Monday, September 30, 2013

MRL in Muscatine...

 Finn and Leif headed to Muscatine, Iowa this week-end with the Eclipse to participate in a round of games in the Midwest Regional League known as the MRL.  The fields were stunning, the boys had a blast and the team managed to hang onto a nice record (1-1-1) against some pretty stellar teams.  I am bummed I didn't get to go with them, but Leif and Finn sure seemed to enjoy their guy time.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pancakes on a Pedestal...

Centennial Celebration...

 An enormous cake, piles of cookbooks and a couple of amazing friends helped wrap up the Day Nursery's centennial year on Wednesday evening.  The festive affair was the perfect way to close out such an important year in the organizations history.
If you are interested in purchasing a cookbook to support this viatal pre-school 
and childcare program please visit:

 Thanks for joining me at this special event ladies and for all your help with the cookbook!
Being a part of this committee was a true honor.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Very Good Chicken...

 Very Good Vietnamese Chicken
1 shallot, finely sliced
6 large garlic cloves, sliced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 Tablespoon oil
8 chicken thighs

Chop the shallot, garlic and ginger in the bowl of a food processor until fine.  Add the remaining ingredients (except the chicken) and process to combine.  Cover the chicken with the marinade and leave in the mixture in the refrigerator overnight.  Place the chicken with generous amounts of marinade into a roasting pan.  Roast the chicken at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.  Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and cook for an additional 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is 
crispy and deeply colored.
 Nancy's cousins Ron and Ann came in from California for a visit and the happy trio joined us for a casual dinner this evening.  Ron, a notoriously pick eater, declare the chicken "very good." Ann assured me this is the highest of culinary compliments coming from her husband.  Ron is particularly interested in geology and shared his extensive family tree with us; he has been researching for years and it is an impressive document to say the least.  It was an absolute treat to meet both of them and share an evening at home with Nancy and her guests.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pre-Birthday Treats...

My pre-birthday celebration was a total delight from start to finish!  I had only been told to block my Sunday from 10am on, but beyond that I had no idea what my handsome husband had planned for me.
We made our way to Wicker Park for brunch at The Carriage House where I enjoyed a Bloody Mary, perfect coffee and a brunch board featuring a toasted bagel, smoked redfish sala, pimento cheese and deviled eggs.  It was such a yummy way to start our day.

 The weather could not have been more beautiful on Sunday. Leif and I enjoyed a little stroll around the neighborhood and even popped into Alliance Bakery where we each enjoyed picking out a French macaron; salted caramel for Leif and strawberry shorcake for me. Yum.
 After picking up our daily dose of Vitamin D from the good old sunshine, we headed into the city center to see The Book of Mormon!
 I have wanted to see this show since it arrived in Chi-town several months ago and it is leaving in a less than two weeks.  I thought I was surely going to miss out on all the musical fun, but leave it to Leif to make my birthday wishes come true.  The show was utterly fantastic and wildly inappropriate.  Honestly, we could not remember the last time we laughed that hard; I truly had tears pouring from my eyes almost the entire time.  After the show we even headed over to Max's for a couple of Chicago-style hot dogs (one of my all-time favorite foods)!

 While were were out my favorie baker was hard at work making me a cake and then later in the evening Leif cooked me and incredible meal! Yep, he made it from scratch.  Leif found this recipe for Clams Casino Stew in an issue of Esquire magazine; a manly recipe for a manly cook.  The meal was utterly divine and Leif's efforts were rewarded with big bold flavor!  I think he may have found his signature dish.  And get this, he told me he wants to learn how to make chili this autumn.

I cannot imagine a a better day.
Happy birthday to me!

On the Pitch...

 Finn took to the pitch with Eclipse yesterday and his team managed to eek out a tie on the windy pitches in Grey's Lake.  He has been enjoying his new team tremendously.  He is sure to enjoy his trip to Iowa next week-end to play in a series of regional games in the MRL.  He sure has a lot to look forward to this season.

