Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Andiamos Riverfront

May 31st 2011: Today's song of the day is the obvious choice...summa summatime,finally.This song will forever go down as a classic. I mean my kids will know this song. Lemme tell ya'll how old I am...I remember watching the making of this video on Video Soul w/Donnie Simpson & Sherry Carter then watching the world premiere,whew,do ya'll even remember video soul?

This weekend I went to my fav restaurant in Detroit, Andiamos http://www.andiamoitalia.com/detroit/ . They have several locations throughout the suburbs surrounding Detroit. Riverfront is the best location in my opinion,because the main dining room looks out over the water,and there is so much to do in the area. Some ppl might complain about the pricing of the menu,but I think it's really quite reasonable,you get a large portion of food,enough to have leftovers like I did.

I had the Linguine Alla Capricciosa minus the italian sausage and the asparagus,eww! It was soo good and the mozzarella di bufalla,had the most complete flavor,ever.It was such a perfect complement to the spinach.

Yea its upside down,and I can't change it......... Me and my old companion Riesling!

I don't remember what my friend had; you can read his blog here www.thingsistumble.blogspot.com , he is a talented and innovative musician I went to high school with I do remember that it looked delicious and the bill was only $50.00.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicago is my kinda town/Hello Detroit

Did the title throw you,or am I the only person whom agonizes over what to title my blogs? Today I'm gonna take some of the things I love about chicago and compare them with Detroit & Lansing my second home (Sparty on!!!)

First & Foremost..you already know pizza.Pizza Papalis is Detroit's finest pie http://www.pizzapapalis.com/Home.aspx but I gotta tell you I prefer Gino's east. Just a personal thing, I dont know if its because theres more crust or I feel like Gino's has more filling..It's just something about Gino's.

2) Popcorn...Detroit popcorn company is ehhh http://store.detroitpopcorn.com/ .It'd just ok and I'm really not a big popcorn person.When I first moved to Chicago working in the loop I'd smell the fresh popcorn all the time;finally one day while walking with a co-worker I said " is there a cornbread factory down here,it smells soo good?" she laughed at me and told me it was Garretts popcorn. It is really great, I'll be picking up a bag tonite to smuggle into my 930 showing of The Hangover II.Whatever you do DO NOT GO ON THE WEEKENDS, you'll be in line for at least 1 hour.http://www.garrettpopcorn.com/

3)Bar food,now this is more about Lansing than Detroit. Bar food in Lansing MI is awful. Upon occasion there are some(maybe 3) bars in lansing that are somewhat upscale and the food is actually tasty.For the most part that is not that case. Living in Lansing for 5 yrs and doing plenty of bar hopping I'd learned not to eat bar food.When I came here,I.was.amazed. Bar/lounge food in Chicago is amazing tinylounge.com <--one of my fav's.Bar food here is such a pleasant surprise from what I'm used to.

4) Farmers Markets...Growing up there was a place called the Eastern market that my father dragged me to every saturday after violin lessons. It was an outdoor market spread out between 3 or 4 different shelters.http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com/ . I hated it as much as I hate split pea soup,and I DESPISE split pea soup.It was cold and there was food smashed all over the grown..it was not clean. Now I was a finicky child,turned into a persnickety adult,I hate food on the ground and I hated having to dodge it constantly. Needless to say this left an awful taste in my for any outdoor market,you couldn't pay me to go. Until I met the Glenwood farmers mrkt ( I loove Rogers Park!). It's clean...sigh of relief, can get a little crowded but its completely worth the crowd. They have a really nice variety of things http://www.glenwoodsundaymarket.org/. It's worth checking out if your going to be in the area.Don't miss me too much this wknd I'm going to my godson's baptism,but not to worry I'll be back with lots of great stuff!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eggplant lasagna

In my recent attempts to eat less carbs,I've been susbstituting all types of things for pasta. I know i sound crazy and obsessed but I eat pasta like its going out of style.There was a time about a yr ago where I was eating up to 4 times a week;and having bread along with it.My plan is to only eat pasta if I'm out at a restaurant,other than that I'd like to eliminate it from my home.I'm already doing really well cutting back on bread & potatoes oh and rice to. No I will not eat brown rice,won't do it,uh-uh.Last nite I made a lasagna-less lasagna.Gather up the following:

Now let us begin:

1)Obviously the spinach & eggplant have been washed.Slice the eggplant about .5 inches thick then brush both sides w/olive oil & garlic pepper. Put them in the oven on 375 for about 12mins. 6 mins in flip them.

