic soaked standbys:

And classic shrimp cocktail:

shrimp cocktail

We had to grin about the basket of cheese toast. We grew up with this nostalgic steakhouse staple. Every company steak dinner or family spaghetti night featured our homemade version. How many times the broiler incinerated them!

This doesn’t really require a recipe (smear garlic butter on texas toast, sprinkle with parmesan, broil).

But we couldn’t resist hoarding this Hy’s steakhouse version we found online.

That canned soup addition is terrifying.

2 500g (16 oz) loaves of French bread
375 ml (12 oz) cheese sauce (canned soup will do) ?!
375 ml (12 oz) Parmesan cheese
250 g (8 oz) clarified butter
2 garlic cloves

Butter: Crush fresh garlic cloves in clarified butter and leave on medium-low stove for 5 minutes. (To clarify butter, heat butter in small saucepan over low heat until melted. Pour into a glass measuring cup and let stand for 3 minutes. Skim off and discard the foam on top. Slowly pour the yellow liquid into a saucepan, being careful not to use the thick, white milk solids that have settled to the bottom of the cup).

Slice bread lengthwise. Toast on both sides in your oven on broil. With a spatula, apply a thick layer of cheese sauce (you can use undiluted Campbell’s cheddar soup). Evenly cover this with a layer of Parmesan cheese. The butter should be sprinkled over the cheese with a pastry brush. Put back in oven until the Parmesan browns. Slice into pieces. Serve hot.

NOT MINE: Taste Tester Notes: Very cheesy, rich and good. The amounts of Parmesan and butter are generous, and once you start putting them on, you may want to use less according to your own discretion. If using canned soup, it comes in a 284 ml (10 oz) can, and you can get away with using this amount.

Although we ordered our filet with bleu cheese, when the Bearnaise and green peppercorn sauce landed on the table, our thoughts went to one of our greatest scores: mini sauce boats.


Shrimp Obsession

29 Mar

We can’t kick our fascination with this stir fried shrimp with its odd-to-us pairing of honeydew melon balls and candied whole walnuts tossed in a creamy sauce (which we fear is mayo-based):

Many online copycats claim to have cracked the PF Changs’ code, but we’re skeptical.

1/2 C Coconut Milk
1/4 C Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Tbs Mayonnaise, slightly heaping
1 1/2 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1/8 tsp Turmeric
Dash Celery Salt

Whisk over a low heat until warm.

We’ve also seen this:
1/2 tbsp condensed milk
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsps mayonnaise

St. Patty’s Day

17 Mar

A little more 1980s Seventeen for you to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Can anyone share this missing page:

Glazed Corned Beef, Red Flannel Hash, Irish Coffee and Irish Soda Bread

Rose-Coloured Glasses

12 Mar


Pardon the ghetto photo. It was for intel purposes (berry pie to struessel topping ratio)

Still on a nostalgic kick here. We dutifully clipped half a dozen 4 Street Rose recipes over the years whenever they were shared in lifestyles magazines or newspaper food sections (we’re talking pre-blog days, people: 1980s to mid-90s).

No matter what dessert from 4 Street Rose we remember sharing: No Fat Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Chocolate Bailey Mousse Cake, Chocolate Mango Cake, Warm Berry Crisp, California Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries, only one recipe circulates around the web.

Sure it’s a dodgy web version, but we’re willing to give it a whirl with this spring’s rhubarb crop.

And maybe we’ll substitute puff pastry and make a rustic dessert, like this killer blueberry galette/crostada.

We’ll post when we have success.

2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
2 c frozen strawberries
2 c frozen rhubarb

1 pie shell

1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 pinch of salt
3 tbsp liquid honey
¾ cups flour

Pre heat oven 425 F. Whisk eggs in large bowl. Whisk sugar, flour until smooth. Set aside. Cut rhubarb, fold into egg mixture. Pour into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes, remove and reduce heat to 350. Crumble topping to cover and bake for 40 minutes.

*dodgy web recipe – untried.

Rise and Dine

5 Mar
A beloved hangout... 4 Street Rose in its 1980s-90 heyday.

A beloved hangout… 4 Street Rose in its 1980s-90 heyday.

It seems as though spring will never get here.

We are longing to feel the warmth of sunlight in T-shirt weather.

It seems like a lifetime ago we were brunching at 4 Street Rose  in its heyday. Such an artful way to spend an afternoon. Its renovated house with a sunny glassed-in alley dining room, terracotta tiles and California-inspired menu. Most nights, a lineup stretched down the block for food served on wicker platters and in mason jars.

We even managed to purchase two of their storied French blue director chairs when they had a garage sale in the ’90s.

Amid the Colorado omelette and Maxwell Benedict was a steamy chicken and cheese enchilada, topped with fresh tomato and green onions.

