Friday, November 28, 2008

A Fiery Orphans Thanksgiving.

We started as 3. Grew to 9 for dinner. Then 16 for the late night fun banter.

It was a long day for me. Up at 8am to start cooking. And the last guest left round 2am.

It was an almost perfect day...except the FIRE!!!!

Yesh! I caught the house on fire. The oven really. So. We bought one of those cheap pans to roast Mr. Turkey in. Apparently there was some crack in it? All the fat leaked into the bottom of the oven and caught on fire! Fat fire!!!

It was very exciting and very hilarious. Brian and I stood looking at it--the fire. Then we'd look at each other. I dashed into the pantry looking for baking soda. We only had baking powder. It does NOT work the same. Nope. So then Brian started to get water and I said "Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!" So then we looked at it some more. As the smoke filled the kitchen and all of our eyes watered I thought of what was most important--The Turkey. So I rescued the turkey. Just as Amanda dashed in with the fire extinguisher. We didn't need the extinguisher. The Fat fire burned off and calmed down. That's what fat fires do.

It was hilarious. The day thus far had gone way too smoothe. I was way ahead of schedule. After the event the house reeked of smoke! Windows open, fans out before the guests arrived.

Loved it. One of those memories. My first Thanksgiving where I ran the show and I almost burned the house down.

We made so much food.

The Menu:

I made:
Apple Brown Sugar Brined Turkey.
Cornbread and Pretzel Stuffing.
Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes.
Carrot Yogurt Salad.
Hazelnut Brown Buttered Brussel Sprouts
Sweet Potato Casserole
Croissants with Brown Sugar Butter

Merissa brought:
Spoonbread
Broccoli Casserole

Erika and Nando brought:
Cheesy Green Beans
Marshmallowy Potatoes and Squash

Becket brought:
Greens. Salad and Greens!

Amanda brought:
Sweet Potato Pie
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
Cranberry Relish

Ben brought:
Clementine Salad
Banana Bread
A lot of booze

Galen brought:
Pumpkin Pie

Mika brought:
1/2 a bottle of wine

Brianna and Andrew brought:
Their sweet asses.

We ended the night with a 3 hour conversation about gender, sexuality, expectation, and power. We're, like, really smart and articulate people who can shovel massive amounts of food down our gullets.

After the fire. Not quite cooked of course, Just smokey. extra smokey. Thank goodness for the oven downstairs!!! We would have been shit outta turkey luck!



Ahhhhhh! I did not finish my plate. So ashamed.



The first wave.Good little eaters and amusers.



I love hosting things. I wish everyday was a holiday where I can cook feasts for my loved ones.

I'll invite you next time. If you tell me how pretty I am.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Somebody lied to Rachel Ray...

When they told her that this was a good idea.



Or this.



This either.



Ooooop,here's another.My fav!



She's not the only one.

Cat Cora got tricked too...




Bless their hearts.

This is the ONLY Food Network Star that can get away with FHM spreads.



Giada.

I am sexy. You are sexy. Rachel Ray? Noooooo sexy. Huh? Or am I wrong? Are these hot? Bah.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Great Chicago Cupcake Off of November 8th 2008

So it was my Birthday on Saturday. It was a really great day. Really great. Relaxed but jovial. Surrounded by my favorite people.

We had a deliciously delicious meal at Uncommon Ground.

http://www.uncommonground.com/pages/clark_home/19.php

We feasted on...


Sweet Potato fries with goat cheese fondue!


Sunshine Salad:organic greens, seasonal farmer’s market vegetables, avocado,sunflower seeds & sprouts, apple cider vinaigrette, seeded flatbread crisp!


Pumpkin Ravioli:creamy sage brown butter, toasted hazelnuts, gorgonzola cheese!


Duo of duck:duck confit, seared duck breast, black river gorgonzola, ‘crunchy’ potatoes, farmers market onion & port wine duck jus!


Crispy gunthorp farm chicken breast:apples, butternut squash, swiss chard, brie, apple brandy reduction!


Among other things.


We boozed on...


Frida Kahlo: Dark chocolate liqueur, madagascar vanilla vodka, kalua, omahene chocolate, cinnamon-cayenne pepper syrup.

