What is a signature dish you are known for?

homersgardenJanuary 10, 2008

I have noticed that many of the my friends/family are known for certain dishes they make. I thought it might be fun to share ours!

I am known for two things. First, carne asada tacos. I stole the idea from a friend, but we make them at least once a week in the summer. I buy all the meat, queso fresco, fresh tortillas, etc. at a local Mexican grocery store and people LOVE them. In fact, if my friends or family catch wind that I am making them they happen to show up. Recently our best friends had a party for their daughter's christening and they asked me if I wouldn't mind bringing them.

I am also known for my weiner wraps. I have tried to recreate the ones of my youth and have gotten pretty close. I found that it is worth buying really good hot dogs (we use Nathans). Again, these are requested often when we are doing potlucks...they are hotdogs for pete's sake!

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Fun thread!

What I'm known for has changed over the years. Shortly after I got married I cut out a recipe for "Cheese Straws" that were served Reagan's first inauguration (Jan, 1981) from Parade Magazine. I made those things to death! They were my signature appetizer which I brought everywhere for years.

My signature dessert was a recipe for chocolate chip blondies which were rich and yummy.... haven't made those in years!

But as time went on, I got tired of always making the same thing. For a while Stuffed Grape Leaves became my signature dish, often requested, but they are labor intensive so as soon as I noticed the amount of leftovers growing, I quit making them.

I don't really have a signature dish currently. I'm trying to expand my horizons and not make the same thing too often. That's why I love hanging out on the cooking forum, lots of great ideas!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 1:07PM
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There are a few that seem to have stuck with me over the years.

These are recipes I call "mine" and that I am most often associated with or requested to make are:

Spanikopita: feta and cottage cheese, dill and spinach wrapped in a phyllo triangle

Ravioli with ricotta: asaigo, spinach and proscuitto

Chicken and Sliders: Chicken cooked in broth with homemade noodles

Cheater Baked Beans: three kinds of beans, chile sauce and stuff

But the one that most people would say first, if asked this question, is my dill pickles.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 1:34PM
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Homemade mozzarella,pizza and rice balls

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 1:44PM
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I suppose I am "known" for pie. I do think I make very good ones, but if the truth be known, I think it's mainly just that hardly anyone but me makes it anymore. Still, that's what I am asked to donate to auctions, potlucks, etc., and once even for a wedding reception.

The other thing would be soup, especially my family's traditional recipe for vegetable soup. When my husband had people contribute memories to an album for my 50th birthday, I was surprised to see how many of them referred to finding a bag of soup at their door during a time of crisis or lots of company. Come to think of it, I have a pot of chili on the stove right now for a friend whose mom died!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 2:49PM
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It seems people almost always request my salads. None are particular recipes--I just like to use unusual ingredients.

I'm known for several signature dishes/beverages:

Vodka Slush
Cold Oven Pound Cake
Seafood Gumbo
Chicken Salad made with whipped cream

I'm trying not to make any of those items lately lest I partake !

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 6:31PM
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I think it all depends on who is doing the "knowing".
One friend thinks my cream of mushroom soup is better than anything she has eaten...pure comfort food...yummy yummy!!..And it's pretty basic!
Another always asks for a French Bread and a tossed green salad ( no blue cheese, please!!) and still another asks for my blue cheese salad dressing. And at the risk of starting a war....one family always requests my mushroom risotto.
I get requests for pies, rolls, salads, soups, yankee potroast...but never a cake...
What does that say??? LOL!
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Yes, this is a fun thread -- and I sure wish everybody would share recipes, too!!

I actually have 4. But I'm just going to tell you about one. When I was twentysomething and couldn't cook a lick, a girl I knew owed me a huge favor. She said she was going to repay me by sharing a 'secret' recipe for Mexican cheese dip. At that time, it seemed to me like a weird way to return a kindness. But in the first place, I hadn't expected anything in return at all; and in the second place, everybody was wild about the dip at this particular local restaurant, me included. So I told her that would be lovely, even though I was quite sure I couldn't manage to duplicate the delicious stuff. Well, as luck would have it, I was invited to a Christmas party the very next week and asked to bring an appetizer. Seriously, I couldn't boil water, and everybody knew it. Nobody had ever been dumb enough to assign me anything but paper plates or beer before. But I decided my pride was at stake (since I heard several friends had snickered and wondered what I'd pick up at the deli), so I made the cheese dip. Not much choice, since it was the ONLY recipe I had. :)

