Thursday, March 31, 2011

Freckle Face.

Four sunny hours of soccer every day for a week sure does help bring out Finn's freckles!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

50%

 It's quite a week when 50% of your family is in the local paper!  I had a nice little article written about my Jambalaya contest win and Finn is still frozen in time representing the Strikers! This is like a total a media blitz for our family!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Animal Identity




Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another Cozy LGC Dinner...

 Yesterday evening, Leif and I hosted a pretty incredible couple for dinner!  Leif met Kaberi through LGC and she and her husband, Vik,  rapidly became two  people we just had to have over for dinner!  They are both foodies and their warm and engaging personalities totally inspired me to get creative in the kitchen.  After taking a driving tour of Oak Park with Leif and Finn as guides the four of us settled in for a cozy eight course dinner!
 Garden Abstraction*
roasted radish. watercress. lavender goat cheese. dried olives
 Peas and Carrots
chicken consomme. peas. carrots.dill. parmesan crostini
 B & B
beets. bomboloni. marcona almond. maytag.
 Soda Pop*
lemon grass. serrano. ginger. bubbles
sweet. spicy. chicken. shrimp. golden garlic.

Fish and a Mistreated Vegetable
(no photo)
cod. smoked paprika. fried brussels sprouts
sourdough. egg yolk. asparagus fontina. white truffle
Seriously, I am so grateful these two joined us last night and I honestly think the four of us will be friends well beyond Leif and Kaberi's time as LGC fellows! I cannot wait to have Indian food at their place!

* The entire meal was quite good, but honestly these two dishes had me beyond excited!  Both used new techniques that I cannot wait play around with a little more!

Grounded?

I have been trying to tell Finn there are too many video games to play and television shows to watch for him to waste a chilly afternoon curled up with a book.  He keeps telling me he just loves The Order of Odd-Fish so much that he can't put it down.  I figure I'll just have to teach him how to send text messages so he can make better use of his time in the future and if that doesn't work I'll just have to ground him!  For some reason Finn isn't taking me seriously and my joking on the subject sure got a good laugh out of my handsome bookworm!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tommy Guns Girls

After finishing up their unit on the roaring 20's the 8th graders had a chance embrace their inner flappers and gangsters and take in lunch and a show at Tommy Gun's Garage!  I am sure they enjoyed participating in the interactive speakeasy, but probably not as much as getting dressed for the show!  Emma and her friends all got together to put the finishing touches on their attire and Emma, wearing more than a little fringe, even picked up a little award for hers!  What a fun outing!

Tied up in knots

Large appliances are a mystery to me.
 
I pulled out a large load of laundry out of the dryer that contained no less eight pairs of dance tights and discovered that one pair had quite literally been tied up in a series of knots.  I've really have to wonder what goes on inside that machine. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Image of a dancer...

One of Emma's dance instructors, Cora D. Mitchell,  is mighty talented with a camera. When she emails photos of my daughter to me that look like this one she totally makes my day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Signs of things to come.

 To be perfectly honest it breaks my heart to see the Pfour's gorgeous house littered with moving boxes.  Seeing all those cardboard stacks forces me think about all the changes on the horizon and I end up feeling sentimental about moments like this impromptu cuddle up our kids shared not too long ago.
 If I was forced to look on the bright side of this situation I'd have to say that I am glad Ang is really popular.  A lot of people want to  savor her last moments as an Oak Parker and wish her well; lucky for me, I get to go along sometimes!
 Last night, Ang and I met up with our friends Midge and Lib for a little wine and conversation!  These three ladies are among my favorites for sure and Leif even commented that I was "going out with the cool girls" before I left last night.  I have to say he is totally right and I tried to fit in as best I could!
Thanks ladies!  
We definitely have to do this again before that darn house is empty.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sushi 101

This week-end I had the chance to head out to the Japanese markets once again!  This time around I was a Christmas gift for my friend Miss Mia and she was looking to learn how to roll some sushi and steam some mussels.  We headed to Mitsuwa on Sunday morning and started our day with a piping hot bowl of udon noodles before touring the market and selecting our ingredients!



Following our shopping adventure we headed back to Mia's house to whip up some chicken dumplings, maki rolls, and mussels with tempura shrimp and asparagus!
Mia served her memorable meal to her eager family  and rumor has it she even wrapped up some more dumplings on her own for her family later in the day! Way to go!

After leaving Mia and returning from a late day soccer game (Finn had an amazing game and the Striker's won handily), I surprised Emma, Finn, and Leif with ingredients for our own Japanese dinner!  Emma cooked up some Bok Choi and we rolled maki rolls like masters!



What a fantastic and delicious way to spend a Sunday night!

