Sunday, November 12, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 45




It's time to SPICE UP your Thanksgiving family table planning!

Spiced Mango and Orange Chutney
Inspired by Emeril Lagassi's Mango Orange Chutney

1 diced red pepper
1 diced onion
1/2 jalapeno minced
1/2 knob fresh ginger minced
1-2 garlic cloves minced
1 small mild red chili pepper
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout seasoning
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt (salt more to taste)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large oranges (zest first then slice off pith and segment/dice)
3 cups frozen mango
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine diced red pepper & onions, minced jalapeno & chili, ginger, garlic, curry, ras el hanout, cayenne, sea salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pepper and onion soffritto evenly. Roast for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add diced oranges, mangno, vinegar, sugar to a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Remove soffritto from oven, toss, spread evenly again and roast for another 5 minutes.

Once soffritto is finished roasting in the oven, add it all into the simmering mango pot. Simmer gently uncovered for 30-40 minutes and reduce until it becomes nice and thick like jam. Remove from heat, mash down the bigger chunks of mango if needed, let cool and serve. Or store in refrigerator until your big lovely dinner.


Cooking from scratch = Throwing a change up.

I don't do it every night... But ohhhhh when I do, gurrrrrrrrrl is it GOOD.

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    Week 45's Game Plan:


    Wrap it UP with last week's family table action:



    This dinner was off the cuff. I had some dried mushrooms and felt like stretching my table with a meatless pasta dish. I think I was the only one who ate the mushrooms:) Made a little stroganoff sauce with this and it turned out pretty good.




    This One Pan Fabulous Fish is simply Fab. I still can't believe how easy, fast and delicious it was. It's been my most requested recipe off my instagram stories (just direct message me for it and I'll send it to ya). Jamie's meal and method is officially part of my monthly meal repertoire (that's a hard word to spell). 



    I couldn't resist - Our Taco Tuesday matching, cozy slipper shot. 


    Sideways - I turned the leftover mushroom stroganoff into a pot pie:) 


    This is my dear friend and epic sous chef Jenn. She joined me in preparing last night's surprise 28th dinner party last night! I'll be her sous any day.



    Check out this rad charcuterie! Thanks for heading that one up Jenn!


    Surprise Corey!



    Now let's set your birthday TABLE!!!! 
    My friend Allie (aka wife of the year) hired me over 6 months ago to cook a surprise birthday dinner and boy did we have a great time! Go Big Ten! Northwestern all the way...


    My Three Sister's Gazpacho and Succotash Salad has never looked or tasted so good! I'll be sharing this recipe next week!



     Grill master Jenn. Gurl, you cooked those to perfection!


    "Porked out waffles" with the lovely spiced mango & orange chutney!
    (My dear Christina, our championship dish lives on and on and on and on... )


    CHEERS!!!!!! I am officially ready for the holiday season!!!!!

    Set the Table.
    It all starts at home plate.


    To the Mullies we go... 
    xoxoL



    ps


    My Top 11 #SettheTable2017 Topics:
    1. Study: Eating Food with Fewer Pesticides Boosts Women's Chances to Conceive.
    2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
    3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
    4. Stay on TOP of the Global Food Revolution Newsfeed.
    5. Robyn O'Brien: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick.
    6. Kimbal Musk Wants to Reengineer the American Stomach | Why Food is the New Internet. 
    7. Buy Antibiotic Free and Know the Source of Your Family's Meat.
    8. The EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen produce guidelines helps you save money + reduce the pesticides and herbicides = Antibiotics harmful to our gut microbiome + mycobiome.
    9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep your gut, your "second brain" happy + healthy.
    10. Why, When and How to Eat Wheat.
    11. Why do Some People do well as Vegans and Vegetarians (Clues from the Magical World of Genetics).

