Late Night Double Feature

3 Nov

I was working in my kitchen, late one night…

Who didn’t love the late night horror films as an impressionable child? Fun, spooky and a great start to the weekend. And what’s better than one creature feature? Two! And so, late last night in my kitchen, I made not one but two recipes from two masters of horror; Boris Karloff and Vincent Price.

Boris Karloff

As we ride the coattails of Dio de los Muertos out, it’s time to remember Boris Karloff. I’ve chosen his recipe for this festival for two reasons; in his later years he starred in several Mexican horror films such as House of Evil and Isle of the Snake People. And Mr Karloff was also a huge fan of Mexican food. So in his memory, I made his signature guacamole.


And in the “spirit” of the festival, this guacamole’s got spirit. Sherry to be precise…

2 avocados

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

1 small onion, minced

1 tbsp. chopped canned green chiles

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp sherry

Dash cayenne (optional)

Salt, pepper

Peel and mash avocados. Add onion, tomato and chiles, then stir in lemon juice, sherry and seasonings to taste, blending well. Serve as a dip for tortilla pieces or corn chips or as a spread. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

(recipe from

It’s frighteningly delicious…


Vincent Price

Vincent Price has been known for decades not only as the face but also the voice of horror. But not many know of his culinary passions.

In a book he wrote with his second wife, Mary, I found his recipe for a Bloody Mary…


Say it three times and the drinks will appear!

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…


And here’s the recipe…



Worcestershire sauce



monosodium glutamate

canned vegetable juice

1. In a large pitcher mix: 6 jiggers vodka, 6 drops Tabasco, 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp freshly ground pepper, 1/4 tsp monosodium glutamate, 2 teaspoons of sugar and two medium cans of vegetable juice.

2. Stir well and pour into glasses over ice.

Note: Our Bloody Marys are hot and sweet-sour and they show their fist.

Shockingly good…


Actually, it wasn’t that good but I had forgotten to add the sugar, salt and pepper as I was caught up in a very complex zombie board game. So although it didn’t have my full attention, my spirit was in it. Ha ha ha ha


Magic Cake

23 Sep

magiccake (ukdell’s photo)

Late at night is when magic things happen, or so the storybooks would have us believe. Late at night is also the time when I am convinced that I will find my heart’s desire on eBay. So much on offer, and all I need is the right keyword to search. Most of the time, my search ends in lost hours and disappointment. But, a few days ago, after clicking through a couple of pages of mundane recipes, I found this gem.

First, the most tantalizing of offers… (copied straight from the seller’s page)


I invite you to buy this recipe.

Purchase this recipe You Will Get :

Positive Feedback and amazing item

You buy not only a recipe.

You  Buying a recipe for success.

You will be admired by guests, and  family.

You will feel proud from yourself.

I give you-extremely easy recipe.

My recipe are also cooking school – always healthy and tasty.

The recipe  which you are buying is personalized especially for You

Success! Admiration! So tempting. And it was personalized especially for me. My quest was over. I felt like I was a lucky buyer at an Arabian bazaar. That the genie’s lamp was in my hands. Such promise and for so little money. This was worth my 99 cents. I clicked “Buy it now” without a second thought. The next morning I opened my email and was greeted by the recipe for Magic Cake. I’ll share the recipe with you although, as mentioned, it is personalized ESPECIALLY for me, and so if you are unsuccessful and lose your sense of self pride, you should have spent your own $0.99

(Buy yours here:

Thank you for your purchase of this recipe. I made it for you, think about your health and satisfaction.

I will describe to you step by step what you need to do to conjure up this wonderful dish.

Magic Cake


4 eggs

1 tablespoon cold water

150 g of sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

125 g melted butter / plus to trey /

115 g of wheat flour

500 ml lukewarm milk

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon lemon

juice or vinegar


Important: All the ingredients for the dough should have the same, room temperature.

Tray baking parchment paper / can also spread with butter

-Butter melt / water bath / and set aside

– White separated from the yolks.

-Egg placed in a bowl, add sugar and using a mixer until light and smooth, fluffy / about 8-10 minutes /

-Add a tablespoon of water, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

-Still grating / decrease speed / Slowly add melted butter cold.

-Then add the sieved flour.

-Pour the milk slowly and stir about 1 minute more.

.-The dough should be smooth with no signs of lumps.

-White whipping , and at the end add a tablespoon of lemon juice.

-Whipped white added to the dough, gently mix.

-Prepared dough pour into tray.

-Bake about 80 minutes in a preheated oven at 150 º C.

