With the spread of the coronavirus, many of us are sheltering in our homes doing nothing but cooking and eating.
And since we have free time, it seems like a good time to try a new recipe, right? Or maybe a slightly familiar recipe?
Some readers of The Empowered Pantry Facebook group suggested digging into The Bee’s archives and sharing the recipes we found at long-gone restaurants. What a fun little trip down memory lane that turned out to be.
Fresno had beloved restaurants that The Bee wrote a ton of stories about over the years.
Do you remember the ripe tomato? The upscale restaurant was in Fig Garden Village from 1977 to 2014, in what is now Pieology Pizzeria. Chef Rudy Liebl’s whipped cream pie was a favorite and we have the recipe here.
Harland’s Restaurant was another regular at Fig Garden which closed in 1998. Chef Roy Harland is the closest Fresno to having a celebrity chef. Keep reading for her sweet potato fries recipe.
Do you remember Echo? Adams Holland and Tim Woods’ Tower District restaurant eventually moved to Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue, closing in 2006.
When the restaurant dropped its chocolate hazelnut pudding from the menu, it literally inspired a headline in The Fresno Bee. We also have this recipe.
Any other big names whose recipes we found? Wang’s Panda, the popular Chinese restaurant on Maroa and Shields avenues, and Upstairs Downtown, the former Fresno Ice House restaurant on Inyo and P streets which closed in 2007.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any recipes from the Chicken Pie Shop or Estrada’s, nor the famous pot roast recipe from the Daily Planet.
Are there any recipes you would like us to repost? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harland Sweet Potato Fries
Use sweet potatoes or yams.
Peel and cut into a log shape about 1/4 inch in diameter.
Rinse and drain and, while still damp, add a little cornstarch.
In a fry basket or colander, shake off any excess cornstarch, then immerse the basket or colander in a large amount of vegetable oil in a deep pan for about 3 minutes.
Drain on paper towel, salt lightly and serve with jalapeno-arugula mayonnaise.
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
10 medium garlic cloves
2-5 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 cups vegetable oil
1 bunch arugula or watercress, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
In a food processor, combine the egg, egg yolks, garlic and jalapeno peppers; mix well.
While the machine is running, pour oil into the egg mixture until it emulsifies. Process until smooth and thick.
Turn the arugula into a sauce. Add mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well.
— Roy Harland, Harland’s Restaurant
Ripe Tomato whipped cream pie
2 cups of sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups black walnuts, chopped
1 1/4 cup egg whites
Grease two pie pans well. Combine sugar, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and nuts. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites. Divide the mixture between the two pie pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
— Chef Rudy Liebl, Ripe Tomato
Downtown Ravioli Upstairs
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina (a more coarsely ground durum wheat flour than normal wheat flours)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ounces cold butter
4 whole eggs
Place the flours, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Run the food processor until the butter is incorporated into the flours.
Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a measuring cup and add enough water to make one cup of water and one egg mixture. While the food processor is running, slowly add the eggs and water to the feed tube of the food processor and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball.
Put the dough on the work surface. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough for a few minutes by hand, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky. At the end of the kneading time, the dough should be soft and smooth.
Cover and let stand while you prepare the filling.
20 ounces of ricotta
5 ounces of Gorgonzola
¼ cup toasted and ground walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the ravioli ingredients together and set aside while rolling the dough.
To roll out the ravioli dough, use a hand-cranked pasta maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and roll out the dough on the thinnest setting. You can then use a metal ravioli mold to make 12 small ravioli at a time.
Cook the ravioli in boiling water until they float on top of the pan.
Serve with the sauce of your choice.
Tangerine Beef Wang’s Panda
Sauce: 2 liters of water
1/4 ginger root, flattened
2-1/2 lemons, cut into wedges
1-1/4 tangerines, quartered
1-1/4 cup sugar
1-3/4 cups ketchup
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1/8 teaspoon yellow food coloring
Meat: 2 to 3 pounds flank steak, partially frozen
2 cups gravy
2 to 3 lightly beaten egg whites
4 to 5 pieces of dried mandarin zest
4 to 5 small dried red chillies
8 green onions, white only, sliced
In a large saucepan, combine the water, ginger root, lemons and tangerines. Bring the water to a boil, add the sugar and cook until dissolved. Add ketchup and salt. Continue cooking and add food coloring. When the sauce has cooked for a few minutes, remove the ginger root and set aside.
Slice the meat 1/8 inch thick, when slightly thawed. Strain the sliced meat until the juices are no longer red.
Marinate the beef in the egg white with a pinch of salt and place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. Dip meat in cornstarch and sauté in a small amount of oil over medium-high heat. When the beef begins to firm up, remove the meat and set aside. Add 2 cups sauce to wok; add tangerine zest, chili peppers and green onions. Bring the sauce to a boil, add the beef and turn it over. Add more sauce if needed, but don’t let the sauce smother the beef. Do not overcook the beef. For 6 to 8 people.
— Chief Jerry Wang, Wang’s Panda
Chocolate Hazelnut Bread Pudding from Echo
Makes 8 servings
Butter for coating the parchment paper
2 brioche breads or a dense white bread (old from the day before)
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 cups half and half
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso, cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts (see instructions below)
6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a circle of parchment paper by tracing the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan. Butter the bottom of the mold and place the parchment paper on it. Put aside.
Cut the brioche into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the sugar and half and half. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add coffee or espresso. Put aside.
Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and transfer the nuts to a warm kitchen towel. Roll the walnuts on the kitchen towel, working them vigorously back and forth until the skin is removed. Coarsely chop the walnuts. Put aside. Chop the chocolate.
To assemble, place bread slices in bottom of prepared pan, slightly overlapping each piece. Cover the bottom of the pan with the slices of bread. Sprinkle chopped chocolate and hazelnuts on top. Repeat with another layer of bread.
Place the 10 inch pan inside a larger pan (to catch any overflow). Carefully pour the half and half mixture over the bread pudding. It will take some time to absorb. Take about 10 dinner plates and place them on top of the bread pudding. They will weigh down the pudding and help the bread absorb the half and half mixture. Leave the plates on for 1 hour then remove them.
Remove the cake pan from the larger pan. Place the 10 inch cake pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
To serve, heat heavy cream and spoon a few spoonfuls over each piece of hot bread pudding.
— Tim Woods, Echo Restaurant
This story was originally published April 17, 2020 5:00 a.m.