Roasted Broccolini w/ Winey Mushrooms

Broccolini is one of our (few) go-to vegetables. For me and my (child-like) palate, the beautiful thing about broccolini is that it does not have an overpowering vegetable flavor, unlike regular broccoli and other vegetables prepared in certain ways (looking at you, sauteed spinach). We have a quick and easy sauteed version of broccolini that we love so much and make so often that even I don’t need to consult the recipe anymore when cooking it. But they say that variety is the spice of life, so the time eventually came to try a new broccolini recipe. Trying new things can be difficult (says this Texas girl living outside her home state for the first time in more than 30 years), so we went with a broccolini recipe that not only incorporates several of our other favorite ingredients: mushrooms, wine and Parmesan, but also calls for the simple preparation method of roasting the broccolini. The rich flavor of the mushrooms and Parmesan pairs well but doesn’t overwhelm the fresh, light flavor of the more delicate broccolini. Sometimes change is good, and we appreciate putting an elevated, more fancy spin on an old favorite.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Easter Vigil

Last Saturday we joined long-time friends of ours for an Easter Vigil service and the baptism of their three wonderful children. It was a special experience, and we were honored to have been part of it.

Easter breakfast

Growing up, the traditional Easter breakfast in my family included hard boiled eggs, strawberries and pineapple. Dan and I put our own twist on the tradition this year by making deviled eggs, mascerating the strawberries and pineapple with a little sugar and adding our favorite chicken sausage to the mix.

Seagull photo bomb

It’s still a bit chilly here in Chicagoland, but last weekend it warmed up enough one day for our first barefoot beach walk of the season, and it was glorious.

Peckish Me

We have a new favorite local restaurant called Peckish Pig. We love everything about the place — from the food, to the atmosphere, to the service — not to mention the adorable name and logo. Our only issue is figuring out how to try everything we want on their menu (basically the entire menu), while still ordering what we’ve already decided will be our go-to items (kimchi potato cakes and duck confit mac & cheese w/ sunny-side up egg). Not a bad problem to have.

Condo wildlife

A pair of geese stopped by the condo for a visit last week. The outdoor landing where they were hanging out is not accessible by us (no worries about goose droppings in the backyard, since it’s not a backyard), but we were able to toss a few crackers to them through a window. They reminded us fondly of the ducks that occasionally visited our pool in the springtime when we lived in Dallas.

Food for Thought

  • In honor of the recent holiday, some Easter-themed baking and cooking failures (thanks to my brother J for the link!) I think the deviled eggs are my favorite.
  • A slideshow of cooking tricks and tips from Bon Appétit. Brown rice takes at least 45 minutes to cook in our rice cooker — we’re curious to find out whether soaking it in water first will really speed up the process.
  • We’re thinking about getting one of these tools for “spiralizing” our spring/summer vegetable bounty from the farmer’s market. Here’s a more fancy version with additional size/spiral options.
  • Anybody following the latest food trend of completely giving up sugar? This family cut out all added sugar for a year and wrote a memoir about their experience. A chef who eliminated sugar from her diet shared a couple of dessert recipes on the Today Show recently, and talked about using brown rice syrup instead of sugar because it adds natural sweet flavor, but has no fructose. We don’t often eat dessert or have much sweet stuff around the house, but reading articles and lists concerning the surprising sugar content of foods you don’t typically think of as “sweet” has me checking food labels much more than I have in the past.

Mmmmmmm, donuts

Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:


My parents came to see our new place (can we still call it “new” after being here for 5 months?) last weekend. We had a nice visit and enjoyed showing them our sites, including the lake. It was too windy to linger long, but the water was a gorgeous shade of turquoise blue that day. Much different than the previous time we were there, when it was white ice as far as the eye could see.

Orange chicken

Trader Joe’s “Mandarin Orange Chicken” (from the freezer section) comes highly recommended by gourmand friends of my parents. We tried it this week and also loved it. Not only does it taste as good as what you would get from a Chinese restaurant (possibly better, depending on the restaurant), but it’s also ridiculously easy to prepare. Just bake the chicken in the oven (or fry it in oil if you’d rather), heat the sauce, toss them together and serve over cooked rice. Because the sauce was a little sweeter than we like (and we can never leave well enough alone), we added a bit of soy, sriracha and sesame oil to make it perfect.

New toy

Dan got a new phone last week (it’s suspiciously coincidental the way a phone tends to wear out in terms of battery and function, riiiiight around the time a brand new model of the same phone comes out, isn’t it), and Sprint threw in this little Samsung tablet for free with his phone purchase. Since Dan already has his beloved iPad, this latest technology treat is all mine. It’s a fun device, handy for times when I want easy Internet access and a screen bigger than the one on my phone but don’t feel like hauling around my laptop.

Mediterranean lunch

We have a new favorite local “fast food” restaurant: Olive Mediterranean Grill. The food is fast because it’s pre-made, but it’s also crazy fresh, delicious and healthy. Our go-to lunch is the “OMG Plate” with hummus, tabbouli, Mediterranean salad and spicy chicken kabob. They also make their own pitas onsite. So good.

Roast Chicken Thighs w/ Pancetta and Olives

Are olives a food group? If not, I personally think they should be. I could incorporate olives into just about any dish and be happy (except for Asian food, that would be weird). Their briny flavor complements all kinds of main ingredients, including chicken, fish, beef and vegetables. My love of these little fruits compels me to try pretty much any recipe calling for olives, including this one, which was even more compelling because it also calls for pancetta (Can you tell I’m a fan of all things salty?) The olives and pancetta are enhanced by their Mediterranean food friends olive oil, garlic, thyme and oregano; the red pepper flakes add a nice kick; and all of the components combine to elevate otherwise bland roast chicken to a flavorful new level. The only change I would make is to add more olives. Just kidding. Not really.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week (more pictures than words, since my parents are currently visiting and we are enjoying our time with them):

Uncle and nephew contemplate art.

 Great time in Brooklyn last weekend visiting our adorable, sweet nephews and their awesome parents.

Oyster snack

 Oyster snack break at the genius, amazing food situation that is Smorgasburg.

Patio is open!

We’ve wiped down the chairs and swept off the patio — spring is here! (We’re ignoring the weather forecast of light snow predicted for next week.)

Mmmmm mussels

 We’re big fans of the mussels in white wine cream sauce with sundried tomatoes at this place.

Food for Thought


Holy Sodium, Pork!

  • Google has a tool for comparing foods that gives you a side-by-side comparison of the nutritional value of two different foods at a time. In the Google search engine, type in “compare Food A and Food B” (obviously, type in the names of the actual foods you want to compare), then click on the bottom arrow to expand the table. It doesn’t necessarily work with all foods (for example, it didn’t work with “compare chicken sausage and pork sausage”), but it’s pretty handy for a quick look at the foods it does recognize.
  • We recently ran out of a delicious raw milk cheddar cheese we had purchased at a local food conference, but I was very happy to see that they sell it online. We want to buy a lot of it (it’s that good!), which prompts the question whether you can freeze cheese? No, according to this post. Only if you intend to use it for cooking, according to this one.
  • It’s not the most user-friendly interface, but “Prevention” magazine compiled a list of the 100 “cleanest” packaged foods and put them in various categories (breakfast, lunch, dinner, grains & pasta, condiments & dips, gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetes-friendly, etc.) The easiest way to navigate the list is to click on one of the categories (found in the blue bar next to the round “Eat Clean” logo), then scroll through the slide shows to see pictures of the products.
  • Spring is here, our local farmer’s market will be opening in a month, and we’re looking forward to trying some new smoothie recipes with locally-grown produce now that the weather is finally warming up.