-Baked cake cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

-Chilled dough and cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Bon appetite

So I followed the directions very carefully. Even though the seller assures that it is extremely easy, I was more than a little dubious when, after adding 2 cups of milk to only 1 cup of flour, the batter looked less like cake batter and more like liquid. I was truly doubtful. But I shouldn’t have been.  This is the result straight out of the oven. As you can see, it is already attracting attention…


Light and fluffy. And the whole house smells buttery sweet. I want some now but I don’t dare deviate from the recipe. Any stray path could be my road to ruin. I will allow it to cool. I will refrigerate for two hours. I will sprinkle it with powdered sugar. I promise!

A little later…

DON’T try to flip this out of the pan to allow it to cool. Very bad things could happen. Hopefully my cake can be saved. I will not go into the gory details, but trust me when I say you really, really, really need to butter your baking pan very, very, very well. Baking parchment is better.  I feel like my happiness is an egg teetering on the edge of a very tall building.

Even later…

The anticipation is getting tremendous…

More waiting. While slicing vegetables for dinner I gave myself two nasty cuts. Could my pathetic attempt to flip the cooling cake out of the pan have ruined my luck? Tarnished my karma? I was feeling very low.  I had injured the Magic Cake and it was taking its revenge. Tempted to ask for a refund. Or phone a priest.

Much later..


This magic cake moment. Even though I treated it badly, it tasted heavenly. Not too different from an egg custard. Success!

I am, indeed, proud from myself.

Burger Me

31 Aug

I’ve heard people say that they wouldn’t want to live out in the country. “Nothing to do,” they moan. And yet, time and again, its out to some small town where the exciting food festival action is happening. Not the big city, fancy festivals that are the rage for hipsters. I’m talking about the real people, real food, in your face festivals. Like the one I went to today…The 10th Annual Hamburger Festival in Hamburg, Pa. (where else?)


Crowds of burger fans flocked the streets…


Showing their allegiance to this great cuisine, from their apparel…


To their license plates…


This is a crowd that LOVES burgers.

When you see a sign like this, you know its going to be good….


And when you see a senior citizen going for it, you know this is more than you’re average festival. Go granny go…


We weren’t so courageous at the Smokey Bear BBQ stall, and opted for the less gastronomically challenging Grizzly…


The eyes of man overcome with burger lust… the Grizzly combines burger and brisket topped with BBQ sauce on a bun.

As for me, I was enticed by The Luther from Deitsch Eck’s stall. There was a long line but, like the top ride at the amusement park, it was worth the wait. Come to me you naughty bacon cheeseburger sitting provocatively on a glazed donut…


So many stalls, so many choices. Some of the others that I wanted to sample but was too full to do so…





But as full as I was, when I saw these sweet angels, I couldn’t say no. Want it…


Got it. Burger cupcake all for me…


And cute gets cuter. Need this too…


And when you weren’t eating you could watch others eat. The Hamburger Eating Competition was mobbed. Like the lions and the Christians back in Roman times, there’s something both sadistic and appealing watching grown men suffer…


(In 3rd place, The Hungry Hunks)

First place went to the Rednecks…


Pushing it in for the Hamburgerlars team…


But unfortunately a team member blew (the one on the right) and they lost. But the faces of the crowd are a treat…


This was the first time that happened at the Hamburger Festival in their 10 years. History in the making, and I was there to see it.

After that, somehow we couldn’t eat any more.  And so we let departed, letting the festival vanish behind us, like a mythical land enveloped in a fog of grill smoke. Until next year….


Pick Your Poisson

3 Aug

Retro recipes are always a good time. Especially when they involve booze. The following recipes are from a 1971 cookbook I found in my local thrift store. A cookbook devoted entirely to cooking fish with booze. It’s so retro it’s current. Fish is the ultimate, sophisticated summer dish. Sure burgers and hotdogs on the grill is the aroma of summer, but when you’re cooking to impress, fish is a class act. Give that fish a drink and it’s smooth sailing on the sea of love.


So from the aptly titled, Stewed to the Gills, (by E. Lewin and B. Lewin) enjoy this sample of ripped recipes for “fried” fish. (I’ve chosen the following recipes based “sole”ly (a very poor fish pun) on the name of the recipe.)

