Friday, December 15, 2006

More Favorite Things: Food

My father is an amazing cook. Besides being able to create delicious concoctions and make all my old favorites perfectly every time, he has two very special additional talents in the kitchen:

1.) He can make delicious meals when there is no food in the house. Really. You'll think there is nothing in your refrigerator worth eating and he will disappear into the kitchen and come out with entire meals that start your mouth watering with just the sight of them. ("Because, if it doesn't look good, it doesn't taste good!"= his famous saying.)

2.) He has this uncanny ability to nourish you emotionally while feeding you physically. I have vibrant memories of the times, particularly when I was a teenager, when I would come home, world-weary and depressed, and mope around the house, not feeling like eating because "nothing sounds good." He would disappear into the kitchen and then place before me food—a french dip sandwich, maybe, or terriyaki stir fry—something that somehow absolutely hit the spot. After eating, I always felt the world looked a lot better and much more worth living in.

Thanks, Dad!

Wish I had inherited his talent. Far, far from it, I'm afraid. But now that we're on the subject of food, let's share a few favorites.

1. Salads:
Olive Garden, with breadsticks.
Anita's Chinese chicken salad.
Jennilyn's Cafe Rio salad.
Allison's frito salad.
Bacon-spinach salad with poppy seed dressing and fresh parmesan.

2. Drinks:
Water is always my favorite. But here are a few others I love:
Mark Newman's homemade egg nog.
Marjorie's firecracker punch.
Steamed milk with a shot of hazlenut flavoring (I miss you, Berkeley).
Olive Garden's chocolate-almond ice cream drink (Chocolate Amore).

3. Breads:
Olive Garden's breadsticks, but only when they're VERY fresh.
Dipping bread at Johnny Carrino's.
Honey-wheat from Great Harvest or Winder Dairy.
My mother's homemade french bread.
Rhode's white rolls.

4. Desserts:
I could never list them all, but I have to mention Sharlee's chocolate cake, which I discovered this year. Heaven!

5. Cafe Rio:
(Of course it deserves its own category!)
Pinto bean and rice burrito, smothered enchilada-style with their green sauce.

I think I'd better stop there. It's lunch time and I'm starving.
What are some of your favorites?


Sharlee said...

Darlene! My cake and I are so honored at being mentioned in your blog.

(By the way, everyone, I received Darlene's Christmas letter in the mail yesterday, and at the bottom she had written: I am so happy to know . . . (and then she had crossed out "your chocolate cake" and written "you.").

I giggled at that, I did.

My favorite foods. Hmmmm. Actually, Darlene, you and I have similar tastes (except for the egg nog and the steamed milk part). Love Cafe Rio and the Olive Garden! I love most every kind of salad. Love fresh, raw vegetables. Love steamed artichokes. Love avacados. Love crab. And *sigh*, yes, love my chocolate cake.

queen serene said...

Can you breathe well enough to eat today? Cause if you'll just pick up the phone and place your lunch order, I'll bring you anything you'd like.

Ilove2travel said...

If you love salads, try Zupas in Draper. I ate there for the first time this week and fell in love.

Pasta Milano at the Macaroni Grill. Cheesy Garlic Bread at Black Angus. Nielsen's Frozen Custard. Wood-fired chicken at the Citrus Grill. Chocolate eclairs from Schmidts, actually any pastry from Schmidts. Chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick.

Marj said...

When did I give you my recipe for Firecracker Punch? I haven't made that for years. Have I ever given you this recipe? It's my favorite chocolate treat.

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

About 35 caramels
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 C chopped walnuts (optional)
2/3 C evaporated milk
1 cube melted margarine
¾ - 1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a double broiler or microwave, melt caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Mix cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, margarine and walnuts. Press ½ of dough into a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cooked dough and pour caramel over that. Drop by teaspoon the remaining dough and bake at 350 for 16 minutes. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

I love my mom's homemade cinnamon rolls and even though I have followed the recipe to the T, mine don't even come close. As with all my cooking. Thus, my favorite foods are anything I don't have to cook.

Darlene said...

Thanks, guys. I can't wait to try Citrus Grill, Barbara, and Marjorie's turtle cake. As soon as my appetite comes back.