Dueling Dinners

A couple of weeks ago E and I agreed to make a theme dinner of cauliflower mashed potatoes and spaghetti squash. (I’m overly fond of themes.) Unfortunately, my local grocery store was out of spaghetti squash, but it gave me the chance to try a pasta verde recipe I’d been looking at – one of the dozens of recipes I’ve pinned from How Sweet It Is (that girl always makes the most enticing treats).

At one point we had pots waiting their turn on the counter.

E surprised me by not only bringing the cauliflower, but the stuff to make rosemary, lemon chicken. Not daunted by the amount of food, or the 6 pots and pans we would need, we started making our respective meals.

An hour and a half later, we finally got to try our rosemary, lemon chicken; cauliflower mashed potatoes; creamy pasta verde; and gin and tonics (my sister’s satisfying contribution). The best part about cooking with E is how good my kitchen smells after. The second best part, all the leftovers!

Everything was so good that I was feeling a little over confident and decided to try Vanilla Almond Orange Cloud Cookies from Joy the Baker. Clouds seemed like the perfect way to end a two dinner meal. I was less successful with these guys. They were cloud-like and yummy, but didn’t really retain their shape. So, I guess they were cloud-like in both texture and taste.

My favorite part about this meal:SONY DSC

  1. If you put enough garlic into mashed cauliflower it does taste like mashed potatoes and it’s delicious.
  2. Pasta made with mascarpone cheese and avocado is bound to be good. Once you add the bread crumbs, it’s awesome!
  3. And any cookie made with orange zest and vanilla bean is going to make you feel like a pastry chef even when it looks like a blob (it helps if you don’t actually know all the work a pastry chef has to do).

Burger Fest!

ImageLast weekend Roscoe Village put on their annual Burger Fest. I love Roscoe Village, and I lived very near there for three years. But despite all that love, I’ve never been to their burger fest. This year, determined to go, I invited two friends … who are also vegetarians. Why them? Well, I would like to say I did it on purpose (some sort of meat irony?), but in reality, they are just two of the people I know who are usually up for anything. So cheers to them for being so excited to come to a burger fest and take the vegetarian options (ice cream, corn on the cob, black bean burger, and ice cream again – that’s right, we bookend our festival experiences with ice cream).

It’s a small street fair, and we walked it about three times. We each tried the Guinness ice cream from Mrs. Murphy’s and Sons Irish Bistro (where I spent the beginning part of my 21st birthday oh so long ago). For $2 more, they made it into a root beer float. Totally worth it.

ImageI had the best burger bite from Rockit Bar. It had cheddar cheese, bacon aioli and fried onion bits on a pretzel roll (I’m sure there was a burger in there somewhere). Not being one to stand in the sun too long on a hot day, my friends and I walked to Paciugo on Roscoe Street and finished up with sea salt and pistachio gelato.

Burger fest was short and sweet. I’m glad we went. The music was lively and Roscoe is always filled with young families looking for fun. It was a great fest experience.

Beginnings

champagne never last long here

A while ago Erika took a bartending class that I just knew would end up benefiting me. Since that class she always visits me prepared to make something fancy.

This picture is the remnants of a couple of French 75s, a champagne cocktail first made in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris. Apparently the drink has such a kick that it feels like being shelled with a French 75mm field gun … or so says Wikipedia. We just like to watch the bubbles rise off the sugar cube.

Erika’s French 75 is a bit different from other recipes online. It starts with a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne glass, a bit of gin, fill the glass with champagne (to watch the bubbles) and a lemon twist. Ta da! Empty glass.