We had a chance to donate to the tsunami relief efforts while we were at the Japanese market today, but everyone should consider helping out.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Naha

In December my friend, Rhonda, treated me to a very memorable lunch at Davanti Enoteca.  I really had no idea what to expect from the restaurant and was totally unaware she had planned to make our lunch outing a gift.  I've often thought about that meal...the food was outstanding and the company was even better!  I decided right then and there this was a favor I intended to return!  Rhonda celebrated her birthday this week and I surprised her with a celebratory lunch at Naha yesterday!
I have wanted to dine at Naha for years and considering the establishment was awarded a Michelin star in late 2010 it seemed like the perfect place to take my friend.  I think Rhonda was pleasantly surprised and we were both taken with the stunning dining room.  It was bright, airy and perfectly lovely.  We settled into our table near a wonderfully sunny window and started off by selecting a lovely pino noir.  The menu at Naha changes almost weekly and Rhonda began her meal with a broccoli rabe risotto and I enjoyed a seasonal root vegetable soup.  Both offerings were lovely and I was more than a little surprised by the generous portions, but if I was being critical I would have to say that my soup was a little under seasoned. 

Rhonda followed her appetizer with an Arctic Char, Bean Puree, Blood Orange and Butternut Squash offering and I selected a Quail, Carrot, and French Lentil dish.  Both offerings were memorable for both presentation and flavor.  Our luxurious lunch ended with some decadent birthday wishes!
Cheers to being the ladies who lunch! 
Rhonda, I hope all your birthday wishes come true.

500 North Clark
Chicago, Illinois
60654

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gettin' our green on.

"If you are lucky enough to be Irish, then you're lucky enough"


Hope you all enjoyed a little luck o' the Irish today, too.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Quick and Easy Dinner...

We had some unexpected company join us for the evening last night and I had to throw together a quick company friendly dinner in a flash. I took inspiration from a recipe for Pork and Lemongrass Lettuce Wraps in this month's Bon Appetit magazine and added a few extra toppings (nuts, sesame, red peppers, pea pods, basil, and scallions) and kept the chilies from the sauce on the side.  I also added a traditional Thai Golden Garlic to the garnish options, but overall this is was sure-fire family dinner home run!  Seriously...it was just amazing!  Give it a try!

Wall Worthy...

I was thrilled to finally hang my newest wall worth menu yesterday.  Those twenty-two courses at Alinea were among the best dishes the world has to offer if you ask me!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Twelve years later...

We bought our tiny little bungalow twelve years ago and it came with some pretty incredible lace curtains in the dining room and living room.  I never liked them.  When Finn was about two and we had lived in the house for nearly three years it finally dawned on me...I live here and I can take the wacky lace curtains down! I know...duh, but I am the same woman who tiptoed around the house for thirty days after we bought it because I didn't feel like I owned it.  Paying the mortgage took care of that initial anxiety and three years later I finally had mustered the courage to rip down the curtains.  We were left with some terribly outdated mini blinds on the windows.  When we replaced all the windows in the house I actually re-hung the sad blinds and continued hating them for the years to come.  It only took twelve years, but this week I FINALLY trashed those blinds and hung some lovely curtains in their place!
I have my eye on a chair for this room and I'd love a new lamp behind the love seat, but for now I am just enjoying how fun it can be when our little house feels new again!

Happiness is...

...receiving a homemade birthday card from Nubia signed by Dad's staff.
This sure did make The Red Wedge feel like a million bucks!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Final Matinee

Emma began performing with Momenta when she was in fourth grade. Over the years she has enjoyed playing everything from a duck, the hot spice 'cumin', and a snake charmer in their charming productions and today marked Emma's final matinee performance. We cannot think of a better role than the Flower Fairy 'Delight' in Rosenella to celebrate the end to her years performing in so many heartwarming ballets for children. Next season she'll be performing as a senior apprentice in evening Momenta shows!

Maki Your Way!

Yesterday, I was an 18th birthday gift!  I took an Ivy League bound birthday girl and a trio of her friends to the Japanese Markets in Arlington Heights to shop for sushi ingredients and returned home with them to make a stellar lunch. A roll your own maki birthday party? Um...yeah, this was my kind of celebration!
At the request of the birthday girl we started out by making some steamed shrimp and shiso dumplings.  I was careful to let each person make one part of the dish so when it came time to taste the dumplings each one could explain their part in making it.  I think they were happy with the result of their efforts as I over heard someone say, "Wow!  You guys, we totally made something delicious together!"  Needless to say that little insight made my day!
From there we moved onto rolling maki!  Their rolls were exquisite and thoughtfully prepared and their '18th Birthday Everything Futomaki' could have easily been on any sushi bar menu around town!  It was an incredible combination of maguro, hamachi, sake, unagi, cucumber, and mango!
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