Monday, September 16, 2013

View From a Meeting...

It would be hard to keep me indoors with this view of New York City tempting me to go exploring!
Thank goodness Leif has more self control than me.  I have to admit I was a little jealous when he sent me this shot of the view of The Big Apple from the window where his Public Allies board meeting is being held this afternoon.  Lucky Leif!

Friday, September 13, 2013

At the Printer...

I wrote my food column this week about one of the dishes featured in the Day Nursery's forthcoming cookbook.  In the end, I decided that Beatrice's recreation of Coq au Vin to honor the organizations 2002 progressive dinner, Riverwalk, best represented the spirit of the book.  
But choosing was not easy! 

Building the beautiful volume from two decades worth of historical (and sometimes hysterical) recipes the organization's dedicated board of directors used over the years at their annual fundraisers was a labor of love.  Some of the dishes are totally original and others were adapted from existing recipes, but all of them are easy to execute, can be adjusted to feed a crowd and/or offer fantastic cook 
ahead options for easy entertaining.  

Bringing a small part of this organization's rich history to life through photographs and food has made me profoundly happy.    I have been working on the book for a full year and thanks to eager editors and volunteer cooks it is finally finished.  I cannot wait for people to see it on September 25th; it is full of genuine culinary kitsch and a whole lot of delish!  

In the meantime, check out the photos of some of my favorite recipes contained in the book...
Ratataouille Cups-1992 (page 18)
The President's Chili-1993 (page 57)
 Bangkok Beef Salad-1994 (Page 63)
All American Tuna Melt Triangles-2005 (page 73)
Spanish Style Chicken Wings-1991 (page 78)

Five Spice Tea Cakes with Ginger Cream-2004 (page 109)
 Banana Walnut Spring Rolls-2004 (page 105)
Almond Flan with Summer Fruit-1991 (page 103)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Birthday Boy...

 It is nearly impossible to imagine that one of my favorite little wonders celebrated his second birthday this week-end; after all, it feels like he was born yesterday.I have just loved watching handsome Vikas grow and change over the past 24 months.  We've witnessed other milestones and enjoyed countless beautiful everyday moments in his young life and it was an honor to watch this big-eyed inquisitive fellow blow out his birthday candles surrounded by his doting parents.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Shut Down...

By the looks of that smile on Emma's face you'd never guess that she is struggling with a pretty tricky injury to her lower lumbar spine.  Her prescription is to "be totally boring" for at least two weeks; no gym, no dancing, and no carrying her books.  She'll have an MRI on Tuesday that will likely tell us more about what is plaguing our favorite young dancer, but until then she will be sitting on a couch. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cave of the Mounds...

Emma and I decided to visit Cave of the Mounds on our way home from our camping and we were tickled to death that everyone piled onto our touristy plan.  I am ashamed to admit that I've never been to Cave of the Mounds before, but I sure am glad we stopped to check it out this national landmark.  The cave is remarkable and touring it was the perfect way to end our camping week-end.

2 of 17...

We love camping with our amazing friends!  Finn had a soccer tournament this week-end so Leif stayed behind with him and Emma and I headed up for a little girlie bonding time and lots of fun with 14 of our closest friends at Governor Dodge State Park.  We swam in the lake for hours, indulged in traditional camping fare like cheese in a can, campfire packets and an old school tuna ball.

We celebrated a birthday with mustaches, hats and a pinata and  gathered around the campfire for s'mores at night and coffee and eggs in the morning.

We visited New Glarus Brewery and enjoyed a couple of pints of refreshing beer before finishing off our day with a dinner we affectionately called sausagepalooza!

Emma and I were super proud that we were able to manage our week-end camping on our own, but Leif had us so well prepared we cannot take all the credit for our success.  I just loved being able to hunker down with my favorite girl in the whole wide world for a couple of days in the woods.  Being with our friends is always a treat and I cannot wait for our next outdoor adventure.
(thanks for the picture Ang!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...