Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birthday Party with an Island theme

This is a menu for a backyard island themed party I did~
Twisted Wontons with 3 dipping sauces:
Sweet Sour
Hot Mustard

Coconut Chicken tenders with orange Dipping Sauce
Shrimp Kebobs
Pork kebobs
Vegetable Kebobs

BBQ Pork
Baked Bananas

Rice with Pineapple and Macadamia Nuts
Asparagus with Maharani Dressing

Fruit Platter

Mai Tais and Daiquiris

Dessert: Cake from a local pastry shop

Monday, August 30, 2010

Island Party Menus

Lambada Party Menu~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cocktails; Blue Mystique ( B.A. 6/87)
Le Surf ( B. A. 7/88)

Whitefish Dip
Coconut Shrimp
Salsa Deviled Eggs

Grilled Chicken with Papaya
Rice and Pine Nuts

Salad with Parmesan Pepper Dressing
Spiced Bacon Bits on Cherry Tomatoes
Copper Carrots

Tropical Sundaes ( B.A. 8/90)

milk carton

I really, really hate this. Now that they are 21+ I am still harping....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time for Coffee..kaffee!

I hope you all have a sibling or a friend with whom you can just drop in, any time, no reason. But usually the reason ends up being a good one for either you or your friend.
Today, I was running between houses ( long story) and wanted to kill some time between these houses. So, I stopped by my friend Cheryl. And she had coffee ready to be enjoyed- my timing! The weather has chilled a bit- yeah, like to 77 degrees but the earth smelled good, the trees looked crisp against the blue sky and Cheryl's garden in the front of the house, well, I don't know how to express what I felt when I saw it other than to feel and say: aaahhhh. There was a feeling of being nurtured- unlike mine that has to be tended to way more than I have time for- ah! But that must b the point! Something takes on it's own beauty when nurtured!

I don't think I could have been a good mom to a daughter- that's why I have 5 sons. I received a call on my cell this a.m. from my son who is in S. Korea. And I missed his call. BUT! He called again and I am so overwhelmed to think, that in my hand, is this little tiny phone and I am walking around my house and talking to one of my sons who is on the other side of the world! So staggering to me. He sounded so close. I miss him. Gets difficult trying to talk when you're so emotionally excited- don't read anything else into this, please!
Equally staggering was watching this news brief on kids who were invited to try their skills at hacking into computers. Whatever they were doing, it was a grass roots idea about future technology when dealing with these 'civilized' countries.
So, I shall leave you with some garden photos from my friend Cheryl's garden, on this day of Global Forgiveness Day. I'm NOT going there.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu for the Week

Everyone is trying to cram everything they can into these last days of Summer- it's been a nice hot one and no one wants to let it go! I also think because it's a bit cooler out, people are more inclined to entertain. I'm going to do my own Island Party and serve the popular items from the parties I've catered this summer.
In the meantime, here is my menu for the week~
Chicken Kiev
Penne Pasta with Marinara
Cucs in Sour Cream
Tossed Salad
Mixed Fruit turnovers

Pork Stir Fry
Crunchy Gnocchi
Chopped Salad
Mustgo Dessert

Twice Baked Potatoes
Tex-Caesar Salad
Fruit with Sabayon

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My baby turns 21!

He's the last of the 5 and this birthday was more remarkable than the other 4. It was a pretty special night. We went bowling as a family, sans our son who is in S. Korea :( and then came home for pizza from his favorite place, and beer, had cake, and then they all took off for downtown. Oh the days.....!

T- Shirt party

The client put out a very cute party invitation for her friends. Very simple, on paper, homemade but the wording is cute~....we're bringing Duval Street to you....come to Parrotville.....Margaritaville cocktails....appetizers and songs.....wear your flip flogs.....what DOES your T-shirt say? ....sunset at 7...

