Wednesday, December 14, 2011


This is from TIm who has the cookbook from Rao's in New York (Frank Pellegrino is the owner and also an actor). I don't care to buy pasta sauce anymore because this is so easy and really satisfying.

1/4C olive oil
1/2 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
35 oz plum tomatoes "hand crushed" - I buy 28 diced because that's what there is
1/2t oregano
4-6 basil leave (not necessary but nice - I usually don't)
splash of red wine or balsamic (my invention)

sauté the onions then simmer everything else for 45 minutes. Don't cheat on the time - it's the most important part!

There are no photos. :(


I think that I can roast a pretty good chicken - and have many ways of doing it. My favorite, though, is Gordon Hamersley's. Puree a bunch of parsley, 3 garlic cloves, 3 shallots (I usually skip these and add more garlic), 1T herbs de provence, 1t dried rosemary, one lemon zest, 3T dijon, 6T olive oil, 2t kosher salt and 2t pepper. Taste it - delicious. Slather it over a chicken - there will be leftover because the official recipe is for two 3 lb chickens but I like more. Let the chicken sit out for an hour (or in the fridge for two) then roast it on (my invention) lemon slices in a 350d oven for 1 1/2 hours - give or take 1/2 an hour. When it is done, remove the chicken and make a sauce of chicken broth and butter. If you don't have a thermometer you really need one - it should be 165d - 170d (although I am fine with 160d).

Really delicious.

The second photo had flash - it doesn't look that weird.


Paul makes bread! He says that it is really easy and I say that it is really delicious - crunch crust and hot, soft innards.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


When friends come for a Tiki Party - and bring food! Thank you Heather (and John, Anne and Cindy):

Brussel sprout salad, bacon wrapped dates and turkey quesadillas.

I had planned to make two pizzas but there was quite enough food so I just made a spicy shrimp pizza (the photo is before it entered the oven).

We finished with a banana ice cream that I made with ripe bananas and served with a raspberry torte from Thanksgiving. No photo of that but dancing after!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We had a great meal at Mexique:

Roommate David walked in 15 minutes before we were leaving and came with us - and paid for dinner (thanks again)!

My app - pretty but a little boring:

David and Paul had this French Onion soup with a Mexican spin (some tomato and a little spice) - they loved it (as did I) and were full afterwards - David would go back just for the soup:

David's - pork belly, scallops, purple slaw and a pumpkin-tasting puree - delicious:

Mine - Lake trout with brussel sprouts on top of a potato puree - another winner:

Paul's - Flank steak on a spicy sauce with veggies - he thought that the sauce was a bit much but I was crazy about it (he was also full from the soup):

We skipped dessert - but then I had mine the night before thanks to my sister.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Procure a rack of baby back ribs.

Mix 1/2C brown sugar, 1TB salt, 1TB chili, 1TB black pepper (I also add 1TB onion or garlic powder). Rub on the ribs.

Wrap tightly in aluminum foil.

Roast in a 250d oven for three hours, unwrap and roast until a little drier. They will be very tender and "wet" and delicious and you will (kind of) wonder why grilling is such a big deal!

I didn't make the sauce this time as Baby Ray's was on hand but you will feel pretty pleased with yourself if you make this (both recipes are from the Weber Grill book):

1/2 c ketchup
2 tb molasses
1 tb white wine vinegar
1 tb Dijon style mustard
1 tb brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper

Sounds complicated but all (that) you have to do is mix everything, pour it into a glass jar and use it whenever.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


If you are a Costco member, they sell pre-cooked duck legs that are delicious. I brown them until crispy outside and warm inside. Add some cheesy polenta and sautéed vegetables (carrots, celery and parsnip)! 

They come with a sweet sauce that I rarely use but did this time and, BTW, the ducks come from near my parents in northern Indiana.

Polenta is easy if you stay in the kitchen and "work" it:

4 C of water (chicken stock makes it richer)
1 t salt
1 C of yellow corn meal (I tried the stone ground, more expensive, kind once but found it too coarse)
2 T butter

Boil the water and salt, then slowly whisk in the corn meal. When the corn meal has been absorbed, switch to a big spoon and cook until it pulls away from the pan and doesn't stick. Then add butter, pepper and grate some romano cheese. The recipe calls for 1/4C of parmesan and 1/4C romano. I just use romano and more of it until it tastes nice and cheesy. Oh, and add some coarsely ground pepper at the end too.


I need to really try and figure out this phone camera - it's 8mp so it should be better than this. Or, perhaps, it thought that this plate was too ugly to deserve a decent photo:

Anyway, this is "purple" asparagus (used because it wouldn't last until the next time that I could use it two nights later), mashed potatoes and braised beef short ribs:

Brown the 3-4 short ribs in an oven-proof pan (with a little vegetable or canola oil).

Saute a sliced red onion until barely browned.

Add 1TB tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.

Add 1 cup of stock (recipe calls for beef but I only had chicken), 1/8C red wine vinegar (I have it but thought that balsamic would be better) and a bottle of dark, stout beer (again, I didn't have something so I used a German style pale amber).

Bring to a boil then cover and put in a 350d oven for a couple of hours. I don't remember how long it took but start to check it after 90 minutes. It will be fork tender, falling off of the bone.

Best served with something to mock up the sauce - such as the potatoes.

