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Whee for the the Whackerspoon! – Julia Child

Julia Child, Paul Child, Steak Diane, recipe

Copy of a recipe for “Steak Diane,” from Julia Child & Company, page 184

To serve 4 people

4 steaks (about 1/2 lb or 225 g trimmed) – 1 steak each – cut 1/2 inch (1-1/2 cm) thick from the top loin strip (or tenderloin, or Delmonico, or rib-eye steaks)
1/2 Tb green pepper corns packed in water, or freshly ground pepper
Drops of soy sauce
Olive oil or peanut oil

The Sauce Set-up for the Dining Room:
A small pitcher of oil and a plate with a stick of butter
1/4 cup (1/2 dL.) each minced shallots or scallions and fresh parsley, in small bowls
A pitcher or bowl containing 1 Tb cornstarch blended with 1 Tb Dijon mustard and 1 cup fragrant beef bouillon
Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon cut in half
Cognac and Port or Madeira

Equipment: A heavy frying pan about 12 inches (30cm) top diameter for tabletop sauteing; a strong heat source; 2 large forks for turning and rolling up steaks; 2 desert spoons, 1 for stirring and 1 for tasting; a butter knife; matches; 4 hot dinner plates


Trim steaks of all fat and gristle – especially the piece of gristle at large end of loin under fat. One at a time, pound steaks between pieces of wax paper to enlarge them and reduce them to an even 1/4-inch (3/4 cm) thickness; use a …. The Original WhackerSpoon (pictured)….

Crush drained green peppercorns … by placing in a plastic bag and pound with The Original WhackerSpoon… and spread a little on one side of each steak (or rub into steaks a grind or two of regular pepper) along with a few drops of soy sauce and oil. Roll up each steak like a rug from one of the small ends and arrange on a platter; cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Prepare ingredients for the sauce set up. May be done several hours in advance. Cover shallots or scallions and parsley with dampened paper towels and plastic wrap and refrigerate; refrigerate the bouillon mixture.

Sauteing Steaks Diane at the table

Preheat frying pan in the kitchen to a reasonably hot temperature and bring it and the steaks with you to the table. The sauce set-up should be already in the place near the chafing-dish burner.

The steaks are sauteed two at a time as follows: Pour 1 tablespoon oil into the pan as it heats o the flame and add 2 tablespoons butter. Butter will foam up, gradually foam will subside, ad just as butter begins to brown, unroll one steak and immediately a second in the pan. Saute 30 to 40 seconds on one side turn with forks and saute on the other side– steaks will barely color and will just become lightly springy to the touch — for rare. Rapidly roll them up with your forks and replace on the platter. Saute the other two steaks in the same manner, and roll up beside the first.

Add another spoonful or two butter, and when foaming stir in a bg spoonful of shallots or scallions and parsley, let cook for a moment, then stir in the pitcher or bowl of bouillon mixture. Stir about for a moment, then add a few drops of Worcestershire and the juice of half a lemon (pierce lemon with fork, picking out seeds first, and squeeze with flourish). Add droplets of Cognac and Port or Madeira, taste, and add droplets more — again with flourish. Finally with forks and fanfare, and one by one, unroll each steak and bathe in the sauce, turning and dipping with your two forks, before placing it on a hot dinner plate.

When the other steaks are sauced and in place, spoon the rest f the sauce over them and serve.


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Watermelon Salad Inspired by Petros Restaurant

OK, this is not exactly a recipe from Petros Restaurant. It also includes some additional ingredients.  It is inspired by eating their watermelon salad as part of dinners on the outdoor patio of their former location on the corner of State Street and Arlington in Historic Downtown Santa Barbara. The additions are from my favorite vendors at Farmers’ Market. Toss together in salad bowl to serve 2-4.

2 Watermelon wedges, cut in bite size pieces
1 Heirloom Tomato, cut in bite sized pieces
1/2 Red Onion, sliced
1 Japanese Turnip for crunch
1/4 lb Feta Cheese
Handful of Fresh Mint, minced
A few leaves of Red Lettuce
Sundried Black Olives, pitted
Handful of Pine Nuts
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Wine Vinegar, white or red
Black Pepper


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Dr. Dan’s Banana Walnut Bread

Banana Walnut Bread

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Blend together in small bowl: 3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed to yield around 2 cups

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg 1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl combine 1 cup walnuts crushed with WhackerSpoon  (For a sweeter taste substitute Walnuts with Pecans)

1-1/2 cups flour 1-1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt Cut blended ingredients into the flour and nut mix.  Pour into muffin or bread pan. Optional topping, blend together and spread over the batter. 2/3 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup flour 2 tablespoons of soft butter

Muffins bake for 20 mintes at 375 degrees. Bread pan 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  


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Fried Zucchini

venice, italy, art, drawing

Zucchine fritte

If someone gives you a little plate of fried zucchini, it is so good that in a few minutes you will find it is all gone. I love to nibble on fried zucchini at any hour. Sometimes there is a thick coating on it that I don’t like. The batter that is perfect for fried zucchini is called “pastella.” It is a simple little flour and water mixture. You may use it to fry any other vegetables.

1 lb medium-sized zucchini

1 cup water

2/3 cup flour

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil or corn oil for frying

Wash the zucchini and cut into lengthwise sticks. They will look like french fries or if you wish, they can be a little larger.

In a bowl pour the water and blend in the flour stirring until you have a smooth mixture. Add the desired salt and pepper. Dry the slices of zucchini. In a frying pan heat the oil. You don’t need a lot, usually 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch is enough for this shallow frying. Dip the zucchini in the batter and fry until golden brown on both sides in the oil. Sometimes the dish is sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Drain on paper towels and serve right away. This will serve 4.

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