Mmm… Food


The comeback of Tarts
June 12, 2009, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Cooking

When you try something and it’s good.  Make it again!!  April did just this when she made Paula Dean’s Fresh Fruit Tart, (actually she made 2) to take to a 2nd Story (which is an awesome storytelling group that present stories monthy, check it out) Workshop meeting.  They were a hit! 

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 She even got fan e-mail about them so I advice you whip one up for the next event you’re headed to. The tart can be twisted to fit any assortment of fruits.   April’s included strawberries, mango, kiwi and grapes.  mmm…  I got to take a piece for breakfast when leftovers returned home, and !!!!!  OH MY GOD.  Better than before.  I want more tart!!! Pie.  anything really. i love it all.



They should call me the container lady!
June 5, 2009, 10:43 am
Filed under: Random Facts

Lunch at work is usually an array of containers (packaged by the lovely April for my consumption) full of a variety of leftovers and new items.  And sometimes it gets a little out of control. 

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This meal from last week contained

1. light blue lid: condiments for hot dog including mustard, ketchup, onions, relish, tomatos 

2. white ramekin: raspberry jello with blackberries

3. dark blue lid: pineapple chunks

4. bottle of ranch dressing for green salad

5. tupperware with green salad

6. baggie with lemon cake muffin (Oh my god these were good!!  From and issue of Martha’s “Great Food Fast” magazine that I picked up for free at a garage sale a couple days before!  Praise to Ilana for fine preparations!)

7. hot dog: awaiting condiments from above

8. container of “oriental fansy mix” as sold by edgewater produce containing, peanuts, wasabi peas, pumpkin seeds, cashes and rice crackers

9.bag of rice crackers from Trader Joes. (the number of rice cracker sin #8 just wasn’t sufficient for me.  find a replacement!!)

I used to carry this mass of containers to work in whatever random bag I happened to grab that morning, but have now stepped it up with a fine little insulated Lunch Bag.  Well not so little.  It’s too large to fit in the fridge easily, so while the container journey to and from work in this bag they still get stored in the mini-fridge at work individually.  Still a step up though.  which makes me think now…. IT”S TIME FOR LUNCH!!!



Grilling Weekend
June 3, 2009, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Cooking

It was a weekend for grilling.  Our neighbors thought so too.  You come out back to undress (take the cover off) the grill and notice that your neighbors have already done the same.   “What ya grilling?”  “Chicken kabobs” he replied.  “I’m making chicken breasts myself.”

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Of course we smothered ours in pesto and ate them with a delightful side of potato salad (made almost per April’s grandmothers recipe, with a few of our porch herbs thrown in) and a spinach/shitake/quinoa/feta salad by martha that has become one of our favourties.  🙂 

Yes we have restarted our porch garden,  i’ll have to get some good photos once things get warmer here and the plants grow a little bit more.  We have a couple tomatos, some jalapeno peppers and a ton of herbs.  (Which is really the part I’m most excited about).  Fresh herbs are the best thing, and can be quite expensive at the store.  Growing them on your own  makes them readily available and FREE (after the initial plant investment of course, but after 1 or 2 uses the plants really pay for themselves).  We did have a strawberry plant until last week (which we have now deduced that the dog ate it. Strawberries aren’t poisonous to dogs, but her stomach was not exactly happy (“Was that your stomach?” I questioned April, “No” she replied and then added “It wasn’t yours??” at which point we both look under the table to find an unhappy dog who when let down into the yard ate grass while I grilled)

But… grill season is setting upon us (even if it is only 55 degrees outside right now, a little frustrating for June 3rd, alas warmer weather is coming, I feel it) and I’m excited to get back out there.  Which is why I was excited to find this article titled “How to Grill (Almost) Everything” at Chow.com  I want to try the “Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Egg Salad and Bacon” with our veggie friends J&R (minus the bacon of course for them), but they look super tasty!!!



What happened?!?!?!
May 22, 2009, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Foods, Random Facts, Restaurants

I don’t have any good excuses.  So I won’t try to make a grandiose apology.  It’s been too long.  I’m coming back!!!

Of course, maybe I should have waited to share a more recent eating/cooking/dining experience.  But I’m feeling the impulse, and don’t want to push it off and watch more time go by before I post again. 

So…  here’s a few pics of stuff I managed to snap along the way in the past two months since I’ve put anything new up.

1st Grill of 2009 on March 26th.

The first time I grilled in 2009 was back on March 26th.  Rare warm day that I took advantage of.
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Ethiopian Coffee, (April 12th)  served from a traditional coffee pot known as a “jebena”, at The Peacock Cafe located at 6014 N. Brodway at Glenlake.
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Duck Nachos (April a5th) at Dorado 2301 W. Foster
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Strawberry Whipped Cream cake (April 23rd) , from Chow.com which April made for me after I e-mailed her with an “I want This” e-mail 🙂  Super Awesome!!!

