Friday, May 18, 2012


Isn't it funny how you just find those ruts in friendships? I have with those friends to get cocktails with, those friends to have cook off duels, those friends to do dorky bike dates, those friends to watch movies with, you get the idea. Right around when Harry was starting to grow facial hair in the films, our cinema-friendly clan discovered that our dear friend Chad had yet to see the Godfather series. Lest we get accused of throwing stones, I myself just saw the films 2 years ago, but still. Epic film series? Culinary-theme easily tied in? Excuse to make cocktails? Count me in.

Here we are, on a dreary Saturday night, cooped up in a lovely apartment with a creepy Italian man begging for vengeance. Side note: Can you see our little heads reflected on the screen? Note that they are all upright. I think this is the first film we've watched (out of 8) that none of us fell asleep. That confirmed any doubt that we are indeed muggles. And tired ones at that.

On the menu: an adaptation of Marcela Hazan's simple Meatballs and sauce, asparagus, and of course panare. Appolonia cocktails (I'm liking the sound of Appolonia Kanakis) and Chianti were drinks of the evening, sans dry ice.

Hazan's meatballs (adapted)
1 slice of old white bread, crusts removed
1/3 cup milk
1.5 lbs ground chuck
1 lbs ground pork
2 T finely diced onion
1/3 c Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
2 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped
A couple grates of nutmeg, fresh (approximately 1/8 t)
2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, heat milk and soak bread just until softened. Remove from heat and mash the bread with a fork. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, and milky bread, with your hands, just until it comes together. Form into balls, larger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball, and place in a pan to rest in the fridge.

Tomato Sauce
1/2 an onion
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 cans San Marzano tomatoes
2 T fresh Italian parsley

While meatballs rest, saute onions, then garlic until yellow and softened. Add tomatoes and simmer on low.

Heat a large sautoise over medium heat with vegetable oil, enough taht when you put the meatballs in the pan, the oil will come up about 1/4 of an inch. Once oil is heated, fry meatballs, just until crisp on the outside. Set aside. Once all the meatballs have been crisped, add enough to your red sauce and finish the meatballs. Serve atop toothsome pasta.

Appolonia cocktail
2 parts Campari
1 part Fernet Branca
1 part real cranberry juice (not cocktail)
2 parts grapefruit juice
1 part simple syrup

Serve over ice, topped with a splash of Proseco.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bike adventure date

There are Friday afternoons when I find myself in need of an adventure, but bridal checklists, Godfather viewing marathon, and mothers day keep me from running to the fields of the land north of Chicago.In such a pickle, my dear fiance usually recommends a bike date. It goes like so:

Jo emails DK:  
ideas for tonight:

- Humbolt Park: Cemitas Puebla. I think we saw a check please on this place, right? 

- Pilsen: bike along the lake down to Pilsen. I've always wanted to check out this Second Fridays event down on 18th and Halstead at the galleries there. dinner at Nuevo Leon or maybe a new spot
- Andersonville/Uptown/Lincoln Square: bike along the lake north to Aville; dinner at Great Lakes Pizza or Ethiopian Diamond and maybe get a drink in Lincoln Square afterward? Or at Fountainhead?? Or Moody's Pub is really closeby. 
- Bridgeport: Check out the Chicagoist overview or Chicago Mag. I've always wanted to try some of those famous pasties. Maria's looks great.

For Pilsen or Bridgeport, we could even stop by the Roosevelt theatre on the way home and catch a movie.(Dark Shadows, Hunger Games, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

PS. mike is famous on the front page of WTTW :)

DK emails J:
Oh my gosh, these all look such great ideas. Thank you!
We have a groupon for Ethiopian Diamond so we shouldn’t go there till we have it on us.
I like the idea of going south. Let’s maybe try dinner at Azteca and then ride down to Maria’s afterward for a drink? Then we could stop by the Roosevelt on the way back and catch a movie? Does that sound good? 

Jo emails DK
sounds perfect. I can't wait! 

And off we go. Thankfully the wind was coming out of the south which made the ride down to Pilsen quite tiring, but the bike home, post burritos, an easy cruise. We even survived the 18th street underpass.

All this to say, you should try this sometime. Keep a list of adventurous places in new neighborhoods that you'd like to try and on quiet Friday night, go adventure. Or....

DK emails Jo again:

Geeze. Those cemitas sandwiches look amazing. I want to go there sometime, but please, let’s share one. I don’t think my stomach could handle it otherwise.

Anybody game for hitting up Cemitas on bikes this weekend? we'll go halvsies!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Grownup Meal

Our very first grown up, matchy-match meal.

Bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a simmer in a big pot. Toss in 2 packages of ramen, simmer for 1 minute. Crack in four eggs and stir to break up the whites as they cook. Add in shredded carrots, bok choy, shaved celery, sliced mushrooms, anything you may have on hand. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Ladle out into bowls and serve alongside homegrown spinach drizzled with soy sauce and rice vinegar.

I swear food tastes better on beautiful placemats and newly gifted everyday ware.