Friday, October 31, 2014

Cozy Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The American Club, Kohler, Wisconsin

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brew House Salad

I am a sucker for a hearty salad, even when the weather turns cooler. This one was inspired by the hungry beer brewers of Michigan. Mixed greens, locally raised roast turkey, scallions, bacon, Gorgonzola cheese, hard boiled egg and cherry tomatoes. Served with a Charred Tomato Vinaigrette. 

The Spicy Poet Chili

What is so special about this chili is it has a twist. The New Holland Brewery puts The Poet Oatmeal Stout in this magic dish, and it's simply delicious. Ground beef, black and northern beans and.spicy tomato sauce. It's comfort in a bowl. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy October!

Fall veggie bounty

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon

Julia Child is one tough cookie when it comes to her recipe specifics. So many steps! But this one is a classic, and although it takes a few hours to complete, is so worth it. I think it's a recipe everyone should try making at least once. I decided to spend my birthday cooking this lovely dish with my family. It was a nice brisk fall day on my birthday so it had everyone in the kitchen by the warm stove helping out. I served buttered egg noodles with my Boeuf Bourguignon but small red potatoes work well too. Bon Appetit! 

Farmers Market Crudités

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Full English Breakfast

This "fry up" or "full Monty" meal pretty much speaks for itself. I like to have it as an indulgent dinner on a chilly night. Traditionally in the UK and Ireland it is of course served at breakfast, usually consisting of bacon, eggs, and sausages...and tea! The beans in my opinion really are the anchor to the meal, and if you can find them, canned (and of course heated) Heinz beans are the real deal. Eggs can be scrambled or fried. Broil some nice tomatoes (I added Parmesan & herbs) because they really do add some much needed acidity and juicy sweetness to this dish. I sautéed mushrooms which are definitely optional, but my husband loves them so they were a great touch. Season everything to taste with salt & pepper. Whatever you choose to include, have fun with the process. Cheers! 

Mango Avocado Salad

I have a serious obsession with mangos. When they are ripe and juicy they are almost sensuous. Paired with avocado, this is definitely one of the best healthy yummy combos out there. Did you know there are over 400 different kinds of mangos in the world? 


2 Ripe Mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 large Avocado, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed Lime Juice 
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, lightly chopped 
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds 

Mix everything gently on a platter and enjoy immediately. This is one dish that is best eaten right away as it can turn brown and get a bit mushy- it doesn't stay fresh too long. Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

This dish in my book is a classic. Something everyone should whip up in their kitchen once the weather gets cooler. Forgive me if I tend to post recipes heavily on the Italian side, but I lived in Florence for a year and that is a hard culinary inspiration to shake. Besides, who would want to? It's just that good. 

4-5 slices bacon, cut into thin strips 
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped 
2 carrots, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 28 ounce cans whole peeled then crushed by hand, or diced tomatoes 
1/2 cup dry red wine such as Chianti
1 sprig rosemary, minced
1 sprig oregano, minced
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper
Parmegiano finely grated, or Pecorino finely grated
Parsley, finely chopped 

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven heat bacon until crisp, about 12 minutes. Move bacon to a plate covered with paper towels and set aside. Add oil and butter to the pan, and then add onion and carrots, stirring until soft. Add garlic, oregano, rosemary, and salt & pepper and stir, cook for around 2 minutes. Add wine and stir again for about 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and add tomatoes, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer, covered partially for about an hour. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and a dash of salt, cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Drain pasta and add to the pan with the sauce, tossing it to coat the pasta. Serve spaghetti into bowls and top with the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve alongside a simple green salad and a nice Chianti Classico.  Buon Appetito! 

Shopping at the infamous Eataly, Chicago

Chef Mario Batali has quite the collection of restaurants but this one takes the cake. Try not to get overwhelmed at Eataly, as this Italian eatery has multiple floors and multiple stations- some favorites are the panini staton, Nutella station, the gelato station...upstairs you can find any type of pasta your heart desires- either dried to go so you can cook at home or at one of the many enticing dining stations. There's even a mozzarella station! Even more impressive: there are many Eatalys around the world. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hearty Farro & Veggie Soup

Fall is here! Time for cozy soups and comfort foods. This thick and hearty soup is satisfying enough to be your main course and if you omit the Parmesan cheese it can count as vegan. It's very flexible vegetable-wise so add whatever you may have in your fridge. But don't leave out the leeks! I love the chewy texture the Farro gives along with the creamy beans....mmmm


1-2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced or diced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons good quality Olive Oil (extra-Virgin if you have it) 
1 cup Farro (or wheat berries)
2-3 handfuls fresh basil, thinly sliced 
1 cup Pomi diced tomatoes (or canned Marzano tomatoes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
One 15-ounce can of Borlotti beans or pinto beans, or cannelinni beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen peas 
2 Quarts water
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional)

In a Dutch oven or deep cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil. Add leeks, carrot, onion and celery over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste, add Farro, and stir to coat the Farro. Once it's all nice & shiny looking add 2 Quarts of water and the beans and turn the heat up until everything is brought to a boil. Once boiling, stir, cover and turn heat down to a simmer, for approximately 60 minutes. Add peas, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve into shallow bowls, top with basil and Parmesan if you're using it. Buon Appetito! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy beginning of Autumn!

The best time of year...! :) 

Xoco restaurant, Chicago

If you find yourself in Chicago don't hesitate to stop by Xoco, the more casual little sister restaurant to celebrity chef Rick Bailiss' Frontera restaurant. The tortas and caldos are authentic and are a great value. 

One of my favorite kind of meals...