2)Watch Oprahs pentultimate final episode,have a glass of white zin.When this goes off start ur prep work.

3)Cube up 3 large chicken tenders,2 grn onions,a 3rd of a bell pepper and a sm block of white sharp aged cheddar(yea baby make it cheeeeesy!!)Oh and grab 2 handfuls of pre-shredded cheddar.

4) In a large pan on medium heat put in the meat & onions,when the meat is halfway cooked pour in about a cup and a 3rd of prego sauce. Season the meat w/ salt & chili powder.After the meat is cooked turn the heat dwn to low.

5)From here its the dumping game...meaning it doesn't matter what order things go in as long as they all go!

6) Once its all in season with a pinch of basil & oregano( I like basil in my spinach,always)a teaspoon of salt and a table spoon 0f herbs de provence.

7) line your baking pan with 4 peices of eggplant then ladle in the spinach mixture then layer it with shredded cheese & the w.cheddar.Do this once more then put it on the oven on 400 for 12 mins.

When it comes out it shall be a beaute like this:

: It was pure yumness,the eggplant so soft and cheesy,all the iron I got from the spinach,made me Pop-eye strong!After I analyzed this recipe I realized that it was not as healthy as I had originally intented it to be because of the cheese intake. So yada yada yada you get my point..use less cheese,ok!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ronald McDonald house

I have briefly mentioned that I am an event planner for an entertainment management company. The woman who has started this company is very passionate about us doing some type of outreach once a month,and yesterday we cooked dinner for the Ronald McDonald house. It was really alot of fun,its this beautiful huge house in Hyde Park and they are basically completely volunteer based. They really do alot for the families that come to stay with them,its quite awesome! We made taco's and spanish rice,I forgot to take pictures sorry. They have this hhuuuuuge kitchen w/4 stoves,2 dishwashers and 2 huge islands. I really wish I had taken pictures to show ya'll. It was really a great experience and we're looking forward to going back and doing some baking. I may even go on thanxgiving and make dinner. Here's a picture of me and a friend I made:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spaghetti Squash w/shrimp

I grew up eating spaghetti squash and probably haven't had any in about 7 yrs. So I'm getting back to my roots so to speak.i'm also trying to go easy on the carbs abd this is suppsed to be a good substitute. My father whom cooked the squash is a complete vegetarian so there was never any meat in our squash,so as the Neely's would say "I'm remixing it"...one of my fav things to do.

The recipe is uber simple. Here's what you'll need:

Ok,we've got a lil over a cup of shrimp,salt,olive oil, blackened seasoning,herbs,de provence,in the black ramekin, 3 cloves garlic,quarter cup of parmesan & a little less than quarter of a white onion & a handful of rosemary at bottom right.Of course the squash,after its been in the oven.

1. Wash the squash then grease a cookie sheet. Put the squash,squash side down on the sheet,turn the oven to 400 for about 20mins.

2. Chop up the onion,rosemary,and garlic, then grate the cheese. After this de-tail the shrimp.

3.Use enough olive oil to coat the pan,then a cap full and toss in the onion,rosemary, garlic and let them mingle for about 6 mins on medium heat. Be sure to watch it and stir,so the gaaahlic doesn't burn.

4) As this is happening you should be scraping the seeds out of the squash,then getting all of the yummy spaghetti out..er wait I did this before I put the herbs in the pan,sorry!

5)Now that you've scraped all the lovely goodness out...hehe,set it aside and pour the shrimp in w/the herbs.
Yummness,sooo glad I brought some for lunch!

6) Season with a healthy pinch of blackened seasoning & herbs de provence. The salt goes in with the spaghetti squash. Go light on the salt because there's soduim in the blackened seasoning & parmesan. When its all finished it should look something like this.

Remember ya'll remixing a recipe is all about taking something you grew up with and & making it something healthy,that you'd want to eat !

Friday, May 13, 2011

stuffed,baked & wontoned!

