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.



Our first night of dinDinblog

Tonight Rowley and I needed to make some dinner. It's been a while since we've gone grocery shopping and we wondered what lurked in our refrigerator drawers.

Obvious enough was an "erect" butternut squash on our table, which we used as guidance for our meal together.

Rowley is really good at looking up recipes and buying spices. Fortunately we had some new ground turmeric from Whole Foods - where he got it in bulk, by the way, it is so much cheaper to buy spices in bulk! And also some red bell peppers and a jalapeno.

From our "Extending the Table... A World Community Cookbook" he found a recipe for Sweet Vegetables (Indonesia).

Serves 4-6

Cook until crisp-tender
3 c. Butternut squash, peeled and cubed (750 ml) - (just put a little olive oil in a wok and saute the cubed squash)

In separate saucepan, bring to a boil;
2 c. Coconut milk (500ml)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c onion, sliced (50ml)
1 t. Ginger root, minced (5 ml)
1/2 t. ground turmeric (2 ml)
2 t. Salt (10 ml)
2 fresh red pimento or sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
1 red jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)

When boiling, add;
cooked squash

Simmer about 10 minutes, allowing squash to absorb flavors

Add cubed squash directly into sauce, without precooking. Simmer until tender.

Substitute green beans, cut diagonally, for half the squash.

Add 1/2 lb. small shrimp, shelled and deveined.

DELICIOUS - with some red wine- "Peace Family vineyard" - A mix of Shiraz, Cabernet, Grenache, and Mataro. This wine was an engagement gift from my cousins Henry and Becky. We've been saving it for a special occasion. Tonight was a special occasion for me to get a buzz while I cooked, and let Rowley catch up on his 19th century art history reading, right now about Jacques Louis David.

Conversation consisted of recounting our day together with Shane Campbell and Matt Stolle at the Tropicalia exhibit at the MCA, and of our Sushi lunch at BeniHana. Rowley is taking an Andy Warhol class with Shane at the Art Institute and also plays poker with him on Wednesdays. Matt is Rowley's good bud from college and now grad school, where he is finishing up his MFA in printmaking - good man that Matt is. He printed all our wedding invitations and gave us a print and a bottle of wine for house sitting his apartment last winter. His wife, Lisa is really cool too. She's a nurse.

After discussing Robyn O'Neil's piece in the "Trials and Terror's" exhibit at the MCA a couple of months ago - how we thought it was framed in a weird way that probably referenced a triptych - but I argued that triptychs usually put heaven on Christ's right hand and hell on his left, more often than heaven up top and hell below (even though I know that this format is typical too). But O'Neil's piece had a strong central tree in the top half with little men standing around and then in the bottom, framed horizontally, was the tree uprooted and the little men hanging from the branches in nooses. But, the way it was framed was off..... Anyway, after some reflective silence, and then talking about how we keep in touch with good friends, I finished my meal, and said that life was good. Funny enough, Rowley said he thought the same exact thing at the same exact moment - That life is good! And believe me, we've been learning the trials and terrors of being adults, but overall we are fortunate to have each other and our friends and good food - a very nostalgic dinner, but highly recommended.

Then we topped everything off with a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of hot corn tea that we got from my friend Juan a while back.

I washed the dishes.

P.S. This was posted by Michelle, not Rowley. We are working out the kinks.



When my dad visited for the first time from Michigan

My dad drove from Michigan to visit Rowley and me in our new home in Chicago. We hadn't seen him since the wedding.

If you know my dad, you would be aware of his strict vegan diet and purely organic interests. Rowley and I planned a delicious spaghetti squash dinner with a garlic tomato sauce with asparagus, snowpeas and spinach. The spaghetti squash was somewhat an ode to the dinners my brother and I used to cook with dad on the weekends - LOTS of garlic (mental picture: my dad MUST smell the garlic saute-ing in the olive oil. He leans his head in as the rest of us back up and uses his hand to waft the aromas into his face like a priest would waft incense into the faces of churchgoers. "Ahh, mmm, I love the garlic smells" he said in his Greek accent.

We had great conversation that night, with lots of laughs about "the art of farting" which I promise you, my dad has been practicing for many years... and loves to talk about it.

Soundtrack of the evening: Bach cello suites - Pablo Cassals.

P.S Also posted by Michelle

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