    Sunday, November 5, 2017

    Set the Table 2017 | Week 44


    Simple Potato Soup

    Chicken or Vege Stock
    Organic potatoes
    White balsamic vinegar
    Sea Salt & freshly ground pepper
    Organic bacon (optional)
    Irish cheddar (optional)

    Fill half of your soup pot with stock. Eyeball how many potatoes will fit in the pot and still be covered with liquid. Rinse and peel your potatoes. Quarter the potatoes. Add them to the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are cooked through (You should be able to pierce the potato chunks with a fork with no problem, like a pillow!). Using a hand held emulsion blender, blend until silky smooth (or transfer to a high speed blender). Add sea salt and pepper to taste. How do you know how much to add? Take a spoonful of unseasoned soup and taste it. Then take another spoonful of soup and add a pinch of salt to it. What a difference right? Season the soup pot with generous palmfuls of salt until you get it to taste like that original, perfectly salted spoonful. As for the white balsamic vinegar, add a tsp or two at a time and stir in. Taste. When you get it right it'll just POP in your mouth. Trust me, go for it. (I added between 2 and 3 Tbsp's I think.) A little acid will surely brighten up the soup. Hey, it got people like my Mom (who hates potato soup) to fall in love with this simple comfort food! MAJOR SCORE!

    ***************************

      Week 44's Game Plan:




      Wrap it UP with last week's family table action:


      Literally... wrapped Tommy up...


      I turned the potato soup into a cheese sauce for our Halloween Taco Tuesday. I sort of forgot to soak the cashews (damn!) but had plenty of potato soup leftovers. I had made a vegan cheese sauce before from potatoes and carrots so I figured this little "change up" would work out just fine.

      To my leftover potato soup, I added lemon juice, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast from last week's Raw Cashew Cheese recipe to taste.

      Not to shabby my pretties... not too shabby!


      I was gone from my family table two days this week for a downstate trip to the Action for Healthy Kids IA/IL School Wellness Conference. Here was the first slide of our presentation - The West Oak School Chef's Tasting Table adventures with Sue Kruckman (School Nurse and Wellness Committee member).

      We begin this year's Chef's Tasting Table series on Thursday at West Oak!




      Around 20 family tables of 20 people wined, dined and raised their paddles for Pilot Light Chefs on Friday. I am an Advisory Board Member for this incredible Chicago food education organization and I was honored to volunteer as Table Host for Chef Paul Kahan (Pilot Light Chefs Founder, One Off Hospitality) and Chef Ryan Pfeiffer (Chef De Cuisine, Blackbird).  

      It was an incredible, awe inspiring night of food and wine. Our fundraising goal was obliterated (I cannot WAIT for the final numbers...) All proceeds will directly fund and support teacher institutes, common core aligned food ed lessons, and portable kitchen units that are reimagining curriculum around food in the classroom. 

      Good food education is magic. 

      And I believe 

      in

      Magic.


      Set the Table. 
      It all starts at home plate.


      To the Mullies we go...
      xoxoL



      ps


      My Top 11 #SettheTable2017 Topics:
      1. Study: Eating Food with Fewer Pesticides Boosts Women's Chances to Conceive.
      2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
      3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
      4. Stay on TOP of the Global Food Revolution Newsfeed.
      5. Robyn O'Brien: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick.
      6. Kimbal Musk Wants to Reengineer the American Stomach | Why Food is the New Internet. 
      7. Buy Antibiotic Free and Know the Source of Your Family's Meat.
      8. The EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen produce guidelines helps you save money + reduce the pesticides and herbicides = Antibiotics harmful to our gut microbiome + mycobiome.
      9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep your gut, your "second brain" happy + healthy.
      10. Why, When and How to Eat Wheat.
      11. Why do Some People do well as Vegans and Vegetarians (Clues from the Magical World of Genetics).

      Sunday, October 29, 2017

      Set the Table 2017 | Week 43


      Using this awesome Prairie Wind Family Farm produce in this week - Especially for Taco Tuesday. I'll be trying out Sarah's sweet new recipe.

      Check it out: Tempeh Tacos with Raw Cashew Cheese

      ***************************

        Week 43's Game Plan:
        One sweet meal goal this week!



        Wrap it UP with last week's family table action:


        The Hoisin Bok Choy Noodles made into two leftover meals... First it went into "chicken noodle soup." I made stock with frozen rotisserie chicken bones & vegetable scraps (I had saved them in a gallon freezer bags instead of throwing them out).


        Lunch plate love! I had chopped up kale I needed to use, so I blanched that in salted water + juice from one lemon. Added the leftover noodles, two eggs (whisked up) and some freshly ground pepper. OMG did it turn out well. The eggs and lemon juice cooked into this salty, almost ricotta like texture.


        I had leftover roasted butternut squash from last week, so I took half and added it to a simple hummus recipe and put the other half into muffins. Pumpkin and butternut squash are pretty similar in my book! 


        Taco Tuesday!