Today's song of the day is for adults only,so if your under 18,skip right to the post,thanx(yeah right). The song is kissing you by Keith Washington;a native detroiter whom actually still resides there. This brother was fwone,ok! He was sex in a suit,damn! and this song was such a hit!! I was 5 at the very oldest when this song came out,I may have even been 4ish. But I've always had a great ear when it comes to music remembering lyrics,adlibs and such. I never will forget singing this song loud and proud one day at my grandparents house and my grandma saying "Girl what are you singing?" and I told her. Again I'm 4ish I have no idea this is an adult song. She says " who let you listen to that song ?" I told her my dad.Of course when he came to pick us up she had a looong very adamant talk w/me and him about why this song was inappropriate for me to be listening to,LOL. Silly lil me,anyhoo here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjBBuwBojbs

Last night I wontoned for the first time. Not as intimidating as I thought it would be,they were a tad crispier than I had intended.. they stayed in the oven for to long.Here's what you need

The corn was frozen, I just thawed it in warm water then drained it.

1)I used 2 catfish fillets, I fried on medium with a table spn of butter and enough olive oil to coat.

Sprinkle a sm pinch of salt & garlic pepper, then approx. 1 teaspn of cayenne pepper & chili flakes.

2)Flip the fish after only 6-8 mins.These cook fast,at this point you pour the corn into the pan,and season this side. As these cook takes this time to grate 3/4 c of parmesan.

3) At this point it should be done cooking you then take it shred the fish and mix the corn & cheese.

From here you just start stuffing the wonton wrappers,which are sensitive to air, cover the ones you aren't usung w/a damp towel. I also used a little room temp to help me seal the wrappers. I did a few different shapes but next time I want to be more experimental. Here's what they looked like going in the oven on 400 for about 15mins:
They were the perfect combo of spice and crunch,I have sooo many wonton wrappers leftover,what to do??

I served it with spinach,but hell I just stuffed a wonton w/catfish..anything goes!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Crate & Barrel =Heaven!

Crate & Barrel emails me like 3 times a day! I shit you not, I think its the devil trying to get me to spend I should be saving,but its sooo hard. i have gotten really good at seeing the email and not even opening it,just deleting it,straight away. Then I have those times where I want to see what they have...So here I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite crate & barreled things!

1)There are sooo many things I could do with this. I think about scalloped potatoes,egg plant parmesan,pear tartes,the list really could go on & on!

2) I dont remember the last time I bought new knives...I think it was about 2 yrs ago and they were from Marshalls. They're good knives but I never had a pair of really great knives.I must say I am a pretty good knife picker because that set I bought befor that;I got from a shop in South Carolina about 6 yrs ago and they are still going stroing. Seriously tho,its time for a new set!

3) This is how I know that I have a problem,I dont know why I want these. I don't remember when's the last time I had 12 ppl in my house eating dessert at the same time.Yer and still I want these sooo bad. They would be so hott and my next dinner party. Oh yea and I have absolutely no room for them.None.Zip.Zero.

4) Honesly I really do need this,like seriously. I have 2 pitchers one is yellow(perfect for an outdoor event) and the other is plastic and clear with one of my college apartments logo on it(perfect for a college study whom hasn't quite discovered their kitchen style) This pitcher says "I have discovered my style and its timeless,chic and not overdone" Thats me and thats why I need this!Ooohhh I know a diva who has a birthday next month....I think I already know what I'm getting me!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cupcaking w/cakewalk Chicago!

I'm a bug yelper not only do I review places I'm always on there looking for something fun to do! I was blessed to find a free cupcake decorating class at cakewalkchicago.com,here the link:
Cakewalk Chicago -- Baking Supply Store featuring Pastry, Cookie, Candy and Cake Making Supplies in Chicago

Guess what it was free!! Yes it's waaayyy on the southside so it took me 45 mins to get there but I can't wait to get back. Lori the owner is really great,she taught us some really cool tips on how to work with fondant,how to get the swirl on your cupcake just right. It was a really lovely class;when we got there we all got cupcakes,6 chocolate,6 vanilla all we had to do was decorate. She has an amazing store with lots of cool stuff in it and all the prices are all so reasonable. My birthday is next month and I plan on going back to her shop to get everything I need to make my own cake. Now the moment you have all been waiting for....my lovely cupcakes

