Monday, October 19, 2009

Crock Pot Turkey-success!

Prep time: 8 minutes

Cook time: 8 to 9 hours


1 package (6-oz) cubed herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 cup sliced celery (2 medium stalks)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning, if desired
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 lb bone-in turkey or chicken thighs, skin removed (I used a turkey breast)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 jar (12-oz) turkey gravy


In a bowl, mix stuffing mix, celery, onion and poultry seasoning. Stir in broth to moisten and then stir in the cranberries.

Spoon half of the stuffing into cooker and sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper. Place over stuffing. Put remaining stuffing around the turkey.

Cover and cook on Low heat for 8 to 9 hours.

About 15 minutes before serving, remove turkey from cooker and keep warm. Stir stuffing and cooking juices until mixed. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes.

Heat gravy on stove.

I cooked the turkey for 7 hours and it was great!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Peruvian Sudado De Pescado (Peruvian Fish Stew)

I was watching Martha Stewart yesterday and she was having her employees demonstrate their favorite recipes. This one girl showed off this fish/shrimp dish that look really easy, so I knew I'd found my dinner for the evening! I went to the store and bought ingredients, finding the LAST 2 Halibut filets. Overall it was a success. I think next time i might add Lime to the mixture because there was only a slight pepper flavor that didnt do much for me. I didnt read how to do the pepper paste until too late...i'd chopped up the peppers in a food processor already. So, i didnt add the paste..just threw in a spoon full of the chopped peppers. Might make a difference to make the paste next time.
Also, I changed 2 things. I used fozen corn instead of peas, because i already had those. And I used normal white potatoes because I dont think ive ever seen Blue potatoes in chicago, or the U.S for that matter. Peru, yes, and they are delicious!

Heres how to make the paste:

And here is the recipe from Martha Stewarts website:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shrimp in Coconut Broth

I made this last night. The photo the cook posted of the dish is way more scrumptious than my photos, so just check out the link. I have to say this is one of the best meals I've ever made! It was 1. EASY and 2. Very authentic!
I was in Asia for a few months in 1998, and have never been able to quite duplicate the intricate flavors of the lovely dishes I remember. Last night I DID!!!!! You must try this.
One change, I left out the Mirin.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We had people over for dinner last night!

Fennel and Thyme.

I made a bunch of stuff. We had beef fondue with various dips and side dishes.
I found a bunch of fun sauces on this site:

I made the curry, mushroom, and tomato/ginger sauces.
For side dishes I made this fennel salad that I will for sure make again, and boiled sweet potatoes.
Fennel salad: I used 3 fennel bulbs instead, and increased a few of the proportions.
Dessert was this Berry-Lime freeze I found on Martha Stewarts website:
I used Strawberries and strawberry sorbet because raspberries are not cheap these days! I also only used 2 cups of chopped strawberries instead of the 7 cups(!!!!!) they recommended. The Lime juice really made it! Was a hit. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Arugula Asparagus Pear Salad

Last night I was eyeing the items in my fridge, and I was bored. I usually grab asparagus to steam and serve as a side dish because it's easy. Last night I stared at the asparagus in the fridge and was going to gag if i served it steamed with butter, like I usually do. I needed something to go with steak and cous cous. So, instead, I made a salad with the asparagus! The result was great! I looked up a few salad recipes and came up with this, based on what I had in my fridge/pantry.
1 cup Arugula
1/2 a pear chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cap full(cap from the bottle) of sherry
1 cap full of balsamic vinegar
1 cap full of olive oil
1 tablespoon of grated lemon peel
About 10 steamed stalks, chopped, asparagus.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mango Mojito Salsa

I had to bring a non-dessert to a party last week. Plantains and mangoes were on the brain, and I found the remedy to both cravings! I found this recipe on Food and Wine website:
I didn't add the chicken though. I also put in a lot more ingredients than were asked for. Instead of one mango, i cut up about 14. I had 12 mint leaves I chopped up, and cut up an entire chili. I was left with lots of left overs! But it was really tasty!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to make your own Vanilla Extract

I love this! Joy the Baker just posted details on how to make Vanilla Extract. I'll try it out and let you know.