Shrimp Swizzle

2 lbs shrimp, cooked and shelled

2 large onions, coarsely diced

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

3 cups canned whole tomatoes

1 small can chunk pineapple

3 tablespoons dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon MSG or Accent (is Accent still available? – it’s been decades since I’ve heard it mentioned)

Saute the onions, garlic and bay leaf in oil and butter until the onions are golden brown. Salt and pepper lightly. Add tomatoes, reserving the juice. Break up tomatoes gently. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the liquid from the canned tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of the pineapple  juice, sherry and MSG/Accent.  Add pineapple and shrimp to sauce and mix well.  Correct the seasoning and simmer until the shrimp and pineapple are heated. Serves 6

Brandy Snappers

An elegant dinner party dish

4 pieces of red snapper

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 cups of cooked rice

4 tablespoons butter

8 brandied apricots

2 tablespoons of apricot brandy

2 tablespoons chopped cashew nuts

Sprinkle the fish with salt, place it in a baking-and-serving pan, (I like the sound of this newfangled bit of kitchenware) and broil for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  Remove from the broiler and reduce heat to 325. Border the pan with rice and dot fish and rice with butter. Return to the over for 5 minutes. Heat apricots in juice. Discard juice. Remove from oven and sprinkle the brandy over the fish. Nestle the apricots in the rice border. Sprinkle cashews over all. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Hula Loopy

A crocked casserole? What bliss! This recipe combines a vast array of ingredients in a jolly, big mix that makes 70’s cooking such fun.

1 8-oz. can chopped clams, drained

4 green onions, chopped

4 water chestnuts, sliced

1 c. canned bean sprouts, drained

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 tsp powdered ginger

1/2 can cream of celery soup

1/4 c, grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c dry sherry

3 tablespoons shredded coconut

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Combine all the ingredients thoroughly, except macadamia nuts. Put the mixture in a buttered oven-to-table casserole. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with nuts and return for another 5 minutes. Serves 4.

all recipes from “Stewed to the Gills” by Esther Lewin and Birdina Lewin. Unfortunately this “cockeyed” cookbook is out of print but if you’re a lucky lobster like me you’ll find a copy in your local thrift store. Or try…

Best of the Wurst

22 Jul


(Blue buns?!?!?! Don’t let a hippie make your Wurst Fest sign.)


The Poconos Wurst Festival At Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort

So I went there thinking….What’s the wurst that could happen?

The jokes started in the parking lot with the family walking in front.  You knew they would. You knew you would.

The worst was not trusting this man when he said that his “Rapture” hot sauce was the hottest…


(that’s the sauce right there in the front. The one that says “Deadly” on the front and a guy fighting off ill-tempered scorpions). This one right here….


(picture from and many thanks to Torchbearer Sauces,

Many hot sauces will say how insanely hot they would like you to think they are. This one is insanely hot. Not at first. You’re able to get out a few sentences of how it wasn’t really that hot, and you’ve had hotter and blah blah blah until you’re mouth catches like a tinderbox, doused in gasoline, under a heat lamp, on a flaming grill with fifty blow-torches blowing at full force inside a raging forest fire. And then you’ve got to stick your wise-ass, flaming hot tongue in the nearest water ice…


Little Jimmy had a prime spot right across from the hot sauce tent. He was all too happy to assist the foolhardy in alleviating their misery. Thank you Saint Jimmy of the Watermelon Ice!

So not off to a great start.

But what makes everything better?


Like Kiffles from BabaNonnna…


My totally amateur, kiffles for beginners explanation… a sweet filling wrapped in pastry and dusted with powdered sugar. From the more traditional apricot and walnut fillings, to chocolate peanut butter and, my favorite, chocolate coconut. (I managed to snap up one of the last two…day getting brighter….)


A plethora of pierogies with a rainbow of filling flavors. There were  the savory fillings like cheese and potato, and sauerkraut. And sweet fillings; plum, blueberry, and strawberry.  Or have both with sweet kraut…


(from Bratek Deli, Garfield, NJ)

And then onto the wurst.  The “must have” of any wurst festival. And I chose the Bauernwurst (pork and beef seasoned with mustard seeds)…


With more mustard and, of course, kraut. (from The Alpine Wurst and Meat Haus, Honesdale, PA)

Food accomplished, on with the fun.

Starting with the “hard-core”-dion of the Chardon Polka Band


(There’s plenty to like about polka.)

This is the kind of polka band that polka was invented for. No, actually this is the kind of band that has re-invented polka and made it their own. Taken polka, got it drunk and made out with it in a dark corner. Left it breathless and wanting more.  The Chardon Polka Band had young and old up and dancing with their lively music and engaging style.


And if that weren’t enough fun, there was the dancing competition….