We have had such beautiful weather but the night of her party,it rained :(. I only dropped off the food so I wasn't there to help and put out the food. My menu was: Gazpacho shots, Salmon Burgers with Chipotle Mayo, Coconut chicken fingers with Orange dipping sauce; Goat Cheese Cheesecake on Pretzel crust;Tomato Bruschette;Tequila marinated Shrimp.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hot and Sour Soup

Change in weekly menu plan! Yay!!!
I decided to drop the Tuesday dinner and make Hot and Sour Soup and a Grilled Sirloin with chile, garlic and ginger which was adapted from Steamy Kitchen's blog.Oh it was delicious! With my leftover ingredients, I made spring rolls for the next day.
Here is the recipe for the Sirloin~
2 sirloin steaks or sirloin roast, cut into 1 inch slices
2 cups shredded green papaya
1/4 c basil, chiffonade
1/2 c of other herbs
6 sesame leaves
small amount perilla
mint ( Vietnamese was recommended, but I used what was growing in my garden)
1/4 c fried shallots
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4" ginger, grated
2 T Asian fish sauce
1 T sugar ( superfine is preferred)
2 tsp vegetable oil
Mix marinade ingredients together until sugar dissolves and marinate steaks for 2 hours in fridge. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce~
3 T Asian fish sauce
3T rice vinegar ( natural)
2 T sugar
1/2 c water
2 garlic cloves, shredded
1 Thai chili
2 T fresh lime juice
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until just before boiling point. Cool to room temp. When ready to served, add shredded garlic, chile and stir in the lime juice.

Fried Shallots
I took 5 large shallots. I sliced them thin. Heat a skillet and when ready to smoke, add vegetable oil and swirl pan. Quickly add the thinly sliced shallots, mixing around often. When they turn golden brown, remove from heat, and allow to drain on paper towel. These are best when used immediately but will keep for up to 2 days in an air tight container.
Grill the steaks over medium to high heat to your preference.( 6 mintes for rare, 10 minutes for medium). Then rest the steaks for about 6 minutes. Slice, and arrange on a platter that is decorated with sesame leaves and frilled onion slices. In center, add steak pieces, top with green papaya, mixed herbs and mint, and top with fried shallots. Add the dippings sace on the side.

And for the Hot and Sour Soup, which I can never get enough of~
4 c chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, shredded
2" grated ginger
2 T Tamari
1T fish sauce
1 tsp chili sauce
1T rice vinegar, natural
1T brown sugar
1 T lime juice
1 egg
1 c extra firm tofu
handful fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 c bok choy
handful of fresh spinach
small amount of bamboo shoots
Heat broth. Add next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer while you add rest of ingredients. Crack egg in a cup and lightly beat. Slowly add the egg to the broth; If you want the egg finely shredded, stir rapidly. If you prefer larger 'clouds' only stir once or twice, clockwise. I just lovbe this!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Menu for the week

Grilled Chicken with Light Tarragon Sauce
Dill Rice
Roasted Carrots
Peach Pie

Pork Tenderloin Diane
Marinated Tomatoes and cucumbers
Pasta Alfredo
Tossed Salad

Flank Steak
Lime/parmesan corn on the cob
Spinach Stuffed Shells
Nectarine Turnovers

Vietnamese dinner

So I made a Vietnamese dinner last night~ one of my clients is Vietnamese. I made a Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup. I happen to follow an Asian food blog and I contacted her to ask her if there is anything else in a meal besides the soup bowl. Simple answer: no. Oh. But I made some shrimp spring rolls.
So, I used my homemade beef stock for the broth. I adapted my soup bowl dinner from Steamy Kitchen's blog and from TLC the Take Home Chef.
When my client came into the kitchen and saw how far I was into the preparation, he decided to go and get his can of mushrooms and can of quail eggs. ( I don't like mushrooms) I thought, that's ok, he likes them, this isn't for me. Surprise! He said he was going to add somethings to the stock for 'our dinner'. Oh no. My husband and I had a dinner party to attend and I was planning on getting out of that kitchen a half hour earlier than usual. He also brought in 'dessert'. It didn't look like I was going to get out any earlier than expected. And then, there was divine intervention: he received an emergency call and had to leave. Not until after dinner was finished. Oh great. But, he ate fast -HOORAY! I want to tell you more about the soup. It was sooooo good! I also made my little plate of sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro, mint and jalapeno slices. Well, he added all the ingredients to his soup and then added some Thai chilies!