        I had to do something with the leftover stock, and fresh CSA potatoes, so I made silky, creamy potato soup!! My Mom liked it and she HATES potatoes (except for french fries of course!). 

        Stay tuned for week 44... gonna post this recipe next Sunday FunDay! 


        It all starts at home plate.


        To the Mullies we go...
        xoxoL



        ps


          Thursday, October 19, 2017

          Set the Table 2017 | Week 42



          Fruit & Vege Salsa

          1 lemon juiced

          1 lime juiced

          1 apple diced

          1/2 cucumber diced

          1 tomato diced

          1 pear diced

          1/4 melon diced

          1 peach or tangerine diced

          1 small onion (red or yellow) small diced

          1 bunch cilantro minced

          1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

          1/2 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)

          a dribble of raw, local honey (optional)


          Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Keep refrigerated. The juices will continue to be drawn out the longer it sits. I drank the juice out of the bowl it's so good! Enjoy within 5 days (if it lasts that long!).

          ***************************

          Week 42's Game Plan:


          Wrap it UP with last week's family table action:



          Italian baked rice = BALLS. Abbie even said it was better than she thought it would be (cuz she "hates" rice currently). Chris was like, "Whoa babe, make this again!" And so I shall. This recipe's not on the internet yet folks. But here is a link to some more great one's I'm looking forward to making soon.




          Hoisin Bok choy rice (I subbed in noodles) was a decent hit given the kids aren't used to the flavor of hoisin. Abbie tried it. Mac, Tommy, me and Chris had a healthy portion with the leftover Italian baked rice. Mac even wanted it for lunch the next day. Pretty excited about these two recipes from Jamie's new cookbook!


          I love taking pics of my eggs whites before they go into the weekend waffle batter. It's like looking at the clouds and trying to decide what you see:)


          Saturday morning waffles and coffee - I could not resist taking this pic while making some coffee.


          A festive 40th birthday family table at Monteverde. Happy birthday my dear Christina!


          I am a thunderbolt
          It all starts at home plate.


          To the Mullies we go...
          xoxoL



          ps


          Sunday, October 15, 2017

          Set the Table 2017 | Week 41



          Apple & Soffritto Puffs
          I'm in the mood for meatless comfort food!

          1 package puff pastry (I am so happy with the Dufour Pastry Kitchen brand. Gluten free? Follow this tutorial on how to make gluten free puff pastry with Bob's Red Mill.)
          3 carrots finely dice
          3 kale ribs thinly sliced (leaves chopped saved for a slaw salad this week)
          1 red onion finely diced
          2 garlic cloves finely minced
          1 green apple medium dice
          1/2 tsp sea salt
          1 Tbsp organic grass fed Ghee or butter + a little extra virgin olive oil sprinkled in
          1/2 fresh lemon juiced (about 1 Tbsp)
          2 Tbsp coconut sugar
          1 Tbsp maple syrup
          1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
          1 block shredded Dubliner cheddar cheese (I saved the remaining for Taco Tuesday!)

          Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium pan, melt the ghee or butter and saute a soffritto of carrots, kale, onion and garlic low and slow, mixing occasionally for about 30 minutes. Add lemon juice, sugar, syrup and cinnamon. Cook for another 3-5 minutes and remove from heat. Divide/cut pastry dough sheet into 8 squares onto a lightly floured surface and roll each square out to make it a little larger. Using a cookie sheet, place approximately two heaping spoonfuls of soffritto into the middle of each pastry square. Top with some shredded cheese and wrap up the edges of pastry around the sides to make a rough tart. Bake for 22-25 minutes.

          My mind is bursting with what I can add to this lovely puff pastry for a special appetizer/dinner/dessert!

          ***************************

          Week 41's Game Plan:
          As you can see, I'm on a mission this week to find a RICE recipe that my family will like...


          • Taco Tuesday
          • Hoisin Pak Choi Rice (5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food)
          • Sausage & Apple Bake (5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food)
          • Italian Baked Rice (5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food)

          Wrap it UP with last week's action:


          Whoooooosh I cooked once this week! And it was the lovely aforementioned Apple & Soffritto puffs. Abbie does not like cooked carrots. She also tasted "bacon" inside (I did not correct her), so that was good news for the cook. She wanted more cinnamon and LOVED the apples. Mac loved this recipe and Tommy reluctantly finished one puff. Chris picked out the onions. Bleh. I'm looking forward to making the simple rustic apple tart recipe (found on the back of the box) for everyone next time!