And there will be new to come!!!  Yeah 3 day weekend comingup!!!



Week 11: Eat This Book
March 27, 2009, 7:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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Eat This Book by Ryan Nerz.

2 Stars.  Entertaining, but more fluff.  There were a few glimpses into the people behind the personalities of the Competitive Eating Circuit, but on a whole I was left feeling like I had watched a 5 minute news excerpt.  The kind of story that might be presented on local news after one of the local food contests was presented.  Eh.



Week 10: Heat by Bill Buford (Where’s Week 9 you ask? I’d like to know too)
March 12, 2009, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Books, Restaurants

It happens every year.  I should come to expect it, but it still trips me up.  I’ve fallen behind on my reading.  I made it to Week 9.   The redeeming part is that I fell behind on my Food reading.  While I did not complete my food book (I was on vacation remember) I did finish the second half of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and also listed to Chokeby Chuck Palahnuik on CD.  So two books in one week really… just not food related.  I do hope to make up for lost time and back read for Week 9, but…

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Week 10 – Heat {An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany} By Bill Buford

Ilana is my reigning champion for book recommendations.  SHOUT OUT!!!  This is the third on the list of ones she suggested and she has chosen a winner.  I guess when your friend is a Creative Writing Grad Student who left the culinary world of catering and restaurants though, recommending good food books comes naturally. PROPS!!

This book was very entertaining, and while focusing on a wide variety of experiences, he strings them all together in a cohesive manner that keeps the reader interested.  Never having worked in a professional kitchen (Taking orders on a pre-printed pad at Rollies Hot-Dogs when I was 17 doesn’t really count) I am still amazed at the incredible effort, blood sweat and tears that go into churning out food at a restaurant.  In Heat, we get a glimpse into the inner working of Mario Batali’s Italian restaurant Babbo.  We witness the madness of learning to work the grill station.  Moving up from prep work to want to make the Pasta.  What a task.  Overwhelming really.

In addition to all the effort and work Bill puts into learning food and cooking at Babbo, he also makes incredible efforts to complete training that Mario Batali completed, by traveling to Italy and learning pasta from the same woman that Mario did, and then travelling to Tuscany where Batali’s father learned butchery from Dario and the Maestro.  Super fascinating.   

My love for Italian food too makes me love this book even more.  The day I finished it I met up with my old roommate Stacia for dinner, where we dined at Spacca Napoli on these fine pizzas. 

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The menu there is all in Italian and the waitress helped us out with explanations adding “The owner is the only one who speaks Italian, the rest of us have to figure it out along with you”  HA!  But it seemed so fitting in a pizza place where the owner spent a great deal of time in Italy learning pizza and then imported his crazy expensive wood-burning hand crafted stove to replicate the tastes for here in Chicago.  Cheers to you!!!  And to any others out there like Bill Buford who go to the source to learn the original. 

4 Stars.  Read this book.



Vacation Cooking does it again!!!
March 11, 2009, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Cooking

Our second nite in Wisconsin treated us to Cornish Hens stuffed with couscous, almonds and dried apricots, with a side of steamed broccoli in olive oil and orange zest!  Soooooo cute!!! and super tasty.  Double bonus tokens all around.

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The Cornish Hens were a discovery from a Food and Wine Herbs and Spices cookbookI picked up at a garage sale this summer.  It’s kind of fascinating in it’s organization.  There are of course different ways of organizing cookbooks.  Some seem to follow a meal progression with appetizers up front, main dishes, sides, desserts, drinks.   Others follow the seasons from Summer to Fall into Winter and Spring pairing fresh ingredients from each time period with recipes to enjoy.  But this cookbook listed recipes by main spice or herb.  The cornish hens were from the Cinnamon section.  The couscous was flavored with cinnamon and cooked ahead of time before being stuffed inside the hen for roasting.  The moisture made the hen super juicy and tasty.  I guess that couscous with apricots and a cinnamon flavour is a traditional North African food stuff.  However my guess is putting it inside the poultry may not be so common??  I don’t really know though.  My knowledge of life in North Africa is limited at best.  Non-existent may be a better sum up.  But anywhoozle, this was a tasty treat, although as April said, Cornish Hens are super cute with an individual one for each guest, but a chicken would work just as well and would cost a whole lot less!!!  Ah well, vacation is for experimenting and doing things you might not normally do.  Well at least my version of vacation is, and April went with it this time 🙂