Or you try it, and let me know.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I had a great conversation with on of my co-workers about this website that allows you to loan small amounts of money to people to start businesses.
My co-worker was inspired by the creator of this company to go to grad school pursuing these ideas.

You see profiles of people who need money from a rice farmer in Nepal to a prospective cafe owner in Portland. And you get the $$$ back in a year! How cool. I have no money to loan right now, but I love this concept!


A Thimble Island
Connecticut: One morning we ate at The Pantry, Really good, really cheap=great breakfast!

Had some great East Coast Pizza at a dive, Louies Pizza. It was exactly what i wanted!!!

We went on a tour of the Thimble Islands: $10 per person for an hr boat tour.

Cape Cod

Nauset House Conservatory
The Patio, in Provincetown
Wellfleet landscape next to The Bookstore restaurant

Cape Cod: We stayed at an adorable Bed and Breakfast, with hosts that were beyond accommodating. Nauset House Inn:
The Inn was a 10 minute walk from Nauset Beach. We highly recommend this place!

We had an AWFUL dinner at Marconi Beach bbq"It-Il-Do", should've known from the name. Dont go here!! We ordered food, and it arrived in less than 5 minutes to our table, luke warm, and not good. And our bill was more than $40(including tip) for 2 beers and a shared plate of ribs. Lame.

In Provincetown, we ate at The Patio: I had steamed clams, and they were great. Jason had a chicken sandwhich, and said it was ok.

In Wellfleet we had dinner at The Bookstore, a place recommended by our Inn Keeper. I had raw oysters and steamed clams which were great. Jason had cranberry encrusted salmon(Cape Cod is known for cranberries), and it was REALLY yummy!

We also went to the drive in theater to see a movie!:


Enjoying mussels and wine at Trattoria
The Grafton

I've been away! East Coast trip. Thoughts:
Boston finally won my heart, after 4 other trips. Never liked it before...maybe it's because i'm older?
In Boston we ate lunch in Little Italy at Trattoria Il Panino,
We were on the hunt for some East Coast pizza, but fell in love with the cute patio at this spot. We shared mussels and a simple prosciutto pasta that was obviously home made(the pasta). They served a refreshing Lemoncello complimentary at the end of the meal.

On our last day before our flight we had brunch at The Grafton, It was ok. Great people watching spot! We went for the outdoor patio. They only put 3 rasberries on my "Berry Pancakes". I felt jipped! Jason had tasty smoked trout.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dragon Boat Races and ducklings

Yesterday I did a water sampling in St.Charles, IL, on the Fox River. I watched the infamous Dragon Boat Races and stalked a family of ducks.
Dragon Boat Races:


After returning to a semi state of health by Thursday, Jason took me to our anniversary dinner at Nightwood, a new sister restaurant to one of our favorite's, Lulas.
We started with a Fat Back appetizer, which was served on toast. For entrees Jason had beef ravioli, and I had Stinging Nettle tart(survived un-stung), with asparagus. Dessert was strawberry cream tart, and pretzels dipped in chocolate. Overall, a great experience!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our 1 YEAR anniversary was on Monday!

We celebrated our 1 year anniversary by waking up monday and exchanging gifts before I fell back into my sick coma and Jason went to work. When Jason got home we ordered take out and dug our cake from the back of our freezer to devour. I then, fell back into my delirium of sleep. Tuesday we were supposed to go to dinner at a surprise location chosen by Jason, but i was way too sick, and wouldn't have appreciated a lovely dinner. SO, we are going tonight!
The gifts! I love throwing symbolism into gift giving. I knew I wanted to get Jason artwork. First year of marriage is "Paper", so artwork on paper. I went to, thinking i might be able to find something affordable. I hunted for a few key words, with "original" attached because I didnt want a print or mass market piece. I hunted for a while and finally came upon this local Chicago artist, Laura Prentice.
I chose the above artwork because it looks a lot like the street we live on now, during our 1st year of marriage. Jason got me earrings, single thread of gold drops, that he said symbolizes single, meaning 1 year of marriage. :)

I've been sick, minus one arm.

