Friday, December 30, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday's Mention

Ah, the day after Christmas! Favorite pix from the last few days....

 Lunching at Wave, Chicago

Friday, November 25, 2011


About 3 hours before Thanksgiving guests arrived one of my sons was disappointed to learn we were not going to have stuffing with our Turkey. And there were a couple of reasons for this decision: 1) my husband and I are not fond of stuffing; 2) we were having turkey breast to avoid all the greasy mess of a whole turkey, especially since we are living in this new, tiny little house. So, I quickly found something on the Internet and it had to be quick....
I adapted a recipe I found on Epicurious:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
6 stalks celery with leaves, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 1/2 cups)
3 leftover, frozen Kaiser rolls found in freezer, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon celery salt
a pinch of sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups hot Homemade Turkey Stock or canned chicken broth
2 bratwursts, skin removed

In 12-inch, heavy skillet over moderate heat, heat butter until hot but not smoking. Stir in onion and celery, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, then add bratwurst and break up into tiny pieces so the meat blends in with the vegetables and cook until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. 

Transfer to large bowl and add bread cubes, parsley, celery salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1 1/4 cups hot stock or broth. Turn mixture into an oven safe  bowl. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Perfect Gravy

I remember, not long ago, having Thanksgiving dinner at a relative's house.  And I was trying to get noticed at the family party....does that make sense? It does if you've been in the same boat ( not gravy boat). And the hostess asked if anyone knew how to make gravy. This was my opportunity to be noticed! I stepped up and said I could do it! This is not a bad story as my gravy turned out to be the BEST I had ever made. But, I had never made it before!  And I didn't know much about what I was doing. I was just trying to recreate what I had watched my Mom do. Without any measuring, this is what I did:
Gravy drippings had cooled down on their own. I added as much ice to the top of the gravy to make the fat stick to the ice so it could be removed. Once I had the pure drippings without fat, I mixed 1 T water into 1 T of cornstarch.  I heated up with natural drippings and slowly added the water/cornstarch mixture, slowly stirring all the time. I added a little salt, actually more than a little. I didn't add any Kitchen Bouquet ( coloring) and I had made the most delicious, silky gravy, ever!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween sights!

This one above, looks REALLY creepy at night!

                                                  And in the City, some people do things in a very BIG way!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday's Foto-Autumn Ales and Appetizers

Last night I took part in a 'Tasting' that was part of a Fund Raiser for a local organization. The theme was Part with Taste. Being October, I wanted to do an Oktoberfest sort of thing. A half hour before I was out the door, I reread my instruction sheet and found that thee was a color theme: black, white and apple green. Oops.
I found my black table cloths which I switched out with the harvest colored cloth. It would work for me. But the rest of the table and theme....I wasn't going to change.

 I presented Autumn Ales and Appetizers. I had 3 different beer cocktails. One was made with a Lager, one with an Ale and one with Guinness.

The Lager ( named On Wisconsin) was  a Sam Adams and lime, worcestershire and Maggi served with Scrambled Bratwurst and Saur Kraut with apples and sweet onion.

The Ale ( DAS BOOT) was the favorite. The favorite Beer cocktail and favorite Appetizer- Das Boot was made with Blue Moon, and an orange and cognac based Courvoisie. The paired appetizer was beer marinated chicken with spices.

One of my sons helped out that night. He was had extensive kitchen training- to my surprise and his favorite was the Guinness cocktail.

This cocktail was made with Guinness, Sweet Vermouth and Bitters. It was paired with chocolate and caramel covered pretzel rods.

It was difficult pulling this off as I didn't know I'd be participating in this event when we moved two months ago. It was very difficult finding the correct serving pieces I needed. I didn't like my room temp appies ( need to buy a heat lamp) as the warming tray and crock are not adequate. And the beer- needed to stay chilled. When a beer bottle was opened, the first glasses were chilled. But I shouldn't have let the extras sit out. It t was probably too costly an idea to do this. Or I should have made some sort of ice mold for the shot glasses to nest into.

We had  many people around our table. That was a good sign. And while I 
wasn't happy with my display, it was better than several others.
I already have an idea for next year. It is a theme I have done 3 times before. And I have time to find my equipment. I hope I'm invited!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's my Birthday and I'll post what I want!

And I LOVE beets! I found this interesting, delicious combination on Food Buzz today. It comes from Chef Dennis--

Apple Beet Compote with Candied Walnuts

Recipe Type: Side dish
Author: Chef Dennis
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4
  • 3 red beets
  • 3 golden beets
  • 1 Fennel bulb
  • 2 large apples
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. clean and peel beets, then cut into small chunks
  3. mix each color separately with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and place into roasting pan.
  4. cut fennel bulb into the same size pieces and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, then place in roasting pan with beets.
  5. Place the roasting pan into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until beets are soft*
  6. While beets are roasting, peel and cut the apples into bite size pieces and place them in a saute pan with 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  7. Saute apples for 5 minutes just to soften them up some, set aside.
  8. In another saute pan add one tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of brown sugar and mix well.
  9. Add the walnuts and over a medium heat coat the walnuts with the brown sugar mixture* tossing to get them completely coated.
  10. remove the walnuts form the pan and place on parchment or a plate to allow the sugar to set.
  11. When the beets are done, gently mix your compote together and serve warm.
*sometimes the beets may still feel hard but when you bite one it will be done. so taste test a piece before over cooking!
* cover beets with foil if they roast more than 30 minutes to prevent them from getting too dark.
*if you like a little heat, try adding a pinch of cayenne to the walnuts for a spicy sweet taste.