Dieter wins the crowd and the prize with his flowing locks, stylish hosen and slick moves.

And the Beer Stein Olympics…


Careful with that!!!


Getting sloshed for fun and prizes.

And finally the Hot Dog Pig Races…


What could be cuter than little pig? Nothing…


Run pigs! Run!

Food, beer and fun went on and on like a buffet of happiness…


If that’s the wurst….. oh, I just can’t finish this….

Night Market, West Oak Lane

21 Jun

The night before the first day of summer. A magical time.  Something is in the air. The smell of pizza…

…. and fried chicken, empanadas, plantains, cupcakes, ice cream, sweet potato pie andKoagies (Korean hoagies). For this one heavenly night,  food trucks converged on Ogontz Ave in West Oak Lane, Philadelphia. They lined both sides of the street for three city blocks. The weather was perfect as families, friends and amorous couples strolled happily along.  Let the joys of summer begin…

Roasted corn…


A tropical drink…


Something sweet for dessert…


(Little Jimmie’s Bakery)

Dancing in the street….


As the band played on…


A night to remember…


As the sun set on West Oak Lane…


Food, music and love. What more could anyone want?

In a Pickle

11 May

A rainy drive into the heart of Pennsylvania, past farms and barns, silos and antiques stores…


To the little town of Dillsburg….


An appropriately named place for a Pickle Festival.


As you would expect there were plenty of pickles to be had. A wide variety from Peter Piper’s PA Pickles ranging from the mild Bread and Butter pickles to Garlic XXX Hot …


Peter Piper is packing a pint of pickles

And also Pickle cookies….


No pickle flavor but pickle shaped sugar cookies liberally coated with green sprinkles.

And the surprisingly good Pickle Soup. The young lady serving the soup told us it was much better than we would think. She was right. (similar to chicken and vegetable soup with an added pickley bonus)…


And one very happy pickle…


The highlight of the festival was the Pickle Eating Competition, sponsored by local pickle makers, Dickie’s Dills….


I entered along with 11 other adults. 15 large spears were on each plate. I was not concerned about the $100 prize but desperately wanted the Pickle Eating Gold Medal. I started out strong. But eating pickles is no walk in the park. The teen to my right finished one, her face curled against the vinegar, her friends cheering her on. But she realized it was hopeless for her. She slowed her pace, taking the occasional small bite. I had a pickle in both hand, determined I was going to forgo chewing and simply swallowing. By my body wouldn’t let me. I chewed. I took time to wipe the vinegar dripping down my chin. But I pressed on. Until the man next to me snapped into action in the last minute, pushing pickles into his mouth.  He ate 10.5. I ate a pathetic 4.5 spears.

A few minutes later, the next group of adults started.  They learned from our failure and forged ahead, eating more, eating faster.  One man knelt down by his plate and ate without stopping. Pickle after pickle he was going for gold. After the 10th pickle his hands started shaking but he never slowed down. He had won this competition 8 times before and would win it again. While receiving his prize he explained he had been a Marine and while in service you ate what you had as quickly as you could, or you may not get a chance to finish it.

A pickle champion in action…


After the adults, the kids had their turn. These brave young ladies pushed on through the pickle and vinegar overload….


But win or lose it was a pickle party for all. Dance Pickle, dance!!!!


Eggs Eggs Eggs!

23 Mar

Eggs. We love them.  Almost as much as Edie…

From Pink Flamingos, by John Waters

And just for the Easter holiday I’ve got some real Edie pleasers.

From the cracking Key Kookin’ comes…

French Fried Deviled Eggs

6 deviled eggs

2 egg yolks


Fine dry bread crumbs

Put deviled egg halves together and secure with toothpicks. Dip in egg yolks which have been mixed lightly with fork, then flour, then in bread crumbs. Fry in deep fat until brown. Drain on absorbent paper and remove picks. Serve over cooked green vegetables or with Creole sauce.

(Key Kookin’, by Glad Whiteley)

Coffee creamer, eggs and bacon? With shrimp? What scrumptious insanity…

Peppered Shrimp and Eggs


1/2 lb packaged (pre-cooked, frozen) fully-peeled, de-veined shrimp

3 slices bacon

1/2 c. chopped onion

3/4 c chopped green pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

6 eggs, beaten

1/2 c coffee cream

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Thaw shrimp. Fry bacon until crisp; drain on absorbent paper. Crumble bacon. Cook onion and green pepper in bacon fat until tender. Add seasonings and shrimp; heat. Combine eggs, cream, Worcestershire sauce and bacon. Add to shrimp mixture and cook until eggs are firm, stirring occasionally.

