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White Bean and Ham Soup

To thicken bean soup, I either use an immersion blender when it's done, or leftover mashed potatoes also work. I always toss in a couple of whole cloves along with the other spices.

Nov 07, 2013
dekethedog in Recipes

What makes your twice baked potatoes extra fabulous?

I'm a purist. Red potatoes coated with oil and salt, roasted until tender inside. Scoop out the innards, and for each potato add 3 Tbsp. sour cream, 2 oz. shredded sharp cheddar, a 1/2 Tbsp. of fresh chopped chives, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix it all up coarsely, fill potato jackets, and top with more shredded cheese and a sprinkle of paprika. 10 minutes at 350.

Apr 05, 2012
dekethedog in Home Cooking

Ultra-pasteurized milk is VILE!

It's almost impossible to find non ultra in half/half or heavy cream. The ultra half/half gives coffee an off taste, and ultra heavy cream is a real travesty. I grew up on a farm and for several years milked two Guernsey cows by hand every morning and night. The taste of that milk and cream now mostly exists in memory. I remember after our last cow died, Mom bought store milk (Sealtest). It was not good, but we adapted.

Apr 05, 2012
dekethedog in General Topics

Non-Chain Recommendations in Champaign-Urbana, IL

Someone mentioned Escobar's in Champaign...I think it's the best place in Champaign to eat. The atmosphere is not stuffy, and the food is prepared brilliantly. Take a look at the dinner menu at escobarsrestaurant.com/Menus/dinner.pdf. No entrees over $23! The original poster mentioned that they didn't like Zelma's pizza, but it if you're a thin crust fan, this is the pizza for you. It's owned by the Monical family who originated the Monical's chain. This is Monical's pizza as it was originally made, and it's great. For Chinese food, you can't get more authentic than Lai Lai Wok on campus...so authentic that they don't have egg rolls or moo shu anything. At lunch it's packed with foreign students. Especially good is the Taiwan noodle soup, flavorful broth over a bowl of noodles with ground pork, baby bok choy, cilantro, and a whole salted boiled egg.

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Lai Lai Restaurant
402 E Green St, Champaign, IL 61820

Monical's
RR 16, Shelbyville, IL 62565

Jul 11, 2011
dekethedog in Great Lakes

DeLuxe fish sandwich, Champaign

I don't know how you acquired this information about the owners and recipe, ilikeeatingalot , but it is totally inaccurate. I've lived in Champaign-Urbana for 42 years, and in the '70's ate at the DeLuxe everyday. I knew the owners well, and they are not the people who now own it. One of the owners who is still in the area is so adamant about Legends' claim to use the same recipe that he took out an ad in the newspaper denying it. For one thing, that sandwich can not be made in a regular french fryer. The huge tub of grease that the DeLuxe used to fry fish was covered with years and tears of cooked on grease on the exterior. I'm not sure whether that contributed anything to the taste, but it sure added flavor to the "DeLuxe experience." The other contributors to this thread are correct in stating that Derald's fish is the same type of batter as the DeLuxe, and tastes almost exactly like it.

Jul 11, 2011
dekethedog in Great Lakes

Can we talk about canned salmon?

One of my favorite Friday night suppers as a kid was canned salmon, German fried potatoes, and a lettuce salad. Mom would dump out the contents of a large can of red salmon into a bowl, and would season it with a sprinkle of cider vinegar. It was always red salmon, never pink. I remember loving the crunchy bones, but left what skin there was on my plate.

May 01, 2011
dekethedog in General Topics

Breyer's ice cream quality (split from Ontario board)

I loved Breyer's original ice cream. I'd hardly been eating ice cream at all but my wife bought me a 1.5 of butter pecan tonight. I opened the package with a bit of excitement for this treat, remembering the pure flavor and the generous amounts of pecan halves. Instead of the container being filled to the rim, it looked like a glob had been dropped into the carton. Like someone said before, I could smell a rat by the second spoonful. Looked at the label, and there it was...emulsifiers. I could deal with that to some extent if the flavor hadn't changed, but it had. Or I should say disappeared. And the pecans, when you could find them, were rancid. I'm tossing the rest of the carton. Blue Bunny Premium from now on.