Monday, October 3, 2011

6 dishes you should know how to make

1) chicken noodle soup
2) chili
3)meat lasagne
5)roast chicken
6) chocolate cake
I think a boxed cake should count- don't tell Maggie!

weekly menu

Roast Pork and Potatoes
Kale Slaw
Scalloped Apples





Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursdays Thought

If you are suppose to be on a liquid diet the day before for one of  those 'necessary medical tests', why can't it be flavored with gatorade or vodka? Maybe it can and they just don't want to tell you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Surf and Turf

I recently catered a birthday party for 40. Ok, photography is not my best hobby but at least it's in focus! It was a birthday celebration and I realized I catered another birthday milestone for this client, 10 years ago! THAT party was really awesome. I'll never forget my husband lugging100 pounds of ice if not more, in the trunk of his car for the 'raw bar' we created with a plastic swimming pool. Those were the days when I was so nervous about having everything ready and photography was the very last thing on my mind. If it was even in my mind!



BREAD (client provides bread, caterer provides 3 baskets)

Cheesecake Bar
Lemon Bar
Tiramisu Bar

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's Foto Wilde and Greene

Old Orchard ( as it's affectionately known to us locals) has a new restaurant that boasts 18 food stations and locally grown food. Note the second to the last picture- 'Product of USA'- so, they can say it's locally grown. Old Orchard is a shopping mall in Skokie on Skokie Blvd. Here are a few pics I snapped with my new smart phone ( I've never had one) and it took me all afternoon to figure out how to do this!

These HUGE muffins- were really just baked in a regular looking muffin tin...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday's Thought

You can get most husbands to do anything if you suggest that perhaps they are too old to do it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Corn Soups around Chicago

Now, these corn soups are truly upscale! I think I'd rather have these chefs make any one of these than try them myself. I guess it's my mood today--cloudy, chilly, blah.

Corn is piled high on market tables, sweeter than its early summer counterparts. And across the city, chefs are turning to the stockpot to highlight the season's abundance of ears.

At The Drawing Room, Nick Lacasse's corn soup ($11) holds a triple corn threat. Lacasse roasts the cobs with fennel, onion and marjoram as a base for stock, which is puréed with raw kernels. The soup is poured tableside over fried kale, tomatoes and bacon-fat-fried potatoes, and topped with corn-spiked mascarpone.

James Toland of The Black Sheep infuses his organic white corn soup ($8) with the scent of the grill, burning and grinding husks and sprinkling them like pepper. Blueberries and peppercress color the bowl; their accompaniments, pearls of bourbon and pickled kernels, create sharp, lively bites.

Naha's Carrie Nahabedian cooks her sweet yellow corn slowly, until the kernels release their milk. Her corn soup ($13) is studded with Sungold tomatoes and basil and punctuated by an island of corn flan, with a dip-worthy oxtail-and-bandaged-cheddar sandwich on the side.

For the simplest iteration ($9), visit Ceres' Table, where Guiseppe Scurato cooks stock with corncobs and thyme, thickening it with corn kernels, cream and onions. In it bob agnolotti for all seasons, rich with ricotta and truffles.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Garden Surprise

So, we have been on our new abode for two weeks. And it has taken so long to post much. With some big events, in addition to the move, behind us, I wanted to post some pictures of the lovely things we found growing in our back yard.

 These peppers were too hot for the hot tongues in this family. Darn.

I don't know much about gardening and vegetables. My friend Charlotte told me the cucumbers were curling because they haven't had enough water. Oh. I thought I had been checking on them...we did get 3 cucs from the garden- such a delicious texture! We're hoping we can still get some more.

And, tomatoes- they are so good and there are at least two different kinds. They needed my help in staking and I made some makeshift stakes. We'll see if it works.

Monday's Mention

A restaurant in our hood called, The Noodle, has the best cream of Tomato and Basil soup. I have attached a picture of it with their garlic toast. BUT, ALAS! We found another place that serves up an equally delicious Tomato Basil Soup: Baker's Square! Clientele is different but when you crave the soup so much, get a carry out!

Monday's Mention

Monday's Mentiontakes us to a pig roast! Our church is having all sorts of events to mark our 75th anniversary and two weeks ago, it was a block party with Mr. Pig!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Forno Restaurant

I am posting this a few days early because I wrote something on FB about this restaurant. My husband and i drove to the City last night to take some books to a resale shop. We were starving and took a walk on Milwaukee Avenue, in search of a restaurant. The first one we came to was a tapas place. One look at the menu and we both realized the menu was too light for my husband. The hostess kindly directed us to a place a block away on Milwaukee Avenue.
It was a treat! I didn't realize how much I liked where we sat-right next to the open air kitchen. Chef Larry stopped by our table and chatted with us. Before we left, my husband and I were treated to a limoncello cocktail! And I didn't get a picture:(
But here is what I did get:

I had the chicken with arugula -so yum! Couldn't eat it all!
And here is a picture of one of their potato garnishes!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Parker's Breakfast

Parker sent me this picture of a breakfast he made for himself and his new wife, Katie. It's on a tortilla. It looks very good. Can you imagine what a goose egg would look like? And maybe some bacon crumbles??? Nice picture Park!

Thursday's Thought

Color is my daylong obsession, joy and torment.
Claude Monet

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday's Thought

When you are trying to break into traffic, whether you are turning right or left- suppose you threw a kiss to the person who let you in.,,,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


While Basil pesto is the commonly known pesto, there are others to try. Anything green:
Spinach pesto, Mint,Cilantro pesto- my favorite! I use it in stuffed tomatoes.

And, it can be frozen!

Here is a recipe for Mint Pesto- great with lamb kebobs!

1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
Blend all ingredients together.