How's that for a cooler weather dish (even if it's ugly)? If you try it, skip the asparagus (it was only $1.99 pound) and make a green salad.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fat Sunday

Have you ever seen those jars of "Alfredo" in the market? I don't want to sound like a snob but - yuk. Authentic Alfredo is butter, cheese, fettucini (I only had linguine) and some of the cooking water. It's all about the preparation:

Unfortunately... it's all about the preparation - and mine clumped a little (and I didn't even use all of the cheese)! I used tongs, not the big fork and spoon, and will use them the next time but will also reserve more water. Nonetheless it was it was delicious.

p.s. feel free to crack some pepper - and some onion, spinach and edamame on the side.

The end was some over ripe pears hitting it up with brown butter and leftover lime, buttermilk, graham cracker ice "cream".

No pictures of the latter and, clearly, just because I have a new "camera" doesn't male the photos "delicious". Maybe I need a photo studio next to the kitchen.

Salad for dinner tomorrow!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


No really interesting food to report... I did, however, get my long awaited (phone) camera. Here is a photo of my go-to dish of cauliflower puree, salmon and rocket sauce with sautéed root vegetables, scallop and caviar (thanks Jason).

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Some ripe pears prompted a little creative thinking (if I may say so): maybe two cups of sugar, heated until it completely melted and turned a light mahogany. Add a little cream and butter, then stir in the pears and - at the last minute decide to slice in an even riper banana. Make some ice milk in the ice cream maker with 4c milk, 1c sugar and 2t vanilla and you have an outrageously rich dessert (and CHEAP).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Potato Chips

A mandoline (food slicer), two potatoes, some canola oil, some sea salt and voila!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Heirloom tomatoes are incredible! Beautiful and delicious:

Add the last of the basil, edamame and croutons made from freezer remnants:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another One Pot

This is relatively healthy but very rich and satisfying.

Saute eggplant then broil with spinach, tomato sauce and mozzarella. This sauce is very easy and delicious:

1/4c olive oil
1/2 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
35oz plum tomatoes, hand crushed
1/2t oregano
4-6 basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

saute onion then garlic, add the rest and simmer for 45 minutes

From Frank Pellegrino

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thank You

It started with Steve and Tim for dinner (bringing their friend Renee from Zanesville) then Jason and Steve so I decided to make it a thank you dinner for all of the work that Jason has done around here this summer. Except that Jason bought all of the main ingredients!

Pate, olives, bread
(no photo)

Corn soup, spam croutons, basil chiffonade

Diver scallop, cauliflower puree, orange sauce

Heirloom tomatoes, green beans, garden parsley

Caviar, pasta, lemon

Wagyu beef, beans, truffle butter

Fruit tart, blood orange sorbet
(no photo)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Pot Meal

Rooting through the fridge (and pantry) I came up with this:

A big pan
A swirl of olive oil
English muffin halves
Chicken thighs with oil, rosemary (from the garden), salt and pepper
Green beans

Roast in the oven for a while at 360d or so.

Saturday, August 20, 2011



Roasted potatoes (garlic, thyme, sea salt and olive oil):


A sauce of butter, capers, lemon, and white wine:

Pretty good but more butter than I would have liked. Having some fish stock on hand would have made the difference.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Thanks to Jason and Paul, a beautiful and delicious caprese salad of tomatoes and basil from the "garden" (pots in the back yard). The mozzarella wasn't so wonderful: whenever you see a roll of fresh mozzarella keep on walking...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 August - The Girl and the Goat

I love this place! My third visit and the scallops, as always, are so delicious. The ingredients might seems strange (together) but work very well.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011 August - Welcome Dinner

Fran, Iva and Woody (from Boston) came to Chicago for a visit and we made this welcome meal for the first night. Corn soup (no sugar or cream, just chicken stock and blended until smooth), garden basil chiffonade, "bacon" bits (I had eaten half before I remembered to take a picture):

Avocado, grapefruit and mustard vinaigrette:

Grilled chicken / squash / tomato, cauliflower puree:

Chocolate terrine, chocolate syrup, sea salt, garden mint ice cream:

By now, you have probably noticed how bad some of my photos are! I take them to remember but now that I am sharing them I will have to ramp it up.

2011 July - Another Week Night Dinner

This is one of my favorite meals: salmon with rocket sauce (pureed arugula), puree cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt, asparagus.

2011 July - Fireworks Cookies

Tim made these cookies for July 4th (recipe from Martha Stewart). Not only do they look amazing but they taste pretty good and you can find out how to make them here.

2011 June - Lola

Tim asked if he could come over and do some grilling. Ummm, well, okay. :) They brought steaks from Whole Foods and an incredible steak sauce from (the recipe that is) the Cleveland restaurant Lola. I made a corn salad (Todd English recipe) and "we" grilled onions. That sauce is liquid gold and the recipe may be found here.

2011 May -"Noodles"

A meaty pork chop with pan sauce, sweet potato "noodles" and fried kale:

2011 May - Hyatt Salad

This was a surprise (for a hotel): a modernized nicoise with tuna and potato chips:

2011 May - "Leftover" Salad

Salad ingredients found in the refrigerator (chicken, carrots, green beans, mixed salad greens, peaches):

2011 February - Flank Steak

Flank steak with mustard sauce, wilted spinach and sweet potato chips:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011 January - Week Night Dinner

Sauteed shrimp in house-made BBQ sauce on top of grits / polenta with a side of spinach and avocado: