Friday, January 30, 2015

SDC Cassoulet X: A Ticketed Event

An invitation to Sunday Dinner Club is something to cherish, but an invitation to experience SDC's famous cassoulet dinner is culinary bliss!  I brought Aim with me to join in with a bunch of other fabulous folks to settle in for a cozy dinner and more than a few sips of wine.

The good people behind SDC have been making their Chicago inspired cassoulet for ten years!  And that kind of dedication leads to perfection. No question, both the crouquettes and winter citrus salad were memorable ofering, but the star of the evening was the warming bowl of slow cooked amazingness.  If someone had tried to take my bowl of cassoulet before I licked it clean I would have physically defended my territory; it was THAT good.  
Brandade Croquettes
Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon Aioli
Winter Citrus
Beets and Carrots.Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Leek Vinaigrette and Micro Greens
SDC Cassoulet
Garlic Sausage, Duck Confit, Leg of Lamb, Slab Bacon, Duck Fat Bread Crumbs and Dijon Mustard....and a pinch of parsley to make you feel a little better about yourself. 

Half Eaten Dessert:
Chocolate Mousse
 Milk Chocolate Marcona Almond Toffee 
Applause for the masterminds behind a memorable evening and Honey Butter Fried Chicken To Go
And yes, that meant we had to save room for fried chicken after falling into a cassoulet coma.
Too much amazing!

City Folk...

I love sharing a night on the town with these two incredible people more than I can say.  Leif treated us to a steak dinner at Gibson's and took all four of us to see Stomp last Sunday!  This special outing was part of a series of family experiences Leif gifted me at the holidays; he wants to make sure the four of us have  loads of fun together before Emma heads off to school in the fall.  How cool is he?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dinner Fare...

Braised Kobe Shortrib with Kabocha Toast and Brussels Ruffles.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Lulu is happy to stay in the house wrapped up in a blanket from November to March, but Fitz is  overjoyed by the snow in our back yard.  He put one paw in the white stuff and took off like a bullet train!  I snapped this picture of our handsome friend when he paused just long enough to check out the falling snow before taking off again.  It is such fun to see him experience winter for the very first time.  He sure knows how to put the wonder into a winter wonderland!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Breakfast...

Finn has been under the weather with a cold for a few days and his appetite hasn't been great, but this morning he woke up craving some serious breakfast.  This picture perfect offering did the trick and I am happy he is on the mend! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Trendy Paella...

You can read my 2015 food trends predictions here, but I thought this recipe was too good not to share!  Whip up a batch to be on trend right from the start of the new year

Trendy Spanish Paella with Smoked Paprika
Serves 8
Put a couple of my 2015 food trends to good use by whipping up a batch of this week-night paella.  Serve the dish alongside a green salad dressed with sherry vinegar for an extra bit of Spanish flair.

6 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ Pound thin chicken breast cutlets
½ Pound raw 26-30 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 sweet onion, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ Cups long grain rice
1 ½  teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon saffron threads
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 Can chopped tomatoes, drained
2-15 ounce cans reduced sodium chicken broth
½ pound smoked sausage, sliced
1 Cup frozen peas, thawed
¼ Cup minced Parsley.

Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.  Heat 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large high-sided, non-stick skillet until barely smoking. Add the chicken and cook for three minutes per side or until cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Toss the shrimp until just opaque (about 4 minutes) before transferring to a bowl to rest.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the onions, peppers and garlic. Cook stirring the vegetables frequently over medium heat until soft and translucent (about 6-8 minutes). Add the rice, turmeric, saffron and smoked paprika to the pan and cook stirring constantly until rice is sizzling and well coated with spices.  Stir in the salt, tomatoes and broth and bring the mixture to a boil before covering the pan.  Reduce the heat to low and allow the rice to cook for 25 minutes.

While the rice is cooking slice the cooked chicken.  Remove the cover from the rice and mix well.  Fold in  the chicken, shrimp, sausage and peas.  Cover and allow to heat through (about 5 minutes).  Transfer the paella to a large serving bowl and garnish with the parsley.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


 Fish Taco Friday at the #gillhouse is worthy of a social media frenzy!  As always the food was perfect and the company was just as yummy. Love this invitation.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Searching for Ziggy Stardust...

Early this morning Leif headed downtown to brave the very long lines at the MCA Chicago to procure a few tickets to the much buzzed about David Bowie exhibt.  Not only was he successful in grabbing the hard to get passes he came home with a bunch of Stan's Donuts to share for breakfast.  I savored my peanut butter and banana donut before we all boarded the train and headed into the city to find Ziggy Stardust!

 We took our time making our way through the fascinating Bowie display and fully appreciated the Body Doubles show on the lower level before doing a little bit of shopping and enjoying a memorable family meal at The Pump Room! It was a stellar staycation day in our favorite city!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year...

 Welcoming 2015 had the Elsmo four heading in different directions.  With Emma heading to a party and Finn tucked safely away with friends, Leif and I headed to the Frigs for some Asian delights and good company!  Lucky us.
 I whipped up some dumplings, salad rolls and pork belly buns for the group before Penny presented us with a hot pot extravaganza! 

 After cooking up bowls full of noodles, meat and veggies in hot broth we welcomed the new year with walnut cakes and a champagne toast.

Welcome 2015!

On the Plate in 2014...

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