Month: April 2012

Grilled Skirt Steak with Garlic-Lime-Cilantro Marinade

Sorry for the rather light posting lately, real world has been pretty busy which is a good thing.  Anyway, on my way back from the office the other day I stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up a couple of items and saw a bag of limes.  I was planning on grilling some skirt steak for dinner and I really like using limes in my marinades so I grabbed them.  For me there’s just something about limes that seems to say “sunshine.”  Limes (and lime juice) give some really good citrusy flavor to cocktails, salsas, ceviche, Thai food, etc.  See?  Don’t you think of warm sun and sand when I mention those?  Good thoughts for springtime in Chicago. (more…)

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Garlic Herb Stuffed Leg of Lamb with an Orange Mint Sauce

So remember a few posts back how I said I always make a leg of lamb for Easter? (No? Well go back a few and get caught up!)  Since we were traveling I didn’t get to cook Easter dinner.  However, upon returning to Chicago I noticed ham and lamb were both on sale.  Imagine that.  It was kind of like buying wrapping paper on December 26.  Very nice.  They didn’t have any full lamb legs but there were plenty of 3-4 lb shanks and shoulders to be bought.  Prices being what they were I picked up a nice little piece of lamb (and some ham) which I intended to make for Sunday dinner.  And since this past Sunday was Orthodox Easter it turns out I did make lamb on Easter! (more…)

White Sox Home Opener on the Southside!

I don’t know if I should put this in the travel category or not.  I did have to cross a border to the Southside so technically…I mean, it’s a long way from Wrigleyville. Especially metaphorically.  Northside, Southside, I really don’t have a dog in this baseball fight since I’m a born and raised NY Yankee fan (go ahead, hate away), but I am a baseball fan and love going to the ballpark.  When the opportunity arose to attend the Sox home opener, I took it. (more…)

Weekend in Paris: A Tale of Two Memories

Paris.  Cheryl’s favorite city.  I’d been there once before but that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  It was a very interesting trip in that my perception of Paris was based on 20 year old memories.  How much would it have changed?  How different would my experience be this time as opposed to going over on a school trip where, let’s just say, my attentions were focused on other things.  And we’d get to see my Navy brother and his family who were coming to Paris from Spain for the kids’ spring break.  Bonus! (more…)

Easter Brunch Idea: Sausage Stuffed Artichokes

Yeah I know, that's a sorry looking Hollandaise sauce but it still tasted good!

So I’m in the grocery store this week walking around looking for inspiration and I spy artichokes on sale.  Just like asparagus, artichokes are coming into season and are yet another sign of Spring’s arrival.  Artichokes can look scary and overwhelming to the home cook.  What do you do with them?  Supposedly they’re very difficult to pair with wine so it’s not just a problem for the home cook.  Truthfully, they’re not difficult.  In fact they’re pretty easy to work with.  The simplest preparation is to trim and boil them until tender and make some sort of aioli or sauce to dip the leaves in.  Great for kids, they get to use their fingers.  We’re adults here though, so a little more sophistication is needed! (more…)

Mushroom and Carrot Risotto

Ah risotto.  Siiiiiiiigggghhhhh.  I’d say this is one of those dishes every budding home chef ate at a restaurant or saw Mario make on tv and said to themselves “I have to learn how to make this!”  Risotto’s not quite the Holy Grail of home cookery but I’d say it’s one of the top adventures on the quest.  And like Percival, you might be forever searching.  (Oh man is Cheryl going to roll her eyes and shake her head at that obscure Arthurian/Grail legend reference.)  You try and try and try to get this one right every time and feel so good when it all works out but a little disheartened when something goes wrong.  I love making this at home and instead of King Arthur, I’ve got Molto Mario to thank for it.  (more…)