Thursday, March 31, 2011

Friday's Food

Couscous Salad
with red onion, red pepper, cucumber, feta

Thursday's Thought

If I keep a green bough in my heart....the singing bird will come. Chinese Proverb.
And so will Spring.

Thursdays Thought

You can't win all the time. There are guys out there who are better than you are. Yogi Berra

Thursday's Thought

Spring is made of solid, fourteen-karat gratitude, the reward for the long wait. Barbara Kingsolver

Today I found a large bag of chicken bones in the freezer. Time to Stock up!

Yesterday my PT was telling me the awful chicken soup one of her relatives makes. I guessed the problem right away. For one, she doesn't use salt! And secondly, she doesn't know how to make it clear. Chicken bones or any kind of bones used for making stock, need to go into a pot of cold water. I usually start heating up the pot at this point. Then you add the mire poix- a combo of onions, celery and leaves, and a carrot or two, sliced. You also add a garni bag ( I just add it to the the pot and skip the cheese cloth) or a few peppercorns, a bay leaf, and a few sprigs of thyme. I also float a few stems ( no leaves) of parsley.
Then you let it simmer away for about 4 hours. Cool it in a cold water bath and strain it. then you can heat it up again, and float some more parsley stems on top to help clarify the broth.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Monday Mention

Dinner in the Glen, Glenview, Illinois-
Dinner at Zingerellas. If you picked one of the three entrees that were written in red you received a complimentary dessert. Check out this huge Carrot Cake!

The dinner was quite good. We ate late ( I worked till 7:30 that night) so you wonder how fresh everything is- well, my stomach was just fine!

This week's Menu

Everyone is so antsy to start eating fresh green and red vegetables- time to break out of Winter. But the blue skies and warm sun can't get the temperature past 40!
My Menus this week are still wintry. That's ok. It's still comfort time!
Beef Stroganoff
Romaine Salad
Crescent Rounds

Mashed Potatoes
Parmesan Cauliflower
Tossed Salad

Mixed Grill with Kale
Walnut, rosemary Pesto over pasta
Tossed Salad

Crockpot Coq au vin
Pillsbury's Sweet Onion Crescent Rounds
Beet Salad
Tomato Pudding
Shrimp Scampi/Filet Mignon
Green Beans
Au Gratin Potatoes

My Monday Mention

Dinner at Sun - Wah Restaurant in Vietnamese Village, Chicago. Peking ( Beijing) Duck is a must for first time visitor. Also pictured is their Squid. First time I think I have EVER enjoyed squid!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Greek Lamb....yum!

Another widely devoured crockpot recipe- try it! The flavor of the broth is so delicious and if you are not around during the day, this is a perfect dish to make while you are gone and when you return to your pot, and you have a half hour, at least, when you can add the last ingredients. Not to mention a side. Enjoy!

greek lamb with spinach and artichokes

Makes: 6 servings

2 to 2-1/2 lb. boneless lamb shoulder roast
1 19-oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 14 .5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (6 cloves)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
3 cups fresh baby spinach
3 cups hot cooked orzo (6 oz. uncooked)
Crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1. Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 1-inch pieces. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker stir together meat, beans, undrained tomatoes, garlic, salt, and oregano.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in drained artichoke hearts and spinach.
3. To serve, spoon lamb mixture over hot cooked orzo. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Ahhh! The aroma of ale baked Beef / pork ribs!

Ale Sauced Ribs and vegetables

Such a simple dish to make and it's part of my week's menu. And, it is a crockpot dish! I was looking for one pot meals. I don't know why I thought I'd find something different than crockpot recipes. They're not.
The fragrance coming from the crockpot is too good to not share with someone!
3# beef ribs
1 bottle of dark ale or stout.
Two minced garlic cloves.
1 T shredded lemon peel
1 T dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. small red potatoes, unpeeled
1 1/2 c peeled carrots
1/4 c cold water
2 T cornstarch
fresh rosemary
Put beef in a large self sealing plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Add ale, garlic, lemon peel, rosemary, s&p. Seal bag. Turn to coat. Refridgerate 4 hours or overnight.
Place potatoes and carrots on bottom of crockpot. Add beef ribs. Pour ale mixture over all. Cover and cook on low hear setting 8-9 hours or on high 4 - 4 1/2 hours.
Remove beef and vegetables from crock. Cover;keep warm. Pour cooking juices through a fine mesh sieve set over a heat proof bowl to strain. Measure 2 cups of cooking juices, adding water to make 2 cups. Stir together 1/4 water and 2 T cornstarch in a saucepan. Add 2 cups strained juices. Cook and stir until thickned and bubbly. Serve with meat, vegetables. Garnish with fresh rosemary.
Salad recipes come later! ;)
The photo I took of the ribs could be better, I know. I'm working on it!

