Monday, February 28, 2011

Jitlada - Los Angeles, CA

If you live in LA and you haven't been to Jitlada, you must go immediately.  I have to admit it's been on my list for some time but whenever I am home, I hardly have enough time to eat everything I want, let alone visit new restaurants.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fred's - Chicago, IL

Susan and I had a nice dinner after work one night at Fred's.  It's on the top floor of Barneys New York on Oak Street.  It's a beautiful space and I think they have a patio area where you can sit when the weather is nicer.  

We started with a baby octopus salad with arugula salad.  I forgot to take a picture, but this was absolutely delicious.  I love grilled octopus, it's one of my favs.    

We also got the Proscuitto and Arugula parma ham, tomato, mozzarella and arugula pizza.  Their pizzas are made from 100 % King Arthur Flour and their dough is kneaded and fermented in the true Neapolitan style. All of their ingredients are either sourced locally or imported from Italy.  

We also ordered their Garlic and Herb Roasted Berkshire Pork Chop, which came with red wine onion confit and roasted fingerling potatoes.  The red wine onion confit was really good.  An excellent suggestion by our waitress.

We were pretty stuffed by this point, but it's hard to pass up on dessert.  We opted for the white chocolate bread pudding.  This was also a pleasant surprise.  The bready part was on the bottom and the top consisted of a panna cotta-esque texture.  I think we polished this up pretty quick.

Our waitress also told us about their weekend brunch specials which is a choice of entree, drink (Bloody Mary, Mimosa or soft drink), a basket of homemade scones, muffins, toasted bread and foccacia, salad, dessert and coffee for $28.  That's a pretty great deal for the quality of food Fred's serves.  We will definitely have to come back for brunch.  

15 E Oak St
(between State St & Rush St) 
Chicago, IL 60611

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Keyshawn's Mom's Candied Yams (with Marshmellows)

Keyshawn's Mom's Candied Yams

3 pounds sweet potatoes or yams
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks sweet butter, cubed

Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch cubes. Place potatoes in large pot, cover with sugar, brown sugar and butter cook over medium heat until potatoes are fork tender (about 20 minutes) but not mushy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese with Buttery Crumbs

I am one of those weird people who have never been a fan of macaroni and cheese.  I'm not a huge fan of cheese in food.  I love eating cheese by itself, but melted cheese in pasta is kind of too rich for me.  But I know people love macaroni and cheese and it's a common Thanksgiving side dish so I decided to try to make a batch.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cranberry Sauce

I had no idea cranberry sauce was so easy to make.  There's really no need to buy canned cranberry sauce anymore.  Here's a super simple recipe that takes all of 10 minutes. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprout Salad

If you haven't noticed, I've been making quite a bit of brussels sprouts lately.  It may have to do with one of my friends Aleen being a huge fan of them so whenever I am having friends over, including her, I tried to make some sort of brussels sprouts dish for her.  She mentioned that she had shaved brussels sprouts at a restaurant in NY so I thought I'd try something along those line this time.

I found a great recipe on Foodnetwork that I decided to try.  Here's the finished product.  I have to admit, I was weary of how this would turn out, but it was a nice change from the roasted brussels sprouts I was used to having.  It was definitely more light and vibrant in flavor. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Herb-Roasted Onions

I felt like I had most of the dishes covered, the potatoes, the mac & cheese, the Brussels Sprouts, but I wanted something light and tangy.  Maybe a bit acidic to round out this otherwise pretty hearty meal.  I had my eye on this recipe for some time and it seemed pretty easy enough to make so I decided to whip up a small batch.  It was, in my opinion, the perfect accoutrement to any meat dish. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

Besides turkey, you can't have a thanksgiving meal without mashed potatoes!  I have to admit I was going to just wing it and make mashed potatoes whatever I already had in the fridge.  I did a quick search of mashed potatoes recipes to get some inspiration and saw this one and realized that I had all of the ingredients already so I decided to try it.  I also used russet potatoes instead of red new potatoes and it was totally fine.  

I got so many compliments from this dish and they kept asking what was in it and I told them that it was better off not knowing.  There's a reason why this tastes so creamy and rich, but it's worth the splurge.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter

I really feel like one day a year is not enough to enjoy turkey.  So I invited some friends over and set out to make a post-thanksgiving turkey meal with some sides.  Oddly enough, I think making all the sides was more laborious than the turkey itself.

Here was our menu for that evening:
Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter
Mashed Potatoes with Pan Gravy
Herb Roasted Onions
Brussels Sprout Salad
Italian Sausage Stuffing
Mac & Cheese
Cranberry Sauce
Candied Yams
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Davanti Enoteca - Chicago, IL

I've been itching to check out Davanti Enoteca for quite some time now.  It's a new Italian restaurant run by a restauranteur Scott Harris and Purple Pig alum, Executive Chef Jonathan Beatty.  Purple Pig has been quite the hit with some of my friends so it's been on my list of places to go.  We made it out there once, but the wait was too long, so we went elsewhere, which I, to this day, still regret.  

In any event, we finally made it to Little Italy one night to check out this new wine bar and restaurant that has been getting great reviews.  They, similar to Purple Pig, don't take any reservations so it's first come, first serve.  It was bustling when we arrived.  There is a bar in the front so we had some wine at the bar while we waited.  We soon discovered that you could order appetizers at the bar so we did just that.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nightwood - Chicago, IL

My old roommate first introduced me to Nightwood last year.  We drove down to Pilsen to have dinner on night but were heartbroken to find that they were closed that night.  I love the Pilsen area but for a girl without a car, it can be a pain to get to sometimes.  Nightwood is owned by the same people as Lula's Cafe, which I also adore, so I've been wanting to check it out for some time.

When an old college friend came to town, a group of us decided to have dinner here.  It's on the corner of Halsted and 21st in Pilsen.  Here's a pic of their unassuming sign. 

Roasted Chickpeas

I'm a big muncher of all types of snacks so I am always on the look out for tasty and healthy treats.  I'm sure you're accustomed to chickpeas in salad or in hummus, but have you tried roasted chickpeas?  When you roast them in the oven, they become crisp, almost like wasabi peas.  

The great thing about this is that you can add any flavor combination that you want.  Here is a recipe I found using curry powder, but feel free to experiment.