Necessity is the mother of invention. Or in my case the loathe of going to the store twice in one day. I forgot appetizers to pickup some pre-dinner snacks so I had to improvise with what I had on hand. I’ve had a 3 lb. bag of pecans taking up space in the fridge for far too long so they were top on my list.
Thankfully, the weather is finally more closely resembling spring than winter. It was nice to have the doors open and let the sun in. Blasted some music and I got to cooking. I mixed up a savory snack mix type coating for the nuts, Sriracha for heat. Everything is better with Sriracha, right?
They baked up nicely. Great snack and even better thrown in a salad. They could use more heat though, another 1/2 tsp. of Srirachi would have been just right.
Sunday started blustery, but was everything a Sunday should be in the end.
Brunch, every Sunday should include brunch.
We hit up Little Goat, out first visit. Nothing little about this place.
Well except for the wait. We got there at about 8:30 and had no problems getting a seat. But the place filled up QUICK, 9 am seems to be the start of the busy time.
Best bloody Mary I’ve had, it included smoked pickle juice and the olive stuffed with horseradish cream cheese. I hate olives, but the cream cheese was amazing.
There is a large menu to select from, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner selections. I went with the shrimp and grist, which was from the Cereal Killer section of the menu. A bit more soupy than I expected, but delicious all the same. The food was incredible and the service was amazing! I am glad it is close to us, because we definitely plan to go back soon.
After brunch we went to see the movie Muppets Most Wanted. Two thumbs up! Tina Fey was awesome, like she can be anything but. This movie was even better than the last
I spent the rest of the afternoonaccomplishing some really not fun outdoor chores, but hey at least the sun was out. Finished it all off with home cooked Chicken Vesuvio. I can’t believe I have never attempted this dish before now. It turned out pretty OK, but needs some work.
Though, the bread I brought home from Little Goat smeared with the garlic cloves baked with the chicken was perfection. I also must say, even though the cold and snow make summer seem so far away, it is awesome to still have the sun up after 7 pm.
Sunday funday, too bad it can’t last all week-long, but I’ll take it!
I celebrated the New Year in Michigan this year. It started snowing in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve and didn’t stop anytime before I left. White knuckle drive home, though shout out to Indiana, of the three states I drove through they were the only one with plowed roads. I arrived home to more snow, and again it hasn’t stopped. I’ve shoveled three times, you can’t much tell. We measured about 12″ of snow on our deck.
I tried to get where I needed to go, I got the car out of the garage but could not get much further. Luckily, I was able to get the car back in the garage without having to get a push (good thing since no one was around). Love an excuse to stay home. Bonus, an evening home alone. What to do? Simple meal to warm my belly and a movie of MY choosing of course!
Admittedly, eggs and tomato sauce did not sound like a good match when I first saw this dish. Though once I tried it I became a huge fan. It is so easy, works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is a great comfort meal on a snow chilly day.
Even better, I usually have all the ingredients I need on hand. Even better on a snowy day when you can’t get out. I made a quick tomato sauce, just cook up a sliced clove of garlic in oil olive for a minute, add a can of tomatoes. Crushed or diced, try fire roasted for even more flavor.
Use whatever cheese you have on hand. Fresh Parmesan would be great. I used goat cheese. Cook until heated and season to taste. Easy peasy. Cook the eggs to the desired doneness, I like them cooked like that of a poached egg which is just about when the egg white sets. Baguette slices, or really any bread slices, are necessary to get every last drop of tastiness.
No fuss, no mess, and so good that I had it for dinner last night and breakfast today. Oh, and I watched The Way Way Back, two thumbs up.
2013 was a spectacular year, I am a little sad to see it go. But I appreciate the time to reflect on the past, plan the future, and use the new year as a reset button. Besides, there are a lot of great things ahead in 2014. No specific resolutions for me, though I really love these combined approaches to New Year’s resolutions. First, assign a theme to your year. Next, define measurable goals to manage it. A good plan for making and keeping those resolutions. A few specific things I hope to tackle, breaking most of these bad tech habits, keeping up on my reading, and getting back to my regular postings here.
We had a very low-key weekend, it was soooo nice. I even found a few hours to park myself on the couch under a nice warm blanket and read my book uninterrupted. It has been months since I finished a book, such a rare treat.
This time I gave the caramelized garlic tart a try. Easy enough recipe, though peeling all the garlic cloves was a pain in the ass, and I reeked of garlic. Quick wipe of my hands on the stainless steel faucet and I was good as new.
