Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tiki Party!

Friend Di T. has a fun creative touch to her parties- The guests  know how to deck out!


                                             Pretty table setting outside where we sipped on watermelon punch,

                             played toss the ring on the bird.....

                                   All her presentations are special; nothing comes from any kind of 'party' store!

                                              Dessert on this particular evening, was inside.

Coconut cheesecake pops! And liquor filled chocolate cups. And after dinner our hostess had us play more 'parlor' games. And prizes. But at the dining table!

Fun, fun night!

Jeannie B's Summer Pasta Salad

3 TSoy
3 T Water
3 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp  Sugar
2 large Roasted red pepper quarters ( from jar or make them yourself, remove skins)
1/4 c Gr. Onions
3 large leaves Basil, chiffonade
3/4 c sauteed sliced almonds
2 T Flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cubes frozen pesto, thawed
Ziti or rigatoni noodles -  1/2 box

Boil noodles according to package directions. Run under cold water, toss with some oil to keep from sticking together. In a pot, mix together, soy, water, sugar and vinegar.  Heat. Stir till sugar is dissolved.
When noodles have cooled, add roasted red peppers, green onions, basil, almonds, parsley, and pesto. Chill until ready to serve.
I wanted to post a picture of my pasta but the bowl was finished before I had a chance to get it so I got this picture from Foodgawker.

I love making pesto and freezing it- it's a good time of the year to be making pesto! Leaves are large and plentiful!

Here is my recipe for my basil pesto:
3 c basil leaves
1/2 c pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
slat and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
Add first 4 ingredients, including pepper, in a food processor. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream. It usually is about 1/4 c . Take a look in your bowl to see how the pesto looks. Sometimes I have added too much and the pesto looks like it is swimming. So you need to add slowly and stop to look.
Then with a teaspoon, scoop up an amount and spoon it into an ice cube tray.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heather Terhune- Pickled Zucchini

The Botanic Garden's chef series featured Heather Terhune. The setting was the outdoor kitchen. Fortunately, the audience was able to sit on the wooden benches shielded from the hot sun with a few staggered umbrellas. But the chef was not as lucky- it was pretty hot in the kitchen! Heather's recipe was very quick and easy to prepare.
1 pound Zucchini
1 small onion
2 T Kosher salt
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp crushed yellow and/or brown mustard seeds
Scant 1 tsp ground turmeric

Wash and trim the zucchini. Then slice then one sixteenth inch thick; a mandoline works best. Slice the onion very thin as well. Combine the zucchini and onions in a large but shallow nonreactive bowl, add the salt and toss to distribute. Add a few ice cubes and cold water to cover, then stir to dissolve the salt. Alternatively, transfer the salted zucchini and onion slices to a Japanese pickle make and screw sown the top; do not add any water ice cubes. After about 1 hour, taste and feel a piece of zucchini- it should be slightly softened. Drain and pat dry.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds and turmeric in a small saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside until just warm to the touch. ( if the brine is too hot it will cook the vegetables and make the pickles soft instead of crisp).
Return the zucchini to a dry bowl and pour over the cooled brine. Stir to distribute the spices. Transfer the pickle to jars, to hold the zucchini and onions  beneath the surface of the brine. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least a day before serving to allow the flavors to mellow and permeated the zucchini, turning them a brilliant chartreuse color.
For presentation, Heather added pearl size mozzarella and some chopped dill.
Heather is the Executive chef at Sable, 505 N. State Street, Chicago

Friday, July 13, 2012

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Soy and Mint

1/4 c plus 2 T olive oil
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T each: Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c each: minced mint, fresh parsley
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3 1/2 pounds chicken thighs and legs, or legs and wings
 Prepare grill. Mix oil and next 8 ingredients together in a small bowl. Very lightly salt the chicken pieces. Place chicken, skin side down on grill. Cook about 8 minutes. Turn skin side up and continue grilling. Baste tops of chicken with half the herb sauce. Save the rest for serving. DO NOT CROSS CONTAMINATE THE BOWLS OF SAUCE! When chicken is cooked, transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with reserved herb sauce.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Murphy's Pickled Peach Salad

⅛ c. champagne vinegar
1 sm. Fresno chile, diced
⅛ c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into eighths
½ c. pecan halves
¼ c. ground black pepper
½ c. powdered sugar
Arugula leaves
2 oz. Point Reyes Farmstead blue cheese
1. In a bowl, whisk vinegar, chile, and olive oil. Add peaches and marinate overnight.
2. To make the spiced pecans, preheat oven to 450°. Blanch pecans in boiling water. In a bowl, mix pepper and sugar, then roll pecans in mixture. Transfer pecans to a baking sheet and bake until dark brown (20-25 minutes).
3. Toss arugula in olive oil.
4. Arrange pickled peaches in a straight line on a serving dish. Top with dressed arugula and spiced pecans. Crumble cheese over the top and serve.
Murphy’s, 997 Virginia Avenue, Virginia Highland (404-872-0904 or

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spinach Cheddar Loaf

3 cups
Original Bisquick Mix

¼ cup
Vegetable Oil

1 Tbsp
Caraway Seed


1 can
(11 Oz)condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup

1 box
(9 Oz) Frozen Spinish, thawed, squeezed to drain

Directions : Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of 9x5 inch loaf pan with shortening.
In large bowl, stir together all ingredients except spinach throughly; beat with spoon 1 minute. Stir in spinach. Pour into pan.
Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack.
Instead of carway seed, use 1 tablespoon of dried minced onion to add a subtle onion flavor to the bread.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Prosciutto and Fig Bruschetta

1/2 c butter- room temp
1/2 c plus 1 T honey
12 large figs or apricots, halved lengthwise
5 T evoo
2 T sherry wine Vinegar
1 shallot minced
3 c thinly sliced radicchio
2 oz. prosciutto cut crosswise into thin strips
1/4 c thinly sliced basil

12 1/2 inch thick bread ( pecan raisin is great!

Beat butter and honey. Heat BBQ. Combine 1 T evoo with fruit into a bowl and mix to coat. Whisk 1 T honey, 4 T oil, vinegar and shallot in small bowl. Season dressing with s&p. Combine radicchio, prosciutto and basil. Toss with dressing. Season with s&p. Grill bread and allow to cool. Brush toasts with honey butter mixture. Top with radicchio mix then top with fruit.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Aluminum Foil

What side of the aluminum foil should be on the outside when I wrap something up in it to keep warm or cold? The shiny side or the dull? I was at a grill out last week and was told that the shiny side should be on the inside and the dull side of the aluminum foil should be on the outside. 


The shiny side is slightly better reflector of heat. Face that side of the foil in the appropriate direction. To keep things cold, put the shiny side on the outside -- that will reflect incoming heat. To keep things warm, face the shiny side inward toward the hot food -- to reflect the heat that is trying to escape back into the food.

Note that people often bake potatoes with the shiny side out -- that is because it makes for a better (prettier) presentation. In reality, baking them that way reflects the incoming heat on the outside, slightly slowing the cooking process. 

Chicago favorite Ice Cream Parlors

This is Chicago's favorite Ice Cream Cone!
Other area favorite ice cream parlors recently listed 
Margies Candies
Gayetys- Lansing Ill.
Petersens- Oak Park
Shawn Michelle
Lick fast in this weather- have fun!