Neal Cassadys Coffee: Madagascar vanilla bean house-infused whiskey,
black cat double espresso & steamed maple cream



Plus two seasonal drinks called Tom Waitts for No Man


and The Blanche Devereaux



And!

Black dog gelato & sorbet trio:choose three: whiskey, caramel-goat cheese,salty peanut, fresh mint or cocoa nib,cucumber-rose sorbet or strawberry-rhubarb sorbet!




After dinner we headed home where we entertained ourselves with song, rhyming games, wine, and...

CUUUUUUUUPCAAAAAAAKES!


I went to three bakeries...

Molly's
http://www.mollyscupcakes.com/

Southport Grocery
http://www.southportgrocery.com/

Angel Food Bakery
http://www.angelfoodltd.com/

We judged by looking and tasting and scoffing and yumming.





Here was the selection with awarded titles.

Molly's: 1st place
Chocolate with Chocolate Icing--Moistest!Moistest? Not a word, right?
Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Icing--Weirdest Icing
Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing--Best overall. Winner extraordinaire.Prettiest
Vanilla with French Butter cream Icing--Most delicious yet boring.
These puppies won overall.All four were quite good.

Angel Food:2nd place
Coconut-- Biggest. Easiest to cut.
Pumpkin with Cream Cheese Icing-- Most seasonal, duh.
They were pretty and boxed nicely.

Southport Grocery:3rd place
Vanilla on Vanilla--Easiest removed wrapper. Ooo.
Chocolate on Chocolate--Best chocolate cupcake that tasted nothing like chocolate.
Oddly dryer then expected. Good frosting I guess, but dry as your dirty kunst(art) face.

We had so much fun. Well, I did. 24 is gonna be a goodie. I can feel it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dinner Party of Dreams

Braden, Vanessa, and Blayne were going to have dinner.

Austin, Brian, and myself were going to have dinner.

So, like duh, we combined forces and had a delightful ole'time.

Menu:
Miso noodle soup with Shrimp.
Sticky rice with egg and seaweed
Veggie and Chicken Dumplings
Veggie Egg rolls
Chocolate and Green Tea Mochi
Gingerbread cake.
And6...6! bottles of wine. That's one a piece folks.


Topics discussed:
Whether or not sperm has souls. Is that why they sparkle under black lights? Is it their souls saying "Hello!!"?

Who is the funniest cartoon character of all time?Then the boys talked Disney cartoons for far to long. V and I were a bit in awe of their Aladdin/Little Mermaid/Beauty and the Beast knowledge. It was impressive. And weird. They were not ashamed.

We discussed our lovers or lack thereof.

As well as the art of projectile vomiting and our fascination with Cancer--especially my mother's benign tumor that grew body parts like teeth and eyelashes(for real.)

We debated whether or not I should get a tattoo on my back to commemorate this insane year that is almost behind me. What do you think? See it below.

We laughed. Hard. For hours.

...then we had massage time? Yeah, we paired off and massaged shoulders and necks. Bizarre, but a perfect ending to a wonderful meal...I think. No, I know it was! We're such hippies.

Go team Cabaret Vagabond. We were full of Asiany carbs and Kunst. Always Kunst. Lots of Kuuuuuust.

Soup and dumplins. I love dumplins. I once made pumpkin dumplins. Yeah, I know!


Sticky rice. How does it get so sticky?!? Magic!


Some gosh darn delicious soup. Hard to eat with chopsticks though. We did it anyway.We're hard core chopstickers.


Dessert by Austin and Trader Joe.


Our host and hostess. Good people. Two of the best.


3 of my favorite men on the planet and our attempt at being food critics. See us critique! Look at us gooooo!


My possible tattoo. She's sensual and confident, and would be there on my back even though I couldn't see her...I'd know she was there. I LOVE Mucha. He's everywhere in my apartment. I adore him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I have a question.

How much do you eat in restaurants?

Like twice a week? 4 or 5? Once a day? How about three times a day?

...Yeah that was my yesterday. I cook for people, but I don't cook for myself! The other day Brian said "I'm hungry" and I sprung into action and made him Quesadillas. I ate some too, but if I had not made a balanced meal for my big tall roommate I would have just eaten rice crackers, almond cheese, and nibbled on other things made of almonds. Like butter for instance...I don't know what this is all about.