This week's menus, were pretty good! Flavorful, hearty and warming. This week I served:
Hungarian Goulash
Home made Spaetzel
Malibu Salad
ice cream

Turkey Cutlets with Pasta
Tossed Salad
Chocolate Pudding

Ale Sauced Pork Ribs and Vegetables
Tossed Salad

Greek Lamb with Spinach
A side of orzo

Mango slices and blueberries
Ale- Sauce Pork Ribs and Vegetables
Malibu Salad
Waldorf Salad
Herbed Italian Bread

Hungarian Goulash
Tossed Salad
Sauteed Mushrooms

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Corned beef

Last week I made corned beef three times. I think I'm beginning to like it. Or maybe, I just like the satisfied people who have been served my corned beef. I have several recipes. And I tend to mix them up and combine them. Eek!


One of our sons was interviewed for a job in Japan. If he hadn't been turned down, I wonder where he'd be.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fish, for Lent

I find it very interesting that among my 8 clients who are all very, VERY Catholic, only three, like fish.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Night Downtown

We finally made good on a Christmas gift the boys gave us. It was a night at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. We got together with some friends for drinks at the Cape Cod Room. Initially were were going to meet in the Palm Room.

It was crowded so we opted to go downstairs to the Cape Cod Room. We haven't been there in years and it still looked the same. It's on the lower level of the Drake but has an entrance also off of Oak Street. The same maitre d is still there. He knew our friends by name and he was happy to see them as they hadn't been there in a long time. Both of the men ordered The Executive- that's one I never heard of before!It was a cocktail with a small carafe with more liquor served on the side. We had a dinner reservation at a restaurant on Rush called Carmines. The place was packed and we were told we were going to have to wait another 1/2 hour! THEN, a bar table opened up and we made a bee line for that. We were all quite hungry. Two of our sons were having dinner at another restaurant a block away so they came over when they had finished dinner. The 10 of us stayed at Carmines till nearly closing time. We had a brisk walk back to the Drake as it was very windy and cold! But that brisk walk back made sleeping all the more wonderful. Our room was very pretty and it overlooked the Drive. And what a wonderful sleep we had. I had an epidural the day before and was traumatized by the whole thing. So a good night's sleep was just the thing! Great pillows, great mattress, perfect room temp...we slept late. To wake up and not have to rush to go anywhere or do anything except chill ~ aahh! The Hotel serves brunch/breakfast and the brunch was part of our gift. Boy, did we eat!
If you are downtown, I'd really recommend having dinner in the Cape Cod Room. It has a new chef and the oysters, not to mention the rest of the menu, are outstanding.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I found this to be a very interesting situation. It says something about people from other cultures. It's something I've heard about and yesterday and today, I was able to experience it first hand.
My husband and I are getting ready to put our house on the market. We had some painters come in to repaint a few areas. That of course meant patching and sanding.
Just an aside, one of my clients has me prepare meals in my own kitchen and then I deliver.
Earlier in the day I had taken some food out to thaw and some to get to room temperature. As I leaned over one of my counters, I was noticing the thin plastic 'wall's' that had been taped into various walkways to keep out dust. And then, I noticed how white my black shirt was. My counters were full of sanding dust. I had to throw everything out. I became angrier and angrier and had to talk to these guys. Because I can get really upset, I waited till my husband was around to help buffer. With his sweet, soft voice he explained that I am a chef and I use my kitchen to prepare meals for others. Of course I had to butt in~ I had to let him know I can't keep cleaning my counters every 30 minutes when I'm cooking. And I had to tell him that the dust was on the second floor as well. "Your plastic sheets are no good. You have holes in them!" Long after they had sanded, they patched up a hole. Thanks. I told him there had to be another way. I suggested they do all the house cleaning. No comment from him. Natch. I said they just had to find another way. This discussion went back and forth...
And today is another day. This morning, he said well, I have to do my job. Excuse me? I too have a job and I have to do it without dust in the food. I take great care to keep my kitchen sanitized. These guys just don't get it. And he said, we will vacuum everything. To which I said, like you did last night? Then I showed him the cloth that was full of dust the next day after everything had been washed down the night before. I said, look-turn around and look a the table in the other room. You could see the dust that had accumulated around objects that had been on the table and were removed. That dust is also on the second floor pal. Guess what he said next? When we are finished you can get your cleaning ladies to clean everything. Excuse me? cleaning ladies? I had to let him down and tell him we don't have cleaning ladies. I HATE THESE PEOPLE. I hate their thinking, their attitude. I think I'm overwhelmed.