I hurt myself last Friday, tripping, and falling on a sidewalk. Nothing broken, but ouch....I tore/pulled a bunch of arm muscles, so havn't been writing much. In addition to the arm, I had to put up with a mean cold all week! Sniffly, coughing, feverish, rib hurting sick.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love crunchy,crisp cookies. I made some today with this recipe. The key was flattening the cookie dough mounds with my palm.
Also, i used aluminum foil instead of parchment or wax paper.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (16 ounces)


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork in a small bowl and add 1 3/4 tablespoons of it plus 2 remaining whole eggs to butter mixture, beating with mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just blended, then stir in chips.

Scoop 1/4 cup batter for each cookie, arranging mounds 3 inches apart, on 2 baking sheets. Flatten mounds into 3-inch rounds using moistened palm of your hand. Form remaining cookies on additional sheets of parchment.

Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and continue making cookies in same manner using cooled baking sheets.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Violet Hour -"One of the best bars in the world"

Quite literally, the bar was named one of the best bars in the world by Conde Naste and Esquire magazines, and we went last night. It was fun! I had the:
Hush & Wonder: Matusalem, Créme de Violette, Lime, Grapefruit Bitters

Jason had some fancy whiskey. (I dont know why my font suddenly went to italics, but we'll keep it)

Mmmmmmmm. Doesnt that sound good? It was. We also shared the goat cheese and duck wontons with rhubarb dipping sauce.
Check out their cocktail menu. It's pretty adventurous. I almost had the drink with Cruzan Rum Black Strap, just for supporting Cruzan Rum sake, but I'll save for next time...

Montrose Harbour

I worked at Montrose Harbour today. I was taking photos of a fish floating when I caught a bird catching it. :)

Cornish Hens Again

I combined a few recipes the other day to make these yummy cornish hens. I added apples and asparagus to mine. I found this recipe and worked from this:
  • 2 cornish game hens
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 1/4 inch squares
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 apple
  • 6 stalks of asparagus

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse the game hens, remove the giblets if present. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff with apple slices and garlic
  3. Place the game hens in a baking dish large enough to hold both of them. Lay the sliced onions around the game hens, sprinkle with granulated garlic, pepper and kosher salt (Note: Go easy on the salt since you will be using soy sauce). Sprinkle butter cubes around the hens. Pour soy sauce over. Place asparagus spears next to hens. Cover hens with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
  4. Remove foil and cook 30 more minutes or until the hen is golden brown. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  5. Cut game hens in half. Spoon sauce over the top.


I made this recipe the other day. I took photos and I think they got deleted. Anyhow: easy and good.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Roasted Pork with Sticky Tamarind Mango Glaze

I was browsing the Food & Wine website the other day and HAD to try this recipe. It came out a little spicy(I might avoid the red pepper flakes next time), but overall flavor was really good! I found Tamarind balls in the market next door. The one time that place comes through for me! Jason told me i am making this again.
I served it with cous cous and plantain.

    1. 1/2 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (1 cup)
    2. 2 tablespoons sugar
    3. 1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste
    4. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    5. 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
    6. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    7. 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
    8. 1 garlic clove, minced
    9. Salt and freshly ground pepper
    10. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    11. One 4-pound pork loin roast, tied
    12. 1/2 cup dry white wine
    13. 3/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
    1. Preheat the oven to 300°. In a blender, combine the mango chunks with the sugar, tamarind paste, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and crushed red pepper and puree until smooth.
    2. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mango puree, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
    3. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the pork roast with salt and pepper. Add the roast to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning occasionally with tongs, until browned all over, about 7 minutes.
    4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the pork for about 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 130°. Brush the mango glaze all over the roast, turning to coat it evenly. Continue to roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 135°, about 5 minutes longer.
    5. Light the broiler. Brush some of the mango glaze and pan drippings over the pork and broil 8 inches from the heat for 5 minutes or until the glaze is slightly sticky and golden. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
    6. Meanwhile, pour off the fat from the skillet and set the skillet over moderately high heat. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to a small saucepan and simmer the jus until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes longer. Season the jus with salt and pepper.
    7. Discard the strings from the roast and slice 1/3 inch thick. Serve with the jus.