I just roasted vegetables for me though... Eggplant, Cauliflower, and Asparagus. Best combo ever!

But back to restaurant living. I must spend 50% of my income on food. BUT hey I don't spend money on nail polish or crystal meth or a pet goldfish so it must balance out right? I have fine taste. I can't help it. I can't help lots of things.

So last night after seeing Edward II(which is fantastic--go see it!)at Navy Pier we somehow ended up in Evanston. Wait, I know how. I forgot to get off Lake Shore drive and then suddenly we were in Evanston! So we picked up Brian from rehearsal and went to Tommy Nevins Pub. Because it was the ONLY thing open.

I found our variety of food to be quite amusing. Please enjoy.

Mine was Salad and Sweet Potatoes. Boring, I know. The Sweet Potatoes were amazing. Like pie. Only potatoes.




Brian, as usual, ate the only balanced meal. Salmon Flatbread. Nice ratio of Carbs to Protein, B!



Brianna had her free Mexican beer, her Jamison and Baily's and her mini chicken Caesar salad.



Finally Braden's...Oh, yes. Cream cheese balls with BBQ Cocktail sauce. And Berry Bread Pudding. I argued that the Bread Pudding's texture was not authentic, but I was overruled by the table.



I have the best times in restaurants over food with the ones I love. I shall never stop! Never. You are NOT the boss of me crumbling economy!

Hey,wanna get brunch?

Friday, October 17, 2008

My body is angry at me.

Dear Kids,

If you are googling me. Go do your homework and/or practice the silly things I have taught you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In other news.My body is still angry at me. Though I'm doing well on this clense. 21 days, you know. Oprah did it, but isn't looking to hot these days. But I like fat Oprah better anyways.

I made a delicius butternut bisque!

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks.(buy the pre-cut at Trader's Joes, yo.)
2 Apples
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup canned coconut milk(coconut milk is more super awesome cool then regular milk)
S&P
1 TLBS Curry Powder


1. In a soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the onion, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.Add apples Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.

2. Add stock, cover, and bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook about 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir in coconut milk.

3. Puree in a blender or food processor, working in batches. Return to the soup pot and heat through. Taste, and add salt if needed.

Woohoooooo!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crockpots and Crackbread.

It was cold today. I loved it! This is my absolute favorite time of year. I love sweaters and dirty chais and hats and all things cozy.

So tonight I whipped out the ole' crockpot. It's an oldy, but a goody. I bought it used, so just think of all the delicious meals cooked in that baby over the years. I wasn't prepared for this soup craving so tonight turned into my most favorite experiment...throw in whatever the hell I got in my kichen and see what happens.

You can throw aaaanything in a crockpot and it'll be delish.

Pasta+Milk+Cheese= Lazy Mac and Cheese
Fruit+Brown Sugar+Oatmeal=Lazy Cobbler
You can make Souffle!
Pot Roast!
And so much Soup. So easy. So healthy. So good.

I also made another batch of the most amazing cornbread. I made it for Barb and Sunil yesterday. It's a Shaker recipe and sweet baby Jesus is it good. I had to give it away today--which is fair because I guess they did pay for it. But tonight I made us some and it is ALL ours. Brian will eat it all though. He's selfish. I kid.

Happy End of September Soup
2 Leeks
1 Onion
4 Carrots
3 Staks of Celery
1/2 small head of Cabbage
Handful of Mushrooms
1 can of White Kidney Beans
1 can of diced Tomatoes
Bay leaf
Palm full of both Tarragon and Savory
S & P
2 Chicken Stock Cubes
3 cans of Water

Chop the chopables.
Throw it in your crockpot.
Turn on crockpot.



Go to Target.
Come home.
Eat Soup with....

Shaker Corn Bread
Dry:
1/4 cup of Flour
1 cup of Corn Meal
1 TLBS Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2 TLBS of FRESH Dill
1 cup of fresh Corn(about two ears-- frozen works)

Wet:
1 and 1/2 cups of Buttamilk(the recipe call for 2%, but I scoff at 2% when you can use Buttamilk!)
1/2 up of Egg Substitute(I highly doubt the Shakers used egg substitute...2 real eggs would work too.)
2 TLBS Honey(Spray the TLBS with cooking spray first. The honey'll slide right off...)
3 TLBS melted Butta

Pre-heat oven to 375
Combine dry ingredients.