(From Shrimp Tips from New Orleans)

Ooo la  omelette…

French Dessert Omelette

2 eggs

Small pinch of salt

Large pinch of sugar

1 Tb. butter

1 additional beaten egg white

1/2 cup sliced fresh or canned fruit

1 Tb. Grand Marnier, Kirsch or rum

Combine 2 whole eggs with salt and sugar. Heat pan and add butter. When the butter foam has subsided, add eggs and stir with a fork . As the eggs begin to set, add beaten egg white and stir the white into the eggs.  When the omelette has completely set, stop stirring, add the fruit and fold the omelette in half tipping the pan away from you.

Heat the liqueur and touch it with a lighted match. Pour the flames over the omelette.

(From Omelette Originals, 1970)

Resistance is useless

10 Mar

The promise…


The temptation…

2013-03-10_10-06-48_1 Donuts and chicken together at last! xoxoxox

The delivery…

fed2 vanilla, lavender donut

and more…

fed4French Toast donut. It is the sexy Brigitte Bardot of donuts, so much more sultry and seductive than the Shirley Temple-like offerings of Dunkin Donuts.

I was too early for the twice fried chicken. Unfortunately for me it had only been fried once when I got there. It sat there mocking me in all its golden crispiness.

A terrible tease!

Another reason to return.

Pictures from the sinfully divine Federal Donuts in South Philly

Chocolate, Candy and Coffins

25 Feb

A most unique event was held at the Bringhurst Funeral Home in West Laurel Hill Cemetery today.  A curious location for an event  which combined confectionery and local history with a hint of the macabre of  as one of the owners of Shane’s Confectionery, Ryan Berley, presented “Chocolate, Candy and Cough Drops”.


Did you know…the copper kettle is the icon for the confectioner trade in the same way the mortar and pestle is for the pharmacist?

007 The dapper Mr Berley

Philadelphia is home to many important landmarks in candy making history. Sitting in my pew in the chapel of rest I was treated to these delicious tidbits…

Governor’s Mill, established by William Penn (for whom Pennsylvania is named) in 1682 produced chocolate and mustard. (One can imagine the new hip combination)

The ports in the Philadelphia area receive 75% of all the cocoa beans that come into the United States.  A huge amount when you realize that the US produces more chocolate than any other country.

The Whitman Sampler is the bestselling candy box in the country. Whitman’s Chocolates was established in 1842 by Stephen F. Whitman at the age of 19. The cross-stitch patterns on the samplers were created by schoolgirls, collected by Whitman executives. Over 30 years Whitman had collected nearly 600 cross stitch samplers. (A selection of which can be viewed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art)

The first bubble gum was made in Philadelphia in 1906 by Frank Fleer. And was a disaster. Named Blibber Bubble, it was grey and had a tendency to adhere itself to the chewer’s face when the bubble popped. It was not unusual for gum chewers to use turpentine to remove the gum. In 1928 Walter Diemer, an employee of Fleer, created the pink Double Bubble, a much more popular and less sticky gum. It gets its pinkness from the teaberry, a fruit local to PA. The teaberry is also used to flavor Pepto Bismal. And for the epi-curious you can try a teaberry milkshake at Franklin Fountain (owned by Mr Berley)

And, speaking of ice cream, Breyer’s and Bassett’s ice creams also started in Philadelphia.  In the 1800s, Philadelphia ice cream was made differently than other ice creams in that it contains no eggs. At that time eggs were considered unclean. Today, the ice cream at Franklin Fountain is made in accordance to this old recipe.


(West Laurel Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for many famous names in food)

Philadelphia is also home to the early failure of Milton Hershey. Before building his famous chocolate factory, Milton Hershey made caramels in the late 1800s. At the time caramels were more popular than chocolate. Hershey invested in a new technology; “steam confectionery”.  It failed to catch on and he ended up penniless. It wasn’t until he went to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and was dazzled by the exciting new German chocolate making equipment that his luck started to change.

And William H. Luden created his famous cough drops in 1881 in the backroom of his father’s jewelry business in Reading, PA. (Ok, not exactly Philadelphia, but close enough)


It’s not the cough that takes you off, it’s the coffin they carry you off in.

The lecture was followed by a scrumptious chocolate tasting in the funeral home’s conservatory…


And fondue…(and who doesn’t love fondue)


For more information on events at Bringhurst Funeral Home, see their website…

Mr Berley looms large over all that is chocolate…