Monthly Archives: July 2010

Tuesday night is craft night.

Generally, this means that a handful of us get together and work on whatever sewing and/or crafty projects we are currently working on. Of late, this has been largely focused on wedding-dress-making, and with the wedding and honeymoon actually happening this month, we have had the past couple weeks off. So, despite this being the final Tuesday of July, it was our first craft night of the month.

Here’s what we accomplished:

Fine Art Trifecta: Eating, Drinking, and Discussing.

That’s right – pretty much nothing. At least in terms of crafting. As it turned out, I (Cindy) was not the only one interested in socializing but completely unmotivated to actually craft last night. So, when Greta showed up toting two bottles of three buck Chuck and dark-chocolate-covered-almonds-with-sea-salt just as I pulled the slightly-too-melty brie with farmers’ market sun gold tomato preserves out of the oven… the mentality went from “Maybe we’ll start making shit when Greta gets here” to “Fuck it, let’s eat, drink, and talk.” Which makes this post totally allowed on the food blog. Except, of course, that we failed to get any pictures of the actual food. But trust me when I say Brie + Sun Gold Tomato Preserves + Crushed Almonds = Delicious. [In case you’re wondering about those Sun Gold tomatoes, they’re orange, they look a lot like apricot, and don’t really taste much like what your brain says is tomato. But they’re delish nonetheless. And really, really good on baked brie.]

Tonight, we experimented with Red Snapper, which neither of us had tried before. It was a tasty piece of fish, accompanied by rice, and topped with tomatoes, shallots, kalamata olives, and thyme. We did take pictures, but they didn’t turn out very well – funky lighting or something, but here’s a shot anyway:


Red Snapper with Thyme, Tomato, and Olives (Click for recipe)

Guess I’ll have to do some learning about photographing food. Tasted good though. Up tomorrow is a Zucchini “Tagliatelle” with mint, cucumber, and lemon which sounds pretty good. Hopefully I’ll do better with the camera so we can share.

Date Night: Plums

So here’s how we got to tonight’s meal:

  • Right after we got married, we decided that we’ll have a date night on a weekly basis, during which we will try new recipes (except for once in a while, when we’ll go out to eat instead.) 
  • One of the things we’ve discovered in the course of our food adventures in the past few years is that we love the combination of meat and fruit together.
  • Cindy has been scouring the internet for recipes as of late (especially ice cream! but we’ll get to that next week when the ice cream maker arrives…) and has found many things that sound amazing.
  • We bought grass-fed pork loin chops at the farmers’ market yesterday.

When we put those things together, we get Pork Chops with Warm Plum Sauce. We could describe it, but we’re currently in a food coma from it, so we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:


Plums.


Pork.


Plums + Pork. (Click for recipe)


Plums + Pork + Improvised salad from yesterday’s leftovers = Dinner.

Thank you, goodnight.

farmers’ market inspiration

On Sunday afternoon, we made our first trip ever to the Glenwood Sunday Market, the weekly farmers’ market here in Rogers Park. Yes, we’ve lived here for two years already, and never been. Bad us. But, give us a little credit for finally getting our butts in gear.

We headed over intending to buy some produce for a nice, meatless dinner. However, as we arrived fairly late in the day, most of the veggies and all of the fruits had already been purchased. Which was sad. But – we did get a nice little bunch of garlic scapes. And we discovered a few different vendors selling local, grass-fed meat. We have some ideas in the works for later this week with that stuff, but tonight we bring you our inspired, veggie dish:


Seasoning and Grilling the Tomatoes


Dinner is served: Pan-Grilled Tomato and Feta Salad with Lemon-Parsley-Garlic Scape Dressing and Green Beans… (Click for recipe)

…accompanied by Fried Chickpea Patties – which, for the record, were much tastier than they appear. (Cindy’s creation)

We also plotted a quick and delicious dessert – some fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream!

Whipped Cream  – Cindy’s recipe, everything is approximate/to taste: Whip 2 cups heavy cream, 2 tablespoons sugar (your choice granulated or powdered; I prefer granulated), and 1-2 teaspoons vanilla in a standing mixer with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Swipe a fingerful and make sure it’s good before feeding to others!


(How to eat fresh strawberries and whipped cream – straight from the bowl.)

home sweet home

After a whirlwind three days in Boston, we got home, exhausted. We both had to work first thing in the morning, so we pulled out this standby favorite from Real Simple. Julia hit the market on her way home, and shortly after Cindy returned from work, we enjoyed Steak with Crispy Potatoes, Broccoli Rabe, and Pistachio Pesto. Julia added some mushrooms to her plate (Cindy hates mushrooms.)


(Click for recipe)

This isn’t a quick meal, but it is a yummy one. The pistachio pesto is particularly time consuming – more so this time because shelled pistachios were not available at the market, so Julia spent a while removing shells before she could do anything else. We like the pistachio pesto, as opposed to a traditional basil pesto, because good basil can be tricky to find, and the flat leaf parsley in this recipe is abundant and cheap!

So, we made a big batch of the pesto, and used it again the following night on a simple whole wheat pasta with shallots and some fava beans leftover from our most recent farmers’ market trip. (Julia’s creation)

Paired with the Crane Lake Malbec that happened to be buy one, get one free, this made a nice, quick and easy weeknight meal.

here come the brides


First, we got married. In Chicago. [July 5, 2010]

And held our simple, but lovely reception at RoPa Restaurant, where they served our guests a 3-course family-style meal, with plenty of wine to share…

Fried Calamari, RoPa Salad, Chicken “Chops” with roasted potatoes, Baked Tilapia with roasted tomatoes and seasonal vegetables, Penne with artichokes, olives, and feta in a creamy tomato sauce

…and where we also ate this magnificent cake (made and accidentally squished by Cindy)

Top tier: vanilla almond cake with fresh summer berries and pastry cream
Middle tier: devil’s food cake with dark chocolate-espresso whipped cream
Bottom tier: pumpkin cake with ginger buttercream


Then we got married again. Legally. In Boston. [July 19, 2010]

Naturally, we ate again!

This time, we chose to splurge on a little French restaurant, Bistro du Midi, where for the first time we ate somewhere where professional chefs and true “foodies” would love the food just as much as we did.  We started out with a bottle of champagne (compliments of the restaurant – we did just get married, after all!), then had some appetizers of mussels, foie gras, and salad.  After much deliberation on the choice of wine, we were finally on to our main courses…


Seared Duck Breast, Swiss Chard, Gnocchi, Black Olives


Grilled Rack of Lamb, Panisse Croquette, Green Olives and Fava Beans


And our friend Rosita had a Ribeye special with Cremini, Chantarelle, and Portobello Mushrooms

…and also some desserts, which we scarfed down so fast we completely failed to photograph them. Cindy had Rhubarb Rose Crumble with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and Julia had a Lemon Tart with Fresh Berries and Basil Ice Cream. Both were amazing. (Hence, the lack of pictures due to complete focus on eating.)

But this blog is just as much about our cooking adventures as our eating-out adventures.  In fact, so far this year we have eaten out more rarely than ever before, since our tastes have made us much more discriminating.  Plus, we love to cook, and have become pretty good at it, too.

So now that our wedding and mini-honeymoon are over, there are daily occasions to cook and eat great food.

And so begins our journey.