Mar 31, 2011
dekethedog in General Topics

Your mom's weird cooking ... and other stories? (recipes encouraged)

My mother and father were married after he returned from WW II in 1945. Mom was 32 and lived with her German parents, two sisters and a brother-in-law. She was a concert pianist who worked as a choral accompanist in Peoria, IL. Shortly after my birth in 1946, we moved to my dad's family farm 60 miles east. Mom had hardly ever cooked in her life, and she was thrown into a completely new life of feeding her family and hungry farmhands. She must have been a natural, because she could cook some of the best country food I've ever eaten. Specialties were pork roast with boiled potatoes, gravy, sauerkraut, and noodles with toasted buttered crumbs; pan-fried (in lard) chicken with cream gravy, roast beef with brown gravy and mashed potatoes, real country fried round steak, and baked ribs and sauerkraut. Whenever Mom cooked sauerkraut, she always cooked some fat from the roast with it.

We were Catholic, and Friday night suppers were usually a special treat. Sometimes it was fried whole catfish and real french fries, or french fried smelt; sometimes spaghetti with mushroom sauce and homemade crunchy bread sticks; sometimes pan fried halibut, sometimes fried eggs and potatoes. Most of her frying was done in country lard, and with that lard she made flaky, delicious pie crusts. Her lemon meringue and coconut cream pies were something that I just can't duplicate. Mom made her own sweet butter from the two cows we kept, and there was always a pitcher of cream in the icebox. Our drink of choice was cold, rich whole Guernsey milk. When we made chocolate milk, you could see the clots of cream swimming around the top.

One of the our more unusual suppers was a large can of cold red salmon emptied into a bowl and doused with cider vinegar, accompanied by German fried potatoes, and a dish of cucumber and onion salad. Dad had some strange farm tastes, like rutabagas or turnips cooked to a mush, well done beef liver, and home canned rhubarb. Mom quickly learned that many of these foods caused some problems at the table with us kids, and quietly never served them again. Our "mayo" of choice was Miracle Whip (which I still use), store-bought pickles and jams were rare, and it seemed that Mom was canning and freezing food all summer. Peaches, apricots, bing cherries; green beans, tomatoes and sweet corn. Grape jelly from our own vines, and big sweet onions from the garden. We bought eggs with bright orange yolks from local farmers, and had our own pork butchered at the local locker. That included cured bacon, and sometimes mom fried uncured bacon. I was indeed blessed with a mother who could cook.

Sep 27, 2010
dekethedog in Home Cooking

Your mom's weird cooking ... and other stories? (recipes encouraged)

I loved creamed dried beef on toast. We used to crush potato chips on top of it.

Sep 23, 2010
dekethedog in Home Cooking

Your mom's weird cooking ... and other stories? (recipes encouraged)

There was so much baloney salad around when I was growing up that I thought real ham salad was quite a luxury.

Sep 23, 2010
dekethedog in Home Cooking

Doctoring canned baked beans. Suggestions?

People rave about this recipe, and it's almost embarrassing.

Bush's baked beans mixed with KC Masterpiece, cover with squares of thick bacon (I mean COVER) and bake until thickened at 350, about 3 hours for a small party batch.

Sep 23, 2010
dekethedog in Home Cooking

Baked beans with canned beans?

People rave about this recipe, and it's almost embarrassing.

Bush's baked beans mixed with KC Masterpiece, cover with squares of thick bacon (I mean COVER) and bake until thickened at 350, about 3 hours for a small party batch.

Sep 23, 2010
dekethedog in Home Cooking

What do you mix with ketchup?

It's probably like the Rocket Radish you can sometimes buy around here. It's spiked with mustard oil.

Sep 23, 2010
dekethedog in Home Cooking

Spare ribs ideas not BBQ

Heat oven to 500 and roast 3-4 rib sections for 1/2 hour. Drain a package of sauerkraut and put on bottom of 9 X 13 Pyrex pan. Peel and cut three medium red potatoes into eights. Put a few slices of onion on top of kraut, top with ribs. Tuck potatoes wherever there is room. Salt and pepper the ribs and potatoes, turn oven to 350. Add one cup water to pan. Cover with HD foil, and cook for an hour and 20 minutes.

This is for spareribs, not baby backs.

