Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mad Science...

Mad Scientist's Old Fashioned Petri Dishes
(Makes about 1 dozen 2-ounce shots)

For the cherry bitters- rosemary simple syrup:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup cherry bitters
1 rosemary sprig

For the Old Fashioned gelatin:
1 cup cold water
1 cup cold cherry bitters-rosemary syrup
1/4 cup Maraschino cherry juice
3 envelopes unflavored Knox gelatin
1 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon grated orange

For assembly:
Orange peel
Maraschino cherries
Rosemary needles

To make the cherry bitters-rosemary simple syrup: Combine the sugar, water, cherry bitters and rosemary sprig in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat and allow the syrup to simmer for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the simple syrup into a small bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Syrup can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

To make the Old Fashioned gelatin: Combine the water, simple syrup and cherry bitters in a small saucepan. Sprinkle all three packages of gelatin evenly over the liquid and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. After the gelatin is hydrated, bring the mixture to a simmer stirring gently until gelatin is dissolved. Remove the gelatin base from the heat and stir in the bourbon and orange zest.

To assemble the petri dishes: Place three halved maraschino cherries, a strip of orange zest and a few rosemary needles into the bottom of the petri dishes or small shallow bowls. Pour the Old Fashioned gelatin mixture over the garnishes to the depth of about 1/4 inch. Cover the petri dishes with their glass lids (or plastic wrap if using an alternate vessel) and refrigerate 3 hours until set. 
Can be made 1 day ahead.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tre Kronor...

Following a rather heartbreaking 2-1 sectional loss to the Fenwick Friars, we took our favorite Shamrock to have a spur-of-the-moment Swedish dinner at Tre Kronor in Albany Park.  While a victory on the soccer pitch would have been most delicious, this savory meal shared with our friend Nubia was just what we all needed to feel warm and cozy after such an abrupt end to a  thrilling soccer season.
As a preamble to a mess of Swedish meatballs, lingonberries and pickled cucumbers, I ordered Tre Kronor's, Sill Tallrik. The composed salad features two preparations of pickled herring with mixed greens, tomato and hard boiled egg. It is seriously one of my favorite things I have eaten in 2016!

3258 West Foster

Monday, October 24, 2016

Regional Champions...

We are so very proud of this hardworking team of players, coaches and parents! 
It really is a great time to be a Shamrock!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Cowboy Birthday Surprise....

My brother, mom and I pulled off a fun birthday surprise for my dad today! Our favorite cowboy wasn't too keen on having a big hullabaloo for his 70th birthday, but we knew we still needed to do something festive.  We opted to limit our celebration to close family and use a trip to the pumpkin patch as a rouse to keep my dad in the dark. Leif told my dad I had a last minute headache that made impossible for me to make the trip to Lake Geneva, but little did he know I was back at the house setting up an wild west inspired party!
We all worked together to pull this shindig mom sourced the cake and hid dishes and balloons all over her brother worked on all the design elements for the party and pulled together our list of "70 Things we Love about Dad" into a booklet and a really cool portrait of my dad...I put together the flowers, planned the menu and cooked a chuckwagon luncheon.

Home Cooked Birthday Vittles for Dad

Saloon Starters/
Cowboy Caviar with Whistle Berries and Cackleberries
Wrangler Pate & Jalapeno Corn Dip with Crackers and Veggies

Chuck Wagon Luncheon/
Apple Cider Brined Fried Chicken with Bee Sweetenin’ and Cyprus Flake Salt
Fart and Dart Cowboy Beans
Western Wedge Salad
Mel Park’s Mac N’ Cheese
Green Beans à la Lucky Chance
Wild West Apple Cole Slaw

Cake, Candles and Birthday Wishes

We enjoyed bourbon and snacks in the saloon before heading upstairs for a hearty lunch of fried chicken, mac n' cheese and cowboy beans.  After we filled our bellies we showered my dad with a thoughtful group gift.  Overall I think he was very very surprised and supremely grateful for our efforts.  It was a memorable day all around!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fiery Girls in Section 8...

Annual Chicago Fire Tailgaite...

It's always a great day when Leif hosts our annual Chicago Fire tailgate. We had an abundance of food...Italian subs, chili dogs, deviled eggs, chicken poppers and white chocolate popcorn! It was a delicious way to spend a day and even better the Fire brought home a win!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Carpool Companion...

Fitz loves going for a ride in the car more than just about anything, but he can barely contain his excitement when he sees his favorite Shamrock heading toward the car!

