Dining dirty in Oak Park

Lovin the Dirty Martinis!




We ate so much food in Georgia.

Here is a list from the week:

Chicken souvlaki with cucumber yogurt sauce, hummus and pitas
Coconut shrimp for starters, okra and corn hash with fried chicken and mashed potatoes
Burgers on the grill with buffalo franks and fresh salad
Fresh shrimp scampi with asparagus over angel hair with salad and olive tapanade over bread.
An old southern favorite: pot boil with corn on the cob, sausage, shrimp, potatoes and salad.(Meant to be eaten on a picnic table covered in newspapers so that you can really dig in and get dirty)

Not to mention tons of snacks and lunch meats, fresh bread, veggies and fruit...

Favorite drinks:

Moscow Mule - 1 part vodka, 1.5 part ginger ale, .5 part freshly squeezed lime juice
Pomagranate martini - vodka, pomegranate juice, and lime
Praline martini - frangelico, hazelnut, cream, deliciousnessss
Jack and coke
Pina colada
Whisky sour
Scotch on the rocks

All followed by a competitive game of spoons.

Bottom Picture: The Breakfast Club - a greasy spoon joint where we'd bike from the beach house to eat a late breakfast of grits and shrimp, cooked up by a world renowned chef who supposedly cooked for Caroline Kennedy's wedding.



Cross-Cultural Enchiladas

Dear Readers,

Determined to create a menu for the week and keep on a strict grocery budget, I planned a Sunday enchiladas lunch intended also for Monday's leftovers. Finding fresh produce at Stanleys and condiments at Trader Joes and Cub Foods, I collected my things using 'The Joy of Cooking' as my guide. I was stumped on one ingredient for the enchiladas sauce - and please, if you know, tell me - is tomato paste the same thing as tomato puree? I decided it was.

I sauteed onions and and mixed up a smell-good tomato sauce when I was ready to assemble the cheese and onions in the tortillas. Lo and behold, I reach for my "tortillas" realizing that I hurriedly bought pita bread instead. My options at that point - to run to the store, call Rowley - who didn't have his phone, or compromise. Compromise- the pita's I figured would create somewhat of a gordita...

Next, refried beans, check. Rice - only have basmati. Is that kosher? I decided it wasn't. The beans would have to do. I did it right with the sour cream, thank goodness.

By the way, the enchiladas were huge... I made my way through one. Rowley did not. He was kind about it, but I could tell that my seemingly cross-cultural enchiladas did not score with him. There were too many onions and the sauce was more like a sweet pizza red sauce. Though Mexican, Greek and Italian food groups call for similar items like cheese, red sauce, onions, and a starch, somehow they do not mix.

Note to self: Stick to nachos. You are really good at those.



Talapia with Rachel who doesn't eat fish or meat

We invited our friend Rachel over for dinner. I lived with Rachel for one year and she was the best. I knew that she didn't eat meat, but we'd been dying to make the talapia that was in our freezer. I know, its not cool to eat frozen fish (I had a terrible experience with some fur-wearing women who "knew fish, and this fish isn't fresh" at the restaurant), but to argue against their tude, our frozen talapia kicked a..

It was pan-sauted with a lemon, parsley/cilantro and garlic sauce that was blended and used again as a topping. A salad decorated the table like a center piece, with mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, celery and walnuts, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Are you wondering what Rachel had? French lentils with basmati rice served over a bed of greens, topped with lemon juice, olive oil and the parsley/cilantro sauce.

We began with a white wine which had a label looking like a Belgian beer, and finished off with a red wine that Rachel brought.

After our desert of tea and "feather" chocolate, Rowley freaked the Christmas tree.

posted by Michelle 4 days before Christmas.



We know that you've been concerned about din din. We're sorry that we've been slacking, but there is good excuse - 1. end of semester for Rowley 2. Michelle works 2 jobs 7 days a week. But I promise you, we're doing fine, and have some delicious meals to speak of!

beginning with thanksgiving - it was so delicious. Rowley's mom, Linda, you see, this is her favorite holiday. She sparkles in the kitchen and creates beautiful plates for her family:
Harry, Hugh, Emily, Ben, Jen, Rowley, Michelle, Max .... and Amy and her husband Greg with their three chilies, Anna, Louey, and Sophie - but they were in Florida this year.

We began with a glass of Old Ghost wine, that is known for changing flavors with every swallow. Then came out crisp salads with buttery greens, spinach, orange slices, avocado, red onion, and a slight garlic oil vinaigrette with a touch of fresh ground pepper.

The buffet consisted of a huge bird, deep fried and absolutely juicy, flavorful, and delicious; stuffing balls (baked in cupcake pans, a great idea if you're deep-frying a turkey!) fresh cranberry jello, baked veggies, and fresh bread.

Beverages: spiced cider, water, and wine.

After plenty of food, naps, and watching movies, Rowley and I went out for a spin on Harry and Linda's townie bikes. We watched the sun begin to set, then naturally decided to race home and I almost won.



on the wall

Mustard on the wall, meat stank in the air, we sat down for a burger dinner.

In the meat: Meat

with Bacon

condiments: Ketchup
Spicy Mustard
Dill Havarti

the Bun: Whole wheat english muffin

Wished there would have been: Fresh tomato
Spinach or Lettuce
Red Onion

On the turntable: Arab Strap

On the Wall: Mustard (seriously)

On my shirt: Mustard (seriously)

Did the dishes, then did a no no with the copper scrubber on the Le Cruset grill. Oops. Note to self: Never scrub the Le Cruset with a copper scrubber.....not only does it wreck the coating, it also is stinky.

Posted by Michelle



Sophisticated take-out

Cheese tortellini with prosciutto, peas and mushrooms. Special take-out from the Basil Leaf Cafe. I added some fresh broccoli with lemon juice to break up the creamalicious entree. Plus buttered bread toasted in the broiler.

I was so excited to see Rowley today. Not just because he did all the grocery shopping and ran all the errands necessary by the time I got home from work, but because he's just so great! Now we have whisky in our glasses and are researching Halloween costumes. Do you think I can get away with wearing all black and putting black circles around my eyes and call myself a raccoon?

The dishes aren't washed yet and Rowley put on some classical music to muse his intellectual thoughts while he reads for school - such a disciplined boy.

by michelle



Mung bean delight

Kichadi with Little Wings

Tonight was a quickie - threw everything together in pot, let it boil together:

3 c water
1 c rice
1 t salt
1/2 cup dry mungbeans
1 potato diced
small head of brocolli cut up (sub. any veggie)
3/4 t turmeric (1/2t rec.)
3/4 t curry (a last minute addition)
6 twists of fresh ground pepper (not rec.)

I don't know if it's because I've been low on money for so long or what, but I've developed a liking to simple dishes that get you through the week. Rice and lentils with olive oil (via Michelle's dad) is a favorite of mine. It's not that flavorful when you have it the first few times, but after a while you really begin to enjoy the flavors of basic grains, beans, and oils. And if you build your diet around it, when you have a meal with spices or powerful flavors you can really discern and enjoy the details of a good dish. So consider Kichadi a good lentils and rice substitute.

I was hoping for a bit more sass in the dish, particularly because Michelle apparently has extra tonight, but it'll do.

"Wonderue" by Little Wings was a great addition to the meal. It's kind of like having the stoner neighbor come over to sing really great songs.

I did the dishes.

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