Sep 23, 2010
dekethedog in Home Cooking

Best Sandwich in the World

Sandwiches are love. My favorites:

Italian sub, salami, copa, provolone, shredded lettuce drizzled with vinegar, oil, and oregano,. On good crusty Italian bread

Italian beef sandwich, but only in Chicago unless I make it.

Fried baloney.

Fried egg and bacon on toast.

Pimiento cheese on white.

BLT on three pieces white toast, summer tomatoes (seeded and cored, iceberg lettuce, and six slices of bacon. I spread Miracle Whip {I'm sorry. No I'm not} thickly on each piece, and lots of black pepper.

Crunchy peanut butter and sweet pickle or banana slices.

Jun 26, 2010
dekethedog in General Topics

Non-Chain Recommendations in Champaign-Urbana, IL

Pickles is no more. It was replaced by a Greek restaurant, and now a Chinese restaurant called Golden Harbor is moving in, and the rumor is that the owners operate The Wok in Mahomet. The Wok is known as possibly the best Chinese restaurant downstate. Dom's is closed, and it is missed. One of the last old fashioned family owned Italian restaurants in C-U. It could be hit and miss, but they had excellent fried chicken and chicken livers, manicotti, and cannelloni. The canolis were made in house and were the best I ever had. Because of the large foreign population, C-U is getting some authentic cuisine restaurants. Lai Lai Wok is jammed at mealtimes with oriental students, as is Cravings on campus. A new Mexican restaurant, Mas Amigos recently opened near campus, with freshly fried chips, homemade mole, and excellent chile rellenos. I love Zelma's Pizza. It's owned by Ralph Monical's family, os the Monical's chain. The pizza they bake is the original, and much better, Monical's. The same pizza can be had at Old Orchard Lanes in Savoy. Thin, crispy crust, and good toppings (although the mushrooms are canned), it's the best thin crust pizza in town. You can't get hung up on smoking anymore (which you mentioned seven times), IL is no smoking in restaurants and bars now.

Apr 30, 2010
dekethedog in Great Lakes

Desperately Seeking Monicals (in Chicago) (long)

Skip Monical's and go for the real thing...Old Orchard Lanes pizza. Old Orchard is a twenty lane bowling center (you heard right) in Savoy IL, just south of Champaign. They have the original Monical's pizza recipe. It's heads above the now cardboard-like pizza at Monical's. The pizzas that OO turns out are not cookie cutter pizza...each time you order the pizza will have it's own personality. Always a thin cracker crust and quality toppings. When they're good, they're insanely good. When they're not that good, they are superb. Hint: Don't go during league play which is every night at 6 PM unless you want to sit at the counter or in the bar. The bar, by the way, is excellent, and they recently added an outside seating area directly adjoining.

Sep 14, 2009
dekethedog in Chicago Area

Your favorite resturant in Champaign-Urbana, IL and why

Just a few retorts:

Try Dom's again. Secret specialties are pan fried chicken livers and fried chicken, of all things. Also try the Chicken a la Dom and the canneloni. The canolis are the best I've ever eaten.

Thin pizza crusts: All places that serve them in town get them from the same supplier. They are frozen and come 80 to a box for $40. I sometimes buy a box and share them with friends. A little fresh mozzarella and tomatoes with oregano and pop it in the oven. mmmm mmmm good

An immigrant from Taiwan told me that Tang Dynasty is one of the two most authentic Chinese places in C-U. Try the whole steamed flounder with scallions and ginger. And whatever you order, tell the waitress you want it prepared "Taiwan style."

If you want authentic Mexican food, there is only one place in town to get it, and that's El Charro, a little grocery store on Green Street next to Illini Media (old place). On weekends they have tamales that are like dumplings, and pozole. They have menudo, but I'm not a tripe fan. Be prepared to speak to people who don't speak English very well.

If you like "catch of the day" fish, hit a fish fry over at the Urbana VFW. They do it monthly, and it's a mix of catfish, bluegill, crappie, and maybe some carp.

The Urbana American Legion has a buffet open to the public on Tues. nights, and the home cooking is prepared by the Auxiliary. They've got some great cooks, and don't skip dessert, pie or cake.

Steaks are great at the Long Branch in Gifford, IL.

I don't go in for fru-fru food, and I guess you can tell I'm a stickler for the real deal.

You shouldn't be bothered by smoke anymore since The People's Republic of Urbana and Champaign have banned smoking in restaurants and bars.