Well, long story short, the cheese dip turned out to be incredibly delicious -- even better than the restaurant version -- and everybody freaked. (The more intimately they knew me, the more they freaked. lol) For somebody who couldn't cook, it was quite a thrill watching 30 people gobbling up something I'd made. Since several of the 'gobblers' were extremely attractive young males, that's the moment when I officially decided maybe the kitchen wasn't the most useless room in the house after all. :)

Decades later, I'm still expected to bring the cheese dip to every function. I've had over a dozen kids request it as their graduation present. One even asked if I'd make him a batch for his wedding gift. lol (I did. But I sent a present, too, I promise.)

Okay, I dare anybody to top this story about their 'signature' dish. :)


    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 8:01PM
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I don't believe I've ever really thought I had a signature dish or dishes before. I guess the most requested dishes I make will do as signature dishes. They are;
Split Pea and Ham Soup, Coq Au Vin, and my Cranberry Maple Orange pie. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 7:51AM
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What a fun thread! I have a couple: homemade stuffed ravioli, orange glazed pork steaks, taco salad. I get requests to make these often when we have company, but by far, the MOST raved about is my own homemade Caesar salad. Of course there's a story behind this one....

15 years ago when my DH (then BF) was in University, he and his fellow male student friends subsisted on kraft dinner, sandwiches, and beer. Nary of one of them could cook! I took pity on them, and soon, it evolved to weekly Wednesday supper at Lora's place for the 5 of us. The guys were responsible for bringing the wine and I would supply the homecooked food.

By far, hands down, the favorite was always when I made my Caesar salad. I was always asked if I was making it that week, and there were many a request for my "secret" recipe - but no go, that was MY OWN recipe and no one could have it lol.

One day, Len (one of the supper group) called me "desperate" cause he had a date and literally begged me for my salad recipe as he was cooking for his date. I gave in, softy that I am. I carefully went over the recipe, and made sure he understood it had to be done "exactly" as I told him for it to turn out the same as mine. LOL, Len called me the next day and told me I was a "goddess" cause his date just "could not believe" he had made that salad!

Fast forward. Everybody graduates, most of our "supper club" friends move away to different provinces. Fast forward a couple more years, and we receive an invitation in the mail to attend Timmy's upcoming wedding & reception. DH & I are thrilled as it will be the 1st time since graduation that we will all be together again!

Eight years after we had last seen him, and after the initial bear hug greeting, Len excitedly tells me that he has his own "supper club" with friends now and they all "rave" about his Caesar salad! "Don't worry though, people ask, but I won't give your recipe to anybody" - LOL, it's flattering to know that after all these years that's the first thing he thought of when he saw me!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Lora that's a great story and it touches my heart!

My daughter is in 4th year at university in Halifax. She has become quite the cook. Her special dishes are the dishes she loved when at home.

The "boys", six good friends of her's who live across the street, have a weekend deal with her, they buy the groceries and beer/wine if she cooks. Her roomies are foodies too , so the girls do the cooking and the boys buy all the food and the boys also do clean up.

Meredith says it is great because there are always enough leftovers to get the girls well into the next week without having to buy groceries ! LOL

Way to go Meredith!!!

Although Cooking for 10+ evey weekend (4 girls , the 6 guys, plus strays) is not my idea of heaven, but then again it may have been 35 years ago!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 4:18PM
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OK everyone. You're making me want to go out and cook. Please post recipes. So many of the above sound super!

My "signature" dish is the Buffalo Chicken Dip, recipe from the Kitchen Table. It is so easy to make and so good. I don't use measurements, but here's the jist:

Cook and shred chicken
Mix with Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce (or another tasty brand)
Put in baking dish
In saucepan, melt together some cream cheese and blue cheese salad dressing.
Pour dressing over chicken
Top with shredded cheese
Bake until cheese is melted
Serve with chips, crackers, or bread

Will be gone before you know it!

