When I was a young man, I worked at my Father’s Restaurant on the line at nights. One of the most often-ordered dishes on the menu was the “Danko Special”. It was a dish that my dad developed — we ate it out our house for as long as I can remember — it consisted of a dish that had some Yugoslavian accents, some 1950’s-60’s-style dining accents, and just a little bit “magic dust “sprinkled on it by our Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Michel Gehin.
The Copper Hills Restaurant Burned down in 2001, and the Danko Special hasn’t been served in any commercial form since 1991. I want to release this recipe to those that remember ordering it, others that wonder just what the heck all the fuss about the Copper Hills might have been about, and finally as a recipe that you’d enjoy. This recipe is for all of you that have ordered it in a some “past life”. This special time for me seems so long ago; I never thought that there would be a Globe Miami without a Copper Hills. You know who you are, and you’re all part of my extended family. Continue reading The "Danko Special"
This is the House Dressing of the Copper Hills Motel in Miami, Arizona
My Dad got his house dressing from Navarre’s in Phoenix. It became Danko’s Salad Dressing in Globe-Miami, and was quite famous in the area. This popularity was carried up and down Highway 60 by the travelers that stopped at his Best Western Restaurant and Hotel over the 35 years from the time my Dad built it, until he sold it in 1990. The dressing disappeared after this; Navarre’s was long gone by then and the new owners changed the entire menu.
This salad dressing is Atomic Age stuff. 1950’s/1960’s Steak House Salad Dressing. Red flocked wall paper, dark woods and antique mirrors, with burly middle-aged male waiters. Men with coats and ties, ladies in cocktail dresses, stoles and alligator clutch-purses. Ashtrays on the table. Rumaki appetizers. This is no-BS salad dressing that “Mad Men” ordered, followed by “I’ll have a bourbon and water and the lady will have a Vodka Martini, up”. This dressing has been pretty much a family secret (except I think I’m the only one in the family that’s ever made it besides my Dad, who passed in 2000). I had friends, girlfriends, girlfriend’s moms and others ask me for this recipe for years. Continue reading Danko's Dressing from the Copper Hills, Miami, AZ
My Mother and Father were intensely fond of this recipe. I was 6 years old, and we were going to Europe on the Cristoforo Colombo. Dad always wanted to do a “Grand Tour” of Europe, and in 1967 he was 56 and had multiple hotels in small towns in Arizona, was finally secure and wanted to do the big trip and visit his homeland and relatives in Crnagora (Montenegro).
On the way over, a Chicken Cacciatore was served and Dad really thought is was the cat’s pajamas. He had the habit of getting up at the crack of dawn, and he loved talking to cooks and kitchens, and had a way of just getting along with everyone, everywhere and could completely relate at a level that I just don’t have the talent for.
So he talked the chef out of the his personal Cacciatore Recipe, promising never to publish it and only use it in his restaurant in Miami, Arizona.
Which he did. Dad’s been gone since Halloween in 2000, the Cristoforo Colombo has been shredded into razor blades, file cabinets and other metal parts. I don’t know if the chef is still alive, and if he is, I’m sorry in advance, but this is such a good recipe, I want to share. Continue reading "White" Chicken Cacciatore
Maxine’s “Slav” Macaroni
This is mom’s FAMOUS (at least around Miami, Arizona in the 60’s and 70’s) “slav” macaroni recipe. She would have this at parties and except for the shrimp cocktail, It was always the first to be eaten. Up until now it was only available to the family. Now, if you’re here, well, you get to enjoy it too.
The important thing to note is this is a “baked” dish. You layer your pasta (I like Buccatini, but Mom used Perciatelle. Any long, tubular pasta is required here.
- 1 small can of tomato sauce (or homemade is good!)
- 1 cup of water
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 1 package of long tubular pasta
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped coarse
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta until “Al dente”. Empty the sauce in a saucepan with the water and heat. Melt the butter in another pan. When the pasta is ready, mix in the butter, then lay it out lengthwise in a casserole dish until the bottom is covered. Cover the pasta evenly with a light layer of sauce.
Add some of the parsley on top. Sprinkle a bunch of cheese evenly on top of the layer. Make another layer and do the same.
When you’re finished with the layers, add any cheese you have left on top and bake at high heat until the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy.