Monday, February 29, 2016

Full House...

We are just thrilled to have our Emma girl home with us for the week! Her spring break from classes at Temple means we have a house full of awesome folks! Last night we enjoyed a homey dinner of Emma's favorites...BBQ chicken, mac n' cheese and green beans. It is just such fun to have her around the house. 
LOVE!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

We Rocked the House!

We had another sell-out event to benefit the Oak Park Regional Housing Center and the School of Rock scholarship fund on Saturday night! Everyone had a great time sipping on an array of beers and fine fare.  Aim had the place looking like a million bucks and expanding the event over two floors allowed us to double the entertainment! Our guests sure were lucky!


Ticket holders enjoyed gorgeous bacon wrapped dates, savory smoked brisket tacos, and gougeres with bacon jam and pork belly among other memorable bites. I served up a duo of dishes to match two unique beers.  I whipped up this lovely whitefish ceviche tostada with flavors of grapefruit and fennel to pair with a stunning Belgian Blonde.  My second beer was a bitter IPA and I served it up with a sweet/salty/sour dessert jar. I was pleased with both offerings and I think they were well received. This event is one of my all time favs!  Cheers until next year!!



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

All Inclusive Entree...

I am more than a little proud I accommodated my first full fledged vegan at my table. Ten courses of meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, seafood-free fare for one guest. I been working up to this challenge for a while and finally mustered up the guts to say yes! I was particularly impressed with this entree offering. While the rest of my guests dined on a 2-day braised short rib, one special diner enjoyed my house-made vegan sausage with roasted poblano, cilantro and Mexican oregano served with pumpkin mole, pepita and orange. It was truly delicious!

SDC Cassoulet XI

Thank goodness I've stayed in good standing with the fine folks who organize a private party during Sunday Dinner Club's infamous cassoulet dinner series. This year I managed to snag four coveted slots for this supper club event.  The good people at SDC will serve up 31 sold out cassoulet dinner parties in February. Located above Honey Butter Fried Chicken, the folks behind this cassoulet madness know how deliver ambiance and loads of flavor! Aim, Pen, Rach and I settled in with 20 other fine folks last Thursday and let the sincere love of rustic French fare take over! This was a most perfect way to spend a week night...GREAT food and even better company!



Caramelized French Onion Dip with Potato Chips and Crudite
Shaved Kale Salad with Satsuma Vinaigrette, Candied Pecans, and Pomegranate 
 SDC Cassoulet
Garlic Sausage, Duck Confit, Leg of Lamb, Slab Bacon, Duck Fat Bread Crumbs, and Dijon Mustard
Chocolate Mousse with Graham Crackers and Toasted Marshmallow

And if that wasn't good enough, proper planning ensures you'll even have Honey Butter Fried Chicken for breakfast the next morning.  So much good.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feast for a Valentine...


This week I wrote a column encouraging folks to whip up Valentine's Day feast with beer pairings.  I took inspiration from the upcoming Rock the House event I am participating in on February 27th. The column offers up a quartet of simple dishes from peel and eat shrimp paired with a light  lager to a luscious ribeye steak served alongside a rich porter! On the 27th I'll offer up a pairing for a gorgeous Belgian Blonde to 200 eager Rock the House attendees supporting The Oak Park Regional Housing Center and School of Rock Scholarship Fund. Hope to see you there.!





Check out my article and recipe here:
And buy your tickets to the Rock the House event here:
Cheers to beer, food and LOVE!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Fried Chicken Date...

When Kate asks for fried chicken I cannot help but oblige! She asked for side dishes of mashed potatoes and broccoli; she is my kind of girl! I set these two up with a little dinner date at home and both were beyond appreciative of my efforts in the kitchen.  Adorable!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Herbal Nan @ Urban Till...

I have been very anxious to get Nancy to visit the farm and we finally had the chance to take a tour tonight.  We had a cocktail and a few snacks before checking out how my favorite urban farmers grow their stunning produce! Our favorite horticulturist was in her element as she wandered through this working indoor farm. So fun!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Birthday Boy!

Our best girl may live out east, but her best boy still stopped by for a birthday dinner with Leif, Finn and me!  We used his 19th birthday milestone as an excuse to indulge in an herb crusted beef tenderloin roast, bacon-cheddar twice baked potatoes and orange scented green beans with smoked almonds. We also a had a yummy Three Mike Cake and a rousing birthday candle race (I won). It is such a treat to have Jules around the house!

Monday, February 1, 2016

6,935 Days...


...of wedded bliss!  Hard to imagine that Leif and I warmed up a cold February day with all kinds of love 19 years ago today. I maintain our wedding was about as simple and timeless as a ceremony could have been, but I really love what the complexity nineteen years of marriage has brought to our lives. Last night we enjoyed a long and leisurely dinner at Mexique in our old neighborhood. We discussed some pretty grand plans to celebrate our 20th next year, but mostly I just love that we keep moving forward together with each passing year.

Chilling on a Monday...

St. Pat's was not in session today and that means Finn had a chance to chill out for the better part of the day. He has been running in a bunch of different directions these days and it was nice to see him so relaxed.  I whipped up a quartet of dishes for an upcoming food column and just kept passing them on to Finn. He enjoyed a goat cheese salad, some giant peel and eat shrimp, a plated of seared salmon and a steak with mushrooms.  Needless to say, he felt like king!  After I was done with my work I snuggled up with these two and watched a movie. Finn and I have a tradition of watching a movie from his childhood when he is off of school; this afternoon we watched Monsters Inc. before Finn headed off to play two soccer games!  Such a treat to spend time with one of my favorite people.
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