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Today's Case

Johnny & Kay's Restaurant

Subject: Johnny & Kay's Restaurant
From: Susan
Date: 1/29/2021, 9:39 AM

On 1/28/2021 4:30 PM, Susan wrote:

This now defunct place was very popular for many year's in Des Moines. 
Kay's salad dressing recipe is great & online in many places. A new book 
I just got about lost places also had a famous steak recipe from them. 
Other than those 2 nothing more. Was wondering if you came across any 
others. It opened in late 40's. I ate there with my parent's in the 60's.

Hello Susan,

This took a bit of work. There are not many Johnny & Kay's recipes posted on the web, as you say - just the salad dressing recipe and a few Steak De Burgo recipes that may or may not be Johnny & Kay's actual recipe.

However, I have sources other than the Internet for this type of recipe - those from restaurants that no longer exist but were popular several decades ago. From those sources, I was able to find the Johnny & Kay's recipes below.

They may not be the ones that you hoped to see, but they are what I turned up. I am posting the salad dressing recipe as well because I did not have it on my site.

Johnny & Kay's was famous for their Steak De Burgo, but that dish is a specialty in Des Moines, not just at Johnny & Kay's. The recipes for it that are posted on the Internet are probably good ones, but they have no provenance to indicate that they are Johnny & Kay's actual recipe. The recipe below for Steak De Burgo is from a 1964 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, and there is strong indication in that cookbook that the BHG author got this recipe directly from Johnny.

I am including two onion rings recipes. They are similar, but they give vastly different temperatures for the cooking oil. The first one, from that same BHG cookbook, gives 375 degrees, but the second one, from a less well-known Ford recipe book, gives a temperature of 450 degrees.


Johnny & Kay's Salad Dressing

1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of Hellmann's mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of anchovy paste
1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of sugar

Salad dressing:
Combine all of the ingredients in blender or food processor.
Blend until smooth and creamy.
Place the dressing in a glass jar or bowl.
Cover and chill 24 hours before using.

To make the salad:
Crumble some melba toast into your salad mixture.
Add Johnny & Kay's salad dressing and toss.
Johnny & Kay's Steak De Burgo

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon sweet basil
    *    *    *
2  4-ounce slices beef tenderloin
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a heavy skillet
over high heat. Add minced garlic clove and 1 tablespoon
sweet basil; cook mixture quickly until pieces of garlic
are clear but not brown.

Sprinkle slices of tenderloin with salt and pepper to taste;
cook tenderloin in seasoned butter to desired doneness.(For
rare, cook meat about 4 minutes on each side. Allow 2 to 3
minutes longer for medium.) Serves 2.
Johnny & Kay's French-Fried Onion Rings

6 medium Bermuda or mild white onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cups milk
3 eggs
All-purpose flour

Separate onion slices into rings. Combine milk and eggs;
beat thoroughly. (Follow picture directions below) Dip
a few rings at a time in deep, hot fat (375 degrees) till
crisp and golden brown. Remove from fat and drain on paper
towels. Salt onions just before serving.
Makes about 8 servings.
Johnny and Kay's French Fried Onions

1 or 2 large white or Bermuda onions
2 cups milk
3 eggs
2 cups flour
Hot fat, 450 degrees

Combine milk and eggs; beat thoroughly and pour into a
shallow pan. Drop sliced onion into it. Swish rings around
to wet thoroughly. Lift rings out; shake over pan to drain.
Drop into flour; make sure each ring is coated. Place a few
onion rings in wire French frying basket. Shake off excess
flour by giving the basket a sharp slap with the hand. Set
basket in hot deep fat (450 degrees). Stir lightly with a
two-tined cooking fork. This will separate the rings as they
fry. Tumble golden brown rings onto paper toweling. Sprinkle
with salt. Serves 4.
Johnny and Kay's Old-Fashioned Pot Roast

4 lb beef shoulder or chuck cut
3 onions, diced or sliced
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
1 carrot, sliced
10 peppercorns
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tiny red pepper
1 green pepper, diced
3 tbsp. chicken fat
1 1/2 cups soup stock or tomato juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp salt

Braise meat in heavy pot until evenly browned. Add remaining
ingredients, cover and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain gravy
and thicken to taste. The roast can also be done in a pressure
cooker, reducing liquid to half the amount.

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