Another Meredith

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:58PM
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I have been told by anyone that eats it, that my meatloaf (of all things) is the best they ever tasted. My kids (college & highschool age) favorite has always been meatloaf, mashed potatoes/gravy & corn! That is requested for any birthday dinner and most recently Christmas dinner. For any potlucks, it is definately lettuce salads with everything in them. For parties, my pina coladas are flowing faster than I can make them.

demifloyd- can you tell me more about the vodka slush?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:56AM
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You all are teasing us! Recipes, please!!!!

Especially the Chocolate Chip Blondies, Vodka Slush, Mexican Dip, Caesar Salad and Meatloaf. Go ahead, we promise not to tell anyone ;-) !


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 10:35AM
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One of my signature dishes is one eyed meat loaf. Its meat loaf with ground beef and ground pork but once prepared in a loaf pan, I place two peeled hard boiled eggs along the center and cover them up. when you cut the meatloaf, you have the slice of hard boiled egg in the middle.
I make home made pizza from scratch but I hate red pizza sauce so I always make my pizzas with sausage, mushrooms, cheese, etc. but the sauce is mayonnaise with mustard and fresh herbs, or just a little olive oil and then the toppings.
My husband's signature dish is broiled salmon with a garlic, parsley & mayonnaise topping. It cooks away but leaves the salmon juicy.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 3:08AM
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I have no signature dishes, but my Mom has always brought these to family parties: Deviled eggs (hard cooked eggs,mayonnaise, salt and paprika) and her shrimp salad-cooked elbow macaroni, sliced olives,shrimp, and mayonnaise). I make chicken salad with cold chicken,seedless green grapes, mandarin oranges, and a dressing made of sour cream and mayo.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 1:35PM
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Back in the 1970's there was a wonderful bakery chain that started up called Just Desserts. They made something called a Black Bottom Cupcake that was so good, I'd buy it several times a week. They were what a Hostess cream-filled cupcake would want to be when it grows up!

Finally I ran across an old wartime cake recipe that used no eggs, no butter, no chocolate - it used cocoa and salad oil instead. For some reason I read it and was absolutely positive it would make these cupcakes. All I had to do was experiment to do the cream cheese filling, and I had it down perfectly.

They are easy to make, double easily, freeze well, and you can make a dozen for what 2 cupcakes used to cost me. I never thought of it as one of my signature dishes until my nephew, who doesn't even LIKE sweets, said it was one of his childhood memories!

This, BTW, is the first public posting of this recipe since I duplicated the bakery's efforts 30 yrs ago. I've since seen several similar recipes show up, but surprisingly enough it still doesn't seem to have reached the mainstream. It really does deserve a wider audience, so here it is:

Jean's Black Bottom Cupcake recipe
1-1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa*
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar (see note re: cocoa)
5 Tbls cooking oil (not olive)
1 Tbls white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cold water
one 3-oz pkg cream cheese, mixed with:
1/2 cup mini or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips

*Note: the cocoa you use will affect the "chocolateness". Hershey or Guittard is fine, but the best is to use a gourmet cocoa such as Williams-Sonoma's Pernigotti cocoa or the Scharffenberger brand. Adjust the sugar accordingly: Hershey's will take a scant 1 cup sugar, the gourmet brands require a bit more than 1 cup, about 2 Tbls additional. Gourmet cocoas tend to lump, so I put it in the mixing bowl first and take 30 seconds with the back of a big spoon to break up the lumps. Or you can sift it, but that takes longer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and spray them lightly with Pam or similar product (otherwise they stick to the batter).
Mix flour, cocoa, soda and sugar well in a bowl. Pour in the liquids and beat well for 30 seconds, either by hand or with a mixer.

Put about 1/4 cup batter for each muffin. Place a rounded spoonful of cream cheese/chocolate chip mixture in each.

Bake for 20 minutes. The batter should just resist a fingertip when done. Do not overbake this recipe, it is better underdone than overdone. Lift them out immediately (I use a fork) and place on cooling rack. They should be very soft but will firm up once cooled.

Recipe will double, in which case use an 8-oz pkg of cream cheese and 3/4 cup morsels. Bake in two muffin tins for the same amount of time, or bake in successive batches.

Freezes beautifully and will thaw within 1 hour.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 7:02PM
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Here is the Vodka Slush recipe--it will get to you before you know it!