Fortunately when we started eating faster, I became so full. I couldn't eat more than 1/4 of that big bowl. He was happy to have the spring rolls for later that night.
I got to the dinner party on time and by the time we were to sit down, I had an appetite! My host and hostess grilled the most delicious lamb and there was a side dish of lentils and a side of zucchini and sourcream. So pretty and delicious! For dessert, what could be more appropriate than a fruit cobbler!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Overnite Visitors

We had 4 boys spend the night as they were enroute from Massachusetts to Colorado. When we came in from golf and dinner with friends, they were sacked out on various sofas and beds in our basement. IT'S A NICE BASEMENT! Three of them were total strangers and I could never pick them out in a line up ( not that I'd have to) but they were gone before I got up at 7am. The nicest thing about them is, they cleaned up well, left me a bottle of wine, and I didn't have to make them food and there was not a speck of crumbs on any of the kitchen counters. Now, those were super house guests!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lambada Menu

In 1990, my husband and I along with a group of about 12 friends, took Lambada dancing lessons. At the end of our dancing series, I hosted a lambada party. Here is my menu~
Cocktails: Blue Mystique; Le Surf

Whitefish Dip
Coconut Shrimp
Salsa Deviled Eggs

Grilled chicken with Papaya Mango Sauce
Rice with pine Nuts
Salad with Parmesan Pepper Dressing
Sauteed cherry tomatoes with Bacon Bits
Marinated Chilled Carrots
Tropical Sundaes

Basil Pesto

With the abundance of basil everywhere, it beehoves me to not make some pesto and get it into the freezer!
How I make it:

Fill the fp up with basil. Add a handful or parsley without the stems. Shred 3 garlic cloves into your fp. Pulse it till chopped. Add 3/4 c shredded parmesan and chop again till well incorporated. Next, slowly add 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup olive oil in a steady stream.
When well incorporated, put into an ice cream tray for easier use or put into a freezer container. use the smaller portions as needed!

Island parties from the past

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Island Parties - random pics of past and present and menus

Menu for the week

This week I'm cooking up or have already cooked:
Sirloin Kebobs
Rice Pilaf
Tossed Salad
French Bread
Blueberry Cobbler

Grilled chicken with pico de guillo
Smashed Potatoes with roasted garlic
Tossed Salad
Chocolate Cake

Pork and Peanut Stir Fry
Penne Pasta
Glazed carrots
Peach Crisp

Easy Blueberry Cobbler

1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1 c butter, melted

Pour pineapple and juice in a sprayed 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over pineapple. Pour blueberry pie filling over the pineapple. Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the blueberry pie filling and pour melted butter over it.Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
Serves 12

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What Summer means to me

Regardless of the activity, anything I do in the summer leaves me with a healthy, Summer glow. That's probably why the doctors are always telling everyone to wear spf 50+ so they can't glow! I'm fortunate that I live which is across the street from Lake Michigan. Relaxing by the water, with the calming roll and the rhythmic crash of water and waves has a predictable effect on me....complete relaxation. It reminds me of carefree moments of sun, water, friends and family.

Good food and endless sunsets.
Summer, for me, is the moment to live everything we can't during the rest of the year.
Summer is all about taking advantage of these longer, lighter days with a balance of fun, adventure and relaxation being the ticket! It's about noticing and enjoying the little things....perfumed blooms, warm light pouring in the home, the freedom of going barefoot, door and windows wide open, fresh slices of fruit, light breezy dresses and where the word 'ease' finds it's true meaning.

I love my Chicago. And I love it any time of the year but Summer is BEST!