So how did I do? I just looove cupcaking!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jaime Olivers Food Revolution

Todays song of the day is by Sarah Vaughan. I consider her...to be the best jazz vocalist that ever lived. She had a voice that could just slide over a melody. I didn't actually get hop to her until college,knew who she was but I didn't begin listening to her until college. Ok, I kinda wanted to be her in college,anyway todays song is titled Little Man(You've had a busy day), your gonna like it:http://new.music.yahoo.com/sarah-vaughan/tracks/little-man-youve-had-a-busy-day--333676

Today I want to talk about Jamie Oliver and his food revolution,and I want to get some of your opinions so dont be afraid to write back,ok? Even if you disagree!

I for one really agree with everything that he is doing. I dont know if you watch the show,but here's a clip:http://www.hulu.com/watch/231776/jamie-olivers-food-revolution-jamie-at-school-board#s-p1-sr-i1 .He's in Cali this season and he's trying he's best to change the lunches and the way the whole community thinks of food. Get this,the school system won't even let him in! You heard it right! He's also found a fast food joint(yep I called it a joint)that he's been trying to revolutionize,making healthier burgers,better smoothies,but it would cost more money for the ovner to but the materials. The owner is not willing to change because he knows hes clientele and is afraid he'd lose them. Jamie is really facing shut door after shut door. I noticed that the show hadn't been on for 2 weeks. I did some investigating and thats when I realized that ABC has temporarily axed due to poor ratings but that it will be back on (maybe) June 3rd @ 9pm....

June 3rd is a friday..9pm on a friday folks are out doing summer activities. My concern is that this is going to be swept under the rug. This issue and this show could be completely swept under the rug. Are we ok with that? Last year he did the show in Huntington VA,though it wasn't all roses it was a success. So whats going on in L.A that they dont want us to know about? Did you know that L.A is considered one of the fattese cities in the world. I was suprised, I thought they were all skinny,seriously.In reality I know there is nothing much that we can do about it but I guess I'm just a little dissapointed (more than a little) that this is happening. This show is neccessary,people need to be alerted about the dangers of processed food. People need to be aware of what their kids are eating in the school lunches. Since the show will be returning to such poor time slot, I doubt if it will be on for long, and I seriously doubt it will return for a third season. Not to worry,if your looking for something to watch Paris Hilton has a reality show airing on Oxygen. Ugh.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Potato salad,the healthy kind

I'm back guys. It has been an unbelievable looong week,yall have no idea. Anyhoo I'm here and I've got some good stuff to share with you!So potato salad (yea I know ur not supposed to start a sentence with "so"..oh well)I didn't grow up eating this very often. Sometimes my grandfather would make it and then there was this store called foodland...I wonder if its still open.Food land was your average grocery store with this awesome deli and bakery. As a child I would go in their with my grandfather alot and he would take a number and wait for our order to be ready. This was my time to gawk at the amazing cakes,all of the salads they had. I mean any salad you wanted was there,and the 3bean....damn,that may have been the best salad ever!

When I was about 10 my father bought a motor home and about a yr after my grandparents bought a trailer. There was the start of us spending weekends together camping. One of the things we did in preparation for the trip was going to food land to get like.. a bucket of potato salad. It was a huuuggge carton of it.With 4 childrean & 3 adults and all the guests we used to have,we needed it. So here is my rendition of potato salad,no mayo no eggs.

Here's what you'll need +dijon mustard

1) The potatoes will be peeled & cubed then boiled on high heat for about 15 mins.

2) 1 stick of celery and 2 grn onions are all I used,they are chopped,washed first!My celery literally looked like it had just been yanked out the ground,seriously.

3) As the potatoes are boiling I prepare the dressing;first about 1/4th a c of dijon( I coulda used more) 2 squirts of lemon juice,begin whisking that.Then add approx 1/4th of red wine vinegar(coulda used less of that) 1 pinch salt,1 pinch pepper and keep whisking. I really dont know how much dill I added...sorry. After you had the dill throw in the celery and onions.

4) After the potatoes have cooled coat them in the dressing.It should look a lil somethin like this:

How easy was that? healthy and it took all of 20 mins