In a separate bowl whisk wet together.
Make a well in the center of the dry and pour in wet.



Mix gently. Don't over mix. That takes away the fluff factor. And it's all about corn fluff people.
Pour in muffin tins or a cake pan. I've now made it both ways and it works great in either.
Bake for about 35 minutes. Watch the muffins though. Cooking time will be quicker on those little babies.



Mmmm....

Top soup with Parm cheese if you like.



Now have a crazy party in your mouth. Make your belly happy and warm your soul. It's that time of year.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Frittata of Dreams

Frittatas are like sooooo totally underrated. Wikipedia calls them Italian omelets. I like to think of them more as quiche without the crust! But many have argued with me on that. Namely, Braden LuBell. Frittatas are perfect. They're one of those dishes that'll really impress, but is so easy peasy. Oooo a Frittata with peas would be delish...

This particular Frittata has a bit of a Mexican flavor. But you could fancy it up in any style. Soy sauce and water chestnuts for an Asian delight. Feta and spinach for something Greeky.Do it up, yo.

Them Gredients:
5 whole eggs (Egg whites work perfectly fine as well.)
Splash of milk
One medium onion sliced and diced
One red bell pepper chopped and slopped
1/2 cups of corn (Fire roasted from Trader Joe's is the BEST!)
1/2 cup black beans
1-2 links of Chicken sausage.
One packet of SAZON!:The magical Mexican spice.
Pepper(You may or may not need more salt. SAZON!is pretty salt-a-licious.)
CHEEEEESE! (Any cheese really, I used cheddar.)

Chop everything chopable to about the same size. Throw the onions, peps, and sausage into a med-high pan with a bit of oil to start a brownin'.Once the onions start to caramelize add the corn and beans and SAZON! Let it cook for few minutes more to let the flavours combine.


Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Crack the eggies and whisk in a bowl with the milk.Pour mixture into the pan and let it cook until the edges begin to set. DO NOT STIR. This is key to make your Frittata a Frittata of Dreams!

Look at that creepy egg bubble.

So, if your saute pan has a plastic handle just wrap it in tin foil before you put it in the oven. Alton Brown taught me this at The School of the Food Network. He's a super genius. Now let the pan hang in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Slice and dice the cheese into a lovely little pile like this one. If your pile does not look exactly like this. Then obviously you have failed and you should hang up your chefs hat(Do you have a hat? I do. Jealous?)forever.


Top your Frittata of Dreams with cheese and switch the oven to broil. Keep an eye on it until the cheese is all melty.


Tada! Serve with something carb-a-licious. Toast? English Muffin? Bagel or Bran Muffin. Pancake!!Corn cake... Mmm, did I miss any breakfast carb? Croissant! Scone!Kolache!Yeah,Kolache.


Eat good my kittens, eat good.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday is Funday

Monday nights are the best! Monday means cookin' for clients. Monday also means those I love gather round my stove and engage in fun banter and wit whist I cook.

Last nights guests were Austin and Tiff with Brian joining a bit later.

We drank whisky. We did crossword puzzles. Mostly THEY did crossword puzzles. I only got two answers: moonshine and fry. God, I'm just a Tennessee hillbilly at heart ain't I? Then we watched a bit of the DNC and finished up the night drunkenly watching our favorite YouTube videos while I waited for the squash to finish roasting.

This week was a small order because B&S are going out of town.

Tada:
Fruit Salad. Which is actually quite tedious with all the mangoes and pineapple to cut up.
Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes. Comfort food. Mmm.
Curried Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash. Dani food, fo sho.
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells. So easy.

All are a breeze. But the last is, I think, the easiest and most tasty. Let's whack this one out shall we?

1. Boil large pasta shells and drain.

2. Combine in a bowl:
1 Small tub of Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup Parmesan
1 Cup Mozzarella
1 Small box of Frozen Spinach(thaw and squeeze out the water before you add)
1 Can of Artichokes roughly chopped



3.In a large baking dish pour a layer of pasta sauce. Jarred is totally fine. No judgment, yo.