Friday, October 7, 2016

New Tablescape...

Welcome Autumn!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Little Luncheon Dish...

Begin preparing this salad they day before you plan to serve it for best flavor and easy service.
For the Dressing:
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 anchovy, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Cup Olive oil

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, anchovy, garlic and shallot in a small bowl.  Season with the salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.  Transfer dressing to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  Allow the dressing to come to room temperature and shake well before assembling the salad.

For the Tomatoes:
2 Roma tomatos
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 thyme sprig
1 large garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Cut the tomatoes in half length wise and place them, cut side up, in a glass baking dish. Drizzle them with the olive oil. Strip the leaves from the thyme sprig and sprinkle over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle the minced garlic over the tomatoes and season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes for 90 minutes until starting to dry, but still juicy.  Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temp before serving.  Tomatoes can be refrigerated over night in an airtight container; allow them to come to room temp before serving (You can also roast more than 2 tomatoes at once-fill up the pan if you want-they are wonderful served with quiche, roasted chicken, or shrimp, feta and olives).

For the Potatoes:
12-16 small yukon gold potatoes
1 yellow onion, halved
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt

Place the potatoes in pot large and cover them with cold water.  Add the halved onion, thyme sprigs and bay leaf to the pot.  Season the water with enough salt to make it taste as salty as the ocean...seriously taste it and be sure it reminds you of the beach. This is the only way the potatoes will get seasoning and salty water draws moisture out of the potato and helps create a buttery/fluffy texture. Bring the pot to a boil on the stove, reduce heat and allow the potatoes to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes and allow to cool to room temperature. Potatoes can be cooked one day ahead and refrigerated.  Allow them to come to room temp before serving.

For the Green Beans:
24 Green Beans, trimmed 
1 teaspoon salt
1 Ice bath

Bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil and season with the salt.  Add the beans and allow them to boil for three minutes or until just crisp-tender. Drain and plunge the par-cooked beans into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Dry the beans with a papertowl and store them in the fridge until ready to serve.

For the Eggs:
2 large eggs (preferably closer to their sell-by date; older eggs are easier to peel)
Place the eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with enough tepid water to cover by two inches. Allow the eggs to sit in the water for 15 minutes before bringing them to a boil.  Allow the eggs to boil gently for 7 minutes before draining and rinsing with cold water.  Peel the eggs and cut them in half lengthwise.  They can be stored in the refrigerator over night.

For the Salmon:
2 (6-8 ounce) portions farm-raised salmon, skin and dark grey blood line removed
1 Tablespoon snipped chives
Salt and pepper
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour (place in a shallow plate or dish)
Pan Spray
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Lemon, halved

Allow the fish to come to room temp (about 30 minutes) Cut each salmon portion in half through middle creating 2 equal square shaped portions. Sprinkle the presentation side with the chives and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press the top of the seasoned salmon into the flour and shake off the excess.  Generously spray a non-stick skillet with pan spray and add the canola oil to the pan.  Heat the pan over medium high heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the salmon portions floured side down and cook, without moving or touching for 3 minutes or until the top is golden brown and it appears each piece in nearly cooked halfway through.Gently flip the salmon portion, reduce heat to medium and allow to cook on the second side for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a rack and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour before serving.

To Assemble the salad:
12 ounces mixed greens, torn-I used boston, red leaf, endive and spinach
3 Tablespoons salad dressing, plus more for drizzling
4 cooked salmon portions
12 cooked potatoes
24 cooked green beans
4 herb roasted tomato halves
4 hard boiled egg halves
20 pitted Kalamata Olives

Toss the lettuce with 3 Tablespoons of dressing.  Distribute the dressed greens among four large salad bowls. Place a salmon portion in the center of each bowl. Tuck the potatoes and green beans on either side of the salmon.  Nestle an egg half and a roasted tomato half in the bowl near the salmon.  Sprinkle the salad with the olives and drizzle the salmon with additional dressing as desired.

It is always a treat to serve a little lunch to people who care about The Day Nursery even more than I do! Taking time to think about the future of our organization was quite delicious!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Publican with Herbal Nan...

One of my all-time favorite restaurants with my all-time favorite folks!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Happy Birthday Kelly Ripa!

 Last week-end Aim threw me an awesome birthday brunch.  We ate egg casserole and drank bloody marys. It was all so delicious we opted to do it all again this week-end. We searched for a reason to celebrate and thank goodness Kelly Ripa was celebrating a birthday on October 2nd. We enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning in her honor!

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