Category Archives: easy

Slanted Door’s Shaking Beef My Way

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I have loved this recipe since I took my first bite at Charles Pham’s iconic Ferry Building restaurant 14 years ago. It is outstanding and I have stuck to his pungently flavored tender morseled dish, adding just a few touches of my own. One being crunch flash fried spinach instead of the traditional fresh watercress. I add a tad more fish sauce and a bit of cooking win, Oyster Sauce, a few chiles and more garlic than Mr. Pham. It is just the way my taste buds roll. It is however essential to buy the very best filet you can find to make this dish. I wait till I find a piece on sale and grab it. That is when I make this dish.

Gather your wok and and get your ingredients mise en place, it goes together quickly. Have your deep fryer or a pot of clean oil at the ready for your spinach, you will want to fry it just before serving. I cook my rice well in advance in my Zojirushi Rice cooker which keeps the rice warm forever.

This recipe serves 2, it can easily be doubled by just increasing the meat

Ingredients:

1 Pound Filet Mingnon
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup canola plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil
1-4 whole small dried red arbol chiles
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 stalks of green onions trimmed and cut to one inch lengths
2 tablespoons of finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Stir Fry Sauce

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Chinese Cooking Wine
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup Red Boat (or other high quality) fish sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1/8 cup oyster sauce

Salt and Pepper Dipping Sauce

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

3 cups fresh baby spinach cleaned and very dry
3 cups peanut oil in large pan @325 degrees

Method:

1: Marinade beef in the pepper, chiles and canola oil for about 2 hours.

2.Meanwhile make the stir-fry sauce by combining the ingredients and mix until the sugar is dissolved. set aside.

3. Divide the meat into two portions, straining oil and do the same with the onions.

4. Put oil in wok and heat over medium heat till it shimmers. Cook each batch of meat with onions till browned. removing to a plate.

5. Put in the ingredients for the stir fry sauce and bring to a simmer, add butter and continue to shake or stir. Add the meat and stir. Make the dipping sauce by stirring the ingredients together, it is that simple. And serve the beef, either over watercress or next to flash fried spinach.

6. To make flash fried spinach, either use a deep fryer or a pot with 2″of peanut oil. Take 1/2 of a clam shell of clean dry organic baby spinach. Fry at 350 for about 1-2 minutes, until the spinach starts to turn dark green. Remove and drain. This is DELICIOUS!

An Ode to The Northwoods Inn and their Fabulous Sides

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Growing up in Southern California in the 1960’s and ‘70’s I  got to enjoy a lot of fun theme restaurants. They were somehow an extension of Hollywood and the era that ushered in Disneyland and many other area theme parks of that day. A few remain, but many have been shuttered over the years to make way for malls, freeways and most importantly housing developments as human encroachment took over the land of my birth. We had sunshine and great weather till the people came, then we had traffic, smog, inflated real estate prices and lots of other problems.

One of the few remaining theme restaurants is Clearman’s Northwood’s Inn in Covina. They also have sites in La Mirada and San Gabriel, but mine was in Covina. Opening in the height of LA fun and fancy in 1958 they still manage to draw crowds.

When you drive up on a hot southern California day, your eyes deceive you, it looks like a snow covered Alaskan log lodge. As you step into a North Woods Inn, you’ll slowly pull open a heavy wooden door and peer into a dimly lit and richly decorated room of rustic log walls, massive taxidermied bears, jewel-toned stained glass, sawdust-strewn floors and eccentric hunting-lodge kitsch. The signs tell you to “Please throw peanut shells on floor.” 

You must arrive hungry. Entrees include all you can eat of two salads, recipes below, their famous garlic cheese bread, rice pilaf, a one pound baked potato with cheese, butter, sour cream and mushroom gravy. And then there are the huge steaks!

So over the years I had to recreate the recipes since I moved thousands of miles away from these favorite salads and cheeese bread! Here are my takes on them. Some people mix the buttermilk blue cheese on iceberg with the red cabbage salad, but I like to use the red cabbage as a palate cleanser. The cheese bread is my favorite and I think it is also like the bread at a long gone nearby establishment The Trails.

The Red Cabbage Salad

The Northwoods Inn Red Cabbage Salad 

1/2 cup . red wine vinegar 
4 T. sugar 
3 tsp. kosher salt 
2 tsp. seasoned salt 
1/4 tsp. pepper 
1/4 TBS. grated onion
1/2 cup olive oil 

1 head red cabbage, coarsely shredded 

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and onion until sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Whisk in oil. Dressing can be made ahead and stored in fridge. Bring to room temp before using. Pour over cabbage, toss well and let sit 10-15 minutes. Toss again and serve.

The Best Cheese Bread Ever

Clearman’S Northwoods Inn – Cheese Spread 

In a food proccessor add:

1/2 ts dry mustard 
1/2 ts celery salt 
2 ts garlic salt & 6 garlic cloves
3 tb plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
2 ts tabasco 
1 ts paprika 
1 lb butter 
1 lb cheddar cheese – grated finely 
3 oz romano cheese, grated
Mix until well blended. Refrigerate

Put onto sourdough bread, place under broiler until lightly toasted.

Keeps 6 weeks in fridge, can be frozen

The Clearman’s Blue Cheese Dressing

They serve this on Iceberg, but I prefer it on butter lettuce

· 1 cup buttermilk 
· 1 cup sour cream
· 3 cloves garlic 
· 1/8 tsp sugar 
· 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika 
· 1 teaspoon salt 
· 6 tablespoons blue cheese
PREPARATION:
In a food processor combine buttermilk, sour cream, garlic, sugar, paprika, and salt. Blend until smooth. Add blue cheese, and pulse quickly once or twice. Do not blend. You want small chunks of blue cheese. 

Refrigerate 4 hours or more before serving to let flavors blend. 

Yield: About 1-1/3 cups 

Another one of Mr Clearman’s fantastic establisments farther West in Cucamonga, now Rancho Cucamonga still stands, The Magic Lamp Inn.