Roll puff pastry, and place in pie pan. Bake 20 minutes.
Place garlic cloves in small pan, cover with water, bring to a simmer, and blanch for three minutes. Drain.
Warm olive oil over high heat, add garlic, and fry for 2 minutes.
Add vinegar and water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add sugar, herbs, a pinch of salt, and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and liquid becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes.
Set garlic aside, discard rosemary sprig.
Break the cheeses into big bite-sized pieces and scatter into the partially baked crust.
Add the garlic and syrupy sauce.
Whisk together the eggs, cream, and sour cream, ½ teaspoon of salt, and generous pinch of pepper. Pour over everything.
Bake 45-55 minutes, until the filling has set and the top is golden brown.
I could have stopped at making the garlic, and just spread that on bread. Syrupy sauce not pictured, I removed the garlic and cooked it down to thicken some more.
My finished product is not purty, but it sure was tasty! The garlic flavor is not harsh at all. It is similar to flavor as roasted garlic, however the cloves have a more solid texture, it is not as spreadable (if that makes sense). No matter, it was delicious! It is rich, so best served with a nice crisp refreshing salad.
Onto a crazy fun week, glad I was able to get some r&r to prepare.
Our family loves to spend a Sunday watching the Bears. The schedule this year has not coordinated with our family schedule. Lacrosse took most of our Sundays, and the Monday and Thursday night games are too late for school nights. Last weekend my husband was lucky enough to get to see the game, his two favorite teams, the Bears and Lions. This weekend is our first chance to watch and enjoy the Bears as a family. What goes better with football than, football food!
We always struggle to come up with new appetizer ideas. Always! Yet, most of the recent recipes I have posted are appetizers. Go figure. I decided to go old school and flip through my book or recipe cards for some ideas, and ran across a recipe for artichoke dip that caught my eye (and I had everything on hand)…
My friend Jill gave me this recipe. Jill and I worked together in NYC. Our office was on Park Ave in midtown, it was very shee-shee. It was the hey-day, breakfast was served every Monday morning, the kitchen was stocked with drinks and snacks, a show-shine came in once a week and shined the executive’s shoes at their desk, a masseuse came in once a week and setup shop in the conference room. An expensed lunch at a place like Le Cirque was standard practice. Good times! Of course, being the IT people in the office, we shared a counter for our desks in an inside space that was essentially the copy/server room.
The office occupied the entire floor of the building. The executives sat around the perimeter in the windowed offices. The admins around the inner perimeter outside the offices. Everyone in the office was so nice, especially considering I was an outsider and essentially squatting in their office while continuing to work for the folks back in Chicago. It was a very fortunate situation for me. Over time I came to realize the inner perimeters of admins had segregated each other around geographic origin. All the native Mid-westerners sat down one two walls, and the East Coasters down the other walls. The separation had happened naturally overtime, the two groups seemed to mix like oil and water. It was such an odd phenomenon to me.
That was over 15 years-ago. Jill and I are have both since moved back to the Midwest. We don’t get a chance to see each other often, but we keep in close touch. No one is better a host then she, no detail is ever overlooked. Her cooking is pretty fabulous too. She is always the first person I run to when I am in search of a recipe, or to get help with a party or dinner gathering, among other things. She gave me this recipe probably 13 years-ago after she came to stay with us in Chicago. What I really love about this recipe, is the flavor of the artichoke is not drowned in cream cheese or other overwhelming ingredients. While it is hearty, it is not too heavy.
Heat butter in a skillet. Saute onion about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook 1 more minute. Let cool.
Defrost spinach in strainer. Press water out.
In a large bowl mix all(except mozzarella) ingredients.
Transfer mix into greased casserole, top with mozzarella.
Back at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Serve with pita chips or thick tortilla chips and vegetables.
I changed the original recipe a little bit. I cut back on the mayo and added some sour cream. I like this new Greek yogurt and sour cream mixture from Breakstone’s. It is essentially light sour cream cut with plain Greek yogurt.
The chiles provide a good zip, but not too much heat. The curry adds great flavor, but no one would guess it was an ingredient. The lemon juice adds some brightness. While leftovers are rare, they make great pita nachos (pitas, topped with dip, mozzarella, back and then top with chopped tomatoes and green onion) or as a pizza topping.
This was a victory in the kitchen, I am 2-2 this weekend. Can’t win ‘em all! We got plenty of Bears time today, especially thankfully we escaped the worst of the storms. The pictures look devastating, heartbroken for those impacted.