Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strength.

It only took seven months, but Emma has "officially" recovered from the shoulder injury she sustained last July.  It was not an easy battle and we probably spent too long working to avoid surgery, but once she got over her immediate post surgery struggles Emma began improving by leaps and bounds.  She has been gradually working her way back into the dance studio over the past four months and attending three physical therapy sessions per week.  As a result of her hard work she can one again hold planks and inversions with ease.  Her surgeon took a look at her yesterday and, despite her naturally loose ligaments and significant winging, he could not have been more pleased with her progress!  Her shoulder is solid and she should only expect continued improvement going forward.  No more therapy and no more doctors; she is free to dance as much as she wants with out fear! Thank goodness.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vikas' Annaprashun

A year ago I didn't know I would fall madly in love with a little nugget named Vikas and be so welcomed into his life that my family and I would be participating in his milestone moments alongside his gorgeous and welcoming family, but this week-end all four of us attended his Annaprashun.  I had no idea what the ceremony entailed, but when Kaberi told me it was a celebration to see if "Baby Chutney" really likes chutney I was intrigued to say the least!

An Annaprashun is a Hindu tradition meaning "first rice" and celebrates a baby's transition to eating solid foods around six months of age.  To begin the ceremony Vikas' grandmother presented trays of food to him look at and a specially prepared sweetened rice pudding for the actual tasting.  Senior males in the family took turns feeding Vikas the delicious pudding; Kaberi's dad started the fun.
Little Vikas was a little overwhelmed by all the attention and the pressure to please his adoring fans got the better of him for a bit, but then the sweetness of his first food hit him full force and he was hooked!
We all watched as a few other relatives took turns giving the eager eater his next few bites before Vikas was asked to play a game to determine his future.
This silver tray contained trinkets provided by family and friends to symbolize what Vikas may do in the future.  Emma placed a dance shoe on the plate, while Finn added a soccer ball.  I added a spatula and Leif added a compass to symbolize being a guide or facilitator.  Other folks added symbols to represent being a global peacemaker, actor, and a vintner.  The game dictates that first item the baby grabs from the tray will determine his future.
Vikas seemed a little overwhelmed by a myriad of life options, but confidently made his choice after a few moments.  As much as his dad wanted him to pick the coins symbolizing wealth, our smart young fellow snatched Leif's compass!  We think he'll have good direction while he travels the world, use it to find his fortune, or turn out to be a smashing park ranger!
It was an extraordinary honor for our family to witness this momentous occasion in the lives of our friends and we could not have been happier to share in the beauty of the day.

 देअरेस्त विकास, 
मय योउर लिफ़े बे फ़िल्लेद् विथ् देलिकिऔस् अद्वेन्तुरेस! 
इथ् लोवे,
औन्त मेल, ळेइफ़्, एम्म अण्ड इन्न.
Dearest Vikas,
May your life be filled with delicious adventures.
With Love,
Aunt Mel, Leif, Emma and Finn.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Charm of One Sister.

Winter Menu 2012

Bubble Tea
Lox

Salad Sponge
honeys, greens, homegrown
Pierogi
yukon gold potato, white truffle, mascarpone

Build-A-Plate
paint, powders, gels, puddings, fresh sprouts


Hanging
winter flavors, roe
Butternut Squash
lobster, cashew, anise
Tree Nest
spaghetti squash, "eggs"
Encapsulated
artichoke, black truffle
Your Hand

Oyster Centerpiece
bienville

Shrimp Scampi Noodles

Oatmeal Dashi and Chia Seeds
Chicken Liver Mousse
clove, chocolate, fennel, pineau de charantes
Brussels with Yummies
smoked duck, amaranth
1 Pill Makes you Larger, 1 Pill Makes you Small
Ebelskiver
coffee and doughnuts, chicken and dumplings
Spiced Pho

Blood Pudding
pork, king oyster udon, garnishes
Indiana Deer Bresaola
pine, homemade cheese, cherry, smoke
Dry Aged Ribeye
buttermilk, broccoli, bonito
Ice Cream Cone
bacon, korval whiskey butterscotch
Mirepoix
cinnamon, carrot, celery, onion
The same-now familiar-square table
in the same quintessential Chicago apartment dining room 
only this time filled with strangers 
save for a happy quartet in the corner

next time I may bring my slippers
three times is merely an excuse to enjoy 
the obvious charm of
One Sister

Iliana Regan
peaking chef
elevating cuisine 
to the height of a nest in a tree
perpetually pushing forward 
by offering a pancake pot pie
proves her intelligence
by returning to kindergarten
via paint brushes and beets
honors 
the sprout the blood and the liver
the owl the deer and the diamond

a force of nature
unfettered by winter
but waiting for spring
(Check out our other two experiences HERE and HERE)

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Frozen Moment.

I feel like moments when I look like this are fading  fast and yes, this one happened after spending over two hours in the salon chair, touching up my make up, and photographing myself  with an uncanny knowledge of my best angles in mind,under my dining room curtains with the harsh white light of a world covered with freshly fallen snow flooding my face and erasing any trace of imperfection.  Let me put it this way...if it had been a hot summer day or I had blown out my own hair this NEVER would have happened!  I emailed a copy to my Leifer and told him to cherish it always.

Monday, February 20, 2012

18th Annual Jambalaya Cook-Off

Last year I won the FitzGerald's 17th annual Jambalaya cook-off by making a version that featured duck, andouille, and shrimp and this year I wrote up a column about a healthy vegetarian Mardi rGas muffalettas and judged the 18th annual Jambalaya cook-off!  I think sitting at the judges table is far easier than whipping of 300 tastings of flavorful rice for a crowd!
 Eight varied Jambalays offerings were subject to the judgment of a panel of "celebrity" judges on Lundi Gras, but the top three were far and away the strongest of the offerings of the night.  I could not imagine taking any more that little tastes of all the dishes, but I have to admit I went back for second and third tastes of the winning recipes!  
South Oak Park was well represented by my former PTO co-president and CIA graduate, Ron Martin.  After the blind taste testing I was happy to discover his dish finished among the top three!  I imagine he'll throw his hat in the ring next year, too!  
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