4.Using a tablespoon fill each shell with the cheesy goodness.

5.Top with more sauce and sprinkle a bit more cheese.



6.Stick in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

Done and done.

Look a cat in a bag!



In other news: Come to our show!

Cabaret Vagabond:BoHoBo Bazaar
Location:117 N. Jefferson
Date/time: August 30th-9pm

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Omnivore’s Hundred

Here is a list somebody put together across the ocean. These are the foods we "should" eat before we die.

At the age of 23 I believe I am doing quite well. Quite well indeed! I have eaten 45?!!? I have SO many years to do the rest! It was really fun Googleing the ones I didn't know and then makin' little mental notes so I can check, check, check, em off my list as I continue on my foodie adventures.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore's Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros(spicy eggs, oh my!)
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding(Hey there, Birmingham England!)
7. Cheese fondue(Um, duh.)
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush (Hummus's eggplant cousin Baba!)
11. Calamari
12. Pho(Thanks Brit!)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle(Oh, sweet baby Jesus, yes)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes( Mead count? Honey wine?)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream(Pistachio ice cream is tied with Red Bean as my favorite.)
21. Heirloom tomatoes( Hey, Tennessee)
22. Fresh wild berries( Again with the Hey Tennessee. Blackberries galore!)
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans(OK, weird one, but OK)
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (Just Mussels at this point)
29. Baklava( Not a fan. It's too sweet.)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl(I've had the CC and the SB, but not the CCSB)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float( I LOVE root beer floats!!!!)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea( On a plane when I was 13)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (Hey, 1047 parties.)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more(Oh, someday.)
46. Fugu(Ahhhhhh!!!Blowfish! Maybe someday...)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut(Hey, Tennessee. KK in microwave?Mmm.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal(I think so.)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV(Which is weird, because I'm not a beer girl.Dani's a whisky girl.)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips(On frozen kefer!)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads(I know!!!Mmmm glands of young cows. Delish...)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake(All of the above?)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain(Oh, mama.)
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho( Not a fan. It's like cold drinkable pasta sauce.)
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe( Um, I have had this. Abroad. Waaay abroad with Brian.)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (Ew.)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie( Once, upon a time...)
78. Snail(Yum!)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini( I have SUCH a Bellinis in Venice story.)
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky(On the 4th of July)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.(Alinea)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers(In a salad once.)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam ( Sighhh. Hey, Tennessee)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox( Hey, Hey, Stagedoor Bagel Day.)
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Harvest Time with Brian and Jenny.

Since I've figured out how to e-mail pictures from my Blackberry/Future Box, this bloggin' should become more prevalent. See, I misplaced my camera in the move and have been too lazy to figure out how to download pics off my phone. And frankly blogs with no pictures is a snore, yes? No? But e-mail?!? Heck yeah. I'm the queen of e-mail.We're now all set for some serious business.

So. Harvest Time is our favorite Mexican Grocery in Lincoln Square. It has gorgeous produce and cheapo little delightful treats. Brian(the tall one), Jen(the young one), and I(the cooky one) took a stroll over to our little haunt. I had nothing to buy,neither did Jen,but of course we bought things. Brian had plenty to buy. At the end of our adventure I looked into our baskets and laughed and laughed. Such a silly contrast. Enjoy.

Brian's cart is the one of a well balanced man. Milk, Bread, Meat, Cheese. Superb Brian, really good show my dear chappy.



Jen looks like a supermodel by the way. She just got out of school and lives on Ramen noodles, CheeseItz, mac and cheese, hard boiled eggs(for protein, duh) and apparently scallops and frozen peas? HYSterical.



I decided to buy 3 fruits which all look the same.Red grapes,cherries, and figs.Purple and round and juicy and perfect. I'm a fruit whore. I also got the magic Mexican spice.



And then when we got home I introduced them to the wonder of fresh figs--which are in season and cheap!!!Eat them with cream cheese and walnuts or goat cheese and prosciutto! My roommates were unfamiliar. I educated them. They had only had the dried ones. I mean come on! Fruit of the Gods!


Look at that sexy piece of fruit.



Look at those sexy roommates.



Me likes them.