          Can't wait for a full week at home this week:) I'm loving that Fall weather has arrived!!

          It all starts at home plate.

          To the Mullies we go...
          xoxoL



          ps

          Monday, October 9, 2017

          Set the Table 2017 | Week 40



          Have you ever made avocado toast?

          I savored every.last.bite of mine in Vancouver (The Fairmont Pacific Rim's Breakfast In-room service is a must) for this week's set the table inspiration!

          "VANCITY Tartine" Inspired Avocado Toast
          Sourdough toast
          Smash up and mix: 1 avocado, fresh lime or lemon juice, finely minced tarragon and sea salt
          2 poached eggs (or sunny side up)
          sea salt and pepper
          Bearnaise sauce (optional)

          Or pick out one of these 16 Avocado Toast Recipes That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Life

          Show off your plate and tag me!

          ***************************

          Week 40's Game Plan:

          • Taco Tuesday
          • Avocado Toast of some sort
          • Something with Chicken
          • Something Meatless

          Wrap it UP with last week's action:





          My most interesting black bean noodle and eggplant bake. Mac loved it (but suggested not "baking" it since the noodles got a little hard in places). I'll just melt the cheese on top next time:)


          The next day, I decided to make a pot pie with the salmon leftovers using this recipe as a basic guideline.




          I used Immaculate Bakery organic pie crust dough... I had some scraps and decided to make a "superhero" top with my initials.

          What can I say? I'm certainly keeping everyone entertained at the table:)



          Abbie and Tommy could not remember eating pot pie before so each took one bite and was done. They had a tough time with the look + texture for whatever reason (trying to type in my non-judgy, always-loving Mommy voice). However, Mac took a bite and was pleasantly surprised. "Mom this is really good!" 

          Super hero strength back.

          Regardless, I'm making it again as Chris missed it and I KNOW he would love it! 


          On Thursday, Chris and I jetted off to Vancouver for a lovely long weekend with a group of his co-workers.


          The Fairmont Pacific Rim Lobby Lounge is WOW.


          Standing tall with totems in Stanley Park.


          Our Stanley Park Hotel perspective.


          Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was CRAZY FUN! An absolute MUST SEE for all nimble ages.




          Have you ever seen The Swiss Family Robinson? It was my favorite Disney movie growing up. Thank you Capilano, you brought my imagination back to all kinds of wonder and magic! Let's live and swing in the trees!!!!! To the mullies = YOU.


          A super fun Tap and Barrel lunch. I am officially obsessed with Four Season's "Nectarous Sour Beer." I want to fill my fridge with it.



          I will never serve mashed potatoes again without an ice cream scoop.







          Can you believe these beautiful plates from Hawksworth Restaurant, Vancouver!? Now you know why they are VOTED BEST in the city. Our experience certainly lived up to Hawksworth's amazing reputation! 




          Revolver Coffee = Pour over perfection! You know its good coffee when creamer is forgotten:)





          Kofta Meatball Kitchen = A ballers paradise! Did you know that "kofta" is the international term for what we call a "meatball"? Well, it's not only one of our favorite foods, but Chris' favorite pet name for me:)  It turned out to be the perfect starter for our sporty day.


          Cuz on our way to buy Chris some new "fancy" clothes and we stumbled upon this sign: 

          GOLF
          FOOD
          BEER

          Ummmmm, yes please. AND MORE BALLS!??  


          I mean look at Chris' face... PURE ridiculous, unplanned heaven at One Under Urban Golf Vancouver.

          Needless to say, we never made it shopping.




          Plaid love over 105 year old, original tile.



          We spent three hours hitting balls together in our private golf simulation tunnel. It was such a blast!!!

          I couldn't figure out why my wrists and forearms were a little sore this morning.
          I hit well over 100 balls, and about 75% of them were wicked slices... Probably due, in part, to my super cute, slightly inappropriate, red suede shoes.




          Our last spectacular evening gave us sweeping views, delicious food and awesome live music from the top of Grouse Mountain. Swoon. I am officially in the mood for apres ski season!

          We had the MOST wonderful time together relaxing, touring the city and eating our little hearts out.
          Vancouver truly has it all.

          So, if I were you,
          I'd totally move there.
          Or buy a second home.
          Or plan my next sweet vacation there.

          I'll be back Canada. You have my heart and most certainly...



          It all starts at home plate.

          To the Mullies we go...
          xoxoL



          ps