Having Las Vegas ‘eatitude’

Socrates: “Other men live to eat, while I eat to live;” Bernard Shaw: “There is no love as sincere as the love of food;” Shakespeare: “A good digestion to you all;” Socrates: “The best sauce for food is hunger and the best flavoring for drink is thirst;” and Benjamin Franklin: “What one relishes, nourishes.”

Very interesting saying from famous people way back then which tells us that even in the so-called, “old days,” they also liked food as we do today. Food however still remains one of the main attractions in our lives from a young age to the elderly. It was funny today when I was babysitting my youngest granddaughter (Ahna) and ask her what she would like to play, and to my surprise she said, “lets have a tea party and of course with plenty of cookies.” She just didn’t just want tea, but also her favorite cookies, and when I ask her what her favorite food was, she said, “ice cream” and I told her that was a dessert and she replied that she knew that, but still liked ice cream best of all foods and desserts.

We go to Las Vegas every year — usually during August (when the temperature is 105-110 degrees, which is too hot for me but gave me an excuse to shop in air-conditioned stores) after our return from Europe believe it or not, to just relax and get away from our daily routines. We do not gamble, but have seen most of the better shows in Vegas over the years, excluding the ones that are astronomically expensive. They are promoting Vegas as a family-oriented place and you do see many small children, but I question to see cartoon characters on the street and next to them a topless girls!

Many of the famous TV chefs have restaurants in Vegas, which prices that are unbelievable, starting for just the steak at $50 and up, with a salad at $11 and baked potato or veggie $10 and up.

Chef Robert Irvines is at the Tropicana, Chef Morimoto at the MGM Grand, Wolfgang Puck at the Aria, Julian Serrano at Bellagio’s Largo restaurant, on the strip also Bubby’s Burger Palace that is owned by chef Bobby Flay and at Caesars Palace Pronto Wine Bar owned by Giada De Laurentiis and also at Caesars a new restaurant, “Hell’s Kitchen” owned by Gordon Ramsey

As many of you may recall, the buffets in Vegas used to be a great feast at a low price — however since corporate America has taken over Vegas, the prices have sky rocketed. For example, at the Bellagio on weekdays, the Buffet is $40 — and $50 on weekends. The new buffet at Caesars Palace is $55 during the week.

One good thing is that the items are unlimited and a big selection from prime rib to roast turkey, ham, chicken plus all the crab legs, shrimp and various fish you want to eat, where as for example, at a restaurant around here a order of crab legs is expensive and with only 4-6 legs.

Being in the food business, we know that the costs of product keep going up, which I am sure you all realize when you are personally shopping at the grocery store. For one example, when we had the Olympic Deli, we were paying $4 for a case of tomatoes which costs $22-25 today.

Until next week!

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Easy Peach Cream Pie

3 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches

9-inch unbaked pie shell

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

dash of salt

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cinnamon

Fill pie shell with peaches. In mixing bowl, beat eggs slightly. Blend in sugar, flour and salt. Stir cream and vanilla into sugar/flour mixture. Blend well and pour over peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you wish. Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes or until center shakes slightly when moved. Don’t over bake. Serve warm. For a firmer pie, chill before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

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Southern Peach Cobbler Pie

6-8 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

Fill a 9-inch pie pan with sliced peaches. In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Add egg and vailla. Beat well. Gradually add flour to creamed mixture. Spread over peaches. Sprinkle with additional sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream.

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Double Cheese Zucchini Bake

1/2 cup butter

1 clove garlic, chopped

8 medium-sized peeled or unpeeled zucchini, sliced

1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs, divided

3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

3 eggs

2 cups half-and-half or 2 cups whipping cream

In large saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and cook about 3 minutes. Add zucchini to garlic and butter. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Blend well. Spoon mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs. Mix in half-and-half. Pour over baking dish contents and let it settle into the zucchini mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Bake at 250 or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. You can make the dish the day before serving it and refrigerate it unbaked. If you put it in the oven cold, increase the baking time to 50-60 minutes.

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Zucchini Babka

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 cups diced zucchini, peeled or unpeeled

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

1 cup all-purpose baking mix

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

dash of pepper

Parmesan cheese

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Blend in oil. Add zucchini, onions, baking mix, cheese, salt, oregano and pepper. Mix well. Pour into greased 1 1/2-2 quart baking dish.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until nicely browned.

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Kiki Angelos is a longtime columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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