Vodka Slush:

3 Cups Cranberry or Cranapple Juice
1 6 oz. frozen lemonade
1 6 oz. frozen limeade
1 Cup water
1 Cup of good Vodka (it makes a difference)

Mix together and freeze for at least 24 hours. (I use double, gallon freezer ziplocks bags or gladware)

Spoon mixture into glass to make 1/2, finish the other 1/2 with 7 Up or Sprite.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 8:08AM
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I'm known for my twice-baked potatoes and wouldn't dare entertain my husband's family without them!

15-20 medium-sized potatoes, baked
1 pint sour cream (OK to use non-fat)
1 stick butter
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup salsa (I prefer salsa verde but red works)
2 T minced garlic
2 T minced shallot or 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 T steak seasoning
12 slices bacon, chopped

In a stand mixer, mix everything but the potatoes first. When the potatoes are done, slice them in half lengthwise and scoop the hot potato into the stand mixer. Mix briefly, leaving the mixture chunky, not mashed. Then refill the potato halves, sprinkle with steak seasoning or a bit of cheddar cheese and keep hot.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:19AM
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Also requesting recipes. :-)

I am an "ok" cook but an excellent baker. I'm usually requested to bring cheesecakes and, since I dislike cheesecake, I am always happy to oblige. Anytime I know I won't be tempted to eat dessert it is a good thing.

While I have a plethora of cheesecake recipes, this is by far the easiest.

Sour Cream Cheesecake
Oven 400º
Approximately 1 hour baking time

Graham Cracker Crust:
In bowl combine the following:
1 1/2 c finely crushed graham crackers
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c finely chopped walnuts

Stir in 1/2 c butter melted. Press onto bottom and 2" up sides of a 9" springform pan

(2) 8oz packages of cream cheese softened
1 c sugar
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 eggs
24 oz sour cream

Step 1: Prepare graham cracker crust

Step 2: For filling:
* In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and almond extracts until smooth
* Add eggs all at once; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until just blended (don't over-beat as over-beating may cause cracking during baking)
* Stir in sour cream
* Turn filling into prepared crust

Step 3: Bake in a 400º oven for 1 hour or until center appears set. To check if done, gently shake the pan (when done a 1" wide section of the center will jiggle slightly upon shaking).

Step 4:
* Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
* Using a metal spatula (or butter knife) loosen sides of cheesecake from pan.
* Cool 30 minutes more
* Remove sides of pan
* Cool for two hours more
* Cover and refrigerate; allow to chill thoroughly

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:32PM
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I would sure like to have the recipes for the cesar salad and the mexican cheese dip!

I'm not really known for any one thing. I experiment a lot. When I was in my 20s, I was always asked to bring a 7-layer taco dip to family functions. That got old, plus it was expensive! I'm glad I'm not asked to bring it anymore. I haven't make it in years!

I love trying new things. I do some things over so I guess those are the things some people associate with me - ribs, fondue dinnners, meat loaf and pulled pork.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:21PM
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I make a fabulous double layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting, if I do say so myself. At home I put it on a pretty crystal cake pedestal but if travelling (it gets requested a lot for parties) I have a nifty tupperware cake taker that I have gotten my money's worth from! I have to refer to the recipe or I'll leave something out so I don't want to post it from memory. It's important to soak the raisins in pineapple juice and the carrots in the brown sugar (which makes a liquid!) This cake is so moist and good with or without walnuts. Sometimes I make a decoration out of the walnut halves in the frosting on the top layer.

I'd be interested in seeing other peoples favorites, myself! I'm always looking for more dishes to share.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 9:06PM
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I have a lot of requested recipes but one I take to potlucks alot is my spanish rice hotdish!what is funny is that it is so darned simple!
1 lb hamburger browned do not drain stir in 1 cup paces medium picante, 1 cup hot water, 12 tesp garlic powder, 2 cups instant rice. mix together place in crockpot on low for at least 2 hours before serving.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 10:00PM
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When my children were growing up I never baked anything but store-bought rolls and birthday cakes. To me, baking was in the same category as auto mechanics. But a few years ago my granddaughter wanted to earn some money, and I decided I would be the one to help her. I learned how to make lemon meringue pies from scratch (except for the store-bought crust), and taught her how. We could hardly make enough to fill her orders in the neighborhood. Recently, I asked her what she would remember about me after I was gone, and you can guess what she said.

BTW, baking things like bread are still as foreign to me as auto mechanics - LOL. I hope to change that real soon.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 3:08PM
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