Margarita Pizza

We made pizza last night! My half is the one without meat or onion. I bought a pre-made Boboli pizza dough. We dont own a pizza stone(but now I want one) so we used a cookie sheet instead. Turned out better than most pizza we get delivered!
I found this on the Food & Wine website:


  1. One 14-ounce can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained
  2. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  3. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  4. Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 2 pounds buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
  6. 32 large basil leaves, torn into pieces

  1. PREPARE THE TOPPINGS: Preheat the oven to 500°, allowing at least 45 minutes for the stone to heat. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill set over a medium bowl or pulse them in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in the oregano and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough to within 1 inch of the edge. Spread one-fourth of the cheese over the pizza and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and slide the pizza onto the stone. Bake until the bottom is charred and the cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Scatter one-fourth of the basil on top and let stand for 3 minutes before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

It has been a busy week.

I'm really tired. I started off the week with a cold, causing me not to work Monday,Tuesday, and Wednesday. Tuesday I had an interview at a High School in Englewood. Thought it went well...we'll see. Wednesday night I attended the opening of the Modern Wing at the Art Institute. That was lively and I felt proud of Jason for accomplishing all of it. (Hes been working hard on this project!) Thursday I had a fairly pleasant day subbing, and Thursday night I attended my first practice for the softball team Jason and I are on. (Ive been a wimp about the cold so havn't gone to any practices yet). Friday I subbed for a Music and Movement teacher so hopped, twisted, and clapped for 7 hours with about 200 Pre K-2nd graders. And now it is Saturday at 2:30, and I have already finished a 7 hour shift for the Environment job, meaning I was up at 5am to catch the bus.
Heres some Modern Wing photos. The husband installed all the artwork shown. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Squash Soup and Eggplant Caponata

The squash soup recipe is from Art Smiths' Back to the Table. The Eggplant Caponata came from Food & Wines website,

I've had a cold the last few days so wanted a hot soup. I hadn't scoured some cookbooks in a while, so I did that the other day, marking recipes I wanted to try. I wanted a cold and mild side dish in case the soup was too spicy. I thought the Caponata was a little too sweet. Next time I might leave the sugar out, but otherwise it went nicely with the rest of the meal. The soup was very good, but I didnt think the pumpkin seeds did much for it.

Snake bracelet

I saw this amazing Snake bracelet at BCBG last week. I had time to kill so was wandering through stores I cant afford. It was only $75, but that's a lot of money right now. I've been looking for another version to put on my wish list, and of course only found a Robert Cavalli version.

Adorable Tea Pot

I have no need for this, but I think it's really cute.[]=tags&includes[]=title

Perfect dress

I saw this dress on this weekend, and i want it so bad! It's a little pricey for me now, but it's on my wish list.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Our 1 year anniversary is in about a month

English peas pureed into a fun design, with prosciutto powder and radishes, at Avenues.

Les Nomades, tucked away into an old Chicago mansion.

Smith and Wollensky, lit up on the river.
Otom's "Bacon and Egg Cocktail"

So, I emailed Jason a list of restaurants I really want to go to, with the option that if he has a better place or idea, then by all means to go with that. I love surprises. But I've also always wanted to try out these restaurants.
Avenues, Otom, Les Nomades, and Smith and Wollensky(not as foodie as the 1st 3, but it's a chicago favorite on the river...i always thought it looked pretty swanky.)
Anyone been to any great chicago restaurants lately?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day Trip to Michigan

My friend Lysee had to go to the DMV in Michigan yesterday, so with a day off already I joined her to pillage the cheaper taxes and lower priced shopping at Walmart and Target. Who knew Walmart sold food!?