But mostly, we delighted in Rose’s rise and dine brunch; always served with fresh fruit, banana bread, croissants, cream cheese and strawberry jam.

We’re hankering for lighter fare. Some Perrier and juice, fruit plate and this lovely banana bread. It’s a random recipe, but it will do.

3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups mashed bananas ( about 4 large)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chips (no!)

Combine sugar, oil, bananas and eggs. Beat to blend well. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined but do not beat. Stir in raisins or chocolate chips if using. Spoon into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan before removing.

Sweet Oscars Treat

26 Feb

Oscar night is approaching and we always enjoy an indulgent night on the couch watching the Hollywood action.

And on that couch there are always snacks inspired by Wolfgang Puck, the food master of celebrity parties.

This night also marks his 20th year catering the Governor’s Ball. His signature smoked salmon pizza, wagyu beef sliders and remoulade, and chicken pot pie with shaved black truffle always make an appearance. But we’ll dream of the crispy lobster dumplings with five spice and shots of carrot orange gazpacho.

Last year, we had some couch potato fun cutting tortillas with star-shaped cookie cutters, baking them until they were crisp, and spreading them with smoked salmon cream cheese to nibble during the show. They were a delight and pretty stylish to boot.

But this year, we’re thinking of whipping up something sweeter.

FunkyChunky Chocolate Popcorn has a cult following, and we’re keen to give the artisanal snack a whirl. It’s on this year’s Oscars dessert menu, alongside citrus panna cotta and chocolate-dipped strawberry cheesecake pops.

“FunkyChunky arrives LOADED with nuts – big almonds, whole pecans and jumbo cashews glazed to perfection with the popcorn. Hand-drizzled by artisans with dark, milk and white chocolates, we then break it up into mouth-watering chunks, with no two pieces alike.”

Whether we end up drizzling popcorn or pretzels, it sounds like a perfect Oscar treat. We once had a wee obsession with Cava’s chipotle caramel corn. 


12 cups popped popcorn

3.5 cups whole cashews, almonds and pecan halves

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

¾ cup butter

½ cup light corn syrup

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup good quality dark chocolate chips

½ tsp neutral cooking oil

1 ½ cups white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 250*F. Place popped corn and nuts in large roasting pan.

Make caramel: combine brown sugar, butter and syrup in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Boil for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in baking soda.

Pour mixture over popcorn and nut mix in roaster. Stir well. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out onto parchment paper. Let cool completely.

Melt dark chocolate and oil. (Some say to melt in a sandwich bag in the microwave for up to 30 seconds, knead bag and zap again repeating until melted. Then snip corner of bag and drizzle over popcorn). Drizzle over popcorn with a spoon from a height. Repeat with white chocolate.

Let stand until chocolate is set (three to four hours). Break popcorn mixture into chunks and store in airtight containers.

Sweet Melba at Last

14 Feb

This has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, other than to fill someone’s heart with joy.

Okay, that may be overstating it. But we’re thrilled to share a sought-after lost Seventeen recipe we found on Pinterest quite by accident.

And we recalled a plea we received from Mandy way back:

“I am looking for a recipe that a friend made for me on my seventeenth birthday way back in 1976.  It was a peach melba ice cream pie with a lemon wafer crust (I think).  It was so good.  I want to make one for her on her birthday this year.  The recipe was in the July or August Seventeen Magazine of 1976.  Anybody?”

Well, the folks at Arroyo Room came to rescue:

“I found this lovely recipe in Seventeen Magazine back in the last 1970s. I kept it all these years, only taking it out to make dessert for the most special of occasions.”

So without further ado:


For the crust:

1 1/3 cups lemon wafer or graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

Combine ingredients in a bowl, then spread mixture evenly over bottom and up sides of a 9″ pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Melba Sauce:

10 oz frozen raspberries

1/2 cup red currant jelly

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp cold water

Thaw the raspberries. Drain a few on paper towels to decorate the pie later. Refreeze. Place remaining raspberries with the jelly in saucepan. Heat to a boil. Mix cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir into raspberries. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles for three minutes. Pour melba sauce into a bowl, through a sieve to remove raspberry seeds. Cover surface with wax paper and chill until completely cool.

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 1/2 pints peach ice cream

1/2 pint heavy cream

1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Soften vanilla ice cream and spread all over the bottom of the pie pan on top of the crust. Cover with 1/3 cup of the melba sauce, marble it with spoon. Freeze pie until firm. Then top with scoops of peach ice cream. Freeze 4 hours. Whip the heavy cream, and add the powdered sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a shell tip, pipe the whipped cream around the scoops of peach ice cream. Add the reserved whole raspberries here and there.

Return to freezer.

When slicing, drizzle plate with a little remaining melba sauce.


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